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Google De-indexes Talk.Origins, Won't Say Why UPDATED

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the honest-webmasters-go-fish dept.

Google 575

J. J. Ramsey writes "Talk.Origins is an archive with thousands of pages exposing creationist pseudoscience. Rather mysteriously, Google pulled the plug on its search engine, giving only the vague reason: 'No pages from your site are currently included in Google's index due to violations of the webmaster guidelines.' This was apparently triggered by a recent cracking of the site that added 'hidden links to non-topical sites,' but Google won't say just what the violations were. Talk.Origins webmaster Wesley R. Elsberry believes that this Google policy harms honest webmasters." From the article: "My mission, whether I liked it or not, was to find and fix whatever problem the [Talk.Origins Archive] might have, with no guidance as to what the problem was and nothing at all about where to start looking... I was extremely lucky. The damage to my site was limited and in the first place that I happened to look. Other honest webmasters might not be so lucky. They may have to undertake an arduous process of vetting pages, essentially having to second-guess the mind of the cracker in trying to locate a problem that Google knows the exact location of." Thanks to an alert reader who sent in Matt's blog posting about how Google handles hacked sites.

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Words are Meaningless (-1, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095412)

Just saying you aren't Evil doesn't make it true.

Re:Words are Meaningless (5, Insightful)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095450)

Nobody was evil here. The guy's site got hacked and spam links added, Google rightfully de-listed him, and then the webmaster found the problem, fixed it, and asked Google to re-list. Am I missing something?

The problem (5, Insightful)

Aexia (517457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095516)

was that he had no idea why he was delisted so he could fix the problem.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095558)

Am I missing something?

Yes. And you were wise to ask. What you're missing is that Google gave him no clue/hint/guide/comment/help on why he was delisted. Just tossed him off, left it to him to discover that this had happened in the first place, left it to him to figure out (guess) what the problem might be, and then only relisted him after they got around to it.

Like it or not, Google has essentially become a Public Utility. They also make great claims of their ethical behavior code. If a site is delisted, there's a reason. If there's a reason, then that reason can be shared with the contact e-mail address that's part of every domain name registration. To just pull the plug because you somehow -- maybe not even your fault -- ran afoul of a constantly changing set of rules is not aboveboard behavior for a $157B company.

That's what you're missing here.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095628)

Like it or not, Google has essentially become a Public Utility.
I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you on that.

People may be treating Google as a public utility, but Google (a private company) has absolutely no obligations to any website.

To just pull the plug because you somehow -- maybe not even your fault -- ran afoul of a constantly changing set of rules is not aboveboard behavior for a $157B company.
Ultimately, Google* has the right to change the rules when & if they please, in an arbitrary fashion, without consulting anyone.

*When I say "Google" I mean "the guys who own a majority stake in the company and cannot be overruled"

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095688)

Public utilities for a town have certain responsibilities only because they have accepted those responsibilities in exchange for the town making them a monopoly.

Google has no such responsibilities just becuse of the way they're treated by users. (And even if you argue that they're a monopoly, they haven't been granted monopoly status by a government.)

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (1, Insightful)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095740)

Er..... Google is a Public company, not a private company. Big difference there. Also, if they claim to do no evil - the anthesis of evil is good. So if they know where the problem is, it would be *good* for them to help out and point the site admin at the problem area. Right?

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Informative)

icedcool (446975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095860)

The problem with there motto is it isn't "Only do good." Just because your not evil, doesn't mean your good.

What if instead of evil they decided to be bad, reckless... or whatever else that might be considered negative?

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095896)

When you can substitute the word "kind" or "nice" for "good" then you're not really looking at the "antithesis of evil"... more like the antithesis of mean. They're implying that their actions should be Good Things with their motto, i.e. things that are for the betterment of everybody (not just a single website).

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree. It would be a very good thing for them to explain why a site has been de-listed. But that's not really the kind of good implied by "do no evil" (or "don't be evil" - I can never remember).

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095922)

Google is a Public company, not a private company.
Google is publicly traded, but for all intents and purposes, privately owned by 3 people (who control 66% of the shareholder votes).

