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I am not your google mummy!

 
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Stumbling around the internet last night, searching for information about this and that, and falling down rabbit holes and eating the cakes that say "eat me" I was reminded of something I heard long ago, about why forums are better than google and why google hates so many forums and wants them to die a quick and nasty death.



So many forums aren't useful.  It goes like this:

N00b shows up and asks a very simple question: "how to plant an apple tree?"
The established members reply:
"Look it up"
"use a search engine"
"haven't you heard of google?"
"let me google that for you"
"I am not your google mummy!"

That kind of reply is terribly unhelpful, spiteful, and mean.  (and I suspect against publishing standards at permies.com)

If the person is on the internet, there is a very good chance they understand what a search engine is and how to search for information.  So they must have a very good reason to ask their question on a forum instead of "looking it up".

Why would someone ask on a forum?
- google and other search engines are designed to make money - so their results will often favour sites that help them do this.
- google is restricted by some government regulations that limit the content they can share with us
- people are still better than machines and I'm betting that the search engine has never grown an apple tree - not a real one, anyway.
- the internet is getting old and some of the top information that comes up might be outdated
- google seems to think that I want pop culture references when I'm trying to search for something specific that has the same words
- Maybe the forum is specific to Permaculture and what they were trying to say is "how to I grow an apple tree in a permaculture way?"

I bet there is more that could go on this list.

Basically, I'm writing this to show that at permies, it is acceptable to ask really simple questions like this.  

What's more, quality answers to this kind of question helps google love us more and thus, infect more brains with permaculture.  
 
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I know years back I found permies via google. I'd type into google things like "how do I raise ducks permaculture" or "how to grow on a north-facing slope permaulture" and find permies (I always added "permaculture" to my search because I had discovered putting that in there always gave me answers aligned with my values, rather than how to spray things with round-up).

Over and over and over again I found great answers to my permaculture questions here on permies. It's why I finally joined permies! If we think permaculture can solve a lot of the worlds problems, one of the greatest things we can do is answer each others questions. It not only helps those who asked, but those who search google asking the same questions they are asking.
 
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Very often the information on google (other search engines are available) is wrong, it is often repetition of the same wrong ideas, written and re written by people all copying from eachother, without any of them actually having tried it themselves. Take your apple tree, many people advocate digging in lots of manure/compost/amendments and then planting the tree, others say never to do that, plant it in native soil only, yet more will say add mulch or don't add mulch. Which piece of advice is right for you google cannot say, but maybe someone a real someone can.
 
pollinator
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Fie on google search! It works hard to skew your perception in order to sell you crap. You don't realize how much until you do the same search on lesser known engines.

For me, it's DuckDuckGo all the way. A little more commerce-focused than it used to be, but considerably less creepy.
 
pollinator
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DuckDuckGo! Been using it for a few years. Works fabulously!
 
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r ranson wrote:
Why would someone ask on a forum?

- people are still better than machines and I'm betting that the search engine has never grown an apple tree - not a real one, anyway.

I bet there is more that could go on this list.



I'd like to add to the list. Google (or any search engine) has no soul and can't think critically. I can only speak of Permies since it's the only forum I've ever participated in, but these forums are splendid. Nice people make the community and they aren't stodgy and eager to put people down. It's these people that are genuine, have sincerity and care and take the time to help a fellow human being that just wants some help.

 
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Indeed,  more than once I have asked question here that I know the conventional answer to,  but I an looking for the unconventional.  Hey, I can buy a bottle of Roundup and spray my garden in the fall and again a couple of weeks before planting like any good farmer.  But I suspect there might be another approach.
 
pollinator
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I think there is often a lot of good knowledge on forums in general.

But lots of forums are about things I don't care enough about to to want to be a part of them on any sort of regular basis... and their search functions often suck. And the user interaction... often kind of sucks too.

And, as mentioned, in many places people are not at all happy to help you find what you need.

AND YET! Even thought google hates forums, and forum search setups are often annoying, I very frequently find good information on forums by simply including the word 'forum' in my search, or in some cases targeting a specific forum if I know of one likely to have what I need to know.

