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Feature: Good vs. Evil on the World Wide Web 252

We have been subjected to endless debates over whether children need protection from Internet porn and violence. But isn't there at least as much positive as negative material on the World Wide Web? I decided to find out by using opposing pairs of good and evil keywords in a series of AltaVista searches. The results were somewhat surprising. To begin with, the keyword good brought up a total of 18,803,720 results, while evil netted a mere 1,185,680. In other words, good appears to be more than 10 times as popular as evil online!

More evidence of Internet goodness:

Life got 23,765,261 results;
Death got only 5,973,580.

Love got 14,985,600 results;
Lust got only 889,330.

God got 5,596,690 results;
Satan only got 164,850;
Devil only got 635,160.

Marriage got 3,626,700 results;
Divorce only got 649,930.

Heaven got 977,930 results;
Hell only got 707,410.

Joy got 1,137,460 results;
Sorrow only got 190,740.

Linux got 3,461,380 results;
Unix got 1,948,040 results;
Windows NT only got 1,208,125.

Intelligence got 1,888,970 results;
Stupidity only got 77,430.

Apparently those misguided souls who condemn the World Wide Web as some sort of hellhole (3965 results) need to think again. The word Education was mentioned on 34,470,924 Web pages, while a search for Ignorance only came up with 141,530. And, despite endless yammer about kids getting hold of bomb-building instructions online, cruising the World Wide Web is statistically more likely to make them fat than to teach them how to blow up buildings; the word cooking netted 2,167,210 Web pages, the word Bomb only got 622,050, and the phrase homemade bombs only brought up 662.

Religious believers should take heart from the fact that Salvation drew 280,700 AltaVista responses, while Damnation only came up with 8141. Christians, instead of condemning the Internet as immoral, might want to change their tune and start boasting about their online dominance - the word Christian drew 6,715,031 results, as opposed to 93,240 for Jew, 322,740 for Muslim, 279,990 for Buddhist, and 236,420 for Hindu, while the word Atheist only came up with 78,870 pages.

What does all of this mean? I have no idea. This small (but rigorously unscientific) study, like the psychic hotlines advertised heavily on late-night cable TV, is meant to be used for entertainment purposes only. Please feel free to add to it (or subtract from it) and draw your own conclusions, which I'm sure will be far more insightful than any I could possibly come up with on my own.

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Feature: Good vs. Evil on the World Wide Web

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  • A lot of people here missed the tongue firmly planted in Roblimo's cheek!

    This is hilarious! And about as valid as most statistical surveys :)
  • ZDNet-UK put up some pages a while back doing this same kind to trick. They call it the Tool of Objective Truth (TOOT - )

    Random samples :
    52983 William Shakespeare
    161536 Spice Girls

    1521 Earth is Round
    1554 Earth is Flat

    7454141 God
    134036 Beatles
  • Sagan's book may be fiction, but if you look long enough you *will* find a circle embedded in PI. You will also find all the works of Shakespere encoded in ascii (as well as EBCDIC somewhere else in the sequence). The infinite monkeys are hard at work inside PI. (This is the point Sagan seemed to miss in the ending of his book. Even if She *found* a circle in PI that would prove nothing.)
  • Perhaps you have just as much time to waste...

    You're the one cutting into *your* time by replying to my post.

    Maybe you're the one that needs to learn how to filter.
  • I think it means that third Guiness kicked in...
  • by miyax ( 32757 )
    Throughout my time on the internet, spending endless hours searching for whatever, I've found that the fewer matches means that you're more likely to find what you're looking for : )
    Hence, according to the given statistics, if I go looking for information on making bombs, I'm much more likely to find that info, rather than a simple recipe.
    And anyway, did anyone realize where any of those words could have been mentioned? Both "good" and "evil" could have been mentioned on both a porn and a "violent" site a billion times. Good sites don't actually say on them, "I am a good site. I don't promote evil things." See? That page would have come up for both good and evil.
    I may just be repeating what was already said by someone previously...don't mind me if I am.
    The fact of the matter is that this test, while it seems like a good idea, isn't concluding or varifying anything in the longrun.
    And why should we shelter our children anyway? If we hide them away from, "bad" things, aren't we just corrupting them further and making wusses out of them? If a child (say middle school, high school age) hasn't seen a picture of a naked body, a naked anything, yet, then they'll be uncomfortable with the subject for quite some time.
    I'm comfortable with it.
    I work with 5 year olds, and some of them do talk about private parts, and even violence, and that scares me. So, yes, at around that age, it's the parents' fault and they should be more aware of that stuff.
    But later on, who cares?

