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Technorati has a new feature that’s only slightly confusing but very interesting and potentially quite useful. (Disclosure: I’m on Technorati’s board of advisors.)

It’s called “WTF,” which technically stands for “Where’s the Fire,” but has another more likely meaning. (David Isenberg named one of his conferences “WTF” and then had a contest to decide what it stood for.) So, if you go to Technorati and take a look at the Top Searches in the upper right, to the left of each entry there’s an orange flame. Don’t click on it yet because the page it takes you to is confusing. Instead, click on one of the searches. At the moment, “Boston Mooninites” is the top search. Click on it to go to the search results page. The top result is not a result at all. It’s got a flame icon next to it, indicating that it’s actually the WTF about the phrase “Boston Mooninites.” It’s an explanation of what that phrase means and why people are searching on it now. Who wrote it? Anybody who wants to. So now click on the flame icon. It takes you to the same page you would have gotten to if you had clicked on the flame icon in the Top Searches list on the home page.

Ok, so now you’re on the WTF page for “Boston Mooninites.” Note that this is not the search results page. It’s where you get to create your own WTF for that search query. Or, you can vote on which of the existing ones; the one with the most votes is featured on the search results page for the query.

It’ll be very interesting to see how this develops. For example, the current top WTF for Windows Vista is a product review, not a neutral explanation. (I’m not complaining.) Many of the WTFs on the Vista list are responses to previous ones, as if WTFs are discussion board, probably an artifact of the layout of the WTF page. WTF is already on the way to becoming what it was not intended to be, which I imagine pleases Technorati mightily. [Tags: ]

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