Frequently, this is vehicle related; google would really like me to watch 10 videos of 2-20 minutes each while looking for a single piece of information that could be easily communicated with one picture and 10 words. I have no time, patience, or bandwidth for that shit. Blocking youtube from my search results *and* targeting forums has been pretty good at evading this time sink.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I also will add "forum" to my search terms. When a bunch of my friends were worried about the coin shortages, I thought, "Let's see what the coin collectors think about this--they probably know a lot more than the news articles"--and they did! I love forums! Sure, sometimes I'll run across a forum thread that has no real information in it, but a lot of the time, there's better, more relevant information there than there is in the articles and sales pages google wants to show me!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Agreed, many forums have lousy search functions. (Permies is actually quite good.)

I often use DuckDuckGo to search within a specific site. Like this:
searchterm site:permies.com/forums
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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D Nikolls wrote:... google would really like me to watch 10 videos of 2-20 minutes each while looking for a single piece of information that could be easily communicated with one picture and 10 words. I have no time, patience, or bandwidth for that shit.


Exactly! I like the way you think.
 
r ranson
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another reason why someone might come to a forum instead of google: https://permies.com/t/63222/find-answer-don
 
pollinator
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As someone working in IT it's also very common to use Google and find that the top results are forums where people say, just look it up on Google. 🙃 Google is not magic; somebody needs to actually put the information on the internet first, and it needs to be linked to often enough that the top results are actually relevant.
 
pollinator
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Meg Mitchell wrote:As someone working in IT it's also very common to use Google and find that the top results are forums where people say, just look it up on Google. 🙃 Google is not magic; somebody needs to actually put the information on the internet first, and it needs to be linked to often enough that the top results are actually relevant.



This, so much! I was looking online for recipes using vine peaches and all I kept finding were the same two recipes somebody posted almost 20 years ago. I did find a forum though where people were discussing that very issue and two people responded with other recipes they thought might work if you subbed in vine peaches for the fruit required. Hooray for forums!
 
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What I really like about forums is that you can ask a very specific question to a very specific audience. Maybe I don’t want to ask how to plant an apple tree, but I want help selecting and planting an apple tree for my zone 4, Midwest, cold winter hot summer, cedar apple rust and fire-blight prone, road salt exposed, clay-loam soil without using synthetic fertilizers or sprays for upkeep. People here on Permies will have suggestions for that. Try googling that. You’d need to look up most of those things separately and try to piece it all together. Look up disease Resistance, then look up USDA zone, then look up drought tolerant, and so on.
 
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"And, as mentioned, in many places people are not at all happy to help you find what you need."
As someone who has answered thousand of questions, I must admit that you can get tired of answering the same question over and over. I ended up created a FAQ and pointing people to read that document first, then ask real questions. Yes, you miss the personal interaction, but time to talk with another person is a premium. I mean, I don't mind taking a little time to answer a question I haven't answered a hundred times already. That's why search bots are useful.
The most common bothersome person is not anyone of these OP mentioned, but people without IT skills that prefer to ask someone directly instead of using informatic tools JUST because they prefer talking with a person instead of a machine (we're not getting paid for this, you know? and we already have friends, thanks). We all use browsers and search engines, but most people are not well educated to use them right. That's why I find these comments so useful:

"I often use DuckDuckGo to search within a specific site. Like this:
searchterm site:permies.com/forums"
and this one:
" Blocking youtube from my search results *and* targeting forums has been pretty good at evading this time sink."

I don't say you can't ask knowledgeable people things that you don't know, but only after searching around with search engines and some basic knowledge on how to do this. You'll find people more amenable if you don't ask them easy to find stuff they've already answered a hundred times.
 
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I haven't tried DuckDuckGo yet, but I have found and like to use the search engine Ecosia.org. This search engine uses their revenue to fund tree planting around the world.

They post their financial reports and there are numerous reviews, youtube videos, and several comparisons to google so it seems to be legitimate.

If I can passively help to plant trees around the world while learning about various permaculture ideas and techniques, that seems like a great idea to me!
 
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Yes, Todd Gerardot! I was just scanning down to the bottom of the string with the intention of recommending Ecosia search engine.  

My daughter literally took my laptop out of my hands a couple of weeks ago when I was about to search for something with Google and switched it over to Ecosia (which I had never heard of) as my default browser.  So far it seems to do everything I want it to do, and you get to see a counter that, as of this moment I am typing, says they have planted over 105.4 million trees.  I'd rather support trees than shareholders :)
 
So it takes a day for light to pass through this glass? So this was yesterday's tiny ad?
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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