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Wikipedia Founder Working on User-Powered Search

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the many-hands-make-light-workd dept.

The Internet 74

An anonymous reader writes "Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikia corporation, has revealed plans to offer a user-driven search engine. Ars Technica reports that the plan is to leverage user preferences to pick the 'best' site for any given search term, while at the same time utilizing advertising for commercial gain. The article admits this may not be the ideal solution: 'Users may be reluctant to contribute to the betterment of a commercial site that may end up being bought by a bigger company. Consider, for example, the tragic death of TV Tome, a comprehensive community-driven television content guide that was eventually bought by CNET and transformed into a garish, excessively commercialized Web 2.0 monstrosity of significantly less value to users.' Just the same, Wales seems very enthusiastic in the Times Online article highlighting this venture."

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Controversial subjects (1, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366288)

I can just imagine the results involving controversial subjects.

Nevermind something as sedate as GWB or Blair or global warning or religion. What about vi vs emacs?

Re:Controversial subjects (0, Flamebait)

Redbeard12123 (1043702) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366444)

I thought Wiki was in/getting in bed with Google. What happened?

Re:Controversial subjects (0, Troll)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366636)

Some hoaxes getting published all over, including Amazon involvement.
See []

Re:Controversial subjects (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372258)

Whoever modded me troll, follow and read the link.

Re:Controversial subjects (1, Troll)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366498)

Results for controversial subjects will be just as accurate as those for more commonsensical topics: All search results will helpfully direct the user to discounted prescription drugs and aphrodesiacs. Contact information for local singles will also be provided. I daresay they shall be "hot".

Fantastic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17366298)

Thank God! This is just what the world needs! A search engine! Magnificent!

One word: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17366322)


Please explain how you're going to handle gaming the system by seo spammers.

Re:One word: (1)

Pneuma ROCKS (906002) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368570)

Well, there are many mechanisms to choose from, some of which are already implemented on Wikipedia. There are many commercial and political interests in the biggest and most popular online encyclopedia, so this search venture is not that very different in that sense.

The real answer, I guess, is that you can't control it for all cases, but you can be sure that the most popular terms will have enough eyes on them to be safe from it.

Karma Whoring (1, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366360)

Early rumors had him working with Amazon in the effort, but this [] should clear things up.

Google, Amazon, Opera, Mozilla, all are good ideas but as they expand their reach, they turn to crap. Google is going to Hell, Amazon is there, Opera likes the road, and Moz? They seem to be eyeing it.

Whatever happened to, "Do what you do best. Forget the rest"?

Re:Karma Whoring (1)

ExFCER (1001188) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366448)

"Google, Amazon, Opera, Mozilla, all are good ideas but as they expand their reach, they turn to crap. Google is going to Hell, Amazon is there, Opera likes the road, and Moz? They seem to be eyeing it."


True but heaven for trolls, imagine a group working together...what they could accomplish with this type of tool at our disposal.

Re:Karma Whoring (2, Funny)

GamblerZG (866389) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366862)

//Whatever happened to, "Do what you do best. Forget the rest"?

Didn't you get the memo, it was scrapped along with web 1.0.

The new one is "Do what people suggest, and remember the REST".

TV Tome Replacement (4, Insightful)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366454)

TV Tome really was a fantastic site. A lot of the users that contributed there went over to a great TV wiki that sprung up after TV tome was sold, []

Re:TV Tome Replacement (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366828)

You know what, I was wondering what had happened to that site. I didn't know it had been bought out, just that the place I used to go to for my tv guides had somehow disappeared.

Out sourced. (3, Funny)

BillGodfrey (127667) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366500)

He managed to find someone even cheaper than India to outsource?

Source by which source? (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371738)

I don't believe WikiMedia will ever solve the problem of coding the actual search system. Namely, who'd do it? None of the core developers. In order to be viable, the system would be too complex...

It'd have to solve many of the current probs with the W, for one. Prob's such as accuracy, which apparently, said proposer [] doesn't believe W should be trusted for. Not to mention filtering for biased-users who'd get all their friends to promote irrelevant attachments to search terms, using the engine as a source of free publicity. (And speaking of "search and the W": the existing state of Wikipedia's current search is just horrendous. As for W's current state on filtering: perfectly good entries get marked for deletion without proper justification, while blatant propaganda goes by unnoticed.)

