Technorati: the War of Languages



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It took more than two months to resubmit my blog to Technorati after the major change they applied to their site, but eventually I received the following communication:

Jan 19, 2010. Congratulations, you claim is now complete! However, since it is not an English site, we are not currently able to index your posts. Please see http://technorati.com/non-english-faq for more details.

I got astonished and astounded. Apart from that I publish on my blog both English and Italian articles, I really could not understand why it was not possible to index non-English posts! So I clicked on that link and got a page stating that:

Handling of Non-English Blogs

The new Technorati.com is focused on the English-language blogosphere and can no longer fully support non-English blogs. Non-English sites can still be claimed and all existing claims are still valid, but we are not currently indexing posts from non-English sites for searching or authority calculations.

We appreciate that many non-English bloggers have been long-time users of Technorati and regret that we can no longer provide full services to the vibrant multilingual blogosphere. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the ability or resources necessary to properly filter sites in languages other than English and to prevent non-English spam from polluting all of our data and services.

Ehi, WWW stands for World-Wide Web. Does Technorati know that? Recently Internet was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize because its multi-cultural and multi-language environment is letting people to better know each other, an important success factor to establish good relationships among people all over the world. Most people in world knows more than one language and can understand a little bit even two or three ones. Furthermore a lot of content in other languages can be appreciated in any case, even if you do not understand that language at all: videos, music, and graphics. Google is going to automatically generate subtitles for videos and already provides web users with valuable translation tools that allow understanding even languages using oriental alphabets. They are not perfect, but if you do not know a language at all, it is better than nothing and, in any case, you can support Google to improve them by providing your own translation. So I can read Chinese and Arabic blogs, I can communicate on Facebook in German or Sweden, I can translate the lyrics of a Portuguese song or Swahili poem. And I do not need to know such languages. Moreover, by using translating tools, I learn more and more those languages too, and I can take advantage of that incredible and wonderful intellectual capital that is published every day in the world-wide web.

So, the web is going in one direction, Technorati in the opposite one. Of course they provide a reasonable justification for their choice, but they also did a technological change, and we perfectly know that nowadays technologies support the ability to filter spam in many different languages, easily. So, is that really the only reason for their choice? I do not think so. My opinion is that there is an attempt to make English the dominant culture and that constraining web searches, blog rankings, site ratings, and other services intended to find valuable assets and content in the web to the Anglophone zone is an intended strategy to deploy only a specific point of view in the web. By the way, most people understand English, so in such a way English-based contents will have a worldwide audience, while content based on other languages will be more and more constrained to local geographical areas.

Since the web is going to be the primary source of information today, that strategy will have a commercial impact too, as well as it will bias all the aspects of our life: literature, music, movies, and so forth. In the past Technorati was a reliable and reputable rating service for blogs and sites of news, but their decision is probably going to dramatically change such an opinion, at least outside the English-speaking countries. However I suspect that they do no care. In fact, most of complaints will be probably published in non-English languages and, in any case, I also suspect that for a lot of time most web users will not be aware of such a change. They will simply see only English-site to get more and more visibility, while the rest of web will disappear in a modern “damnatio memoriæ” (damnation of memory, for English readers).

Comments (2) to «Technorati: the War of Languages»

  1. utente anonimo says:

    I think the problem is more complex and, if possible, the situation is worse.

    Due to the influence of English language in technology, communications, web, etc. what actually is happening is the gradual mutation of the original cultures.

    A small example? But since when in Italy has never celebrated Halloween? Halloween is a product of British culture imposed by cartoons, film and tv movies produced in US.

    Viridovix

  2. It looks like DIGG is doing the same: no more submissions from not-English articles, even if in English language!

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