Thursday, November 1, 2012

Here is a walkthrough of one way this could work for the user. Here we incorporate a google search. (no, I don't hate google, but eventually I might not use google) I am imagining a form sitting at the bottom of the google news search page in your browser. The form has a command button labeled "filter," with several dials and check boxes to set the preferences of the filter, like so.

When someone types in "Obama" and searches, and the results are displayed normally (but the results are also gathered by the Nightingale News program). Then the user chooses from the dials and check boxes on the vb form and presses the "filter" button. The program matches (via a join) the users search results with the news articles already  voted on (and thus have instrumentation to apply the filter). The filtered results then display in your browser.

We should also display the unfiltered results after the filtered results, to give people a chance to vote on articles that have not yet been voted on. 

And you could just choose an article from the unfiltered google search and click on a "Save Votes" command button after reading the article and adjusting the dials and checking or not checking the boxes on the form to reflect how you want to vote on the article. Your votes will be saved for that article and will be used so that other people can filter their google search.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After emailing someone from occupy wall street about the idea and getting a kind response, I am starting to think people aren't understanding the idea. In a sense you could say it is not really a search engine so much as a complex search engine filter. But searching the whole web is an element whether it comes from google or not. It is "like" what is used on or, has things divided by topic, and people who ally themselves with, say, anarchism keep themselves and their posts within a topic, but's community is not a filter- something that you have the option of using.

More importantly and have only a "like" system, so that the only opinion a person can have and use to vote with is whether they "like" an article or not. All complexity of the peoples voice is reduced to one dimension. My idea uses the like opinion but also gathers a lot more opinions a reader and voter might have about an article, and not in binary but in gradations. In this way it is unlike anything I've seen on the internet. I believe it empowers people to voice their opinions about what they read on the internet and have that voice directly impact the search results of other people. People aren't just talking, they're doing.

This raises an interesting topic of how we could improve the presidential or other election by making the voting more complex than just "vote for" one person. There could be a whole slew of opinions gathered about candidates on the ballot (hopefully more than two candidates) and then these opinions are compiled to ultimately decide who won.

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Democratice Search Filter by Nannapat Nightingale is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

After the initial idea (below) I started thinking of additional features, like having another search criteria to get "the other side" or more than two sides of a story, and you can search for these sides on the same topic of, say, "Obama". 

Also I was thinking of a "media skew" chart that shows how well the actual news stories that are being published are/are not aligning with the preferences of the users of the nightingale news site.

Also they can vote on news outlets and filter according to that as well, and the votes could be revealed publicly, so people actually know where most others are getting their news, or like getting news.

The thing I am most concerned with developing first is the search algorithm. It could just use google, but use the extra flags as simple filters on the search. I am interested to hear what ideas other people have on this.

I believe that other people have probably had this idea, but maybe they have run into problems trying to make it a reality. One of the big problems is copyright law. Even google has faced difficult copyright lawsuits for its presentation of other news sites, and a start up and experimental company would probably simply be squashed. It is fitting I suppose, that a new idea would be squashed by the machinery that is supposed to protect (ownership of) new ideas.

Nevertheless, I am throwing the idea out there, rather than trying to benefit from it on my own, to see if I can find support and build free associations that could be strong enough to resist the onslaught that this people-empowering idea will invite.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An overview of the vision

Why is there not a free democratically powered search engine (rather than a mathematically powered one, like google)? The idea revealed here is just such a search engine that can adapt to the internet fast enough to help everyday people search and respond powerfully to current news, as well as anything else on the internet. 

Basically there are going to be various possible classifications of news articles that people can use rate/vote on the article. For example a range with perhaps 10 selectable gradations with "liberal" and "conservative" at the extremes will be available for users to rate how liberal or conservative the news article is. When they read it on the other online news site, a small program will collect your votes and the location of the news article. There can also be topical classifications people can fill in. All this information will be sent to a database and incorporated into the nightingale search engine, so for example a person can set their search preferences to a 5 or 6 on the 10 selectable gradations of liberal/conservative and find articles people have rated as a 5 or a 6.

There are many more possible classifications and gradations. these are the ones I've come up with: "about people vs about institutions" "Democratic vs Republican" "asks a lot of questions of the reader or tells them what to believe" "How factual vs how interpretive" (and a separate discussions of the facts and the interpretations available for comment) There can be other ideological flags such as "Libertarian" or "Religious", etc.

Of course, how to label an article is a question all on its own, and in addition to having conflicting votes that can be counted to democratically resolve the question, there should probably be a forum of discussion, like a separate level of discussion that they have in wikipedia, for discussing how to label an article. Also just a rating of how much they liked/disliked the news article (this part is not an innovation and is used by Perhaps you could add the conventional classifications "world, local, science, etc" In addition, I'd like to have people offer and vote on other classifications that can be added democratically.

People can vote as they surf for news via google, etc., or they can go to the nightingale news site and see what other people have voted on, by using the voted classifications as filters- getting to news on other sites that way.

People set their own preferences according to these classifications "I like stories based in people, anarchistic, with more facts and less interpretation and asks a lot of interesting questions, and that other people liked" 

So when a person searches for news (say search for Obama), it will show you results that have been voted on and classified

The end result is a less passive search, with many real people contributing to the "brain" of the internet in a more meaningful way than adding links. 

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