Friday, February 18, 2011

Public Goods and the Free Rider Problem

If you want a perfect example of the problem of the provision of public goods and the free rider problem, look no further than yesterday's Oregonian:

"Clackamas County voters likely to decide Sellwood Bridge fee; rejection could doom project"

By the way, if you want a clear indication of how pathetic OregonLive is as a web portal for The Oregonian, go there and type 'Sellwood Bridge' in to their own search box and see what you get.  You would expect a list of articles, beginning with the most recent, that mention the bridge.  What you get is a hodge-poge of old articles. Ridiculous.


Chuck said...

The Oregonian's webportal is a terrific example of what's wrong with big corporations -- Oregonian owned by Newhouse. Oregonlive is owned by Advance, which is owned by Newhouse. So Oregonian accepts incompetent website and blames Oregonlive. And it never gets fixed because the top brass and reporters at The Oregonian get to use internal system for looking up articles, etc. They should be required to get rid of their papers and be forced to use Oregonlive...then maybe, just maybe, they'd fix the plethora of problems.

Mike Rogoway said...


No, Chuck, we don't have access to a special super-secret search tool (yes, we do have something to search past print articles, but it's even worse than the public version for searching Web stuff).

There are good workarounds, though. Here are two:

1) Search Google News, which isn't a great, either, but does OK. Like this: oregonian: "sellwood bridge"

2) There are a series of tags at the bottom of Yuxing's story. Click on the one that says "sellwood bridge" and it'll give you past Olive articles, in reverse chronological order, that touch on the subject. It's a great way to bypass the vagaries of search, whether on Olive or Google.

-- Mike Rogoway

Chuck said...

Just today I was talking with someone from the solar industry and mentioned The Oregonian story that Bob Beisner had left SolarWorld...went to send her the story...but alas, neither The O's search engine nor Google could find it. And trying to find the tags is not easy, either. The O puts up with a horrible web site, and to the extent that undermines the business I have no sympathy for The O's financial woes.

Chuck said...

And found the "tag" for SolarWorld and of course the story isn't there.

whydoihavetofillthisout said...

Hi Chuck. My name is Alexandra Manzano and I posted this response to your similar post on our facebook page. Hope it helps out anyone here as well.

The search engine on OregonLive is actually a google search and so when you type in terms it uses google's algorithm to order the results according to what that algorithm calculates are the most important factors. Unfortunately, it sometimes can bring up old news and we apologize that the search function still has flaws when bringing up relevant results.

One thing you can do: After you search if the items are not in from the time frame you like, you can choose to "filter by date" and select the time frame you would like to see articles from.

Take care and thanks for reading!