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Searching For A Heart Of Gold
January 30, 2008 11:36 PM   Subscribe

So Matt said "Full text search is in the works right now, and will be rolled out soon." Yayhooray! This is the part where I annoy him and pb and make their lives more difficult by asking everybody about their dream search features (and slip in a request or seven of my own).

I can't remember all the stuff I've begged for over the years in terms of search, but a couple of things I'd really like to see, off the top of my head:
  • Search by user (even if it's only myself): I'd like to be able to, say, find something somebody (or I) said way back when that I can sorta recall, so I can use the new favoriting system to bookmark it, say. Please please please.
  • Search with optional date restrictions
  • Search by subsite
  • Search comments only by subsite
  • Search posts only by subsite
  • Search user pages (including 'private' info if logged-in)
  • Search URLs
  • Search BUTTS LOL
So, what Search features are you hankering for? Matt and pb will probably just build whatever they want to, which is fine, but it can't hurt if they have some idea of what the most-wanted features might be...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Feature Requests at 11:36 PM (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Sort results in date order.
posted by marsha56 at 11:42 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


We have almost all of those built already and have been testing them for a few weeks. The plan was to start rolling out the basics tomorrow (thursday) and see how the server reacts, then add advanced search features as much as we can and still maintain a fast, reliable server.

So yeah, I think all but one of these things is already built, but it'll require a slow public rollout to see if the hardware the server is currently on can handle it. So far, so good, so I'm optimistic.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:44 PM on January 30, 2008


Oops. Lookx likd Matt's already done this. THANKS !!
posted by marsha56 at 11:47 PM on January 30, 2008


should say"Looks like"

(Shouldn't be online so late.)
posted by marsha56 at 11:48 PM on January 30, 2008


Cool, Matt, and thanks! I figured you guys know what you're doing. I just thought maybe some people might have some wowza ideas that you hadn't thought of yet, and it's always easier to tweak before rollout than after...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:49 PM on January 30, 2008


Yeah, eventually we could go crazy with an advanced search page:

I want to find any metatalk comment by jessamyn that mentioned chicken between 2002 and 2005 that has more than 5 favorites and was probably an animated gif

We'll start with basics tomorrow -- anything is better than what we have now and as we build up more advanced options, I think it'll go really far towards ideal information retrieval.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:58 PM on January 30, 2008


I just thought maybe some people might have some wowza ideas that you hadn't thought of yet...

I wish I had a wowza idea that he hadn't already thought of. But... no.

The search functions stavros listed above (and which are apparently in place and ready to roll out) sound great.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:33 AM on January 31, 2008


Can you rig it up so that, any time someone searches for "sax solo" on AskMe, it immediately redirects here?
posted by googly at 12:45 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd like to ask to be able to reverse sort orders.

In some cases of date ordering, for example, I get most recent first when in fact I may be looking for the oldest, or vice versa.
posted by vacapinta at 1:17 AM on January 31, 2008


Sorting search results by number of favourites would be excellent.
posted by roofus at 1:23 AM on January 31, 2008


I don't suppose that these newfangled search results would be available as an RSS feed, would they? Because that would be much too cool for me to process.
posted by mumkin at 1:31 AM on January 31, 2008


I'd like to search the Metafilter database for new ways to search the MetaFilter database.
posted by wendell at 1:58 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Information Retrieval, Matt?
posted by pjern at 2:16 AM on January 31, 2008


Searching for the Young Soul Rebels?
posted by Abiezer at 2:36 AM on January 31, 2008


Heh. He said 'butts'.
posted by pompomtom at 3:16 AM on January 31, 2008


Searching for the Funk Soul Brother?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 AM on January 31, 2008


Search for love in all the wrong places?
posted by Kattullus at 5:44 AM on January 31, 2008


I'd like to ask to be able to reverse sort orders.

Results are paged; is there any reason skipping to the end and paging toward the front wouldn't do the trick?
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:14 AM on January 31, 2008


Do any of the paged result sets around here have a "skip to the end" link? Seems like there's usually just forward/back.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:23 AM on January 31, 2008


Popularity 2.0: search who favorited who...ex. How many times tehloki favorites himself, or my top favoriters (although the info dump revealed that I'm my biggest fan. Go me!), or who I tend to favorite the most, etc.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:33 AM on January 31, 2008


How many times tehloki favorites himself
I believe ceiling cat keeps track of that.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:47 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


One more request...and yes, I know this is going to sound a little nuts, but it does make me so...

