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justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet

[request] feedback needed on beta site search

There is a beta search URL at

»/nsearch

I've not done the back index prior to April of this year for forum posts, but the parts that are implemented (posts since april, all reviews, all news) seem to be working ok, I'd be interested in feedback (speed, things that could be improved that don't seem to be there as place-holders).



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2

Re: feedback needed on beta site search

1) The results don't seem to be sorted.

2) No date/time stamps make it hard to tell if you're looking at related items or not.



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

1 edit

sorting is by relevance..
(eg, searching for "sorting relevance" finds this post as #1 hit) »/nsearch?q=sor···nce&cat=

what do you mean, "related items"?



ColdinCbus
Premium
join:2002-12-28
Columbus, OH

Take a look at this search. Dates are not ordered by most recent. »/nsearch?q=Upd···vanced=1

Speed is excellent. Maybe a DESC option to get the last first.
--
Team Discovery Project Hope



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
reply to justin

Knowing that the results are sorted by "relevance" helps.

Date/time would be helpful though.



Zupe
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-29
New York, NY

1 edit
reply to justin

On the Advanced Search page (»/nsearch?advanced_gui=1&q= ), there seems to be an error in coding of the Category search drop-down, as there aren't any choices in the drop-down and the options show as text to the right instead.

On the results page, it would be nice to have the date of the post and name of the user who posted it displayed, and as mentioned, an option to display the results by date rather than relevance would also be helpful.
--
Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Pinky: I think so, Brain, but "Snowball for Windows"?



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

1 recommendation

reply to justin

The form has been fixed, and there is now a sort option to flip between relevance and date-order at the top right of any results page.



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2

Looking better.

Do a "Search Recent" for "oe account". It says there are "about 4087" results. Now, flip it to "sort by date" and there are "about 27771" results.

One thing I noticed about this new search is that it works for single words, where the old one never seemed to, at least for me.



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

that is correct because "sort by date" no longer bothers to limit to "recent matches" (90 days).

If you do a search "all" for "oe account" you'll get 27771 matches.



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2

Yep, that's what I found. I just expected "sort by date" to only sort the ones that were currently displayed.



mjf
" "
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-05
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

2 edits
reply to justin

On the advanced search page, could you put the forums (with their numbers) in alphabetical order or at least title the groupings e.g. "up and running"?
--
Smile!
Team Discovery



JJJohnson

join:2001-08-25
Fort Collins, CO
reply to justin

Either make the Advanced Search the default or at least add a couple more options to the basic search.

I'd have three options to use when selecting which forums to search (use radio buttons, then the appropriate type of input field for each of the three):

1. A single forum (use a drop-down list (SELECT) field with all forums listed in alphabetical order).
2. All forums (no input field needed).
3. Your numeric comma delimitted list. However, list the forums in a new window instead of cluttering up the Advanced search page. Use some JavaScript so that all the user needs to do is click on the forum name and the number
is appended to the numeric list field in the Advanced form.

If you're going to list all available forums on the page itself then you may as well use checkboxes instead of the comma delimitted list.

Do something similar with the Date range. A radio button to either select input via drop-down list with selections like 'Last 15 days', 'Last 30 days', 'Last 90 days', 'All' or the manually entered date range. Once again a bit of JavaScript would go a long way here. You could add clickable calendars to the date range. You can also select the appropriate radio button whenever the user changes the value of an input field.

Add sorting options on the search form instead of after the search is already run. This could ease load on the server as well as being quicker for the end user.

Add the ability to group results by forum.

Add the option to group and display threads instead of all matching posts. Another possibility would be to list matching posts, but no more than one per thread. Display either the last or the first match (by date/time) in a thread.

You might add an option to search titles only or titles and text (the default). For slow searches the titles only option may come in handy.



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet

I'm not too keen on javascript. Google advanced search does not need javascript pop-up calendars, or pop-up anything.

I've changed the forum selection to checkboxes, that seems to work ok. When the search is put into production the top of the forum search boxes will automatically select the forum anyway All forums is the default, anyway, only use the checkboxes if you want to restrict to some forums.

Again, google always defaults to "most relevant", I think that is the best way. Date order is just a click away and less useful for most people who search for issues. The default search already restricts to the last 90 days anyway.