So if they know where the problem is, it would be *good* for them to help out and point the site admin at the problem area. Right?
It might be good, but my point is that Google doesn't have to... and maybe shouldn't.

To some extent, part of Google's ability to foil bad website behavior relies on security through obscurity. If Google doesn't tell or hint to anyone how the cheat-detecting algorithms work... well, isn't that good for Google?

I could make the argument that since (as you argued) Google is a public company, they have to do what's best for the shareholders by doing what's best for Google. But that is an irrelevant argument, since there's really only three people whose opinions on the subject matter.

If Google ever did do something along the lines of what you're proposing, they'd have to put a lot of time & effort into setting up a system that can't be easily abused by link spammers, is easy to use for idiots, etc etc etc.

That may be more trouble than it is worth, compared to saying "not our problem, deal with it yourself."

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095766)

I thought you could buy shares in Google if you have an extra $500 laying around. Doesn't that make it a public company?

I does seem to me that when google sold itself for all those billions, it traded the money for some public input.

In this case, it doesn't seem that it would have been that hard to have sent an email explaining the problem to the webmaster.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (5, Insightful)

vixen337 (986423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095632)

I was under the impression that they told the webmaster the reason they were delisted, they just didn't tell the webmaster the specific pages that the reason pertained to. Like "Your site has been delisted for hidden links to non-topical sites" instead of "Your site has been delisted for hidden links to non-topical sites on pages index.html, intro.html." etc. To me, that's a webmaster job. Google did their job on their end. What if the site had hundreds of pages of non-topical links? What if Google spiders just stopped at the first one they indexed (as they should). Should google be in charge of going through this guy's site and telling him exactly where the problems are? They are a search engine, not a website security firm. People are getting lazier everyday and everyone expects someone else to do their dirty work for them. People need to take some responsibility and stop whining.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Interesting)

beoba (867477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095826)

What's stopping the spider from returning the page on which a problem was encountered?

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Insightful)

vixen337 (986423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095892)

Nothing is stopping it but if it were my spider, I'd program it to stop when it hit an error so it wouldn't waste time and processor power to spirder pages I wasn't going to index anyway. I think indexing a site you've already "caught" as spam or non-indexable is a waste of resources.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095910)

With security mechanisms like that, it doesn't take much to get around them if the mechanism provides automated feedback.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (1)

knewter (62953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095652)

Like it or not, Google has essentially become a Public Utility.
Oh, come on. I'll agree with you that they aren't necessarily living up to the 'not evil' motto to the fullest for not mentioning something like this. At the same time, they're trying to give meaningful search results. They have more to worry about than talk.origins, and there are finite hours in the day, yeah? So maybe offload some of the discovery process on webmasters. Make them better citizens.

But no, Google does something unpleasant and all of the sudden Socialism rises again! Can't you people see that every time you start spouting socialist crap, anywhere, what you end up doing is devaluing the people you're trying to help? Was it really that hard to figure out that (a) something bad happened, traffic wise (logs will show a huge dip, right?), and (b) it happened somewhat concurrently with you letting your site become a spam breeding ground whose goal is to devalue the Google index? That's the most important property Google has...

If you think Google's a public good, then start bitching about the talk.origins webmaster polluting our public good with his spam links. But Google isn't a public good. It's a private venture, an excellently lucrative one, and we should all be thanking them for offering us the service and making enough money off of it to continue to offer it.

You bunch of handout wanting pansies. Geez.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095810)

Can't you people see that every time you start spouting socialist crap, anywhere, what you end up doing is devaluing the people you're trying to help?

Can't you people see that you ought to get a clue as to what socialism is [geocities.com] before spouting crap like that?

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (4, Insightful)

telbij (465356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095656)

Unfortunately you're missing something too.

Google is in an arms race with spammers and blackhat seo firms. How are they supposed to know whether someone is honest or just mining them for information for their scam?

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095680)

Actually, you're full of shit. He did not hire Google to do a security audit of his site and give him a list of which pages were breaking the rules and why. That's his problem and he can fix it. Google's responsibility includes indexing sites for search results, not telling hackers and SEO cheats specifically what they did to get caught and what they need to change.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (4, Insightful)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095702)

What you're missing is that Google gave him no clue/hint/guide/comment/help on why he was delisted.

