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Poor quality of forum search RRS feed

  • Question

  • WHY does the forum search not support quoted strings?

    replication "first record" returns anything with replication OR first OR record in it.

    And it doesn't support + or - either.  In fact, those cause an error

    try +replication

    I'd like to search for

    +replication +"first record"

    i.e.  MUST contain "replication" and MUST contain "first record"

    I sure as hell don't want every thread that contains any one of those words, I could waste hours looking through them all.

    Which makes it really hard to figure out if a question has already been asked.

    ===============================================

    Monday, March 14, 2011 12:00 AM

Answers

  • Well that certainly is a good easy repro, Roger, thanks a lot for that. That particular scenario is totally broken. But given our current private search engine that we want to replace, this probably won't be addressed until we swap out the engine, which I would like to do in the coming months. Thanks a lot for the report!

    We have a LOT of work to do to improve search in this app.


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Friday, March 18, 2011 5:30 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • Until we can resources to rewrite how our search works, we rely on bing's back end. So things should be working similar to what you would get when searching over at bing. We hope to make some progress on search in the coming months.
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Monday, March 14, 2011 1:47 AM
    Answerer
  • Nope.

    Doing a search for

    replication "First record" on bing search box at the top of the forums works as I would expect.

    and +replication doesn't cause an error, so the forum search is definitely not working the same way.

    Maybe something is preprocessing it?

     

     

    Monday, March 14, 2011 2:12 AM
  • The top bing box doesn't scope the search to the forums. You should feel free to use that of course if you think it has better results.  Can you include some urls that have the problem, and more specifics around expected/actual results? I'm not sure from where exactly you are searching (msdn/technet) and at what level of the forums exactly (home,forum,thread).

    Search Term: replication "First record"
    Search Box: Forums Search box on http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Search/en-US/?Refinement=112&query=replication%20%22First%20record%22

    same results as

    Search Term: replication "First record"
    Search Box: Bing search box on http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/categories, adding the scoping of site:social.technet.microsoft.com/forums

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Search/en-US?query=replication%20%22First%20record%22%20site%3Asocial.technet.microsoft.com%2Fforums&beta=0&ac=8

    Realize I'm not saying we don't have problems with search but I'm not sure I'm seeing the inconsistency.


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Monday, March 14, 2011 5:51 AM
    Answerer
  • Well, let's start with this page we are on here.

    Incidentally, I can't assume the BING search returns results from the Partner forums, so not necessarily useful.

    Go to the BING box at the top of the page.

    Type in +replication +"first record" -page and click the search button.

    Firstly it strips the + symbols (converted to spaces?), but after re-entering them on the next page, I get 30 results.

    If I remove the -page, I get 341 results.

    No error, and - works as I would expect.

     

    Now go to the "search forums" box next to "ask a question" and type in +replication +"first record" -page

    You get the same behaviour (it is in fact the BING search page)

    You get 1 result, which is this thread.

     

    Now go to the "SQL Server (Partner)" forum and try the "search forums" search again.

    Bang, dead, "unexpected error".

     

     

    Monday, March 14, 2011 9:05 PM
  • The private forums are not using bing but some sketchy back end search engine we want to replace as soon as we have time and people to do that. So private partner forum searches behave entirely different. We are fully aware of that. The private search is known to yield 'unexpected error' messages from time to time. I'll have someone look into that. That functionality won't be changing any time soon with respect to +/- support, the first step will be to migrate the search to a more reliable engine and query interface. When we do that I'll look at +/- support but this will be a while. In addition to this, the public search from a non-MSDN/TechNet domain (social.microsoft.com) behaves slightly differently.

    Can you include the URLs with some of your reports? Thanks


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Monday, March 14, 2011 9:21 PM
    Answerer
  • Now go to the "search forums" box next to "ask a question" and type in +replication +"first record" -page

    You get the same behaviour (it is in fact the BING search page)

    You get 1 result, which is this thread.

    @ Roger

    That is just proving that content is filtered for being "useful" according to how it has been marked.  Therefore content that you remember reading but which is not marked can't be found.  It is one of the most infuriating, time-wasting, aspects of using these forums.  If you are still using a bridge and have a sufficient offline cache you can probably do a much better more complete search that way.  BTW I'm surprised that you are able to find what you want using BING or even Google because my impression is that they too are limited to what can be indexed by those same markings.


