Forum Searching Questions

Submitted: Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 18:47
ThreadID: 30029 Views:1286 Replies:10 FollowUps:20
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Hi all,

I am re-writting the forum searches right now and want some feedback. The new system is very fast and really cool however I am trying to work out how you guys want to select what to search for. Basically I have developed the new system to take a keyword string and run a full text search on active and archive results and return everything weighted by rank and number of matches to the keywords. There is no more selection of topic/body/name it checks it all automatically and the resultant screen will have a mix of active and archive results. Now for the questions:

1. Do you want to be able to search the active or archive or both seperately or is a one time check through everything the best?
2. If we check everything a name only search will rank results based on the number of times the name appears in a thread and not just the latest threads that they posted in however it will rank the active higher than the archive. Does this matter or should we have a name specific search option that returns results as it does now?
3. If using keywords it will currently be difficult to have a start/end time selection with the keywords however start & end can remain they ust will not be able to be used with keywords, does this matter?

I guess the core of the issue is that adding a true search to the forum will mean that current latest thread output will have to go away when keywords are used as the rank/matches results must take over from the latest thread type options. I think the results will be better in his mode however give me your feedback overnight and I will take it all into consideration.

PS: Member last updated search will NOT change. You will still be able to search threads with a start & end date selection. The updates will only effect keyword searching.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 18:58

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 18:58
Hi David,

IMO a one time check through everything and with active threads rated higher than archived ones sounds pretty good to me. This should simplify searches by those who are less knowledgeable about the difference between active and archived threads. In the past, some users didn't know you had to toggle between active, archive, or both, to see all relevant threads.

Also, I don't believe separation of keyword searches and start/end date searches will be an issue. One usually is either searching for a keyword, or for a thread that was posed " sometime between last Tuesday and today".
Bill


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AnswerID: 150379

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:14

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:14
Active and Archive will carry the same weight (so to speak) however rank is also based on how high up the actual text the keywords are found in the thread - So in real terms it will just throw up everything at once regardless ot active/archive.

I could allow a search selection to specify active/archive as a seperate option however - I think I would want to add this as an Advanced search type screen where you can refine the search a little or maybe a button on the first page of results. I guess I want to only really have the keyword box and make the rest/refinement more advanced search page options or something.
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Reply By: Member - John C (WA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:02

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:02
David,
If the speed is going to be good, then combining active and archive threads should not be an issue. Is the search results going to be sorted by date as well as the other weighted scores?
JC
AnswerID: 150382

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:09

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:09
Not really true rank and match rating will remove relevance of date however I could sub sort on date so if two results rank and match the same the last selection would be date.

Speed of the full text search is not at all an issue - I am working on it using the live data now with a copy of the current forum page and results are instant when querying across the whole lot.
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:11

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:11
Okay...

I sometimes do a search on the person that POSTED the article, like when was the last time they were active.

Boolean "And", as well as Boolean "Or" would be very useful, to cut down on useless info.

Cheers

Wolfie
AnswerID: 150384

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:18

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:18
AND and OR are fully supported so is NEAR and a few others I will have to dig out the advanced syntax document and post some instructions. However the date in this case would not help with the Name as the these will (I think) have to be seperate searches. It looks like the best will be to work towards an advanced search page which will allow you to run a true name search that will show latest from that person. However once keywords come into play (which will also check name) the relevance will be on rank and matches NOT date.

Does this make sense?
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Follow Up By: Eddy - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:06

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:06
"I sometimes do a search on the person that POSTED the article, like when was the last time they were active."

I find that comment very interesting Lone Wolf.
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Follow Up By: Eddy - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:12

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:12
Do you search the electoral rolls too!
Might have to be carefull what I say in the future being quite an "active person"
Roll on the Australia card!

Incidentally, not much info in you members profile either.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:26

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:26
I have never got AND to work in a search...
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:44

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:44
It is not yet supported in the forum this is the code I am writing NOW.

Site Search and Directory have this facility and in the next day or two so will the forum. It is getting close to initial release. You will know when it is installed as the Topic, Body & name options will be gone.
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Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:13

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:13
Quite often the most recent info is the most relevent........ ie people who may have had an opinion have had time to review their opinions. Not sure if this is relevent lol
AnswerID: 150386

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:27

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:27
Agreed so I will as posted below look into the ability to date range the results ie - only threads/updates in the last 30, 60 or 90 days etc however the results would still be based on rank/match to the keywords supplied. Thanks
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Reply By: richopesto - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:14

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:14
Hiho David,

Hope these responses, as a new user and with some UI design experience, will help:

No1. A single search is fine. Highlighting clearly which are archived and which are active will be useful. Perhaps you could split the results visually between active and archived threads?

