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107 comments

Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with google (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946486)

Ok, let me see if I understand this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason. But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.

Interesting!

Me thinks wiki should focus on its content.

Losing their way? (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946906)

Wikipedia has a first-mover advantage and brand recognition in the encyclopedia domain. With all the silliness about Carolyn Doran, content whitewashing etc, it would seem that Wikipedia might be drifting from its core competence. That articles on Briney Speers' albumns are OK while proofs are not just shows that Wikipedia is really just another mass-market content site rather than a true knowledge source.

Competing in the search engine space just dilutes their effectiveness even more. Google currently links to Wikipedia and one might guess that a very large % of Wikipedia access comes via Google hits.

Define large (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947360)

Define large. Google is a major referer to Wikipedia, but the reported number is only around 11%. Thats less than to several sites that I run.

Besides, why are you bothering to bring up Wikipedia here. The thing being discussed is "wikia search", par of Mr. Wales for profit wikia venture, totally external to Wikipedia and much hated by many Wikipedians.

I beg to differ (4, Interesting)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947560)

Wikipedia is so awesome that it has changed by web habits, and half replaced google for me already. When I need to learn about something, from political events to computer games, I find myself starting off with a wikipedia search BEFORE going to google. I usually follow by visiting the external links from the wiki page. Great for getting to the "official page" of whatever I am interested if there is one, without crappy ad spam sites filling up the google search. Not a true knowledge source? Depends what you mean by "true", but Wiki pages beat the regular web for me hands down when what I want is just the naked knowledge and not a whole web page full of "content". Wiki gives me a concise body of text, and a relevant picture most of the times, no ads, no marketing, and no aggressive pushing of any kind of text, image, video etc. When you use wikipedia, you feel in control, while with the commercial nature of the web, you feel like a customer.

Re:I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947784)

Wikipedia is so awesome that it has changed by web habits, and half replaced google for me already. When I need to learn about something, from political events to computer games, I find myself starting off with a wikipedia search BEFORE going to google. I usually follow by visiting the external links from the wiki page. Great for getting to the "official page" of whatever I am interested if there is one, without crappy ad spam sites filling up the google search. Not a true knowledge source? Depends what you mean by "true", but Wiki pages beat the regular web for me hands down when what I want is just the naked knowledge and not a whole web page full of "content". Wiki gives me a concise body of text, and a relevant picture most of the times, no ads, no marketing, and no aggressive pushing of any kind of text, image, video etc. When you use wikipedia, you feel in control, while with the commercial nature of the web, you feel like a customer.
Look. Look how stupid you are.

Re:I beg to differ (2, Interesting)

charlequin (591087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949196)

It's only stupid to look at Wikipedia first if you have poor media literacy and don't know how to read it analytically (but then, in that case, you'd probably do poorly on a normal websearch as well.)

A pretty large portion of my websearches are out of idle curiosity or unimportant research (like fact-checking for a frivolous hobby purpose). For these purposes, going directly to Wikipedia is often quicker, easier, and freer of ads than a Google search. A scan of recent Wikipedia lookups on my laptop shows stuff like "American Gladiators," "Caffiene," "Somerville, MA," "Radiohead," "Woodrow Wilson" -- all topics for which I had, at best, passing interest at the time I looked them up.

When I'm interested in something more in-depth, Wikipedia's list of references and links can often provide a starting point of resources to consider that have already been pre-scanned by a human being. For a hot-button issue, it won't help me, but for, I dunno, Islamic democracy [wikipedia.org] (a relevant, modern topic) it provides me with a starting point of links and article references that I can check and judge the validity of myself.

For really, really important stuff it definitely wouldn't be my first (or second, or third) choice, but then... how often do you do really, really important stuff on the Internet compared to how often you want to know what year "Like a Prayer" came out or what the population density of Iowa is?

Re:I beg to differ (1)

Flunitrazepam (664690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948074)

"When I need to learn about something, from political events to computer games, I find myself starting off with a wikipedia search BEFORE going to google."


God help you

Re:I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948322)

Oh. My.

trust me, you're wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949450)

you seem to have missed the GPs point. as someone who has been using wikipedia to look up just about anything for several years now, I've been finding it becoming less and less useful in the past 12 months. to many good articles are marked for speedy deletion because some crackhead admin thinks it's unimportant (yet individual anime character bios are very important to that same crackhead), photos are removed for no good reason (look up 10 actors, count how many have photos. if you dont know who the actor is and were looking to see if you knew them by sight, wikipedia is NOT the place to go anymore). proofs are removed because the aforementioned crackheads dont understand them, yet the track listing of every britany spears albums is of the utmost importance. day by day, wikipedia is becoming LESS useful. I look forward to to the "google" who "altavista"'s wikipedia. they have lost their way, there's a big hole for someone to fill right now and relegate wikipedia to has-been status

Re:I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21950160)

Wikipedia is by definition not a knowledge source. But neither is Google. They're both (intended to be) knowledge sinks. Great some of the time, but look at the Dead Sea for an example of what happens when you take and take and take and never give...

Re:Losing their way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947634)

Geez, get it into your fucking head, you fucking idiot. Wikipedia isn't a "knowledge source", it's an encyclopedia, and unless proofs are noteworthy in an on themselves (such as Wiles' proof of FLT, for instance), they have no place in there.

