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  • FIRST POST
    squeaky
    I searched but couldn't find anything
    • #1
    • 25th Feb 08, 8:27 AM
    I searched but couldn't find anything 25th Feb 08 at 8:27 AM
    OK folks, here's the thing... it's something we all see and we all struggle with.

    We do a search and we can't find what we are looking for, and ten seconds later some smarty pants hands us a link

    So here's a quick and easy search routine that will help most often...

    At the top of the forum listing, towards the right hand side you'll see the "Search this Forum" link...





    And if you click on it you get a search box like this...



    If you type your search words into the text box you'll often find that you get lots of threads listed - especially if your search word is one that might be used in lots of different posts. If you can see the thread you want, fine; but otherwise there's a way to make the list shorter and more applicable to what you are looking for.



    Click on the "Advanced Search" link as shown above and you will now see...



    For the moment, leave the selection "Search titles only" as it is. This will limit your results to ones that only have your search word in the title.



    Look a bit further down the page for the "Search options" section...



    The recent forum software update set the default "look back time" to just one month. Many of our threads are considerably older than that! So select "Any Date" as you can see above, otherwise you will not be able to find older threads or, all too often, no threads at all.



    Now skip down to the bottom of the page and click on the "Save Search Preferences" button...



    Note:- You only need to do / check this the first time you use advanced search.



    Go back to the top of this page and type in your search word(s)...



    And either press the Enter / Return key, or click on the "Search Now" button.



    For this particular search you should get the following result...



    The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that there are no threads newer than Dec 2007. This is because Christmas threads now get posted on the celebrations board.

    If you had your "look back time" set to just one month you would have found none of these threads.


    So that's the quick and easy way to look for any thread that has your search word(s) in the title.


    And yes, I know, all too often you either get loads and loads of threads in a search result - or none at all. It gets discouraging and it all starts to look like "Rocket Science" to get the darn thing to work and give you what you're asking for.

    Well, it's not "Rocket Science", promise... but it is something of an art form



    So bear with me and I'll go through some of the ways that you can refine your searches to find that one thread or post that you are sure must be about the place "somewhere".
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 30-12-2013 at 1:30 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
Page 1
  • squeaky
    • #2
    • 25th Feb 08, 9:28 AM
    • #2
    • 25th Feb 08, 9:28 AM
    Since it's recipes that get looked up most often here on Old Style I'm going to use finding a given recipe as my example here.

    Let's stay with Christmas Cake for now, and suppose that you didn't find the one you were looking for in the threads listed. There's every chance that the post was made in some other thread about cakes and the the original poster didn't give the post a title.

    So...

    Step back to the advanced search page and this time choose "Search Entire Post" and then click on the "Search now" button...




    You'll get a much longer set of results now - but each of those threads will have your search words in it - somewhere.




    Now it can be a bit of a slog. For shorter threads a quick scan down the post is fine.

    For longer threads that are pages long there's a quicker way to check. We'll use the first result in this search (delia's thread) and see how it goes.

    To the top right side of the (any) thread is a "Search this thread" link...

    Click on that, add your search text and then click on the "Go" button...





    Now you'll get a list of those posts that have your search words in...




    Click on the link to see the full contents of the post. The words are automatically highlighted in bold red so they are easy to spot.



    In this case it's easy to see that the recipe you're looking for isn't in this thread or this post.

    Ho hum - pick yourself another likely thread from the results. Nobody said this was easy


    There is an alternative to checking each thread by hand. While this is OK for a short list of results - and, since you can see thread titles easily enough so can skip past threads whose titles suggest that it's highly unlikely to have christmas cake recipe in it, you can modify your original search to show ALL the posts in ALL the threads as a list of posts...

    more to come...
    Last edited by squeaky; 25-02-2008 at 2:04 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • squeaky
    • #3
    • 25th Feb 08, 10:23 AM
    • #3
    • 25th Feb 08, 10:23 AM
    If the list of threads in your results is long and a quick browse is unlikey to help a quick search, you can set the advanced search to show you a list of all the posts that have your search words in.

    Again this is likely to be a lo-o-ong list... but sometimes it's easier to scan. So...

    Step back to the advanced search page...


