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Taylor Momsen Did Not Write This Slashdot Headline

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the seo-can-rot-in-hell dept.

The Media 192

Hugh Pickens writes "David Carr writes that headlines in newspapers and magazines were once written with readers in mind, to be clever or catchy or evocative, but now headlines are just there to get the search engines to notice. Hence the headline for this story that includes a prized key word for one of the 'Gossip Girls' — just the thing to push this Slashdot summary to the top of Google rankings. 'All of the things that make headlines meaningful in print — photographs, placement, and context — are nowhere in sight on the Web,' writes Carr. Headlines have become, as Gabriel Snyder, the recently appointed executive editor of Newsweek.com, says, 'naked little creatures that have to go out into the world to stand and fight on their own.' In this context, 'Jon Stewart Slams Glenn Beck' is the ideal headline, guaranteed to pull in thousands of pageviews. And while nobody is suggesting that the Web should somehow accommodate the glories of The New York Post's headlines in that paper's prime, some of its classics would still work. 'Remember "Headless Body in Topless Bar," perhaps the most memorable New York Post headline ever? It's direct, it's descriptive, and it's oh-so-search-engine-friendly. And not a Taylor Momsen in sight.'"

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A-freaking-men! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266304)

I'm a technology journalist now working for a web-exclusive publication after years of working in print. And headlines have gone from being one of the most fun parts of the job to one of the worst. I've had endless arguments with editors who will freak out if there's anything even the slightest bit clever or sly about a headline--if it's not packed with keywords, all properly researched via Google Trends and Omniture and God knows how many other vetting systems, it's just not wanted at all. It's horrific, and does the readers a tremendous disservice.

The bigger problem is that the problem isn't limited to just headlines. Stories have to be constructed the same way, with this many mentions of the lead product or whatever in the deck and the first and last paragraphs, with the full product name used this many times, with this many links out to this many other sites... Journalism, at least the form of it I'm involved in, is no longer about informing people or telling stories, it's all about getting picked up by Google. The training I had never dared call that journalism. Once upon a time, it was known as advertising.

Re:A-freaking-men! (4, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266436)

and to make things worse, because ads do not fit well with plane crashes, terrorism, school shootings, corrupt politicians, the media seems to be gradually going to a "feel good" news dystopia. Lots and lots of sheer propaganda, instead of real news stories (my definition of real journalism is that "Something seems to stink @ X"; the rest is all propaganda). Techcrunch reported on a news website some time ago where there would be only good news, for christ's sake. http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/10/get-ready-to-barf-aol-and-sears-want-to-push-good- [techcrunch.com] news-down-your-throat/ Couple these trends with the bazzilion-page slideshows and/or reviews, and one can only wonder why big media is complaining.

Re:A-freaking-men! (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266702)

It makes sense that they would push the news their biggest customers want.

They will chase revenue. Some of the trading news feeds are pretty thorough for disasters though obviously their focus is who the plane crash will impact.

Re:A-freaking-men! (4, Insightful)

squidfood (149212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266888)

the media seems to be gradually going to a "feel good" news dystopia.

Well, then, that's a welcome relief from the current "you're surrounded by terrorists and child rapists panic Panic PANIC!!" news dystopia.

Re:A-freaking-men! (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267058)

There's always been feel-good news. And plane crashes certainly sell. My god man, just look at the Fox News website and count how many tragedies they can line up next to sexy photos.

Re:A-freaking-men! (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267094)

> my definition of real journalism is that "Something seems to stink @ X";
> the rest is all propaganda

If you don't realize that the muckraking stories are sometimes propaganda as well you are very naive.

Re:A-freaking-men! (3, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266468)

If you want to write good and witty headlines head to Fark, perhaps point Fark out to your boss also.

Write the general headline, write the Fark headline, show your boss where the most hits came from.

Re:A-freaking-men! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267074)

I've had endless arguments with editors who will freak out if there's anything even the slightest bit clever or sly about a headline

Good. I'm sick of deceptive headlines. You can call them clever or sly. I call you a liar and a cheat.

