Should search prioritize recent topics over older topics?

(David Maxwell) #22

I don’t think some of your Leaders here (you’ve got two in this thread) are lazy - they’re telling you they can’t find things using search…

For the record I get the best results from search when:

  • scoping to a category (I remember it was a bug that…)
  • scoping to a user (I know John said…)
  • scoping to unique, technical, specific words vs general words (rather than searching for “feature”, I think it mentioned “IDE”)
  • remembering that search heavily prioritizes title matches, so ensuring that topics have good titles with the correct words, and hitting them when possible

I wouldn’t say heatmap is a generic term, but ok, fine. I used option 2 & 3 on your criteria list. Try this:

or even

Search in the thread:

(David Maxwell) #23

And the general user would know to go there how? I can’t see why we’d ever want to intentionally send someone to a 404 page.

But you want to see something funny? Guess what doesn’t show on google search either?


(Jeff Atwood) #24

Seems… reasonable… both are behind “Show More” though.

(David Maxwell) #25

And they weren’t there before - I didn’t make the screenshots up, honest :slight_smile:

(Jeff Atwood) #27

Sorry, I should have worked with your specific example earlier:

  • Searching for “heatmap”
  • Searching for “activity heatmap”
  • In the service of trying to find the actual topic titled (though we may not know this at the time) “Consolidating Activity field”

The current search behavior really does seem roughly correct… I am renaming the topic since I think the argument becomes “this should appear higher based on recency”.

(David Maxwell) #28

No it doesn’t - look at all the screenshots I provided with the word heatmap in them. The thread WASN’T there. It is now which is scary in and of itself, as it’s an older thread (closed two days) and real text indexing shouldn’t have come into play

(Michael Downey) #29

I think the “priority” in the original topic title referred to getting improvements to search prioritized in the work queue, not changing the priority of search results. :wink:

(Jeff Atwood) #30

I was referring more to the average user who does not even try to search. That’s what the pre-emptive topic search as you type is supposed to help with.

(Jeff Atwood) #31

Yeah but it’s always better to be specific. “Go improve everything!” is not actionable. “Make topics that happened recently rank higher in search!” is.

Be specific.

(Jeff Atwood) #32

Why doesn’t that first search screenshot (for the word heatmap) have a “show more” at the right? That’s a straight up bug. If you can repro that, please open it as a bug!

Show More not being displayed in search
(TechnoBear) #34

I was searching for the “Consolidating Activity Field” thread. I couldn’t remember the title, but I remembered the discussion about “heatmap” and “coldmap” - and I couldn’t find the thread searching for those terms. It didn’t appear anywhere in the results. My search terms were not in the title - and that’s very often the case; more often than not, I would imagine. (Only one topic in the results for “heatmap” does have the word in the title.) If I’d remembered that I’d posted in it, I might have found it via my profile, but it was a very brief post and I didn’t remember it.

This is a very recent thread which I had been following, and yet I couldn’t locate it. What chance would I have a month from now, with an even hazier recollection of the details? As a moderator, I very often want to refer members to relevant threads, and I need a reliable way to find them. I have grave concerns that Discourse search is not nearly reliable enough.

The fact that @DaveMaxwell kindly undertook to find the topic for me after I’d given up, and ran into the same difficulties, suggests that there is, indeed, a problem with Search and not just with the searchers.

I should be most grateful if improvements to search could be prioritised, as I otherwise anticipate major problems in a forum the size of ours.


And the fact that 10+ people like the original post implies that other forum owners anticipate similar problems.

(Jeff Atwood) #36

Better short term solution is to publicize the Google search option as an alternative, possibly provide other links to it (ala the 404 page). Nobody can beat Google at search, and nobody ever will.

Advanced full page search is coming, but it is not scoped for V1.1 at all.

(lid) #37

And good search cost good money

(Jeff Atwood) #38

I dispute your account, and I cite the FAILURE TO “SHOW MORE” (possible bug) as described above, though nobody can apparently repro it in the bug topic that was opened.


(cpradio) #39

So your screenshot trumps the screenshots of the people who were able to make it happen initially? That’s a great stance to take! :sarcasm:

I’ll be giving it a shot from time to time to try and recreate it, but the lack of recreation doesn’t make the problem go away. Two separate individuals have proven they can get it to happen. Then later on it magically shows up (the “Show more results” link).

Sending people away from your site is the exact opposite of what we want to achieve. That isn’t a good option. If you want to compete with other forums, you need to improve your search. They all do a much better job than Discourse at searching.

(Jeff Atwood) #40

I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but there’s no way to fix what we can’t reproduce.

And claims of “everything in search is broken” based on this bug are just plain inaccurate. Can anyone reproduce it? Search for “heatmap” per the screenshot. Can you find the topic “Consolidating Activity Field” when you do that?

(Sam Saffron) #41

To me all of this is just stop gaps for a better, full screen search page. Once we have that we solve a large number of search issues.

Imagine this Discourse Meta but with context like google.

(cpradio) #42

My claims isn’t based on this bug. It is based on using the feature for the entire length of time I’ve been involved with the Discourse process. It is based on my usage of it. It just doesn’t stack up to what is expected from a user perspective.

I also feel that the limited search area makes you want to enter as few key words as possible because you have only a small space to work with. By design that forces a mentality that is bad for users to get into the practice of.

(cpradio) #43

Whoa, what magic is this? Why hasn’t this been publicized? That makes things a lot more interesting for me at least (assuming it really did filter the list based on the search term… or am I being tricked?

I’d be happy if entering a search and pressing enter took me there!