Wednesday, 14 October 2009

This site is not a spoof

Some of the cyclist groups have discovered us - CTC Forum , citycycling, and YACF, whoever they are, and have been viewing our site, apparently concluding that it is some kind of spoof, that the text is somehow satirical.

Not so. We document the transport options in an anti-car city. While some of it may appear satirical to tax-dodging cyclists, that is merely because their model of the world suffers from an invalid assumption: "bicycles are a rational form of transport for adults". This taints their entire view of the site -and of society as a whole.

If Bristol Traffic is a spoof, then, by inference, TopGear, Jeremy Clarkson, and indeed, the entire Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers, would have to be viewed as some kind of spoof journalism put together by an anti-car news media.

While we do consider the BBC to be anti-car, we do not consider the Daily Mail or Jeremy Clarkson to be fictional. Until such a time as their fictional nature can be proven, we wish to be referred to as Bristol's Pro-Car press. Of course, we are competing with the Bristol Evening Post for the honour of being the best traffic news outlet. Today we are at a disadvantage as they have discovered that Noel Edmonds drives a taxi down our bus lanes. We are very excited by this news and look forward to any photographs of Mr Edmonds learning a new career now that his TV career has collapsed.

However, the fact that we are not a spoof makes it hard to link to other sites. The Association of British Drivers, for example. We agree with their anti-bike, anti-bus lane, anti-pedestrian stance, but the entire layout of the site, including colour scheme and use of Comic Sans MS font, spells out "spoof". We are doing more research there before coming down one way or the other.

Another recent situation was a comment on our popular Fixed and Singlespeed in Bristol article, where some idiot asked for us to link to their site, despite the warning in our comments that anyone who attempts this will be ridiculed.
I found your site from a Google alert for "travel accessories". As myblog has content related to this term and some of your content, I was wondering if you'd be interested in a blogroll link exchange (I link toyour site and you link to mine).
Their web site is about cupholders. Now, how to view this?
  1. It's a spoof as who in their right minds would run a web site advocating better cup holders for commuters? They have mistaken our site as some kind of spoof and want to join in.
  2. They really are leading-edge advocates of superior in-vehicle cup-holding technology, and are trying to move up from being a bottom-tier player in google searches for cup holder by trying to get links from the planet's premier transport journalism sites -of which we are clearly one.
If situation (1) holds -they are a spoof-, we must turn them down because we are in fact serious journalists. Also, their site isn't very funny.

If situation (2) holds, they are serious, we have to turn them down for a separate reason, namely their site is shite and we understand how PageRank works.

Google does not give web pages high placement in search queries based on the number of web pages that link to you -quantity-, but based on the ranking of those pages themselves -quality. Only links from other premier web sites -such as the Bristol Blogger- matter; links from web sites that come in on page 17 for searches for cup holder do not, and by linking to them without the nofollow tag, would only devalue our own ranking, for no tangible benefit.

For people who want to know more about the problem of applying graph algorithms to internet-scale datasets can we recommend Graph Twiddling in a MapReduce World, by Jonathan Cohen, of the US National Security Agency. We are only prepared to discuss PageRank and hence web site linking with people who have read and understood this paper, as anything else would be a waste of our time.

Thank your for your co-operation. Your civil rights will be restored once The Emergency is deemed over.


Old Holborn said...

Never mind that

Have you seen THIS?

Jake said...

Yawn. I like the premise of this blog, and think it serves a valuable purpose, but the sarcastic tone is rather tiresome

Bristol Traffic said...

@Old Holborn -thanks, we will follow this up tomorrow!

@Jake We are sorry you do not like our upbeat and positive out look on our city's transport options. Rest assured, that is merely a shallow layer over our data gathering exercise. Now, go read the graph twiddling paper and once you've understood you can join in the code side of things -the datamining.

Bob Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.