We recently had a huge amount of discussion about the importance of search,
on this list and elsewhere. My strong takeaway from that was, nobody
disagrees with the position you're advocating here, Jimmy - that our search
is problematic, and is worth investing in.

The only directly related ideas that *are* controversial, as I understand
it, are that (1) an investment approaching $100 million might not be an
easy sell to some (myself included), and (2) that such an investment should
be publicly vetted prior to taking strong steps in that direction.

Did you hear something different?

Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

P.S. in the specific example, your friend would have had no trouble if he
were doing serious research. The "History of WF" article is linked
prominently at the top of the relevant section of the "WF" article. That's
not to say we should consider the low search ranking acceptable, but it
might inform how this specific example speaks to urgency.

On Jul 28, 2016 5:09 AM, "Jimmy Wales" <jimmywa...@wikia-inc.com> wrote:

> First, some context:
>
> I was in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention earlier
> this week, where I had been invited to speak (in a small side event)
> about connectivity and global development.  I spoke about our work in
> the languages of the developing world, and made a point to say that bad
> laws in the developed world which might hurt our work can be damaging
> for the development of the Internet in the rest of the world and urged
> lawmakers to not just think of various Internet legal questions as being
> "Silicon Valley versus Hollywood" but to understand that they impact how
> our volunteer community and many other ordinary people online.
>
> Second, the story:
>
> The main conference was held in the [[Wells Fargo Center
> (Philadelphia)]], an indoor arena where basketball and hockey teams play
> normally.
>
> A journalist friend said to me that he "finally found something that
> Wikipedia doesn't have" and he was surprised.  What was that, I said?
> "The history of Wells Fargo".  What?!!  Really?!! That seemed impossible
> to me.  He said we have an article about Wells Fargo that seems to be
> mostly about the contemporary bank, and when you search for Wells Fargo
> history there's also an article about the Wells Fargo History Museum.
>
> I popped on my phone and used my own personal preferred method of
> finding things in Wikipedia: Google.  I typed in "Wells Fargo history"
> and sure enough, the first two links are history pages from their
> official websites and the third link is Wikipedia - a normal state of
> affairs.  He started to apologize for raising a false alarm
>
> I asked him for more details on exactly how he searched, and explained
> that I regard it to be very sad if some volunteers spend hundreds of
> hours working on an article, painstakingly going over tons of details in
> an effort to get it right, and then someone couldn't find it.
>
> Here's what he did - and I replicated the steps and all was clear.
>
> Go to http://www.wikipedia.org/
>
> Make sure the dropdown in the search box is set to 'EN' - which it would
> have been for him.
>
> Start typing 'Wells Fargo history' and watch as the dropdown selections
> narrow.  You'll have the experience that he had - you'll see the bank
> article prominently featured and then various buildings (they have a
> habit of sponsoring sports arenas in various US cities) and finally as
> you start typing history it focuses in on the History Museum.
>
> If you don't choose any of those, then hit enter, you'll get to the
> search results page.  This is the one with a huge box of options at the
> top (which will be confusing and frightening to people who aren't
> already wikipedians) and then by my count the desired article is 13th on
> the page: [[History of Wells Fargo]].
>
> Now, I strongly suspect this could be fixed by making a redirect from
> [[Wells Fargo history]] to [[History of Wells Fargo]].
>
> Or a more serious fix could be had if the search engine understood that
> very very often in English [[X of Y]] can be written [[Y X]].  ([[List
> of French monarchs]] becomes [[French monarchs list]], see:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=french+monarchs+list
> where the desired article is in 10th place.
>
> But my point is not to argue for any specific fix.  My point is to
> illustrate that there is a real problem with search, that it is
> impacting users, and that we should invest in fixing it.
>
> --Jimbo
>
>
>
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