If you’re a board warrior who can’t stand the way google constantly gives back unfriendly data along with the ideologically-acceptable stuff, Google’s rival Kosmix has an interesting solution. Via Wired, you can enter any topic into the Kosmix politics engine and it spits out the web, organized into whether a given page is likely to come from a conservative, libertarian or liberal perspective. Kittens for example.
I don’t know yet whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it will make your life much easier if you’re searching for information and you already know what kind of information you want to find.
Tom in Texas
What a terrible idea. Now one can blissfully ignore information they find uncomfortable — even in search engines? At least force someone to scroll past stories and read the headlines — even if they don’t like it, they should know what both sides are thinking. If you have no interest in an informed debate, you shouldn’t be in politics.
Operation Enduring Echo Chamber proceeds apace.
All hail the intellectual circle jerk!
Bruce in Alta California
I think this could be a good step. When, on occasion I google “Free XXX” I often get links to sites for battery sales or Van Diesel movies. Not that I view pornography but late at night I do like to make sure my parental controls are working properly.
Observations suggest that users will use Kosmix to look at different perspectives, rather than always gravitating to their own preference. There’s a natural desire to see what the other side is thinking. I know friends who have clicked on “Libertarian” just because they don’t even know what a Libertarian might say about a given topic. I hope that Kosmix promotes exploration and serendipity, not “Enduring Echo Chamber” =)
Great post Tim, I think that… Wait a minute, check out that add for women’s underwear running in the left margin.
Where was I? Never mind.
…Bringing willfull ignorance to a whole new level.
“Satan,” as always, is interesting.
Think crazy homeless guy under the bridge after drinking 3 cans of sterno and you pretty much have everything a libertarian might say.
Interesting that when you get the liberal search for “spotted owls” you get how to save them, when you do the conservative search, you get recipes
Short answer is, could go either way. While there’s the obvious problem of how this promotes echo chambers, I’ve often wasted a lot of time looking something up to use in an argument that I just knew I had seen somewhere but couldn’t remember where. Debunking an argument when the false conventional wisdom is still all over the place, for example. If I’m just looking for something specific, it would be a lot easier if I could rule out about half of the results with a click of a button.
And I hadn’t even thought of this myself, but as others have pointed out, some people will use this to see what the other side says about something. Whether because they don’t know any other ways to find actual information, or because they want to generally survey a mood, or because they want something from a specific subtopic rather than unrelated stuff that usually goes along with it. A couple months ago, John remarked that he liked some diarist at Daily Kos named darksyde or something for his perspective and expertise on environmental issues – well, now he could find the guy without wading through stuff about white phosphorus.
So in the end, it’ll come down to how people use it. What a surprise.
Interesting. The site may also provide information about the distribution of attention on a given topic. For example, searching for “abortion”, I get this:
That breakdown is unexpected, for me. None of the other hot-button topics I tried (gay marriage, wire tapping, environment, etc.) gave anything like that skew.
Matthew J. Stinson
Another fun skewed result is a search for Ayn Rand. You know that libertarians care about her, but man …
Heh, see, this is the real fun of the searches — not reading any of the links but seeing what matters to each side. (Assuming, of course, that their method to decide which sites are libertarian, conservative, and liberal is correct. And that’s a BIG assumption to make.)
Good catch. The phrase “well-deserved obscurity” comes to mind in this case.