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Unread 07-08-2010, 11:13 AM   #1
Listner
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Using the wtb?r search engine

Been there, searched that!

You know...I've never quite understood why some of the searches I do yield results and some don't. Sometimes I search for posts and/or threads that I know exist and nothing shows up...no matter if I use the post option, thread option, advanced option etc. I've always wondered what exactly it is that I don't comprehend about the process. And it's kind of nice to know I'm not the only one a little "Search Challenged"!
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Unread 07-08-2010, 11:46 AM   #2
Anneli
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I know you have a good memory Listner, so that's your best weapon against the search engine enemy. I find stuff because I remember words that were in the discussion or people who posted in the discussion. Obviously you don't want to pick a word like "Tony" or "boss" but if you can choose something that won't show up much (once I remembered the word "band-aid" was in a discussion and when I searched that, I got maybe 4 topics versus 180 ) then you'll get better results.

I think this particular topic is especially hard to search for because you can't search numbers, so something like "199 episodes" only searches "episodes" and of course you'll get a giant list with that. It's hard to know whether we used words like episode number or episode total or what, so this topic remains lost most of the time. You also cannot search words that are too short, making it virtually impossible to search for any topics relating to Al, because "Al" is too short and thus unsearchable. You can't search "Al topics" because 1) only the word topics will be searched and you'll likely get a lot of stuff that isn't at all what you're looking for, and 2) you're searching words that were either in a topic title or in a post, so your results are going to be things where people posted the word "topics" in their responses. That's why I stick with words I remember were in a post in the discussion I'm looking for.

For that episode topic I remembered you were the one who came up with the explanation and I remembered people posted "good job Listner" so I searched "episodes Listner" (so I was asking for topics that contained both the words episode and Listner in the responses) and I could easily find this in the list. I've also searched by a user's posts too. So if that process above wouldn't have worked I could search all the posts you ever made and try to find it that way. Sometimes that can be a lot but if you can generally remember the time frame you can narrow it that way. But for newbies the search box works just as well with regular search terms, you just have to do some, well, searching. But no worries, I'm always here to help.
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Last edited by Anneli; 07-08-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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Unread 07-08-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
angie1379
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You know, Anneli, this is the best search guide I've ever read! I am always amazed at how quickly you find long-forgotten discussions. And even though much of your success is due to your own keen memory, I hope to employ some of your "tricks" in the future!
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TONY: Angela, I mean you may not have noticed, but I wasn’t exactly having a ball this weekend. I mean, and it bothered me that you were without me!

ANGELA: But Tony, the best times of my life are with you.
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Unread 07-08-2010, 01:39 PM   #4
Listner
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You da Woman...Anneli!

Is there some way to take your most excellent post and make it a Sticky for Search Procedures/Help...because I have only ever used my memory and didn't know of any other of those tips!

As always...Thank you very much!
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Unread 07-08-2010, 04:01 PM   #5
Anneli
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Ok, I've actually been meaning to do this for awhile because I know there's more of you who have trouble using the wtb?r search engine. So please use this topic for any questions you have searching for topics, and I'll see if I can help you use the search engine to get better results. Post number 2 should help, and here's a few other tips for using the search engine:

1) Some words are too short. Usually it has to be at least four letters to be searchable. Numbers are not searchable.

2) Remember, when you use the search box at the top of the forum home page, you are searching either topic titles or entire posts, so you want to be sure the words you are searching will probably have appeared in one of those places and will lead you to the topics you want.

3) You can get really specific results if you choose your words carefully and use enough words. You can usually choose four or five key words for one search, so the more you choose the better your results will be (as long as you use specific words that are sure to be in the topic) because there are going to be fewer topics that contain all five words than there will be topics that contain one or two words. So choosing more words to search for allows you to narrow your results. For instance, if you want to know the name of the song Tony and Angela danced to in the ballroom scene in Older Than Springtime, you can search words like Older, Springtime, song, ballroom, dance, name, title. You can leave out the "than" in the episode title because common words like that are unsearchable, although if you put it there anyway it will simply ignore it. If you want specifically that episode, searching "Older Springtime song" or "Older Springtime song title" or "Older Springtime song dance" (or really any combination of those words above) should do it. If you don't know the episode name searching "song title ballroom dance" should get you there, and even "Angela Tony ballroom dance song" should get you in the ballpark. Even "name of song Angela and Tony danced to" will even be okay because it's going to search key words song, Angela, Tony, danced (the others are too common and/or too short). But searching "Angela Tony dance" or "Angela Tony song" or "Angela Tony song title" or "dance song title" or "songs they danced to" may lead you to where you want to go or it may not. Using less words will widen your search, using more and specific words will narrow it.

4) Using the search engine helps you figure out its quirks too. When you put something in the search box, always check what it actually searched, so you know in the future how to better use the search box (that's how I learned it doesn't search numbers or short words like "Al.") When your search results come up, there will be a notation at the top that says "Key words searched" and then it will list the words it used in the search. For instance if you put "Older Than Springtime" in the search box, when the search comes up you'll see the searchable key words were "Older, Springtime" showing that the common word "than" is not searchable. Other search words you don't need to bother putting in the search box: the, and, or, put, then, etc. Words like Al and Sam won't search but "Sam's" will. (Al is out of luck because "Al's" is still only 3 letters and too short). "The Way We Were" is another thing that is virtually unsearchable. There are no searchable words in that movie title and it doesn't search phrases.

So there's some more hints for you, and please feel free to post any search questions here and I'll be happy to help as needed.
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It's not who you are to the world, it's who you are to me. It's not how many times I say I love you... it's how much I really do.
-Mary Ann

Last edited by Anneli; 07-08-2010 at 06:20 PM.
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