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Blekko Launches a Search Engine With Bias

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the quite-the-name-you-got-there dept.

The Internet 133

Pickens writes "Previous specialized search engines including Cuil, Hakia, Powerset, Clusty, and RedZ — each had a special trick, but they've all faded from memory, some after crashing in flames, some after making their founders rich. Now Rafe Needleman reports at Cnet that along comes Blekko, whose claim to fame is that you can tilt your search results in the direction you like by using a category of bias, like 'liberal' or 'conservative.' Categorization lists are applied by appending a 'slashtag.' The query, 'climate change /conservative' will give you politically slanted results, for example. 'Climate change /science' will restrict your results to hits from scientific Web sites. Blekko won't have a real, Web-wide impact unless its concept — that bias is good and more aggressive search filtering is needed — gets some traction, writes Needleman. But 'Blekko is a solid alternative to Google and Bing for anyone, and more importantly it's got great potential for researchers, librarians, journalists, or anyone who's willing to put some work into how their search engine functions in order to get better results.'"

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133 comments

Kittens (4, Funny)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089128)

This has been my home page for a while. (You can get invites from their twitter). What sold me was kittens /liberal vs kittens /conservative

Re:Kittens (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089370)

This has been my home page for a while. (You can get invites from their twitter). What sold me was kittens /liberal vs kittens /conservative

It is very convincing. "Niggers /politicalcorrectness" gave results explaining a global movement to make tough-minded adults into a bunch of whiney immature crybabies who get their panties in a bunch over nothing more than a word they don't like, and then of course it's (da-da-dah-dum-da-da!) government and/or mass media to the rescue! in the form of censorship, stigma, etc. Oh, it also involved adults (well, chronological adults anyway) calling it the "n-word" sort of like a small child would describe a cuss word like "awww, she said the s-word". Similar results were found for "Illegal aliens /politicalcorrectness" documenting that it is wrong to call them "illegal aliens". The correct term is "unregistered Democrats". Finally, "islamic terrorists /politicalcorrectness" referred me to pages advocating that we never, ever profile ethnic Islamic people from particular countries even though that really is where all of the terrorism is coming from and should continue strip-searching little old ladies because somebody might get their feelings hurt if we didn't.

It's an impressive search engine.

Re:Kittens (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090082)

Obvious question given your final example, but prior to 9/11/2001, we should have been strip searching all the white american christian males and letting those of arab descent pass through unmolested, right? Since prior to 9/11/2001, the largest terrorist act performed against the US was done so by a white american christian male, specifically timothy mcveigh, correct?

Seems to me like the logical extension of "search all the brown people, let everyone else through."

Re:Kittens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34090818)

Obvious question given your final example, but prior to 9/11/2001, we should have been strip searching all the white american christian males and letting those of arab descent pass through unmolested, right? Since prior to 9/11/2001, the largest terrorist act performed against the US was done so by a white american christian male, specifically timothy mcveigh, correct?

Seems to me like the logical extension of "search all the brown people, let everyone else through."

Actually it was more of a logical extension to "little old grandmas who can barely walk without breaking a hip are not known for committing acts of terrorism." Since resources are finite and you cannot perfectly search everyone, accounting for that would be a sign of a non-broken system. Maybe in the realm of advertising or PR it would make sense to care about whether that offends you. In the world of making sure things don't go ka-boom I really don't give a shit if reality hurts your feelings. That is called having priorities.

The fact of the matter is that right now, people arriving from a small specific list of countries are the ones creating problems. Yes, some of them are "brown people", what of it? A small specific list of countries known for producing terrorists is not "all the brown people" and it's a shame you stoop so low as to pull the race card. You do know that when a flight arrives at an airport, that airport knows what country the flight came from, right? That means skin color doesn't need to be a consideration. In fact the only person who seems so worried about that is you.

If you want to prove how incredibly not-racist you are, the realm of things going ka-boom is a bad place to start. I want the security staff to go by facts and nothing but facts, not their feelings and tender sensitivities. If that really bothers a foreign national so badly they are free to protest our policies by not coming here.

