April 27, 2006 10:36 | WebTech

Web Philo 101

Someone (Hoder) launched a missive in the GlobalVoices public mailing list stating that "[weblog search service X] sucks!" His main point of contention was how it does a poor job of tracking weblogs which aren't in english. Ensued a short spurt of others chiming in about why they think said service is no damn good.

I've had a bit to drink tonight so I fired off this missive. Beware. Boris pontificating.

*cough* *pulls out soapbox* *gets on soapbox* *cups hands around mouth*

The web is, by its very nature, decentralized. The notion that any centralized service or resource meant to be comprehensive is in any way authoritative, even effective, or even truly possible, is absurd.

Even Google is not the web, and try as they might, it will never be.

Furthermore, the desire to centralize all knowledge, even as an index or reference point, is an ages old human endeavor, one fundamentally linked with the fact that we are sentient and have developed language. (It is the role of language to codify all we experience; we call this "reality".)

This desire, this drive and even it progress and development and deployment, isn't "good" or "bad", it just is. It can be helpful but it can also be hurtful. When we structure things too much, when we push our order too far, things inevitably fall apart. In nature that is called "death".

In social/political terms there is a word for this extreme formalization that starts with F, which eventually leads us to getting to a state which is referred to by another word that starts with F. I leave that to your imaginations. ;)

As usual, I digress. (Blame my mind which is one with the Web.)

Technorati *can* be, when it works, a helpful resource. It is by no means authoritative, it will never be, and wanting it to be so is bad for our health. Seek multiple tools and resources.

I truly hope that one of the side-effects Global Voices might one day have (I think already does actually) is to spur on localized developments of aggregating and attention gathering services, such as regional aggregator blogs and ping servers. There is no reason (none) why there cannot and should not be a thousand Technorati-like services around the world, all tweaked and tuned for specific niche interests and purposes. (One of the effects of electronically accelerated communication is the fragmentation of culture.)

And ideally they would not be controlled by a handful well-fed [american] Silicon Valley types.

*steps down from soapbox*
*has another glass of sake*

So there. ;)


I'd settle for Technorati to give me back results more than once in a while. Then maybe I'll start looking into the validity of what's returned ;)

Patrick, tell me what searches aren't returning for you and we'll investigate.