Rad Geek People's Daily

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Good News From the Front

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

There’s more than one happy update to relay in the GoogleBombing campaign to reclaim Jew from anti-Semitic lunatics:

  1. For the moment, at least, the bombing campaign seems to be an unqualified success (and how many bombing campaigns can you say that about?). As of midnight tonight, the Wikipedia article is the top search result for Jew. Mazel tov!

  2. Googe has done exactly the right thing–by acknowledging the controversy and using their normal ad space at the top of the search results to post a link to a sympathetic, informative article. While they (quite rightly!) explain why they cannot respond to online petitions and e-mails urging them to remove the link from their database, or otherwise put their finger on the search result scales, they do an admirable job of explaining what happened, condemning anti-Semitism, and providing links to some informative discussions of online anti-Semitism.

    This is good news on more than one front. It is, for one, an effective guarantee that even if Jew Watch jumps back up to the top rank, there will still be a link above it offering responsible information and some context on the results. It’s also important, I think, that they made clear their reasons for not manually tilting the results in any way. As someone apparently deemed too hot for Google’s AdWords, I’m not too hot on setting a precedent for getting sites removed from Google proper on the basis of content deemed unacceptable by enough people to mount a pressure campaign. And while I certainly understand and sympathize with the people who want Jew Watch removed, I think the best thing to do is to recognize Google for what it is: a gargantuan link-aggregating reputation manager for webbed information. Google search results are as reliable as they usually are because they are based on what millions of web authors cite as reliable information; the best thing to do, then, is not to push for editorial tilting of the system, but rather to use it to our advantage. Why lobby Google when you can do something about it yourself–by doing nothing more than throwing up your own citation of the WikiPedia article as a source of good, relevant information on the term Jew? (Some have pointed to GoogleBombing as the sign of weakness in Google’s algorithm that can be gamed. I couldn’t disagree more: Google works as well as it does precisely because of the fact that it is especially responsive to what large numbers of people are citing as relevant information on the topic, and GoogleBombing just is a co-ordinated citation campaign. So drop the petitions, and pick up some bombs–three cheers for direct action!)

  3. Finally, in an even better development, it appears that the Jew Watch site has gone off the Internet, for the time being at least (must be some of that dastardly Jewish Mind Control at work!). Their front page has been replaced by ISP boilerplate. Here’s hoping that their site has indeed been yanked, as it appears it may have been, and that this is the beginning of a long and distinguished non-existence!

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