Suggestion Searching the site cont.

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begard

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Okay first off I'm a bit ticked off that you closed the thread when we were in mid discussion, with no reason that's not very nice. :sadno: If you don't want to have the discussion say so but give me a chance to respond please!

Second, moo, with all due respect I wasn't suggesting out sourcing to google but advocating a better search algorithm. Though maybe in retrospect I could have made that a little clearer. They are widely available to include in forums. locally without any outsourcing. (as it turns out,see bellow, I was mistaken and you already have them.)

Third, As I was just about to post:
I am very sorry if i offended you your search algorithms are actually very good:claps:.
I've played with the advanced search a bit and it seems the main difference between getting good results and now is whether the sort function is set to relevance or date. I would therefore advocate the rather simple change of making the default search box function order by relevance. I surely cannot be the only person not to find this by myself. I offer the two original posts in the original thread in evidence. As has already been said the date sorted results are, for most things, not very helpful. So in summary I concede the sight has a good search function but maintain the search box is basically useless as it stands.
 

Moo

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Okay first off I'm a bit ticked off that you closed the thread when we were in mid discussion, with no reason that's not very nice. :sadno: If you don't want to have the discussion say so but give me a chance to respond please!

If you think something more needs to be said, you can always PM me, or (if it is on another topic) start a new thread for that topic.

I've played with the advanced search a bit and it seems the main difference between getting good results and now is whether the sort function is set to relevance or date. I would therefore advocate the rather simple change of making the default search box function order by relevance.

If search is ordered by date, then you have a good chance of being able to reply to whatever comes up.
On the other hand, if it is ordered by relevance, and date ignored, you don't, because most of the relevant results will be old, and old threads auto-lock.

If someone is searching for threads about X, it is probably because they read a recent thread about X, and want to find the thread again so they can reply to it.
This is more likely than someone wanting to read everything (even five year old stuff) about a topic.

Yes, we have a lot of content.
At the same time, most people are more interested in recent, active discussions, not things which took place years ago.
Additionally, ADISC has a vested interest in steering people to recent stuff, because that encourages them to get involved, reply, and keep the discussion alive.
Steering people to stuff that is years-old and impossible to reply to does not encourage conversation.
 

begard

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These are all goods points.
I believe that the recentness of a thread is factored into the relevance so in fact even sorting by relevance tends to point towards recent threads.

As far as finding a recent thread I was looking for I have tried this with the current system and ended up giving up and trawling the boards instead as there were actually fewer irrelevant entries there than in the search results. I actually would put this forward as an argument for sorting by relevance

I mainly use the search function when I'm looking for specific information or for something that isn't currently front page to see a) was it discussed recently, for which I still think searching by relevance is far better b) is it worth rebooting. If a topic was previously posted and only got 2 replies probably isn't a good candidate for a do over anyway. If I want to join in the discussion I just look at the boards to see what is current, so I don't necessarily agree that it deters conversation as they are I think two different types of interaction. More detrimental is a thread whose first reply is, to paraphrase, "oh no, not this again", as it deters people from starting new threads on any subject as they can't be sure its not going to get pooh-poohed.

Anyway, thanks for engaging, I'm increasingly aware that I seem to be the only one who feels strongly on the issue (it does wind me up considerably getting garbage(IMHO) search results) so I would suggest leaving the topic open for say 48-72hrs just to see if anybody else feels like joining me on my ledge then by all means close the thread and forget it.
 

LittleAcorn

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If you want to use Google you to search adisc you can, with something like this:

some search term site:adisc.org

It's not perfect since you can only search public forms that way (e.g. no EC+, and whatever else is set to members only), but for some things it's easier. This is actually a pretty common forum search trick - I've seen it suggested for other forums.

My biggest complaint about the forum search is that while it's fine for finding the thread I'm looking for, I still have to go through every page to find the matching post. That's a pain if there are 10+ pages. I'm not sure there's a solution for that, but using the Google trick usually works, so it's not that big a deal.
 

begard

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If you want to use Google you to search adisc you can, with something like this:

some search term site:adisc.org
yep, covered in original thread. Inconvenient since the site can do it itself, using sort by relevance. Also links searches to gmail account which is undesirable, maybe. And doesn't cover private areas (of the site).