Re:A-freaking-men! (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267174)

Content is king. Some people would thing otherwise, Is safe to ignore these people. So, if you produce less interesting content, to make more like a trap for google, you are doing it wrong. The "boost" you can gain lyiing to google is temporal, at a point, all these fake ranking will die. :-I

I really love good writters, a good journalist that is worth read, is a beatifull thing.

Journalism has been dead for a long time (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267218)

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

John Swinton, who edited the New York Times during the Civil War

---

"This is a man that blames the United States and their policies for the attack that took place on September 11th. That is such an egregious, outrageous, unfair offense that I would have nothing to do with his money either, and I applaud what Mayor Giuliani did. It showed a lot of guts and character."

Sean Hannity, 2001, in reference to Alwaleed bin Talal trying to donate $10m after 9/11

---

"And if you are this prince, think about investing more in those banks again. Particularly one bank, a big bank, Citigroup, because for this Saudi Arabian prince it about the long-term deal. And Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has not become the richest man in the Middle East or one of the richest men in the world minding conventional wisdom. Once more, his Kingdom Holding Company continues to be among the world’s most successful and admired often by defying popular fads.

For example, Prince Alwaleed has been a big buyer of media stocks, especially News Corp, I must disclose, the parent of this fine channel because he’s convinced that my show will lead to an economic boom.

(LAUGHTER)

I just made that up, I wanted to see if you were paying attention. Anyways, he’s very big on a global recovery, that it will take hold and media will be reflecting that. Joining me now for this very, very rare sit down, the man who grants so few of them, I’m very honored as my special guest tonight and for this evening, my only remaining guest tonight, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal."

Neil Cavuto interviews Alwaleed bin Talal on 01/15/2010

---

"I really consider my investment with Mr. Rupert Murdoch, with James Murdoch, not as an investment, but as an alliance. That’s a core investment that will never be sold... This is an empire that is run and managed very well by Mr. Murdoch, and James... When I say a strategic investment goes forever, I think Rupert is there to stay a long time."

Alwaleed bin Talal in the same interview

Re:A-freaking-men! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267370)

The web (and popularity driven search) has turned once respectable news organizations into National Enquirer copy-cats.

I hate news. It is so full of lies, deceit, and bias that I actively avoid news websites. Thankfully, I'm at a point in my career/life where it doesn't matter if I have no knowledge of politics/world events.

I feel sorry for those poor souls that actually have to wade through the crap filled news related inter-tubes.

So it's time to penalize spam headlines (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266344)

Or just ignore them and actually rank by the content!!! line they're supposed to do?

Re:So it's time to penalize spam headlines (1)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266820)

Would that contet be cocaine? I don't really think that anybody are supposed to do that kind of lines.

Re:So it's time to penalize spam headlines (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266838)

If they could do that, this problem wouldn't exist in the first place. It's a lot harder to asses content algorithmically than to make a reasonable guess as to what the content is about (good or otherwise). The basic problem with any algorithm to detect something (computer or otherwise) is that people start trying to appease the algorithm, not the thing the algorithm is trying to asses. Want to develop a a way to evaluate teachers? Lets test all the students (that's our algorithm), so the teachers teach to the test, and in the end your data is worthless.

