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What Are the Advantages of Horizontal Fly Men’s Underwear?
May 11, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Age of the Algorithm. In the age of the algorithm, you can get just about anything you think you want, learn everything you think you need to know, by clicking on a link or typing a few words into a search bar. On SEO, content farms, old media, and 'online sweatshops.' (From Maisonneuve.)
posted by shakespeherian (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm pretty sure the local online business journal uses an algorithm. Every time there's a national news story, we get a paragrph/blurb on how there's 50 Blockbuster stores closing in the KC market. I assume there's a similar story with a different number for the St. Louis area and so on.
posted by pwnguin at 7:37 AM on May 11, 2011


What is MetaFilter if not a content farm? The problem is that all this content is grown and then just allowed to rot in fallow fields. We need someone to bring it to market.
posted by notmtwain at 7:42 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're so smart, why can't you make more people click on advertisements?
posted by idiopath at 7:44 AM on May 11, 2011


I'd just like to let everyone know that we are now the first google result for the query: "What are the advantages of horizontal fly men's underwear?".
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:10 AM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thank you so much for this interesting post. I have long been interested in the subject of
content algorithms.
I especially enjoyed the part about
horizontal fly men's underwear.
Posts like this are why I keep coming back to
Metafilter.

posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:27 AM on May 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


I wonder if the content farm is just a passing phase that will eventually be replaced by an algorithm. The Stats Monkey project mentioned in the article points to that possibility.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 8:41 AM on May 11, 2011


Sure onDemand stuff gets lots of hits, but to say that algorithmic content is winning over hand-crafted content is to ignore the social power of Wikipedia.
posted by yeolcoatl at 8:42 AM on May 11, 2011


I don't think algorithm means what these people think it means.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:44 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd just like to let everyone know that we are now the first google result for the query: "What are the advantages of horizontal fly men's underwear?".
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:10 AM on May 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


Metafilter may have the attention of today's penis-hole queriers but how long can it hold onto the position?
posted by notmtwain at 8:46 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter may have the attention of today's penis-hole queriers but how long can it hold onto the position?

Maybe we should develop a spambot to maintain our supremacy
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2011


Towards end of last year my average Google search results had become rather crappy b/c of SEO and content/link farms.

This problem has gone away since I started to make heavy use of their newish "Manage Blocked Sites" feature. I've banned all major link and content farms and spammy domains from my searches and now I'm getting high quality search results again. Works like a charm. Highly recommended. You do however need an account to use this (gmail etc).

Direct link to where you can blacklist domains.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:32 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for this interesting post. I have long been interested in the subject of
content algorithms.
I especially enjoyed the part about
horizontal fly men's underwear.
Posts like this are why I keep coming back to
Metafilter.


I read that in Funnybot's voice and it was extra hilarious.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:42 AM on May 11, 2011


DuckDuckGo is the useful search engine that blocks a lot of SEO shit (even in spite of its horrible name). I use this whenever Google is pulling up a lot of dredge for whatever I'm searching for. MetaFilter thread here.
posted by codacorolla at 9:53 AM on May 11, 2011


madcaptenor: "I don't think algorithm means what these people think it means"

They are talking about the special case of algorithms from the domain of one dimensional unicode vectors (content summaries or search strings) to web content (either addresses of search results or one dimensional unicode vectors to be put on a page that will be a search result).

Or am I misunderstanding you?
posted by idiopath at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2011


What I meant is that some uninformed people these days seem to think that "algorithm" only refers to the sort of algorithms used in SEO and the like.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:59 AM on May 11, 2011


Man, I hear ya. I tried to wash my hair today, but got derailed by an SEO page while trying to follow the instructions.

Lather, rinse, submit CC info.
posted by idiopath at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2011


I'd just like to let everyone know that we are now the first google result for the query: "What are the advantages of horizontal fly men's underwear?".

On behalf of the Metafilter team, I'd like to say hello to Blake Shelton and assure him we do not judge harshly, here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 AM on May 11, 2011


Hairy Lobster- thanks. Now instead of avoiding ehow like the plague, I can never have to see them again.
posted by Hactar at 10:32 AM on May 11, 2011


Metafilter may have the attention of today's penis-hole queriers but how long can it hold onto the position?


Hmmm, well,. I joined on April 20, 2005 but I was lurking for a lot longer than that.

Oh, wait, you were talking about penis-hole queriers, not quee... never mind.

Speaking of, no offense to this thread, but the top Google image search results for "What Are the Advantages of Horizontal Fly Men’s Underwear?" is a lot better.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2011


I'm not sure i fully understand the article's premise. The chain of events seems to be:
  • Search engines provide lots of data on what people search for, and how much money satisfying that search is worth
  • Content farms take advantage of the new data by producing low-quality content
  • Smart algorithms cut out the middle-man, and start generating content automatically
The primary problem for people seems to be the low-quality on the part of the content farms. No-one is arguing that good search is a bad idea. It's also pretty interesting that content-farms are basing a business around (notionally, anyway) satisfying people's information needs. And the final step (of smart content-generating algorithms) is essentially the vision of the semantic web, just in a way that might actually work (not a semantic web fan, obviously).

So the solution to the first set of problems posed by the 'age of the algorithm' appear to be... better algorithms, both on the search side (reject low-quality content) and in generating high-quality content automatically. No-one seems to be complaining about rise of algorithms, they just want better ones.
posted by nml at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2011


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