3. The keyword and date selection together has been very useful for me. - e.g. I want to find out about the Tanami Track, but nothing older than 120 days ago?

outback users may be on slower lines, I find your pages load slow (~10 sec) on a dialup modem @ 49.2kbps, thus limiting search options (3.) is very useful to decrease response times.

cheers
Richo
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:23

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:23
Richo,

I will check the search docs to see if I can specify dates as part of the string. Actually your post made me think that I could do this already so I may be able to incorporate dates into the base query and thus resolve your issue.

Leave this with me I will play around with the Search facitilies to see if I can add the date criteria easily - I think it may be easy (ish).....
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Follow Up By: richopesto - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:24

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:24
doh. I missed the PS, which probably negates what I've said here if I read correctly.

sorry
richo
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Follow Up By: richopesto - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:29

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:29
love a challenge? sorry if I keep you up all night :-)

whilst I have a blank screen - great site! Ive been following you for years (probably not long after you first started.) The base of knowledge here is phenomonal ! superlative...superlative....

well done
richo
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Reply By: Mainey (WA) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:15

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:15
1. I personnally like to check only NEW posts on a 'word' subject.
Reason being I would have previously read the archived material.

2. Name and date specific, please.

3. Nope

AnswerID: 150388

Reply By: David from Engine Saver Low Water Alarms - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:21

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:21
Gi Day David.

Do it the same way as ninemsn do it, seems to work OK !
(Don't do the way my least favourite search engine does:) )

Davy
AnswerID: 150390

Follow Up By: David from Engine Saver Low Water Alarms - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:45

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:45
Seriously, many people who do searches on this site are not members,
or indeed regular visitors.
They come here in search of information, not to chat with their mates, or chew the fat.
Many will be brought here by a search engine for a particular topic they have searched for.This how most new members will find this forum.
What they want is ALL the information available on that topic starting with the oldest first and working through to the latest.
That way they get all the background information first and work forwards to current info. Helps an awfull lot to have all the opinions.

Only one mans view but this is what I look for.

Also they may find a useful product , or a pointer to it that is not on the site any more.

(also can you include a spell checker on the posts too, I am terrivle at timed two!)
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:34

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:34
Hi David - always working to make the best forum even better. I like the way we can search current or both, and the way the date range works. I appears you have incorporated the 'or' function which was going to be my request. I am rushed, so have not read the whole thread, so this may be repetition: I would like to be able to chooce words in a string, as well as have the option to choose words anywhere in the post.

Thanks,
Motherhen
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AnswerID: 150393

Reply By: GazzaS (VIC) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:49

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:49
Hi David

I like your idea of very simple key word search and then an advanced search function. I used to like the Google option of being able to search within results but they took it away - anyway you could do this? Sometimes a search only returns a small number of matches anyway so I think better to start simple with the option to go advanced.

Cheers
AnswerID: 150398

Follow Up By: Eddy - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:58

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 19:58
Hey Gazza.

Only just notice the photo of your rig on the post.

Does ths mean Prados are Really thirsty then?

Maaaaate! what a picture!

Eddy.
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Follow Up By: GazzaS (VIC) - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 22:02

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 22:02
Hi Eddy

that was us taking the "soft" option at gunshot last September. I was driving and had both feet standing on the firewall. you should have seen the Toyota leap when we got out of the car and were feet dry!

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Eddy - Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 23:14

Monday, Jan 23, 2006 at 23:14
Tell me what pulled you out.
I have my hands over my ears in case it wasn't a ToJo!
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Follow Up By: GazzaS (VIC) - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 23:00

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006 at 23:00
Pulled us out? We drove out of course!

Must admit on the way back we were winched up another "slide" but yes by a tojo (100 series). in fact all of the 5 vehicles in the party were winched up.
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 00:12

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 00:12
I tried searching for a thread on 2 words.
EG Koni AND truckster and it didnt work.

sometimes you can remember a few words out of the thread your lookin for, and maybe if your lucky by who..
These features would help.

or an easier way of searching for multiple words like an advanced google search.

Choices of
SEARCH FOR ALL WORDS
SEARCH FOR ANY WORDS
SEARCH FOR EXACT PHRASE
POSTED BY

Also something as simple as the results by DATE would be fantastic. I went thru 100's of threads, page after page that none were in date order trying to find one the other week.

AnswerID: 150493

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:49

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:49
The AND stuff is being done now.

Search All, Any and Exact will be supported at this stage using "Exact Phrase" AND "Another exact phrase" and words is just simply enter the words will alwasy default to this.

As for date I assume you were looking at the older archive search still in site search. The new one is much different. let me get it installed and then we will see where to go from there. Day or two.....
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:53

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 01:53
BTW: Koni and Truckster using the new forum search in development found 94 threads 7 active and heaps of archives. You will see the changes soon.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 11:56

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 11:56
No probs..
Will be magic when thats all up and runnin..
make life so much easier to save reposting the same things every few hours they are asked :P
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 12:37

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 at 12:37
It will only be a few more hours now - I have almost completed testing of the first round of search updates. This will currently be without advanced search options but will support all boolean queries and exact/all word matching.
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