In some respects this is the collision between art and science. Computers do science well, art, not so much. Writing articles is an art, even if the content itself isn't, the skill of making an article catchy or otherwise interesting is really hard to evaluate. The google search algorithm is a good example of what happens when you try and apply science, especially early generation science to and art form. How do you judge the quality of any sort of an article? Early on you pick out key words (what about JS and GB for jon stewart and Glen beck, can I detect those?, you might need a context sensitive language to guess their utility, which is possible but again inefficient), you maybe base your evaluation on the status of the author/publisher (something by thomas friedman in the NYT is probably more relevant to a topic than the random crap I post on a blog), so then you need a system of mathematically describing reputation (good luck dodging a bias there). What's the next pass? How many refeences are made to the article elsewhere is probably good, that's a bit of a messy algorithm performance wise but we'll cope. Next up, you get into (for example) verifiability, that's a hard one to do algorithmically for a large data set, and how do you detect someone trying to screw with your verification algorithm. I'm looking at you Anthony Penis Blair, (that's in reference to his longstanding description on wikipedia which I believe has been fixed), and 'michael jackson is dead' (how do you verify that algorithmically when it's breaking news?). A cursory search turns up http://paidcontent.org/article/419-traditional-ways-of-judging-quality-in-published-content-are-now-useles/ listing the criterion for content as 'crediential, correctness, objectivity, crafstmanship'. We can pretty easily do an ok job on credential, correctness is somewhat harder, objectivity and craftsmanship are a really hard. We could maybe make inroads on objectivity by recognizing different objective sets of data and then trying to (machine) learn whether a piece of data fits in one set or another. Craftsmanship is well outside my area of expertise, how do you evaluate the depth and bredth of an article relative to others?

Even with all that, they're taking second seat to data that can be produced quickly, potentially of lower quality but will attract attention of users. It's not an easy problem to solve, it's not just that it's agorithmically hard to evaluate content on the fly (as any science kid in an arts class will tell you), it's that the audience has moved from wanting a certain type of articles (which print media spent the last 400 years perfecting) to wanting instant access to 'probably' correct information, and they have no great attachment to credientials, partly because we've realized that journalists are largely out to lunch when it comes to complex topics.

The print media guys recognized the first problem, probably in time, but the latter problem too late. They needed to adapt their business and publishing model to have significantly more depth, but not necessarily from in house reporters (basically contract an actual expert on each topic and pair them with a writer, sort of like how news networks bring in experts on everything, but with an actual journalism filter on top of them), and they needed to be willing to say on short notice "we have reports from a single source that michael jackson is in fact dead". Probably the natural alliance here is between print and TV, the TV guys in the era of CNN know how to get data out quickly, whether it's correct or not is somewhat secondary, and the print guys know how to pretty it up and make it findable by a search algorithm (which video isn't easily), that would at least partially solve both problems, but then I'm sure we could find a few more layers of algorithm complexity to work on.

And this is different... how? (4, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266842)

Frankly I don't buy the "glory days of newspaper" nostalgia argument. The idea that headlines were once crafted to be deeply insightful, and informative doesn't mesh with my own recollections. I've always found headlines to be frustratingly vague. Headline writers seem obsessed with injecting puns, usually at the expense of clarity. The whole concept of a headline in print, being limited by font size and page size, means that the content is strangely constrained and thus non-optimal sentence fragments end up being used. And, finally, I think newspapers have been optimizing their headlines to be attention-grabbing (rather than strictly informative/useful) for a long time now.

In other words, the notion of a headline crafted for a non-journalistic purpose has been around for a long time. In the print era, it was optimized for what was most likely to catch/attract a reader who is walking by a newsstand. (There is a reason the headlines on print newspapers are so gigantic.) Nowadays the headlines are being optimized for what an online reader is most likely to stumble across or search for. In both cases, the headline is an advertisement for the article. It is meant to induce you to go check out the product.

As long as there is a profit motive behind journalism/news, there will be a conflict between what the distributor wants (to make money) and what the consumer wants (to be informed). That's more or less fine, since we've achieved a decent balance. But that does mean there are some inefficiencies (like infuriatingly misleading headlines).

Re:And this is different... how? (2, Insightful)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267310)

They weren't designed to be insightful or informative - they were designed to catch the eye and mind. It was advertising all the way. The principal concern was the size of the the words so that they could all fit neatly on top of the article. People nostalgic for those headlines must be the kind of people who thought them up, because they were rarely funny and often groan inducing.

Re:So it's time to penalize spam headlines (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266896)

Or just ignore them and actually rank by the content!!! line they're supposed to do?

