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Forum searches

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:06 pm

For a while now I've noticed that the forum search seemed a bit broken, refusing to return results I know to be in there somewhere.

If you click the "Search user’s posts" link in someones profile, and their username has a space in it then the forum software will often fail to find whatever you type in the 'text to search for' box in the next page.

The solution is to retry from the results page, but put double quotes around the username, and remove any '+' symbol that the forum software inserted between the two parts of the username.

Case in point - clicking on 'Search user's posts' and typing 'Android' into the search box for Dr Huge Longjohns I get:

Image

But after manually adding the double quotes:

Image

I'm not sure where the '+' in the spaces in the username came from in my earlier tests, but I don't see it in my latest ones, so maybe that was me trying something out.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:19 pm

It's what's suggested in the forum search text, but it really doesn't seem to work for me either.

The search feature used to be pants, now those pants are falling apart.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:23 pm

Yeah I think the subtle distinction there is that the forum search text is something you enter yourself, so you tend to pay attention to it.

The username part though, is pre-populated by the forum software if you use the "Search user's posts" link, so the default mindset is to just accept that it's correct.

Other than that, I can't say I've found the search feature too bad myself.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Luke W » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:11 pm

I've noticed recently that any search I make returns the "No results" page, but then hitting the search button a second time kicks it into gear and shows a full list of results as normal.

I thought it may just be a problem at my end but I've noticed it with different browsers and devices/OS's now.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby BJG145 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:59 pm

There's a gov.uk petition about the SOS forum search. Last time I checked it was up to about 6300 signatures.

(Personally I think they should hire Folderol to rewrite the whole thing from scratch.)
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:02 pm

There's certainly something very funny about the way in which the site search engine works.

I've just gone Reviews>Mixers and then entered 'Alesis'. This was the result, with the first proper Alesis hit being the 12th article listed.

Image

I may be old-fashioned, but if I type in 'Alesis', then I expect 'Alesis' to be at the top of the list.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:15 pm

I think this is because Alesis is mentioned on the pages in the 'Alternatives' box.

Part of the problem is the differentiating between headline, body and info box text I guess. In some contexts you might want to search for products that Alesis is an alternative for, but in others you just want Alesis only stuff.

The large body of content to search on SOS is always going to present challenges and require compromises.

Though I agree it would be nice to be able to filter results by Headline, Copy or Info box (for example), even that would require some creative scripting to generate the necessary metadata, or a lot of time to manually tag. Then there would be possible db schema changes, front-end design etc. It's not trivial.
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Re: Forum searches

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:47 pm

It's just that other websites can manage it.

Yes, I can use the filter buttons on the right of the page, and I'll do that in future, but if the magazine articles can be arranged alphabetically by main title, then why not the searches?

IIRC, this didn't happen before the mag contents and reviews section etc. got their latest revamp.
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