My biggest complaint about the forum search is that while it's fine for finding the thread I'm looking for, I still have to go through every page to find the matching post.

Actually you can at the top of each thread is a grey bar(default blue skin) with a 'search thread' option you can use.
 

LittleAcorn

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Also links searches to gmail account which is undesirable, maybe.

Easy solution - incognito/private browser window, or better yet a separate browser.

And thanks for the "search thread" hint. I must have missed that.
 

WoodlandWanderer

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I believe that the recentness of a thread is factored into the relevance so in fact even sorting by relevance tends to point towards recent threads.

As far as finding a recent thread I was looking for I have tried this with the current system and ended up giving up and trawling the boards instead as there were actually fewer irrelevant entries there than in the search results. I actually would put this forward as an argument for sorting by relevance

I mainly use the search function when I'm looking for specific information or for something that isn't currently front page

While you might consider date as a factor in determining relevance, I expect the forum software does not. The whole point of a relevance search is it brings up the results which best meet your search conditions. It lets you easily find what you are actually looking for rather than giving you more recent examples with only partial matches to wade through first. If you include date in the calculation of relevance then it becomes impossible to tell the search to ignore date as a factor - precisely what you sometimes want to do.

If you are searching for a specific thread then use advanced search and search only thread titles, if you like you can specify a date cut off too. Search is set up sorting by date first because that's what most people seem to use it for - finding a recent thread. The search box simply wasn't designed for more complicated searching.

It seems a bit silly to me to complain about the basic search function not doing exactly what you want it to, it can't do what everyone wants it to! You have the facility to use the advanced search, which you can configure how you like, and it doesn't take that much longer. If looking for very specific things it's actually quicker.
 

begard

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While you might consider date as a factor in determining relevance, I expect the forum software does not.
My point is search algorithms rate relevance by considering a number of metrics and awarding each article a weighting based on these. One of the metrics in an algorithm is usually recentness especially in things like forums where, as has already been said, relevance and recentness are strongly interlinked. This can of course over-ridden by another metric like keyword density to present you with older posts too. I don't believe it is possible to completely discount date

It seems a bit silly
Meh, you could level that accusation at any thread in this category. Any change you you make will upset somebody. How do you know whether it is bothering a significant number of people unless somebody puts their head over the parapet? Based on the current responses it may indeed be that i am the only person who found the current set up infuriating (however the thread is only 24hrs old!). Though now I know about the advanced search option I agree for me its no big deal, I maintain that I am not alone in not finding this and that for most people a search by relevance is more usful. I am content to be democratic and work within the confines of what's possible I still don't think having the discussion is ever 'silly'.

Useful things to come out of the thread:
1. wider awareness of the advanced search function
2. wider awareness of the thread search function
3. admin awareness that search ability of site is not well known even by people who have been with the site a long time.
4. wider awareness of google advanced search functions
5. The matters I have raised is laid to rest now and for the next while in the future.

I am sorry if you think its silly though. I wouldn't have posted a thread if i didn't believe it was a genuine grievance that many people would have encountered.

Anyway that's all getting a little dry and serious so a little bit of relevant humour for you:
workflow.png
 

Moo

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My biggest complaint about the forum search is that while it's fine for finding the thread I'm looking for, I still have to go through every page to find the matching post. That's a pain if there are 10+ pages. I'm not sure there's a solution for that, but using the Google trick usually works, so it's not that big a deal.

Just use advanced search, and select the "display results as posts" option. Then it will list individual matching posts, instead of threads. No hunting required.
You can also match just based on titles, and a bunch of other things.

If search doesn't work the way you want, use advanced search.
 

cgh

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The 'Advanced Search' is probably powerful enough to meet the needs of about 95% of users on the site, but it's not always clear how to use it. Would a possible way to solve this be an article on ways to search the site for content and how to tweak results?
 
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