Have you used a search engine before? Have you noticed while you're scrolling through the search results they don't show you the entire content of the page?

Re:So it's time to penalize spam headlines (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267260)

That's a lot of reading to do... thats why I just read the summaries. :-D.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266354)

I have no idea who Taylor Momsen is and I never heard of that headline but the Headline was clever.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266418)

I agree. WhoTF is Taylor Momsen?

Should I care?

(Or does this mean I get a slashdot street-cred point for not knowing who this person is? Or do I lose one? I can never keep track these days.)

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266470)

Bad form replying to my own response, according to some on here (to you I say FEH. FEH I SAY!), but apparently Taylor Momsen is a young (born in July, 1993) American actress.

Dang, that's the year I graduated high school....17 years has passed? Really? Damn.

Get off my...well, it's not old and crusty, but it's still my lawn. So get off it, you damned kids.

Re:Huh? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266662)

Hey! I graduated in 1990. Just whose lawn are you on now?

Re:Huh? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266858)

I graduated from high school in 19-god-damn-83, and if all of youse kids don't get off my lawn, I'm calling all of your parents!

P.S. I don't even know what that "Gossip Girls" show is about.

Re:Huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266878)

I graduated in 2000 and demand to free lawns from dinosaurs and kids alike!

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266648)

(Or does this mean I get a slashdot street-cred point for not knowing who this person is? Or do I lose one? I can never keep track these days.)

It's easy: You lose points for not just [f***ing] googling the name.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

batquux (323697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266856)

You lose points for not just [f***ing] googling the name.

I tried to, but all that came up was this Slashdot article.

Re:Huh? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267390)

Not really.
One who asks who is Taylor Monson is loses points for not googling the name.

One who states they don't know but sees that she is something called a Gossip Girl probably is wise.
The know from that amount of data that they don't know and don't care.

Now if this Taylor person was in a headline with some science discovery or in a some movie or show I cared about I would probably have spent the time go google her.
I can tell right off the bat when you put Popular and Gossip Girls in the headline that I really don't care.

Re:Huh? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266734)

I agree. WhoTF is Taylor Momsen?
Should I care?


You don't need to know. All you need to know is that thousands upon thousands of screaming teens know who Taylor Momsen is. Including the words "Taylor Momsen" in your headline guarantees thousands of hits for your website.

Re:Huh? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267038)

> Including the words "Taylor Momsen" in your headline guarantees thousands
> of hits for your website.

As the only Web site I manage has no ads, why would I want them?

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266844)

Or does this mean I get a slashdot street-cred

*laugh* I'm sorry, but you can't use "Slashdot" and "street-cred" in the same sentence like that.

Geek-cred? Maybe. Street-cred? I don't think so.

Re:Huh? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266898)

I have no idea who Taylor Momsen is

I do, I think, and I'm not entirely convinced she didn't write the headline.

the Headline was clever

I thought so too. Along those lines, headlines will still have to be clever and catchy AFTER getting onto the first search page. To use the "Jon Stewart slams Glen Beck" example, if I was googling Jon Stewart, that boring headline isn't going to pull me in.

Basically headlines are going to still have to be clever and catchy, but also now include buzzwords, which they kind of already did.

Re:Huh? (1)

ZaphDingbat (451843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267030)

If you thought the headline was clever, you should have read the summary, where you might-- *might* have found out who Taylor Momsen is.

Re:Huh? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267264)

But I don't know what a Gossip girl is.
People seem to make the mistake that just because I said I have no idea who she is that I want to know who she is. I figure she is just actor so she is not really worth googleing anyway.
I didn't say "Who is Taylor Momsen"
Just stated that she sure isn't famous to me. Frankly anybody associated with anything called Gossip Girls probably isn't going to be worth my time.

This explains (2, Interesting)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266362)

This explains why every few minutes, stock ticker sites like Yahoo Finance are producing new riveting headlines that leave the impression that the cause of every move in the stock market is fully understood.

Re:This explains (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266994)

> ...that leave the impression that the cause of every move in the stock
> market is fully understood.

