Can PageRank save people from making mistakes?
If you ask redditors, the answer is Yes.
Case and Point
It started out like any other popular post on reddit: with an upvote.
The simple act of one redditor clicking the up arrow, followed by another redditor doing the same,
and another, repeated ad nauseum,
eventually carried this submission by eshvar60:
to the front page, where thousands of unique visitors from around the world joined in on the fight against the Church of Scientology, adding hundreds of comments with the phrase “is it possible to be happy” hyperlinked to http://xenu.net, aka Operation Clambake, Undressing the Church of Scientology since 1996.
The idea being that with enough links leading to Operation Clambake, Google would at some point recognize the relevance of http://xenu.net, and therefore give this page a high degree of utility for the query [is it possible to be happy].
even though reddit caught onto one of Scientology’s many cultish ploys, whenever a depressed and unhappy person queries [is it possible to be happy], hoping that the internet will supply an answer, the top link as of the writing of this post still reads:
In other words, whenever hopeless, possibly suicidal, individuals get on the internet in search of a plausible way to happiness, the majority are led to an article by L. Ron Hubbard, that scheming founder of Scientology who invented a religion to bilk people of their money and become rich. I don’t plan on reading the apocryphal article, but I did look at a photo of L. Ron Hubbard that, to be honest, made me dry heave.
But reddit isn’t discouraged. As I write, loyal redditors are still working on ousting Scientology’s top rank for the query [is it possible to be happy], and they have already accomplished a lot, namely, the second and third rank.
Should the depressed/suicidal/unhappy individual happen to skip the top result and click one of the next two, they will read jigglejigglejiggle’s comment:
So probably now would be a good time to explain that Scientology is a cult. They will take your money, and in return they will brainwash you so you can’t ever leave (until you’re dead).
Pretty effective, although exposing Scientology for the scam that it is isn’t really the best way to help the depressed/suicidal/unhappy individuals who type into the query box [is it possible to be happy], especially since Scientology is probably the farthest thing from their mind.
Open to the suggestions of fellow redditors, ImHappy quickly put together a page that relegates Scientology to the footer***, where it should be mentioned as a preemptive measure, and instead addresses a number of possible answers that could help guide the depressed/suicidal/unhappy individuals in a more helpful direction,
beginning with Epicurus’s four-part cure, otherwise known as The Tetrapharmakos in Greek. The Four-Part Cure, originally based on a mixture of drugs, quite beautifully states:
Don’t fear god,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.
The fundamental obstacle to happiness is anxiety.
ImHappy’s URL, isitpossibletobehappy.com, will soon oust L. Ron Hubbard’s load of horseshit. Once Google’s spiders include it in their web and see that this URL has all the search terms of the query in the precise order,
the next time any depressed/suicidal/unhappy individuals query [is it possible to be happy], the majority of them will see a gigantic YES, and they won’t even get their money robbed or, worse yet, be brainwashed like Tom Cruise.
***Be careful who you turn to for help. Some people take advantage of others when they are vulnerable. Learn more about the dangers of Scientology.