  • I've downloaded the first 240 million digits of PI, for no readily-apparent reason. The website actually boasts the first 400 million, which I'll probably get. html

    The world record for PI digits stands at 52,539,607,510 digits. Again, you can download some of these over at:

    What I want to know is, why are the Japanese obsessed with knowing PI to this kind of accuracy? Carl Sagan's book was FICTION, guys!

  • oxymoron n : conjoining contradictory terms (as in `deafening silence') Source: WordNet ® 1.6 Searched with:
  • Hey! Since when is Lust the "evil counterpart" of Love? Shouldn't it be Love vs Hate?

    Anyway, for the record:

    Love: 4,911,400
    Hate: 221,950
  • Sagan's book may be fiction, but if you look long enough you *will* find a circle embedded in PI. You will also find all the works of Shakespere encoded in ascii (as well as EBCDIC somewhere else in the sequence).The infinite monkeys are hard at work inside PI.
    I don't think that's necessarily true. The digits of pi are not random. If I understand correctly, in an infinite random string we would eventually see all finite substrings, but that's not necessaruly true for a non-random non-repeating string. For example, even though the following decimal never repeats or terminates

    0.123456789011223344556677889900111222333444555666 777888999....

    the string "4321" never appears. The digits of pi don't come as easy as those of the number above, but they are deterministic, not random.

  • Thanks for the tip!
    Now atleast I have something to write about :P.
  • At first look I thought that "...and Boring" was a post in reply about how useless and boring the root post "Useless" was. Then I realized that you replied to your own post.... does this mean that you see that you are boring? It does seem to be that way when you reply to your own post and say "this post was pretty boring too."

    Hey, Carl, Let's keep to messages with a point on Slashdot, could we? Or atleast read all of the stuff about how these numbers are not scientific, just funny?
  • "You got your chocolate in my beanut butter" : 2,025,616 "You got you peanut butter om my chocolate" : 2,025,616 hmmm...
  • I think that equating religion with goodness. may be a bit much. On the other hand, that may just be there because the religious nuts tend to be the ones dissin' the Internet the most. Yet, that only proves their ignorance, fearmongering, and evilness.

    For example, look at Messianics [].

    --Andrew Grossman

  • Giants are a [Baseball,Football] team. I forget which, since I hate/don't care about sports.

    Both, actually. New York Giants in football [] and San Francisco Giants in baseball. []

  • I recommend you get The Best of the Annals of Improbable Research, a collection of some of the better articles of the AIR. One of them is specifically about comparing apples and oranges - using a mass spectrometer. :)
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • This is funny.

    I call my bb The Owl Farm Kitchen. For a long time, people mistook it for being some sort of wholesome place to post because it contained the word Kitchen. I would get all sorts of Christian people in "Come see my site" sort of thing. Then they realized that it was a rather depraved place to be! I love it, fooling people like that.

  • Bill Gates got 169,482 results;
    Linus Torvalds only got 14,760.


    Linus Torvalds Hate Sites got 16,480 results;
    Bill Gates Hate Sites got a whopping 171,142 results!

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • I second that motion. How about we retire those older-then-dirt links on the right side of /. with some interesting and more noteworthy links. Or we could tell the truth and have it say "Perhaps you were born yesterday and you are seeking Jon Katz's series of articles related to 'recent' ... "
  • So "good" shows up more then "evil"?

    Slashdot = 27,060
    Ziff-Davis = 224,075

    Doesn't look good, guys.

    Then again, I think the bad guys have all the fun.
  • Which has an intrinsic goodness to it, which is what Twin Peaks (25,381 hits) was all about. Cherry pie and Good and Evil.
  • and search for the entire string? Because when I did it yielded 0 results...
  • Sure it can. If the algorithm is keying on word boundries, then "sane" and "insane" are two different words. That would be a pretty lame (and badly written) bit of code that found all the words lurking in other words and broke them out as individual words.