It is. A stock goes up when the most recent trade was at a higher price than the previous one. It goes down when the most recent trade was for a lower price than the previous one.

Re:This explains (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267112)

But what motivates each trade?

Re:This explains (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267236)

Greed.

Re:This explains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267368)

That's only when it goes up. When it goes down, it's not greed but fear.

Golden Girls! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266364)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, your a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266594)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, your a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

My lovely Bea Arthur. If I ever met her, I'd give her a chimichanga. I don't even like chimichangas all that much. I just like saying the word.

Chimichanga.
Chimichanga.
Chimichanga.
Chimichanga.

Re:Golden Girls! (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266848)

Maybe this is a whoosh on my part, but 'cosmonaut'? Wha???

Re:Golden Girls! (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266918)

Confidant. Easily mis-heard. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Re:Golden Girls! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266974)

As least confusing 'kiss the sky' with 'kiss this guy' makes sense, given the hippie culture it was written in. But why would anyone think the Golden Girls theme song would refer to Soviet astronauts?

Re:Golden Girls! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267160)

As least confusing 'kiss the sky' with 'kiss this guy' makes sense, given the hippie culture it was written in. But why would anyone think the Golden Girls theme song would refer to Soviet astronauts?

Because he's in to much older women and 'tang was on his mind?


(yes, I know, Tang was not from USSR)

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267014)

Fag!

Re:Golden Girls! (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267080)

Yeah, that's like that old line about the little kid in church singing about an oddly-named large animal with a vision problem, because it was what she thought the congregation was singing:

"Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear."

Re:Golden Girls! (1)

kurt_harlan (1648185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267142)

the Grammer Nazi's are going to LOVE the parent. Doesn't anyone on /. READ their shit before they POST it??

Slashdot posts well-researched actual tech article (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266372)

Made you look!

Re:Slashdot posts well-researched actual tech arti (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266796)

I'd think most search engines would automatically trash a headline with "Slashdot" and "well-researched" that close to each other.

1 Step of Indirection == Instant Confusion? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266382)

David Carr writes that headlines in newspapers and magazines were once written with readers in mind, to be clever or catchy or evocative, but now headlines are just there to get the search engines to notice.

... is that not because search engines are a good way to reach readers?

Re:1 Step of Indirection == Instant Confusion? (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266840)

Exactly!

Plus, I HATE HATE HATE the cute headlines that make is NECESSARY to read the first paragraph to understand WTF the article is about. Good riddance, clever assholes, good riddance.

Whatever Happened to Tagging and Meta Data? (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266422)

I thought that it was being pushed for people to be able to include metadata and keywords and tags via hidden HTML attached to their articles to give a tip to search engines. Whatever happened to that part of moving forward on the web? Did it turn out that it was too easy to game search engines with spam if you could constantly update what your spam site's metadata was indexed as?

Hypothetically this would allow you to put something very clever and catchy as a headline and then insert the obvious keywords into a meta tag to help out search engines. You could even avoid all the keywords.

Also, engines like Google were designed for you to be agnostic as to what each engine was doing. Tailoring yourself to one search engine doesn't only ruin what they're trying to accomplish but also what you're trying to accomplish which is being informative to readers, not the search engine. Know, respect and cater to your audience and they will stay with you through the hard times.

Re:Whatever Happened to Tagging and Meta Data? (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266680)

You mean putting Meta Tags on my site containing Taylor Momsen, Justin Beiber, and Hardcore Sluts, when my site is really about C# is not a way to generate a random hit? I mean, couple that with re-naming all the variables in example to code to the celebrities on Entertainment Weekly, and reworking all my functions signatures like so;
sex_CalculateInterest(){...

I mean, how do YOU generate activity on your sites? The honest way is for suckers.

Ah, the advantages of running a nerdy site (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266434)

When you write/link to about nerdy things, the topics are their own keywords. SEO [wikipedia.org] requires nearly zero effort on my part due to the subject matter. w00t!

