remembering rebecca :: january 2005 : I've noticed another little problem with Technorati tags. When I updated my site on Monday, I created tags for all the posts, and pinged Technorati. On Tuesday, I pinged Technorati two more times when I updated here. It is now Wednesday evening, and I have yet to see any of my tags catalogued on their site.

Me too. Technorati is clearly collecting some tagging information, but at the same time it's clearly not working right yet. And the Tag pages keep changing layout. And there's some weirdness about the layout according to whether they have got any data for the tag or not. kind of odd that tags aren't integrated into the keyword system as well. Surely, a keyword search should be on the combined page as well. Then today furl tags started showing up as well as I think what we're seeing is a work in progess where development is being done in public. Let's hope it all settles down soon.

In other news, I'm every bit as uncomfortable with the Rebecca Blood piece as Burningbird. We seem to be playing out the same old, same old pattern once more that's been done a million times before in online communities. The Politically Correct Police (PCP) are making lots of noise about how "This isn't right and SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE". The Anti-PCP come along, who love a good flame war, and are finding ways to wind them up. The poor developers get backed into a corner and end up coming up with a series of nasty hacks to sanitise what was once a nicely elegant, simple and minimalist solution. What makes me laugh in all this are the ludicrous solutions put forward by the PCP who clearly have never been anywhere code.

# Technorati could design their system not to publish any photo Flickr users have tagged "Might be offensive".. So just like the major search engines, Technorati will need an advanced search option "filter adult content". That's seriously hard and will never work 100%. And BTW, I don't think the photo in question is actually tagged on Flickr as "may offend".

# Technorati could create their own tagging system, and not publish any photo Technorati users tagged "Might be offensive". It's not just photos. It'll have to apply to every one of the millions of entries in Technorati.

# Technorati could provide an email address so that users could alert staff if a photo was offensive or inappropriate, and then the staff could go in and tag the inappropriate photo so that it would not appear on Technorati's site--or hand-select an appropriate one. Ah, the Fintstones approach. Just throw manual effort at it until you've got 250 outsourced support staff in Mumbai. I don't think so.

The whole point of Technorati is that it's dynamic and timely. Which means a very high throughput of items. Which means automation of everything. And which means if you're offended by what you see, look away for 5 minutes. And a prize to the first hacker to get goatse to appear on the MLK page.

Which then brings me to the core element Rebecca weas complaining about.

Now, that photo is perfectly appropriate on Flickr as part of an individual's collection, and as documentation of Sunday's rally. It's perfectly appropriate as an illustration for 'protests', or even 'Israel' and 'Palestine', even though it surely will offend some people wherever it appears. But it is not appropriate to illustrate a category tagged 'MLK'. I personally was offended--these sentiments reflect the polar opposite to those espoused by Dr. King. More to the point, such an illustration is inappropriate--that poster has as much to do with Dr. King as would a picture of a banana peel.

How is this Technorati's problem? The photo was tagged on Flickr with MLK. Technorati is correctly pointing this out. Don't you want to see conflicting views? And who gives a damn if you're offended?

I called Technorati to register a protest. You wasted their support team's time with your petty complaint by telephone? Damn. That's exactly why I have the phone off the hook, and IM turned to DND. What's wrong with email?

Goddess preserve us from people who say "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE".

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[ 20-Jan-05 2:05pm ] [ , , ]