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Author Topic: 2 characters!?!?  (Read 618 times)

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Offline daffy

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 11:43:14 am »
I am an expert in searching - early working life as a Librarian, then a degree course, then just a lifelong fascination in the subject. I have often been told I have a knack for searching, be it online, or with real things (like a single grey file in a room full of grey files), but in fact it is just the application of logic and, with the internet, the additional use of of a few basic rules.

In my experience many folks find searching difficult, often starting with either too wide a search, or one that is too narrow. For instance, if you search for "gauge" here you will be bombarded with possible results; and if you search for a specific single-word term, unless it is rare or unique will do likewise or show nothing at all.


For instance you CAN search for a single letter here as long as you associate a second word at the same time. So, to search for N or N gauge as has been said, will show nothing but an error, but if you include the word gauge and link both by encasing in quotation marks - "N gauge" - this search term will deliver results.

Okay, so that very common term will give loads of useless results here as has just been noted, but the use of quotation marks is a major tool for searches here, and allows you to search by entire phrases. I just did a search for "Structure gauging train" from the Entire Forum and it immediately bought up 14 results of that exact term, including the recent one by PaulCheffus in the new RTC coaches thread, as well as the 13 others since early 2012.

Searching is not difficult if you just follow a few simple techniques like this one.
Mike

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Offline Jimbo

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 12:09:56 pm »
Waheey! Excellent tips! Thank you, I used the " symbol either end of the full layout thread title and it came up straight away, magic! Well computer trickery is all magic to me but it helps if you know what buttons to press I guess!  :dunce:

 :thumbsup:
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Offline daffy

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2017, 12:19:18 pm »
Glad you managed to find it Jimbo. :thumbsup:

..... it helps if you know what buttons to press I guess!

Now ain't that the truth - about everything! :D
Mike

Sufferin' succotash!

Offline Papyrus

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 01:09:04 pm »
In my experience many folks find searching difficult, often starting with either too wide a search, or one that is too narrow. For instance, if you search for "gauge" here you will be bombarded with possible results; and if you search for a specific single-word term, unless it is rare or unique will do likewise or show nothing at all.


For instance you CAN search for a single letter here as long as you associate a second word at the same time. So, to search for N or N gauge as has been said, will show nothing but an error, but if you include the word gauge and link both by encasing in quotation marks - "N gauge" - this search term will deliver results.

Okay, so that very common term will give loads of useless results here as has just been noted, but the use of quotation marks is a major tool for searches here, and allows you to search by entire phrases. I just did a search for "Structure gauging train" from the Entire Forum and it immediately bought up 14 results of that exact term, including the recent one by PaulCheffus in the new RTC coaches thread, as well as the 13 others since early 2012.

I'm no longer a newbie to this forum, but I didn't know about this, and neither, I suspect, does a very large proportion of members. Would it be possible for some kind person (do I hear you volunteering, Daffy...?) to write an idiots' guide called "How to use the search facility" and put it in the Welcome and Introduction section? That way, newbies can find it easily and the rest of us strugglers could refer to it when we need to. I do use search and generally find what I want eventually, but a bit more help would be useful.

Thanks!

Chris
Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits.

Offline daffy

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 01:23:03 pm »
My Daddy always said "Never volunteer for anything!" :D

Well, he didn't but it's a well used phrase I couldn't resist.

But no need to volunteer as all the info is ready to hand in the Forums Help pages

http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/Search

Just remember, the little search box at top right on a Forum page is for only simple searches, but if you click on 'Search' on the title bar it will bring up the Advanced Search boxes.

The 'Modifiers' section of the help pages mentions the use of quotations, and also the use of the minus symbol to exclude terms, just as you can with Google for instance. Sadly you can't do a Boolean search which gives far more scope for detailed searches. For those interested in these neat little helpers, look here:
https://library.alliant.edu/screens/boolean.pdf

But as I said, not available on this Forum.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 01:28:34 pm by daffy »
Mike

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Offline Yet_Another

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2017, 01:33:04 pm »
...if you click on 'Search' on the title bar it will bring up the Advanced Search boxes.

...

Actually, a few simple notes and examples on that page might circumvent a lot of frustration and "how do I" & "it's rubbish" posts.
Tony

'Things are not done by those who count the cost of every thought or deed.'

Offline daffy

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2017, 01:39:28 pm »
...if you click on 'Search' on the title bar it will bring up the Advanced Search boxes.

...

Actually, a few simple notes and examples on that page might circumvent a lot of frustration and "how do I" & "it's rubbish" posts.

I agree, but I think that is an SMF (Simple Machines, the Forum platform originators) problem rather than one our happy band of pilgrims* can do anything about.
Perhaps we'll find out soon enough. :)

* = Tank and the Admin and Moderator volunteers.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 01:41:37 pm by daffy »
Mike

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Offline Papyrus

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2017, 04:42:40 pm »
But no need to volunteer as all the info is ready to hand in the Forums Help pages

http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/Search




I would take issue with your use of the phrase "ready to hand"!

I looked for this initially under the 'Forum Ideas and Problems' section and couldn't find it and it took me some minutes to track it down among the 'Help and FAQs', which, with hindsight, is what you meant and where I should have thought of looking first... And having read it, it's a bit on the technical side. When I said an idiots' guide, I really meant it! By all means, direct people to this information, but something much simpler is required IMO.

Cheers,

Chris
Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits.

Online njee20

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 05:21:04 pm »
That's more a problem of too many sub forums though. You can make it sticky, but where? It legitimately fits in multiple places. As you found. You can't really make an idiot's guide to finding the idiot's guide.  :hmmm:

Offline daffy

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Re: 2 characters!?!?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2017, 05:45:56 pm »
Sorry Chris, but I don't think that I could phrase it any more easily and concisely than the Forum Help Section page already does, though if there is a consensus view that it could be improved I'd be happy to give it a go at some time.

As for finding the page, looking in Help & FAQ seems the most logical step to me. Even allowing for unfamiliarity with the Help Section, the time taken to navigate to the relevant details on searching should take less than 20 to 30 seconds. With familiarity it takes me less than 10 seconds (and at best I get less than 2.5Mbps internet access ). All in all therefore I would stick by my contention that it is 'ready to hand', and as I have already suggested, Tank and his team are probably constrained by the structure of SMF, the Help Section 'Search' page for instance opening in a new 'wiki' window outside the Forum.

But as I said, if the consensus wants a simpler 'idiots' guide, I could pen a 'frozen' thread, for instance, that could be prioritised by Admin to appear at the top of a Board, but which one? After all, folks still have to be able to know where to look.

PS - by 'frozen' I mean a thread that contains only the help info, closed to additional posts. It would have to be vetted by Tank before being listed. Otherwise the whole process would be pointless, the thread becoming the usual minefield of diverse opinion.
Mike

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