Moreover, if the system does get implemented -- that's if -- there'd still be at least one or two "incubation years," where users contribute enough to make the search engine useful, i.e., better than PageRank [] .

Crowdsourcing [] has its limitations. It takes time for all the people to get there to contribute. And, once they get there, since they're not paid for it, they'd only spend what little free time they have to contribute in-between their 80-hour weeks. Those who are paid for it... the majority of them will probably be paid for spawning biased results. (Imagine companies that spring up claiming they hire thousands to give "good rankings" on

It's a materialistic world, and people are... what they are.

Been there, done that... (4, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366532)

Back in 1999 a company called Direct Hit Technologies developed what they coined a "popularity engine" that ranked results based on tracking user behavior. They basically partnered with existing search engines and mined their web logs looking for patterns among users. If a lot of people who entered search term "A" went to website "X" but within a minute or two went to website "Y" then "Y" would be ranked higher than "X". Direct Hit was bought in the middle of the internet boom by Ask Jeeves for a cool $512 million. Some of that technology likely still exists within their full search engine, and I'm sure others like Google, Yahoo, etc. all use similar methods of tracking user behavior for helping with their rankings.

Google done this? (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371530)

Moreover, doesn't Google already have the ability to make something like this possible, and, in fact, has already implemented part of it? On my Google toolbar, when I type in a common search term, the input text also outputs how many users searched for the same item. It also suggests popular search terms (listed next to the number of searches), as I type...

Re:Been there, done that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17372120)

That's exactly how PageRank [] works:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

The problem with popularity rankings is that people want higher rank for either economical or ideological purposes. Google spends vast amounts of resources to combat the Search Engine "Optimizers" that try to claw their way up PageRank in any way possible.
Also worth noting is that the amount of experts in any given area is much smaller than the number of people trying to discover(or impose their views) about it. Thus the "democratic" nature falls flat on its face. That's why Google is so successful is that they force people that want to buy "views" not undermine the people who want information.

Re:Been there, done that... (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372978)

here here!

Time will tell who is right but (5, Informative)

atw (9209) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366542)

Disclaimer: I am a founder of a competing search engine concept that is based on volunteers running distributed software that crawls pages, conducts partial analysis and indexing before passing over results to central server that will index data into main central index: human aspect here is the people who take part in the project, and participants can actually change ranking formulaes, and shortly will be able to assist in human detection of spam etc.

Searching the Web is a very challenging problem (that's why few companies do it): volume of data is huge and one only appreciates value of good algorithms when faced with situation when poor algorithms make stuff run for weeks failing near the end and you have to restart the run to wait another week. You can either try to handle this very big problem, which is very hard even if you have the money (look at Amazon's A9 funded with millions, yet they licensed Google's code and database), or you can try to reduce the problem: only focus on a handful of "important" pages - Yahoo did that when they were human edited directory/search engine hybrid.

It seems to me that Mr Wales entertains the illusion that a very small number of manually checked pages in the Web space will be sufficient to satisfy vast majority (and it has got to be 98%+ as I won't be hopping from one search engine to another) of search queries. If this was the case then we would still be using Yahoo that did pretty much just that, yet almost everyone (including Yahoo) moved to algorithmic search engines because it is the only way to handle billions of pages, and billions of pages you will have to handle: even if you just index homepages of all registered domain names you will be dealing with 100 mln+ pages, that's good 20 times more than articles in Wikipedia and checking pages can be far more duller than reading nice article you have some personal interest in.

What I find ironic that our own concept of the search engine was removed from Wikipedia because we were supposedly "not noteable enough", that's the sign how they handle problem of "too much data" in Wikipedia - they just reduce the problem by reducing datasets greatly, sometimes this is done wrongly, sometimes rightly and it might well work for Wikipedia, but it sure as hell won't work for Web scale searches. Oh, and by the way who said Google and others don't use human reviewers? They sure do, just check TrustRank [] , this link is ranked as #1 match on Google for search TrustRank! Notice what Wikipedia tells us: "While human experts can easily identify spam, it is too expensive to evaluate manually a large number of pages."

Human input plays an important (although fairly unknown as they prefer to keep it secret) role in the state of the art search engines, however suggestion that humans can handle billions of pages and/or that a handful of pages will be sufficient for a general purpose search engine is wrong and a very backwards move that will result in exactly the kind of wrong attitude present in Wikipedia now.