Re:Kittens (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34091248)

In the world of making sure things don't go ka-boom I really don't give a shit if reality hurts your feelings

According to Benjamin Franklin, you deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Re:Kittens (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090934)

Screenings need to be geared towards the most likely threat at the time, and not just be a reaction to something that's already happened. Prior to 9/11 we knew for certain that Al Qaeda was a problem, since they'd already attacked the WTC once and Osama made quite a show of promising to continue his attacks on the US. Whereas Timmy - despite his ties to fundamentalist right-wing fanatics - was a one-off freak occurrence; the kind of shit that has happened plenty of times in US history (eg. Wall Street Bombing, Bath Bombings) rather than a concerted, ongoing effort by a large organization.

With that said, no, "search all brown people, let everyone else through" is not a very good guideline for screeners, especially since Muslims aren't generally "brown", anyway. There are much better criteria to look for.

Re:Kittens (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091518)

So you think Timothy McVey was acting alone and it was an isolated incident?

Whare about the white American [go.com] terrorists? Sorting by color only serves bolster the point that Americans are zionists out to get rid of anybody that makes them uncomfortable.

Sorry, but the country of origin doesn't matter. When you play political games and arm warlords expect reprisal from everywhere including our own backyard. [nytimes.com] If you're scanning for likely threats at the time, their likelihood is going to be determined by the last terrorist attack, are you advocating that we change our scanning in reaction to threats or should we just effectively scan everyone like Israeli airlines have to do?

Of course given the crappy inspection process we have now, there's a lot of problems with having security theater,A friend of mine got on three flights going through security three times in two months with the same knife in his bag. Only the last checkpoint caught it, he forgot it was in there. The reality is that the list of people out to get us is small and as long as bombs don't make it on the plane the likelihood of other issues is small. Could 9/11 happen again? I don't think so, now that people understand what can happen when you let someone take over the plane they are much more willing to step up and settle the situation, one guy with a knife can't overpower 90 other people unless it's maybe a flight full of non-arse kicking grandmas.

Re:Kittens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34090098)

Here I thought you were going to say you tend to search with the end term of /kittens.

Good restaurants /kittens
Why are people dumb /kittens

"sea kittens" (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090256)

Priceless! In both searches I found mention of a PETA project to rename fish as "sea kittens" so people would feel guilty about fishing...

Hey, that gives me an idea! How about using a line and hook to catch kittens? One could use live mice as bait.

Re:"sea kittens" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34091406)

Then we could throw them in a wood chipper to make filler!

Re:Kittens (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090390)

I sense arguments being made on slashdot based on which side has more results as an end tag.

"Google has more results for 'its cool' than 'it's cool' so that's clearly correct" etc

Re:Kittens (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#34092046)

Hahaha. "kittens /liberal" first hit: "PETA Wants To Rename Fish Sea Kittens." "kittens /conservative" first hit: "Power Line - Let's Fry Up Some Sea Kittens."

Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089136)

Slashdot /kdawson--

reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089138)

Since I like reality how it is, I will stick with Google.

Re:reality (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089260)

Google changes your results in that regular use of Google will filter out and make things have higher rank depending on your search history.

For example, searching a lot about Linux and their distributions will make Wine the software the top result instead of the beverage.

Re:reality (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089644)

Google changes your results in that regular use of Google will filter out and make things have higher rank depending on your search history.

For example, searching a lot about Linux and their distributions will make Wine the software the top result instead of the beverage.

Yet another reason not to accept JS or cookies from Google. The feature itself may not be so terrible. It's pretty bad though that this would be turned on by default, which is the same problem with lots of features that try to be "helpful" without clearly explaining up-front what they are doing and why. It goes counter to the common-sense expectation that a give set of search results is based on only the keywords entered. It really sounds like a way to put a pleasant spin on all of that data collection and retention: "See, it's just so that we can better serve you, honest! No, we won't delete it upon request."

Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089140)

... for example. "Climate change /science" will restrict your results to hits from scientific Web sites.

Massive failure on that example [blekko.com] unless you consider the top three results (newscientist.com, livescience.com and physorg.com) to be more than just news sites. And (of course you new this was coming) the gold standard does a better job with the same search [google.com].

Of the first page of Blekko results, I'd argue that only half of them have any business being on there. The other problem is that a lot of things like date ranges or news that this slashtag hopes to fill is already covered by Google's advanced notation [google.com]. People who need these have probably already learned to use them (for instance the site:slashdot.org term helps me see if a story has already been up on a topic). If you want a bias other than range restrictions, just add it as a search term.

I spent a lot of time playing around with this and nothing I tried really jumped out at me as "useful." Of course I was just fiddling around and not really looking for anything in particular.

Re:Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (2, Interesting)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089294)

Actually I think it's doing exactly the right thing. I think the problem with your expectations is that "climate change" is such a huge topic. When looking for things like scholarly papers, actual academics would never use a term like "climate change" in a search engine, it's way too broad. Do you want air temperatures or ocean temperatures, effects on biospheres, which time periods are you looking at, how is the data normalized... I could go on like this for a while. Hell, at a typical big research university there are probably a dozen different departments whose work could be said to be connected to "climate change".

Given this, I think what Blekko is doing is assuming that if you type in "climate change /science", you're looking for general news articles on climate change, from scientific sources who know what they're talking about (as opposed to, say, "climate change /fox"), because if you were looking for something more specific, that's what you would've typed.

I'm not saying this website is a great idea- I'll still be using Google for the foreseeable future, both for general news and scholarly search, and the idea that people can now have search engines catered to their confirmation bias disturbs me- but in this case I think their choices make sense.

Re:Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089436)

What I like about it is it's user generated search, if the results are crap, you can fix them. I think the more people use it the better it's going to get.

Re:Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091136)

I think the more people use it the better it's going to get.

I hate to say "duh", but every search engine works that way. Google takes into account what people are clicking on when they do a search, and if the top answers aren't getting clicked, they move on down. The first search engines pretty much used this as a metric, plus meta tags.

Re:Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089452)

Of course I was just fiddling around and not really looking for anything in particular.

You get absolutely fantastic results if you use the "BS marketing" or "investor attractor" biases rather than the "reality" bias.

Re:Needs Work; Selling Point Doesn't Exist for Me (1)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090706)

I agree with your position that Blekko isn't really useful when you have the option of jumping onto Advanced Google.

I can see people using it in the future if a community builds up that uses the slashtags dilligently. It seems to be hivemind powered, at least to a certain degree.

Unfortunately, I don't see this ever working as envisioned, because the terms that describe the bias can never be free from bias. Endless debate over which sources are "liberal" and "conservative" will ensue. The best we can hope for is for a community that self-defines with a given bias (i.e. "libertarian") to help to delineate what the term really means, but even that seems extremely questionable.

I wouldn't use this tool often, if only to reduce the impact that other people's biased tinkerings have on my perception of what is and is not biased.

The bias of bias (3, Interesting)

Bongo (13261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089186)

Bias is inherent in everyone, this engine included. Who decides what fits a category? It is up to individuals to interpret the bias. Who decides whether something should appear in /terrorist or /freedomfighter ?

And I don't know that's really bias (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089438)

That is an active, declared, stance. You are telling the search engine "Make the results like this," and it is.

Normally when talking about bias what someone means is a balance in a direction that is unintentional and unnoticed on the part of the person doing it. They are biased towards or against something and it effects what they do, but they don't know it. When they believe they are neutral they are in fact not.

A geek analogy would simply be one of electrical circuits. If you have a properly working amplifier, and you apply an input voltage, you get an output voltage. That is not a bias, that is the amplifier actively doing what you asked it to. However if you input no voltage and measure the output and get a voltage, your amplifier has a bias. It is biased towards a certain amount of DC voltage and it thinks that is 0. Complex or sensitive circuits may have the ability for someone to measure and adjust that away.

