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Search improvements needed, or clarifications on search capabilities

Started by InquisitiveGeezer, 01/05/2019 05:01PM
Posted 01/05/2019 05:01PM Opening Post
Am still getting accustomed to the new site.  Just "re-enlisted" a few hours ago, and haven't been around for over a year.  Seems quite different and see improvements.  I seem to recall that search was a bit wonky, but have just now recalled why, and have just experienced something that I think you'll want to correct (or hope so).  This has to do with search under classifieds (mostly) but likely applies elsewhere, too.  I start some searches at that level since I might not always know where something was listed.  The following results surprised me.

For the how come department - some of this just shouldn't be this way ...

First, started at page  Two ways to search here: the search classifieds link and the search box on the bottom right.  They both take me to the same search, but require a long wait while the page loads, just to get to the search box.  Why not add a simple search box at the top of pages on which you know someone will want to search, using the usual default parameters, without the need to load another slow page?

Second, I tried several searches with the following results (as of today, YMMV).

search term      number of hits
-------------      ----------------
canon camera              25
canon cameras              6
camera canon               1
camera film                  2
film camera                61? (a bunch)
35 mm camera             5
35 mm film camera       3

The last two searches resulted in completely dis-joint sets.  So it would seem that what is searched for is a phrase, with all of the searched-for words in contiguous order.  This is not typical of modern search algorithms, at least not without a warning near the search box.  Worse still, if you add an extra space between two words, for example "canon  camera", you'll get no results.  So if you do know that what you're after is a "astronomik filter" but somehow wind up adding an extra space, you'll never find any of them.
In considering posting this, I was curious to see if anyone had mentioned search related problems before, but found I didn't know how to search for "search" easily.  What I'd like to be able to do, within the thread would be a search of just that topic.

The search box has a pull-down menu of choices for search and order-by preference.  The search choices are Search: by Posts or Threads.  How easy would it be to add a third choice: search Within Current Post?  I could search all posts, but then I get all kinds of extraneous results that don't answer my real question, having to do with whether or not anyone else has posted to this topic about these search problems.  See what I mean?

I can let Google do it for me, this way:
... but that means going out of site (the search is faster, too), except it's less than ideal to have to use Google search to search within your site.

I guess while I'm at it, is it just me or do any kind of searches, or just loading a page, often seems borderline tolerable, but approaching painfully slow?  Need more server, or why's it so slow?

So hoping these are useful inputs, to make the site much more usable.  I recall having to use Google to search when I was a member back in 2017, and am now glad that I missed a lot of the transition machinations (I was pretty busy during that time).  Actually, I was a professional software nit-picker in a former life, and now that I'm retired from that, I need to find fault with something!  :-)  :-)  Overall, I do see lots of site improvements, but it still lacks if a few places, notably this search stuff (and I suppose I might find more).  Thanks for looking into this!