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search (on this forum) broken for me


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Well, I guess it must be a "feature." It apparently ignores search terms shorter than 4 characters and counts - (hyphen) as a search term delimiter, even if you have the whole string in quotes. For example:

MZ-NH1 returns nothing

NH1 returns nothing

"MZ-NH1" returns nothing

If you tack a * on any of these, it works--but that's not always appropriate.

MZ-RH10 returns results, but is probably dropping the MZ-

Strangely, though, it doesn't tell you what the problem is unless you enter a search that is 2 characters or less--then it gives you an error about needing 4 characters or more. So, not only is it crippled in what it can search, it doesn't actually tell you what the problem is except under very narrow circumstances.

So the upshot is this. Visitors will come here and search for many model numbers and it will return nothing unless they put the * at the end. Additionally, unless they just happen to try a 2-character search, they wont know their search terms are being ignored. If I want to find MZ-RH1 posts I'm forced to retrieve them lumped in with the MZ-RH10 posts because I have to use a wildcard to get around the search engine's idiosyncratic behavior. Generally, I don't use wildcards to workaround a broken search function--I use them to make sure I'm inclusive of ambiguous terms. For example, I'd type minidisc* to make sure I get the plural as well as the singular.

Now with my >good< workaround (using Google with site:minidisc.org) I even get results from less than 6 hours ago and it doesn't drop my short terms. Try this one on google:

E5 site:minidisc.org

There are ways to integrate Google search into the site. If the IPB (this site's forum software) default search engine is hamstrung, it's probably worth exploring.

Edited by narp
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There are other advantages to embedding a Google search form (it is easily done, btw)--all related to the fact that you're searching Google's cache:

  • Reduced load on server (search flood problems--eliminated--without the annoying "now wait...").
  • Reduced traffic translates to reduced bandwidth bills.

You also get your search results nice and flat as opposed to having to find your result in a 40 page thread.

Edited by narp
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Well, it looks like the higher ups did experiment with custom Google searches, but not embedded prominently in the forum's interface. I stumbled across it when I saw the link in kurisu's signature:

minidisc.org's Official Custom Google Search

Unfortunately, it's configured to search the Web by default (just look normal Google Search)--so it wasn't fully baked.

There are other advantages to embedding a Google search form (it is easily done, btw)--all related to the fact that you're searching Google's cache:

  • Reduced load on server (search flood problems--eliminated--without the annoying "now wait...").
  • Reduced traffic translates to reduced bandwidth bills.

You also get your search results nice and flat as opposed to having to find your result in a 40 page thread.

Edited by narp
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