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please drop the MeFi internal search
September 29, 2004 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Matt, please drop the MeFi internal search. It doesn't work, and it makes people think they're not double-posting when they are.
posted by Pretty_Generic to Bugs at 6:01 AM (18 comments total)

it usually works for me. what problem did you have with it?
posted by matteo at 6:04 AM on September 29, 2004


I used it this very morning with double-posting FPP squelching results.
posted by biffa at 6:05 AM on September 29, 2004


If you pare down your url search to just the main domain name (including the http:// and the www.), and then scan the results for dupes ... which is what I do ... you'll do pretty well. Of course, this is no protection against a link that is mirrored or has changed the site its on.
posted by crunchland at 6:27 AM on September 29, 2004


Works fine for me.
posted by sciurus at 6:29 AM on September 29, 2004


...er EXcluding the http and the www, I meant.
posted by crunchland at 6:31 AM on September 29, 2004


I know I am in the minority, but I have to agree. I have even tested the site search on words and phrases I can see and nothing turns up. I only use the Google feature now.
posted by terrapin at 6:58 AM on September 29, 2004


Every single time I use the internal search I get the message nothing was found with that search criteria, try searching again, even when there should be some results, so I only use the Google search.
posted by iconomy at 7:33 AM on September 29, 2004


Admittedly, the search feature isn't very well documented. For example, In this Age of Google, I think most people assume that searching for a string in a pair of double-quotes will only bring up exact matches for that string, but the mefi search doesn't work that way. Try searching for "Strangers on my Flight" with and without quotes. One will find today's post, and one won't.

Of course, I know the smart searcher will do a more thorough search than just typing in a phrase in double-quotes, but I wonder how many double-posts are the result of people thinking that the mefi search is more robust than it really is.
posted by GeekAnimator at 8:02 AM on September 29, 2004


See here for a recent discussion on this.

Also why didn't this ever happen?

And I still think these are good suggestions.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:32 AM on September 29, 2004


I've found that it works well if you know how it works / how to use it. Unfortunately the lack of documentation results in users thinking they're doing searches that they are'nt.
posted by DBAPaul at 8:34 AM on September 29, 2004


Using the Google box on the search page works fine. Using text from the link most likely to be quoted or any particular offical titles mentioned in the link--North American Air Defense Command or East Lansing Water Board--will bring up a previous post even when running the URL does not.
posted by y2karl at 8:43 AM on September 29, 2004


Yeah, I agree. It's pretty useless. I don't even use it as every double I've done was after doing so. I just use the google search. But it should be put second (after google) and just be for member searches. I too think that having it first lets people think they are not posting a double.
posted by dobbs at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2004


I changed the way ask metafilter's search page works, based on feedback I got here.

I need to revamp the mefi search page, so that it makes clear how and when you would use the internal search, and only after promoting the google search as the preferred way.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:48 AM on September 29, 2004


Whenever I'm looking for some post I vaguely remember a bit of information, or one keyword about (e.g. "lunch" in ask metafilter, for the various posts about bagged lunches etc.), I usually first try a google search for that keyword, because the search page says I should. This gets all sorts of random posts which are hard to differentiate (because you can't see what the question was). The post I am looking for is never on the first few pages. "lunch" gets only 34 responses but in the past I've been confronted by quite a few more. I usually give up before finding it.

Then I put the same word into the built-in search, specifying questions only. For "lunch" in askmefi, the two posts I want are right there, and very obvious. One of them is in the top three. This has happened to me with several things I wanted to find, always with the same sequence of searches and results, in both askmefi and mefi.

Because of the (i) possibility of a question/post only search, and (ii) the fact that the main post/question is displayed in the search results, the builtin search is far more useful to me than google. I'd guess this is true for most other casual users who aren't interested in posting much of anything, let alone checking for double posts.

So please don't get rid of it.
posted by advil at 11:28 AM on September 29, 2004


How 'bout an updated "# of posts since your last visit" on AskMe?
posted by Quartermass at 1:32 PM on September 29, 2004


Google's index of Ask seems to be undergoing change -- over the last week or so I've had an extremely hard time getting it to provide more than a handful of results. And, of course, the result page is next to useless because the page titles are so bad.

The built in keyword search has worked perfectly for me every time. In fact, I used it to dredge up links for several of my recent "double question" replies.
posted by majick at 7:38 AM on September 30, 2004


I changed the way ask metafilter's search page works, based on feedback I got here.

Is it unseemly and grovelling to simply say a heartful thanks for all of the work that you do for us rabble of ungrateful negative ninnes?
posted by dmt at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2004


Yes, we thank you mathowie.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:43 AM on September 30, 2004


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