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Religious Search Engines Yield Tailored Results
September 14, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

As reported on NPR's All Tech Considered ("Tech" and "Religion"?) on 9/13. "In a world where Google has put every bit of information at our fingertips, some people are now demanding less information when they surf the Internet" by using religion-based search engines. And folks are worried that Goohoo results might be biased? (SNPRL - Single Nat'l Public Radio Link)

One would have to think that things like "science", "evolution", or "big floppy tits" would come up empty using one of these.
posted by Man with Lantern (58 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I will not rest until an internet is invented that can show me lurid pictures and then scourge my sinful flesh into a quivering, bloody mess.
posted by felix betachat at 9:28 AM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Naturally, I went directly to SeekFind and searched for "big floppy tits"...

No results found containing all search terms. 6515 results found containing some search terms.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 AM on September 14, 2010


No, not empty, but rather horribly wrong.
posted by redbeard at 9:34 AM on September 14, 2010


Fantastic. One more obstacle between my students and their education. If searching the phrase Democratic Party turns up Marxism (as the article says!), I can only imagine what Googling Marxism turns up.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:35 AM on September 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


6515 results found containing some search terms.

Song of Songs, baby!
posted by joe lisboa at 9:36 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So wait, you are saying the people will repress information in order to present only their worldview?

Quick, call Fox News!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:36 AM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I heard that story on NPR this morning. I pretty much learned all I needed to know about the "religious" bent of these search engines when the reporter plugged-in "Democratic Party" and the first result was a page about Marxism.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:36 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


ImHalal did not return any result for "big floppy tits," "anal penetration -gay," or even the reasonably tame "ebony mature." Perfect - more porn bandwidth for the rest of us.
posted by Invalid User at 9:36 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Search results for: milhaud

No results found.


Apparently Les Six are a little too close to Les SixSixSix for SeekFind.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:38 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But not everyone has been supportive of the idea. Some people call it censorship. SeekFind's Houdmann disagrees.

“In a sense, I guess kind of what SeekFind does is a form of censorship, but I would more describe it as selective inclusion,” he says.


This guy has a future in sales. Or government.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:40 AM on September 14, 2010


I listened to this yesterday, my take was, I'm not too unhappy about keeping these people out of my google..so...good for them!
posted by HuronBob at 9:41 AM on September 14, 2010


some people are now demanding less information

...and that has been your Metafilter 7-word story summary for today. Thanks for tuning in!
posted by PlusDistance at 9:41 AM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


i searched for obama - the first page i got was a search for cigar - the second was one for obama - first article - "is obama the antichrist?" - in checking the link i meant to post here, the 3rd attempt came up as evolutionary biology and the 4th, linux

the lord works in mysterious ways
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 AM on September 14, 2010


On SeekFind.org:

Sadly, due to hackers attempting to manipulate our search results, we have had to temporarily deactivate the SeekFind search engine. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.


Apparently, God did not approve of their search engine, otherwise he would have used bolts of lightning to take out the hackers.
posted by menschlich at 9:43 AM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Sadly, due to hackers attempting to manipulate our search results, we have had to temporarily deactivate the SeekFind search engine."
posted by anthom at 9:45 AM on September 14, 2010


Apparently, God did not approve of their search engine, otherwise he would have used bolts of lightning to take out the hackers.

The original Denial of Service attack.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:46 AM on September 14, 2010


Uh, what menschlich said...

Anyway, I'd have been interested to see how these hackers manipulated their results.
posted by anthom at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2010


I agree that it's not censorship. He's not preventing anything from appearing anywhere else on the web. He's simply offering a particular filter for those who want to make use of it.

And we're hardly in a position to condemn a filtering site.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:49 AM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rushmore Drive failed but I can see the potential in it. I'd kind of like one that skews results to the hard leftist stuff that I'm usually looking for instead of the Daily Mail, so whatever.
posted by shinybaum at 9:50 AM on September 14, 2010


I'm pretty sympathetic to religious belief in principle, but I'm not sure I fully understand how people arrive at the conclusion "God wants me to block out a significant proportion of the available information about the world". Is that in one of the bits of the Bible I haven't gotten to yet?
posted by stuck on an island at 10:01 AM on September 14, 2010


Considering how difficult it is to get search engines filtered accurately for children, I cannot imagine this is going to be any more effective. Nevertheless, I pity the child whose search for knowledge is through this kind of propaganda service.

I do not pity the child who unsuccessfully searches for "big floppy tits" however
posted by davejay at 10:04 AM on September 14, 2010


And if you type in “Democratic Party,” your first search result is a site on Marxism.

Just like the Good Book defined 'em!
posted by DU at 10:21 AM on September 14, 2010


Just like the Good Book defined 'em!

