Help with search

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  #1  
Old 10-31-07, 11:48 AM
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Help with search

Hello All:
I have a problem using the search engine. How do I
search for posts that have all of words that I'm seeking.
For example, if I want to search for all posts
that have "Concord" and "smoke" (for smoke detector),
how would I construct my query ? I have tried all variations
that most search engines use, like
Concord AND smoke, Concord+smoke, +concord +smoke,
Concord & smoke, "Concord smoke"
I only get back posts with one, or, the other but not both.
The advanced search has no drop down menu to indicate
I want all words. I've also read the forum FAQ but there
was nothing there on this topic. Any help would be
appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-31-07, 12:11 PM
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As far as I know you cannot. I have tried many times. It really does make things hard to find, so I'm eagerly awaiting the definitive answer.

I did a bit of sleuthing. Apparently this site is using a version of vBulletin which does actually support it. But there are a couple settings that have to be enabled for it to work. Perhaps also the search page template must be adjusted. When I have time today I might do a few tests to see if I can't get the site to let me do it. [Edit: Nope definitely not possible from the client-side]

-core
 
  #3  
Old 10-31-07, 12:29 PM
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Click Search in blue bar at top of page. Click Advanced Search and type in Concord smoke detector.
 
  #4  
Old 10-31-07, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole View Post
Click Search in blue bar at top of page. Click Advanced Search and type in Concord smoke detector.
Just did that, and it does not yield boolean AND'd results like we were looking for.

For example the second result is this thread, which doesn't contain the term "Concord" at all.

From what I've been able to find, many places have fulltext turned off because it increases load.

Also, from what I understand, "Can use boolean search" is a usergroup permission setting. The fact that you are a Super Moderator might mean that you are getting different results perhaps?

-core
 
  #5  
Old 10-31-07, 01:03 PM
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Our search engine is a 'key word' search, not Boolean. Per the FAQs: "You can search for posts based on username, word(s) in the post or just in the subject, by date, and only in particular forums. To access the search feature, click on the "search" link at the top of most pages."

When I searched for 'Concord smoke detector,' I got the following threads: http://forum.doityourself.com/search...archid=1151539
 
  #6  
Old 10-31-07, 01:16 PM
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Yeah, same results that I got.

That FAQ snippet you quoted does not say either way. It essentially says you can search for words. Heh not too specific.. But we can see from tests that the search is in fact a boolean 'OR'.

Anyway so the answer to the original post is simply "You can't".

BTW, boolean AND functionality was available in vBulletin as of version 3.5.0 I believe.
 
  #7  
Old 10-31-07, 01:26 PM
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Thank you both for clarifying. This is a bummer as there are
several pages of posts with Concord in them and no way to
know which posts also talk about smoke detectors. If this is
a feature of the vBulletin, it would be useful to turn it on,
as it may result in fewer new posts if members are able to
search effectively.
 
  #8  
Old 10-31-07, 01:43 PM
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Ok, here's the workaround! I tried this yesterday but I guess I wasn't doing it right.

What you do is go to google. In their search box use a query like this:

site:forum.doityourself.com concord smoke detector

Voila.

Now keep in mind this will not search _all_ the threads, but it's better than nothing. At the time of this writing Google claims to have approx 98,400 pages indexed, but there are 279,327 threads on this site. It's a huge difference, sure, but that still covers a lot of old posts.

The other great benefit is now double quotes work as expected too. Yay!

Hope this helps!

-core
 
  #9  
Old 10-31-07, 01:50 PM
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"The search is in fact a boolean 'OR'." Are you saying that it is 'OR' because the search did not produce results containing all of the key words? Studies have shown that Boolean 'AND' results tend to be too narrow and 'OR' too broad. I am not sure how our search engine is set up in vBulletin.
 
  #10  
Old 10-31-07, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole View Post
Are you saying that it is 'OR' because the search did not produce results containing all of the key words?
Essentially, yes. But more specifically, I came to that conclusion because with our sample 3-word search, I found threads that contained only ONE of the keywords. Assuming no fancy relevance percentage calculations are being done (doubt it), this is a boolean 'or', almost by definition. Besides, relevance calculations are usually used to sort results, not filter them.