Instead, they can go on Wikibooks, for example. What's the problem with that? The different Wikimedia projects exist for a reason, you know, even if hosers like you can't understand that.

Re:Losing their way? (1)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948290)

That no-proof stuff was just somebody coming to whine to Slashdot that an article with proofs wasn't deleted [slashdot.org] , not the other way around. I agree about the search engine not being very effective, although you have to remember that it is Wikia who is trying that silliness, not Wikimedia.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947018)

If wiki is going to branch into search, they need to fix their built-in search feature first. I can't count the number of times that an article whose title is my search term is listed fifth or below in the results.

Bad news (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948088)

They did the opposite, sorta. The new wikia search runs Nutch [apache.org] , which is a sub-project of the apache foundation's Lucene [apache.org] project.
Guess what search engine powers wikipedia? Yup, it's Lucene [wikipedia.org] !

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947116)

Ok, let me see if I understand this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason. But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.
Wow, so much wrong.... so little space.

Let me wee if I can begin.... nope... trying again...

OK, so the WikiMedia Foundation [wikimedia.org] , of which Wikipedia is one (and the best known) project, includes Wikibooks [wikibooks.org] , Wiktionary [wiktionary.org] , and many more.

Wikia isn't any of those.

Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. [wikia.com] So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.

Now, on to your proofs beef. Proofs are tough. Sometimes overviews of them can be important, but they're fundamental examples of primary sources [wikipedia.org] , which are not nearly as useful to an encyclopedia as secondary sources that give the context within which the proof is notable.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948018)

Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.
Oh stop this nonsense! This has been brought up here many times. Yes, yes, we all know the legal / fiscal entities are claimed as being separate. I suspect this warrants detailed tax auditing. But aside from this semantic dodge, in reality there is enough connections to make this the same organization. There's certainly enough connection to warrant suspicion as to the fiscal dealings of Wikipedia and Wikia, and to exactly what is done with Wikipedia content.

If nothing else, the oft criticized, and of dubious history, Jimbo Wales is firmly at the helm of both. He is very much in control of both. So stop pleading the "everything so separate" marketing-droid spiel. It is not, and most people here know it.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948644)

It's kind of weird. Since Jimbo Wales is a dedicated Ayn Randian, I always think of him as being just like that Andrew Ryan Dude in Bioshock.

The fact that Wikipedia is a lot like Rapture helps. ;)

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948764)

If he could hurry up and invent a plasmid to let me kick Wikipedia admins in the nuts over TCP/IP, I'd appreciate it.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (2, Informative)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948860)

If nothing else, the oft criticized, and of dubious history, Jimbo Wales is firmly at the helm of both. He is very much in control of both.

He's actually not at the helm of either, though he exerts a lot of influence over Wikipedia.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949704)

Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.


Oh stop this nonsense! This has been brought up here many times. Yes, yes, we all know the legal / fiscal entities are claimed as being separate. I suspect this warrants detailed tax auditing. But aside from this semantic dodge, in reality there is enough connections to make this the same organization.
They are closely related in that Jimmy Wales is involved in both, but try actually reading what I was responding to. There's no way in which we can connect editorial policies on Wikipedia with Wikia search to then conclude that Wikipedia has some sort of editorial double-standard. I can't even begin to figure out how that thought process would get started unless the OP thought that Wikia is just another name for Wikipedia, and this was, in fact, Wikipedia Search. ... Hence my disabusing him of such confusion.

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955510)

There's no way in which we can connect editorial policies on Wikipedia with Wikia search to then conclude that Wikipedia has some sort of editorial double-standard. I can't even begin to figure out how that thought process would get started unless the OP thought that Wikia is just another name for Wikipedia, and this was, in fact, Wikipedia Search.
Well,
  • They were both started by the same person: Wales [1]
  • They are based on the same principle: Crowd wisdom, social trust, etc [1]
  • Frequent comparisons by Wales himself: "Just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about knowledge and the encyclopedia, we have a chance now to revolutionize how we think about search." [1]

Given the similarities, expecting a similar outcome from the two would not be unreasonable, would it? Unlikely maybe, because of the different target areas, but I don't think you can lash out at someone for linking the two when Wales is the one fueling such comparisons.

Reference: [1] [fastcompany.com]

Re:Aha, can't have proofs, but competes with googl (1)

mindspillage (806179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950692)

Thanks for this. As a board member of Wikimedia I'll say again that Wikimedia hasn't had anything to do with this, financially or otherwise; we haven't even heard any more about it than the general public. (Please stop writing to Wikimedia and asking about it when you want Wikia; we don't know and you're flooding our mailbox.) Yep, right now Wikia search mostly sucks. I suppose it will eventually not suck. But I'm happy to be just a spectator.

Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948220)

Ok, let me see if I understand this.


You don't.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason.


Wikipedia can (and does) have proofs (e.g., in the article on Arrow's Impossibility Theorem [wikipedia.org] .) Usually, in-depth reference is out-of-scope, and appropriate for other Wikimedia projects which may be linked from Wikipedia articles, like Wikibooks (if it is contributor-developed) or Wikisource (for source texts that can be reproduced without copyright problems.)

But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.


