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locked search within message view returns threads #bug?

 

I was looking for a particular message this morning. The message is within a thread called "update on Kittycat" (name changed). The complete text of the message is "Susie, how is Kittycat doing?" (name also changed). 

I first did a search (within message view) on "Kittycat" and the message did not come up. Instead, what came up was the complete thread entitled "update on Kittycat." So I did not see the message itself because I was expecting messages, not threads (and did not realize at first that what came up were threads - especially since each thread only shows a snippet of the ORIGINAL message in the thread, a point previously brought up by Brian). So, frustrated and confused (I knew the message existed), I went on to do a search on "Susie". The individual message ("Susie, how is Kittycat doing") immediately came up. At that point I realized what had happened: "search" returns threads, not individual messages, even if the search was done from within message view.

I think this is wrong and counterintuitive. If I'm searching within message view, I am searching for an individual message and am expecting it to come up. It's not useful, and I don't expect it, to return the message, but hidden within a (possibly very long) thread that I then have to search through somehow.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

J,

           Not having used the new search, at least not in the manner you describe, I have to ask are the search terms highlighted in some way within each pertinent message found?

           I have seen the behavior you describe, and do find it intuitive, because there is often so much quoting of content that many individual messages may be returned with a given set of search terms if those are not extremely limiting as far as results go.  On a couple of other forums I participate on search results are always returned as threads but when you open said threads the individual messages that contain the search term(s) are clearly shown with each of those term(s) highlighted (as in as though you used a yellow hi-liter on them).

           
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

 

Brian,

Let me clarify: only the preview of each thread is shown. All you can see from the returned results are the snippets of the first message of each thread. To find the message I was looking for, I would have had to do another search within the thread itself.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

J,

         As you were typing I did a bit of search research myself, and I agree that a couple of things about the presentation of the results are suboptimal.

         Using the beta group as my guinea pig, I decided to do a search on the phrase "new desktop," which I thought might return more than one message or thread, but it returns only one, the one I started last night.  The search was initiated from within a threads reading view.  That returned result does not have "New Desktop" highlighted in any way:



By contrast, I did the same type of search, from the same group and same initial view on the phrase "switch back," and this is the result:



The second result is unacceptable to me because I would never expect (which I know is the opposite of your situation) a messages view to be used to return results if I was in a thread view.  I notice, though, that the message view results do highlight, via use of bold text, the actual search term in the returned results, which I do expect (though if in threads view I'd expect this if I open a thread returned via a search).

It is far more logical to use a returned search results list consistent with the original view the user was in when the search is conducted.  It is also far more logical that, if that was a thread view and the term is in the actual subject, that it be highlighted in the subject, and if it's not in the subject then should be highlighted when the thread is opened so that one can very quickly visually "zoom in" on the actual messages in a thread that are likely to be of interest.  I know in long threads this might not be a message on the first page, but any message with the search term(s) returned from a search should be marked in some way that shows that a match exists in that message, regardless of whether the user view was messages or threads to start with.

--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

 

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 07:43 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
It is far more logical to use a returned search results list consistent with the original view the user was in when the search is conducted.

Yes, and since it seems to be backwards, perhaps this was just a toggle glitch in the programming? 
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Duane
 

Search seems to be working fine for me using the new "standard" version. I did have to change my default to Date, newest first once, but it now remembers it. If I search for desktop, it returns first the thread(s), then the post(s). If I use more than one word and use quotes "new desktop", it returns the post in this thread, then the thread that has it in the title. The posts have the word(s) highlighted in the results.

Duane

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Well, I still don't get why we're getting "mixed media" search result presentation.  I just did these same searches again, in both production and testing, and the results are the same, but have changed such that I get the "New Desktop" thread followed by two "new desktop" messages.  It makes no sense to me, at all, to mix the presentation of results as threads and messages.

If I start out from the threads view I definitely expect threads.  In general I expect threads, but it's clear that others who use message view as their chosen view expect the exact opposite, messages.