    In fact you can search faster by first breaking up all the sentences into words and matching against the words than trying to match an arbitrary string against another string. Say you had a sentence of 20 words, averaging five letters a word, and you were trying to match a six-letter word. Breaking at word boundries means you only have to try to match 20 times. On the other hand, 20 words * 5 letters/word (+the space) means you have 120 characters. Matching a six-character string means making 115 (!) comparisons. (Wouldn't have to match after the first 115 chars because not enough chars left in the string.)

  • I know too many people that don't realize that the things they like/enjoy are evil. Many people think that cop killer type rap "music" is good; I think it is bad.

    I assume that evil sites are seldom marketed as an "evil" site; Madison Avenue has taught us to use "good" to people you try to attract to such sites? However, I define these sites as evil.
  • Yea, so now I did a search of Windows AND computers, which came up with 12,515,783 Web pages.
  • Maybe the engine is turning up things like Georgia Cracker, Polly want a cracker? :-)
  • using altavista:
    +G: 25,848,206
    +E: 149,211,983

    winner: E!
  • I liked the article

    You didnt


    you replied to your reply

    which means tht you once again added to the waste YOU hate.

    Ladies and gentlemen lets here it for Filberts, the amazing Example of Self Posting Pugilists.

    Knock yerself out man, respond to this response:)-

  • foo: 185,310
    bar: 15,260,090

    What the hell??? According to this, "bar" is way better than "foo", but personally I like foo!

    BTW: Due to this message, this page can now be added to the evil list since the word hell appears in it several times. Does that make us all evil?
  • 148615 losers, but 1358860 pages with winners!

    Guess everyone's a winner then?

  • Check out these results from FAST:

    yin: 136,038
    yang: 592,155

    This imbalance is undoubtedly the result of more men than women using the internet
    (yang=male, yin=female).
    Either that or it's just a coincidence caused by my lazy and scientifically worthless technique.

  • "size matters" 4469 Web pages.
    "size doesn't matter" 2182 Web pages.

    I knew it!

    This post has been smiley captioned for humour impaired.
  • I can think of a thousand things that are "good" that I don't want my kids to see.
  • It is Evil^2^2^2^2 that you feel this way.
  • Your comments are way more interesting than Jon Katz's

  • Everyone knows that 63.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot
  • The "oh-my-god-we-have-to-protect-everyone-from-everyt hing" point of view stems mostly from today's politicians who are bored with today's lack of "real" problems (war, famine, pestulance) and feel that they need to dig up new problems and make the public care about them.

    War, famine, and pestilance haven't suddenly disappeared. Rather, politicians have learned to ignore them, because it's easier to get elected if you promise to fight some demon you're invented than the real problems.

  • Ah, the carefully selected small sample- the statisticians best friend...

    47,981,595 for "die"
    only 20,239,900 for "live"

    163120 for "insane"
    only 103430 for "sane"

    1,065,430 for "gates"
    a meager 30010 for "torvalds" !!!
  • Considering that Altavista hasn't even indexed, what, 20% of the available webpages? That makes for a considerable margin of error. What's worse, a lot of those might have gone 404. So let's take the results with a grain of salt, okay people?

    I'd also like to point out that politicians tend to note the presence of things, not the absence - just because good outweighs evil online doesn't mean they see it that way. They think that kids *enjoy* watching pornography, and they're on a holy mission to save them from themselves. Nevermind that the average 9 year old would just be grossed out at the concept of boys and girls.. well.. you know.

  • Though you accuse the other of wasting time, the author of wasting time, and will probably me of wasting time...

    ...I am of the beleif that it is not us that is wasting time, time is wasting us !!!!!

  • All these findings are easily explained by the incredible amount of advertising (more likely to use words with good connotations) and religious fanatic sites (which will talk about being 'saved' and the glory of god and the kingdom of heaven more often than they will warn of the smoking pits of hell) Anyway, I know it's just a joke to begin with.
  • >What does all of this mean? I have no idea.