Yeah, check out my link DU :)
posted by joe lisboa at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2010


Jewogle has ads... by Google. Um... ?!
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2010


Too bad seekfind is down right now. I wanted to see what they'd turn up for "teabagging."
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:29 AM on September 14, 2010


I'm not sure I fully understand how people arrive at the conclusion "God wants me to block out a significant proportion of the available information about the world"

These are the same people who have had it nailed into their heads that sex is only allowed between a husband and wife in the context of procreation, and that masturbation and porn are how the devil temps you with filthy thoughts, therefore blocking porn means staying Godly and resisting temptation to be sinful.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:31 AM on September 14, 2010


Religious Search Engines Yield Tailored Results

I'm pretty sure Jesus was a carpenter.


posted by mmrtnt at 10:34 AM on September 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jewogle has ads... by Google. Um... ?!

Of course they do. It is so they can make money. What else do you expect?


ZING!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:39 AM on September 14, 2010


I do not pity the child who unsuccessfully searches for "big floppy tits" however

What are you, some sort of shill for the formula companies?
posted by TedW at 10:49 AM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Jesus was a carpenter.

A MARXIST carpenter!
posted by blucevalo at 10:51 AM on September 14, 2010


Who cares? I mean, people who want to filter stuff are going to filter stuff. Whether it's by being weirdly choosy about which books they read, or which movies they see, or which television shows they watch, they're gonna filter. I filter what I consume whether it's through the choices of what I eat or how I get information on the internet. This thread is getting a little LOLreligion-y for what appears to me to be no good reason. I mean, who cares? It's barely even news.
posted by Shohn at 10:53 AM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eh, I'm waiting for the Buddhist search engine. A search for the meaning of life would lead to a 404 error.
posted by desjardins at 11:33 AM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Who cares? I mean, people who want to filter stuff are going to filter stuff.

Well, I think it depends on how pervasive the use of such filters as we are discussing here becomes. If we bemoan the existence of FoxNews because they skew the information people who watch it are receiving, and we complain about the moves taken by the Texas School Board which skews the information that children all across the country are taught, and we openly mock projects like Conservapedia... then it's understandable that any real wide-spread use of search engines which allow those who use them to receive blatantly misleading search results (e.g. the Democratic Party = Marxism links mentioned above), or which simply don't contain any search results which may contradict the "correct" line of worldview would be a matter of concern for thinking people who see value in full and honest debate.

Interesting to me, having just read all 5 parts of the essay Pope Guilty linked to in another thread, is that I now know where the "Democrats = Marxists" thing comes from. Or at least does according to that one blogger, who seems to at least be able to draw together evidence into a cogent train of though...

Seriously, that should be required reading for nearly everyone, I think, especially when discussing the confluence of religion/politics/culture wars which happens so often here on MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jewogle is such a wonderful name that I'm sort of suspicious that it isn't a joke. I look forward to other Jew friendly sites like Yajew and Metagefilte.

This does remind me of something I heard on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me about a man who decided to use google to help with a crossword clue. The clue in question was "Wild Asian Ass". Hilarity ensued. Perhaps he should have used one of those other search engines.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


M4F: Would like to get to know you in a biblical sense. My flesh is as the flesh of donkeys, and my issuance is like the issue of horses.
posted by benzenedream at 12:10 PM on September 14, 2010



“In a sense, I guess kind of what SeekFind does is a form of censorship, but I would more describe it as selective inclusion,” he says.


This is almost funny. Almost.

I find it really annoying when people who claim to read the Bible don't seem to get much understanding past the very first story it bothers to tell. Their God already said we fucked up and kicked us out of paradise. Being ignorant isn't going to make that go away. And controlling knowledge, way to play God, commandment-breakers.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:21 PM on September 14, 2010


Considering that not everything that gets posted HERE stays here, I don't know why this is skin off anyone's nose.

It's not like they are going to possess my computer mouse and forbid me to go to google. Besides, most of that demographic is searching thru Swagbucks and saving up for their amazon gift cards.

I am not kidding.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:40 PM on September 14, 2010


NPR, you're wrong.

In a world where Google has put every bit of information at our fingertips

I am so much more upset about the cavalier wrongness of this half a sentence than about the subject of the story, and I say that as an information professional. You know what else filters your search results? Limiting your search to scanning the first page of Google hits. Limiting your search to what Google indexes. Limiting your search to what free search indexes can see. Limiting your search to what's on the Internet. And yes: sometimes those are things you want to do. But no, every bit of information is NOT at our fingertips. Google has its own selective inclusion and we ignore that at our own peril.
posted by clavicle at 12:42 PM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


(on a less snarky note, if this were a search engine that returned better results while looking thru specifically Christian content, that might actually be useful. But somehow I doubt that is what it is.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:42 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, that should be required reading for nearly everyone, I think, especially when discussing the confluence of religion/politics/culture wars which happens so often here on MetaFilter.

