Indexing tags for search December 15, 2009 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Small pony: MeFi search doesn't index tags.

I was making my FPP a few minutes ago and wanted to link people to where StSanders was mentioned elsewhere on MeFi. I was surprised to get different results depending on what I searched for:

Posts tagged with 'stsanders.' A search for posts mentioning 'stsanders.'

Note that this thread, though tagged with StSanders, doesn't come up in the search for posts mentioning him.
posted by flatluigi to Bugs at 3:04 PM (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You have to explicitly search tags on the tags tab of the search.
posted by smackfu at 3:15 PM on December 15, 2009

That's by design. A tag isn't a part of the text of the post, and that's what our search engine is matching. If you type 'apple' into the search form, you get a list of posts that contain 'apple' in the title or text. Do you always also want every post that is tagged 'apple'? Tagging strikes me as a separate categorizing activity, and we have a tab dedicated to tag matches. From there you can click to see posts specifically tagged with that keyword, similar tags, users who frequently use that tag, and other tag-specific information.

(oh, and keep in mind that only MetaFilter members can see search results, so it's not a good idea to link to them in FPPs.)
posted by pb (staff) at 3:18 PM on December 15, 2009

Obviously they don't want you to find the tags.

Obviously they're hiding something.

posted by blue_beetle at 3:22 PM on December 15, 2009

oh, and just to clarify because my question sounds rhetorical, maybe we do want posts tagged with 'apple' to come up in the same search results as a post that contains the text 'apple'. I might have them walled off as separate categories in my head because I work closely with how data is stored in the system. So I'm wondering if it'd be useful to combine tag and search results like this.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:51 PM on December 15, 2009

So I'm wondering if it'd be useful to combine tag and search results like this.

I think it would. When you searching for something, does a user car whether the keyword is in a post or tag or whatever? They just want to find what they're looking for and every little bit helps, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on December 15, 2009

Seems reasonable; it could formatted in the same way the "keyword in HTML" bit is for posts with the search term in the URL.
posted by Upton O'Good at 4:10 PM on December 15, 2009

that wouldn't be bad, but it would probably annoy someone.
posted by boo_radley at 4:52 PM on December 15, 2009

I agree with what Upton suggested.

Before I posted this MeTa thread, there were 4 results under the search and 4 results under the tag tab. You'd have to click through to realize they're a different 4 threads.

I understand why you'd want to keep the two categories separated, pb, so if you want to keep it that way it's fine.
posted by flatluigi at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2009

This is a bad idea, and I think in this aspect, the search is fine. For example, searching for "sailing" in AskMe brings up 81 posts compared to 46 tagged posts. A huge difference. But when you go through the text search these are some of the results:

You can see that although the term is used, it is not remotely related to the post. There is so much content on this site and having the ability to search separately through terms and tags is useful and important. I think combining them would take away from the site's usability.
posted by sambosambo at 6:56 PM on December 15, 2009

Tick box to include tag results in search, defaulting to off?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:33 PM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

I like stav's idea.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:39 AM on December 16, 2009

pb: typically, when I'm searching for something, I use the keyword search, and that often fails. Then I do a separate tag search and often find it; the tags really do work pretty well for that.

Echoing stavros, though I arrived at it independently: maybe you could have a checkbox for 'search tags too'? I think you might even want that as the default. I find them more useful than regular searches.
posted by Malor at 7:04 AM on December 16, 2009

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