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Old 09-17-2007, 11:13 AM   #1
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search function

Often times a person will ask a question and I recall that the question has come up before and would like to point to a prior thread or quote information from an old post. One of the values of this forum is the good information that has been dispensed over time.

However, the search function on this forum is very poor. When a phrase is placed in quotes the quotes are ignored and you get too many responses. For example, if I want to search for posts by Martha on "Health Care" the search function will return the maximum results of 500 posts! Even if I search posts by me with HIPAA in the post, I get 99 results.

I know we can use Google's advance search feature to to narrow down a google search to search just this forum, but it sure would be nice if the search function here worked better. Any possibility of that happening or are we stuck with what we have?
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:45 AM   #2
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I second your frustration...I entered TSP in the search box and got nothing! Now, I know better, and finally searched by author (using Nords in this case) to get what I was fishing for. The current search feature is NOT user friendly for a relative newbie.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:51 AM   #3
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I agree, Fireup, since I am new here too. I have tried lots of different searches and it seems almost hopeless. We need a robust search option to mine the data here. Wonder how much it would slow down the forum if lots of us were engaging in extensive searches at the same time? I noticed in the stats that the highest number of people accessing the forum in one day was over 1,000. I don't know how much traffic there is in the average day, but I suppose that is an issue. It is very frustrating, though, to know there are answers or discussions and not be able to find them.

And, Martha, it must be even more frustrating for you since you are looking for one of your own posts.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:56 AM   #4
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And, Martha, it must be even more frustrating for you since you are looking for one of your own posts.
Yeah, I want to be sure I don't contradict myself.

It seems like either you end up with too many results or no results even though you know a post has been make on the issue. And for newer people, who won't be able to narrow the search by who made the post, it has to be even worse.

Here is another good one pointed out to me by cute fuzzy bunny. If you search for CFB you will get 0 results. Ha!
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I know we can use Google's advance search feature to to narrow down a google search to search just this forum, but it sure would be nice if the search function here worked better. Any possibility of that happening or are we stuck with what we have?
I don't think we're stuck with what we have, unless that's the forum owner's wish. Without much effort, a google search box can be made part of this forum.
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:27 AM   #6
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Well?
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:07 AM   #7
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Without much effort, a google search box can be made part of this forum.
I will work on installing a Google search in the next couple of days.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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I will work on installing a Google search in the next couple of days.
That may take care of quoted phrases, but whatever search feature is installed will be much more useful if it can also search for poster names & time periods, and sort the results other criteria. The threads/posts display option is good, too.

How is this done on the other SocialKnowledge boards, and is this board the only one with a problem?
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:49 AM   #9
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I did a search on the FashionSpot forum and it seems to have the same issues when searching for items in quotes. And yes, to narrow by date and user is important.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
That may take care of quoted phrases, but whatever search feature is installed will be much more useful if it can also search for poster names & time periods, and sort the results other criteria. The threads/posts display option is good, too.
Agreed. The Google search is an easy short term solution. It will not be able to search by time period though. We will have to play around with that once it's installed to see what's good and what's still missing.
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How is this done on the other SocialKnowledge boards, and is this board the only one with a problem?
Nope, they all suffer the same issues. The search system is run off an index of words. So each posts is parsed for the words in that post and then when you do a search it pulls up threads/posts with those words. That's why using "quotes around phrases" does not work because the indexing does not index phrases or the order in which the words appear together.

The reason I have not rolled out the Google search yet on all the sites is the fact that Google has some pretty strict rules on the way the code has to look on the page. It takes up a lot of space so I need to find that space to put their code. I think I will add a link on the search drop down that says "Search this site with Google" and then take you to a page for that. That way it will not clutter up the interface but will be available for us to use. I will also contact Google and see if I can get permission to make it look like the current search drop down input field that way it can be added to that drop down and less clicks to get to it. The only other place that could work would be to put the search where the WARNING: Life Decision Ahead - Early Retirement Forum banner is at the top right. That way you can type in there on any page. Your thoughts?
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:49 AM   #11
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Nope, they all suffer the same issues. The search system is run off an index of words. So each posts is parsed for the words in that post and then when you do a search it pulls up threads/posts with those words. That's why using "quotes around phrases" does not work because the indexing does not index phrases or the order in which the words appear together.
So vBulletin builds a database but can't construct or execute a "word#1 AND word#2" SQL query? Unbelievable. It's so incredible that I suspect we're not using it correctly, or that someone has put out a vBulletin fix or add-on.

Before we go haring off to have Google solve all our problems and save the world yet again, perhaps it'd be more straightforward figure out how the search feature's Boolean logic works. At the very least we could have the search function "search within results". That way we could attempt to find what we're looking for by searching for word#1, hoping that our goal makes the top 500 results, and then searching within those results for word#2. It's better than "word#1 OR word#2" and getting back 500 results showing either of the words with none of what we're looking for.

I don't know what the answer is but I suspect it's more straightforward than asking Sergey & Larry to bolt something else onto this Rube Goldberg machine...
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:24 AM   #12
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I like simple. Thanks for pushing to make sure vBulletin is setup just right before looking for external solutions.

I have reviewed the software and found some settings that could have caused Boolean searches (using words including "AND", "OR", and "NOT") to not function properly. Please check those now and confirm that they are working. I searched for posts with 'stock' and 'yield' and got results that were correct. That still does not address phrases together.

I am also looking into the settings that have to do with indexing of short words or acronyms. I have asked the server admins to check the MySQL settings for a few variables that could increase relevancy.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:34 AM   #13
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OK, now we are getting somewhere. I searched for posts by Martha with 401k and multiple and plans and got the posts I was looked for. Yesterday the same search did not work and assumed "or".
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:36 AM   #14
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Oddly, you still can't search for acronyms like CFB or TSP.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
However, the search function on this forum is very poor. When a phrase is placed in quotes the quotes are ignored and you get too many responses.

but it sure would be nice if the search function here worked better. Any possibility of that happening or are we stuck with what we have?
Martha,

Thanks for bringing this flaw to light. It has been a frustration. Hopefully a fix can be found.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:25 PM   #16
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As far as not being able to search the three letter words like "TSP" or "CFB", apparently you can change the minimum word length in vBulletin:
It is under AdminCP>vBulletin Options>Message Search Options>Search Index Minimum Word Length.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:35 PM   #17
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Thanks Martha. I dumped the search index and it will take some time to rebuild. You will be able to search for 3 letter acronyms once the index is rebuilt. Please give it some time to finish (maybe up to a day).
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:38 PM   #18
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If you use the advanced search function, you can search for acronyms. I just searched CFB and got loads of hits (imagine my astonishment ). You can also set some search parameters or search by member.

It's not great but it's a start.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:16 PM   #19
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If you use the advanced search function, you can search for acronyms. I just searched CFB and got loads of hits (imagine my astonishment ). You can also set some search parameters or search by member.

It's not great but it's a start.
I always use the advanced search, usually to restrict results by date or by poster. This morning I got no results for CFB or TSP. Now I do. Maybe it is due to Andy's work and the Index's have been rebuilt.

Thank you Andy.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:36 PM   #20
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Please allow the indexing to build up. All 3 letter words should be searchable soon.
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