Shortlisted Hacks in Topical Search for WCEU 2022

I have been mulling over ideas for the WCEU 2022 conference, and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to open this up to collective review.

I suggest that people should brainstorm ideas , review each other’s hacks and so on. My proposed tags to identify this quasi-thread are #WCEU , #WCEU2022 and #SHiTS (for “Shortlisted Hacks in Topical Search” πŸ˜‰ ) … I’ll let someone else figure out a tagline for an alternative “Giggles” thread (LOL πŸ˜‰ ).

Let me now introduce a couple of examples, introducing the types of hacks I have been thinking of — neither of these are very complex, and I expect they can be both achieved in a couple lines of code without interfering with any other code out there. The first is so simple, I am kind of amazed no one has introduced it before.

On the page there is a search box (presumably in order to search for tags, but in fact it does nearly nothing — it merely appends whatever is typed into the search box to the URL … as if the user weren’t able to do that themselves). A much better solution would be actual search results — for example if the user searched for “online” the SERP would list actually used tags like “online banking”, “online marketing”, “online gambling” or whatever.

Another hack I have thought of seems a little more involved, but I think it must also be quite simple & straightforward. The idea is to enhace tag pages to include not only the correspondingly tagged posts, but also to include related tags. What I mean is that a tag could be considered related to another tag insofar as both tags appear on the same posts (and the more posts both tags commonly appear on, the closer the relationship). Some additional number-crunching might be useful, but that is the basic idea.

I have several more ideas, too … but here & now I want to mainly focus on how to organize such a distributed style of hacking. I am kind of new to this, so perhaps I am missing something rather important — and I would be happy if people could help me (and others — each other, or whatever) out. Also, I do not consider myself well-versed in php, and my “coding chops” in general are quite insignificant.

I hope people will enjoy the idea of brainstorming ahead of the conference — maybe something like that has already been done before? Please, support such collaboration either by contributing your own ideas or feedback … or by simply sharing the idea to brainstorm more ideas!

Thanks for your interest! πŸ˜€


How to Fix a Problem (in 60 Seconds or Less)

There aren’t many problems you can solve in 60 seconds, but here’s one: If your shoelaces are loose or untied, simply tie them again — and if you still have a few seconds to spare, then double-knot them (loosely).

Most problems, however, are far more complex … and solutions are far more intricate, often raising new issues that need to be dealt with. I am reminded of how Noam Chomsky would explain why he doesn’t often appear on mainstream media shows: the issues he talks about are simply too complex to even just describe in short sound bites.

In contrast, if you want to become successful like a famous celebrity, then you have to kill it in just a few seconds. Simply invade. Simply retaliate. Simply vax. Simply dunk. Simply break the Internet in the split second of a single freeze frame photo.

It’s easy, right? All you need is cameras. Well, maybe a good PR agent? Some billboards? …?

“Vote for me — I will X” … where X is simply a short phrase that means fix something … no explanation required. You will simply pull the plug? Wow, what a genius! That will surely solve everything, right? (see also “Everywhere Plans for Everybody” [ ] )

It’s complicated — but it is not futile. Don’t give up — you still have someone … right?

Who do you have? Who do you love? Who do you appreciate? Who do you care about at all? Do you care about yourself? If you don’t, then why would anyone else? Do you care about your community? Your environment? Your habitat? Or do you want to live in a shit-hole?

The first step towards solving any problem is to recognize that the problem exists. Let me explain this with an example of the kinds of problems I have taken onto my own “bucket list” of issues I personally want to address in my own lifetime.

A few months ago, it became obviously clear to some people that the stuff I have been saying for many years — probably a decade or even more — is in fact true: that Google is just as much “irrational media” (see “Hope & Change: Flipping the F-word & Removing the Old-Fashioned R-word” [ ] ) as is Facebook. Although it had already become clear to a few people that Google had manipulated the 2020 presidential election in the United States of America, these new facts are pretty much undeniably a statement from the company itself that essentially amounts to an admission of manipulation (see “This is just a load of crap” [ ] ) … and it blew up like a wildfire … and was doused.

Now we have a new crisis. Is the fact that what many gullible users consider to be a reliable source of information has in fact itself admitted that it actually is not a reliable source of information … somehow unworthy of further reflection? Have we simply moved on? Is our attention span so limited? Where might this kind of problem lead?

Google results
featured cover image via ; image from the movie “Idiocracy” via