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Women of the web

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  • Chen Shapira
    Hi, I just read an article on Wired that reasoned something along the lines of: internet is for horny nerds = women don t want to be nerds = women are
    Message 1 of 11 , May 1, 2001
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      Hi,

      I just read an article on Wired that reasoned something along the lines of:

      "internet is for horny nerds => women don't want to be nerds => women are
      computer illiterate"

      I will not voice my opinion.

      The article however included information that could be checked:
      " But when she started surfing for sites to link to the center's homepage,
      she was appalled at the measly content she found; plugging "women" or
      "girls" into a search engines frequently turned up porn, and the so-called
      "women's sites" dished up fare about as stimulating as instant mashed
      potatoes. "
      So I run "women" on google: (editted the description, but this is what
      appeard on the first page)
      Category: Society > People > Women > History
      <http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/People/Women/History/>

      Welcome to Women.com: Where women are going <http://www.women.com/>
      National Organization for Women ( NOW ) <http://www.now.org/>
      Women Mathematicians <http://www.agnesscott.edu/lriddle/women/women.htm>
      National Women's History Project <http://www.nwhp.org/>
      Diotima: Women & Gender in the Ancient World
      <http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html>
      4000 Years of Women in Science <http://www.astr.ua.edu/4000WS/4000WS.html>
      Welcome to the American Association of University Women
      <http://www.aauw.org/>
      League of Women Voters <http://www.lwv.org/>
      The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC)
      <http://www.4woman.gov/>
      WITI - Women In Technology International - Women Advancing ...
      <http://www.witi.com/>
      Needless to say, all those are highly feministic sites. (I didn't check the
      sites themselves, if "Women Mathematicians" is a kinky sex site, don't blame
      me)
      The results for "girls" are less exciting, but didn't include any porn site
      either.
      I can understand that people invent facts to support their opinions, but it
      takes real talent to do so with something that can easily be checked.
      Thanks,
      Chen.
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... If you re interested to find out how Google works, take a look at http://www7.scu.edu.au/programme/fullpapers/1921/com1921.htm It s an article titled The
      Message 2 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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        On Wed, May 02, 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Women of the web":
        >
        > Chen Shapira <chen@...> writes:
        >
        > > So I run "women" on google:
        >
        > Maybe search engines are rigged for what different kinds of people
        > look for?
        >
        > I recall that when I first learned about Google I ran "the latex test"
        > on it. It used to be (in those days) that running a search on latex
        > (or LaTeX) turned on a lot of condom, fetish, and other chemistry
        > sites. Google turned up LaTeX manuals. I have been using Google for
        > web searching ever since.

        If you're interested to find out how Google works, take a look at
        http://www7.scu.edu.au/programme/fullpapers/1921/com1921.htm

        It's an article titled "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web
        Search Engine" which explains how Google works. This talk was given in the 7th
        WWW conference (in 1998), by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page - then two
        CS graduate students in Stanford, and now Google executives.

        The idea is, to put it simply, google doesn't care only about a web-page
        and the words in it - it puts a lot of emphasis on how many (and which)
        other pages link to that page, and what text is used to link to this page.
        So for example, even a very popular condom page (assuming such a page
        exists ;)) is not likely to be linked as A HREF="..." the latex page /A.
        So searching for latex, you are likely to get a page which mentions latex
        (preferably in the title), but more importantly - that many other pages
        (preferably themselves "quality pages" - see the full article for more about
        that) link to this page with the word "latex" in the link page.

        The Google article has a varient of this "latex" test - the "Bill Clinton"
        test. They say how a person search for "Bill Clinton" on a contemporary
        search engine got, as the first result, a page containing only the 3 words:
        "Bill Clinton Suck". After all, 2/3 of all the text of that page was the
        search terms, so it must be highly relevant. Right? Wrong :) Google finds,
        as a first result, whitehouse.gov, because it works by finding the
        Clinton-related site that most people would care enough about to link to,
        and that is of course not the 3-word page.

        And why didn't you find much porn among the "women" results? Well, there can
        be several explanation
        1. A lot of the porn pages want to be popular, but they are actually not.
        Not many sites link to them. Do you have a link to a porn page on your
        homepage?
        2. The most linked-to sites are probably big indexes and search engines,
        a la yahoo. This means that their links to other site have a very big
        weight in google's rankings. And crappy porn pages don't appear in Yahoo,
        or other such "respectable" indexes.
        3. porn sites (because of explanation #1 above) often try to "spam" search
        engines, by stuffing keywords into their site, nominating variants of
        the same site thousands of times, and so on. So Google and the other search
        engines might be actively trying to curb these attempts, and as a result
        lowering the number of these sites appearing on the search.

