Moogle?

June 22, 2009 | 22 comments
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The New York Times has a recent article about Koogle, a search engine designed for Orthodox Jews, which allows them to avoid religiously objectionable content (such as pictures of women which are deemed not sufficiently modest). I tried to test it out by entering “Britney Spears” into what may have been the search window, but I only got an error. Maybe because the site is all in Hebrew, and I probably put the query in the wrong place. Or maybe the entire idea of Britney Spears causes Koogle’s electronic brain to explode.

The story made me wonder — would there be a market (a mormarket?) for a Moogle (Mormoogle?) engine? And would that be a good thing? On the one hand, church members, as a group, are probably interested in avoiding — err, certain parts of the internet. A Moogle engine could allow members to search for topics while avoiding anti-Mormon sites, as well as the many sites which peddle pernicious prawnography.

On the other hand, some tools already exist. One can search Mormon topics at places like Onlymormon and avoid websites that are particularly critical of the church; one can turn on Google’s safesearch tool to filter explicit images (though the ones that get past safesearch can be pretty scandalous too!). With tools like these available, is Moogle necessary? At worst, Moogle might become an online ghetto of sorts for Mormons — and is it really a good thing if the internet is divided into so many gated communities?

And of course, there are the ubiquitous questions on who decides what is objectionable. Is a Boticelli painting (or a Rodin sculpture) problematic? Should LDS blogs be included in the search? (If so, which?)

Would you use Moogle?

22 Responses to Moogle?

  1. Trevor on June 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Just use the free K9 web filter (www.k9webprotection.com). It automatically edits your searches for you, enforces safe search, and probably blocks some of the anti-Mormon sites if the right categories are chosen (and you can add your own sites to the blacklist).

  2. Dan on June 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I would not use Moogle. As you ask, who gets to be the gatekeeper? And who is going to be the keymaster? And would they bring out Gozer the Gozarian?

  3. Mark N. on June 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    There is no Dana. Only Zuul.

  4. Matt Huph on June 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    allows them to avoid religiously objectionable content (such as pictures of women which are deemed not sufficiently modest).

    Seems like a better business model would be to publish the list of objectionable content. Now that I’d pay for.

  5. danithew on June 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Sounds too much like “muggle” …

  6. Jessawhy on June 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I’d vote for naming it Mormoogle, personally.

    Moogle sounds like we’re trying to imitate cows.

    Interesting questions, though. I’ll have to think more on the content.

  7. Margaret Young on June 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    First off, I have no objection at all to the study or the writing of or about prawns. Prawnography is a relatively new science and not accepted by creationists, and definitely not on the Jewish-only website. (Nor are any other shellfish.)
    And how do we define “anti-“? I wonder if I would get plucked out. What about if I used a swearword in a story? Sounds pretty dangerous to me. It would also kill FAIR, since FAIR responds to anti-Mormon material. So you’d get the answers with no context.

  8. L-d Sus on June 22, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    All of the shubs and Zuuls would use Moogal.

  9. Kent Larsen on June 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    In light of the recent re-branding of Microsoft Live Search, perhaps it would be better to follow that lead, and a Mormon search engine would then be called…

                        Ming!

  10. Dan on June 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    ..the Merciless?

  11. Ardis E. Parshall on June 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    As you ask, who gets to be the gatekeeper? And who is going to be the keymaster?

    Me. And I ban you all.

  12. Hunter on June 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    “Me. And I ban you all.”

    Behold the power of the Poogle! (Or is that Parshoogle?)

  13. Owen on June 22, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    We could all just move to Iran. I hear their filters are pretty good.

  14. Dan on June 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Or move Iran here? Isn’t that what Barack Hussein Mohammed Ali Baba Obama doing anyways? or so some tell us…

  15. Bruce Crow on June 22, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    If I wanted to only search among the things with which I agree I could just search my own hard drive. I know that is safe.

    But why stop there? I could restrict my searches to the back of my hand. I know it really well and I’m sure I’d be properly protected from stuff I don’t want to see, or think about.

    [In the interest of full disclosure I heavily filter my children’s Web access.]

  16. Ziff on June 23, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Barack Hussein Mohammed Ali Baba Obama

    LOL, Dan.

  17. Ziff on June 23, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Jessawhy, regarding Mormoogle, I’m afraid that’s just too close to Morm-ogle, which is exactly the type of thing we’re trying to avoid. ;)

    Branching out a little beyond the obvious, Dogpile is to be avoided (doggy what?), but Ask.com might be productively reworked into tsktsk.com, the search engine that scolds you for searching for naughty stuff.

  18. Bob on June 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I might use it, but only if it is called The Urim.

  19. Tatiana on June 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I wouldn’t use it. Why would I want a deliberately watered down version of google? I just keep safe search on and ignore any content that looks trashy. As for anti-mormon sites, I don’t think exposure to ideas is dangerous.

  20. Cameron on June 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I had K-9 with my PC, but now I have a MacBook. Any recommendations on good OSX filtering software?

  21. Dan on June 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Cameron,

    K9 works on Mac.

  22. Greg McMurdie on June 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Or just create a Google custom search engine for the sites you want to search and make it public. Maybe I’ll do a post on that.