    Down at the bottom, click on the little radio button to "Show Results as" Posts.



    Now you'll see each post in each thread in a list - like this...



    Again, sometimes it will be obvious that your recipe isn't going to be in the post - so you just keep scrolling through the results and checking those that you think are your "best bet".


    And sometimes, the first thing you find is not the recipe - but a clue...

    Such as in this post: help - fruit cake nightmare

    To save you the effort - if you now refine your search to include mary berry the only thing you'll find is a reference to her book on Amazon. (your search text would now be christmas cake mary berry and it gives a much shorter list of posts to check.)

    So it may be that your inspiration came from an MSE post but you had to look up the actual recipe on google. Like this...

    google mary berry christmas cake


    more to follow....
    Last edited by squeaky; 25-02-2008 at 2:11 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • squeaky
    • #4
    • 25th Feb 08, 10:45 AM
    • #4
    • 25th Feb 08, 10:45 AM
    Sometimes you can remember who posted a recipe - but you can't find where it is...

    Getting away from Christmas cakes now - supposing you wanted to find twink's world famous hobnobs recipe...

    In truth - just putting hobnobs into the advanced search on "titles only" would find this one for you, but just in case....

    On the right hand side of the advanced search page is a box into which you can search for posts by that member...


    And the nice thing is that the forum lists all similar names so that you can pick the right one - is it "twink" or "Twink" or "TWINK"? The forum software reads each of those three as different names.


    And the results speak for themselves




    More to follow....
    Last edited by squeaky; 25-02-2008 at 2:16 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • squeaky
    • #5
    • 25th Feb 08, 11:35 AM
    • #5
    • 25th Feb 08, 11:35 AM
    As I've said, if you can't find a suitable post with your search word in the title - you can search the entire contents of posts.

    This can leave you with lots of threads to check.

    So sometimes it's best to stay with the "Titles only" search but change the words that you are searching for.

    Again, let's stay with twink's world famous hobnobs... they're a biscuit recipe - so if it's the word "biscuit" that sticks in your memory and you try that first in a search...



    It ain't there. You'd think it should be - but sorry - it ain't.

    It won't show up if you use "recipe" either.

    Not in titles.

    But "hobnobs" finds it first time.

    So pick your words, and if one word doesn't find it - try another that "might" be in the title.

    After that... yep - you'll have to do it the hard way and "search entire contents" and so on.


    There are ways to combine words in the search by using "OR", or "AND"... that can help slim down a set of search results, and other tips...

    A full explanation can be seen in this post in sra's A-Z guide...

    Search


    Last edited by squeaky; 25-02-2008 at 2:23 PM.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • squeaky
    • #6
    • 25th Feb 08, 1:20 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Feb 08, 1:20 PM
    And finally:-

    When all else fails - google is your friend

    It's true to say that sometimes google can search MSE in a more "on topic" way than the search facility here does. "Sometimes".

    If you log onto google and paste the following...

    site:moneysavingexpert.com SEARCHWORD(s)


    Google will search only MSE for what you want.

    This is an especially useful tip for those times when the forum search breaks down altogether. It's how we manage to help members find (some) things even when the search here is not working.

    Try this...

    google site:moneysavingexpert.com armadillo casserole
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • Penelope Penguin
    • #7
    • 3rd Feb 09, 7:28 AM
    • #7
    • 3rd Feb 09, 7:28 AM
    There have been several people recently complaining about the Search facility within MSE. I'm not saying it's perfect (there's a glitch that infuriates me ) but I don't believe it's anywhere near as bad as some people say I thought I'd resurrect this thread, to give people more pointers.

    If people use this and still have problems, can they post below, and I'll see if I can help out.

    Penny. x
    Life is too short to clean behind the fridge
  • Olliebeak
    • #8
    • 3rd Feb 09, 7:43 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Feb 09, 7:43 AM
    thank you so much for that, Penny - and thanks to Squeaky, for all the work in the demonstration of 'search'.