I'd tend to agree with the studies you mentioned, namely that boolean 'AND's might be too narrow when the novice user attempts to search. At least that may have been true when those studies were conducted. However since google (and most other major engines?) are boolean ANDs, I think most people have gotten used to the concept by now.

-core
 
  #11  
Old 10-31-07, 02:11 PM
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I found the following in MySQL Search in our websites vBulletin:

Search Operators

<DL><DT>+ <DD>A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in every row returned. <DT>- <DD>A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any row returned. <DT>(no operator) <DD>By default (when neither + nor - is specified) the word is optional, but the rows that contain it will be rated higher. <DT>* <DD>An asterisk is the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word. <DT>" <DD>A phrase that is enclosed within double quote (`"') characters matches only rows that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed. <DT>> < <DD>These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a row. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it. See the example below. <DT>( ) <DD>Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions. Parenthesized groups can be nested. <DT>~ <DD>A leading tilde acts as a negation operator, causing the word's contribution to the row relevance to be negative. It's useful for marking noise words. A row that contains such a word will be rated lower than others, but will not be excluded altogether, as it would be with the - operator. </DD></DL>The following examples demonstrate some search strings that use boolean full-text operators:
<DL><DT><CODE>apple banana</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain at least one of the two words. <DT><CODE>+apple +juice</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain both words. <DT><CODE>+apple macintosh</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain the word ``apple'', but rank rows higher if they also contain ``macintosh''. <DT><CODE>+apple -macintosh</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain the word ``apple'' but not ``macintosh''. <DT><CODE>apple*</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain words such as ``apple'', ``apples'', ``applesauce'', or ``applet''. <DT><CODE>"some words"</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain the exact phrase ``some words'' (for example, rows that contain ``some words of wisdom'' but not ``some noise words''). Note that the `"' characters that surround the phrase are operator characters that delimit the phrase. They are not the quotes that surround the search string itself. <DT><CODE>+apple +(>turnover <strudel)</CODE> <DD>Find rows that contain the words ``apple'' and ``turnover'', or ``apple'' and ``strudel'' (in any order), but rank ``apple turnover'' higher than ``apple strudel''. </DD></DL>
 
  #12  
Old 10-31-07, 02:17 PM
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Thanks for the info. I tried most of those constructs and they do not work here, under the current config. I'm assuming this is because fulltext search is not currently enabled within vBulletin's settings.

Easiest way to verify that these aren't working is to use the "some words" example from those docs. I searched for a nonsense phrase and included the double quotes:

"red hot bean pole"

I still got 200 results (which is the max). I should have gotten zero (unless someone was in an altered state while posting!). So it's definitely switched off.
 
  #13  
Old 10-31-07, 02:29 PM
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Interesting. Hmmm....


Another thought came to mind. There is a four-letter text minimum for words in search engine. So, 'red' and 'hot' would be omitted in the search, but 'bean' and 'pole' would not.
 
  #14  
Old 10-31-07, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole View Post
There is a four-letter text minimum for words in search engine. So, 'red' and 'hot' would be omitted in the search,
Quite correct, I totally spaced that. Ooops! But yeah I just did another nonsense phrase with longer words and same results.
 
  #15  
Old 10-31-07, 08:48 PM
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Not the best work around, but you could open 2 windows, do a search in 1 for concord, and the other for smoke. Then compare the 2 and weed out anything that doesn't show in both.
 
  #16  
Old 10-31-07, 09:34 PM
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Cute! Integrator I think you are on the way to be a Mod. I am on dial-up and I have multiple sites opened to our websites, and I know the more you have open slows you down, but while one loads I can connect to a forum. Depending on the 24K dialup connection, I can connect on one and wait for others to load. I moderate all forums. This dial up is killing me even with the Propel web accelleration at 16 cents/per day!
 
  #17  
Old 10-31-07, 11:11 PM
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No way I could go back to dial up. I feel your pain. Of course, I could get caught up on reading a book, paragraph at a time between page loads

I've got medium DSL at home, which crawls compared to cable at work.
 
  #18  
Old 11-01-07, 10:56 AM
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Thanks all for following up on this. I think core may have the
best solution so far, viz, using Google and limiting the search
to the diy website. Before my original posting, I had tried
searching using +concord +smoke and it didn't make any
difference to the results.
 
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