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On multiple, unrelated, computers/networks, on different days, without being logged in to Google, search results for Skeptics Stack Exchange prominently display:

Are neo-Nazis calling for the murder and torture of Stack Exchange members? discrimination

Like this:

enter image description here

Does this happen for other people or just me?

Would this happen by an automated process or would a human be required to make this occur?

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    I can confirm that this is happening for me and other users, but only if you search for "stack exchange", not for "stackexchange". – Mad Scientist Oct 25 at 11:59
  • @@MadScientist as soon as I type "Skeptics S", Google auto suggests "Skeptics Stack Exchange" with the space, so I guess that's what Google expects. Seems to me that without the space you get automated results, but with the space you get results that a human engineered. – DavePhD Oct 25 at 12:19
  • @LаngLаngС I tried deleting all browser data (cookie, cache, history) and still happens. – DavePhD Oct 25 at 15:02
  • Seems to be something related to Does Stack Overflow have a special Google integration? Google "answering" my search with link to SE, but not showing the top answer(s) Don't know if this is actionable now or goes away in a short time? – LаngLаngС Oct 25 at 16:28
  • @LаngLаngС so do you think someone from StackExchange has the ability to manipulate the Google search results to make the neo-Nazi issue feature prominently? – DavePhD Oct 25 at 16:33
  • @LаngLаngС Maybe I'll ask on the general meta in a little while if no one answers here. I never asked anything there before. – DavePhD Oct 25 at 16:42
  • @LаngLаngС why did your comment about the US disappear? Did you delete it yourself or did mod? – DavePhD Oct 25 at 16:43
  • Google shows you where on the page it found your keywords. If you ctrl+f the homepage for Stack Exchange, you see that question as the first result. (So I guess I'm going to go find a bunch of posts to bump :P) – Laurel Oct 27 at 15:45
  • @LаngLаngС What does the link in Google point to when you have no cookies? I think it’s the default home page (sorted by active) so at this point it’s caching. – Laurel Oct 28 at 13:33
  • Google's spider bots probably indexed the page at some point when that question was on the front page. That question is the rare case where "Skeptics Stack Exchange" was included in the title itself. Google is most likely looking at all the data that the web crawler pulled down (namely, all of the questions on the page when it was crawled) and sees the phrase "Skeptics Stack Exchange" and assumes that's what we're googling for. – DenisS Oct 28 at 15:37
  • @DenisS "Skeptics Stack Exchange" is not in the question itself, only "Stack Exchange". – DavePhD Oct 28 at 15:56
  • My bad, but point still holds that they see two of the three words in the text they scraped and are assuming that's the most relevant thing on the page. – DenisS Oct 28 at 16:00
  • @DenisS then why not this: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/31376/… ? – DavePhD Oct 28 at 16:54
  • @DavePhD because that's a question from 3 years ago. The question that was pointed out was on our front page as of 10/17 whereas no one has bumped that question in 3+ years at this point. There's definitely some kind of time aspect to the google search algorithm as well as the bots probably aren't digging deep into the site to find data. – DenisS Oct 28 at 16:59
  • @DenisS thanks, sounds like you have a good explanation. – DavePhD Oct 28 at 17:02
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This is me hypothesizing as I obviously don't have access to the internals of Google. However, I do work in a related field to search engines so this is an educated guess.

Google's web crawlers indexed the page at some point when that question was on the front page. That question is the rare case where "Stack Exchange" was included in the title itself. Google is most likely looking at all the data that the web crawler pulled down (namely, all of the questions on the page when it was crawled) and sees the phrase "Stack Exchange" and assumes that's what we're googling for.

Google Search Results

You can see from the spot that I've underlined that they indexed the page and found this question on 10/17. There's probably some calculus going on in the background that we're not privy to, but they probably think that because the phrase "Stack Exchange" shows up that this is the most relevant part of the page. As the index of this page gets older it will eventually go away, as @DavePHD pointed out this question does not show up because it's a 3+ year old question.

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    Now it just says "By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. Questions · Tags · Users " instead of the neo Nazi stuff. – DavePhD Nov 8 at 0:07
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    This is decent argument for deleting trolling questions quickly, rather than letting the "Community" user do the clean-up (for closed questions). On politics SE where the noise is more common, regulars vote to delete questions more quickly. But it's also a beta site, so it requires less rep to VTD. I can't do it here on Skeptics for example (needs 20K rep here). – Fizz Nov 8 at 8:17
  • By the way, that question exists here and it's not a trolling one skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/45238/… – Fizz Nov 8 at 8:22
  • @Fizz yep, there's nothing wrong with the question. It just so happened that it contained two of the three words in the search query and Google thinks that means it's relevant. – DenisS Nov 8 at 15:17
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    I do think, however, we mostly avoid troll questions being scraped because of the behavior of sufficiently downvoted questions. If a question is in the negative enough it stops appearing on the front page for a new user (which is what the web crawler would be) and wouldn't include it in the index of data it pulls down from the front page. – DenisS Nov 8 at 15:20
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    For instance, there is currently a non-closed question that has been downvoted to oblivion that, based off the last-modify-date, should be on the front page. However, it's invisible even to me at 15K+ rep. If it doesn't show up for me on the front page, the web crawler definitely can't see it. Gotta remember Fizz, because we're 15K users we can see a whole lot more stuff than a brand new user would see. – DenisS Nov 8 at 15:23

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