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How can I efficiently use the search functionality?
Search is simple: just type whatever comes to mind in the search box, hit Enter or click on the Search button.
Most of the time you'll find exactly what you were looking for with just a basic query. However the following tips can help you refine your technique to make the most of your searches.

Basic Facts

  • Every word matters. Generally, all the words you put in the query will be used, but there are some exceptions. Words that are commonly used, like 'a,' and 'i,' are usually ignored (these are called stopwords).
  • Search is always case insensitive. Searching for new york is the same as searching for New York.
  • With some exceptions, punctuation is ignored. In other words you cannot search for special characters.

Guidelines for Better Search

  • Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular brand, just enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall. Most queries do not require advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.
  • Describe what you need with as few terms as possible. The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search.
    For example, weather cancun is a simple way to find the weather and it is likely to give better results than the longer weather report for cancun mexico.
  • Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info,' are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use, it may not match the posts you need. For example, celebrity ringtones is more descriptive and specific than celebrity sounds.
Note: The forum administration might allow certain special characters to be searchable.

What operators I can use, while performing a search query?
The Basic Help entry covers all the most common search issues, but sometimes you need a little bit more power.
This entry will highlight more advanced features, like the search operators. Have in mind though that even very advanced members use these features less than 5% of the time. Basic simple search is often enough.

Search Operators

  • Phrase search ("")
    By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are searching for the exact words, in that exact order. By insisting on phrase search you might be missing good results accidentally.
    For example, a search for "Alexander Bell" will miss the posts that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
  • Terms you want to alternate (|)
    The query default behavior is to consider all the words in a search. If you want to specifically allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator.
    For example, Oscars 2004 | 2005 will give you results about either one of these years, whereas Oscars 2004 2005 will show results that include both years.
  • Terms you want to exclude (–)
    Attaching a minus sign immediately before a word indicates that you do not want posts that contain this word to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space.
    For example, in the query anti-virus software, the minus sign is used as a hyphen; whereas the query anti-virus -software will search for the words 'anti-virus' but exclude references to 'software'.
  • Terms you want your phrase to start with (^)
    Attaching a caret sign immediately before a searched word indicates that you want posts that start with this word to appear in your search results.
    For example, the query ^product will search for posts that start with the words 'Product' or 'Products'.
  • Terms you want your phrase to end with ($)
    Attaching a dollar sign immediately after a searched word indicates that you want posts that end with this word to appear in your search results.
    For example, the query ^product info$ will search for posts that start with the words 'product' and end with 'info'.
  • Fill in the blanks (*)
    The star sign, or wildcard, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, the search engine will treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches.
    For example, searching for par* will give you results related to 'parts', 'party', 'paranormal'.
    Note that the * operator can be used in front, end or both front and end of the words you search for.
Note: The forum administration might choose to disable the wildcards feature.

What is a contextual search and how can I use it?
The contextual search feature is a very convenient method to quickly find other posts related to a specific keyword or sentence you are reading about into current thread. It is available only to forum members and can be enabled or disabled in your User Control Panel.

Perform a Contextual Search

  • While logged and reading a thread post, select with your mouse one or more words that interest you.
    Note that the easiest way to select one specific word is to double-click on it; the text will be automatically highlighted.
  • Once the text selected, a magnifying glass will be displayed. search bubble
    If you click on it, a contextual search panel will show you the most relevant search results, based on selected keywords.
Note: The forum administration might choose to disable this feature.

Why my recent posts don't show up rightaway in search results?
Each new post is scheduled to be stored into a search index, at regular periods of time. Therefor, if you created a new post, it will take approximately 10 minutes before your post content will be recorded and displayed into search results.
For example, while viewing the Advanced Search or Search Results pages, you will notice at the top of the page a message like:
"The search index was updated 8 minutes ago." That means the next index update will be executed in approximately 2 minutes.

Note: The forum administration might change at what interval of time the index updates can occur.


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