        > By the way, www.playboy.com used to have a decent computer column,
        > proving that you don't have to be dumb to be a playmate. Is it still
        > there?

        Playboy is really an enigma. I saw a while ago on C-SPAN, a lecture (in some
        important media event) by Playboy's owner (I forgot her name, she's the
        daughter of the original owner), and she was talking in an extremely intelligent
        manner, and about very interesting issues. But let's face it - men don't buy
        Playboy for these discussions, nor its computer column. They buy it for the
        nudie-pictures and centerfold. According to that interview, when playboy
        started their Internet site they decided to focus more on the soft-porno than
        on the articles, because they found that that is what people were really
        looking for anyway.

        --
        Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, May 2 2001, 9 Iyyar 5761
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |AlGoreithm, n: Repeating a calculation
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |until a prior desired result is produced.
      • Shlomi Fish
        ... The question is whether such encouraging results would turn up on all search engines. Google is a very good search engine which uses some sophisticated
        Message 3 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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          On Tue, 1 May 2001, Chen Shapira wrote:

          > Hi,
          >
          > I just read an article on Wired that reasoned something along the lines of:
          >
          > "internet is for horny nerds => women don't want to be nerds => women are
          > computer illiterate"
          >
          > I will not voice my opinion.
          >
          > The article however included information that could be checked:
          > " But when she started surfing for sites to link to the center's homepage,
          > she was appalled at the measly content she found; plugging "women" or
          > "girls" into a search engines frequently turned up porn, and the so-called
          > "women's sites" dished up fare about as stimulating as instant mashed
          > potatoes. "






          > So I run "women" on google: (editted the description, but this is what
          > appeard on the first page)
          > Category: Society > People > Women > History
          > <http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/People/Women/History/>
          >
          > Sites snipped.

          > Needless to say, all those are highly feministic sites. (I didn't check the
          > sites themselves, if "Women Mathematicians" is a kinky sex site, don't blame
          > me)
          > The results for "girls" are less exciting, but didn't include any porn site
          > either.
          > I can understand that people invent facts to support their opinions, but it
          > takes real talent to do so with something that can easily be checked.
          > Thanks,
          > Chen.
          >

          The question is whether such encouraging results would turn up on all
          search engines. Google is a very good search engine which uses some
          sophisticated techniques that other engines don't. Did you try to search
          for it using AltaVista, or Excite, or Lycos or any other of the major
          search sites?

          Of course, Google's methods are not always perfect. (re: "More Evil" ==>
          Microsoft.com).

          Regards,

          Shlomi Fish

          >
          >
          >
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          > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
          >
          >
          >
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          >
          >



          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
          Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
          Home E-mail: shlomif@...

          A more experienced programmer does not make less bugs. He just realizes
          what went wrong more quickly.
        • Oleg Goldshmidt
          ... Maybe search engines are rigged for what different kinds of people look for? I recall that when I first learned about Google I ran the latex test on it.
          Message 4 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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            Chen Shapira <chen@...> writes:

            > So I run "women" on google:

            Maybe search engines are rigged for what different kinds of people
            look for?

            I recall that when I first learned about Google I ran "the latex test"
            on it. It used to be (in those days) that running a search on latex
            (or LaTeX) turned on a lot of condom, fetish, and other chemistry
            sites. Google turned up LaTeX manuals. I have been using Google for
            web searching ever since.

            What a pity it doesn't turn up sites on sexy women in mathematics. ;-)

            By the way, www.playboy.com used to have a decent computer column,
            proving that you don't have to be dumb to be a playmate. Is it still
            there?

            --
            Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
            "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
          • Oleg Goldshmidt
            ... I read that (or a similar article) right after running the latex test. I would be careful about making assumptions or guesses about porn sites. They are
            Message 5 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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              "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

              > It's an article titled "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual
              > Web Search Engine" which explains how Google works. This talk was
              > given in the 7th WWW conference (in 1998), by Sergey Brin and
              > Lawrence Page - then two CS graduate students in Stanford, and now
              > Google executives.

              I read that (or a similar article) right after running the latex test.