When scrolling through pages of favorites or what not, the bottom of the very first page says "Older" with a carrot pointing to the right. Clicking on that link, you are then taken to pages where the text at the bottom reads "Newer | Older", with carrots flanking either side (directionally consistent as before, ie. older pointing right, newer pointing left).

My problem with this ordering is that it seems inconsistent with the way pages naturally flow (for me, YMMV). I think of older things, the past, being spatially behind me or completed previously to the more recent stuff. So when I read a line of text that says "newer" THEN "older" I need to flip my perception around so that digging deeper into something is "in front of me" or "next".

Also, when flipping through multiple favorites pages I am constantly having to remind myself that "newer" DOESN'T mean "newer in my searching through favorites, ie. haven't seen it yet, therefore haven't found what I'm looking for", but rather means "more recent in time, but NOT newer in my current search, since I've already seen this page". The ambiguity lies in the double interpretations of "newer", which can mean different things depending on your perspective. For most people, one meaning tends to hold "truer" or "stronger" than the other, so some may find this problem more vexing than others. Since the two meanings for me are roughly equal, I rely on other cues, such as word order, to clarify the ambiguity. In this case, word order is not very reliable because Newer | Older is opposite what I'd expect semantically from left-to-right reading.

My suggestion is to either:
A) change the word newer to something less ambiguous. How about "recent favorites" vs. "past favorites" or something like that
B) switch the order and the arrows of the words ("Older things" on the left, with the arrow on the left;
"newer things" on the right, with the arrow on the right)
C) both

On reread, I'm sorry I'm such a 5-paragraph nitpicky whiner. I've embarrassed myself with overanalyzing, but I just had to get that out.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:00 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


I want a search engine that tells me what people meant, not what they said.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:17 AM on January 31, 2008


My basic dream for this was to be able to search by multiple variables and/or multiple words

so being able to do a query like "the time cortex mentioned donuts in AskMe" or "the time someone posted the harpsichord music to MeMu" or "the time pb was talking about soapbox derbies somewhere on the site." or "the post about lyrics in AskMe that mentioned hoedowns" So you could combine facets, if you will

Search User
Search Keyword
Search Site/Subsite
Search Tag

And then you could sort results by relevancy or date, backwards and forwards.

Limiting in searches would be sort of great. "Search within results" as would searching for phrases like "search within results" with the same options. So doing a search and being able to then split it out by posts by one user, or posts with one tag. And of course being able to limit with NOT would be helpful for when you get too much stuff and you just want to find AskMe questions about banjo, not all the MeMu banjo stuff.

I want to find any metatalk comment by jessamyn that mentioned chicken between 2002 and 2005 that has more than 5 favorites and was probably an animated gif

Et tu, mathowie? That search won't find what you're looking for anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:28 AM on January 31, 2008


mathowieAdmin: "Yeah, eventually we could go crazy with an advanced search page:

I want to find any metatalk comment by jessamyn that mentioned chicken between 2002 and 2005 that has more than 5 favorites and was probably an animated gif

We'll start with basics tomorrow -- anything is better than what we have now and as we build up more advanced options, I think it'll go really far towards ideal information retrieval.
"

It'll probably be practically easier to set up one search page that lets you enter all the criteria than setting up separate "search by user", "search by keyword", etc. pages anyway.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:40 AM on January 31, 2008


Do any of the paged result sets around here have a "skip to the end" link? Seems like there's usually just forward/back.

Yeah, the test version pb's been letting me abuse does explicit "1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 234 235 236" page listings. Skipping to the end is a cinch, which is why I know that bugbread was the first person to ever say shitcock on metafilter. 11/24/04: never forget.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:48 AM on January 31, 2008


I want to be able to search for the meaning of life.

I mean, I want MetaFilter to give me an answer.
posted by desjardins at 8:09 AM on January 31, 2008


I want to be able to search for the meaning of life.

I mean, I want MetaFilter to give me an answer.


Unfortunately, MetaFilter doesn't know the answer at the moment.
posted by inigo2 at 8:18 AM on January 31, 2008


mathowie: I want to find any metatalk comment by jessamyn that mentioned chicken between 2002 and 2005 that has more than 5 favorites and was probably an animated gif

If you're looking for what I think you're looking for, it's a jpeg, not an animated gif. And no, you don't want to see it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:29 AM on January 31, 2008


You know that awesome post about that thing that I can't quite remember well enough to think of the proper search terms but it was so awesome and I want to see it again? I want to search for that.
posted by nowonmai at 8:48 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the test version pb's been letting me abuse does explicit "1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 234 235 236" page listings. Skipping to the end is a cinch

This is excellent. Thanks in advance.
posted by languagehat at 9:03 AM on January 31, 2008


If you're looking for what I think you're looking for, it's a jpeg, not an animated gif.

