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March 09, 2007


Geoffrey Wiseman

In some ways, that's the strength of sucks-rocks; it doesn't attempt something sophisticated, so while it certainly leaves behind many positive and negative comments that it doesn't understand, those it does understand are mostly unambiguous.

(Although it's not hard to construct a phrase that would fool sucks-rocks: "I can't say that I love Germany" might well come off in Germany's favour).

Gary Bernhardt

Sucks/rocks' queries are laughably naive - so far, we've just been trying to keep it afloat in the face of the search engines' tiny query limits. One of the worst offenders is its namesake - searching for "x rocks" is very problematic, and much less reliable than searching for "i love x" or "x is awesome". This screws up searches for "apache", for example, because it brings up many results for an album named "apache rocks". The most sophisticated thing sucks/rocks does is blindly search for both the singular and plural forms. It will search for "x rocks" and "x rock", "x is awesome" and "x are awesome", etc.

We actually talked about analyzing the distribution of expressions a bit while we were writing it. For example, we could analyze many known-good search terms and determine that the ratio of "x rocks" to "i love x" should be about 1:8 (a completely fabricated example). When we see that the ratio for "apache" is actually 50:1 (which it is), we could throw out "x rocks" as a search term.

Unfortunately, doing this requires making *many* more queries. Right now, we OR all of queries into one big positive query and one big negative one ("x rocks" OR "x rock" OR "x is awesome" OR ...) Since we're already butting up against our search limits, we can't afford to do every query separately to improve the quality of our results. If SOMEONE (*cough*Yahoo) would respond to our request for higher search limits, we might be able to do it. :)


Great post, Matt! There is definitely more than what you see on Our advanced query interface is not currently available publicly. More on that later.

- Charles

Jeremy Kandah

If i write that Sucks/Rocks sucks does its value go down? (as in it just did?) Even though I secretly like it.

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