How the NARGS Forum Search Engine Works

Submitted by RickR on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 23:16

It is intuitive to think that the way any search engine works is:
--- you punch in a word and it finds all the places where it is mentioned.

But that's not always the way they work, and this includes the search engine on this forum.  *note: NARGS and SRGC both use the same forum program (and thus, the same search engine.)  Of course, the best way to use a search engine is to understand how it works and the parameters it uses.  Just like with any inquiry, the more detailed the question, the better and more succinct the answer.  So your first stop in your first search quest should be the Help tab, and then click "Searching".  Here you will learn what makes our search engine tick and how to use it to your best advantage.

So what's the big deal? why am I bringing up something that most of you already know?

Apart from the information explained in the help index, they seemed to have left out an important fact.  The astute among you may have already realized this, but then there are people like me that are, well, not so bright sometimes.  But I have experienced the "Ahah! moment", and want to share it with you.

---- Most of the time when you perform a search, only one result will be shown per topic.  That is, the search engine searches for your entry in each thread (topic), from the most recent message in a topic, and going backwards in time.  When it finds a match, it stops searching that particular thread, and the result is shown.  Even though there may be other results matching your search in that same topic, only the most recent match is shown.

To help get around this, use the advance search parameters, accessed by clicking the magnifying glass to the left of the search box.  But, the only way to receive multiple search results from the same topic is to search only in that individual topic.

Which brings us to another thing one might not be aware of:

---- If you use the simple search box(not the advanced), your search will cover all the topics that are subordinate to the page containing the search box.  For example, if use the search box on the page displaying the "Image of the Day" topic, the search engine will only search that topic.  If you use the simple search box on the page displaying the General Alpines board, it will search all of the topics on the General Alpines board.  If you are getting the gist of what I am saying, then you know that the only way to search the entire forum using the simple search function(not the advanced) is to first go to the forum Home page, and then begin your search.

Another useful tidbit:
---- If you know the author of the message you are looking for, but not a specific word to search for, it might be easier to go to that member's profile, and click on "Show posts".  Every message that a member has posted will be displayed.