Wikia [wikia.com] is not the same thing as Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both. Wikia competing with Google or Facebook is not Wikipedia (or even Wikimedia [wikimedia.org] ) doing so.

Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949126)

Wikia is not the same thing as Wikipedia, even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both.
The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship. And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.

Jimmy Wales wants to make his billions off the free labor of the Wikidrones that presently donate their time and money to Wikipedia. Very ethically challenging.

Waaahh??? (1)

ArikTheRed (865776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949348)

Jimmy Wales wants to make his billions off the free labor of the Wikidrones that presently donate their time and money to Wikipedia. Very ethically challenging.
That's about as stupid as saying Google doesn't deserve to make money since all they do in provide the infra for indexing webpages, without actually creating them. It's like Layer Cake: the secret of success in business is being a good middle-man, not the poor suckers at the ends.

Re:Waaahh??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949442)

Sucking Jimmy Wales COCK, are you?

Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21952772)

Wikia is not the same thing as Wikipedia, even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both.
The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship. And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.

There's no evidence of this happening. There are laws to stop this kind of misappropriation of funds.

Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955452)

Ah, the WikiDrone strikes back...

Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955516)

There's no evidence of this happening. There are laws to stop this kind of misappropriation of funds.


In fact, Wikia donates resources to the Wikimedia Foundation, as is revealed in the latters audited financial statements.

Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia != Wikia (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955466)

The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship.


Its a not uncommon for active entrepreneurs to have multiple for-profit and not-for-profit endeavors like this. I've yet to see a "problem" identified.

And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.


The nonprofit is the Wikimedia Foundation, and its audited 2006 financial statement is here [wikimedia.org] . See particularly Note E:

Note E - Related Party Transactions

The Organization receives donated office space from a
related entity, Wikia, Inc., a for-profit company founded by
the same founder as Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Two current members and one former member of the
Organization's board of directors also serve as employees,
officers, or directors of Wikia, Inc.

no go (4, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946500)

I tried it on a bunch of fairly simple queries and got nothing but extremely lousy results.

On the web first impressions really matter and I think wikia fails horribly in that respect.

Please Jimmy Wales go and fix wikipedia, it needs urgent attention, especially protection from editors running wild, and please, google go work on getting rid of that spam and fixing the rankings...

Re:no go (4, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946770)

You need to read some of Jimmy's comments on one of the blogs linked in the summary, especially the one I have copy/pasted below... The most important part is the second paragraph and while I am no Wikipedia fan and certainly agree with your comments that protections need to occur from what I assume you mean by "editors running wild," I think what he says below is very important for this new project!

From here [techcrunch.com] :

January 6th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Release early, release often.

It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine. We've been telling everyone that constantly. I'm sorry Michael's disappointed, but having said that, we didn't build it for him, but for people who think that openness, transparency, and participation are more important than slick releases.

When I launched Wikipedia, I wrote at the top of the first page "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". On that day, anyone reviewing it would have laughed. What's this? There's nothing here! This is not an encyclopedia, it is an empty website with some funny editing syntax!

So the comparison to Google on day one is just mistaken. Google didn't launch a project to build a human-powered search engine, they launched an algorithmic search engine with a clever new idea. So they didn't have to wait for the humans to come in and start building it.

We aren't even running with a real index yet, just a placeholder index. Yeah, the search sucks today. But that's not the point. The point is that we are building something different.

Re:no go (0, Offtopic)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947146)

Personally, my complaint isn't that wikia search sucks. I'm sure it does, but it's alpha. I think the concept is interesting, so I'll reserve judgement for a while.

My complaint is that Wikipedia has major flaws, mostly related to management and editing and such. It desperately needs help. I won't go into detail, everyone has heard the complaints before. My biggest complaint about Wikia search is twofold: Jimbo should be working to fix Wikipedia instead, and more importantly, I see no reason to believe Wikia search won't have all the same problems as Wikipedia all over again.

The reason I care is simply that I think Wikipedia is absolutely amazing, in spite of its (major) flaws. Please, please work on improving it. Wikipedia finally has enough good content, enough recognition, that it has become important to our society. I don't want to see it languish and fail because people went off chasing new neat ideas as soon as the problems with Wikipedia got difficult.

MOD SELF, PARENT OFFTOPIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948316)

Personally, my complaint isn't that wikia search sucks. I'm sure it does, but it's alpha. I think the concept is interesting, so I'll reserve judgement for a while.

My complaint is that no-one's bought me a pony yet. OMG ponies! Seriously you should see them up close. They've got tails and manes and everything. Like a lion but for girls yeah? I want my pony!

(Subject is Wikia search, not ponies or what's wrong with Wikipedia)

Re:no go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947894)

Agree with Jimmy. We have to give this project some time to stabilies and show all its power. Wait and see...

Re:no go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21950130)

Ass licker.

Re:no go (2, Insightful)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21951328)

I've read these comments, and I see two potential issues with them:

Firstly, he makes a comparison to Wikipedia on day one, and says how all anyone would see is a page with a "funny editing syntax". The problem is, from all reports I've seen, this new engine doesn't even have the equivalent - it's just a standard algorithmic search with a very limited site list at the moment. If it had the beginnings of a collaborative search engine it may be more interesting, but as far as I can see this is all "in the future", and right now its just a bad search engine gathering together tags from users.

