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Slashback: Nigritude, Indignation, Artifacts 181

Slashback brings you updates this evening on a handful of previous and ongoing Slashdot stories: read on below for more on how to manipulate Google rankings, what's wrong with Sun's Java Desktop, Claria's plucky response to L.L. Bean's suit, and a fly in the infinite-twin-primes theory.

How to not make friends and influence rankings. Ben Michel contributes an update to the search-engine optimization (SEO) contest mentioned last month, the object of which was for contestants to create a site ranked highest by google for a nonsense phrase, "nigritude ultramarine."

Michel writes "The first phase of the competition ended last Monday, and the winner was the owner of a forum called nigritude ultramarine--previously known as According to Brandon Suit, the owner of this forum, the key to his winning strategy was "getting high PR backlinks"--having other websites with high Page Ranks link to him and vice versa.

What impact does this have on SEO, and indeed for the rapidly growing search industry in general? The viability of certain underhanded methods in the pursuit of SEO has been clearly reinforced by many of the results of the contest--both Suit and his closest competitor, Philipp Lenssen, posted links in Wiki Sandboxes in order to better their standing. According to Suit, "If you want to manipulate [Google], you can." While search engines certainly have come a long ways from relevance-based searching, it seems that they still have significant changes to make before they can more accurately order results for any given query. The search engines' creators themselves must make countless revisions in their own, perhaps quixotic, quests to create the perfect tools to retrieve relevant data in the vast, ever-expanding realm of the internet."

However, not everyone is as matter-of-fact about this method of increasing search-engine visibility; May Kasahara is one of the webmasters and wiki users who isn't.

Kasahara writes: "The Search Engine Optimization contest previously mentioned on Slashdot has had a detrimental effect on wiki users and admins (including myself) lately , as the words 'Nigritude Ultramarine' have been showing up in wiki sandboxes across the web. A search on UseModWiki's homepage brought me to this informative entry, which in turn led me to Nigritude Ultramarine and the Wiki Sandbox Effect [note -- mentioned last week on Slashdot] and to these accompanying comments, mostly from very annoyed wiki users."

OK, so maybe "infinite" was a strong word. Prof.Phreak writes "Quoting wikipedia: On May 26, 2004, Richard Arenstorf of Vanderbilt University submitted a 38-page proof that there are, in fact, infinitely many twin primes. On June 3, Michel Balazard of Bordeaux reported that Lemma 8 on page 35 is false.[1] As is typical in mathematical proofs, the defect may be correctable or a substitute method may repair or replace the defect. Arenstorf withdrew his proof on June 8, noting "A serious error has been found in the paper, specifically, Lemma 8 is incorrect"."

What are these dashed lines all over your sacred cow? reifman writes "Slashdot's link to my article in the Seattle Weekly helped generate 175,000 page views and numerous letters and comments. The article seemed to touch a nerve in the Mac and Linux communities. I've posted a follow up responding to people's letters."

Updates from the Academic Affairs Division. zenrandom writes "As Case Western has just recently been reported, we may as well mention the initiative that will be connecting many schools in Ohio. Oarnet, a part of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and The Ohio State University is building a statewide academic and research fiber optic network. Composed of multiple metro-rings and over 1600 miles of fiber."

In unrelated college news, Mirell writes "After the FBI previously investigated an open records request filed for the tunnel blueprints at UT, students decide instead to enter via brute force. Hooligans - 1, War Against Terror - 0."

The problem with opening Pandora's Box. WC writes "The previous review on JDS2 ended with no successful installation so it wasn't very helpful on what to expect from the Sun distro. This new review has got a working installation but with a slew of new problems: more installation woes, unusable networking, buggy Nautilus and Mozilla window resizing artifacts among others. The author concludes that JDS2 is --effectively-- nothing but JDS 1.1 with the added Sun server software on top, but the desktop part has the same (and more) issues like JDS1 had."

Looking innocent is not their strong suit. tbase writes "As reported on, Claria, formerly known as Gator, has sued L.L. Bean, charging the retailer with filing a frivolous lawsuit against its advertisers. As covered in a previous Slashdot story, L.L. Bean has filed suit against current and former Claria advertisers for advertising via pop ups over L.L. Bean's site."

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Slashback: Nigritude, Indignation, Artifacts

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by NoData ( 9132 ) < minus author> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:17PM (#9393651)
    Except that nigritude actually has to do with blackness (at least the color), whereas the more vulgar sounding "niggardly" has nothing to do with color or race. However, contrast the neologism negritude [] which is about blackness in racial terms.
  • by LuYu ( 519260 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:41PM (#9393789) Homepage Journal

    Why do they not just disable links to outside pages entirely? It is experimental, right? So why have links to other websites at all?

    Links could create a bogus page like:

    You have linked to the URL:
    Internal links within the wiki could be preserved.
  • by fizbane ( 747950 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:54PM (#9394140)
    Withdrawing from doesn't mean the original version goes away: math/0405509v1 []
  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @05:06AM (#9396013)
    Trust a Winnut to twist this in to some kind of anti-MS / anti-OSS statement. But hey - let's start off by making completely unrelated attacks:

    Heh. This, coming from the "teh softwarez must be free-as-in-um-actually-i'm-just-cheap" crowd (which unfortunately makes up the majority of the people who use open source) is absolutely hilarious.

    Hey - let's ignore the Windows-based warez scene. Windows freeware, shareware, and spyware. Let's not bother ourselves with how gleefull Winnuts get when Microsoft slips them CDs of the latest Enterprise app or OS at a Cert class, tech talk, or conference. After all, liking free stuff is solely the domain of the OSS crowd.

    And since this exists within the OSS crowd, obviously its all about money. Forget all those high-hat morals and ideals. Its all about being cheap. Nevermind professionals who deploy OSS even though they have access to budgets that enable them to pick from any option available.

    Pot, kettle, black.

    In any case, Microsoft has given software away for ages. Suddenly because they gave away IE, the world is on track to become evil purveyors of stolen... things.

    You might want to go back over what you quoted. In the litany of "free" stuff, it includes:

    Why pay for an operating system when I can get it for free? Why pay for software when I can get it for free?

    One could easily take this statement and place blame on OSS for putting the world on track "to become evil purveyors of stolen... things." In fact, that sounds awfully like the arguments put forward by Darl McBride and Ken Brown. Suddenly that quote doesn't quite have the MS-bash tone to it anymore.

    Of course, if you weren't so busy trying to mine the article for propoganda, you might have caught on to a good point. Whether Microsoft started the process or contributed to it... today they have a serious problem. They have to fight more than a product put forward by IBM or Novell or Redhat, et al. They have to battle a perception that the OS itself is as much a commodity as the hardware it runs on. If Microsoft is unable to stop this shift in perception, they will face the same kind of upset IBM faced when its market became a commodity.

    Now THAT is ironic.
  • by Gleef ( 86 ) * on Friday June 11, 2004 @09:58AM (#9397147) Homepage
    In addition to making the sandbox harder to find, it also means that spamming that sandbox will be less valuable, since the spam link won't enter into the ranking.

    Since Wiki Sandboxes are for people who want to use that Wiki, having the sandboxes not show up on searches hurts nobody. That is, nobody except for the Wiki admin, who has the initial nuisance of having to reconfigure apache, set up robots.txt, etc.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.