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Bonus TIPS for Successful Posting

Try a Search First
It is highly recommended that a Search be done on your topic before posting, as many questions have been answered in prior posts. As with any search engine, the shorter the search term, the more "hits" will be returned, but the more specific the search term is, the greater the relevance of those "hits". Searching for "table" might well return every message on the board while "tablesum" would greatly restrict the number of messages returned.

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How to Search The Forum

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  • How to Search The Forum

    This is a spin off from another thread. I, and I'm sure many others, would like to know what techniques you successful searchers of the message board and Wiki us to find info. Do you get suplurflous data? If not, how do you avoid that?

    Search for 'calculated total' and you will get 41 pages. One thread found is entitled: "Setting up Sets or 1 to Many form" which has the words calculated and total highlighted. The thread should be found because that's what I asked it to find. However, it has nothing to do with my need. What I needed was info on how to create a calculated field on a form which would show totals with 'if' statements as part of it? Next I searched for "Calculated" and "Total" which found 120 threads. This search as well found all threads where "calculated" and "total" are used. But, that's not good search criteria as most are totally unrelated. Search for "Calculated Total" and you will find 4 threads, again un related.

    Now it's time to try different search criteria. The question is, what criteria and how should it be fashioned? Using severl key words such as calculated, total, if and statement reveals 4 threads, not close to what I need. The trick is to find a theres in whcih all 4 words are used, not just one or two of them. So, search for "calculated" and "total" and "if" and Statement" and you will get 119 threads which is too daunting a task to search each thread, even by just reading the titles, most of which are not at all related to my need.

    In summary, where does a person find good search techniques? Are your search results better than mine? If so, what techniques do you use?

    p.s. I searched for: "How to search the forum" and got no results becaus of the 2 and 3 letter words. Remove them and you get 0 results. Use "How" and "to" and "search" and "the" and "forum" and you will get 117 unrelated results. Again, the key is to find a thread where the words 'How to search the forum" are used together in a single thread.
    TYVM :) kenn

    Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

  • #2
    Re: How to Search The Forum

    I use the google search box below the table of contents on the left with wiki..... radio button selected.

    I searched for: "How to search the forum" and got 1120 results, the first of which was

    Advanced searchAbout 1,120 results
    Everything
    Images
    Videos
    News
    Shopping
    More
    Search OptionsShow search tools How to search Alphapedia : Alphapedia
    Feb 15, 2011 ... Example: +wiki forum will find objects containing at least wiki. Objects with
    both terms and many occurences of the terms will appear first. ...

    wiki.alphasoftware.com/How+to+search+Alphapedia - Cached - Similar
    I searched for calculated total and the top hit was

    Creating and Using Calculated Values : Alphapedia
    2 days ago ... Calculated Value. Expression. Description. total. total(INVOICE_ITEMS – >
    Extension, GRP – >INVOICE_HEADER). Sum the INVOICE_ITEMS->Extension ...

    wiki.alphasoftware.com/Creating+and+Using+Calculated+Values - Cached - Similar
    Both fairly pertinent results.
    There can be only one.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How to Search The Forum

      You are using Alphapedia Stan, and quite correct in your comments. However the question related to this Forum as this is probably the first place new Users will go to.
      Can someone let me know how Alphapedia is actually populated and moderated?
      If we should be using that medium for answers to questions, it's a bit more formal than the way I'm doing things at present.
      Would it be possible to create some form of Taxonomy based on the general aspect of the question on the Forum and search within that?
      Ted Giles
      Example Consulting - UK
      .

      sigpichttp://ec12.example-software.com//
      See our site for Alpha Support, Conversion and Upgrade.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to Search The Forum

        I read the question..

        I, and I'm sure many others, would like to know what techniques you successful searchers of the message board and Wiki us to find info.
        As for searching the forum, there have been so many posts where what the user wanted to know was expressed, shall we say "loosely" that the automatic indexing of search terms must be quite overwhelmed. I seem to get the best results when I select Search Single Content Type, then in Additional Options choose Alpha Five Desktop Applications, and further down, Show Results as: Posts.

        Note that if the search had been for "Calculated Value" or "Calculated Field" instead of "Calculated Total" the relevance of the hits would have been greater. At least that's what I see. How does one know that? For me it is learning by experience, nothing special.
        Last edited by Stan Mathews; 08-04-2011, 03:46 PM.
        There can be only one.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How to Search The Forum

          I stand corrected. I just read the Header.
          Thanks for the additional input Stan.
          Ted Giles
          Example Consulting - UK
          .

          sigpichttp://ec12.example-software.com//
          See our site for Alpha Support, Conversion and Upgrade.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to Search The Forum

            Originally posted by Stan Mathews View Post
            Note that if the search had been for "Calculated Value" or "Calculated Field" instead of "Calculated Total" the relevance of the hits would have been greater.
            Thus , the posts which have already been answered in one fashion or another. Even with lots of experience, one doesn't always think of all the terminology to use. I used "Calculated Field" and got 120 results and "Calculated Value" brings up 15 threads, none of which, by reading the titles, apperat to have any relevancy.

            In reality, I'm not so sure there are that many threads which have been posted several times simply because many are very similar but have a slightly different take on it. I suspect I've read equally as many responses which have said something like, "this has already been answered many times, search using..." to which the reply is, "that's not quite what I'm looking for, close but no cigar"

            The problem is A5's fault Yup, it sure is, No doubt about it. If Selwyn and his group had not made A5 so in depth and fun to use, why, we couldn't and wouldn't to do so much in so many different ways. Gee, thanks a lot Selwyn for this problem. Ha, I bet the other database vendors wish they had it!!!