Likewise with human actions.

Re:The bias of bias (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089950)

Hopefully articles on subjects pertaining to one automatically would qualify for the other, in your example.

Guy Fawkes was a terrorist. Guy Fawkes was a revolutionary.

Bias? (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089214)

I can't see how this is a good idea.The people who hate NPR (liberal) or FOX (conservative) without ever listening to either, already have plenty of places to get their bias quota. We don't need any more mind numb drones for the political classes.

Re:Bias? (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089622)

"The people who hate MSNBC (liberal) or FOX (conservative) ...."
There fixed that for you.

Re:Bias? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089728)

I am amazed that you didnt cite MSNBC as the go-to source for liberal bias while citing FOX as the go-to source for conservative bias.

This suggests that you hold a very large left-leaning bias.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089804)

I don't know. When people say NPR has a particular political bias it usually indicates that their bias is in the opposite direction. People that think NPR is liberal are usually conservative while people that think NPR is conservative are usually liberal. Personally I think NPR has an establishment bias.

Re:Bias? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091074)

NPR has become the main news-enemy again in the mind of a lot of conservatives after they fired Juan Williams a couple weeks ago for what appeared to be a somewhat conservative opinion. You can see the details here [wsj.com].

The reasons for firing do seem a bit contrived, but I haven't dug into it enough to know; it could be that good old Juan was sleeping with some executive's girlfriend or something and that's the real reason for firing.

Re:Bias? (2, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090238)

I can't see how this is a good idea.The people who hate NPR (liberal) or FOX (conservative) without ever listening to either, already have plenty of places to get their bias quota. We don't need any more mind numb drones for the political classes.

Are you suggesting that NPR promotes the left as FOX promotes the right?

Have you actually listened to NPR, or are you just assuming that the FOX propaganda regarding NPR is true?

Re:Bias? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090542)

You appear to disagree. Are you more left or more right? :)

I listen to NPR ... in general, they seem to at least try to give both sides. It seems to me, though, that most of the commentators/show folks are somewhat more left than I am, and generally more supportive of, if I were to name a party, Democrats than Republicans. They also seem to have certain ... issues/agendas that they do push, though they aren't necessarily conservative or liberal.

The problem is people confuse what bias is (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090590)

I mention this in another post.

So Fox news is NOT biased. No, really, they aren't. The reason is they know exactly what they are doing. They don't think they are perfectly in the center, they don't think they are trying to be equal. They know they are supporting republican causes and agendas. They may not admit as much, bu they know it. It is an active, purposeful stance. It is not bias.

Bias is when you are trying to do something, but don't (at least not completely) because you are predisposed for or against something. So bias in the media would be something like a story not getting reported on because the editors decide it "isn't news" because it tells a narrative they don't like. They aren't actively working to suppress it, they just don't like it and thus decide it isn't news worthy, not realizing what they are doing.

You do discover bias in new media, no surprise it happens in all human endeavors. Fox News just isn't a good example because they are actively working towards a stance. It isn't bias if it is your actual goal.

Re:The problem is people confuse what bias is (3, Informative)

Grapes4Buddha (32825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091064)

I respectfully disagree with you on this. There is nothing in my experience with the usage of the word "bias" to indicate that intent has anything to do with it. It may be ethically unjustifiable to be intentionally biased, but it is a perfectly legitimate use of the word.

bias [thefreedictionary.com] (bs)
n.
1. A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric: Cut the cloth on the bias.
2.
a. A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
b. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
3. A statistical sampling or testing error caused by systematically favoring some outcomes over others. 4. Sports
a. A weight or irregularity in a ball that causes it to swerve, as in lawn bowling.
b. The tendency of such a ball to swerve.
5. The fixed voltage applied to an electrode.
adj.
Slanting or diagonal; oblique: a bias fold.
tr.v. biased or biassed, biasing or biassing, biases or biasses
1. To influence in a particular, typically unfair direction; prejudice.
2. To apply a small voltage to (a grid).