    No wonder I couldn't get it right - I've been using the wrong thing altogether. I've been using the 'search' thing underneath the banner at the top of the page - oh well, learn summat new everyday!
  • Chris25
    • #9
    • 3rd Feb 09, 8:24 AM
    • #9
    • 3rd Feb 09, 8:24 AM
    this is so useful, any chance of making it a 'sticky'?
  • Woofles
    Me too Olliebeak. I fear all todays plans may have to be re-scheduled while I go and have a 'play'.
  • RobRover
    this should be a sticky at the top of every forum!!
    Last edited by RobRover; 03-02-2009 at 9:27 AM. Reason: spelling
  • SunnyGirl
    Brilliant idea thanks to Squeaky and Penelope
  • maltesers
    I requested that HOW TO FIND THINGS was made a prominent sticky and one of the MSE team kindly did so. Unfortunately, in March 2009 the sticky was updated and the HOW TO FIND THINGS label was changed - perhaps we need a separate sticky that can't be interfered with.
  • squeaky
    Actually, I checked, and it is indeed this thread that is linked to from the "Welcome sticky".

    Your Board Guides are asked by the boss to do their best to limit sticky posts to five and since this thread is a link in the main Welcome sticky which everybody "ought" to read and have a nodding acquaintance with- it's reasonably available for readers without using up a sticky-space of its own.
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • maltesers
    Squeaky - your threads are very useful but although peaople 'ought' to read the Welcome thread it is obvious most don't. That is why it is important to include something to the effect of 'HOW To FIND Things' on this forum in the thread title.
  • squeaky
    Thank you kindly but given that at the time of writing the total number of reads of the Welcome sticky is 14,679... either a few people are reading and using it lots of times... or quite a lot of people have browsed it at least once.

    The whole point of the Welcome sticky was to put together an informative "list", in a non-listy but helpful way, that pointed folks to the most frequently requested areas of Old Style. Otherwise our first two pages of the forum listing would ALL be stickies!
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • Penelope Penguin
    Squeaky - your threads are very useful but although peaople 'ought' to read the Welcome thread it is obvious most don't. That is why it is important to include something to the effect of 'HOW To FIND Things' on this forum in the thread title.
    Originally posted by maltesers
    OK, then I've added to the Welcome Sticky the first six posts of this thread I've also updated the title of that sticky Hope this is acceptable to you, and remember, squeaky has helped you, so a Thank You would be polite

    I do know, however, that for every poster who reads Stickies, there's another who justs doesn't see them - some people' brains miss things that are static, they focus on the moving threads further down

    Have a nice day, everyone

    Penny. x
    Life is too short to clean behind the fridge
  • squeaky
    You can help the search engine


    One of the quickest and easiest ways to search for something (usually) is to use the Advanced Search set to Titles Only.

    Unfortunately it has one rather fatal drawback.

    If a thread has a title such as:-

    Help me please...

    or:-

    How do I...?

    Then it isn't going to show up on a search for (say) carrots because the search word isn't in the title, and neither you nor the system has the foggiest idea of what these threads are about unless you go and look at them
    Yes, they'll show up if you change the search from Titles Only to Search Entire Contents - but that usually gives you a much longer list of results to check.

    So fair enough - if you need help - by all means ask for it and put help please in the title. But then, in order to help people find things - put something covering the question at hand into the title.

    So, for instance - if you want to know how to stop fruit from sinking to the bottom when you are making jelly, please don't just use the title:-

    Help please

    By all means start your title that way, but then add something relevant as well, so your title could be:-

    Help please - fruit sinks in jelly

    That way, anyone looking for this thread will be able to use any of the "key" words such as "fruit" "sinks" or "jelly" (or any combination of them) and so stand a very good chance of finding the thread quickly and easily.

    You know it makes sense
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    DTFAC: Y.T.D = 5.20 Apr 0.50
  • wannabe sybil
    I have been searching on the forum for lasagne made with ham and white wine. I have been struggling with the search function - can anyone suggest how best to use it.

    Please move this if you think the question about a search should be elsewhere.

    All help very gratefully received.

    Edited to add - I have to log off now, but I am very grateful for any advice
    Last edited by wannabe sybil; 03-03-2010 at 11:58 AM.
    Ankh Morpork Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons - don't let my flame go out!
  • Penelope Penguin
    Everything you need is in this Sticky Thread
    Life is too short to clean behind the fridge
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