Doomed to repeat it, I guess (3, Informative)

hirschma (187820) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366578)

OK, perhaps the new generation of Web entrepreneurs had better learn something from their "elders". We're about to see a lot of concepts that didn't work in the 90's be resurrected and funded. This has been tried and failed, badly:

An orphaned ref to Magellan, the human powered search engine []

Didn't work before when there were a lot less sites out there, not likely to work this time, either.


Re:Doomed to repeat it, I guess (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 6 years ago | (#17367420)

It wasn't so much that so many "ideas" failed in the 90s, it was just the one really bad idea that failed: That you can build a profitable company by just getting people to come to your website without any idea of how to get them to come back or how you where going to make money from them while you had their attention.

I think just about every actual content idea has since made money for some company or other, but with many casualties along the way. But given how many businesses fail, let alone new businesses, from sandwich shops to .com blowouts, it is hard to say which "ideas" were bad ones for profitable websites. Even niche web sites which couldn't be profitable on there own, have sometimes been successfully integrated into some larger network of websites which can make enough money to support a business that can support its employees plus make a profit for its owners.

Often we fixate on the mega successes and failures, but overlook the thousands of small businesses or individuals that have made a decent living off of what others would term "bad ideas" that larger companies couldn't make profitable.

Re:Doomed to repeat it, I guess (1)

kirun (658684) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371292)

I thought a lot of the failures were down to selling unsuitable things, due to shipping costs, urgency of items, etc. Or, just having a site that launches late, overbudget, and doesn't work. Or, (though not originally a bad idea, but some sites launched when this was obvious), selling books and CDs, just like Amazon. Or having dodgy people on the board and launch parties costing millions. Ad revenue turned out to not be as hot an idea as first expected, but it worked for TV and radio, so, who knew?

What was insane was that each company was essentially a lottery ticket - either it was a millions winner, or a good way to throw money in a bucket. But they were all priced as if they had already won. The oncoming crash was obvious, inevitable, had historical precedent, and still took some people by surprise.

Also, I was saying in 1999 that Yahoo [] and Amazon [] were looking overpriced, and I was told I was wrong, the prices reflected future potential, blah blah blah. I'm not sure what the moral of the story is, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with tracker funds.

Of course he likes the attention it brings (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366600)

In the summary quote he pretty much announces his intention to sell out at some point. More attention now leads to more money later, either through having a higher-profile name, or through suckering more people into developing his search rankings.

So the guy founded Wikipedia. Good for him. It doesn't mean he walks on water, and the advent of yet another search engine doesn't deserve front page of slashdot. Especially when you know its going to get swamped by spammers (or their bots) and quickly become useless.

Re:Of course he likes the attention it brings (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366624)

Ok, re-reading the summary, its not the founder of wiki that's making the comments about selling out. But my point still stands -- more attention = more money later.

Further Polarize the word? (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366760)

If Mr. Wales uses some kind of Netflix like system to guard against spam, we will have a problem. People who have entrenched beliefs will read sources that further those beliefs, further entrenching them. Every day we see how it's become harder to have meaningful debate due to polarization. So far, Europe has remained immune, but if the demagogues gain power it will happen there also. If This Goes On-- []

A new social search is already out there. (2, Informative)

KrissyM (1043712) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366840) [] is a user-based search engine that just recently launched, and has a growing contributor base. Looks like it might be a race, but I guess I'm not surprised it's already been started. There are so few original ideas on the Internet these days. As to the "it's already been done and failed" remarks - timing is everything isn't it? I could see something like this taking off with the current Web 2.0 craze.

Why would this work exactly? (1)

Yogs (592322) | more than 6 years ago | (#17366974)

Back in the late 90s, I used to recommend browsing downward to see if there was anything in the hierchical categorization of web content Yahoo set up as a complement to the many, but often irrelevant results people got back from AltaVista.

Fast forward to days of Google and Wikipedia and you have infinitely better "dumb" search, and an equally easy to use, generally decently accurate, and well contained treatment of a dizzying array of topics.

So, what's needed to fill the "search for information" gap? I doubt it's an attempt at hierarchical categorization, people don't try and absorb a whole lot of related content at once, they want an answer, and the navigation was a pain even back then. So then, just using people to try and make the dumb search results better? Well yes, but Google is continuously working to fill that gap itself. Nobody really comes close that I've seen. Even back in the late 90s those yahoo directories got stale quickly both in terms of dead links, and missing good newer content. Now, you can automatically test for and prune dead links, but results WILL get dated quickly.