I'm not for censoring any information, and I am not trying to defend google. But there may be one very good reason why this may be happenning this way.

Google is at war with search engine spammers. When google de-lists somebody for spamming their search engine, if they gave a specific reason why then all the spammers would do is tweak their spam farm and be up and running in a couple of hours.

If they told this guy what was wrong, they would have to spend a huge amount of time and resources telling why everyone is wrong, all the while helping out the spammers.

Google is a good search engine, but if you notice that if you go beyond a couple of pages out of search results, many times you will find nothing but useless "link farms." Unfortunately, spam is no longer limited to email inboxes anymore, it's everywhere.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (4, Insightful)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095944)

> Google is at war with search engine spammers. When google de-lists somebody for spamming their search engine, if they gave a specific reason why then all the spammers would do is tweak their spam farm and be up and running in a couple of hours.

Security through obscurity is no security at all. The spammers already know Google's weaknesses -- that's why there's so much spam everywhere.

Re:Words are Meaningless - Public Utility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095794)

Funny, nowhere does it say that Google has any obligation to inform people of where broken links are. Chances are its an automatic piece of software that decides whether a site can be indexed or not; what makes you think that the *reason* that it can't be indexed (let alone exactly where the problem is) is recorded anywhere for lookup?

You really need to look up exactly what the definition of "Public Utility" is. Google doesn't qualify.

Re:Words are Meaningless (2, Insightful)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095830)

I think the whole problem here is the way the guy is carrying out his campaign. He has a legitimate issue, but he is taking things out of turn. He could have started with a very apologetic pleading like "I'm very sorry this happened, and I know it usually takes two weeks, but I believe this site is important for public education, particularly at this time of year, could you please re-index my site?" You know, try and ply them with a little sugar.

Instead he explodes with a "OMGosh, Google is dishonest, you guys won't communicate with us, why are you haters!" Well, okay, that's not a direct quote, but...

He has a legitimate axe to grind, he is just doing it in the wrong order. Get the site re-indexed FIRST, then start a debate about the methods used. Doing both at the same time colors the debate as a whine fest, which I am positive is not intended. (I read TOA all the time, good stuff in there)

Re:Words are Meaningless (1)

Pierre (6251) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095460)

and saying you're not evil doesn't mean that you should donate your time to every webmaster in the world either.

Re:Words are Meaningless (1)

mehemiah (971799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095520)

right!!, whats the moral of google's message? SECURE YOUR SITE!! i mean, if no one enforces web secureity, people will contenue to start securing their site with "what are the odds" still in the back of thier minds. a security violation from the start

Hence, we must oppose monopoly. (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095562)

In order for the free market to function properly, we must have competition. As Google grows its marketshare beyond 75%, I hope that the remaining search-engine companies merge into a competitor against Google. The competitor will address any market need that Google (like in this case) deliberately ignores.

Similarly, AMD, though it is much smaller than Intel, provided the necessary competition in the x86 market. When Intel ignored the market need for a 64-bit version of the x86, AMD quickly met that need. AMD's actions vastly enriched the market. Look at the 64-bit x86 servers that are proliferating in the market.

huh? (3, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095420)

What's this? [google.com]

Re:huh? (1)

fxm87 (862943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095458)

"The Talk.Origins Archive is a collection of articles and essays, most of which have appeared in talk.origins at one time or another." -- http://www.talkorigins.org/ [talkorigins.org]

Re:huh? (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095504)

Well, that's a specific search of usenet. Search the web for "talkorigins.org" -- you'd expect it to be the first link. Rather, there are some references to it in other sites but no actual link to the site itself.

Re:huh? (4, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095512)

That's the Google Groups archive of the talk.origins newsgroup, which is a different animal (an ancestral form, one might say) from the Talk.Origins Archive web site. It was the site that was delisted. [talkorigins.org]

And indeed, as of right now (10:35 PM CST) a Google search for "talk.origins" doesn't show any links at all to the Talk.Origins Archive. In fact, the first link that comes up is to a young-Earth creationist site which claims to offer "intellectually honest responses to the claims of evolutionism's proponents, including--but not limited to--the 'Talk.Origins' newsgroup and the 'Talk.Origins Archive' website."