Re:Bias? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091152)

Juan Williams was FIRED from NPR for expressing his views on FOX. Political Correctness of the Liberals run amok.

Being biased doesn't mean you're not reporting the "facts", bias comes across when reporting the "facts", whether or not a "fact" is buried deep in an article or report.

Finding out that the perp was "white" in the first paragraph is bias, if you don't report the similar fact when it isn't a "white" guy. You know, burying the fact that the guy who wanted to blow something up was "muslim" on the second to last paragraph of the report (don't want to offend muslims).

Juan Williams was fired, for saying roughly something along the lines of "muslims scare me". And while the threat of average muslim blowing something up is fairly small, it is reasonable to have heightened fear, because muslims are known to blow shit up, and kill people for no reason.

Most fear is unreasonable, and why we should be wary of it. The chance that you're gonna get blown up by a muslim is slightly higher than getting eaten by a shark, but saying you're scared of one is okay, but not saying it about the other is not. Something is wrong with that picture.

And of all the stupid stuff people say that SHOULD get people fired on NPR (and FOX), this is probably the stupidest reason for doing it.

Juan Williams was fired from NPR for not being PC enough for the liberal left. So much for ...

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. - Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34091334)

So you are saying you don't think that NPR has a right to set standards for it's employees?

Re:Bias? (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091774)

Have you actually listened to FOX, or are you just assuming that the propaganda regarding FOX is true?

Re:Bias? (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090318)

Well, at least it forces you to own up to your own bias. Plus it's useful if you want to learn about the other side. Even people that are mostly wrong usually have a few good points, so it's a good way of knowing the shortcomings of your own position.

politically biased searches for the win! (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089216)

Obamacare fiscal implications /liberal = Will save us trillions!
WMDs in Iraq /neo-con = We'll find them on every street corner!
Sex education /catholic = Condoms don't prevent AIDS
Gun control /bloomberg = We need tougher gun laws because criminals follow them
How to give a concession speech /howard dean = YEEEEEEAAAAAAH!
Unbiased news /conservative = Fox News
Unbiased news /liberal = MSNBC
Unbiased news = No results round.

Re:politically biased searches for the win! (1)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090944)

Sad as it is, if you're seeking unbiased news, you can get it from the Daily Show... sort of.

It isn't really a news site, and it does at first glance have a pretty decent liberal slant, until you realize its not really slant, just a product of the fact that the show is about making fun of dishonest media, which happens to be much stronger from the opposite side of the spectrum you think they're biased in, and they do in fact target both sides.

The news side is also not really intentional, its just they make fun of enough bad reporting that you can get somewhat of a picture from them.

Tea Party! (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089222)

I see huge potential in selling this to Tea Party members and other political groups so they don't need to be confused by other points of view!

Re:Tea Party! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089976)

I see huge potential in selling this to Tea Party members and other political groups so they don't need to be confused by other points of view!

They already have conservapedia.

Like left-right.us (2, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089224)

This looks like a professional heavyweight cousin of Left-Right.us [left-right.us], a relatively simple Google hack I posted some weeks back. Very cool.

(though I still like seeing the results side-by-side.)

Great for Fox News "research" (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089228)

This might not be so bad.

I can just see Fox News anchors with actual quotes to back up their uninformed stances on on the issues they have chosen to rally behind... or more often against.

Unneeded? (2, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089244)

If I want to further specify search keywords to add bias to my search in Google, I can. Unless Blekko is *really, really* good at this, I'm not sure I see how it will end up better than google with the same keywords without the slash?

I suppose it's an interesting *idea*, but the devil will be in the detail of getting the filtering to be really good, better than bing, yahoo, or google with similar searches.

Re:Unneeded? (2, Interesting)

Greg Lindahl (37568) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091364)

How about searching for

industrial design colleges

On google, no actual colleges. On Blekko, it auto-slashtags it to industrial design /colleges, and 100% of the results are colleges.

