Google Instructs Raters to Avoid Personal Bias and Consider User Diversity
For the third time this year, Google has released a new set of updates to its search quality evaluator guidelines, this time to emphasize diversity and impartiality. The changes were less significant than previous ones, but indicate a changing way of thinking, and reinforce the importance of maintaining a non-bias and understanding diversity when it comes to rating search results.
So, What Are Rater Guidelines and What Do These New Changes Mean?
The Google Search Quality Rater Guideline is a handbook of criteria used by Google’s search quality team to evaluate the quality of the sites that come up in search results. Essentially, these guidelines instruct Google’s raters on how to make their assessments when it comes to site quality. According to Google, the new updates to these guidelines reflect the complex nature of certain queries and inadvertent bias when it comes to rating sites. “Different types of searches need very different types of search results,” stated Google in the updates guidelines. Source: Search Engine Land
So, What Exactly Has Changed?
Here are the new guidelines that have been added:
- Removing Rater Bias
In the new guidelines, evaluators were told that their ratings “should not be based on personal opinions, preferences, religious beliefs, or political views,” unless their rating task indicates otherwise. Raters were also advised to ‘Always use your best judgement and represent the cultural standards and norms of your rating locale.”
- New Definitions
The terms “search engine” and “user” were also added to the ‘Definitions’ section. Within these guidelines, the term user has been defined by Google as a person trying to find information or accomplish a task on the internet. “Keep in mind that users are people from all over the world: people of all ages, genders, races, religions, political affiliations, etc.,” said Google. Another interesting takeaway is that the term “people” has been replaced by “user” in certain contexts. Source: Search Engine Land
- Diversity and Political Affiliations
The importance of understanding the diverse cultural and political backgrounds of users was further emphasized later in the guidelines, particularly when it comes to reporting offensive content. “Remember that people of all ages, genders, races, religions, and political affiliations use search engines for a variety of needs. One especially important user need is exploring subjects that may be difficult to discuss in person. For example, some people may hesitate to ask what racial slurs mean. People may also want to understand why certain racially offensive statements are made. Giving users access to resources that help them understand racism, hatred, and other sensitive topics is beneficial to society,” said Google. So, there you have it. While these changes may not have been as extensive as previous updates, these updates could be an indication of more things to come, and possibly even an upcoming algorithm change.