    It means you have way too much free time.
  • Hacker - 483,080
    Cracker - 86,129
    Fed - 741,680

  • Hmm this might say something if every web page page that contained "evil" content contained the word "evil", or every word that contained "good" content contained the word "good". Besides the fact that these are largely subjective terms, and the fact that a very small portion of the web is even indexed in search engines.
  • Posted by NJViking:

    Anyone see that series? It's pretty cool!
  • pie: 735,420
    cake: 708,370

  • has a much more interesting site.g
  • Isn't it excepted practice when dealing with very large numbers of things to look at a smaller sample of the whole. I would have thought that 20% is actually very generous sample of the average content of the net. Unless believe that there has been a large increase in the about of evil on the internet since the pages were indexed. I think we can say that these results are totally valid and should seen as a true indication of the ratio of good and evil on the internet and even in the world at large.
  • In fact, with a slightly modified version of the Operating Systems Sucks-Rules-O-Meter [], I found 2 websites that contained "Slashdot rules," while none for "Segfault rules". There were no websites with the phrases "Slashdot sucks" or "Segfault sucks," however.

    Interesting, huh?

  • Did you put quotes around it? I counted 1,250,376 responses without quotes, and 0 with quotes.

    Note: Putting quotes around something makes AV search it as a phrase. So "I like to maim and kill puppies and kittens" netted all the pages that had the words 'puppies' or 'maim' or 'kittens' or 'like' or 'kill'... you get the idea :-).
  • I can think of 1000's things that usually get labelled BAD, but are actually plain GOOD fun to do :)
  • Is that all you remember? I can go all the way to 3.14159265358979323846264338 without a problem. :) I used to know this one person who claimed to know 100 digits or so, but I certainly couldn't verify it, and even my knowledge is at the point where any difference between measured and calculated circumferi is beyond insignifigant. But still... :)
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • A Tree got 3,951,160 results;
    Al Gore only got 42,637.

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • Ah yes.... and keep in mind that 24.56% of all statistics are just made up on the spot to suite whatever someone needs. Also, don't forget that smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.

    BTW, please, don't go on forever...
  • Midgits fall very short of the Giants' large presence:

    Giants: 474,930
    Midgits: 129
  • Which is why he said:

    What does all of this mean? I have no idea. This small (but rigorously unscientific) study, like the psychic hotlines advertised heavily on late-night cable TV, is meant to be used for entertainment purposes only. Please feel free to add to it (or subtract from it) and draw your own conclusions, which I'm sure will be far more insightful than any I could possibly come up with on my own.

    Need I say more?
  • Pilsner is a really really light brew, lager is a bit heavier and darker, Ale is darker yet and thicker taste, stout is really really dark.

    My beer knowledge is limited, there are so many varieties now with all of the microbrews I couldn't possibly know all of the obscure ones.

    Pilsners because of their clean tastes are good with spicy foods, like curries, chinese food, sushi...a darker beer is good for heartier a guiness stout is good with a stew or a french onion soup.

    Bon Apetit!~ :)
  • I hate seeing fanaticism labelled "proper parenting" by certain mind controllers :)
  • Sorry, forgot one...

    +kevin +mitnick - 31955
    +Tsutomu +Shimomura - 1349

    More good than evil indeed ;)

  • What are you talking about? I was around 10 yrs old when i was downloading pr0n on BBS's in the 80s. My little brother is 12 and him and his friends hunt for it online. The only things that gross them out are like and stuff which IS sick. Face it, porn doesnt dement kids, get over it.
  • Pleez! You people have obviouusly never gotten ANY in your life!
  • Quality 25,415,552
    Quantity 2,127,140

    So it is quality, not quantity

  • what? because they happen to enjoy something that most people do?
    i don't see the problem.
    i always have seen sex as a good thing.
  • i'm tired, my post don't make sense heh

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • "I dont want my kids to see"

    Poke out their eyes. Oh dont. Its illegal.
    Well stop mindcontrolling your kids in that case.

    Gr SlashDread
  • I am looking to begin a group called the "Evil Vile Internet Linuxers", or 'EVIL' for short. I find these statistics disturbing and would like to take matters into the hands of the USER!

