I have zero doubt that in the future there will be sliders or some equivalent that represent "the [political] flavor" of search that users will look for.Can this possibly be true? Are people so afraid of being wrong that they will ignore conflicting information?
Looking for information about the war in Iraq... push the slide rule to the right till you reach Bill O'Reilly flavored search, or slide it to the left for the Al Franken flavor. The results are then influenced by the brand you prefer to associate with.
The news is no longer just the news ... A search result will no longer just be a search result.
The Web 3.0 - You stay on your side of the web and I will stay on mine.
Unfortunately, I've seen some of this myself at Findory. Especially around the 2004 elections, Findory received a few pretty remarkable hate mails. This is one, from someone clearly deep in the bowels of the right wing, is one of the most extreme:
To: firstname.lastname@example.orgWe also get accusations of bias coming from the left:
YOUR TOO LEFT WING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DROP DEAD AND THEN BECOME AN AMERICAN AGAIN. OR JUST MOVE AND LIVE IN THE GLORIOUS WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE IN EUROPE.
GOOD-BYE ENJOY YOUR VOYAGE.
To: email@example.comSince Findory crawls thousands of sources around the world -- some considered to be conservative, some considered to be liberal, most considered to be moderate -- I've been a bit surprised by these comments.
Articles history gets arbitrarily flushed from time to time.
No clustering, articles related to the very same topic are repeated and clutter the page space "real estate".
Categorisation is sometimes hapazard, articles showing under the wrong heading and "personalized" topics gathering disconnected subjects.
Yet, you manage to introduce a right-wing bias!
I suggest you use this effort and cleverness to improve the basic product instead...
There is a temptation to dismiss these as ravings from the lunatic fringe, but I've been curious about where these people see bias. Even with the most hateful of these e-mails, a calm response usually works well, and I've often been able to discover why a few customers feel so strongly that there is bias one way or the other.
The answer is disturbing. Findory is specifically designed to ignore political biases when recommending articles. If you read a right or a left-leaning opinion article on the Iraq War, you will be recommended other articles on the war and issues surrounding the war, some right-leaning, some left-leaning.
The idea is to avoid pigeonholing, to show people views from across the spectrum, to give people the information they need to make an informed judgment.
For some, that is exactly the problem. They don't want to see both sides. They want a filter, a political lens. As they see it, reading an opinion article on the left should only give them other opinion articles on the left (or visa-versa), reinforcing the opinion they already have.
They don't want discovery. They don't want new information. They don't want to learn. They want to be pigeonholed.
And this is why I find Mark Cuban's post so frightening. If he is correct, what I've seen as a radical fringe, a few people way outside the mainstream, is actually the majority view. Mark sees a world where information is not true or false, but left or right:
This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs -- to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date.That world must not be allowed to come to pass. Information must be free.
In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
- 1984 by George Orwell