Hopefully, there will be no slow searches. Although it is back-indexing now, when the indexes stop getting modified, any and all searches should be within a second.


Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to justin

When will exact phrase, all of the words, etc. be implemented?

The search is very fast, but finds mostly irrelevant stuff because exact phrase, etc. is not yet usable. It's looking good but I will reserve my final opinion of the new search until I can properly search. (I just did a search for Process Explorer the old way and the new way and, of course, the new way failed miserably because search by exact phrase is not possible like it is with the old search).

Could you please add the actual dates to search by date? The way it is now it is much more time consuming and cumbersome than the old way of searching. I generally want to search by date not by relevance because when I search, I am looking for a specific topic from the past. Searching here, for us old timers at least, is not always like searching at Google. We recall a specific discussion and want to refer to in a current topic and so we go looking for it. Many times we want to use that topic in helping a newbie. Of course, sometimes I just want to find all the topics on a particular something and that is like most searching done at Google.
--
The first and foremost function of our jurors is to protect private citizens from a tyrannical and intrusive government...Jurors are the last line of defense for liberty. Thomas Jefferson 1789



JJJohnson

join:2001-08-25
Fort Collins, CO
reply to justin

Very glad to see that you're taking feedback seriously.

What's wrong with JavaScript?

I didn't realize that you were trying to emulate a particular search, such as google's. Look at the google Advanced Groups Search, which searches Usenet groups. That's most similar to the task at hand of searching through your forums. Unfortunately you don't have the same kind of hierarchy as Usenet, so you can't search a 'branch' by using a wildcard like you can in the google search.

I'm not sure the checkbox thing is really workable. That's just an enormous amount of information to put onscreen at one time. You've pretty much got to either search just one forum or else all of them. Devising a user friendly means of selecting multiple forums out of that very large list isn't going to be easy. I assume that selecting no checkboxes does a search through all forums, although this isn't mentioned.

Google's date selection in the Advanced Groups Search is good and simple and doesn't require a particular date format to be entered. Note the small amount of JavaScript that moves the radio button. Also, if a user selects an out-of-range date (example: 31-Jun-2004) then modify the date to the last day of the selected month rather than throwing an error. And if the first date is greater than the second, just swap them.

The ability to search only titles is not only a speed consideration. It's also a means of manual filtering. If I look for a term or phrase only in titles then it's more likely to be relevant.



JJJohnson

join:2001-08-25
Fort Collins, CO
reply to Mele20

said by Mele20:

Could you please add the actual dates to search by date?
Agreed. Dates are needed. If showing individual posts in the results, author names would also be helpful.


justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet
reply to JJJohnson

I hate pop-ups and dislike javascript. The more complex the javascript the worse it is. A few simple things are bearable, but thats it.

The way i figure it the advanced search will rarely get used, and even less rarely for focus on a particular forum given that each forum has a search box that will default to that forum. It won't kill people to control-f and then check a box next to a forum or three. I use google advanced search about 1 time in 100, if the default search is designed correctly then that is probably going to be the same ratio here.

I'll certainly add menus for common date options, like, last week, last month, this year. But again, a date ranged advanced search is infrequent enough that it is no imposition to have someone type 6 digits with dashes.



jaykaykay
4 Ever Young
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join:2000-04-13
USA
kudos:24
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·Speakeasy

1 edit
reply to Mele20

said by Mele20:


When will exact phrase, all of the words, etc. be implemented?

The search is very fast, but finds mostly irrelevant stuff because exact phrase, etc. is not yet usable. It's looking good but I will reserve my final opinion of the new search until I can properly search. (I just did a search for Process Explorer the old way and the new way and, of course, the new way failed miserably because search by exact phrase is not possible like it is with the old search).

Could you please add the actual dates to search by date? The way it is now it is much more time consuming and cumbersome than the old way of searching. I generally want to search by date not by relevance because when I search, I am looking for a specific topic from the past. Searching here, for us old timers at least, is not always like searching at Google. We recall a specific discussion and want to refer to in a current topic and so we go looking for it. Many times we want to use that topic in helping a newbie. Of course, sometimes I just want to find all the topics on a particular something and that is like most searching done at Google.
I agree with this reply completely and it's worded so well that there is no point in my repeating. Exact phrasing is a definite must as well as actual dates to search by date, IMHO. As much as I refer someone to a search or even just use it for my own edification, without these things, it is just plain a bother using as it is.