    It will be fully OpenSource(tm)(c)(r) (like Al Gore's website) and maybe we can get MS to donate some funds!

    Let's stick it to the man and show the world that the evil folk have nuts too!

    (Please note: This post was written with a keyboard. If you disagree with what I said... blame it on the keyboard.)
  • On Excite:
    good 3077961
    evil 224941

    evil / good = 7.3%

    On AltaVista evil / good = 6.3%

    So there is a greater proportion of evil on Excite - what does this mean?
  • by dmd ( 404 )
    Rob Malda -- 485
    Hitler -- 355765
    Linus Torvalds -- 18849
    Bill Gates -- 282274

  • Keyword bad gives 5,282,140 matches when entered at simple search. Use advanced search and you get only 3,003,929 matches. What the hell.. Am I missing something obvious?

  • "They think that kids *enjoy* watching
    pornography, and they're on a holy mission to save them from themselves."

    Save yourselves from misguided politicians.

    Gr SlashDread
  • One of my favorite humor sites, The Brunching Shuttlecocks [] has done this kind of analysis twice before, at The world according to AltaVista [] and More of the world according to Alta Vista [].

    I particularly like this bit on 'Hygiene':
    "floss every day": 80
    "wear clean socks:" 87
    "clean up the blood": 197

  • The thing is that it is impossible to compare sex to abstinence. (Over a sufficiently long period of time). If you have ever experienced sex, then you have not fully experienced abstinence. If, when you die, you have fully experienced abstinence, then you have never experienced sex.

    Comparing on the short term is futile. Sex obviously has a much better short term consiquence (it feels good). However, it can have negative side effects, which is why abstinence is touted as a good long term solution.

  • If someone is going to bring up the issue of how to abuse statistics to make a point, I thought I'd add the following. (I actually make my living as a statistician - sorry about that). On the topic of putting in keywords into the a search on AltaVista, Statistics come up in 9,692,788 webpages, Facts come up in 4,352,390, Lies come up in 1,197,980, and Damn Lies come up in only 1,445. Wow, how about that. That means that there are more than 11 times more facts and statistics on the web than there are lies and damn lies. Woowee! Now, if I wanted to be nice I'd stop there, but I'm in a particularly onery mood so I'll add to the pain by letting you know that I did the same searches on Yahoo, MSN (sorry, but it is out there), Webcrawler, and Infoseek. Assuming that there is overlap between the search engines (hey, they can't all have the same 10% of the web covered can they?) I took the average values and arrived at the following, Statistics: 2,899,230; Facts: 1,809,899; Lies: 559,362; and Damn Lies: 1081. Guess what! We still have more facts and statistics than we do lies and damn lies on the web. God bless the goodness of the web. I could be really annoying and give you the tests of means that I performed to check for statistical significance, but I think I'm pushing it as it is. And just remember, I did this for the good of my own profession.

    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."
  • art 25,797,984
    porn 20,704,843
    abstinence 48160

  • Canadian? Huh? Roblimo lives in the US...
  • According to AltaVista (searching for web pages only)the internet is quite a source of positivity: It seems that the internet has more ups than downs, up 65,879,209 down 12,842,185 more goodies than baddies, goody 38980 baddy 1123 more yeas than nays, yea 146360 nay 97250 more positives than negatives, positive 1,890,840 negative 903400 and it actually has less windows than doors! window 4,485,050 door 5,747,800
  • Try +windows +computers, that's Yahoo syntax.
  • According to AltaVista (searching for web pages only)the internet is quite a source of positivity:

    It seems that the internet has more ups than downs,
    up 65,879,209
    down 12,842,185

    more goodies than baddies,
    goody 38980
    baddy 1123

    more yeas than nays,
    yea 146360
    nay 97250

    more positives than negatives,
    positive 1,890,840
    negative 903400

    and it actually has less windows than doors!
    window 4,485,050
    door 5,747,800

  • "Pi (and all transendentals, and probably all irrationals as well) will, if you look long enough, contain every possible sequence that exists."