Secondly, I think Jimmy has misjudged his market slightly - he seems to feel that Wikipedia was successful because of "openness, transparency, and participation". Personally, I would guess it was because Wikipedia was free, when most comparable knowledge sources were closed and expensive. Sure, the first few users were probably idealists to whom the above points were important, but it's the free aspect and the momentum they gained from that which has been the real source of Wikipedia's popularity, I suspect. Given they lack a similar advantage over the well-established search engines, I don't think Jimmy can get away with being so blase about not having any slick releases.

I'll stick with Google (1)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946992)

I tried it briefly and didn't like it at all. It's still light-years behind Google.

This morning, I was talking to a friend about engines, and he told me about the Wankel engine. I looked for "wenkel engine" [wikia.com] (I couldn't spell it better than that) in Wikia and it gave me one result only, which wasn't related at all. I went to Google [google.ca] , and the first thing: "Did you mean wankel engine? [google.ca] ". Google is always my friend whenever I want to know how to spell something.

Ok, then I searched for "wankel engine" in Wikia and Google. In Google, the first result was the Wikipedia article for the Wankel engine [wikipedia.org] , which in at least 50% of what I search is what I want. The fifth result (still visible without scrolling) was a Wikipedia article about the Mazda Wankel engine [wikipedia.org] , which is the main commercial implementation of this engine, it's "the engine that made Mazda famous" (according to Wikipedia page). Not to mention that Google showed me also two drawings and one picture of the engine before the URL results. Very useful.

Now, enter Wikia. I scroll through the first page of results with 10 URLs, and none of them is Wikipedia! And this considering that Wikia is from the creators of Wikipedia and it's advertised as such! If I wanted lots of irrelevant results I could just go back to Altavista...

And what the hell is "people matching wankel engine" with some pictures of some random people. Why would I want that if I'm not looking for people? At least show me a picture of Felix Wankel [wikipedia.org] (thanks again Google for that).

Unless they improve it drastically, I don't think anyone will use it over Google.

Re:I'll stick with Google (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947904)

you aren't paying attention. this is an alpha release, it actually warns you that it isn't that good [yet]. google has been indexing since 1998, wikia has been online for er a day or so? why not wait until they've been at least in beta before calling it a failure hmmm?

Re:I'll stick with Google (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950280)

on the *day* that I first even heard about google it was lightyears ahead of anything else on the market at the time, which is why I used it and stuck with it. That's how adoption on the web works. If you start sending out press releases about your 'launch' then you'd better be ready.

Wikipedia wasn't launched by a bunch of press releases in the alpha stage. Oh, and wikipedia gets a very large share of it's traffic from google soon to be a major competitor. We'll see how that 'do no evil' holds up. Already google is gearing up to launch it's own wikipedia competitor (which I also think is a misguided move, after google video and orkut you'd think they'd learned their lesson).

Re:I'll stick with Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947932)

Yahoo, as always, does better than Google in your example search. Google has 5 real results and 2 trash results (retarded Youtube videos barely related to the engine) visible without scrolling for me. Yahoo has 7 real results. Google loses again.

Re:I'll stick with Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955734)

Yahoo, as always, does better than Google in your example search. Google has 5 real results and 2 trash results (retarded Youtube videos barely related to the engine) visible without scrolling for me. Yahoo has 7 real results. Google loses again.
The videos are:
  • vw beetle with wankel engine doing dougnut!
  • Modern Marvels segment on the Wankel Rotary Engine.
While the first is debatable (maybe they are a car modder, after all), the second is extremely relevant. So, I don't see what the problem is, but I guess some people feel the need to create one so they can feel superior. Let me guess, you drive the best brand of car too?

Re:no go (1)

antic (29198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947320)

On Google, it's true that their search results for accommodation/travel searches are very, very poor and one of the main problems are the bucketloads of travel directories that exist. I don't think their algorithm can combat that without help.

Say, you're a small bed and breakfast somewhere. Once your site is up, you need backlinks to help your positioning. Maybe you can get one from the local travel authority (not always) and a couple from complementary service providers (if you're lucky and they care). After that, it gets very difficult to get a decent ranking for a valid search (e.g., "bed and breakfast in %region%") and you're dominated by a variety of half-arsed directories.

Even searching for an actual hotel name in some areas can give you two full pages of junk before you get to the official site for that hotel.

first impressions matter (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947740)

Isn't that just a human justification for our woefully short little spans of attention? "First impressions" is a functional antonym to "considered response".

First impressions inherently channel brinksmanship: there is no second impression without a first impression, but you can't, uh, shoot first and ask questions later. You've got to save up your war bolus so as not to cloud anyone's judgment with a half measure. Meanwhile, you spend years of your life laboring in secrecy, in hopes that the big moment for the grand unveiling will someday arrive. Uh, count me out.

Even if the first impression is all you've waited for, you're not over the hump. We have a handy phrase for the big letdown that follows: all sizzle and no steak. But nevermind if the grand first impression falls flat. Try, try, again. There's a lot of fish in the sea. By your tenth or twentieth first impression, you might have learned enough to make it to second base.

Re:no go (1)

patro (104336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950884)

I think the rating of links could help prevent spam, because people will rate things *down*.

