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Thread: Searching

  1. #1
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    Searching

    re <post:=705,401>post 705,401</post:>
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, now that The Lounge is back to critical mass, searching become more powerful than posting.

    The most common problems have solutions posted literally years ago, or solutions that can be cannibalized.
    Most times it's faster for me to search than to post and wait for a human response.
    It'd be interesting, year-by-year, to determine the %ge of posts that contain referrals to other posts.
    In 2000 I'd expect a few, in 2008 I'd expect a lot, with a steady gradient as the years pass, indicating that all too often a newbie (or an oldie) has posted a question without searching, relying on the appearance and memory of an oldie to dig out the relevant post.

    I try to search before posting ("look before you bleat"), but often cannot determine the correct vocabulary.
    Nonetheless, might we be doing all of ourselves, oldies and newbies alike, a greater service than emphasizing the value of search.

    In the example above, I got my answer, not so much from 7 years back, but without having to wait for GeoffW to finish his morning swim, or whatever they do in Australia before their morning coffee.

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    Re: Searching

    Agreed! The lounge is a great repository for tips, tricks and information with many only quick search away.

    The vocab is an issue, especially with the miscreants that keep substituting a "Z" for an "S" and otherwise abusing the language (or maybe it's just the accent?).

    And then there's the dodgy keyboards that add/omit/transpose characters at random.

    Mostly, the Lounge is no better, or worse, than other similar resources. It's often a matter of trying a few different ways of asking the same question to find what you're looking for.

    This could be improved by more intelligent search with "sounds like" and thesaurus functionality. Probably unlikely.

    It might be more practical to set up a (simple) process to get typos corrected as we spot them. Ideally this could happen without adding to the posts in the Lounge. A correction to a key post in a thread should be enough to make the whole thread more "findable".

    I guess it's up to the moderators to decide how/whether they want to handle the extra workload. However, in the long run (long live the Lounge!) it might prove to be less work than repeating common answers and/or redirections to existing answers.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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    Re: Searching

    I shouldn't be acting like I have the right to speak for the Admins, but it's unlikely that we will see any significant changes to the "Lounge program code" for the age of the code and the spaghetti-code nature of our situation makes that pretty much impossible. I would imagine that changing the search "structure" would be out of the question.

    However, ANY of us Mods or Admins are ALWAYS available, willing and able to correct typos, subject or other text of posts to make future searching more meaningful for other Loungers. Please, everyone, don't hesitate to speak up when you spot an edit that you think will help. Fixing that kind of problem takes only seconds and all of us are willing to put that kinda time into it. Long live The Lounge!

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    Re: Searching

    Tim,

    >>>The vocab is an issue, especially with the miscreants that keep substituting a "Z" for an "S" and otherwise abusing the language (or maybe it's just the accent?).

    Care to elaborate on that? I realize that it may not materialize but the correct spelling is dependant on the location of the "checkee" not the "checker". <img src=/S/clever.gif border=0 alt=clever width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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    Re: Searching

    Chris,
    I agree completely. That's two things to remember when trying to solve a problem:
    <UL><LI>many problems have solutions already posted
    <LI>most of the time a search is faster than waiting for a human to serve the *correct* response[/list]That's what I think about also, The Lounge or the web in general, doesn't matter.

    What I have found out years ago, is that "newbies", if they don't know so much about a particular subject (OS, software, programming language, hardware etc.) then they also have a hard time picking out the keywords in their problem to do a search. But it shouldn't be that hard, almost everyone can come up with some keywords for a book they have read etc. Ah yes, MSFT and other software vendors often call their things by special names. Well, everyone has to help themselves with a little introduction study so they know enough to talk about their OS, hardware etc.

    Guess it's also a social thing; "Lounge we've got a problem" "and we want to talk about it!". <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    As to vocabulary in general, as a Swede who doesn't have English as a mother-tongue, and we are several with different languages in The Lounge, I wonder sometimes how it can be a problem for people natively speaking English.

    Bob,
    Sensitive subject, isn't it? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Why not put it like this: they/you who use Z, use the old (i.e. original) spelling, the influence from France etc. is of a later date. I tend to use the so called British spelling, but that is only due to education (though I don't like Z used all and everywhere Zarah, instead of Sarah etc. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>).

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    Re: Searching

    Big Al is correct - the Lounge software is rather old and convoluted, and it's virtually impossible to implement improved search functionality, however nice and useful it would be.
    We do consider the possibility of moving on to more modern forum software, but that would be a large undertaking, and it's certain that we would lose many of the unique features that Eileen and Claude added over the years that make the Lounge different from other discussion forums.

    Apart from that, finding the "right" search terms is a science and an art, not alone here but also in Google etc. - some have the knack, some don't, and some are too lazy... That will remain the same whatever software we use.

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    Re: Searching

    Oh boy, that's a problem we'll always have in such an international community such as this one. I for one have gotten so acclimated to words such as "color" or "colour" that I don't even think much about it any more. I resign myself to the fact that I'm going to have to "deal with" the British vs. the American use of the English language and go on about my business, even if it means multiple searches!

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    Re: Searching

    >many problems have solutions already posted
    The ones I like best are where close-to-the-solution is posted, so that I get a head-start on the solution, but still have to do a bit of work/brain-stretching myself.
    Like the cake-mix that says "Add an egg and then water and beat". Adding that egg means I'm COOKING, not just mixing!

    >people natively speaking English
    You think you've got problems?
    Try "born in UK to a classically-educated father, raised in the rough-as-nuts goldfields of Western Australia, live in Canada and try to cater to the U.S." (grin!)

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    Re: Searching

    >finding the "right" search terms is a science and an art,
    Agreed.
    I am thinking further back, through, to educating new users to try searching for the problem before posting (Subject: "Help me please!")
    I am very happy with searching on the lounge.
    Occasionally I'm stumped and then ask for help to determine the correct terminology.

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    Re: Searching

    One bite will do <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    Spell chequers are noun to be les then reliable - yet an udder raisin to tri two search moor than ounce, if the worst time fails.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS" color="blue">TimOz</font>
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    Re: Searching

    >Spell chequers are noun to be les then reliable - yet an udder raisin to tri two search moor than ounce, if the worst time fails.
    Well, let's all thank the Lord, who made the daffodils, bobbing in April's spring breezes, that this <post:=705,602>post 705,602</post:> won't turn up in any search (grin!)

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