A study entitled "Hyperlinked Suicide : Assessing the Prominence and Accessibility of Suicide Websites" (led by a professor hilariously named Sunny Collings) found that, shockingly, search engines get people what they're looking for. When suicidal people search for methods, they find information (albeit poor) about methods - they don't find bullshit. The authors think this is a problem. They say "significant improvements need to be made," which they use as a euphemistic call for creepy search engine censorship:
“One of the big problems with the internet is that pro-suicide sites are often the first thing people see when they search about methods,” says Professor Collings. “In contrast support sites were only 9.3% of total hits, but never featured as the number one search result.”
The study suggests more effort should be made to make support sites more accessible through search engine optimization. Professor Collings says it is totally unsatisfactory to have pro-suicide sites occupying the first 10 search results, rather than information and advice to help prevent suicidal behavior in New Zealand. [Emphasis mine.]
I am pretty scandalized by the fact that they openly call for search engine manipulation - perhaps for companies like Google to get rid of the crowd-sourced model with regard to suicide searches and make anti-suicide sites more "accessible" - you know, the way the Nazis made anti-Jewish propaganda more accessible. It's hard to imagine. But then, traditional media have often gone along with calls to censor suicide stories.
Suicide is sad. But there are things worse than suicide. One of them is miserable, suicidal people being trapped in their bodies with no exit available.
But since "everybody knows" that suicide is bad and needs to be forcibly prevented, study authors can still get away with Orwellian bullshit like this.
Thanks to Rob Sica for pointing me to this!