Google crossed a usability threshhold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089258)

In the past few months, I've found myself hitting other search engines because Google has started returning so many pointless results or advertisements. They're really overdone it with adwords. If didn't have "google it" engraved on my brain I'd probably have abandoned it altogether already. Any new search technology gets a thumbs up from me.

A personal reality distorsion field generator... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089280)

...great, just what people need.

Re:A personal reality distorsion field generator.. (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091124)

...great, just what people need.

Problem is... these distortion generators already exist in abundance. People have no trouble gravitating to as many of their preferred degree of polarity as they have time to surf. The novelty here is that it is adjustable so one site serves all (in theory).

This has a certain subversively educational appeal. Making the issue of bias in providing (or absorbing) information explicit forces people to confront and think about the issue.

Unfortunately only people who are curious, undogmatic and reflective are likely to benefit from experimenting with it so certain segments of the political spectrum may be immune to its education effect.

Oh, God (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089286)

Oh, god. As if it weren't easy enough already to find only information that only supports what you already believe, here's a search engine that deliberately provides blinders.

How about a search engine that analyzes your search, and then guides you to sites that show you information that confronts what you think you know with thoughtful and clearly-reasoned analysis and real, verifiable data?

Oh, wait-- clearly-reasoned and thoughtful analysis? This is the internet we're talking about. That gets buried under flames and opinions and half-understood facts.

One problem (2, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089298)

What if you have a liberal/conservative [guardian.co.uk] government? In the UK liberal is becoming conservative

Re:One problem (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090880)

In Europe, what Americans call Conservative are Liberal, and what we call Liberal are Socialist.

This is obviously a "search engine" for American Neo-Cons.

Re:One problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34091202)

Happened in the US, though it took decades before republicans became 'conservative' and democrats became 'liberals'. Once everyone got the vote and prohibition went bad, republicans became entrenched in 'conservative' social values. With democrats picking up socialism as the new 'liberal', that has stuck for quite some time. Now it could be said that the radical idea is massive tax, minimum gov't, and entitlement reform that Republicans are starting to attach themselves with is a liberal form of government. So maybe in a little time people will see that as the new 'liberal' (which it really is by a financial definition of liberal). Of course Republicans as a party will probably never be able to change their platform on substance abuse, abortion, definition of marriage, etc., so in that sense they are not liberal and also explains why we have Tea Party and Libertarian.

All I know is the republican in my district wants the fair tax and the democrat wants to make sure our people get everything they can from federal government. They are both valid ideas and I would prefer a mix (if the gov't is going to spend my money, please try to spend it on me, but try to not spend it first).

Using /truth /falsehood slashtags... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089358)

Maybe now we can find out the real TRUTH about everything? This is the search customization we REALLY need :)

Damn politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089372)

I'm tired of all that "liberal" or "conservative", "democrats" or "republicans" crap.

The world isn't all black and white. It's not always "completely left" or "completely right". Only idiots would adhere to such limited ideas.

In some situations, the right thing would be "liberal", in other situations, the right thing would be "conservative". You can't stick to one side of thinking, put your fingers in your ears and do the "la-la-la" sound.

Make your own damn minds, stop trying to be part of a group because then the group will do the thinking for you. People are smart. Crowds are stupid.

Won't work as intended (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089418)

Political factions are not siloed. They come together, mix, mutate and spread apart under a variety of circumstances, personalities, etc.

For example, I've known many religious conservatives who social views are "reactionary," but are functionally libertarian in their politics. Likewise, many liberals claim to be about individual freedom, but the policies they support (non-discrimination laws, speech codes, gun control, high taxes) when applied to individuals are extremely illiberal.

Most people cannot even get Fascism right. They think it's just "totalitarianism" or "corporations owning the government" (I've even had teachers say it is just "militant nationalism") rather than understanding that it is a fusion of right-wing and left-wing thought into a more advanced form of Socialism which attempts to achieve Socialist ends through a more market-oriented system (where the state generally directs, but doesn't explicitly own, private business through regulation).