I would rather see the Search feature remain the same as it is unless these things can be added, and I am not sure, even then, how easiy it will be for newbies to get their info.


PetePuma
How many lumps do you want
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-13
Arlington, VA

I'm getting a lot of rows:


Post » No permission to read post


Can these be stripped out of the resultset?


justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

unfortunately, no, because the pagination would then break. If you are searching for technical stuff, then you won't see much or any of these. If you search for "puff daddy" and have no access to social forums, you will see a lot of these.



PetePuma
How many lumps do you want
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-13
Arlington, VA

1 edit

Why would the pagination break? Couldn't you just exclude these rows from the query in the first place?

and: does the search include post jail? Can *those* be stripped out?



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

no, because whether or not an individual user can read an individual post in a forum is mostly algorithmic, not a database op that can be stuffed into a select clause.



PetePuma
How many lumps do you want
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-13
Arlington, VA

How does the current search keep these from showing up?



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15

It has to check read every post before deciding what to display, which is part of the reason that it is so slow, refuses to search for popular words (search for 'verizon' would mean checking 250,000 posts), and cuts off after a few hundred hits.



Sparrow
Crystal Sky
Premium
join:2002-12-03
Sachakhand
reply to justin

I was pointed to this thread, and I am impressed. I am not familiar with the programming details, but as an avid user of "search," and after a quick "test drive" this new feature seems excellent. It is very fast and the option results seem quite accurate:

"nimda" results: (Sorted by Date)
»/nsearch?q=nimda&o=d

"nimda" results: (Sorted by Relevance)
»/nsearch?q=nimda&o=r&old=1

"nimda" results: (Advanced search - queried "Crystal Sky" and "Security")
»/nsearch?q=nim···d=1&18=1

I used Advanced Search for a topic from last December, with:

•Find results with at least one of the words ("resolution")
•with the exact phrase ("gossip")
•Order Order results by relevance ("2003/11/01")
•Date Return matches updated from ("2004/10/01")
•Category Search only Posts
•Username Made by ("Crystal Sky")
•(and forum ticked) Rants Raves and Praise
»/nsearch?q=res···d=1&16=1

...and also a pleasantly surprising result for "NIS 2003," "Crystal Sky," "Security:"
»/nsearch?q=nis···d=1&18=1
(Results 1 - 10 of about 232 for nis 2003)

Nice going, Justin.
--
Vote WildCherry for U.S. President in November! Let's really make this country come alive!


Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5

How can you say it is accurate? It cannot find just "Process Explorer" posts or topics for instance. It lists a lot of irrelevant junk like threads with the word "explorer" in them. All you can search for now is one word searches. Most of the time that is not very useful. I think you should have reserved judgement until we can actually search for more than one word.

How can you say the option results for "sort by date" is accurate? There are no dates! How can I possibly find the thread I want when there is just a list with no dates?

I always used advanced search and tonite I searched for:

IE6 and Cookies
sort by date
2001-08-01 to 2002-06-30
made by eburger68
Security forum
Topics only

I got 0 results.

I then did the same search the old way and got:
»IE6 and Cookies (Here we go again...)

That is the follow-up thread to the original historic thread started August 27, 2001. The original thread
»IE6 and Cookies
was not started by eburger68 so even though I searched in posts also it was not found. The old search found one of the two threads and the new search found neither.

When I took out eburger's name in the new search and took out the dates during which to search, I was confronted with over 10,000 posts and no way to see where the posts would be in those many pages for the dates I wanted BECAUSE NO DATES ARE LISTED ON THE POSTS. When I put in the dates from 2001-08-01 to 2002-06-30, I got no matches.

When I took out the dates but left eburger's name, I got one result:
»Telling the FTC About Spyware: A Few Tips...
That post has the word "and" highlighted but no other words highlighted and the post is not very relevant and not the thread I was searching for. I was scolded for having the word "and" in the search. I hate that at Google. The "and" was there obviously because I was trying to search for the TOPIC titled "IE6 and Cookies". I was told it was a "partial match" "one word out of two" with the word "and" being ignored although it was the only word highlighted in the matched post!

