This Is the Thing That I Have Been Working On

Here is the big idea from the big thing that I have been working on for a long time, using only the ten hundred most used words, just like in Up-Goer Five:

This paper explains the two things we should do about search. Some serious people think that search should help people who talk get their words to other people. Other serious people think that the people who offer search talk for themselves and we should leave these people alone. All of these serious people are wrong, because the most important thing about search is that search helps you find things. Not someone else. You, and also me and everyone. It’s good when we can find things because it means we can learn, which is even more important than helping the people who talk or the people who offer search.

There are so many things we could look at that we need help to sort through them. So the first thing we should do about search is that we should usually leave the people who offer search alone so they will keep on helping us find things. Not always, because maybe sometimes the people who offer search will lie to us about what things there are or where those things are. That’s bad because it makes it hard for us to find things. So the second thing we should do about search is not let the people who offer search lie to us like that.

It’s important to think carefully about what it means to say the people who offer search “lied.” Sometimes the thing you want to find and the thing I want to find aren’t the same. I’m not wrong and you’re not wrong. We just want to read different things. There has to be room for us not to agree on what things are best, which means there also has to be room for the people who offer search to guess at what you and I want when we search. So a search answer isn’t a lie just because the thing it suggests isn’t the thing someone else wanted it to suggest. It’s only when the people who offer search really believe you’re looking for something and decide to show you something else instead that it’s a lie. When they do that, it’s right to be angry at them and we should make them stop lying.

These two things we should do about search also give answers to other questions about search. One of them is whether the people who offer search should be able to tell you about things even when the people who own those things don’t want them to? Yes, because telling you about a thing isn’t the same as giving you the thing. No one owns the facts about where things are, even when someone owns those things. Search’s job is to help you find things, not to help the people who own the things. This is still being nice to the people who own things because once you find a thing, you can talk to the person who owns the thing and you can only take it from them if they let you buy it.

There will be much more soon, I promise.

(With help from the thing that helps make sure you really do say only the ten hundred most used words.)

Your write-up gave me a vision.

Perhaps someday, the “people who offer search” (hereafter ‘PWOS’) will only index occurrences of the “top ten hundred” words for free. If you want more words indexed, you’ll pay the auction-set rates, for either specific words (“mesothelioma”) or attractively-priced bundles (“the top 5 thousand words”).

Oh, the PWOS will always visit and fairly rank your page, limited to the words they recorded. There’s no payment to get your site or page included.

But if you want to put extra words into their index — not just common-people words but extra economically-valuable keywords! — you’ll have to pay the going rate. Or just write everything in the “ten hundred most used words”, and see how many people find you then.

One problem with the last words you wrote is that it isn’t always so easy to explain exactly what it means to “own” something (even if not only using the ten hundred most used words). If the owner of the thing would want to get money from people buying it, the right to make a second thing (or stop me from making a second thing) which is the same as that thing could be important (or, maybe not). In the same way, if a name is used to make things seem different from other things which are all quite like each other, so that people buy it rather than the other things, then the right to stop other people from using the same name might also be important (or, maybe not). And finally, it could be true that people would make more ideas for making things do cool new things if they could pay for the right to stop people from using those ideas, except if those people pay something —- but we can’t be sure, and actually, it just might cause less ideas to be made.

Your simplified word-choice tool, I see, is pegged to the “ten hundred” words most commonly used in fiction writing. I shudder to think what the 1000 most commonly used words in legal scholarship might include. When my late father produced programs for international broadcast on the Voice of America, they had a “simple English” news show with a 500-word vocabulary, IIRC.