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Search function broken
#25004 08/03/10 04:43 PM
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Kenno Offline OP
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The forum's search function seems to be behaving erratically. If I search for a short simple word that is expected to yield many hits, such as "amd" or "never", I get no hits (both in basic search and "advanced search").

Also, changing the default date range (1 week) every time I use "advanced search" quickly gets annoying.

Re: Search function broken
Kenno #25016 08/04/10 03:08 AM
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I'll take a look at the short queries.

I know changing the date range is irritating. Unfortunately, I've looked at changing the default and it's not trivial (read I couldn't figure out how to do it after spending 15 minutes looking through the control panel and source code).

Re: Search function broken
tim #26030 12/21/10 01:37 AM
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Kenno Offline OP
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Still broken. It is particularly painful that anything less than 4 letters is ignored. Recent searches yielding no hits include pbc, pme, vv2, nmr, ace, vmd, mpi, gnu, gcc, icc, ifc, gpu, amd,... In an acronym-driven world, this is a serious handicap.

I also encountered unrelated flakiness on at least one occasion but I currently don't remember what it was. I'll tell you if it comes up again. In the meanwhile, maybe we should encourage users to try google.

Re: Search function broken
Kenno #26048 12/22/10 06:07 PM
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Well, I've managed to fix the date range (set it to five years). It involves changing the UBB source (I finally found the right file to edit), but it's not so bad. Unfortunately, I just can't get searches for short terms to work. I've set the minimum search length down to two, but it still doesn't work. I suspect this might be a bug in UBB. I think using Google is a good idea, one thing to note is that you can do a site-specific search in Google, e.g. type the fillowing into your search bar:

(your search keyword(s) here) site:www.charmm.org/ubbthreads

Will search just the forum.

Re: Search function broken
tim #26098 12/29/10 05:42 PM
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Kenno Offline OP
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Nice work on the date range! Also, good idea to explicitly advertise Google's site-specific search. I've been using it for a while but not everyone may know about it.

Re: Search function broken
Kenno #31709 04/03/13 08:00 PM
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Note that the "Index and Search" page (menu item on charmm.org pages under Documentation) uses the 'site:' feature to search the forums, as well as the CHARMM documentation.


Rick Venable
computational chemist

Re: Search function broken
Kenno #34194 07/17/14 04:05 PM
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Sorry for reviving this old thread, but I feel the search function is just getting worse and worse with each forum update, and can now be considered inoperative as far as end-users are concerned. To get a relevant results, and end-user presently has to:
  • make sense out of the "advanced search" page since the "quick search" has disappeared
  • change the "Newer than" fields to "9" and "years", which is easily overlooked, irritating for repeated searching, and I vaguely remember someone complaining about it not accepting higher numbers
  • somehow know that any search involving acronyms will fail because the search algorithm rejects words smaller than 4 characters. For a site in a field of science that subsides on 3-letter acronyms, this is ridiculous
  • when searching for a phrase (say, an error message), click on the "Advanced Search Tips" link to learn that the phrase needs to be embedded into quotes. If they don't, the search behaves extremely unintuitive and the user could be excused for thinking their query has not been answered before. To add insult to injury, the aforementioned link is tiny and misleadingly labeled (I wouldn't consider looking up an error message "advanced" usage), so all too easy to miss
All these factors taken together, even I often find myself struggling to get the right results out of it. I know this is all UBB.Threads' fault and not the site admin's, but it's getting detrimental to the discourse. Would it be possible to hack the php code so that the "Search" in the title bar links here instead of to the native search function? Bonus points if the "CHARMM Forums" radio button could somehow be preselected. wink

Last edited by Kenno; 07/17/14 04:10 PM. Reason: fixed "detrimental to the discourse" link.
Re: Search function broken
Kenno #34197 07/17/14 05:49 PM
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We've discussed moving to a newer package, but there could be migration issues.

The forum search allows a time range of 20 years; the forums have been online for about 11-12 years.

The problem with PHP hacks has been that they must be repeated whenever the forum software is updated.

If people actually read the READ BEFORE POSTING topic, they might find out about the charmm.org Google search of the forums.

I'll talk to Tim after he returns from the CHARMM meeting.


Rick Venable
computational chemist


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