Fun little tidbit about some stats from my site: of the last 500 visitors who found it by using a search engine, 481 were from Google!

Read the the article in the URL (5, Funny)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266452)

I don't read articles anymore. I just read descriptive URLs. http://example.com/5541957/display-myths-shattered-how-monitor-companies-cook-their-specs [example.com]

I think the headline on that article was about American Idol, but I'm not sure, as I didn't read the article.

American headlines wrong, stupid (0)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266486)

Is it just me, or does the usual replacement of "and" in headlines with a comma get really boring? I seem to see it only on en-US language sites and have stopped reading more than one because it was really wrong, stupid.

Re:American headlines wrong, stupid (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266644)

I dunno, Maybe.

Re:American headlines wrong, stupid (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266682)

You can't optimize for , - search engines ignore it as text (too common to search for; they toss articles and prepositions too) ,/or treat it as as a boolean comm, to ensure both terms are present.

Re:American headlines wrong, stupid (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267064)

Is it just me, or does the usual replacement of "and" in headlines with a comma get really boring?

It's just you. ;-)

Seriously, it's done to save space so the editor can make the headline longer and, in theory, more informative. I for one don't find it particularly bothersome.

It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea... (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266538)

... who Taylor Momsen is. And even better, I lack any desire to find out.

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266668)

Just wait two years and you might be interested to find out...

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (1)

ArtFart (578813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266712)

My first reaction was that it was some techie who's a grandchild of "Swede" Momsen, the inventer of a breathing device for crew members to use to escape sunken submarines.

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266786)

I had no idea either, but she's attractive enough to have made a google image search a good idea.

However, the search resulted in one of those uncomfortable moments. I'm thinking she's a pretty woman. Blonde, sexy... and then notice that in the results there's a picture of her at age eight. Kind of a buzz-kill.

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (2, Funny)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266986)

I... I am in shock right now, truly disturbed... I have debated whether to even post this horrific discovery.. but I just found out, just now, that out of all of the world's sexy people, every single one of them was at one point a disgusting, unsexy child. I know, it's true! My buzz, it has been murdered.

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266814)

I believe he's the bass player for Nickleback

Re:It's my good fortune to lack the foggiest idea. (1)

ZaphDingbat (451843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267000)

Which you easily managed to do by not reading the summary.

I don't know who Taylor Momsen is ... (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266552)

But a quick GIS revealed she's fucking hot. That's all you need to know.

Re:I don't know who Taylor Momsen is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266638)

hmm must be confused the Taylor Momsen that come up on google a 6 at best

Also ... (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267042)

She's 16. I think that might be important, too.

Re:I don't know who Taylor Momsen is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267102)

Really? FUCKING hot? You must have terribly low standards. She's passable at best. Makeup and lighting does a LOT.

Dumming Down of the Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32266570)

Those same search engine grabbing headlines are used for the news crawl along the bottom of every newscast.

Weird little sentences that don't make any sense, scrolling along the screen during what is in theory a show supposedly there to educate us on issues is just sad.

The internet is turning out to be one big powerpoint presentation. http://slashdot.org/hardware/03/12/14/0422201.shtml

Re:Dumming Down of the Media (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267122)

"during what is in theory a show supposedly there to educate us on issues..."

You do not have a grasp of how most 'news' shows work, nor their intentions.

Most of what purports to be a 'news show' is mostly the thinnest, least incisive presentation of an issue. Most often, they are regurgitations of some other party or source, which is ok, but no depth. Jon Stewart does this exceedingly well, as he usually just has to read the blurb and it just speaks for itself. Occassionally he embellishes for effect. Most are a mix of 'news' (facts, etc) and opinion. Examples of the mix are, in my opinion, Situation Room, Rachel Maddow, etc. Some are purely opinion, such as O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck, and wow I have to think of a left-leaning example - oh yea, Anderson Cooper, Campbell Brown (and I liked her a LOT), Keith Olberman, and a long list.

