back to article Move over, Google. Here’s Wikipedia's search engine – full of on-demand smut

Wikipedia developers have sketched out designs for a Wikipedia Search Engine, which would give users a one-click replacement for Google search. The search engine could also be embedded in devices such as the Kindle, or smartphones. It’s an fascinating strategic option, and an aggressive one. Google’s site scraping algorithms …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one point in the article.

    "It’s also caused disquiet because it was funded not from donations, but by a restricted grant from the Knight Foundation. "

    Now other than references to KITT, having restricted grants in the charity sector is pretty common place. For example, I help run a youth club and it's not uncommon to get grants / donations for "Only to be used for a youth worker" or "must be used for an art project". A good many donors also put caveats on that the details of their donation are not to be disclosed to the public.

    So to infer this is some dark and mysterious act, may be something as simple as "we want a better search engine".

    Now some people find this odd and go, "well why can't we use it for XYZ" and get the hump, but as it's a condition of the donation, you morally, if not legally, have to comply.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Just one point in the article.

      But is it common at the WMF? That's explained in the Signpost article, linked to in the article.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-02-03/Op-ed

      --> "Has the Foundation's grant transparency policy changed?"

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: Just one point in the article.

        But even there it mentions her predecessor acknowledges that something like a third of applications didn't get published at the behest of the grant issuing body.

        I appreciate it's an anecdotal value (which Sue admits as being a guesstimate), but one could argue that not publishing it is not in itself suggestive of anything untoward, and is merely a continuation of the kind of influence these bodies put on applicants. As has been suggested above.

        Just sayin'

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    I'm not sure about the viability

    The concept of "porn that anyone can contribute to" already exists on the Internet.

    Or so I'm told.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    porn...

    don't ever fall down the rabbit hole and look up the word "ejaculation" on Wikipedia. Really, a definition is quite enough, maybe a medical-type drawing of the affected parts. But we don't need media about it...including a video. Although...at least the current video shows a guy using his hand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: porn...

      "at least the current video ..."

      How often do you check this page?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: porn...

      Apparently the guy who doing sex illustrations for Wikipedia retired. It's too bad, because I thought they were a nice compromise between real pictures that might be too much for some viewers and the kind of cold unnatural looking diagram you'd expect from more conventional sources.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: porn...

        The 1970s book The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort featured black and white outline illustrations by an artist by Chris Foss.

        Other readers might recognise him as the man who illustrated the covers of a good many sci-fi books, but in a completely different style (full colour, brush and airbrush), often on Asimov books.

        He combined the two styles in a book called Diary of a Spaceperson. Citing an Amazon.co.uk review of the same:

        Imagine you have this archive of fantastic science fiction art depicting highly original and organic spacecraft with vibrating colours, painted by a legendary artist. And you also have this even larger pile of pencil sketches of topless women. Wanting to show these to the world your natural reaction might be to compile a work about spaceships and another with drawings. Not so here.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Debbie Does Dallas"

    What is it about that video (film?) that appears to make it timeless. It is a milestone in my educational media consumption together with the obligatory playground black & white "Health and Efficiency" - and later on "Mayfair".

    The video was on the shelves of our high street rental store when they were springing up like mushrooms. Before Blockbuster - or the BBFC ratings were applied. We had to rent videos - a VHS M*A*S*H cost GBP49 to buy (Today's prices GBP150??)

    1. Holleritho Silver badge

      Easy to remember

      And it has no words you need to hesitate over saying.

      As far as your maiden aunt is concerned, Debbie is a tourist enjoying the sightseeing and shopping in that interesting Texan city.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dunno - I was into* Vanessa Del Rio and Seka myself.

      Porn was way better back then, lots of profit to be made so the quality from movies featuring stars was quite high and the producers even had spare room for little stories one could laugh at ;-) Today .... one gets what one pays for, I guess.

      *) Well, in spirit, anyway.

      1. Kurt Meyer

        Seka and those scarves

        @AC - Kelly Nichols for me.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >We had to rent videos - a VHS M*A*S*H cost GBP49 to buy

      Is it possible that was the price video rental shops had to buy it at? They were not allowed to rent out copies that were sold to Joe Public.

  5. PleebSmasher
    Stop

    hit piece

    That has very little to do with Wikipedia's search engine. Wikipedia has had controversies over the porn/sex content hosted on articles and Wikimedia, it will blow over if it attracts any attention at all. I like the idea of including a public domain film in the article for it. Hell, given the skin-nificance, include Debbie Does Dallas in the Library of (Sexual) Congress's National Film Registry

    Too bad about the secretive grant, but the likely outcome is that searching Wikipedia delivers better results for when you are off from the exact article name. From the multi projects search goal we can tell that Wikimedia, Wikinews, Wikibooks, etc. content could be rolled into the Wikipedia search, making those items more discoverable for people who only use or know about Wikipedia.

  6. Known Hero
    Paris Hilton

    Kindle ?

    Is that still a thing?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      It's the biggest eBook store in the world, so yeah, it's still a thing.

    2. Known Hero
      Thumb Down

      To all the downvoters. I used to see kindle's all the time a few years ago, Haven't seen one in the public for over a year at least.

      Icon = Have a thumb down for your negativity.

      @phuzz It's the biggest eBook store in the world: That is their App/Book store, not the kindle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You used to see "kindle's" all the time? Perhaps you mean the old "Kindle Keyboard", as it is now called, which has a rather distinctive appearance. There are now other devices sold under the "Kindle" name, such as the Kindle Fire, which seems to be a very popular tablet amongst primary school children, but looks just like any other tablet from a distance.