In order to even train some sort of AI to figure this out, the developers would have to have an incredible level of domain knowledge of politics and history that would rival the level of knowledge that hardcore game designers typically have of Physics and Geometry.

I suppose they could do something like PageRank where they just assume that certain similarities imply a position in politics, but that won't be accurate for obvious reasons.

Re:Won't work as intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089508)

In order to even train some sort of AI to figure this out, the developers would have to have an incredible level of domain knowledge of politics and history that would rival the level of knowledge that hardcore game designers typically have of Physics and Geometry.

...

LOLOLOLOLOL

Re:Won't work as intended (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090240)

Well he's right at least with Geometry - if you ever try writing your own engine code - you need a university level understanding of Linear Algebra in order to even understand what you're looking at. I'm not talking about when you open Valve's SDK to make a Source Deathmatch Mod, that's peanuts that any teenager can pick up and go with. If you want your new game to run with both OpenGL and DirectX (as some developers do), and you start relatively from the ground up - knowledge of matrices and how to use them is key.

In regards to the actual topic at hand - like the OP said, there are too many definitions floating around that are technically incorrect but accepted by many. Even with a rigorous understanding of the actual technical correctness of the social aspects - you still might not find what someone is looking for - simply because their definition of "conservatism" is wrong with what it actually means.

Re:Won't work as intended (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34090290)

I think it's your definition of Fascism that is screwed.

Fascism is about nationalism and strong divisions of social class.

Socialism is about internationalism and removal of social class barriers (at least in theory).

It is true that both advocate a strong central state, but that is the only similarity.

Re:Won't work as intended (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090484)

rival the level of knowledge that hardcore game designers typically have of Physics and Geometry.

You mean, it's almost right, and looks like it's doing what you think it's doing, so it's good? ... oh shit rocket jump!

Re:Won't work as intended (1)

downhole (831621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090662)

I suppose the better question is who gets to define which political groupings are associated with each other and think what. Do Democrats get to associate Conservatives with Nazis? Do Republicans get to associate Liberals with Communists?

Faded from memory (1)

knifeyspooney (623953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089540)

Previous specialized search engines including Cuil, Hakia, Powerset, Clusty, and RedZ--each had a special trick, but they've all faded from memory

Indeed; I don't remember any of them existing.

Re:Faded from memory (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089634)

Irrelevant. They were crap. I remember people saying "why would we need Google when we've got Ask Jeeves?" Google isn't even adorable character based!

Re:Faded from memory (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089888)

I vaguely remember cuil, but I don't remember what made it different except that it had fewer results than the big boys (google, yahoo, everyone else really).

Intelligent people don't really want bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089568)

They want something like "global warming /objective" or "global warming /npov"

Articles biased towards your own point of view tend to only reaffirm and support what you already believe, rather than providing you exposure to diversity of the facts and diversity of opinion.

To form an intelligent opinion, it is most helpful to consider all points of view, whereas intentionally biased articles tend to lack that diversity, by exclusing facts you want

--Ekwarb
ewqarb@itsfast.net

Re:Intelligent people don't really want bias (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089858)

And that is exactly why this thing may be very successful. The last thing most people want is to be exposed to viewpoints other than their own or have to actually think about what they believe.

What happens - (1)

Geminii (954348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089624)

- when all the US sites are classified /rightwing or /reallygoddamnrightwing by the rest of the world? Or when all non-US sites are classified /commiepinkotreehugger by legions of Americans?

Is there a /yeehaw tag?

How about /nospam and /whatimlookingfor (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089626)

I'd love to have a search engine that "biases" the results away from spam, and preferably shows only things I'm looking for. No more sifting through many pages to find the tidbit I'm searching for.

I guess an unbiased search engine is basically choosing a random set of web pages.