Conclusions about species competing in crowded niches are left as an exercise to the reader.

Re:huh? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095866)

evolutionism?

groups are not google. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095540)

Sort of. I believe he is talking about the Google search engine, not google groups which was Dejanews.

Hmm (2, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095424)

While, I have some sympathy for the guy, just because you think your an honest webmaster does not mean that Google should have to vet you and your content. They have a business to run too. At some point a webmaster has to put themselves in a position to recognize and address these sorts of problems BEFORE Google gets involved.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095648)

Well, whatever it is, I hope things get fixed soon. In my fairly frequent science/evolution debates in my company's intranet forum, talkorigins is invariably what I link to after the JREF [randi.org] . The site is mind-bogglingly comprehensive, and I enjoy reading the post of the month section (even though a lot of the more detailed debates go well over my head).
Its sad to see a great resource like that hacked and delisted; I wish them a speedy recovery.

Re:Hmm (1)

UglyTool (768385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095698)

Here's the thing, though...

Google delisted talk.origins [talkorigins.org] for a reason, correct? Regardless of what the reason was, or what method was used to find out the reason, there was a reason.

The issue is that the webmaster was never told what the reason was!

Bad analogy time:

If the phone company were to arbitrarily remove my business listing from the phonebook, I should at the very least be given an explanation as to why.

Re:Hmm (1)

sjbcfh (611594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095840)

Bad analogy time:

If the phone company were to arbitrarily remove my business listing from the phonebook, I should at the very least be given an explanation as to why.


Yes, a bad analogy. Businesses pay for their phonebook listings.

Re:Hmm (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095938)

Businesses pay to be in the *yellow pages*. They do not, however, pay to be listed in the white pages (which every business and individual is listen in unless they make their number unlisted).

The real question is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095454)

which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Re:The real question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095498)

The egg. Breakfast is always the first meal of the day.

Re:The real question is (0, Offtopic)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095600)

No I would not give you false hope,
on this strange and mournful day.
But the mother and child reunion,
is only a motion away.

KFG

Re:The real question is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095634)

I eat eggs for dinner, insensitive clod. Even made some (delicious!) hash browns last night.

I eat Anonymous Cowards for breakfast (and am a well known cannibal).

Re:The real question is (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095738)

my hash brown recipe doesn't involve eggs.

yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095464)

Carnage Blender [carnageblender.com]

Regardless of what you believe... (0, Offtopic)

clifgriffin (676199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095482)

Psuedo-science isn't objective. Unless, of course, you believe that science is whatever the majority says. In which case, it's objective. Anyway, it strikes me as flame-bait. That's all.

Stop Pretending Google Is Evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095496)

All that happened here is Google banning a site that violated its webmaster regulations. It doesn't make a damned bit of difference whether the site broke the rules on purpose or was changed by a hacker-- Google's job as a search engine is only to index relevant content as accurately as it can. That requires removing sites that break the rules and use hidden links, it's not automatically a conspiracy coverup just because it affected a site that happens to agree with your opinions on the origin of life.

Google censoring Usenet? Not! (4, Insightful)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095502)

The writeup sucks. It implies that Google is censoring Usenet.

Re:Google censoring Usenet? Not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095610)

Google refuses to carry some newsgroups because they deem some topics to be inappropriate or politically too controversial.

Re:Google censoring Usenet? Not! (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095630)

Google refuses to carry some newsgroups because they deem some ... too controversial.

Like alt.binaries.stockings?

Re:Google censoring Usenet? Not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095706)

alt.flame.niggers isn't carried. Do no evil, indeed.

Backups? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095518)

You'd think they'd keep regular "Last Known Good" backups and just be able to do a simple diff between the current page & their backup.

Or even just MD5 sums of all their pages, once a day, with known updates marked as such.

