How to search this forum? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-04-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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Name: Rachel
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Hello webmasters,

I'm usually pretty handy at searching forums and the Internet in general, but I seem to come up short when it comes to searching FGRV. I've also noticed that many others seem to start posts with "I tried searching but couldn't find...."

In addition to having trouble finding things I'm searching for, it has led me to post less. This is because after having once or twice typed out a long post about "x" topic, I just don't feel motivated to do so for a third or fourth time when a new person asks the same question.

Of course I want new people to come and to ask questions; if I were better able to search, myself, I would feel more comfortable asking newbies to do the same thing. I like new input on a topic, but sometimes I think it would be nice if a newbie could search said topic, find the old one, read through it, and then post a new question or variation at the end of the (existing) thread. That way new information could be added, keeping it current and relevant, without regular forumites needing to spend hours typing things (over) again (or feeling discouraged, as I have, when they do want to help out, but have to budget their time).

Another example is that today I have a photo I would like to add to a long-running thread I remember about exterior paint jobs. I think it was called something like "Exterior paint jobs, real or imagined." However, I can't find it even though I've searched a few different ways

One other specific area where I've had trouble is in trying to search for something specific to, say, the Boler 13; but when I use "13" it tells me that I can't use a word shorter than three characters. So then I get ALL Boler stuff, regardless of whether it's 13, 17, or etc. Same thing when I tried to search "74" (to limit to 74 Bolers).

Also, does the posters profile info get included in the search? Sometimes I get so many hits I wonder if that is why.

I am pretty familiar with searching, but I still need some help here.

Would someone be able to clue me in on how to search FGRV? And perhaps highlight the differences from a typical search on another forum or on Google? Perhaps we could have someplace to direct people in order to (nicely) say "Hey, try searching, find where we've talked about it before, check it out, and then let's talk more about it "

Raya
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:14 PM   #2
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Hi Raya,

I share your frustrations because even I use the advanced search terms (for example "+exterior +paint") you may get a wide variety of results.

What works much better is doing a google site specific search using site:

For example do a google search like:
site:fiberglassrv.com search terms

Silly example below:
Tongue in cheek example
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Silly example below:
Tongue in cheek example
Now THAT's hilarious. Thanks for the link. Will put it to good use. Promise.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #4
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I'm probably not going to be much help either and that's because I know where all the bones are buried! I've read 99% of all the posts and have a good memory.

BUT, to help you.

If you remember the Exterior Paint topic was a title... then just search titles.
If you remember if last appeared six months ago... then just search topics that are six months and older.
If you remember it had paint in the title and was posted by Benita, then search titles with paint and posted by Benita.
If you remember it was in one of the five forums under "All About Our Unique Little Molded Fiberglass Trailers," then just search there... not all of FiberglassRV (which includes General Chat, Rallies and For Sale forums.

I've found it best to spend time at the search menu, clicking the radio buttons and drop downs that pertain to what I'm looking for. Specific and details often give much, much smaller results.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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Hi Booker,

Yes, I do usually use Google search, but I'd rather use our search, and would feel more comfortable directing new posters to that (but... could recommend Google to them, and I think I have in the past).

Donna,

Thanks for the tips. I feel like I have tried those things, but then I'll admit to being somewhat easily frustrated by it, since I usually am pretty good at searching (even when I do have specific facts to recall).

What are your feelings on the example-situation with new people asking about things such as fiberglass repair and painting? I'm thinking that I may not be the only one who is holding back on re-typing long posts over and over again; and yet I don't feel I have an alternative to offer because when I try to search something like "fiberglass repair" or etc. I just get hundreds of seemingly random results. I do feel bad when I know I could respond to a new person (or a longer-time member) with useful information but instead I hold back, knowing I've spent an hour typing the same thing more than once in the past.

Also, could the search parameters be changed to allow two-character search terms? Then we could put in "13" or "17" or "74"

Thanks for your input,
Raya
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:39 PM   #6
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I agree with Raya on allow 2-3 character searches. The one that kills me is searching for postings on the 'BAL' leveling chock as someone asks about it every few months and I want to send them to the few threads we have had on it =)
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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Can't do two character searches, but you can three... by adding a wild card:

BAL*

since there's a space bar after the L, the wild card treats that as a character.

okay, I'll tell you my biggest two "cheats" An Excel spreadsheet with topic titles and links... and a special folder in my "Favorites," that contains the most common asked for stuff. I open another tab in FireFox and work between the two.. copying the URL and pasting the title.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
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Thanks for the wild card search idea. So does this mean that to search "Boler 13" I'd type in "Boler 13space*" (with a real space where I wrote "space"). I read where you wrote "space bar," but it didn't really look like there was a space there.

