Revert search to old live search pattern

I do like Discourse. I am a pioneer of Discourse in my company which transformed into a community thankfully by you, Team.

Is the search box not live anymore? From today the search has become different:

  1. Search in the current topic option appears.
  2. option number 1 now is the default (strange).
  3. By default live search shows tags and users, why users?
  4. Live search by topics needs to be activated after click. This point is the one important of all that today implemented. Early it was enough.

I tried to find related topics about feature requests similar to current changes and found nothing. I would like to return the old search back, please.


Thanks for the feedback! I really like the search changes, but the extra click is definitely a little more friction than we used to have.

I wonder if we can maybe show results without the click again, but also keep this extra click for “in all topics and posts” at the top, when relevant:

Screen Shot 2021-10-12 at 10.53.14 AM

:point_up: I do like this style much better than the old checkbox we had


It was never live on mobile view anyway? :thinking:

Only if you’re viewing / in a topic. But this was the old behaviour too, right? :thinking:

You are right. That was discussed. Unfortunately I used mobile to surf Discourse 2-3 times.

Sorry, I meant the option to search in current topic is new (and unnecessary in most cases, probably it is useful only for very long topics). And it is on the first place. Old search worked fine. Now I cannot understand it. It is unable to use hot keys to find a topic to add it during composing.

Thank you for the reply. Live searching is a killer feature. No reasons to avoid it due to better visual style. Search must be simple and fast first. Fastly accessed search box is needed for fast search results. I cannot agree that current version is better. No live search and exessive clicks.


I agree with this. It’s now taking me forever to search for a topic, and then search within that topic; something I do many times a day.


I don’t feel this a big problem because hitting ENTER is a pretty standard way to searching and with this two level search we have a more clearer look.
First level: users, categories, groups, tags
Second level: topics, posts

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No, this isn’t new. We’ve had this for a while as a feature, if you are in a topic, a category, a tag or your PMs, you would previously see a checkbox to search in that specific context. What is new is that the checkbox has been replaced with a “keyword in this topic” row.

This is a legitimate complaint. I worked on this change to search and I very much expected this to be raised as an issue. As @dodesz points out just above, you can hit Enter to search all topics. You can also use up/down arrows to navigate the available search results, so for a search in the current topic you would need to hit Arrow Down + Enter.

We are well aware this is not an easy adjustment especially for existing heavy users of search, it’s difficult to adjust to the change because it feels much slower. But we made this change for a few reasons:

  • Better performance: launching a full search of all posts on every keystroke is expensive, the added friction to users comes with a big advantage for site managers. This might not have a lot of repercussions for self-hosters managing one site, but over many, many Discourse instances, the savings can be noticeable.
  • Simpler list of results: previously we had multiple columns in this search dropdown with the topic results on the left, and category/tag/user/group results on the right. That didn’t look great, there was a lot of different types of elements visible all at the same time.
  • Search as navigation: With the new changes, it is very quick to go to a specific category/tag/group/user without leaving the keyboard. For example, you can easily type part of a tag/category’s name and then use Arrow Down + Enter to navigate to that tag/category page. (Previously, this took many key presses.)
  • Support for search history: this hasn’t been implemented yet, but we plan to add this soon, for authenticated users only, of course.

So, hopefully the search feels good after a short period of adjustment. That is our goal, but sometimes it’s hard to make changes without causing at least some friction.

Do you mean the a shortcut isn’t working to add a search result to a topic? It works for me, although there is a regression (will fix shortly): it posts a relative URL in the composer, where previously it was an absolute URL.


This advice made me change my mind from ‘hate the new search’ to ‘it’s ok and I applaud the lower performance impact’. It would be fantastic if this advice would be shown in the placeholder, which now just says ‘Search’.


I will probably adjust to this, but I do have one minor thing.

I search for a word


Click on all topics and posts


Click on the only result and then I want to search within that topic, but I don’t get the “search this topic” after clicking on it.

The hamburger menu takes me to the Advanced Search and the only way I can get a prompt to search this topic is by putting a space after the search word.

Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly, but it seems that after clicking on a topic, I would get the prompt to search in the topic without altering the search word.


The reason why you aren’t seeing it is because the search panel is showing you the cached results from the previous screen. If you type something new in the input field, you should see the “search this topic” option.

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Hm I see where you came from with this update, but I’m on the fence here.
My estimated behaviour would be:

  • when I’m on the homepage, the default search realm is “all topics”
  • when I’m in a category/topic, that is the default search realm

In both cases, I would like to see the results of that realm instantly without a second click - just like before. Changing the realm via 1klick is ok though.

The hack “just hit enter”? Yes this could work, but it rivals “show, don’t tell” and “don’t make me think” in terms of UX design.
The old search just felt snappier, more respnsive, more intuitive to use. Now I have to think about my behaviour.


Ok, I understand, I have to do the extra step of putting in a space. Thanks for your response.


I think this hack used by almost every website. Google, Youtube, Facebook etc… They just add some suggestion to the search but the process is same like Discourse search. I know this is unusual in Discourse but it is just a habit. I’ve got pretty positive feedback from my community about the new search usage. I think this is add some good benefit us in performance. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you for the reply.

The annoying hints, tags, and user listings seem to appear for the sole purpose of distracting attention from the fact that search no longer works (until additional user actions applied).

Yes, an extra press on Enter is not difficult. But why did the special search items appear on the screen? Does any ordinary user usually use them? I don’t think so. Right now, the pop-up tags and names of unknown users dropped down in packs is like an intrusive McDonald’s kiosk. I don’t want fried potatoes, but they offer them to me at every click.

Honestly, I would have been sympathetic to a pinned topic stating in advance that Discorse have to turn off live search because of performance issues. Those who own hosting have the option to stay on the version with the current settings for now.

But now there is no chance to roll back to beta6 or beta5. Rebuild crashes.

What does ctrl+enter do? I clicked when it appeared for the third time. There was nothing in the search box yet, so I was redirected to a blank screen with an error message.

I already sent the bug report about the cross-reference link bug today. You are right, there is such a problem. I wrote about hotkeys, that they are not so effective now, because there were additional clicks and I have to distract the screen to make sure that the keyboard arrow is selected the right option. Previously, the user didn’t care, because the default search in the current topic was off and it wasn’t easy to reach and enable it.


“Better performance” in what way? I used to have an old iPad 2 that could handle Discourse’s search function like a champ.

Better server performance, as in, the server will work less if it has to hit the full post/topic search endpoint less often.


Oh, okay. Were most servers already struggling with Discourse’s search functionality as is?

We have observed that pointless search work was the bulk of search work our servers did. Our servers did mountains of search work, on some sites it was the 2nd or 3rd most expensive route when it comes to total cost.

Our servers are very very fast, we can eat a lot of this pain. Self hosters on the other hand were paying a price that was way too high.

This is not in our plans, sure we will tweak and improve the design, possibly make the hinting richer and so on. However we have no plans to sail this ship back to the harbor.

Cheese has moved, I strongly recommend living with this for 14 days, providing feedback about little tweaks we can make to further improve the situation.

Cheese will not be moving back.


Thank you for the clarification. The problem is not technical. As a SaaS owner, Discourse pay is too much for pointless searches during a live search. Each user’s move has a cost. Because Discourse is open source, I agree with the statement that the maintainer should have fewer costs. As a community member, I have to support the development team.

Anyway, the previous version of the search was configurable. Currently, some options (by tag, by a user, etc) became active while they used to be disabled by default.

I’m expressing the feelings of my users because they are not in this forum. I suppose most active users here are admins, developers, or designers from their self-hosted installations, so I hope my feedback is useful.