There should be no reason anyone has to even contemplate manually digging through thousands of pages if they've prepared sufficiently beforehand.

Maybe they'll take some very simple & no-cost precautions now that they've been burned.

Re:Backups? (1)

beoba (867477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095850)

If you read the article, a backup is mentioned.

ahhh i love it (0, Troll)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095532)

"exposing creationist pseudoscience"...

Slashdot is so biased I don't know why I even bother anymore. Bashing Christians is so fashionable these days.

Re:ahhh i love it (4, Informative)

scowling (215030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095542)

Except, of course, that "creationist" does not equal "Christian". Talk.origins exposes *all* creationist pseudoscience, from *all* sources.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095770)

Except, of course, that "creationist" does not equal "Christian". Talk.origins exposes *all* creationist pseudoscience, from *all* sources.

Except Islamic. Under the guise of "tolerance", they actively censor anything which might be percieved as anti-Islamic (ie, everything).

Re:ahhh i love it (2, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095948)

Except Islamic. Under the guise of "tolerance", they actively censor anything which might be percieved as anti-Islamic (ie, everything).

So in other words, they're passively contributing to the collapse of western enlightenment. How ironic for a site dedicated to rooting out creationist pseudoscience.

In the new redacted words of Rousseau: "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall happily cave in if you threaten me with beheading."

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095968)

Aaack! I meant Voltaire...

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

sfcfagwdse (805746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095556)

Biased? Show me some creationist science please. It's not biased if it's the truth.

Re:ahhh i love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095576)

You're obviously unfamiliar with the contents of Talk.Origins. It has very little to do with accepted evolution theory, it's about fringe science and dogmatic atheism.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

Stephan Schulz (948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095612)

You're obviously unfamiliar with the contents of Talk.Origins. It has very little to do with accepted evolution theory, it's about fringe science and dogmatic atheism.
Well, actually it is an award-winnig website that rarely discusses atheism, but full of articles describing main-stram biology (including evolution), geology and cosmology, usually in an accessible form. But apart from that, you are perfectly right...

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095638)

"Dogmatic atheism" - I love it. I bet you not believing in talking pink chickens is "dogmatic anti-pink chickenism", right?

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095732)

Oh, great. Are you one of those guys who uses "atheist" to mean "agnostic", and demands that everyone break tradition and switch to your usage?

'Cause I fuckin' hate those people.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095872)

An atheist is a person who does not have a belief in a god or gods

An agnostic is someone who claims that it is not possible to know whether there is a god or not.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095950)

would you consider "accepted scientific theory" to include only microevolution?

You love to whine, don't you? (4, Insightful)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095572)

"exposing creationist pseudoscience"...

Slashdot is so biased I don't know why I even bother anymore. Bashing Christians is so fashionable these days.

"Creationist" != "Christian", but don't let that stand in the way of your pretending to feel victimized.

where in the article does it say "Christian"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095622)

All it says in the article is "creationist". No where's in it does it say "Christian".

*NOTE- There is no "Christian" wordage in article. (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095700)

The words "Christian" or "Christianity" do NOT appear in the above article. Only "creationist".

Re:*NOTE- There is no "Christian" wordage in artic (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095746)

I'm responding to the post above mine, which was responding to the use of the word "creationist" in the article. Even though you didn't notice that post, however, you might have clued in to the fact that I was quoting by my copious use of italics.

Yes, (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095782)

Sometimes replies don't hit their intended targets :)

Re:Yes, (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095828)

I've never made that mistake! Never replied with a private message to a whole mailing list, and so forth.

Re:You love to whine, don't you? (0, Offtopic)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095888)

"Creationist" != "Christian", but don't let that stand in the way of your pretending to feel victimized.
Go search for any article talking about Christians/Creationists and you'll be met with hundreds of anti-Christian posts flaming about what idiots Christians are and how stupid they are for believing that an all powerful, self sufficient being created the world, instead of a "cause-and-effect law" breaching big-bang theory. There's no pretending about the existence of such hate, its right there in plain sight.

