Search is limited per-post instead of per-topic?


(Simon Sarris) #1

Suppose I have a topic where a user named blah asks a question, and later I reply "you should use someFooMethod"

Suppose I want to find this topic later, where this user has asked a question. I remember the user and I remember what I said, so I do a search for:

user:blah someFooMethod

I would expect to see the topic in the search results, but instead I see no results.

This seems to be because search is only searching individual posts, instead of searching all the text in each topic, so it does not find the topic where user blah asked a question and I gave someFooMethod as the result.

Is there a way to make search look at the entire topic text to match its query instead of just looking at individual posts? I think most forum searching software would find the topic I am looking for with my query.

(Dean Taylor) #2

It works here on meta, I just tried searching for the following and found this topic:

Edit - ignore me - I think I now understand what you are asking.

So you are wanting a user:johnsmith search to search all posts in topics created by johnsmith even if he didn’t post them?

(Simon Sarris) #4

So you are wanting a user:johnsmith search to search all posts in topics created by johnsmith even if he didn’t post them?

Yeah, or more generally, if I searched for:

user:johnsmith keywords

I would expect to see results that could be described as “topics involving johnsmith and keywords.” At least that’s sort of my intuitive expectation from using major search engines, and it seems to be important at least for technical Q&A search.

So maybe topics he started where the keyword is mentioned, but perhaps also just topics he posted in where he or someone else mentioned the keyword.

(Dean Taylor) #5

Sounds like a reasonable expectation to me.

The implementation of ordering by relevance would one to consider carefully. I would expect where johnsmith posts which include the keywords to have a higher weight (appear higher in search results) than those that didn’t.

(Jeff Atwood) #6

Trigger the search from their user page, and you can scope the search to just that user’s posts via the checkbox

(Simon Sarris) #7

That’s the opposite of what I want. I want to search for a topic that contains both a user and a keyword, but the keyword is not in a post that the user authored. (it was in a reply to that user’s post, etc)

(Simon Sarris) #8

For example:

user:codinghorror someFooMethod

Returns nothing (does not return this topic), and I would expect it to.

user:simonsarris someFooMethod

Does return this topic, because only I used that term in my own post.

But if I want to find a topic where:

  1. the term someFooMethod was mentioned
  2. you (codinghorror) posted

I can’t do that right now. But I think that’s a fairly common search query (find a topic involving this user and this keyword)

(Jeff Atwood) #9

No, that’s not possible at the moment

You can only scope search to

  • all posts by a specific user
  • all posts in a specific topic

Scoping search to

  • all topics where a specific user posted at least once

… not possible.

(Sam Saffron) #10

I think an advanced filter would be good here:

op:sam some_term and involved:sam some_term

(Simon Sarris) #11

I really like that idea (and the keyword “involved” seems accurate).

The main place this issue comes up for me is in a support forum, where I know Person_A answered someone’s question and their reply contained some_term, but can’t (easily) find the topic to link to someone without such a filter.