    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:40 PM
  • The private forums are not using bing

    Can you include the URLs with some of your reports?


    Nice try at dodging the issue Brent.  Why does he need to provide URLs when he has already given a repro case in "this page we are on here"?

    Go even one further than he tried, use the drop down to just search all forums (not all Microsoft):

    http://search.microsoft.com/results.aspx?q=+replication%20+"first%20record"%20meta:Search.MSForums.GroupID(08f86e0a-6b1a-4efd-9a99-42c750f4e359)%20site:microsoft.com&mkt=en-US

    One hit.  QED.

    Now let's go to Google and try an equivalent search.

    http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&source=hp&biw=844&bih=606&q=%2Breplication+%2B%22first+record%22+site:microsoft.com+inurl%3Aforums&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=%2Breplication+%2B%22first+record%22+site:microsoft.com+inurl%3Aforums&fp=af6f528490a58fa1

    (Google search for
        +replication +"first record" site:microsoft.com inurl:forums
    )

    9 hits, mostly MSDN, and this one is not included? 

    So, is Google not allowed in here now or is it the case as I contend that it is only allowed to index stuff which has been marked "useful"?...

    Let's see how much content it has been able to find:

    site:social.microsoft.com inurl:forums inurl:thread

    About 176,000 results (0.36 seconds

    Let's see how much content from this specific forum it has been able to find:

    site:social.microsoft.com inurl:forums inurl:thread inurl:reportabug

    About 1,430 results (0.33 seconds)

    Except that if you look at the dates, there is nothing from 2011 (in the first page at least).

    Ctrl-F 2011  No matches found.   Oh.  Unfortunately we can't search for that because current dates don't have a year.  ; ]

    Ok.  Here is the first hit:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/reportabug/thread/c94347a8-546b-4e1c-bacd-04ac56186cfe

    Marked as Answer.   QED.

    Robert
    ---

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 3:10 PM
  • <<Why does he need to provide URLs when he has already given a repro case in "this page we are on here"?>>

    ...because the page 'here' ie: the forums issues forum doesn't repro his problem. So I was wondering if there was another url he could provide.

    <<Nice try at dodging the issue Brent.>>

    ?  

    If the issue is that our search works differently than google, yes, acknowledged. If the issue is that our private search works differently than our public search. Yes certainly. If the issue is that our search (private and public) aren't good enough, I totally agree. If the issue is that google has different indexed content than bing, yes, that's true. If the issue is there is some reproducible 'bug' here that we can try to fix, that is the thing I'm not so sure of yet. Realize I'm not defending all the problems we have in search, just trying to get to the bottom of some bug we could address.

    Re: differences between google and bing, both are allowed 'in here' if by that you mean this forums issues forum. They are very complex indexing engines that do not disclose really how they work. We are always attempting to do whatever we can to help their crawlers etc. I can go into all of the things we have to do if that would help.

    Rewriting our search is a very substantial task (both for public and private) and is going to take quite a while. In the meantime, I want to address bugs that we can.

    Make sense?

     


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 6:29 PM
    Answerer
  • <<Why does he need to provide URLs when he has already given a repro case in "this page we are on here"?>>

    ...because the page 'here' ie: the forums issues forum doesn't repro his problem. So I was wondering if there was another url he could provide.

    It repro's the one about losing the plus signs.   I admit that it does not support the contention that search phrases are changed into OR expressions.   ; }

    <<Nice try at dodging the issue Brent.>>

    ?

    I thought you were leaping at the private example when the repro case was in "here" but now it looks as if the private example is the OP's issue so I will back off.   ; )


    Robert
    ---

    Thursday, March 17, 2011 5:52 AM
  • Well that certainly is a good easy repro, Roger, thanks a lot for that. That particular scenario is totally broken. But given our current private search engine that we want to replace, this probably won't be addressed until we swap out the engine, which I would like to do in the coming months. Thanks a lot for the report!

    We have a LOT of work to do to improve search in this app.


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Friday, March 18, 2011 5:30 AM
    Answerer