WordCamp Europe 2022 — it’s Coming Up!

Preparing for WCEU … I think I will be asking a lot of questions … I want to know what people think, how people think, where they see possibilities, opportunities, goals, dreams, … for their own future, for our future together, for collaboration, for networking, for the entire marketplace of ideas.

Will you be there in person, will you participate online? Will you answer my questions?

  1. How would you define “search engine”?
  2. More questions / issues here (if you want): “Language & Community — Some More or Less Clearly Defined Definitions

Hope to see you there! 😀

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WordPress Cafe: How to define “Search Engine”?

As I will hopefully be attending the WordPress Cafe @ WordCamp Europe this year, I also hope to participate in the discussions related to “Search Engine Optimization”. In my humble opinion, the “first and foremost” question here is: How do you define a search engine? (as otherwise you wouldn’t know what you’re trying to optimize or even talking about in the first place).

Half a decade ago, at WCEU in Paris, I raised a very similar question to Matt in the Q&A session after his talk with Om Malik. In case you missed it, I posted a link to the video of the event here:

please feel free to watch it! 😀

WOOHOO — WordPress Advanced Search!! 😀” [ http://fun.freezine.org/2018/02/22/woohoo-wordpress-advanced-search ]

To cut to the chase, I believe every website is a search engine (yet not every search engine need be a website). Generally, a lot of technologies function as search engines or finding tools without any requirement of being connected to the Internet (also known as “online”). For example: in many applications, <ctrl>+<F> is encoded as a search tool, or the Windows “Menu” key provides access to search functionality, or even an old-fashioned “card catalog” (or the “index” and / or “table of contents” in other paper-based media). Dictionaries and encyclopedias are search engines. Maps. Pedestrian crossings or crosswalks. The McDonald’s “golden arches”. Your eyes, your ears, your nose. Many things are search engines.

In the meantime, WordPress.COM has continued to expand the search capabilities available to the users of WordPress.COM … and yet by and large, they still continue to remain quite basic.

Even if a website has no “search box”, every website (as long as a website exists at all) has a so-called “homepage” … which is the default starting point (sometimes they are even referred to as “start page”).

On the WWW, the optimization of search engines is really the responsibility of those people who maintain websites. About 15 years ago, I would sometimes get into discussions with people who had such responsibilites (e.g. with Matt Cutts or Marissa Mayer via twitter.com ). Over time, I have come to understand that quite often the people who maintain websites have other things on their minds than whether or not the information on their sites is easily accessible or not (see, for example, “This is just a load of crap” [ https://podcasts.video.blog/2022/01/08/this-is-just-a-load-of-crap ] ).

Creating the World We Want

In 2017, I attended my first WordCamp conference — WCEU in Paris. I was thrilled. It was thrilling. I engaged and interacted with some of the most inspiring people I have met from all over the world.

Beyond that, I asked Matt Mullenweg a question — and my question seemed to shock the entire audience of thousands of WordPress developers, designers, creatives, users and more. The huge auditorium was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. If you want to watch a short excerpt from the event, please feel free to follow this link [ http://fun.freezine.org/2018/02/22/woohoo-wordpress-advanced-search ].

In the following years, I feel that WordPress (and Automattic) have made significant strides in the direction of my somewhat less than completely humble request: improving search (aka “information storage and retrieval”) with WordPress. Improving “natural language search” is very high on my own “bucket list” of priorities — one of a few things I hope to achieve (or at least make significant contributions towards) in my lifetime. Even at the time (in 2017), Matt himself said that my aspirations were very “forward-thinking”.

I have a few other “bucket list” items that are also WordPress related. In the intervening 5 years, I also attended WCEU in Berlin. I have now met with quite a few leaders in the WordPress arena and I also wish for more engagement in this direction … to collectively create the world we want. Increasingly, people are becomeing more and more aware that it is ultimately we who are responsible for grabbing the bull by the horns and steering us towards the future world we want.

Here (and now), I want to invite more engagement. I have tried this before, and I feel I need to try it again. Maybe the most simple and straightforward way is to simply ask people to add their own “two cents”, and then (if appropriate) I will extend an invitation to participate more. Beyond that, I think it is best to refrain from “Great Expectations” and simply wait and see.