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Forum search could improve

Posted by eastwest on 23/2/2014 at 02:49

I'm not sure if it's me or whether the search function could be improved.

When I enter "phnom penh to bangkok" I get a whole list of relevant posts. However, it's completely unclear when these posts were made and I can only find out the date of post once I've opened the post. Then I discover that a post is from 2007, the one above from 2009 and the one after from 2008. In short, I have no idea on which to click to find the most recent post.

A few suggestions:
- don't show any posts older than x years in the result list
- show the last posted/updated date on the list (so you don't need to actually open the post to see how old it is). That last post may have been irrelevant (given that things go off-topic sometimes) but at least it's better than nothing.
- show the list in descending order starting with the the most recent post on top

Hope you pick up some of these points. I for instance gave up after opening 4 posts when I saw no post was more recent than 4 years ago

#1 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by busylizzy on 23/2/2014 at 18:33

Also some 'advance filtering' would be useful. eg. Forum posts, website info or features/wires. And by forum section.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152

Posted by somtam2000 on 23/2/2014 at 22:29 admin

@eastwest & @busylizzy Thanks for the feedback.

The forum search is a plug in from Google so the customisation is unfortunately quite limited.

However I took a look and I've added in a button to sort results by either "relevance" OR "date" so if you do the "phnom penh to Bangkok" search again, you'll see (funnily enough) this post up top.

What you will see is the posts may not be quite as relevant. Unfortunately it is an either/or.

Next point.
Unfortunately there is no scope to request Google display the post date, and even if there was, should we display the date the first or the last post in a discussion was made. ... some discussions can go on for quite some time! What I can do though, is shift where the date of a post is displayed to top right before each post (at the moment it is lower right after the post) and that MAY result in Google displaying it more clearly when it reindexes stuff.

I can't remove pages from the search index (ie don't show pages more than a year old) because that would require me to remove those pages from the main (real) Google search -- which I don't want to do.

Listing by date over relevance should sort out the sorting issue.

The search on the forum searches only the forum, the sitewide search searches everything except the forum and the blogs. Then each blog has its own search.

Yes, I know, this is less than ideal, but there is no way to have (with the Google plugin) a site wide search that you can then filter as suggested. Much of this is because the blogs are indexed far better than the rest of the site, so if we include those into the sitewide search, then that is all you get in the results.

Yes, it's a mess. We're working on fixing parts of this mess, but it is a slow process unfortunately and we're currently in the process of moving around 3,000 posts around. Hopefully when it is finished, things will be better laid out and you'll need to rely on search less.

Cheers & pls keep suggestions coming.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by thailen on 17/7/2014 at 03:03

I just want to ask a question on a forum, but all I see is where I can reply. No new topic./thread link?

#4 thailen has been a member since 12/7/2014. Posts: 7

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/7/2014 at 04:15 admin

Go to the main form page here and pick the section you want to post a question in. Then scroll down and you'll see a form at the end to add a new question.

Hope that helps

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by surendra1998 on 1/8/2014 at 01:30

Yeah! there should be an advanced filtering option as well. So that we can search the required thread according to our requirements like date, replies,etc... This would help us a lot to find the one we are searching than searching through whole bunch of suggestions.

#6 surendra1998 has been a member since 1/8/2014. Posts: 4

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