              I would be careful about making assumptions or guesses about porn
              sites. They are widely regarded to be the most advanced and successful
              web enterprises, and they are usually considered to be way ahead of
              most of the rest of the world as far as sophistication and technology
              go. I would tend to assume that the best of them are very good at
              getting themselves into search engines, not just by hiding thousands
              of generic keywords in the page source, unless the latter have
              policies designed to weed porn out (most search engines have a
              complicated and tedious off-line registration process). I recall
              noticing an "Adult Entertainment" section or something of the kind on
              Yahoo! (I don't use Yahoo! often though).

              Whether or not porn sites compete with each other to the extent that
              they don't cross-link, or they do cross-link extensively, I don't
              know. I wouldn't bet that whitehouse.gov has more links to it than
              whitehouse.com.

              > Playboy is really an enigma. I saw a while ago on C-SPAN, a lecture
              > (in some important media event) by Playboy's owner (I forgot her
              > name, she's the daughter of the original owner), and she was talking
              > in an extremely intelligent manner, and about very interesting
              > issues. But let's face it - men don't buy Playboy for these
              > discussions, nor its computer column. They buy it for the
              > nudie-pictures and centerfold.

              Have you read (I mean, read) Playboy? I, as many people, consider it a
              very interesting magazine, it has one of the best literature sections
              of all the glossies, interesting interviews and articles. And as for
              pictures and centerfolds, if you care to look, it is in a totally
              different league than Penthouse, Hustler, and others - practically
              innocent IMHO. Flame away, but don't generalize on why men buy Playboy
              too quickly. For the record, I haven't bought a copy for ages (grown
              up? ;-) - maybe it's changed...

              > According to that interview, when playboy started their Internet
              > site they decided to focus more on the soft-porno than on the
              > articles, because they found that that is what people were really
              > looking for anyway.

              Sure. This is hackers-il, and the topic is "Women of the web". Let's
              face it - that's what people are really looking for... ;-)

              --
              Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
              "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... You are right that I didn t do much research on the subject, but I m quite doubtful. Just think - who would like to whitehouse.gov? People writing pages
              Message 6 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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                On Wed, May 02, 2001, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] Women of the web":
                > "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:
                > Whether or not porn sites compete with each other to the extent that
                > they don't cross-link, or they do cross-link extensively, I don't
                > know. I wouldn't bet that whitehouse.gov has more links to it than
                > whitehouse.com.

                You are right that I didn't do much research on the subject, but I'm
                quite doubtful. Just think - who would like to whitehouse.gov? People
                writing pages about Bill Clinton, about the U.S., about the presidency
                in the U.S., people who work in the whitehouse, and all-in-all I would
                think that thousands of different pages, by thousands of different real
                people, probably link to whitehouse.gov.

                But who would link to whitehouse.com (a porn site, I presume)? I know I
                wouldn't, even if it were my favorite site (and it isn't ;)). Just like
                people order bawdy magazines to their houses want them to be enclosed in
                an opaque and mark-free envelope - it's not the kind of thing you usually
                want to tell others about, even if it's your favorite pastime. Sure, porn
                sites may cross-link (I don't know if they do), and some illegal mp3 sites
                link to porn sites (I'm still not exactly sure why...), but I think that
                the general population, the *millions* of homepages out there, doesn't
                normally link to it.

                Of course, all I'm saying is my own hunches. I also wouldn't bet on it :)
                (casino sites are a different subject altogether ;)). I think neither of
                us are talking from experience or from doing research on the issue...

                > Have you read (I mean, read) Playboy? I, as many people, consider it a
                > very interesting magazine, it has one of the best literature sections

                Frankly, no.

                > of all the glossies, interesting interviews and articles. And as for
                > pictures and centerfolds, if you care to look, it is in a totally
                > different league than Penthouse, Hustler, and others - practically
                > innocent IMHO. Flame away, but don't generalize on why men buy Playboy
                > too quickly. For the record, I haven't bought a copy for ages (grown
                > up? ;-) - maybe it's changed...

                Your last sentence is a Freudian slip - with it you show how you also
                think that Playboy is really about the bawdy pictures that a teenage
                would look for, and not about the articles a sophisticated adult would
                look for. If this was an interesting magazine with serious articles and
                a great computer column, what would growing up have to do with stopping
                to read it?