I'm not sure why this general personal vendetta exists in the online community, but the best explanation I've come up yet is that most refer back to a list of bad things [Christian] people have done, and associate the Christian name with the bad people that did those things (crusades, for example). But, as usual, guilt by association is illogical. Nothing in the bible condones the crusades, nor any other of the violations against the Laws of Humanity/Nature(tm) that are on these lists. Given the techincally-minded slant of the /. community, perhaps the problem is the percieved confliction between the bible and science? I've seen many claim that the Bible is in 180 degree confliction with many fundamentals accepted by the scientific community. But in reality, there's nothing in the Bible that says being illogical is good, or that ignoring facts is the right thing to do. Many people have asked "but this conflicts with..." or "what about here, where it says..." sorts of questions, but all of these that I've seen so far have stemmed from a misunderstanding of what the bible was saying, or the context in which it was speaking. The only areas that put scientists at odds with the Bible are the parts where scientists leave the experimentation->observation->repeat x number of times->conclusion method. But that's not a problem with the bible. Nor is it a problem with the science, as what was going on when the scientific method was breached was not science. It is a problem of a different kind, the same sort of problem that lead the crusades: people. Before it was people in power exploiting the power they had, combined with some verses twisted out of context to bring about the crusades; in these cases it is scientists leaving the scientific method. The problem is people. It is not the bible, as many seem to believe.

So the GP is right in claiming to be victimized.

Re:ahhh i love it (5, Insightful)

One Louder (595430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095588)

"exposing creationist pseudoscience"... Slashdot is so biased I don't know why I even bother anymore. Bashing Christians is so fashionable these days.
Wait a second - I thought that creationism was a "valid alternative scientific explanation for the origin of the species", and not religion. Are you saying that it's really religion, specifically Christianity , wrapped in deceptive packaging?

Sounds like you blew the cover there, dude.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095824)

Wait a second - I thought that creationism was a "valid alternative scientific explanation for the origin of the species", and not religion.

Perhaps you are confused with Creationism and Intelligent Design. ID does not propose that the creator must be a diety, whereas, creationism does.
     

Re:ahhh i love it (4, Insightful)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095870)

ID does not propose that the creator must be a diety

ha ha ha ha. Yes, in ID the creator must only be someone eternally existing with the ability to manipulate all matter in the universe at will.

But diety [sic].... no!

In case you missed it, in ID it must be a deity, or else who created the creator? If life can not come from non-life, then there must be some eternally existing intelligence to kick things off (aka God). So either you don't understand the theory, or you are lying.

You have to love when a theory tries to sound more sane by saying "but... it could be space aliens too!"

Is there anything I'm missing there about ID?

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095932)

ID does not propose that the creator must be a diety, whereas, creationism does.

The only thing that can satisfy ID's irreducible complexity "argument" is, in fact if not name, a deity.

I'd wager the percentage of IDiots who don't believe in a deity is roughly equal to zero, too.

Re:ahhh i love it (0, Offtopic)

derubergeek (594673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095960)

Dude. You're never gonna get modded +1 anything with talk like that around here. Just get in line and join in with the majority controlled jeering. You'll do far better.

Note to mods: I'm thinking Offtopic would be your best bet in silencing me, but Flamebait might work equally as well [just trying to make your jobs easiers].

Re:ahhh i love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095608)



Slashdot is so biased I don't know why I even bother anymore. Bashing Christians is so fashionable these days.

You're not actually complaining about Christian-bashing. You're complaining about Creationist-bashing. Please make a note of it.

Creationist-bashing may be fashionable as well. I don't really know, due to the fact that I haven't updated my install of Fashionista since George Michael was a sex symbol.

Regardless, I believe that if you turn the other cheek, you may reasonably expect to "inherit" the "earth". At least, that's the rumor your Lord was fond of spreading.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095672)

Somebody call the waaaaaah-mbulance.

Re:ahhh i love it (1)

opencity (582224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095690)

bashing creationist pseudoscience is going to be fashionable on any science site
AFAIK all Christians don't buy the pseudoscience but I believe in Newton so I'll stay out of that
however I do think we should change Dec 25 to 'blaim America first' day

Re:ahhh i love it (0, Offtopic)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095716)

Why do you equate creationism with Chritianity; Christianity is all about Jesus; there's no "gospel" of Adam and Eve.