I rather like this idea (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089640)

I would certainly prefer to get "slants" as well as scientific informational results in searches. It's interesting that there doesn't appear to be much of a "centerist" view any longer. I think this is largely due to certain extremes branding centerists as opposing extremists rather than what they are. Still, filtering out even more crap might be interesting.

Re:I rather like this idea (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089666)

I think this is largely due to certain extremes branding centerists as opposing extremists rather than what they are.

If you are not for us you are against us!

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089664)

I am so tired of putting in candy and getting all of these links to sites that sell sugary treats.

OK, I'm going there right now.... (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089700)

... my first search will be "kennedy assassination /truth". Followed by "mp3 music /goodtaste"

Still using Clusty (yippy) (1)

Swami (84553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089708)

Clusty hasn't completely faded from memory. I still use it all the time at search.yippy.com - I still find the search clusters very handy for quickly focusing my searches to get to the useful stuff.

Pr0n? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34089740)

I know there's an election tomorrow (we get to select which side of the same corporate purchased coin we want, yay for us) but I think the killer app for this isn't "right" "left" or "liberal" "conservative" but more for Pr0n, like "blondes" "redheads" and uh, many other not safe for work tags, you get the idea.

who would want that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34089948)

When i do a search, i want it to be as unbiassed as possible. Isnt that why people cringe at the idea of 'sponsored' search result!? Actually sometimes i wished i didnt have to type in dell complaints and just dell would be enough to reveal how bad a reputation it has on the web.

Re:who would want that? (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090160)

Actually, if you typed in Dell and got nothing but complaints, that in itself would be a bias against Dell. You'd be discluding the people out there who do like their Dell products.

Now then, specifically searching for a bias can be useful for research, especially in the realm of argumentative writing. Even when you're representing one platform, you should acknowledge the existance of other ideologies and attempt to counter their claims. What better way to do this than to specifically look for the bias?

Of course, the algorithm and how the results are tagged might be a problem, but I can definitely see a use for it. Unfortunately, the more likely conclusion is people would use it to simply feed themselves more of their own bias.

I'd rather switch... (1)

ansak (80421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090420)

The very first, rather arcane search and <poof!> I find something that I had thought must have fallen off the web because I couldn't get there the last time I googled it.

Go Blekko! ...ank

Well, ok, if that turns you on... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090506)

There's Wikipedia then there's Conservapedia. The former has hourly bunfights about bias which results in many bias free articles, but also some spectacularly biased articles on both the left and the right, while the latter insists only on a right slant.

I will leave it as an exercise to the reader whether a biased (left or right) search engine is any good.

--
BMO - Obviously using a biased commie liberal Canadian spell-check, because Wikipedia doesn't get a squiggly underline but Conservapedia does.

fix all of 'em (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090656)

All I want is for search engines to accept single quotes, and not, in any way, shape, or form, interpret the contents. For example, I have an artist friend who I lost touch with, and can't search, since she spells her name Mel. White, and yes, that's a period after the "l".

Any number of other searches I've done, I've had similar problems.

The other thing I'd like is proximity - "these words within 3/5/whatever words of each other", so I don't have to do three, or six, or 12 searches for just one statement that can be phrased in varying ways ("update veblefitzer fails")

                mark

Hilarious (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34090962)

This is cynical enough to sound like material cribbed from the Onion, or possibly Stephen Colbert. :P

But spot-on. When it comes to politics, people don't want to be informed, they want to be agreed with.

fristy Psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34091184)

join in. It ca8 be shit-filled,

Dictionary rewrites (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34091748)

Liberal /conservative = Democrats buying votes with Republican money seized at police gunpoint (taxes)
Conservative /liberal = Republicans attempting to repeal the First Amendment to be replaced by Leviticus 18

Me /you = idiot
You /me = idiot

Moderation /slashdot = Insightful if I agree, flamebait if I don't
Slashdot /moderation = Selection bias case study

Darok /Jalad = Tanagra

/unbiased please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34092250)

Of course there's no such thing. Really what I want is a /fact or /scientific bias. I really expect that from the news organizations.
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