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Re: RFC: How to Write a Great Thread

by zentara (Archbishop)
on Mar 05, 2009 at 11:53 UTC ( #748494=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to RFC: How to Write a Great Thread

++, a great reminder to us all. The problem now with Google is "information overload" can get too many hits back on a query. So to be helpful to those in the future looking for answers, think of the best "keywords" you can put into your title. For instance.... don't title something..."need help with mapping arrays"......choose something like "perl array map" for a title. This limits the search to Perl arrays.... or hopefully, Google's AI program will correctly limit the search.

Someome here( I forgot you again O great monk), has a tagline "99% of the code you need has already been written"...... and most answers here at Perlmonks could simply be "just google for previous responses".

I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth My Petition to the Great Cosmic Conciousness

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Re^2: RFC: How to Write a Great Thread
by jhourcle (Prior) on Mar 05, 2009 at 17:56 UTC

    The problem with keywords is that what you think of the problem is might not be what everyone else thinks of it as.

    For a while now, I've been trying to figure out how I can do 'server push' with an AJAX request. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I found that there's a whole website that talks about the general concept, but they call it 'Comet'.

    If you're looking for documents about AJAX from _before_ it was called AJAX (and I'm not talking about sports teams, cars, or cleaning products), they're not going to have that keyword associated. Once in a while, terms used to explain concepts diverge or converge, or just differ between communities.

    When you're dealing with search systems, you typically measure its performance in terms of 'precision' (you only get back relevant results; bad precision == information overload) and 'recall' (you get back _all_ of the relevant results). Adding too many keywords (especially if the keyword is polysemous) helps with recall and the whole 'search engine optimization' efforts to boost your ranking, but it harms precision if you're only peripherally related to the extra keywords that you insert.

    I'd love for search engines to come up with a 'context' concept, so I can search for 'apple' in a food context, or 'map' in a perl context. (these aren't the best examples ... the issue comes in ranking ... I'd NOT want the context to be used for sorting of the results ... so 'map' is the important criteria and 'perl' is only used to filter down the list to remove non-perl contexts) ... I just wish I could remember some of the times when I've actually run into this problem.

    (sorry ... my library school classes on classification theory and cataloging are slowly floating to the top ... and this morning's meeting on how to define certain concepts used in classification for a metadata standard)

      ++, got me thinking. Searching with a "context" is a good idea.....but how to define context from a word in random phrases? "apple of my eye", "apple tree", "Apple Computers", "road apple", etc. :-)

      Google is probably working on it now.

      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth My Petition to the Great Cosmic Conciousness

        Actually, I'm pretty sure Google already does that, in a way. If you're logged in to one of Google's systems (like Gmail), it knows what you've searched for before, and uses those data to compute your search results, so that if you've done lots of searches on computers and such, computer results get a higher weight. IIRC they do some weighting based on location as well.

        Incidentally, I would really, really like to know more about how Google's algorithms work. I'm pretty sure those methods being known would be a great boon to research in those areas of computer science.

Re^2: RFC: How to Write a Great Thread
by moritz (Cardinal) on Mar 06, 2009 at 08:16 UTC
    No. Don't write for search engines, write for the other readers. It's the tools that should help us, not us that should help the tools. (And search engines improve over time - the titles don't).

    That said, putting perl in the title of a perlmonks thread is redundant anyway - both from a search engine perspective and from the reader's perspective. SoPW posts are perl centric by default.

      putting perl in the title of a perlmonks thread is redundant anyway

      Not when it comes to searching google. If I google search for "great threads", I get pthreads, win32 threads, PhP crap, even clothing ads. But, if I just add "perl great threads", the results are narrowed quite a bit.

      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth My Petition to the Great Cosmic Conciousness

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