So I'm gathering from the fact that you've made up special documents to categorize posts, that there is not really any way to make the search function more user-friendly? Is that the case?

What is the general consensus on whether it is preferable to advise people asking common questions to search for related threads, vs. just having threads repeated over and over (which I always feel results in less and less good information as people tire of re-typing it). I guess you can tell I favor directing people to existing threads (and then encouraging them to add to them in a quest for new information and updated opinions).

I ask because some boards I'm on are tightly run in terms of people consistently being advised to "search first," thereby keeping the threads together; whereas others discourage searching and bringing up older threads (and of course some are just laissez-faire on the whole subject).

I suppose if the search is not able to be made more user-friendly, the former might not really be an option

Raya
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Another example is that today I have a photo I would like to add to a long-running thread I remember about exterior paint jobs. I think it was called something like "Exterior paint jobs, real or imagined." However, I can't find it even though I've searched a few different ways
It's actually called "Paint Jobs" ... title
Real and Imagined. (Not a How To thread).. subtitle

Started by Benita (which I remembered) and found in General Chat.

I searched for Paint, by Benita, in General Chat and only titles. It was the first one that came up.

I'm really sorry you're having problems and know it's frustrating. But the search will only find the information you tell it and the more specific you are the better the search.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:00 PM   #10
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The minimum search is four characters. We can get around that with a wild card: LED* or BAL* You cannot search for two characters and a wild card.

I find it always preferable to point people to the original posting rather than reiterate stuff already written. And that goes for pictures too.

Is that what you're asking?
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:04 PM   #11
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Thanks - I'll add the photo to the thread now.

I probably wouldn't be frustrated, but for the fact that I am usually pretty good at searching and finding on other forums, and on the Internet in general. And I'd love to be able to suggest to newbies that they search "x" topic. I guess I just feel bad about not wanting to type out a long response more than two or three times, when I can see that someone could really benefit from the information (not that I'm such an expert - don't get me wrong).

That's why I was wondering if there was any way to make the search page simpler, or more like a typical forum search page, so that it would be more clear. I mean, if it is not alterable at all, well, we'll just live with it. But if it is, then...?

Of course I'm very grateful that you do keep the search spreadsheet, and that you are so helpful And I'm glad the forum is here

Raya
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
The minimum search is four characters. We can get around that with a wild card: LED* or BAL* You cannot search for two characters and a wild card.

Okay, good to know.

I find it always preferable to point people to the original posting rather than reiterate stuff already written. And that goes for pictures too.

Is that what you're asking?

I guess I probably had too many questions in one posting, but they all seemed related so I lumped them together.

First I was looking for help searching.

Then I was wondering if the search page could be altered in any way to make it simpler, since I get the feeling it's not just me (I see many posts starting with "I tried to search, but..."

Then I was relating what I perceived as one big disadvantage to commonly having new threads started (people not wanting to post long, detailed posts over and over again).

But it's hard to get around that if one cannot just say "Oh, search 'repair fiberglass window 13 Boler' and you'll find some good stuff"

Which brought me to wondering what the general preferences of this forum are. In other words, where it falls on the range that goes from "Don't start a new thread topic without searching for existing ones" to "Whatever," to "Please don't bring up old threads." I've participated in all three kinds.

Yeah, okay, that evolved into a Monster! Sorry.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Of course I'm very grateful that you do keep the search spreadsheet, and that you are so helpful And I'm glad the forum is here

Raya
Oh you're always welcome Raya. BTW: the three main fiberglass sites: FiberglassRV, CasitaForum and CasitaClub all use the same software and the search perameters are the same for all.

Remember too, if you know you've posted something before and can remember at least one good search word... that's not REAL common, search for your own post by putting your name in the "Filter by Member Name (optional)" box. That may help too.

Have you used the "Advance Usage Help"?

apple banana = Find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice = Find posts with both words
+apple -juice = Find posts with 'apple' but not 'juice'
apple* = Find posts with 'apple' and/or 'applesauce'
"Some Words" Find posts with the phrase 'some words of wisdom', 'some words' but not 'some noise words'
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