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Topic: From Reduced Relevance to Antirelevance       [Link=233]
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JRepici
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      JohnRHere2
    From Reduced Relevance to Antirelevance   (Date posted: 09/25/11 at 18:35:20) Quote Modify Delete



Do a "define: despite" search and what do you get?

Hmmm.

Nowhere does it define despite as being a preposition meaning "in spite of".

Only the archaic noun meaning "disdain" or "contempt" will be found in the list. Worse, there is no note anywhere that this usage is archaic.

There was a time when you could use a search engine to do basic research and it would, at least, get you started in the right direction. Despite the fact that their results were getting less and less relevant over the years, there continued to be enough information in the results to let you draw your own conclusions.

Today, it has become a coin-flip. You may get valid information, but you may also get results that present convincing, but very misleading, information.

If your only job is producing valid and relevant information, you should probably not produce results like the one given in the above example.




. . . . . . . . . . .
How'd the other one do?

The "other" search engine got it right:


"In spite of; notwithstanding: won the game despite overwhelming odds."

They also presented the archaic noun usage, and noted that it was archaic (no longer in general use). You would learn none of this from the first search results, which presented only the archaic usage as the definitions...

Well, to be fair, the first SE results did also include a local Swedish rock group from Gothenburg named "Despite" in their results. How relevant! That's exactly what you were looking for when you typed "define: despite" into their search engine, right?




. . . . . . . . . . .
Recommendation?

So what do you do when the undisputed champ of relevant results starts getting a little long in the tooth?

I have been using at least one other search engine for a while now, and that seems like the best response to this normal entropy. Up until recently it has always been the second search, but it is getting to the point where it may become the first. Any other ideas?

Parenthetically, this seems like it would be a good time for anybody with a better idea of how to glean more relevant results, to step up and join the battle.

-John

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