If I search for something and the link I found is good then I usually don't return to the search results, so people won't rate thing up.

However, if the link is bad then I close it and go back to the search results to look for more hits, and I will rate the previous link down.

So the rating system will probably work only in negative cases, but it could be a great way to fight spam (with a captcha of course, so that it cannot be automated).

I wonder why Google itself doesn't have a report as spam option beside the links in the search results.

citation needed (3, Funny)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946550)

Sorry, these reviews are not from reliable peer-reviewed sources and all references to them should be deleted. In fact, this whole article should be speedy deleted as non-notable.

Work on wikipedia's search first (5, Insightful)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946574)

Maybe this will be rolled into Wikipedia once it's done, but it seems me to that their search algorithm needs *plenty* of work. Thanks to the glories of SpellChecker, I can't spell worth a damn... when I misspell something in Wikipedia, it rarely finds it in the results, whereas Google always know what I meant to type AND OFFERS ME A CORRECTION. On Wikipedia, I have to go look how to spell whatever I'm searching for correctly, then put it back into Wikipedia's search just to find what I'm looking for.

Very frustrating...

Re:Work on wikipedia's search first (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946644)

Agreed. I find that Wikipedia's search basically only works for finding an article on that exact subject, where you might as well just type it into the url anyway. When I have to use google to get meaningful results searching wikipedia, why should I believe they can give me a better search engine than Google? More importantly, why not fix their internal search first, and then give us an internet search when their search is better?

Re:Work on wikipedia's search first (2, Informative)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946670)

1) www.google.com
2) (your search term here) site:wikipedia.org
3) go

Presto.

Re:Work on wikipedia's search first (3, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947864)

But for better quality results:

1) www.google.com
2) (your search term here) -wikipedia
3) go

Presto.

And it's hosted in a nuke-proof data bunker (1)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946602)

The search results aren't great because there isn't really an index yet. I'm not sure why they led people to expect a working search engine.

But at least Wikia Search is hosted in a cool underground nuke-proof data bunker [datacenterknowledge.com] in the middle of Iowa.

Re:And it's hosted in a nuke-proof data bunker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949418)

Just one? Where exactly do you think Google is hosted?

very bad (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946608)

results are terribly irrelevant

this will make people appreciate how much work goes into google/live/yahoo search engines once they use this

and no unicode support? wtf! i tried searching for Moscow in russian (lol wtf! no unicode on slashdot either!)

ugly 404 page too

Awesome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946636)

Highlighted article when I search for "sex":

Mini Article About "sex"

Sex is a term which is very often searched in the internet. Thus, a mini-article about pages with free pictures / videos without spam would be important.

First result for "George Bush"

George Bush Is A Crackwhore!
... handjobs for cash. George Bush is addicted to smack ... some blow.. yah know... like George Bush ...
http://www.george.bush.isacrackwhore.com/ [isacrackwhore.com] - Cached - 1.26

This is genius. I think I know what I'll search site I'll use next time I need some entertainment.

Which part of ALPHA... (5, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946642)

Which part of Alpha did these guys not understand? It is, by definition, "Not Ready Yet"!

Jimmy has pointed out that they're not even running against a real index yet, just a placeholder index. He even went so far as to say, "the search sucks today." The idea wasn't to launch a finished product that's ready for primetime. It wasn't even to launch a particularly working application. The point was to put something out there to demonstrate some rudimentary functionality while they continue to work towards something that does work.

You know, like a Beta.

I think it's kind of sad that Jimmy put something out and said, "Here's what it kinda will look like, and sorta how it will work," and people's first reaction is, "It's not a fully-functional working product? What a piece of crap."

I think I'll wait a little longer before judging. If you don't like the concept, fine, don't like the concept. But to bust its chops because it's not fully functional is a bit premature and silly at this point.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946702)

The point was to put something out there to demonstrate some rudimentary functionality while they continue to work towards something that does work.
If it doesn't work, demonstrating it to the public is probably a Bad Idea(tm). Just ask Microsoft!

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946814)

If it doesn't work, demonstrating it to the public is probably a Bad Idea(tm). Just ask Microsoft!
There's a notable difference between trying to sell people an expensive piece of software that doesn't work, and making alpha code available free of charge for whoever wants to play with it.

Wikia is just following the OSS philosophy of releasing early so that they can get feedback and hopefully get other people interested in helping them make it work. They are not charging for anything and have made it clear that this is all "alpha quality" for the time being.

It's true that demonstrating something incomplete can often kill enthusiasm since it won't live up to expectations. But it can also be dangerous to keep something under wraps for too long: people will lose interest and call it "vaporware." Moreover, for something like Wikia search, which is intended to have a significant user-generated component, they critically need to start building up a community and get user feedback as soon as possible.

Having said all that, I agree that what they currently have is rather meager and unimpressive. There's currently no mechanism for even the enthusiastic users to really start contributing. But hopefully those things will appear as soon as they are coded--that's the whole point with releasing unpolished alpha software.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (2, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946710)

Agreed. This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched! [archive.org]

In the review entry, Jimmy Wales posted a comment that responds [techcrunch.com] to these criticisms quite accurately:

Release early, release often.

