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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm out.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem, WF.

Anyone else want to take up the argument? Is there evidence that DuckDuckGo is biased to the right? Or that it is a haven for unsavory searches? Or that Google's 100% negative portrait of Trump is merely a reflection of a 100% negative reality? These are all strong claims. It would be a shame to drop them when there is so much meat there for us to sink our teeth into.

These are all timely issues relevant to the point that the control or manipulation of information can have powerful effects upon our society. I realize that there are political crossovers here, but that has been true with this thread since the beginning.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will not be able to adequately describe my thinking here so bear with me. In other words I may use the wrong adjectives to describe what I am trying to say but hopefully I will still get my thoughts across.

For the record I would describe myself as a moderate with conservative leanings. I attempt to read both sides and educate myself as well as I can during whatever time I have available.

When I attempted to try Duck Duck Go it seemed to take a more "academic" approach - lets find subjects about Trump - on my first page - taxes, real estate, his twitter feed, a "official" Donald j trump site, Wikipedia, you tube then some news/commentary sites. So sites you would read if you didn't know anything about him and was trying to research him.

When I attempted Google it seemed to take a more - as others have noted - a more recent approach and I would argue a more 'social' approach - more on that later. I get twitter, Puerto Rico, CNN negative article, Donald j
Trump site, CNBC article, Trump "radicalizing" ICE, Trump being a Russian asset since 1987? article, Trumps divorce.

I admit that is strangely more negative. However, lets go back to the "social" part. We have to remind ourselves the old news adage - "if it bleeds it leads" We have to face it most news is negative turn on any news on any part of the country and it is about murders, rapes, burglary, Trump being a "bad" boy, politicians screwing up, church leaders screwing up, etc. Google to me is just riding that wave of following where most people are clicking.

Do I think that it is sad that is where most/many people click - yes. But also one more thought to chew on. I would guess many conservatives are clicking on negative to see what the fuss is about or just to be informed - well guess what that is going to make it pop up in front more often. Do I have any facts to back that up - no but I don't think it is much of a stretch to assume that some of that is happening.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think that is certainly part of it.

As for DuckDuckGo, no idea about its possible biases. I only (and have always) known it as an "anonymous" search engine, which I certainly approve of in principle.

Fact is though, that Google is (and always has been) the best search engine. The fastest, the most widespread, the most accurate and the most refinable.

It has been since its inception, and that is why despite my issues with the company, I've used it since 1998. It's also why it's the most widely used search engine in the world, fielding 3.5 billion queries a day.

Part of the issue of course is people. A search engine can't think for you. The oldest law of computing is GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

It gives you what you ask for. If you don't tell it accurately enough what you want, it will give you a best guess.

Remember, Google doesn't look for what is right, it only looks for what is relevant to your query.

If there are more negative stories about Trump than positive ones, there is a higher chance that you will get them in results, unless you ask it not to give you negative ones. It doesn't know what you want. (Yet. Very Happy )

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam, I tried the same experiment with Obama and didn't get a lot of negative stories. I'm not sure the "if it bleeds it leads" theory works in this case. I don't think journalism truisms of the past hold any longer. I think the mainstream media is clearly biased and their main concern is not objectivity or even selling papers. They have shifted to pure advocacy.

Av, without a doubt most of the mainstream coverage is negative towards Trump. This has been documented by Harvard at levels greater than 90%. But why would that affect search queries? If 45% of the likely voters still support Trump, why would Google assume that the people doing the searching are looking for negative stories? Why would the percentage of negative article written have any bearing on the results returned, if the results are supposed to be a guess as to what people want to see? Given that nearly half of the country supports Trump, it is bizarre that Google's default results would obviously displease roughly half of its clients. It's a horrible guess as to what they are searching for. And it's a stupid way to determine the results, based on the sheer number of negative articles.

And why, whether it's Obama or Trump, is the biggest name in news not represented at all? Google seems to think that no one wants to read articles by Fox News. Another very dumb assumption.