                Anyway, I agreed that I found Playboy an Enigma, because certainly it has
                interesting articles and writers. But so does Time magazine, the New Yorker,
                and a dozen other magazines I could read; wouldn't you agree that the people
                who choose Playboy do so for the pictures? As I said, Mrs. Hefner (maybe
                she's the granddaughter, not the daughter, of Hugh Hefner?) in her own
                lecture conceded that when they did their web-site, a survey of potential
                users showed that it was the pictures, not the articles, that users would
                want most to see. I don't know whether the current site still focuses on
                the pictures - I haven't checked it out.

                By the way, in the U.S. there are other magazines that combine "respectable"
                articles with female pictures. If I remember correctly, Sports Illustrated
                has a swimsuit issue every year, and it doesn't discuss the sport-related
                issues of swimming ;)

                > Sure. This is hackers-il, and the topic is "Women of the web". Let's
                > face it - that's what people are really looking for... ;-)

                Yes, hackers-il doesn't have much to with programming, as 90% of the previous
                threads showed. But I like it this way.

                --
                Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, May 2 2001, 10 Iyyar 5761
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |A Nobel Peace Prize? I would KILL for
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |one of those.
              • Chen Shapira
                ... I found their computer section too gadget oriented for my preferences.
                Message 7 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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                  > By the way, www.playboy.com used to have a decent computer column,
                  > proving that you don't have to be dumb to be a playmate. Is it still
                  > there?

                  I found their computer section too gadget oriented for my preferences.
                • Chen Shapira
                  ... previous ... It was never meant to be about programming. The original plan was to have everything computer related - discussed intelligently . I think
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 2, 2001
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                    > Yes, hackers-il doesn't have much to with programming, as 90% of the
                    previous
                    > threads showed. But I like it this way.

                    It was never meant to be about programming. The original plan was to have
                    "everything computer related - discussed intelligently".

                    I think that with a broad enough definition of related - we are doing ok :-)
                  • Chen Shapira
                    BTW, all the playboy related messages found their way into my *don t read at work* folder. I guess my mail sorting scripts are a bit too sensitive. I don t
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 3, 2001
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                      BTW, all the playboy related messages found their way into my *don't read at
                      work* folder.

                      I guess my mail sorting scripts are a bit too sensitive.

                      I don't have playboy as a keyword, but I have a threshold on the density of
                      "porn" and "adult in a message. Oleg and Nadav messages seem to have a ratio
                      high enough to fall into the dubious mails category.

                      :-)
                    • Oleg Goldshmidt
                      ... Our sysadmin assures me there is no screening or filtering of email (one of the main reasons I left my previous jobs). ;-) -- Oleg Goldshmidt |
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 3, 2001
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                        Chen Shapira <chen@...> writes:

                        > I don't have playboy as a keyword, but I have a threshold on the density of
                        > "porn" and "adult in a message. Oleg and Nadav messages seem to have a ratio
                        > high enough to fall into the dubious mails category.

                        Our sysadmin assures me there is no screening or filtering of email
                        (one of the main reasons I left my previous jobs). ;-)

                        --
                        Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                        "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
                      • Oleg Goldshmidt
                        ... You are right, of course: people looking for Bill Clinton will find whitehouse.gov (or would they? :-)). ... Other similar sites? That s what I said - I
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 3, 2001
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                          "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                          > People
                          > writing pages about Bill Clinton, about the U.S., about the presidency
                          > in the U.S., people who work in the whitehouse, and all-in-all I would
                          > think that thousands of different pages, by thousands of different real
                          > people, probably link to whitehouse.gov.

                          You are right, of course: people looking for Bill Clinton will find
                          whitehouse.gov (or would they? :-)).

                          > But who would link to whitehouse.com (a porn site, I presume)?

                          Other similar sites? That's what I said - I have no idea whether that
                          industry is primarily competitive or co-operative.

                          > > too quickly. For the record, I haven't bought a copy for ages (grown
                          > > up? ;-) - maybe it's changed...
                          >
                          > Your last sentence is a Freudian slip - with it you show how you also
                          > think that Playboy is really about the bawdy pictures that a teenage
                          > would look for, and not about the articles a sophisticated adult would
                          > look for.

                          It was not intended to be a Freudian slip - I put a smiley there
                          intentionally, referring obliquely to the prevalent perception. I used
                          to read Playboy (enjoying the pictures on the way - but as I said - I
                          find them quite innocent, PG13 probably), and even considered
                          subscribing to it when I lived in the US. I am not ashamed of it in
                          any way, and what I wrote about my opinion of Playboy was very serious.

                          --
                          Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                          "I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs."
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