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Dear search engines,

If I type three words, let's say rca, 501 and emulator, and there are pages on the Internet that actually contains those three words, could you please, for the love of everything that you hold dear, show them to me?

And no, the Wikipedia page for the RCA 501 does not contain the word emulator, so why do you think that it belongs as the number one result?

And the second result, "15 best Android emulators for PC and Mac of 2020" does not contain the words rca nor 501.

There was a time when search engines actually searched for the terms you typed in. I'd like us to return to that.

@loke
Maybe searching for 'rca AND 501 AND emulator ' can do the trick ?

@raimu Of course. After one realises that none of the results actually matter, it's possible to fix up the query so that it gets you what you want. It's a hassle though, and in the first result there is nothing that indicates that none but one of the search terms you entered are actually present in the pages, so you have to manually load them and search for the words.

@raimu @loke Alta Vista come back, all is forgiven! 😁

(no, "AND" doesn't do anything on Google or DuckDuckGo)
@clacke @raimu @loke In DuckDuckGo, +"rca 501" +emulator seems to return only pages with all three terms. The other problem with "501" alone is that it's a pretty ubiquitous number.

For what it's worth, I don't believe there was a time when just typing "rca 501 emulator" in a search engine would have given you relevant results right away. It is inherently a tricky query because the number and the three-letters term.
@loke Dealing with these kinds of things is tiring because, what's the point of whining? There's a 0% chance they'll listen to us

@loke your search has been flagged as ‘unlikely to generate market capital.’ we have returned links that are more likely to promote consumption. if you would like to modify your search perameters to return more relevant results, we recommend adding “gamestop” to your search.

@loke
I'm not sure how YACY handles it, but maybe is worth a try. Bonus: you can self-host and federate the search results.

@loke look, this isn't a charity, we'll do our best to find results relevant to your search on the four websites we send people to, but ultimately you're going to go there because they paid for your clicks, little click piggy

@loke What really rustles my jimmies is looking for synchronous HTTP servers and getting pages about asynchronous HTTP servers, even without an “did you mean: …?” notice.

@loke So you say: well, I’ll look for “single-threaded” then. But this just gives you results as if you typed “multi-threaded”.

@loke I am equally frustrated with search results especially in the passed year, I think the answer for me lyes in attempting to populate projects like #openNIC #dat archives and local mesh networks with useful information as opposed to ad noise

@loke I think at some point they changed the logic from “and” to “or”. I know I have to wrap all words I want in quotes and usually that works, but their ordering of results is still wacky.

@carbontwelve @loke Sounds sensible but the ranking should still take into account how many keywords a page contains.
Maybe it's also because of some stemming that went awry and mapped "emulator" to "e" or something.

@loke Lycos is still around these days. Sometimes it offers great results. —> Lycos.com

@loke
Enter a search term, the response is often

"Showing results for <different search term>. Do you really want to search for <search term>?"

Why yes, yes I do.

@loke tools > unselect all results and select verbatim.

I've been using duck duck go a lot more this year. It's not that DDG has improved much at all recently, but big G has fallen so far that DDG is really looking really fabulous in comparison.

An observation I have is that people who spend all day logged into their G accounts get MUCH more compute resources in processing their requests, which leads me to believe they are actively shunning the privacy conscious crowd. Fools.

@loke Search engines do OR searches by default to maximize result number. You have to force the AND keyword either in the advanced search, or by using "AND" or a plus (+) in front of all the terms.

@loke unfortunately, a generation of people who once learned to use library card catalogues organized by title/subject/keyword were unable to use keyword search effectively, leading to the development of ask jeeves and this bullshit.

I long ago gave up on understanding this phenomenon :sad_but_cool:

@mishari @loke In theory, yes, but in practice, this too gives nonsensical results a lot of the time. The thing is, one has to fail the "normal" search to try these other quirks (including AND and similar qualifiers)

@mishari @cypnk @loke Google used to respect "+". Then they removed that syntax, but you could quote things to make them required. Now you can't rely on that either.

@loke Yeah, even with quotes around search terms, Google is sure it knows better. I miss AltaVista. That was the one search engine that would do an absolutely literal search, punctuation and all—great for looking up error messages.

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