IMPORTANT UPDATE: On 5/20/10 I discovered that Twitter heard our voices, and removed the "RT" filter from searches. So we are back to normal.
(Thanks to my friends @lissnup and @dominiquerdr for bringing this issue to my attention:)
We have previously discussed the problem with Twitter's "retweet" button, which has almost none of the properties of the traditional retweet ("Twitter tip: don't use Twitter's pseudo "retweet" button"), and discussed why it is preferable to use the traditional retweet (i.e. those usually signified by beginning them with "RT @Username").
It now appears that Twitter has silently begun a war against traditional retweets, with the first step being to filter them out of search.*
ANY TWEET WHICH HAS AN "RT" ANYWHERE IN THE BODY OF THE TWEET WILL BE FILTERED OUT OF
(a) SEARCHES INITIATED THROUGH THE SEARCH BOX ON THE HOME PAGE, AND
(b) SEARCHES INITIATED BY CLICKING ON A HASHTAG
I find this pathetic, and outrageous.
Twitter going to war with its own users.
And doing it in a sneaky, silent, back-door way.
If you use "R" instead of "RT" it will show up okay. So do that, or use some way other than starting your tweet with "RT", to signify your traditional retweet, such as "TR" for "traditional retweet", or "V" for "via". But whatever you do, don't use the term "RT", and edit the "RT"'s which may appear in the body of the tweet. (If you're tweeting about Iran, you should use "V" because the term "TR" is widely in use already, to denote "translated" tweets).
I'm going to use "TR".... to signify that I'm doing a traditional retweet despite their attempt to stamp it out.
And don't forget: if you're retweeting something that already has an "RT" anywhere in its body, you're going to have to edit the "RT"'s, changing them to "R" or "V" or "TR" or anything other than RT.
What a lame organization Twitter is.
*At the moment they appear to be filtered out of (a) homepage search box searches and (b) hashtag searches, but not out of searches through http://search.twitter.com. I ran a test of the same search, at the same time, by the home page method and the search.twitter.com method: Here's how they came out.
Update 5/18/10 10:19 PM. @Charles of Twitter was asked this question by @Twitter_Tips:
Quick question about changes to Twitter search. Are they intentional, temporary or...? Example: http://j.mp/ceDRbe
and gave this answer:
The results in integrated search simply include 'exclude:retweets' automatically. Search.twitter does not do this.
Most significantly Charles was not asked "when was this implemented?" or "why was this implemented?".
I have asked Charles those questions. I can't wait until I get his response. I doubt very much I will get a response.
Update 5/19 1:01 PM. If you're opposed to what Twitter has done and would like to sign a petition against it: http://twitition.com/2sri3
Update 5/19 3:21 PM. I received these responses so far from Charles:
RTs are usually a lot of noise in search results. Excluding them makes the results cleaner and (in most cases) better. http://twitter.com/Charles/status/14310576955
We are constantly improving our algorithms and search quality. We will definitely take your concerns to heart for the future.http://twitter.com/Charles/status/14310649295
I've given him my list of five questions:
Dear @Charles I have 5 questions about Twitter's filtering out traditional retweets from search #TR http://bit.ly/b4QNke http://twitter.com/RayBeckerman/status/14311463285
1. When was this implemented?
2. Why was it implemented?
3. Why were the customers not consulted?
4. Is this the end, or just the beginning, of trying to distinguish traditional retweets from tweets?
5. Why was it not announced?
I'll let you know if the questions are ever answered.
Commentary & discussion:
The Next Web
Search Engine Land
(Here is a short URL to this post: http://is.gd/ceSKJ)