This search is NOT good presently. It should be good once Justin makes more adjustments but I think judgement should be reserved until we can do better searches. If I were to judge now I would have to say it is not as good as the old search because it finds nothing or a bunch of irrelevant stuff along with the relevant and there is no way to narrow the search to a specific range of dates and no way to quickly see where in the list of posts returned you are as no dates are listed! So you stumble about in 10,000 posts look for what page the posts are on for the range of dates you want. Plus, search for topics only doesn't work.

Another less important, butirritating thing is that I have to scroll down and look for the forum I want to search in so I can check the box. The old search has a nice, convenient drop down box. This new way is ugly looking and takes a lot more time. Justin has said that it doesn't matter because if you want to search in a specific forum you would search from that forum. I would not because I might not be sure whether the topic I was trying to find had been posted in Security or Microsoft Help for instance and so I would go to the general advanced search page so that I could try both forums. Why would I first go to the Security forum and search there and then go to the Microsoft forum and search there? Much easier and more logical to search on the general advanced search page.
--
The first and foremost function of our jurors is to protect private citizens from a tyrannical and intrusive government...Jurors are the last line of defense for liberty. Thomas Jefferson 1789



fatness
subtle
Premium,ex-mod 01-13
join:2000-11-17
fishing
kudos:14

1 edit

said by Mele20:

How can you say it is accurate? It cannot find just "Process Explorer" posts or topics for instance.
I turn up 266 posts with both words in the current site search function. I turn up 1966 posts in the Software forum with either one word or the other using the beta search function. So the current function will find it. And the beta one is obviously a work in progress and intends to be able to find phrases when it's done.

How can you look at this page: »/nsearch···gui=1&q=
where it clearly says "(*) = coming soon - currently ignored." next to the phrase search, and complain about it? We already have 1 search function that will find the phrase, are working on a more comprehensive function that will find it.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head.............
--
Never stand close to a cage that contains courting porcupines. .

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5

I am very much aware that you can't do those searches currently. Did you read my earlier posts in this thread? I stated that earlier.

My latest post was a REPLY to Sparrow See Profile whom I IMed and pointed here yesterday. I was irritated by her post.

When you do a search for "Process Explorer" the old way, every single post is relevant. When you do it the new way most of the posts are not relevant because search is presently crippled and I don't think Justin should be asking for feedback when we can't do real searches yet the new way! I have a right to that opinion. He should have made all options for searches available before asking for feedback. That is all I was pointing out. I can't give good feedback because I can't do any searches the new way! Who searches for one word? Gee, you usually are searching for a specific thread from the past and the thread title is more than one word usually.

I like the current search partly because it is NOT like Google. If I want to search dslr ala Google I will go to Google and do it. I don't want our search to be Googlized. If it is going to be a Google search then why even have a search here?

Plus, who wants to see all that irrelevant text stuck on the search results page? That page is sooo cluttered now! The old way, it is neat and you see the date and the thread title instantly. I don't want to read the first part of the post in the search results. That makes it so difficult to find what you are looking for. And it is much more time consuming. The current way is far better even though it certainly has its shortcomings. And where are the dates? That is the worst thing about the new search. There no dates on the return pages! You are totally lost without the dates.
--
The first and foremost function of our jurors is to protect private citizens from a tyrannical and intrusive government...Jurors are the last line of defense for liberty. Thomas Jefferson 1789



fatness
subtle
Premium,ex-mod 01-13
join:2000-11-17
fishing
kudos:14

1 recommendation

said by Mele20:

.........I don't think Justin should be asking for feedback when we can't do real searches yet the new way! I have a right to that opinion. He should have made all options for searches available before asking for feedback. That is all I was pointing out. I can't give good feedback because I can't do any searches the new way!
Why not hold off until it is complete and then give feedback? It seems odd to type so much feedback and say you can't give any feedback.
--
Never stand close to a cage that contains courting porcupines. .


justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet
reply to justin

It now indexes FAQs, ISP entries, and "post titles" as well (equivalent to topic-search in a forum). So that pretty much covers everything. Back-indexing more posts is the next challenge.

If someone can't easily find something (after trying by date, or by relevance, or an individual forum if they know it) that should be indexed using this search please post the example, and the search string that finds it using the old search, so I can tune this further. In all my trials, the old search sucks vs this one. thanks.