Search function may have to go...

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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Search function may have to go...

Unread postby davesmith_au » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:39 pm

Hi all. I KNOW many will not like this announcement. I KNOW many users use the search function on the forum for many reasons. But having said that, our database now has over 80,000 indexed search terms and around 3 MILLION wordmatches.

Back in the day, we never envisaged the forum growing to the popularity it has. 100,000 posts seemed like a lifetime away, and now we've exceeded that! The database has grown so large that it is getting difficult to manage, and culling the search function would go a long way towards downsizing it..

Please remember, that we who run this forum are volunteers, and we mostly have very limited knowledge of database and server setup and management. Funny thing is, it is my experience that most support people within the hosting environment, have little actual knowledge themselves, but rather read from scripts and FAQs how to "help" their clients. There are also those one can pay (over and above what we already pay for site hosting) to do certain jobs, who themselves have limited knowledge outside whatever it is they're trained in, and who all too readily take your money yet wash their hands once something falls into their "too hard basket".

But one thing is clear, our database needs to be trimmed of excess fat, and the search function is the biggest contributor to our weight problem, after the posts themselves.

There are of course many off-site search engines which can be programmed for specific sites and specific parts of sites, and I am thinking we are going to have to send users off-site to one of those facilities for searching.

However IF anyone on here knows of anyone who can offer a better suggestion, I am willing to listen.

Regards, Dave Smith.
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby Maol » Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:13 pm

You could include a sticky with this information for we who are among the legions of the google impared. :oops:

seasmith wrote:
Is there some way to make the search function go back more than a year?


Maol,
The T'bolts search engine is cruel experiment in exasperation.
In google, use

Site: thunderbolts.info your search term(s)

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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby allynh » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:58 am

Sorry for coming late to the discussion.

I use Google rather than the Forum search engine.

The word "site" is used to focus on a specific site. Be sure that there are no spaces between the word "site:" and the address. I usually come to the Forum, copy the link from my browser and drop it in a text file to edit the string.

site:thunderbolts.info/forum/

Here is an example for finding the term "Transmutation" on the Forum.

Transmutation site:thunderbolts.info/forum/

Leave off the "/forum" part and it returns results for the whole site.

Transmutation site:thunderbolts.info/

The plus sign "+" is used as "and". Meaning I want specific words on the page. This is where you want to find pages with the word "gold" as well.

Transmutation +gold site:thunderbolts.info/forum/

The minus sign "-" is used for "not". Meaning I do not want the word on the page. This is where you want pages without the word "gold".

Transmutation -gold site:thunderbolts.info/forum/

Notice that you get two different results.

If you have an exact phrase, put the phrase in quotes.

"New Mexico" site:thunderbolts.info/forum/

If you leave out the quotes, you would not find New Mexico. HA!

If you search for a phrase and can't find it, take off the quotes, look at the results, and then adjust your search string. Your first try may be close, but wrong.

A fun search:

If you want results that do not point to Wikipedia use minus "-" meaning "not" Wikipedia. It can be useful to "not" Wikipedia on some searches.

Transmutation -site:wikipedia.org
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby willendure » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:11 pm

allynh wrote:I use Google rather than the Forum search engine.


It is also not too hard to embed a Google search box on your site - just when it is used it presents back the results through Google, rather than within the site - not such a big deal. In fact, why bother with your own search function, as Google undoubtedly have the experience when it comes to knowing how to build a good search function.
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby Tansi » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:16 pm

Thank you, allynh for posting how to search the posts via google.

i will copy this information in case the search function leaves . . . which, if it is 80,000 search terms and memory is at stake seems the prudent thing to have happen!
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby Giffyguy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:01 am

... assuming you guys don't have enough R&D time to embed the official Google search box mentioned by willendure on this site ...

It would be perfectly acceptable to add an announcement (displayed at the top of ALL forums) with a title similar to "How to search this forum" and a basic step-by-step guide for the Google-impaired. (perhaps with screenshots?)

Heck, I'd be happy to write the guide, if it would help. ;)
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby jone dae » Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:38 am

We've posted a new Geology Glossary, for the use of people like the contributors here. Is there a common library, in which a user can upload her document for anyone on this Forum to use?
If this seems to not apply to the thread, the connection is the search engines and google. Our new Glossary is on a Wordpress site. Google's spiders or crawlers might find it quickly, but - would that ever reach here, to this Forum?
So, I thought, we need a place to put library items which anyone can use.
https://jonedae.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/geology-glossary/

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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby Phorce » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:38 am

davesmith_au wrote:Hi all. I KNOW many will not like this announcement. I KNOW many users use the search function on the forum for many reasons. But having said that, our database now has over 80,000 indexed search terms and around 3 MILLION wordmatches.

Back in the day, we never envisaged the forum growing to the popularity it has. 100,000 posts seemed like a lifetime away, and now we've exceeded that! The database has grown so large that it is getting difficult to manage, and culling the search function would go a long way towards downsizing it..

Please remember, that we who run this forum are volunteers, and we mostly have very limited knowledge of database and server setup and management. Funny thing is, it is my experience that most support people within the hosting environment, have little actual knowledge themselves, but rather read from scripts and FAQs how to "help" their clients. There are also those one can pay (over and above what we already pay for site hosting) to do certain jobs, who themselves have limited knowledge outside whatever it is they're trained in, and who all too readily take your money yet wash their hands once something falls into their "too hard basket".

But one thing is clear, our database needs to be trimmed of excess fat, and the search function is the biggest contributor to our weight problem, after the posts themselves.

There are of course many off-site search engines which can be programmed for specific sites and specific parts of sites, and I am thinking we are going to have to send users off-site to one of those facilities for searching.

However IF anyone on here knows of anyone who can offer a better suggestion, I am willing to listen.

Regards, Dave Smith.


I have some experience over the years with thorny web hosting problems. I am hosted with this host for a number of years and have always found them reliable and very fast to fix problems through their live chat. They are a well run company and their staff have high moral which always helps.

So what is the problem exactly ? Execution time ? Problems handling large DB size when upgrading and/or moving to new host (like this example) ?
Exploration and discovery without honest investigation of "extraordinary" results leads to a Double Bind (Bateson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind ) that creates loss of hope and depression. No more Double Binds !
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby nick c » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:11 am

Hi Phorce,
The search function is still there and it works.
Most seem to prefer to use Google or other search engine.
To those interested, see allynh's post earlier in this thread for instructions on how to conduct a search with an off site search engine.
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Re: Search function may have to go...

Unread postby Phorce » Tue May 02, 2017 4:58 am

OK, that's great ! I was just reading about about another forum migrating their software and thought of you. For future reference or whatever, have you looked at Discourse ? They have a convertor for phpBB.
Exploration and discovery without honest investigation of "extraordinary" results leads to a Double Bind (Bateson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind ) that creates loss of hope and depression. No more Double Binds !
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