Humans are SLOW, especially when you consider that their number is limited to those you hire if you want to avoid opening yourself up to the kind of spamming google has to contend with, which they're putting forward as a key differentiator in what they're trying. The web is several orders of magnitude bigger now than it was then, and it didn't work then, so what exactly makes Jimbo think it will work now?

Re:Why would this work exactly? (2, Funny)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371046)

That's easy. You need to leverage the new digital paradigm offered to us by Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web to effectively harness and integrate user-generated and user-driven content in a dynamic framework accessable over a simple user-oriented interface via a wireless broadband multiplexed link. Fool.

TVTome is an excellent example (1)

jwales (97533) | more than 6 years ago | (#17367070)

TVTome is an excellent example of why free licensing matters. When a community has free licensing as the social framework to allow for forking, the infrastructure providers are forced to continue to provide good service, to prevent the community from forking and leaving.

Even Dmoz, for which I have great fondness and respect, has been crippled for years by a non-free license that allowed AOL to run it into the dirt. (See the recent 6 week server outage, for which there is simply no excuse.) (The Dmoz license is not the worst possible, mind you, but it is still problematic in a number of important ways.) And their software is totally non-free.

TVTome is a horrible example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17381488)

After it was merged with, many of the former TVTome user cannot reuse their accounts in, and many of their contributions in tvtome are lost under the new site. Furthermore, the new site is flooded with ads, and a new user (including former TVTome users) has to do LOTS of pointless reviews just to earn enough points to write episode guides.

Shills? (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#17367430)

And how would he handle shills? Bots? Trolls? Ok, google is struggling bad enough with link farms and the like but I can't really imagine end-users being the answer to this, even with some sort of meta-recommendation system. Personally, I find either a wikipedia search (for example now, recently I've been answering some christmas quizzes which it just excels at) or a very targeted google search (3-4 search terms) finds 99.9% of what I want, and the rest just isn't there.

Google already has this (2, Funny)

zlogic (892404) | more than 6 years ago | (#17367856)

Google already has this, only they've decided that pigeons are best for the job [] .

Advertising (1)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 6 years ago | (#17367932)

How come advertising is an acceptable business model in polite company?! How come thumping one's chest with no backup data is an acceptable form of communication?! I'm getting REALLY tired by all the Web wannabes that think advertisement is a valid business model. Just give me a clean per-pay service for once!

Re:Advertising (1)

desiaristotle (1043748) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368018)

Not exactly sure what your argument is? Are you talking about people advertising their ideas without even having it started yet?

Re:Advertising (0, Redundant)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368948)

No. He's complaining about the business model where many web companies put ads on their sites rather than charge people using them.

Re:Advertising (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368368)

Because it requires no effort on the part of the user. Pay-per-use requires signing up for something or logging into Paypal or whatever. Its just hassle most people don't want to deal with.

Re:Advertising (1)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 6 years ago | (#17370988)

Ads requires me to AVOID looking at them. I really don't like being brainwashed. Just give me the service I'm looking for and leave my brain alone. It is not yours to try to tamper with.

Just look at what are/were the most advertized things around:
Cigarettes (Thank god we finally got laws to keep those off)
Soft Drinks
Fast Food
All total crap that we would live much better without. But they hang around by blatantly manipulating innocent bystanders brains with constant exposure to absolutely unsubstantiated messages.

Ads are a fucking insult, thank you very much. And there is no excuse for them. You claim to be the smartest guys in the room, solve the damn pay-per-use problem already. It's not rocket science!

Re:Advertising (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371764)

Re:Advertising (1)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373324)

It's not only about searches. It's about *everything* on the Web becoming an advertisement dissemination vehicle, instead of providing clean information. Brought to you by Gooooooogle. And by everybody else.

but ALL adsense farms look the same... (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373540)

So that means a site with no content other than links to a bunch of ad's is easy to spot (i.e., same "class" of generic layouts). I've never seen a custom-made AdSense farm. Such things just don't exist; if anyone's willing to spend a good amount of their time designing a non-generic-looking site, they wouldn't submit to the pollution of no content.

Prove me wrong, and you'd start the next .com boom...