Yeah. I'm going to have to fact-check a bunch of what I just read, but damn... that was a pretty impressive breakdown.

I wonder if it will show up in the religious filtered search results...
posted by quin at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2010


If you search Jewogle for Jesus you don't get a listing as such but it does return Andy Kaufman as the thirteenth result.
posted by vapidave at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2010


Goohoo, Mrs. Goldberg!
posted by stevil at 1:33 PM on September 14, 2010


I wanted to see what SeekFind pulls up for "value of pi", but apparently it's down due to "hackers".
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2010


Apparently, for some people, the truth is terrifying.
posted by theora55 at 1:35 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


When you search for something and you get no results for things that actually exist online but might be offensive, that's censorship. But when the results are skewed to make false analogies (Democracy = Marxism), that's twisting the truth. The former is OK by me if someone doesn't want to see the ugly (or uncomfortable) parts of the internet. But the latter is playing dirty, because the end user doesn't set the input:output relationships, nor are they clearly displayed if someone wants to know more about why they're seeing what they're seeing. This is the reason people get upset over Conservapedia and the Texas School Board re-writing schoolbooks - the messages are intentionally twisted.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:57 PM on September 14, 2010


Apparently, for some people, the truth is terrifying.

Of course it is.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:54 PM on September 14, 2010


First Result for Richard Dawkins.

Also, I seem to be getting other people's searches. Weird, and insecure. Also, reminds me a bit of the AOL search leak, albeit not with series of creepy, creepy searches from anonymous users.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:56 PM on September 14, 2010


I decided to search for the Brazillian Girls' song Pussy, and instead got a bunch of information on how the use of mathematical proportions and patterns in nature are proof of the divine.

Lord help these people if they ever learn how genetics tend to work via patterns.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:01 PM on September 14, 2010


LOL, from the mouths of babes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:02 PM on September 14, 2010


Also of interest: Gipper's List.

An invention of conservatives who saw one too many M4M4P on CraigsList.

Someday, we'll have an internet for every subculture, and we'll all be a lot happier. HAMBURGER
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:12 PM on September 14, 2010


C'mon, Jewogle? How do you even pronouce that? Is it three syllables? I am the pun police and your name is now Jewgle or Joogle. This was an obvious violation, I'm sorry.
posted by dgaicun at 3:22 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


SeekFind: "Metafilter" = no results found.

Jewgle: "Metafilter" = did not match any documents.

I'mHalal: "Metafilter" = 344,339 results found.


Clearly Muslims hate our freedoms.
posted by dgaicun at 3:30 PM on September 14, 2010


Your point is well taken, hippybear. Don't get me wrong- I'm not crazy about people suppressing information either. But this is just another aspect of the weirdness that folks like this have been buying in to for a long time. The Democrats = Marxists thing is something I've been hearing about for years- since long before the internet. They'd be pushing this stuff one way or another without these search engines.

All this does is speed up the dissemination of the propaganda. But that effect works for everybody.

I haven't read the essay you mentioned yet, but I intend to.
posted by Shohn at 3:51 PM on September 14, 2010


I heard that story on NPR this morning. I pretty much learned all I needed to know about the "religious" bent of these search engines when the reporter plugged-in "Democratic Party" and the first result was a page about Marxism.

It looks like the top link on seekfind for "Republican Party" is also about Marxism.
posted by cftarnas at 3:59 PM on September 14, 2010


Could we just continue to evolve and leave these people behind?
posted by trii at 7:31 PM on September 14, 2010


Eh, I'm waiting for the Buddhist search engine. A search for the meaning of life would lead to a 404 error.

I hear the Douglas Adams greasemonkey script turns the 404 error to 42.
posted by ersatz at 2:58 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I'm taking these at face value and searched for "multiple integrals" and "calculus help." No hits with the Christians or Jews. The Muslims gave me thousands of hits. Looks like they're trying to bring us back to the eight century.
posted by Hactar at 10:47 AM on September 15, 2010


cftarnas: I heard that story on NPR this morning. I pretty much learned all I needed to know about the "religious" bent of these search engines when the reporter plugged-in "Democratic Party" and the first result was a page about Marxism.

It looks like the top link on seekfind for "Republican Party" is also about Marxism.


Yes, as much as there are plenty of reasons to dislike/distrust things like seekfind, I think NPR should have had a control group when starting up the outrage. Also returning the same Marxism pages to the top link on seekfind:

tea party (as mccarty.tim noted)
Republican party
costume party
pajama party

However Dance Party returns a review for Save the Last Dance
and Dance Party USA for a review Prom Night (a mash-up I'd pay good money for)

So it looks like seekfind is more a bad search engine with limited results than intentionally skewing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:39 PM on September 15, 2010


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