Intelligent Design

Uncommon Descent is being indexed by Google again

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On September 16th, 2006 uncommondescent.com was mysteriously dropped from indexing by google.com. Deindexing means that any google search would never return a hit to uncommondescent.com. We became blogona non grata at google. We were never given a reason beyond we were in violation of webmaster guidelines. Not knowing how, we tried everything we could think of to fix it, including the new WordPress Theme “Cutline”, a sitemap, and shutting down an unauthorized mirror site (antievolution.org/buud).

We know that google reevaluated us after all this (it’s in the webmaster report) and we were still not reindexed. The next automatic cycle for evaluations was coming up in December but we had nothing new to try so we held out little hope. Then we decided to start blogging about the problem on sites that were still indexed. Denyse led that campaign beginning just last week. Then all of a sudden after just a few days of putting the word out we were just as mysteriously reindexed by google. I suspect what happened is that someone who knew someone had us manually delisted in September. In November someone reading Denyse’s blog who happened to be a stockholder at Google contacted google investor relations and asked them to explain why a major blog with a pagerank of 6/10, a blog with tens of thousands of legitimate links (many from prominent educational institutions), a blog over a year old run by a famous author and professor, was deindexed. Given my experience at another famous company which cared mightily about its stockholders, knowing that investor relations can get to the bottom of things very quickly at such corporations, I’d guess someone finally looked into the matter and quickly did the right thing by reindexing us.

Many thanks to Denyse O’Leary for getting the word out and many more thanks to Micah Sparacio (our behind the scenes technical guru) for expressing so clearly what needed to be said. Way to go, team!

18 Replies to “Uncommon Descent is being indexed by Google again

  1. 1
    DonaldM says:

    This is insteresting. I just did a google check.

    First I typed in “William Dembski”, then “Intelligent Design”

    UD was the 4th entry under “William Dembski, but there isnot so much as a mention of UD in the first 5 pages (which is as far as I checked) under “Intelligent Design”.

  2. 2
    dopderbeck says:

    My experience with representing big companies in litigation in claims of this ilk is that the usual explanation is simple managerial incompetence and sloppiness rather than some kind of conspiracy to suppress the little guy.

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    dopderbeck

    Care to explain the hypothetical process you imagine took place through managerial incompetence to get us delisted? In any case, the cloak and dagger explanation is way more entertaining and unless someone at google explains what happens it’s a live possibility.

    DonaldM

    I did the search for intelligent and checked out the hits. They appear to be ranked more or less appropriately. Checking a few of them listed at the top I observed Dembski is mentioned in those. If you use advanced search and get the first 100 hits then Uncommon Descent is down near the end of the list which isn’t too surprising given how many big national media outlets write about ID.

    Seaching for “william a. dembski” UD was the 8th hit with Bill’s designinference.com being the top hit which is about right.

  4. 4
    DonaldM says:

    Dave: As long as you’re satisfied with it. I just wanted to let you know what I found.

  5. 5
    DaveScot says:

    “Satisfied with it” needs some clarification. I’m satisfied that it’s been restored to the way it was in the past. I wasn’t necessarily satisfied with the way it was in the past.

  6. 6
    DaveScot says:

    Funniest thing at the peanut gallery in a coon’s age.

    http://www.antievolution.org/c.....74;p=38077

    Proof positive that even a blind squirrel finds an ocassional acorn.

  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    And no Lou, it was a joke. Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase as a politically correct way to describe himself. I was afraid it was thus too complimentary but then on second thought I figured who could possibly confuse you with Rush Limbaugh. After all Rush is bright, talented, rich, and has a beautiful wife.

  8. 8
    DonaldM says:

    After all Rush is bright, talented, rich, and has a beautiful wife.

    I thought he was divorced. Did he re-marry?

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    Make that “had” a beautiful wife. The point remains even with the past tense.

  10. 10
    Michaels7 says:

    I forgot about the delisting until Denyse’s article and decided to contact them several days ago. Albeit, a non-vested interest.

    After verifying the problem(delisting, Google web crawling rules) and the UD page source was in compliance, I wrote to the Google Quality Team. Questions were seeded to induce thought on their behalf, though not numbered as below.

    Mainly,
    1) How can a site be delisted so easily without oversite, owned by a PhD in Math and Philosophy, Professor Dembski, a well known author and lecturer? Ditto, now shared with a well known reporter, journalist and author, Denyse O’Leary?
    2) If the Google Search engine delisted the site by mistake and appropriate people notified, would the Google Quality Team fast path a long overdue correction?
    3) Why can a young child turn on pornography access(see preferences: SafeSearch on/off; Google.com) so easily, but the Google Search engine team, not relist a site just as easily?
    4) Are these issues a problem the Google Quality Team should be aware of as flaws of the current Search Engine?

    Of personal concern to me, not shared directly, but obliquely referenced to the Google Quality Team is that the “delisting issue” was not a software “glitch.” Dave had verified the rules, all looked good as well when I checked.

    In designing software, ability to override specific events(original software flaws or not), must be available to users; in this case, Google Search engine support staff. A simple flag beside a name, in this case: /UncommonDescent.com/Y/ can suffice, where a “Y” overrides Google Search engine delisting.