            For me, knowing more about how and when to use the ", the words 'and', 'or' would be helpful. I often would like to search for a thread which contains all the key words and either find that thread or find nothing. Finding threads which contain only one of the key words is not very helpful ans adds a voluminous amount of time to searching.

            Yup, thanks Selwyn for giving us a wonderful problem.
            TYVM :) kenn

            Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How to Search The Forum

              Well Ken.....I not only have posted at least twice on several of my search techniques, but have also offered on the message board and in a few private messages to show a few examples of how I search---only one person took me up on this!! At this point it probably would be hard to find them!! lol

              I wish I had the time to keep offering this but blocks of time to do so are becoming more scarce as I have some intense personal projects going on this summer (perhaps you've noticed my lessened time here for the past month or so?).

              Generally I can find what I am looking for between the message board on online help (I have yet to use the Wiki--will have to once I start on the web side I realize). And you are right, many times to find something you have to wade through a hundred or so threads for hard to find things--I usually skim them and can do this pretty fast though. Using google with the message board as its base for searching works for many as Stan mentioned.
              Mike
              __________________________________________
              It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
              It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
              Henry David Thoreau
              __________________________________________



              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How to Search The Forum

                Originally posted by MikeC View Post
                Well Ken.....I not only have posted at least twice on several of my search techniques, but have also offered on the message board and in a few private messages to show a few examples of how I search---only one person took me up on this!! At this point it probably would be hard to find them!! lol
                Yah, LOL. How ironic. Perhaps Alpha whould consider posting those threads and other instructions as a 'sticky' at the beginning of each forum.

                Generally I can find what I am looking for between the message board on online help (I have yet to use the Wiki--will have to once I start on the web side I realize). And you are right, many times to find something you have to wade through a hundred or so threads for hard to find things
                Exactly my point, one should be able to search and find info w/o having to wade quite so long. It would be most helpful if Alpha staff would give some consideration to this subject, would it not?
                TYVM :) kenn

                Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How to Search The Forum

                  one should be able to search and find info w/o having to wade quite so long
                  One is entitled to that?

                  It would be most helpful if Alpha staff would give some consideration to this subject, would it not?
                  You assume they haven't?

                  The forum is run on vBulletin® Version 4.1.4 software. Have you expressed your dissatisfaction with the search compatabilites to them? Alpha has nothing to do with how the search works in vBulletin.

                  Have you tried the techniques I suggested?
                  There can be only one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How to Search The Forum

                    Originally posted by Stan Mathews View Post
                    One is entitled to that?
                    Call it whatever one desires. I'm saying that the search parameters, aside for using key words, does not work well. I've not found anything on the message board which instructs on the use of ", and, or, etc. Key words are only as good as the ", and, or, etc.

                    You assume they haven't?
                    I assume nothing. I've not found the instructions nor has anyone pointed out where to find them.

                    The forum is run on vBulletin® Version 4.1.4 software. Have you expressed your dissatisfaction with the search compatabilites to them? Alpha has nothing to do with how the search works in vBulletin.
                    Thanks for the info. I will contact them.

                    Have you tried the techniques I suggested?
                    Yes, and I've elaborated on it quite extensively. My search results were not much different than yours or yours not much different than mine.
                    TYVM :) kenn

                    Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to Search The Forum

                      I've had a look at the vBulletin page and under Search, there is the option for "Custom META Keywords/Description Tags.
                      It seems that the product does absolutely everything apart from providing a user friendly search feature. I've just looked for information regarding the introduction of Win 7 64 bit systems and the problems some people had resolving the locations and running uder Win 7, to which I contributed as I had resolved most of them personally. Not a good result unless you have a cup of tea and an hour or so. I really do think we need a more slick process.
                      This poses a few questions.
                      1) Are the Tags parsed automatically?
                      2) Should we be more specific in the definition of the problem?
                      3) Should we also as for a "Solutions" post when someting has been resolved?

                      The problem I see is that a lot of new users post questions which are relatively simple to answer if one has the expertise. This causes a "fog" of information which will be returned in a search for the more experienced, and a data overload for a new searcher. Perhaps the repetitive stuff could be archived and accessible another way?
                      Last edited by Ted Giles; 08-07-2011, 04:29 AM.
                      Ted Giles
                      Example Consulting - UK
                      .

                      sigpichttp://ec12.example-software.com//
                      See our site for Alpha Support, Conversion and Upgrade.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How to Search The Forum

                        Hi Ted,

                        I was beginning to think I was the only one who found the search results cumbersome and overwhelming. Thanks for checking the website and reporting what you found.

                        Originally posted by Ted Giles View Post
                        This poses a few questions.
                        2) Should we be more specific in the definition of the problem?
                        Specific is always better. especially in the Subject box. Even though it might not make a good read, simply listing key words is much better than saying something line 'query problem'. While query is a good key word, a few keywords about the problem would be great.

                        3) Should we also as for a "Solutions" post when someting has been resolved?
                        Most definitely.

                        The problem I see is that a lot of new users post questions which are relatively simple to answer if one has the expertise. This causes a "fog" of information which will be returned in a search for the more experienced, and a data overload for a new searcher. Perhaps the repetitive stuff could be archived and accessible another way?
                        Who will do the archiving. If the message board instructions on how to use it's search tools (not talking about key words) many repetitive posts would not exist. For instance, I searched using 'report and line number', the ' was not used. I found 3 threads. Then I searched using "report" and "line numbering" and got 118 posts, each one containing at least one of the 3 words. Obviously, it did not filter the threads to that only those threads which containing the word "report" and the words "line numbering"; not just 'report' or not just 'line' or not just 'numbering'. In other words the search tools that Alpha has do not work in the message board.
                        TYVM :) kenn

                        Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.

                        Comment

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