Re:ahhh i love it (2, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095906)

Except that Jesus did believe in the biblical creation and Christians are supposed to read and investigate what the Bible really has to teach, the Bible as a whole, just like a Muslim must respect the Bible as a holy book and when in doubt (about the Quran) investigate what is in the Bible and view it as the Word from God.

Christians, Muslims and Jews believe in (some interpretations vary) creationism as do countless other religions. I don't want to say that a certain interpretation of the creationistic account is the incorrect or correct one but in my humble opinion a certain interpretation of it has as much validity as the FSM interpretation or the evolutionist interpretation.

Re:ahhh i love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095806)

Well, I think it's like throwing stones at retards.

You know that they are retarded, but they don't really have much of a choice.

Similarly, we know religious folks are crazies, but you don't make fun of them. It's just that they have no ability for objective reasoning.

And oh, not that creationism equals Christianity, but hey whatever group of retards I fancy.

Although, Christians choose to be idiots of their own choice, so it is rather a challenging dilemma.

Ahh, choices, choices.

fascinating (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095586)

~yawn~

Let me think up some crap with "Google" in the headline and I am sure to be on /. front page.

Whine, Whine, Whine (4, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095590)

So many people refer to Google as if it were a human looking at web sites and giving it the big thumbs up or down. As part of the indexing if the spider finds "violations" such as presenting a different page to spiders than to humans, it risks being dropped from the index. To expect a human response to why each site triggered the de-indexing is not reasonable.

In the webmaster's whining about Google, he complains about the request to be re-indexed containing:

                    *I believe this site has violated Googles quality guidelines in the past.

                    * This site no longer violates Googles quality guidelines.

He thinks these are "an admission of guilt", but they dont' say "I violated" they say "the site violated". So, if the site were hacked and did violate their indexing policy, fix it, say you've fixed it and move on. How many hits has he had over the years that came directly from Google? And did they come from Google due to all those people choosing Google to search for his site or it's topics? But now he whines about being delisted for the time it takes him to fix a site he should have kept unhacked in the first place.

Re:Whine, Whine, Whine (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095602)

It's Google's search engine, they can do with it as they please. However, if this was Microsoft, we'd be grabbing out pitch forks and lighting our torches.

Re:Whine, Whine, Whine (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095722)

...if this was Microsoft, we'd be grabbing out pitch forks and lighting our torches.

Slashdotters threw down their pitchforks and torches in like 1999. It's Microsoft! And we're Slashdot.

Half of us have flamethrowers and high energy lasers equipped at all times, while the rest either own MS stock or work there.

Re:Whine, Whine, Whine (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095838)

So many people refer to Google as if it were a human looking at web sites and giving it the big thumbs up or down. As part of the indexing if the spider finds "violations" such as presenting a different page to spiders than to humans, it risks being dropped from the index. To expect a human response to why each site triggered the de-indexing is not reasonable.

I'm not saying I think he should have been contacted (you need to keep your own house in order, not expect everyone else to do it for you), but there is no reason why the contact couldn't be automated as well. Spider finds "violations", looks up contact information said domain and fires of an email before removing it from indexing. Notifying could be automated trivially if you're already automating the search for violations.

Same thing happened to the first wiki (1, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095650)

The first wiki, c2.com, also has a similar problem. Google stopped indexing it (or at least listing it), and nobody is sure why. It may be a side-effect of anti-spam features that c2 added, but this is just speculation. Site custodians debated removing the anti-spam features because of this, but it has yet to be settled.