The problem is discerning between news and opinion, more precisely between journalism and opinion. This is not easy, because most of the Op Ed types want to declare their opinion as so true and accurate that it is just a fact, deal with it and get on board please. This afflicts the Left AND the Right. Discerning the difference is where we need to be careful and get it right, lest we believe everything we read or see. Of course, Op Ed types SHOULD be presenting their opinion as the right one; who would listen to someone who asks you to listen to them 'almost get it right, maybe, I'm not really sure...'?

Examples abound, and I won't offer any. But news shows are often anything but. I don't fault them for no being journalistic. I fault them for not being honest about what they are.

ps - Each broadcasting network has its own bias, a fact of life. Newspapers were legendary for this when they were more relevant. Nothing has changed. Again, discerning the bias is important.

So did she get breast-enhanced or not? (-1, Offtopic)

calagan800xl (1001055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266588)

Browsed through all the nerdy sites and desperately cannot find the answer...

NY Post Headlines (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266622)

Slightly off-topic, but the Post headline that has lodged itself firmly in my brain is the one that was attached to Ike Turner's obituary: "Ike "Beats" Tina to Death".

Re:NY Post Headlines (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266754)

My favorite of all time is from an article about a program for creating random (but plausible) headlines, based on permutations of real headlines. I think it was in BYTE.

Tornado kills five, self

Re:NY Post Headlines (1)

KernelMuncher (989766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266758)

My favorite was the Daily News headline when NYC was going bankrupt in the 1970's "Ford to City: Drop Dead".

Re:NY Post Headlines (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267212)

My favorite was a typesetter's joke that got missed by the editors of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently:

SLUG
Three lines of
jumphed right in
here, yuppers

It was intended to be a filler, something to be replaced with a real jump head by an editor, but that never happened. Speaking as someone who has spent some time as a typesetter--a way under-valued job--it was funny to see it.

"Clever" headlines impress only other writers (3, Insightful)

Snowhare (263311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266642)

Frankly, I hate 'clever' headlines which manage to work in some rather stupid pun while declining to actually say what the freaking article is about. It may make headline writing 'fun' for writers, but it just annoys everyone else. *You* want to be clever - *I* just want to decide whether the article is actually about something I'm interested in.

Re:"Clever" headlines impress only other writers (1)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266944)

But some of them are informative -and- funny.

Like the NY Post Sports Page headline "Marv Gets Pink Slip".

If you were likely to look at the NY Post sports section on that day, you would know who Marv (Albert) is, and would get the joke.
And the article really was about how sportscaster Marv Albert had been fired from his TV job because of a sex scandal.

And for the Europhiles:

Yes, in France or another enlightened country the kinky sex would have been no big deal. Or possibly even increased his ratings. But he wasn't in France.

er? (1)

himitsu (634571) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266684)

Who or what is a Taylor Momsen?

Also: News flash, people try to use misleading titles to get people to their ads.

Head explodes (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266772)

"Taylor Momsen Did Not Write This Slashdot Headline." ...
"Hugh Pickens writes..." .....
"David Carr writes that..." /Head explodes

Slashdot posters wouldnt do that (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266784)

Ass slash pot poster, wee wood nut dew anything two increase our size or girth in any google search. We wouldnt load our postings with terms to entice sexual addicts like "hot gay porn sex explicit nudity", or grabbing words out of current headlines like "tiger woods oily democrat sex video", or words from past headlines like "tiger woods is sexy michael jacksons intern".

Re:Slashdot posters wouldnt do that (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266938)

Best one I ever saw was some guy on Flickr that had a featured picture. he had tagged it with words to entice lurkers (i.e. nakey, potty, bathtime, littlegirl). But the picture was just a cardboard sign saying something like 'you need help'. He then reported on the search terms that lead people to the picture. Surprising how many searches there were for 'little girl nakey', etc.

Re:Slashdot posters wouldnt do that (2, Funny)

doogledog (1758670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267340)

So, err, how did you come across that picture then?