Re:Advertising (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373170)

You might be willing to go out of your way and pay money to avoid a few, nonintrusive ads (i.e. they're there, but not in your way), but most people aren't. Google/Yahoo/etc. don't cater to you, they cater to everyone. And there is no reason to solve the pay-per-use problem. Even if it was easy, it would still cost money, which would be a major barrier to attracting people to the service no matter how cheap. Ads aren't like that. There's no "fund" where you can only view so many ads, and you don't have to work to view them.

Re:Advertising (1)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373286)

'Everyone' is a sum of individuals. I am one of them. Don't pretend I don't exist. We are past the age of mass disemination of ads, err infomation, i.e. tv age. Customize your software to cater to all. Including people who value their brains.

wiki weighted search (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368144)

Part of me welcomes new methods and new technology where search is concerned. However, the involvement of Mr Wales into this arena isn't one I welcome at all.

The only good thing about this is that possibly Wikipedia might be ousted from the primary or secondary page rank for most subjects. That is an authority most highly undeserved, and proof of nothing more than how far we need to go in terms of achieving accurate search.

I think (hope) this is just a piece of self publicity. I doubt they have the technology - judging by the fact that at peak times Wikipedia search shuts down and defaults to Google and Yahoo.

Interesting too, that while Google employs seriously smart people and is founded by seriously smart people, that Jimbo and whomever he cobbles together from the smart-search-technologists-who-decided-not-to-work -for-google-exactly-why? are likely to succeed where they have failed. Sure, brains aren't necessarily everything, but they really do help. I think no small amount of Google's success is the size of the brains behind it. It's why they have a competitive advantage in most markets they enter.

We have seen very clearly that Wikipedia is extremely vulnerable to, and tainted with, group-think manipulation. (Jimbo's icon, Ayn Rand as one very tiny example of many). Why would anyone think this search will be in any way different. This looks just as vulnerable and easy to manipulate if you get a group together. Which every SEO blackhat on the planet will do on the day of launch. This looks much easier to manipulate than meta tags, or page rank.

I'm sure SEO blackhats and right wing organisations are foaming at the mouth with excitement at this wonderful Christmas announcement.

Re:wiki weighted search (1)

epine (68316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17396572)

I'm sure SEO blackhats and right wing organisations are foaming at the mouth with excitement at this wonderful Christmas announcement.

The one thing we all learned post 9/11 is how it can be to tell the difference between foam and saliva. I'm coming to the opinion that foam is a just a glandular camoflage used to disguise malice as outrage.

Why start there? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368146)

Why start by creating an entirely seperate search engine? I often find myself using Google just to search wikipedia becasue I am not sure how to spell the item I am looking for and the search box on Wikipedia needs an exact phrase. Why not improve that first and then consider expanding?

They need to fix their own engine first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17368244)

Also... much of the time Wikipedia's own unstable and limited search tool craps out and proceeds to a malfunction page telling people to do their Wikipedia search on Google or Yahoo instead. Not exactly an encouraging sign for WP's entry into the search engine space...

Why this won't work. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368212)


  • There are too many websites, changing too rapidly, for volunteer raters to keep up. It's too labor-intensive. In a narrow area (like, say, hotels) it might work, and it's been done.
  • Inducing people to work for free for a profit making company may be illegal. AOL got into trouble over this years ago. []
  • It didn't work last time (see "Magellan search engine"). [] Dead and forgotten, the Magellan search site is still up [] but the search box no longer works.
  • There's already the Open Directory Project. []
  • It's highly vulnerable to spam and manipulation. The people most interested in the rating of X will be the promoters of X.
  • IBM has several patents on this.

Re:Why this won't work. (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371462)

After reading your points, I'm getting the impression we need a pre-built form like the "Why your anti-spam idea will not work" one but for "Why your new Internet idea will not work" and include some of your above points..

You're going to run out of money, because..

( ) - Your ass will get sued for patent violation
( ) - No-one would be stupid enough to buy you out
( ) - No-one would be stupid enough to pay for your product

Re:Why this won't work. (1)

epine (68316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17396408)

Excellent. Just what we need, more hermetic negativism designed to throw the baby out with the bath water so that the earth can continue to spin on its present axis.

war on spam = Iraq
war on botnets = Afghanistan

While we're at it, let's do one for the war on drugs and the war on terror for good measure. Let's do one for poverty in Africa, and dementia in the elderly. Let's do one for hieroglyphics, the alphabet, the digital number system, and man-made fire. Think of the untold failures and aggravation caused to the recidivists and disbelievers that could been spared with just a little more foresight and a handy questionairre.