Re:Same thing happened to the first wiki (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095876)

Works for me [google.com]

Synopsis (4, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095670)

"Talk.Origins is an archive with thousands of pages exposing creationist pseudoscience"
This article is a submission containing a biased summary which has little to do with the actual topic, which is the enigmatic status of Google's search algorithms.

robots.txt? (-1)

Karma Sucks (127136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095692)

Isn't it because of their robots.txt? http://talkorigins.org/robots.txt [talkorigins.org]

# robots.txt for http://www.talkorigins.org/ [talkorigins.org]

# This document is to tell robots
# (sometimes called spiders) which are
# means of automatically grabbing our files
# what they can and cannot do. Robots are
# used by search engines, archivers
# (www.archive.org for example) and by spammers
# looking for email addresses

# This file must be in the root directory and called
# robots.txt

# This file can be validated at
# http://www.searchengineworld.com/cgi-bin/robotchec k.cgi [searchengineworld.com]
# More info can be found at
# http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/exclusion-admin.html [robotstxt.org]
# and many other places via Googling robots.txt

# User-agent '*' means any robot.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /faqs/comdesc/contact.html
Disallow: /faqs/comdesc/DLTtools.js
Disallow: /faqs/comdesc/drafts/
Disallow: /faqs/comdesc/ICsilly.html

Disallow: /origins/contact.html
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /scgi-bin/
Disallow: /work/
Disallow: /rss/test.xml

oh nevermind, my bad (0)

Karma Sucks (127136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095708)

I saw User-Agent: * and my knee jerk reaction was that it meant all robot agents were disallowed... nevermind.

Understandably confused that some is not all (4, Insightful)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095712)

They may have to undertake an arduous process of vetting pages, essentially having to second-guess the mind of the cracker in trying to locate a problem that Google knows the exact location of.

Bzzt. The website admin needs to locate one or more problems (== however many the cracker planted), and Google knows the exact location of at least one. "one or more" >= "at least one". If google tells people where their problems are, google will be playing whack a mole for eternity. There are contractors/services that should be able to help them/anyone, google is not one of them.

Caped Hacker (4, Funny)

derubergeek (594673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095822)

This was quite obviously the work of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

probably just bad algorithms (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095844)

While it's natural to sympathise with the victimized website, it doesn't follow that Google is doing something Evil(TM) in this instance, rather it's most likely that their current algorithms are badly tuned.

With the index sizes that are being collected by search engines these days (on the order of 10 billion entries), it's completely naive to think that some humans are sitting at a terminal choosing to delist websites for some policy reason or other. It's also completely naive to think that a human email monkey can do any sort of digging to find out the exact reason that Google's automated algorithm has censored this particular site.

Instead, Google's engineers have automated algorithms which do all the censorship, and the policy is just there as a thin cover for whatever the algorithm happens to be doing today. It's worse of course, because 1) algorithms change every few months and 2) there's simply no comprehensive way to test the quality of the implementation.

Anyone who's programmed a nontrivial algorithm knows that obscure edge cases are a bitch, and with 10 billion websites, any algorithm will have plenty of obscure edge cases which nobody has ever tested, nor ever will. The most likely explanation is that the website in TFA is a false positive of some subsystem, but fixing it will require changes to the algorithms, and Google don't want to risk that, would you? The problem will probably go away in a few months when the algorithms are scheduled to be updated.

Tell whom precisely? (1)

medge_42 (173874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095884)

Look for the webmaster's email address on the pages, assume it's webmaster@domain.com or try root@domain.com? All these could bounce or simply disappear. Should Google put the effort into finding out who the webmaster really is?

Re:Tell whom precisely? (1)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095916)

There are contact emails in the DNS info, but yes, Google also trolls pages for them. Both I and a friend of mine got emails about not allowing their spiders on one of our subdomains through robots.txt, even though only my email is listed as a contact email.

And about these upset with de-indexing... (1)

brado77 (686260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095902)

I wonder how many people agitated over the de-indexing of Talk.Origins would be very happy that Creation as an alternate theory of origins be barred from being taught along-side the theory of evolution in public schools.

De-indexes? (-1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17095934)

De-indexes? That word "de-indexes" does not exist! Not from any English dictionary! The word that captures the meaning of the heading should be "deindexes" that comes from the word "deindex" as defined over here: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=deind ex [reference.com] . Note the absence of that little dash.

The Truth (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17095972)

Let's face it. It's all a vast right wing conspiracy by fundamentalist Christians to remove any website that counters their beliefs... either that or it's simple Google policy and posting this story was a waste of everyone's time and only served to try and stir up debate.
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