It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine. We've been telling everyone that constantly. I'm sorry Michael's disappointed, but having said that, we didn't build it for him, but for people who think that openness, transparency, and participation are more important than slick releases.

When I launched Wikipedia, I wrote at the top of the first page "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". On that day, anyone reviewing it would have laughed. What's this? There's nothing here! This is not an encyclopedia, it is an empty website with some funny editing syntax!

So the comparison to Google on day one is just mistaken. Google didn't launch a project to build a human-powered search engine, they launched an algorithmic search engine with a clever new idea. So they didn't have to wait for the humans to come in and start building it.

We aren't even running with a real index yet, just a placeholder index. Yeah, the search sucks today. But that's not the point. The point is that we are building something different.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947890)

This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched!
NO! NO! NO! Exactly the OPPOSITE! People have very low expectations because of the nightmare dystopia that Wikipedia has become.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21952852)

This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched!
NO! NO! NO! Exactly the OPPOSITE! People have very low expectations because of the nightmare dystopia that Wikipedia has become.

No matter how loudly you scream, you cranks will be in the minority.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946730)

If it's not useful, why was it released at all? I thought I'd at least be able to contribute to reporting spam, or something, but clicking the stars (no visible indication they _can_ be clicked btw) just says that they don't do anything yet.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946760)

Which part of Alpha did these guys not understand? It is, by definition, "Not Ready Yet"!

It also means "Internal testing". Note the word "internal". If it goes outside the company, then it's beta.

No one seems to care any more what "alpha", "beta" and "release candidate" (used to) mean. I don't know whether to blame Google, KDE or just the insanity of the entire world for yet more word-rot that has rendered useful terms meaningless.

I think it's kind of sad that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947138)

Jimmy's mother put out, if you know what I mean.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (4, Insightful)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948392)

Which part of Alpha did these guys not understand? It is, by definition, "Not Ready Yet"!

I always took "Alpha" to imply feature-complete.

I think it's kind of sad that Jimmy put something out and said, "Here's what it kinda will look like, and sorta how it will work," and people's first reaction is, "It's not a fully-functional working product? What a piece of crap."

Personally I think it's crap not because it doesn't work, but because there aren't any original good ideas to it. Mini articles are cool, but not at all original, and the idea that they're going to populate them solely from user contributions rather than taking them from a free content source or buying them from somewhere is dumb. Sure, rating results doesn't work, but again, not at all original, and probably not that useful unless and until there are millions of people using the thing. Then there's the whole Myspace/Facebook/whatever stuff. Not original, not well integrated into the rest of the site, not interesting to me, and not a good idea in the first place (to integrate the two).

Wales says "It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine." Fine, but how does Jimmy expect to get people to build a search engine for his for-profit business? There are answers to that question, but I don't see where Jimmy has hit on any of them. The Alpha that launched today doesn't seem geared to developers. Sure, when Wikipedia was launched it sucked. But at least I could edit it and make it not suck! And anything I added could be used by anywhere in the world, not just Jimmy Wales or Bomis. What can I do with Search Wikia? Add to the mini-articles? Lame.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

patro (104336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950860)

Mini articles are cool

I wonder why these mini articles exist at all when there is wikipedia already. For articles (like George Bush) which have a wikipedia page they should link wikipedia directly instead of duplicating the content in a mini article.

Re:Which part of ALPHA... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21952034)

I always took "Alpha" to imply feature-complete.
Where I come from, an alpha software release is one where the devs are saying "here's some interesting stuff you might want to try; feedback welcome, but we know it's not finished yet, OK?" You must be thinking about beta releases, which is where the feature set is pretty-much locked down and everyone's trying to locate and eliminate the bugs.

Since when ... (1)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946696)

... is this the community for whipsawing a website that goes alpha | "proof of concept" with "very little money?" I read the article, I read the review. I know who Jimmy Wales is, for chrissake, and I know he's controversial [wikipedia.org] . Does that mean he's not allowed to take the wraps off software and a web site that hopes to rely heavily on user input to make it worthwhile and better? We all start ... and restart ... *somewhere.*

This site is for newbie users (1)

purduemike (1212076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946728)

The creator expects the site to be used by users that don't need all the "extra features". But, the problem is that only experience tech savvy individuals will ever find out about this site. So, I don't think it'll be very successful.

404 page quick fix (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946774)

" is the name of a garage band from Omaha"

Well, this is Wiki, if the content isn't there, do something!

Re:404 page quick fix (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947916)

Well, this is Wiki, if the content isn't there, do something!
Yup, go round yourself up a cabal and make sure your version of the "truth" stays that way.

Wikipedia's Blacklist In Use? (2, Interesting)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946898)

I can't find anything in terms of documentation on Wikia, but it appears Wikia search is blocking sites on Wikipedia's blacklist [wikimedia.org] from being listed in the search engine. I've pulled a few examples from the blacklist and searched for them and have yet to receive any results on any of those searches.

Can anyone confirm or refute this? Maybe it's just because the Wikia is in alpha it hasn't indexed much yet?

If this is the case I'd probably steer clear of Wikia; I'm not sure I ant my search results to be filtered like that.

Re:Wikipedia's Blacklist In Use? (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948988)

I'd be curious to know how often useful search results come from sites that are in Wikipedia's SPAM blacklist.