    A simple flag in preferences allows vast millions of pornographic sites to be listed depending upon the search words; in .22 seconds, my test turned up 3.3 million sites. Any child can change the flag setting. So, the Google Search engine can be set externally by users or internally by Google staff.

    If a young child can manipulate flags online, certainly the Google staff could relist UD to override any Google Search engine flaws. Correct? The Uncommon Descent site appeared to me Google “Sanctified,” at least within the realms of 3.3 million other sites.

    The only logical conclusion was one Dave and Denyse put forth. Somethin’s not Good in Google land. Confidence in the “do no evil” meme was being eroded by possible inaction on the part of Google.

    Unless; thinking to myself along Darwinian lines, the Google Search engine comes to life with no soul and well; just so happens, umm, without purpose, you know, to begin randomly delisting intelligent web sites of scienctific discussions other than Pornographic sites. I reasoned like Dawkins; that to randomly delist sites like UD, insure survival of pornographic sites in the Darwinian battle of the web site species. UD would just become extinct, much like the Coelacanth fish….

    I could not understand the difficulty for Google to relist Uncommon Descent unless Google was an unintelligent, purposless creation built from the bottom up without intelligent input.

    I then realized that humans can reason, with purpose and direction, driven from the top….

    Afterall, who is contributing to society more? Pornographic sites or UD? Certainly, Google would think UD contributes more to a child and young adults education. I understood it may take a few weeks for Google web crawling to update its server tables, but the time passed was more than sufficient even for random restores to take place.

    Setting flags afterall is not a “hardcoded affair” unless the original software coders of Google were negligent. No, no, even with such doubtful and illogical beginnings, major software upgrades to the Google Search engine would tend towards replacement of egnigmatic delisting anomalies. Correct?

    The Google founders consider their employees as the brightest and are excellent marketers with the sublime bait utilized in hooking quality applicants(see *sum of 49, expansion of e). Plus they exhort to the world “do no evil.” So, my only rational recourse in line with the childlike quality of SafeSearch overrides was to ask my own flag-like true/false series of questions for a theoretical look into the souls of Google, of which their Quality Team might respond with action.

    This was Either due to human intervention, Or lack thereof. It was Either a Google Search engine software “glitch” they had yet to “fix” and upgrade, Or had refused to override by human intervention. It could Either be growing pains, Or the neglectful act of one person.

    Either/Or, True/False. Either a human malfunction in the beginning, Or end? Because even if the anomaly was a “software glitch” in the beginning, it would be a huge boondoggle of a mess of lost dollars to Google if humans could not override these “glitches” in the end, in the Google Search engine. Correct?

    For example…

    Imagine a business situation say where a customer wants to override Google Search engine results? Say, oh, in China maybe? Where Google high caliber staff are used to solving higher theoretical concepts in mathematics cannot not override the Google Search engine? Huh? No, no way, I could not imagine that, because I had dropped the Darwinian analogy.
    So, what if China says to them. Hey Google, delist that site about freedom? Or, what if they say, hey Google, relist that one page with the article about Mao only, our great Communist Leader!

    Afterall, they must respond to their customer(s). Correct?

    So, I let them know my concerns about UD. And asked the Google Quality Team nicely to see if this could be handled promptly and thanked them.

    Because I understood that Google stands for “do no evil.”
    Correct?

    Not sure the thought exercise reached the Google Quality team before the investor called, but it felt good writing them and asking questions. And yes, the note was shorter than this post. 🙂

    It is good to see Uncommon Descent like the Coelacanth listed again! Living, breathing, and swimming in the Google seas.

    *”Mathematicians are a curious string of characters” 😉
    See,
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/n.....13/google/
    jobs advertisement utilized to find highly qualified flag coders 😉

  11. 11
    Michaels7 says:

    I have a post stuck probably due to one word. I’ll try to reword it if I must.

    Great news guys!

  12. 12
    Chris Hyland says:

    “I suspect what happened is that someone who knew someone had us manually delisted in September.”

    I can’t really think of a particularly good reason why someone would do this unless they had some kind of personal grudge against Dembski or one of you. Or if UD accidentally broke one of Google’s rules.

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:

    I can’t really think of a particularly good reason why someone would do this unless they had some kind of personal grudge against Dembski or one of you.

    Agreed.

    Or if UD accidentally broke one of Google’s rules.

    Agreed.

    We didn’t break any of the rules. Now connect the remaining dots.

  14. 14
    steveh says:

    If I were a church burning ebola boy AND had the power to block sites from google (which I don’t), I’d target http://www.designinference.com where Dr Dembski hosts his scientific writings. I think UD gets a lot of links from the likes of PT but DInf probably less so. Therefore I would guess it’s someone with a grudge against one of you other guys.

  15. 15
    Jehu says:

    steveh

    If I were a church burning ebola boy AND had the power to block sites from google (which I don’t), I’d target http://www.designinference.com where Dr Dembski hosts his scientific writings.

    No, you would target UD. UD is what catches the most attention

  16. 16
    Robin Levett says:

    DaveScot

    Have you seen Wesley Elsberry’s recent blog about TalkOrigins.Org being delisted by Google?

    http://austringer.net/wp/?p=443

  17. 17
    DaveScot says:

    No, Robin. I hadn’t. Thanks for the heads up.

  18. 18

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