Re:Why this won't work. (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17397284)

Excellent. Just what we need, more hermetic negativism designed to throw the baby out with the bath water

But on Slashdot these sorts of things are not hermetic ;-)

Classic (1)

Shohat (959481) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368324)

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

downvoters (1)

Inmatarian (814090) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368426)

User Driven Search Engine?

Is that anything like ytmnd's voting system? Because if it is, Wiki will have it's own class of Downvoters. (1)

modir (66559) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368558)

Isn't [] already something like this?

They have a search functionality as well.

InfraSearch (1)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 6 years ago | (#17368926)

InfraSearch [] was another early attempt at collaborative search, based on Gnutella. Sun bought it for about $20 million in stock (estimated) then did nothing with it.

Actually this is not going to happen (2, Informative)

GerardM (535367) | more than 6 years ago | (#17369724)

On a WMF mailing list Angela said that there was no substance to all this. I had also heard from other channels that there is not much to this.

So even though it is nice to speculate, there is not much to all this.


User-Powered? What's wrong with computer-powered? (1)

BaldBass (49775) | more than 6 years ago | (#17370070)

Seriously, though, this whole deal of "User-Powered" looks like an attempt to play out the image of Wikipedia if front of ignorant public.

The fact is that many (of not all) search engines use human input to rank search results. For example, Google's PageRank [] is about links put on pages by whom? Humans, of course.

OK, so you found a new way of extracting rating info from humans? Let's talk about that, but please stop bringing this "People vs. Computers" nonsense.

After getting burned with CDDB, forget it (3, Informative)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 6 years ago | (#17370146)

I entered a bunch of my CDs into the music CD database CDDB [] (now Gracenote), thinking that the database's contents would remain public domain or at least freely usable. Then it was sold and the company that owned it forbade access by media applications without a fee. Thousands of people like me voluntarily built that thing, and now they wanted to sell it back to us. Any organization asking for my help on future projects had better have an ironclad guarantee that my work product will remain free to users.

Re:After getting burned with CDDB, forget it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17373290)

Just out of curiosity, will the GFDL [] be enough of a draw for you?

Re:After getting burned with CDDB, forget it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17374340)

How about this license, directed at jackasses who want to build their empires on the backs of the naieve...the NNBFN license ("Not No But Fuck No")?

I tried it once.... (1)

mixenmaxen (857917) | more than 6 years ago | (#17370330)

I actually started a company doing much the same thing back in 2000, probably a bit ahead of its time. Even took out a patent [] . Unfortunately investors (actually almost everyone we talked to..) didn't have a clue what we were talking about, so we ran out of money.

Why do I live in such a small country, where nobody has a clue.... sigh...

Anybody got a job working with interesting people that can actually think ????

Other Priorities? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#17371216)

Before Mr. Wales expands his empire to cash in on search, maybe he ought to invest some development in improving Wikipedia's search feature wich is almost useless, one of the least useful search features I've ever seen. To search Wikipedia, I use Google.

they'll be waiting.. (1)

Treates2 (1004837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372684)

microsoft,google,yahoo,cnet,newscorp.. to buy your services, just you wait..

this is easy to implement (1)

shren (134692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373218)

You enter your search criteria, and the wikisearch engine tells you that your choice of topic is Not Notable, and for gods sake why not search for something important.

make a collaborative layer on top of Google (1)

updog (608318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373808)

Why not create a project that takes the Google search results, and then creates a collaborative layer on top of that? Sort of like GreaseMonkey for Google? I know Google will never alter their automated search results - this is where a project like this could come in. It would have all the power of Google, plus all the power of collaborative human input. Right off the bat, it would be at least as powerful as Google - and assuming human input is more beneficial than detrimental, it would only get better over time...

Make a collaboration from Wisdom of Crowds (1)

Randym (25779) | more than 7 years ago | (#17395778)

Why not create a project that takes the Google search results, and then creates a collaborative layer on top of that?

I just posted this the other day on the Wisdom of Crowds article; here is the link [] :

What's the next logical step?

Search engines. Google's PageRank algorithm may point to highly rated *websites*, but searches themselves can be rated. Since most queries are less than 3 words, track where all less-than-3-word-queries go to, and rate *those* sites higher. Since humans are doing the searching, they will automatically tend to NOT go to splogs (based on their evaluations of the snippets that Google returns), thus dropping splog ratings while raising the ratings of legitimate sites: this is the very definition of "the wisdom of crowds". Google has the infrastructure to do this -- if they only would.