I'm calling bullshit on the idea that Google is not inserting its bias into its algorithm. If someone can come up with a better explanation for the complete absence of Fox News in the top results, when Fox dominates the ratings, I'm all ears.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Sam, I tried the same experiment with Obama and didn't get a lot of negative stories. I'm not sure the "if it bleeds it leads" theory works in this case. I don't think journalism truisms of the past hold any longer. I think the mainstream media is clearly biased and their main concern is not objectivity or even selling papers. They have shifted to pure advocacy.


I ran a quick test on three "top" Democrats Sanders, Biden and Warren and most results came up neutral or good. The only article I spotted that may be considered "negative" was on Warren Washington Post "Why Trump calls Warren Pocahontos" - someone could state that is not negative- in this case I mean negative because I'm sure an avid Warren supporter would not want this line trotted out again. I imagine a good argument could be made that is a negative against Trump and I would not disagree with that approach either.

I ran a quick test on three "top" Republicans Cruz, Rubio, Kasich. Most results came up neutral or good. Possible negatives . Cruz--CNN "Cruz intern arrested". Rubio--Washington Post "Rubio's compelling story embellishes facts, documents" So nothing too overwhelming negative here either.

So I agree I overstated my opinion. However maybe I should restate to sensitization sells. How many times have you read a heading and the article was something different?

I cannot say that I totally disagree with you. Many news has taken on advocacy route.

It is disturbing that Google results do not show Fox news as a top news source. However even more curious is when I run DuckDuckGo Fox does not show up in the first 25 results either! Bing nothing on first page from Fox. Yahoo nothing on first page from Fox. Not until I get into AOL do I get a result from Fox on the first page! Fox should investigate this and figure out why in the heck their articles are not getting into top results. Just out of curiosity I am going to run this test for a few days and see if it mostly the case or just time of day something like that.

Anyways just curious - what do you think should be done - a Congress oversight, Google boycott? I am not trying to be a smart aleck - just not sure options there are that will have an impact.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely do not think the government should be involved in any way whatsoever! Google has the right to be biased. People should just educate themselves and know it's happening (if it is). I think bias is much more troubling in our education system.

I was able to get Fox News in DuckDuckGo searches.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely do not think the government should be involved in any way whatsoever! Google has the right to be biased. People should just educate themselves and know it's happening (if it is). I think bias is much more troubling in our education system.

I was able to get Fox News in DuckDuckGo searches.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:


Av, without a doubt most of the mainstream coverage is negative towards Trump. This has been documented by Harvard at levels greater than 90%. But why would that affect search queries? If 45% of the likely voters still support Trump, why would Google assume that the people doing the searching are looking for negative stories? Why would the percentage of negative article written have any bearing on the results returned, if the results are supposed to be a guess as to what people want to see? Given that nearly half of the country supports Trump, it is bizarre that Google's default results would obviously displease roughly half of its clients. It's a horrible guess as to what they are searching for. And it's a stupid way to determine the results, based on the sheer number of negative articles.


Google doesn't know (by default) whether a story is positive or negative. (It can if it analyses it, but by default, all pages are equal.) As Murrin or WF mentioned up-thread, the primary factor in determining search engine rankings is "how many other pages have a link to that page."

There are other factors, (around 200 in fact), but the biggest one is links. If a negative story has more links to it than a positive story, (and given that you say most stories are negative that seems likely), then Google will rank the negative story higher than the positive one.

Unless your search specifies that you're looking for a positive story, in which case it will first show you the positive story that has the most links pointed at it.

It doesn't care who likes the stories, or how many people are "displeased." It only cares about the ranking signals that determine where in results a given page is ranked.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Av .. that makes sense.

My son advised us to get local businesses to link to our business webpage .. to increase successful google searches for the business.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, a good suggestion if you can get them to do it. They have to be contextually relevant links though. A link from a page that just has a lot of links is not going to do much.

However, if it's from a page that has content that is relevant to your business / service offering, then it will be more beneficial.

(Also make sure you have a Google My Business listing. Google likes that.)

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