I suppose you also steer clear of Google and any other search engine that uses a blacklist?

Be careful... (4, Informative)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946904)

Not only are the reviews bad, but using it could get you banned from Facebook. [chrisfinke.com]

that's pretty funny (1)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948246)

Last I checked, facebook does the same thing and hassles you to give facebook your email passwords so that it can log in and then invite/find people. And in general facebook makes it unnecessarily difficult to search for friends by email--thereby encouraging you to just give them full access.

Unbalanced TOS aside, facebook isn't going to start banning all wiki users (I don't think), instead they're going to have to keep those sites from aggregating. Of course, someone could probably just create a facebook app that does the same thing...facebook already gives an ass-ton of info away. I mean, I have to click affirmative on 4 info-sharing checkboxes just to play a pirate game???

More experienced developers? (1, Offtopic)

sphix42 (144155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946918)

I always get a kick out of reading new sites.
From the footer:

    <div id="ftcnt">
        <div id="ftlinks">
            <div id="ftcloud">

Re:More experienced developers? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949074)

Uhhh... maybe I'm dense but I don't see what's wrong with that. Or maybe you just hate CSS?

I am willing to be patient and give them a chance (4, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946958)

... before blasting the effort like the top level story poster.

BTW, last night I looked at their technical information site: http://search.wikia.com/wiki/Search_Wikia [wikia.com]

Some interesting stuff that I did not know about in their "Semantic lab".

Anyway, it is at least an interesting idea - time will tell how it works out for users, and as a business.

Not that bad (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947102)

Not having heard much about Wikia search or the hype that surrounds it (I like it under my rock, thank you very much) I gave it a shot.

The results aren't that bad (tried 2 dozen queries, albeit only moderately difficult. all gave satisfactory results in the first few hits), and the integration of a wiki article and people-profiles are interesting concepts. The interface is nice and clean. I guess they could work on their integration with wikipedia; it's one of the strong points of Clusty. All in all not a bad start.

Then again, maybe I'm just not as critical about the results. I haven't used Google Search as my main search engine for a couple of years, but with time I could see wikia search become one of my regulars. All I can say is keep it up!

When will the madness stop? (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947176)

You can friend people along with creating profiles

Huh? You mean I have to RTFA to figure out what this means?

Where's a grammar Nazi when you need them most...

Web 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947260)

FTFA: A search for Web 2.0 didn't return anything that seemed correct.

Wow, interesting feature. That's totally like AI, isn't it?

Is this supposed to be a joke? (0, Troll)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947340)


You announce to the world that you are launching a search engine for weeks. I read this on every tech site I visit. The day comes and I try it out. 20 searches, and not any relevant results. So I see this article here and in the replies, I see people suddenly reposting all this stuff from Jimmy about how "THIS IS NOT A SEARCH ENGINE". Sorry pal. You're a day late and a dollar short. You let the cat out of the bag.

You can't handle the negative reaction to an unfinished product, so now the mountain of excuses and 'reasons' is starting to build up. Google didn't announce GMail to the world, and then release it in a state where you couldn't send basic mail back and forth, before tucking their tail between their legs, and announcing to the world on some blog that it's not ready yet, and was never supposed to function as an e-mail provider.

If it's s project to build a search engine, and not actually a search engine, why does it just present a WIKIA SEARCH logo and a spot to type in a query? I don't see 'PROJECT TO BUILD A SEARCH ENGINE' anywhere. And just a hint when it comes to your database and rankings. When I type something in, I'm looking for OFFICIAL pages. Not tripod pages made by 15 year old anti-corporate hippies who are denouncing what I'm searching for.

You launched your search engine. It's filled with garbage or bad results. Stop making excuses by telling us what it isn't, and make it work like what we all know it is.

Wikipedia.org Search Sucks (2, Interesting)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947528)

Has anybody used Wikipedia's normal search on their site. I can never find anything, It's horrible. Yahoo & Google do a much superior job with searches than they do on their own site. With that in mind, it doesn't make much sense for them to development a brand new search engine type thing when their own isn't that good.

Re:Wikipedia.org Search Sucks (1)

chdig (1050302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948560)

Very well put. As far as a resume for building a searchable infrastructure, Jimmy doesn't have it.

As for why they're doing it anyways, I would imagine that commercial potential is the spurring factor.

Re:Wikipedia.org Search Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949990)

As for why they're doing it anyways, I would imagine that commercial potential is the spurring factor.
Polite way of saying "GREED"?

Nutch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947532)

Their using Nutch is a terrible idea. Many sites block all Nutch spiders because people use Nutch to scrape all the content off sites.

My own attempt at a social search (1)

dannydawg5 (910769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947624)

Please don't mark me off-topic or peg me as astroturfing. I am saying explicitly that I wrote this site. This is my own vision of social searching, and I am putting it here because it's the topic of the article:

http://jumphunt.com/ [jumphunt.com]

Essentially, you type "g" to search google, "y" to search yahoo, etc. You can add and take away from the defaults. You can share, grab from other users, discuss sites, etc (that's the social aspect). You also get your own no-login-needed homepage to jump to sites. You can then add your own search box to your Firefox search box (the site performs suggestions too).