        1. Known Hero

          Its a small world after all

          Saw a kindle in the waiting room of a hospital yesterday ...

  7. andy 103

    A different user experience to searching

    Google isn't going away any time soon but here's an interesting concept: if you do a Google search for - as one example - a country or place, one of the first results is almost always a Wikipedia entry. This applies to many things not just places. Many people are getting in the mindset that if they want to get this info they can just go straight to Wikipedia since that's where they'll end up. And they like that because it presents the information in the same consistent format.

    This is opposed to Googling something and going to any number of random, differently presented websites, and then having to look for the info you want - because of the UX/design.

    Wikipedia lets you do a search and the actual information (not the search result itself) is presented consistently. Google can't offer that because they are of course presenting the search results consistently, but not the pages where users end up.

    This seems to be a different way of thinking about it, which is interesting.

  8. Kurt Meyer

    A fascinating strategic option

    "Instead of finding Wikipedia through Google, you could bypass Google completely."

    Perhaps with something like a "Bookmark" or a "Favorite". Now bear with me, this is still only a concept, but I hope to have a working example very soon.

    I've applied for several grants, and when fully funded, I plan to conduct some spirited research at one of the local watering holes.

    1. Just Enough
      FAIL

      Re: A fascinating strategic option

      Really, does this story amount to anything more than a website is looking at better indexing its own content, rather than just expecting their readers to use google? Is that what counts as an "aggressive" strategic option now?

  9. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Wow thanks for the tip, I hadn't any idea and embedded movies you say?

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I noticed that the article didn't once use terms like wikifiddler etc.

    Since I meant that as a compliment, I'm a bit surprised a post stating that fact (and nothing else) just got rejected.

    1. Boo Radley

      "I'm a bit surprised a post stating that fact"

      I read that as prostate ing the fact :-\

  11. WalterAlter
    Pint

    Wikipedia is But Stage One

    If Wikipedia can somehow evolve minus ad content, this indispensable tool for the terminally curious might have a chance at upstaging Google. I have often spent entire days entertaining myself leapfrogging through Wikipedia on safari for anything of interest that fills in gaps in my knowledge base. Prescient Wikipedia staff have probably already sussed that their content can be organized into pedagogical units and may one day supplant the idiocy that passes for public school education in brick and mortar institutions. Of course now there will be edit wars over which videos best illustrate the point in question. Frankly, I think that maps, diagrams and schematics would be easier to scan than videos for those who need more rapid uptake of salient data or meta data.

  12. WalterAlter

    Wikipedia is But Stage One

    If Wikipedia can somehow evolve minus ad content, this indispensable tool for the terminally curious might have a chance at upstaging Google. I have often spent entire days entertaining myself leapfrogging through Wikipedia on safari for anything of interest that fills in gaps in my knowledge base. Prescient Wikipedia staff have probably already sussed that their content can be organized into pedagogical units and may one day supplant the idiocy that passes for public school education in brick and mortar institutions. Of course now there will be edit wars over which videos best illustrate the point in question. Frankly, I think that maps, diagrams and schematics would be easier to scan than videos for those who need more rapid uptake of salient data or meta data.

  13. Ilgaz

    Why reinvent the wheel?

    There is a working, privacy caring, open source thing which everyone seems to love: DuckDuckGo .

    It also made into browsers. Support it with that brain power and money instead.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Why reinvent the wheel?

      @Ilgaz

      The Google search algorithms - and thus DuckDuckGo - are designed for the WWW, where any idiot can create a website (and search results are, in part, ranked by how many other pages link to it).

      The approach to searching within a more structured, centrally hosted, collection of data would be different. The requirements of the user might be different, too. A user might, for example, want to search for all Wikipedia articles related to [SUBJECT] that have not been edited in the last [LAST EDIT DATE] and cite only those sources that come from [EXTERNAL SOURCE: ".ac.org"] or whatever.

  14. seraphim

    Better stick with Google. There's certainly no porn that will be found using it!

  15. Sub 20 Pilot

    Search engines..

    I have not used google to search for anything for a long time. I know that they are reliant on ads but to me that is no good, If I look for details on, say, thermal properties of titanium, they would fill the first page with pointless shit that said ''buy thermal properties for titanium locally for less here..'' and similar crap.

    I would happily pay for a search utility, be it google, duckduckgo, wiki etc if it did away with this sort of shit and gave me relevant search results as opposed to search results that are relevant only to the people paying to push their shit. most of my need for information such as this is based on my work and is worth money to me.

    Sadly, I don;t think that will ever happen as the number of people willing to pay for a better service are dwarfed by the ones that want everything for free an are to fucking stupid to realise that they are the product being sold.

    1. Havin_it
      Boffin

      Re: Search engines..

      Maybe it's because of AdBlock/Ghostery, but I just did that exact search and didn't see a single ad or sponsored result. All the results seemed pretty germane to me. They even had a nice little boxout at the top with a snippet from the Wikipedia article on titanium (which was the top result, natch).

      Maybe it's time you gave it another look?

  16. John Lilburne

    Bad a s Google is it doesn't toss up porn when you image search for furniture or pearl. And WP is innoculated against ever stopping that from happening.

  17. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
    Coat

    Embedded reality

    > Why trawl the world, when the world is inside Wiki?

    "He's on an intergalactic cruise... in his office"

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