Re:Slashdot posters wouldnt do that (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267394)

You Need Help.

..push this Slashdot summary to the top of Google (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266790)

And get a record comment count. What else might possibly get more comments than the political threads? Taylor Momson, that's what.

Google doesn't seem to be trying as hard anymore. (1)

dfay (75405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266794)

I remember the days when SEO didn't work very well with Google.

Paragraph headlines (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266802)

I remember (well, I remember seeing pictures) those old newspaper headlines that freakin' paragraphs of text. Seriously, like multiple sentences (or at least should have been multiple sentences). Example: http://img219.imageshack.us/i/titanicnytkp7.jpg/ [imageshack.us]

This goes along with ... (2, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32266956)

Lately I've been noticing that I get a lot more google matches that are utterly irrelevant to what I was looking for, and on examination, they usually don't even contain any of the keywords that I typed. This is presumably part of the same problem, due to the growing success of marketers in "attracting eyes" by tricking the search sites into sending people to the marketers' sites.

Perhaps a useful approach would be for the search sites to allow us to "ban" a site, similarly to what a lot of email and news readers have done for years. This could be done in a browser, of course, but it should work even better if the search site got the information. They could then use readers' banning as part of the ranking, because they'd know that a site is not a good match for someone looking for keywords X, Y and Z, despite what it may look like to the search bot.

Another approach might be to see if the courts would go along with applying "truth in advertising" laws to stuff online. You'd think this would be obvious, but we're still in the stage at which the inclusion of words like "computer" or "online" immediately cancels all precedent, and centuries of lessons must be relearned for the new computer/network environment. It's probably still some years before false advertising online can be challenged and prosecuted as easily as with false and misleading print or broadcast ads.

Re:This goes along with ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32267066)

the user ban option would definitely let me de-rank a competitor.... not gonna happen. Google likes the marketers cause they are feeding google based ads. Google likes the first page or more to be websites that have adsense on them FYI, that is their revenue. I usually start at page 30 or so to skip passed the marketers if I can.

Re:This goes along with ... (2, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267376)

Google actually tried that for a while. Sort of. There was a little grey X in a box near the end of each search result that would hide it on the page if you clicked it. Complete with a cute little animation of the result poofing into a cloud and contracting on itself. I used it every time I saw expert-sexchange come up in searches.

It went away a while ago. Presumably somebody wrote a bot to X every search result ahead of their own, then spammed the hell out of it.

Thought this was normal for Slashdot (4, Insightful)

devleopard (317515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267096)

Recent example:

Microsoft Mice Made in Chinese Youth Sweatshops? [slashdot.org]

makes for more views than

Several Technology Companies Reported to Use Child Labor at Chinese Youth Sweatshop [slashdot.org]

even though it's as true. (To be fair, all other media outlets did the same thing, ignoring companies like Apple and Best Buy who used the same factory.)

This is pretty typical - every day I see at least one article where the headline misrepresents or outright contradicts the actual article. Pretty much everyone, in the interests of page views and advertising revenue, will sacrifice journalistic integrity and truth.

Jon Stewart and Glenn Beck Have Sex . . . (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267298)

. . . with their respective spouses so that my Slashdot post may be more easily found by Bing! The Internet has no morals, just better algorithms.

"Head Dead Head Dead" (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267302)

...was the best headline ever; when Jerry Garcia died (may that puff of smoke in the heavens be him). The writer of that headline admitted that he'd been waiting most of his journalistic life to apply it. Surely a one-line ruby script can be concocted to extract from http://news.google.com/ [google.com] the highest scoring headline words?

It's about gaming the search engines (1)

SloWave (52801) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267358)

Seems like most of the web pages now are written to snare search engines more that to attract readers. For a good example, check out this SEO patheticized home page www.spawb.com [spawb.com] , first with flash turned on, then with flash turned off.

David Carr writes... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32267418)

So that's where he ended up after that Texans QB gig didn't work out.... I guess going to the niners would have immersed him in tech culture...
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