Added for the 'collaborative layer' thread: Here is a link [] to Yahoo's list of the top 10 web searches for 2006; as you can see, the average length of those searches was only *2* words. That makes it even easier. Three word queries, would, of course, give a deeper (and more accurate) metric.

Here is the link [] for Google's Zeitgeist, but, as you can see, it is not very useful for our purposes, since it just shows top 10 queries for a few subjects. However, it does support the 3-words-or-less theory.

We're thinking in the same direction. Do you know of any open-source search engines so that we could trace queries and their responses and test this theory? (All we need is one more person commenting in this thread and *we're* a crowd.) 8^D

Re:Make a collaboration from Wisdom of Crowds (1)

updog (608318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17396246)

Yes, that's a great idea - track what people actually click on, and weight those results higher. It's almost like meta-moderating Google's search results. I really don't know anything about search, or if there's an open-source search engine? I wonder if anyone else does this?

People never Learn (1)

NatePWIII (126267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17374202)

That is what I can never figure out with these community driven things. All these saps putting there time and energy into it, when they know that behind the scenes someone owns it and for them regardless of the personal investment or emotional attachment the bottom line (money) is going to call the shots at the end of the day.

I have quite a view of my old customers who know me personally from my webhosting company and they still can't understand how I would abandon them and sell the company, not that I wanted to, it was a financial decision.

Its like with the wikipedia phenomenom, are these people being paid for all the time they put into editing articles and reviewing content? Then possibly a year from now they get bought up by Google and the whole structure of the thing changes, then what?

People get a clue... why support some other venture, even if it is well organized and ground breaking etc..., get out there and start your own business or try to develop the next big thing! Thats what I did back in 1999.

Re:People never Learn (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17375894)

While I'm not talking about the current venture that Mr. Wales is doing, the point about Wikipedia is that it isn't "owned" by any single individual or even organization. With the GFDL, it is very easy to "fork" the service if a group like the WMF decides to "sell out" or do something that really pisses off the community.

Trust me, I've had offers to do exactly that, due to some huge infighting that took place on one particularly prominent Wikimedia project. I politely refused, prefering to stick within the community as I felt that it really wasn't that bad.

BTW, this content in Wikipedia can never be "bought up by Google" or even Microsoft, although certainly Google does take advantage of the numerous external links common to many Wikipedia articles as high quality links related to the topic of the article, hence the prominence of many Wikipedia pages on Google (not to mention the many incoming links going to the Wikipedia articles). But any web crawler would use similar criteria and it isn't restricted to Google or even Wikipedia for this kind of mutual admiration society.

Because Google can never "own" Wikipedia, many people are willing to work on it. And do so with a very rational justification behind it.

As far as your webhosting company is concerned, that is something that you are going to have to live with, as well as your "customers". At least with something like Wikipedia, there are enough technically inclined individuals involved (including some with $$$) that setting up a completely new server farm is a distinct possibility if the current "owner" decides to pack the bags and close down the current server farm.

Stoopid stoopid idea.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17374374)

Wikipedia was a reasonably inspired idea... this one, of a user-driven search engine, is NOT. As a not-exactly-run-of-the-mill human who is already nearly drowning in the mediocrity and stupidity that surrounds me, I'm frankly terrified at the prospect that AVERAGE people will be entirely responsible for determining what results are returned by my search engine! I want the exceptional results that *I* can comprehend and appreciate, not the moronic ones that appeal to people of average intelligence and abilities. It already takes far too much time to coax those gems out of existing search engines; Wales' idea would make it utterly impossible. The search engine would drown in the same sea of mediocrity by which I'm engulfed.

This idea would actually be a search-engine implementation of "tyranny of the majority", to go micely hand-in-hand with spam blacklists ad nauseum. The founders of the United States tried their best to put safeguards in place to prevent said tyranny, and now dear Jimmy Wales wants to thwart that? Apparently Mr. Wales is now more interested in any wild idea that stands a ghost of a chance of trumping his one decent idea than in doing something truly useful or helpful. Useful or helpful are nor words descriptive of user-driven search engine results.

DMOZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17375246)

Doesn't DMOZ already do something like this? []
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