1983: "If you want to know something, your best bet is either a friend or a library."

2003: "If you want to know something, your best bet is a well-formatted Google search."

2023: "If you want to know something, your best bet is either a friend or a library."

@Inumo And now it's writ large why folks ask for recommendations rather than "just googling it."

I pretty much never believe positive online reviews on anything anymore. so many of them are fake. I read the negative reviews to see if they are consistent about. particular problems, or based on clear user error, that's it.

@toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo That issue's been a problem since longer than AI spam though.

Amazon's enshittified reviews for example have been a problem at least as far back as 2010.

#ReviewFarms are an old phenomenon by now.

More distressingly, libraries aren't always a good option either, funds to stay up to date or have a good collection often run out and malicious curation is most certainly a thing too.

@lispi314 @toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo
I wonder, are there books that the general public will never know about because someone or a group of someone's has held onto the sole few copies?

@TheADHDHobbyist @toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo It's probably cheating but yes absolutely, the Vatican's archives are filled with such books.

@lispi314 @TheADHDHobbyist @toplesstopics @Inumo Governments, too.

There are some science fiction novels written in the 30's and 40's that only had a print run of maybe 100 copies, and you can't find them anywhere because collectors have them all.

I wasn't saying fake reviews only started with AI. only that information online has been untrustworthy for decades (and is now going to be even moreso)
@drwho @Inumo

@toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo Right, I got that much, I just wanted to add further example of that point, the AI part wasn't aimed at your comment.

@toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo In my own main hobby, amateur astronomy, Google has been useless for equipment reviews for a while now. Just about the only online places I can confidently recommend now for reviews are:

Reddit's r/telescopes
The CloudyNights forum (a forum! Party like it's 2009!)
A few experts on YouTube like Ed Ting (also has a personal web site)

That's really about it. If there isn't a good answer on one of those, the next best best is a local astro club.

@dpnash @toplesstopics @drwho @Inumo i've had that happen too with uni classes... when you get to anything above general highschool level on a topic, googles won't help you learn more, you're on your own

@Inumo @dpnash @zegolem @toplesstopics @drwho
Not my experience. Have you tried prefacing your Google search with “wiki”?

@YetAnotherGeekGuy @Inumo @dpnash @toplesstopics @drwho yeah, no, doesn't really help... some topic just don't have much information about them on the public internet, like early japanese history... it's really hard to find information even about authors from that time period sometimes...

and of course, even if you do find a book about a subject, you have to be careful about information being out of date or resulting from flawed studies, cultural bias, etc 🙃 I have this kids book on prehistoric creatures I kept because I like the pictures but wow more than half of it has been revealed to be completely untrue
@YetAnotherGeekGuy @Inumo @dpnash @drwho

@toplesstopics @YetAnotherGeekGuy @Inumo @dpnash That is very, very true. Thank you very much for pointing that out.

Google is responsible for more harm to our world than any other single corporation because of their role in promoting climate science denial and other genocidal policies imo.

@Inumo If you want to know what something *isn't* then Alexa

@Inumo google had such a good run. Now all I see are a full page of ads.

@Inumo alternate 2023: "Do you want to know something? Many people who do web searches want to know things. In this article, we will discuss how to find information on the Internet so that you can learn more information."

"Before the Internet, people read books and articles in order to learn information. However, with advances in technology, finding information has gotten easier than ever. Now you... (insert annoying ad here) ...only need to do web search in order to find information. But how do you do a web search?" *continues to go on for twenty paragraphs' worth of filler and advertisements*
@PhenomX6 @Inumo I just make up fake sources in papers that aren't Health related or research. Vincente Dominquez's "Alma de la Razón" was featured in alot of my literature papers just to be silly, I obviously translated it from its original Portuguese text.


Can confirm.

I was in school in 1983; expertise was gathered in the public or college library, which was hard because I had to get a ride to either during open hours. Friends supplied popular culture.

I was writing novels and homeschooling in 2003; popular culture AND expertise were present together online. I was expert at online searches then, could find in minutes what people who had given up trying to find online.

Today, even trying to use the same tactics as I did in 2003 or knowing exactly what I'm looking to find, I'm thwarted. I don't use Google, but the misinformation overload is still oppressive.

Unfortunately, I've dealt with public libraries that are closed (some not even open during posted hours) or that contain outdated or useless material. Friends today . . . I have so few after having to be nomadic to find work. Then there's my age peers suiciding, dying of work stress, being the peak age range to die of COVID, or being alt-right lunatics.

@Inumo interesting how the "google is free" retort of the 2010s ran up against "right wingers learning SEO" Google seems like little more than a shopping site these days. I’m so tired of looking for information and getting nothing more than an endless slew of Buy this Buy that Oh this will show up in your Facebook later and also your spam folder…. 😖

@Inumo Writing google queries to avoid commercial responses indeed keeps getting harder.


Wenigstens ist niemand gezwungen, daran teilzunehmen.
In meiner 2. Heimat - Brasil - haben Sie keine Chance. There's a big gap in there when we referred to encyclopedia's via book edition, then CD edition 😥

@Inumo I think it's very funny that the phrase "Google is free" is so popular at a time where Google has become near useless for finding good information.

@elexia @Inumo "google is free, if you don't value your time" /hj

@Inumo I remember owning a beautiful set of encyclopedias. Pretty useful for a few years until information changed. Does anyone else remember those?

@mswoods @Inumo we had the world book encyclopedia and they had yearbooks with updated information. We also had a set of Black history encyclopedias. We also got National Geographic, which was a useful reference.

@Inumo 2024: "If you want to know something, you need to look on some random discord servers"

Does this make us retro?

BTW, Libraries can also help with a well-formatted Google search (for whatever that's worth these days.)

@Inumo this hurts so bad. I don't gotta friend, and I can't access my apartment to get out of it, I'm literally trapped in the place intent because the landlord refuses to allow me to install a wheelchair lift. I have to perfect my psychic abilities it looks like *cries*

@Inumo If you want to be correctly misinformed with the Current Thing Pravda, your best bet is a Google search

@Inumo Or if you're lucky, your librarian friend. 👋🏻

@Inumo Unless you live in Florida, in that case, move state first.

@Inumo the friends probably knows what he knows from the internet at this point 😅

@Inumo the web is so polluted with obviously generated content these days I have started to search Reddit rather than google when looking for opinions of average humans

@santiago @Inumo ironically, reddit's search is so bad that _on reddit_ there's a meme that the best way to find information is to use a Google search that starts with " ..."

All toxicity aside, reddit is a surprisingly good informational resource that is quickly being latched onto by marketroids, and in another 5 years time is going to be as useless as the rest of the modern Web.

@tully @Inumo I actually noticed zero toxicity on Reddit because I was only small nice channels of makers / a home automation. One day I clicked on “popular” and I instantly remembered the sad world we lived in.

@santiago @Inumo Yup. My home feed is nearly all queer subs at this point, with a smattering of niche tech stuff and one of the ...less awful gaming subs.

Once in a while someone will link to The Rest Of The Fucking Website and bloody hell it's night and day.

@tully @Inumo nowadays Google itself autocompletes some searches with the word Reddit ;-) for me at least. Like “best Linux distribution for XYZ” .

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Dragon Style

I'm a grumpy queer dragon lady and this is my quiet cave for me and some friends.