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Help - Search

The search function gives you a way to locate posts which match the search criteria you supply.  Like Google, there are two search types: Basic Search, which is very basic indeed, and Advanced Search, which offers a much more powerful search capability, and also finer control over how the results are presented.  Which to use depends on what you're trying to accomplish.  In most situations, Basic Search should do the job just fine.

If you aren't logged in, the Search link on the gray menubar takes you to Basic Search.  If you are logged in, the Search link takes you to whichever default search type you've set in your profile.  Either way, you can temporarily change the search type by clicking on the link at the top right corner of the search dialog box.  If you're logged in, the last item in the resulting dialog box offers you the opportunity to change your default search type.

Both Search Types

In both search types, both case (upper/lower) and punctuation are ignored.  For instance, entering any of its, it's or ?its! as one of the words to search for would match posts containing the words its, ITs, IT'S, it's etc.  The words AND, OR and NOT have no special meaning, i.e., they stand for themselves.  Wildcards are not supported at this time.

Basic Search

This search option has two fields:

The first field ("Find posts with all of these words") allows you to specify words you know must be present in the posts you're interested in.  This is similar to the basic search function in Google.  For example, entering chili bar parking would match only those posts that contained the words Chili and Bar and parking

The second field ("Forum") allows you to specify which forum(s) you want to search in.  For instance, if you're interested only in current hazards, limiting your search to Hazards is a good idea.  However, don't forget that old hazards won't necessarily be in the Hazards forum - they most likely will have been moved to Archive.

Advanced Search

The first four fields allow you to specify which words you want to be present, or absent, in the search results. 

The first field ("Find posts with all of these words") allows you to specify words you know must be present in the posts you're interested in.  This is similar to the basic search function in Google.  For example, entering chili bar parking in this field would match only those posts that contained the words Chili and Bar and parking

The second field ("Find posts with any of these words") allows you to specify words you think might be present in the posts you're interested in - but you're not sure.  For example, entering chili bar parking in this field would match any post that contained the words Chili or Bar or parking.  In particular, it would match a post about say Somes Bar, or a post that mentioned parking issues on the Kern.  However, the search logic gives extra weight to posts that have most or all of your search words in them (see below under Relevance), so in this case a post about Chili Bar parking would likely be listed before either Somes Bar or parking issues on the Kern.

The third field ("Find posts without any of these words") allows you to specify words you know cannot possibly be present in the posts you're interested in.  It's used to narrow the search provided in the first two fields.  So for instance, if you're interested in non-hazard posts about Chili Bar, one way to limit the scope of your search would be to set the first field to Chili Bar and the third field to hazard.

The fourth field ("Find posts by this author") allows you to specify the author of the posts you're interested in. 

At least one of the first, second and fourth fields must be filled in.

The following fields offer several additional ways to limit the search, or different ways to present the search results:

Forum allows you to specify which forum(s) you want to search in.  For instance, if you're interested only in current hazards, limiting your search to Hazards is a good idea.  However, don't forget that old hazards won't necessarily be in the Hazards forum - they most likely will have been moved to Archive.

Search allows you to specify where on the page you want to search.

Include topic subject in search can help you find elusive posts.  In many cases, a reply to the original post contains only some of the words you're searching for, while the subject of the original post contains the rest.  If you have both Display results as topics and Include topic subject in search checked, then the search logic includes the original post's subject in the search criteria, and you will get a match.

Search for posts newer than allows you to limit the search to only those posts which are newer than the specified relative date. 

Display results as allows you to specify whether results are listed as topics, or as posts.  Selecting topics yields less detail but presents the data in a more digestible way.  Selecting posts yields more detail, in particular it will display (up to) the first Report max. message length characters of the message body. 

Sort results by offers you a way to better locate the posts you're interested in.  The best sort method will depend on what you're searching for.
  • Relevance: The search logic assigns a relevance score to each post, based on how many of the specified words are matched, how many times each word is matched within that post, and where it is matched (in the subject counts for more than in the message body).  The matching posts are then presented in order of relevance, most relevant first.  This is also similar to the basic search function in Google.  Two posts with the same relevance will be sub-sorted by post time, most recent first.
  • Post Time: Two posts with the same post time will be sub-sorted by relevance.
  • Subject: Two posts with the same subject will be sub-sorted by relevance, then by post time.
  • Author: Two posts by the same author will be sub-sorted by relevance, then by post time.
  • Forum: Two posts in the same forum will be sub-sorted by relevance, then by post time.
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