"Jew" in Wikipedia
nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Aug 19 04:32:46 UTC 2012
This came about because an antisemitic site called Jew Watch was coming up first on Google searches on "Jew." (Recall that Google looks not just at page rank but at the prominence of a term in the site -- for example, in headers -- and that ths singular "Jew" is relatively uncommon in that context.) When this was discovered, there were numerous complaints (including one from the ADL) and a widely disseminated petition ask Google to remove the site from its rankings. That would have created complications for Google, which as a matter of policy removes only such sites as are illegal in the relevant jurisdiction. Instead they elected to post that explanation. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_Watch
> A site’s ranking in Google’s search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted. A search for “Jew” brings up one such unexpected result.
> If you use Google to search for “Judaism,” “Jewish” or “Jewish people,” the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for “Jew” different? One reason is that the word “Jew” is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word “Jewish” when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically, as noted on websites devoted to Jewish topics such as these: ...
> and ending, even more curiously, with:
> We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it.
> The Google Team
> But of course I hadn't reported any upsetting nature of any such experience, much less informed Google of the upsetting experience I didn't have. Curiouser and curiouser.
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