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Thread: vBulletin search tips to help you get better search results

  1. #1
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    vBulletin search tips to help you get better search results

    It is common knowledge that the vBulletin search function is not the best but this isn't that apparent to forum users and is something that should be addressed better. There have been many helpful posts on how to use google search instead but again they are not easy to find. I thought the last suggestion on this post was interesting. Is it possible? To have the built in search default to a Google search instead.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/inde...t-1193082.html

    ametalguitarist
    June 22nd, 2009, 05:46 AM
    Maybe have the form action point to site:ubuntuforums.org instead of in-home search?
    Last edited by mikegalbicka; 03-30-2015 at 12:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    MikeG -

    I wouldn't know how to make the vBulletin search point to something else. We really wouldn't want to do that in the case that someone really wants to use the vBulletin search. I haven't tried lately, but the vBulletin search will have an edge over other outside search engines as you could search for a username if you remember who it was. Plus you can limit the timeframe.

    Search in general, even with google, somewhat requires that you "think" like the posters and use a term that you know will be found. Using speedometer or exhaust is just too broad. I'm sure you know that. If you're looking for a specific post from the past, if you can remember something unique about the post, that helps a lot.

    Putting something on the forum that even says "Google" requires some homage to them...possibly some money changing hands.

    All that said, I can get to the google site search very easily. I type "g" in my URL bar at the top...click on google. Type as little as "site:" in the box, and my last search comes up. I change the terms of the search, and I'm off. I consider that pretty easy. You can book mark google in your favorites. Again, an easy way to get to it.

    Even if/when we get the search index updated (if that's what it takes), the vBulletin syntax for searching really bites...maybe that was discussed on the ubuntfu forums. You can't use double quotes, you can't use and/or, you can't use the negative sign to eliminate search results. The vBulletin search tool will never have any of that. But google does.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Kurt, while you and I both know all of that the average forum user doesn't understand any of it. Those of you that moderate and administer this forum need to discuss and then implement a plan to better communicate to the average user how they can perform a search that will in fact return helpful results instead of thousands of non helpful posts. To just post steps in this thread will only help a few that happen to read them and retain the info. Once the thread passes from discussion the steps will be useless because they probably won't be easily found with a search. We discussed the connection problems with Panjo until we got blue in the face but it eventually got worked on and improved. I am hoping for the same with this problem.

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    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegalbicka View Post
    Kurt, while you and I both know all of that the average forum user doesn't understand any of it. Those of you that moderate and administer this forum need to discuss and then implement a plan to better communicate to the average user how they can perform a search that will in fact return helpful results instead of thousands of non helpful posts. To just post steps in this thread will only help a few that happen to read them and retain the info. Once the thread passes from discussion the steps will be useless because they probably won't be easily found with a search. We discussed the connection problems with Panjo until we got blue in the face but it eventually got worked on and improved. I am hoping for the same with this problem.
    We are actually constantly trying- http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....Tag-Cloud-quot
    As I mentioned in another thread, the search engine needs to be "loaded" with searchable information. Random, short, nondescript terms tend to show random, short, nondescript results.
    OM
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    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    OM, I know you are trying which is why I suggested a plan to better communicate your tips which the majority are probably missing. Perhaps a sticky for search tips on one or all of the top three forums in the forum list might be a place to start.

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    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegalbicka View Post
    OM, I know you are trying which is why I suggested a plan to better communicate your tips which the majority are probably missing. Perhaps a sticky for search tips on one or all of the top three forums in the forum list might be a place to start.
    Yep, I'm trying......
    Throughout time we have found that very few read a sticky I think it's just that a Member has something to say or ask, the post is made. It would also seem that Members feel they will be criticized or made fun of for asking a question when, while there may be some needless snark, their question when answered, helps many.
    I specifically did the Best of Forum on the Tag Cloud to help in making the search feature mo' betterer. From what I can see, about 80% of the views were from guests- probably helped 'em on another forum they use
    I do understand and appreciate you efforts to bring some light to the search feature, at this time I would be concerned about bringing in another layer of "how to search".
    The ability to get instant results depends on a number of things- such as Tags. To use Google for an example, it brings the "most popular" to the first page and from what I'm told, the chance that someone goes to the second page or beyond is rare. The best/fastest/most accurate Google results, like the forum, favor the question asked the way Google has the info "stacked".
    Thanks.
    Gary
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  7. #7
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    OM, if you are sold that Tag is the answer then perhaps you should tag this post in the best way possible to get it to surface to the top of any search for the word "search" then you could include all the search tips in detail on it and people could be directed to search for search to get help. Something needs to be done because expecting different results while doing the same thing over and over is the definition of ...?

  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegalbicka View Post
    OM, if you are sold that Tag is the answer then perhaps you should tag this post in the best way possible to get it to surface to the top of any search for the word "search" then you could include all the search tips in detail on it and people could be directed to search for search to get help. Something needs to be done because expecting different results while doing the same thing over and over is the definition of ...?
    Probably not a bad idea although I really think the thread name needs to be changed so Members don't get led astray.
    OM
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Probably not a bad idea although I really think the thread name needs to be changed so Members don't get led astray.
    OM
    I agree on a title change...seems to be a negative from the get go. Some words just carry a bad vibe...useless is one of those for me. As a mod, I do nothing in the back room with the forum software, just work with what is there. Panjo is still new to me and am glad it is getting ironed out.

    I am by no means a techie, and only participate in maybe three forums as I just do not seem to have either the time or energy some of y'all do.

    I use the search function within each sub forum often as I try to help folks find an answer or to re-visit a common seasonal topic. Seems to work for me with my limited use of forums as I mentioned, I have no standard to compare it to. Could it be better...sure. But to say something is useless is...frustrating.
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    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I really think the thread name needs to be changed
    I edited my title and added a few tags. What else can I do to help?

  11. #11
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegalbicka View Post
    I edited my title and added a few tags. What else can I do to help?
    I was thinking of something more positive like-
    "Forum search discussion thread".
    In the mean time, if you or any of the Members have trouble finding something, let me know. I would be happy to take a peek and see what I can find.
    OM
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    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I have been able to check around and found out that google has a custom search engine that can be embedded on a website:

    https://cse.google.com/cse/

    It looks like it's free but you have to sign up for it. I understand they then send you the code to insert which then provides the "site:bmwmoa.org xxx" feature that has been mentioned. You can see an example of what this is like on Snowbum's website:

    http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/search.htm

    It appears that you must accept the ads that come up...it's not obtrusive but still there are ads there. Just going to the standard google webpage and typing it in yourself bypasses that.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  13. #13
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I've taken the opportunity to tweak the forum a bit, adding a search box on the top menu bar which opens up a new tabbed window for Google's search page. I chose this rather than to create the custom search engine listing...having the ads that come with that was something that I didn't want to do now. That's not how we "roll" here so I went this way in keeping with that.

    In addition, I've put together a sticky that is in the New Member area that discusses a number of different ways to search the MOA forum/website, in addition to using google. That sticky is here:

    http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....-the-MOA-Forum

    And for what it's worth, I included my limited views of what's been working for me regarding search strategies. Hopefully that will give people something to think about along with a new tool.

    If there are any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking some time to do this Kurt. Can't wait to check it out when I get some time later. Happy Easter.

  15. #15
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Excellent job on the sticky Kurt. That is exactly what I thought might be useful. Adding the menu item for Google search is also a great option. Only problem I see is on small screens like my iPad it is overlapping into the search box. Got to shorten up some menu items to make them all fit.

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