A gif was made, but subsequently deleted.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:41 AM on January 31, 2008


I'd like to ask to be able to reverse sort orders.

Results are paged; is there any reason skipping to the end and paging toward the front wouldn't do the trick?
posted by cortex at 6:14 AM on January 31 [+]


Its fine if the interface supports that, which I guess it does. My peeve was being able to only go say 5 pages at a time when I'm trying to get past hundreds of pages of results. At that point you start hacking URLS and it becomes a guessing game trying to zero in on that last page
posted by vacapinta at 10:25 AM on January 31, 2008


This is pretty much random—I honestly can't (coming back to the top of this comment to clean it up) remember why I started doing this, but here's a brief walk through the history of the metafilter sidebar.

- 12/27/00: I had no idea that the sidebar used to be something you had to install. How odd.

- 1/27/01: Matt got his CSS on; this was 2001, which sounds to my brain like Only A Few Years Ago, but then someone says something like this:

I'd love to hear reports about how well float:left works on various browsers.

And I remember that it's been just eons.

- 3/18/01: jessamyn asks just what the hell this sidebar thing people are talking about is. And then gluechunk links to this obsolete page.

- 7/6/01: sidebar woes in Opera...
- 10/12/01: ...are fixed!
- 10/23/01: Rendering miscellany.
- 3/9/02: Matt reaches out to Mac users.
- 10/6/03: Sidebar runs amok!
- 2/2/05: At long last, the sidebar is reborn via blogger.

And when the new search function goes live, you too can easily waste this kind of time on ridiculous tangents.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:10 AM on January 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


My peeve was being able to only go say 5 pages at a time when I'm trying to get past hundreds of pages of results. At that point you start hacking URLS and it becomes a guessing game trying to zero in on that last page

Yeah, I hear you. If we didn't have literal last-page stuff working already on the new search page, I'd be begging pb to make it happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:11 AM on January 31, 2008


1/27/01: Matt got his CSS on; this was 2001, which sounds to my brain like Only A Few Years Ago

Aside from the top header table for nav items, MeFi was all CSS for layout when I launched in 1999. I actually had to stick to just the bare bones of CSS so that it would work in Netscape 4 and fail gracefully in Netscape 3.

In 2001, I was toying with a right sidebar which was edgy and new. Doing it on the left would be easy but I didn't want it to be obtrusive and I was still concerned about what Netscape 4 or Opera would do.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:12 PM on January 31, 2008


As Matt mentioned, we're going to be rolling out this search stuff slowly. Here's the URL if you want to try out the full post and comments search. It's only open to members right now as we watch the server load for a while. This version hits a lot of stavros' wishes, especially the last one.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:43 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


This version hits a lot of stavros' wishes, especially the last one.

My BUTT-searching and LOL-having needs have been fulfilled! I love you guys!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:54 PM on January 31, 2008


say, pb... I've never been quite clear on the standard, if there's a standard, but I'm an "open links in a new window" user and the search field isn't targeting self like (I thought) MeFi-internal links were supposed to.
posted by mumkin at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2008


Thanks mumkin, should be targeting _self now.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:04 PM on January 31, 2008


1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 234 235 236

Better if you do...

While on first page:
1 2 3 ... n/2 ... n-2 n-1 n
While on page i:
1 ... i/2 ... i-1 i i+1 ... (n-i/2)+i ... n
Or something like that.. Point being, you want to be able to jump to the beginning or the end at any time (this is commonly implemented), and you want to be able to jump half way between where you are and either end, to facilitate manual binary searching within the results (not commonly implemented, but it should be).
posted by Chuckles at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2008


Google("posted by jessamyn" "5 favorites" 2002..2005 chicken)
  1. tastes like chicken
  2. chicken treatment
  3. chicken wire
  4. chicken hawks
  5. chicken pox
But no animated gif. I guess we really do need our own search engine.
posted by ryanrs at 3:27 PM on February 2, 2008


A gif was made, but subsequently deleted.

Oh, well that explains it. The "5 favorites" search term pretty much precludes finding deleted comments. Try this instead:

Google Images(jessamyn deleted chicken)
  1. I nsfw'ed the chicken pic. I feel responsible for it anyhow. [metatalk/12270]

posted by ryanrs at 3:51 PM on February 2, 2008


And my comment that people get so hand-flappy about just said "yes, yes, yes" no mention of chicken.

Google Search "posted by jessamyn" "yes yes yes"


there it is, #2.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:03 PM on February 2, 2008


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