    Consider all reals whose decimal expansion does not contain the digit 0 anywhere. There are uncountably many such reals, Cantor's diagonal argument still applies. Hence infinitely many such numbers must be irrational because the rationals are countable. Any real number without 0 in its expansion cannot contain all sequences, so the hypothesis is false for irrationals at least. I don't have a proof for transcendental numbers, but I'm pretty sure there are transcendentals without 0 in their decimal expansion.


  • and what good is good? the word 'good' can refer to several things. probably has more meanings than evil. same thing with god/satan. god is a general term, whereas satan is mostly a christian term(I think, and I have been known to be wrong. but I think it is clear enough what I'm getting at) Oh well.. in the end it's all statistics

    Google tells me:
    homicidal egocentric maniacs: 2 matches
    allround nice guys: 71 matches
    There is still hope ;)
  • Hey! You owe your life to sex... don't be so ungrateful.
  • So are you saying there is no way to get an even close to accurate count? This logic could apply to anything that was in the article. Maybe there was a site that said to not do BAD or it's GOOD to kill.
  • This means absolutely nothing without more information. For example, we have no idea of the representative sample that Altavista indexes. Maybe Altavista [inadvertently or not] ignores parts of the web with more sadistic content? I could do a poll on the perspective of gays, and I would get drastically different results if my sample was at a local gay bar or Jerry Falwell's dinner table.
  • The "oh-my-god-we-have-to-protect-everyone-from-everyt hing" point of view stems mostly from today's politicians who are bored with today's lack of "real" problems (war, famine, pestulance) and feel that they need to dig up new problems and make the public care about them.

    If you'll notice, it's increasingly evident that the only people that are spouting this inane rhetoric are lawmakers (and mostly democrats intent on the total control of information, but with a healthy contingent from the Religious Right, as well). The general public doesn't give a damn either way, and that's a Bad Thing(tm). Today's apathy on issues like this is what is leading us to an age of where the government will be empowered to dictate the content of our sites, as well as our lives, to us.

    Past tyranies have come about because citizens blindly put their faith into religious monarchies and by letting themselves get caught up into patriotic rhetoric spewing from the mouths of maniacs in uniforms. Today, however, we are falling victim to a behemoth of tyrany not because we've been fooled, or caught up in the moment. We are falling because we don't care.

    Raise the alarm. Howl, screetch, clatter, make noise. but be informative. people who know nothing about computers are making decisions that will forever change the way the public perceives computers, and how we may use them.

    *insert your own rhetoric starting here*
  • I got the following from Altavista []:

    +cake: 735,420 Web pages.
    +cake +"eat it": 57,155 Web pages.

    So about 13% of the cake sites have their cake and eat it too!

  • Calculating it involves a fairly simple algorithm. Just leave the algorithm running and saving to disk in the background day and night until your disk is full.
  • But not a real green dress - that's cruel.

  • 163120 for "insane"
    only 103430 for "sane"

    "sane" should be found at LEAST as many times as

  • Good drugs (expr.) Most are highly toxic to biological life. The rest merely screw it up. See: Terms, contradiction of.

    Good sex (expr.) If you're busy judging it, you're probably not doing it. See: Terms, contradiction of.

  • Microsoft got 11,558,850 results;
    Satan got only 221,090.

    I don't know about you, but that just made my day.

  • Well I wouldn't really call Mac evil. Crappy, yes, maby, but I think their intentions are in the right place.. maby.
  • What about sex (9,952,677) and abstinence (47,660)?
  • Downloading is quicker. :)
  • WIth an even more exciting methodology, the OS Sucks/Rules-o-meter [] uses highly refined mass survey techniques to survey the relative merits of different Operating Systems!

    Translation: search Alta Vista for "Linux sucks", "Windows rules" etc., and graph the results.



  • Altavista reports:

    +free: 102,950,414
    +"open source": 39,761
    +proprietary: 521,860

    I think the meaning is clear :-)

  • "I like penguins" - 114

  • Beatles got 758,730 results;
    Jesus Christ got only 426,920.

    I'll be damned. I guess Lennon was right.

  • I did a whole mess o' these a few years back, using 'elvis' as the calibration standard: the Elvis Index [].

    I just recently started doublechecking those old numbers using FAST's [] 200M-page index... so far the rankings are still pretty comparable.

Reactor error - core dumped!