Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The ethics of the Google bomb

Apparently, Lady Monchhichi disapproves of the latest Google bomb. She's a little mistaken in the labeling of her post; her opinion is not assholy, just breathtakingly stupid and ignorant. I would link to the post directly*, but she apparently considers efforts to use Google to promote a website to be objectionable, and I do not want to offend her.

*Just kidding: I do want to offend her.

She labels the recent Expelled Google bomb as "dogmatic" and explicitly compares it to the MySpace deletion of the atheist group... which pretty much shows her level of stupidity on this issue: these two charges are transparently ludicrous (dogmatic? WTF?).

She does not appear to understand how Google works, or the intended effects of a Google bomb. It does not, and cannot, "block and redirect people away from Ben Steins [sic] gospel to their own." Apparently Monchhichi has failed to grasp that Google returns multiple results for a search; even in the worst possible case, the actual Expelled website would appear second on Google's list of links for any of the searches.

Google does not establish the "canonicity" of one specific web site for any particular search term, and people (at least those with common sense) use Google to explore the relationships between search terms and keywords. And establishing this relationship is the intended and actual effect of a Google bomb. We wish to establish the relationship between the term "Expelled" (and related terms) and the website Expelled Exposed. Not only is Google democratic in general — it almost always takes such relationships at face value — but the association is logically justified.

Essentially Monchhichi seems to consider an attempt to use Google as designed and for its explicit purpose to promote a website with criticism to be disrespectful and dishonest. One can conclude that she considers all opinions (except perhaps her own) to be equally objectionably dogmatic, regardless of its veracity.

She is correct that Ben Stein cannot stop science, but that's only because the advocates of science are willing to use all peaceable and honest tools to counter Stein's egregious, dishonest and violence-promoting rhetoric against science, skepticism and rational thought. If everyone cowered behind a the kind of bullshit tolerance and respect that Monchhichi advocates, Stein and his ilk really would destroy science.

1 comment:

  1. I have replied to your post in my blog. I will not list it, since it would violate my Google ethics. I will give you kudos, your response was very well written.

    A small caveat, I have run for public office and I am currently heavily involved with local politics..so I have been called a lot worse than "breathtakingly stupid and ignorant". In fact criticism, no matter how well written, does not have the desired effect.

    ReplyDelete

Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.