Other aspects:
-There are minimal ads.. a grand total of 2 in the entire site... and not on your custom home page.

-Absolutely no email address is needed and never will be.

It is still in alpha too (site is about 5 days old), but what do you think? I'm pretty proud of it. I'm using mod-rewrite, AJAX, JSON, XML, etc. I learned a lot from making it. I am not making a dime off this site. My real business is hosting.

Hope you enjoy,
-Dan

Re:My own attempt at a social search (1)

Cussin_IT (1143215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947928)

Not to pop your bubble, but after giving it a go I'd found a bug inside 10 seconds: If you search using a key other than Google, the key is passed to the search engine. For instance, if you type in "live tree" (to use the MSN live serach) it presents searched for the word "live" (topped by live media downloads).
I'm not saying "your site sucks!", actualy it's a neat idea if you have to use several diferent search engines, but I thought you should know that I found a (fairly obvious) bug realy quickly.

Re:My own attempt at a social search (1)

dannydawg5 (910769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948474)

I'm not seeing the bug. i try live tree... and i get live.com's results for tree. What browser are you using?

Chicken and egg (1)

D H NG (779318) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948480)

Nobody's going to bother using it until its quality is "good enough".
Its quality isn't going to improve if nobody uses it.

lame (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948968)

so, I searched for "penis" -- not that I'm searching for penis, it's the first word that popped into my head. Ugh, anyhow, the first page consists solely of sites for penis enlargement pills.

Searched for "Tampa hotels", got bottom-feeders (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949198)

Wales was quoted recently complaining about Google's results for "Tampa hotels" [searchengineland.com] , and talking about how Wikia was going to be better. So I searched Wikia for "Tampa hotels".

The first three results from Wikia search are all from the domain "visit-tampa-bay.com". That's one of those bottom-feeder ad link sites. The site is supposed to redirect traffic to Orbitz, but doesn't even do that right. Very disappointing result. Could they have been spammed already?

Trying "Tampa hotels" in Google gets us "travel.yahoo.com" for the top two results, which indicates that Google isn't biasing their search against their biggest competitor. Next is "traveladvisor.com". Those are OK results; you'd be able to get a hotel room that way.

Trying "Tampa hotels" in Yahoo search gets us a page from one of Yahoo's special cases. Yahoo knows about "hotels", so we get a list of hotels and prices from Yahoo, and three sponsored results. The top organic result is "tripadvisor.com", which is at least a big-name travel site, followed by "visittampabay.com" (not to be confused with "visit-tampa-bay.com"), the site for the local Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Yahoo certainly tries hard for hotel searches, and seems to be doing OK.

Trying "Tampa hotels" in MSN search gets results that look much like Yahoo's, but with lower result quality. MSN understands hotels as a special case. There are three sponsored results, and addresses and phone numbers for three real hotels. The first three organic search results are Yahoo Travel, "tampa-hotels.net" (an ad-laden landing page), and "tampa-hotels-discounts.net" (a bottom-feeder generic landing page that isn't even on topic.) Poor results.

Trying our own SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] the top result is "all-hotels.com", which has a list of hotels with pictures and a reservation interface. The second result is Yahoo Travel, and the third is Expedia. We're sorting Yahoo results on business legitimacy, so that's not surprising. OK here.

So there's where Wikia is today, on their recommended demo search.

Linda Mack (aka Slimvirgin) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949616)

So will you be banned and called an anti-semite if you search on "Linda Mack"? At the moment if you post that name anywhere on Wikipedia you can kiss your account goodbye.

From the people that brought you the 'open' Encyclopedia[tm] !!

Woah (1)

the_kanzure (1100087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949750)

Wikia Search is open source, it's based off of Grub [grub.org] (which we have already [slashdot.org] talked about [slashdot.org] before [slashdot.org] ). Here's the source code to the grub Windows client [grub.org] , and there's a dev site [grub.org] too. The current scoring algorithm is over here [nutch.org] . If you want to talk with Jimbo and the developers, hop on to mailing list [wikia.com] and let's talk.

Anyway, it looks like there's the opportunity here to *improve* this search engine -- programmers, I know you are reading, and at least check out the code. There's been talk about running some competitions for improving the search results (the scoring algorithms), how many of us would like to form a team? Maybe I'll do one. Who's with me?

(Btw, these guys need help. I just found all of this after the recent news articles.) Screw my mod points.

There's a reason search algorithm can't be open. (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21953428)

There's a reason Google has a proprietary algorithm. It's not so it can control the world and generate cash, it's so the results are better.


Back when google actually used pagerank, the results were OK, but they soon sucked as everyone started to game the system. Knowing the algorithm means sites designed specifically for high standings rather than for best content. They continually avoid this problem by changing the algorithm in secret.

With an open source search algorithm, every result will not be the best site, but the one where the designer is willing to torture the content in a particular way. Then everyone will torture their content, and the results will be completely irrelevant.

This is one of the rare places where closed, proprietary, secret systems actually make things better.

Re:There's a reason search algorithm can't be open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955038)

Wikia is attempting to build a search engine where the community is in charge of preventing site owners from gaming the system. Using black box algorithms instead (gaming prevention by obscurity) doesn't seem as good actually. The community system works fairly well (although not perfectly well) in Wikipedia.
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