Saturday, June 27, 2009

Delayed Commentary

Well, I'm very hesitant to post this at all, as it may be feeding the troll, or at least someone who's clearly interested in drawing traffic. So, I'll try to keep it short.

Here's the post; comments were disabled, or I'd have commented directly:

http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/001417.html

I know, nice of him to leave a comment on my original blog post first, amiright? Oh wait...well, maybe he's more interested in being right than setting people straight. Actually, that sounds more like the people that disagree with him (like Jimbo) than him.

Anyway, he totally missed the point here and on his original post. Wikia search was *never* about indexing. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Wikia search was about getting *away* from the mindset that computational indexing and ranking algorithms were the important part of search. BOSS gave them a base set of search results, but the social ranking algorithm was the important part. That was the innovation, and that's what SethF completely overlooked.

Of course, with Wikia Search gone, it's kind of a moot point, anyhow. That said, I'd love to see a similar project appear, especially once the economy gets better. It's clear that Google is doing some experimenting with user-rated search results, but it's not clear how much that impacts their rankings. I would be extremely surprised if the Google ratings have a significant effect.

2 comments:

Seth Finkelstein said...

Hi - in regard to the points you raise:

> to leave a comment on my original blog post first, ...

Mea Culpa. Sometimes it's not clear what the best course of action is, i.e. when something like that would come off as too harsh against someone personally.

> maybe he's more interested in being right than setting people straight.

Well, after many many years on the net, I know that trying to set people straight is a very difficult task :-(

> Anyway, he totally missed the point here and on his original post

Here I disagree with you. I believe Wikia Search's unattributed use of Yahoo BOSS gave people a false impression that Wikia Search had better "computational indexing and ranking algorithms" than was true - that was my point. That Wikia Search wanted to use those results as a basis for social ranking doesn't change the misimpression.

Chris Sladky said...

Thanks for the follow up. I can appreciate that internet arguments often lead nowhere, but I ended up just stumbling onto your thoughts on the issue.

Ultimately, I think what Wikia search added on top of BOSS was the most important part - and why I often found it more helpful than other engines.

As interesting as indexing and computational ranking may be, when average consumers look at search engine results, they're not looking specifically at the computational part of it. What they're interested in, and what I was referring to, was the overall package.

I could see how you could think that some people might not be aware of the social component of Wikia search and assume that they had just developed a better "computational indexing and ranking algorithm." I just don't think most people make judgments that specific. I think most people evaluate the engine as a whole.