Something needs to be tweaked here so that the results are not a mishmash or, as in this case, when the search term is found in a thread subject, that the same sort of marking that occurs for the message view be done, in some form, for the thread subject.  I get that there are times when a search term might appear in a subject, but not a message body and that most text searches, unless they allow specific specification, will default to both subject and message body text searching.

As things stand I can guarantee that the results as presented are going to be jarring no matter what one's expectation might have been before doing a search.  They're truly just not like anywhere else, and in this particular case that is not, in my opinion, an improvement.
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

 

Duane,

True, "search" is remembering the preferred sort order just fine. That's not the issue now. For me, these results are unacceptable (I wanted to use a milder term but I can't), because they don't include the individual messages containing the search term I inputted. I (unlike you?) am getting back the threads but not the individual posts. Weird that you're seeing both...I'm not on mobile, so that's not the difference.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

Brian, I absolutely agree. I consider this - well, the only word I can find is "unacceptable." I know that after Mark tweaks this it will be better than the average search. But right now, it is worse.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Duane
 

The results used to be only from thread titles if you were in thread view or anyplace in a message if you were in either of the message views. After much discussion (and prodding by members), the search function now returns all results no matter which view you start in. It should return the threads first, then the posts. I don't see a reason to highlight them in a thread title and they are highlighted in posts.

The search function does behave differently depending on whether I'm using the normal version or the test version of the site though.

Duane

 

Duane,

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:39 am, Duane wrote:

The results used to be only from thread titles if you were in thread view or anyplace in a message if you were in either of the message views. .......much discussion (and prodding by members), the search function now returns all results no matter which view you start in.

I was one of the chief "prodders" in this. :-) But it's not doing that for me now. In fact, it's now the exact opposite. I get thread titles back when I'm in message view. Wonder if this is still confusion between some sort of test version and released version? 
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 8:45 AM, J_catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

I was one of the chief "prodders" in this. :-) But it's not doing that for me now. In fact, it's now the exact opposite. I get thread titles back when I'm in message view. Wonder if this is still confusion between some sort of test version and released version? 


Best I can tell search is working as designed at the moment, regardless of whether you're in the test version or normal version.

Before I changed search, if you were in Messages or Message view and did a search, only messages were returned. When you were in Threads view, only threads were returned (matches on subjects). Returning different results based on where you were was deemed confusing and unacceptable by the group, so I went searching (ha) for a different way, and ended up adopting what Discourse does, both thread(matches on subject) results and message(matches on body) results together.

If we find a match with a thread title, we don't also display any matching messages (ie. search matches within the message body), because that would lead to duplication/confusion.

One thing that Discourse has that I have not implemented yet is a checkbox to search only within a thread. I could add that when you do a search while viewing a particular thread. Would that help?

J, I'm confused as to how you'd like search to work. Can you walk me through it?

Thanks,
Mark

 

More info: I've now noticed that "search" does behave according to what Duane describes (namely: returns both threads AND individual messages) from within message view, UNLESS the search term is in the title of some threads. In that case, only the threads (with their snippets consisting of an excerpt from their original messages) are returned, not the individual messages containing the search term. 

I would humbly repeat what I requested in the first place (months? ago): I think the search results from either message view or thread view should return the same results, and should consist of all individual messages containing the search term, without regard to thread titles. If it ALSO returns the threads, that's no problem. What is problematic is when it returns only threads. Some of the threads in my group are 85 messages long! It's not useful to me to be told: "Here's your results. This 85-message-long thread (among others). Good luck." :-)

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

J, I'm confused as to how you'd like search to work. Can you walk me through it?

Mark, Our messages just crossed. I sent my message before this one before reading this. Will answer answer after meeting in about a half hour or hour.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

I'll also add that I don't find it useful when a thread title is returned without any indication as to whether anything but the thread title might have matches.

I almost never search on thread title/subject as an isolated search, but am generally looking for specific message text.  I don't mind if things are returned as threads, in fact, I prefer it, but it would be helpful to be able to distinguish whether a thread returned only has a match on the subject or whether there are also contained messages.  If there are contained messages, then when you open the thread it should be presented such that the matching messages have the same bolding (or whatever) as individual messages do in the message view.

I do find it utterly bizarre to have a long list of messages returned when I'm in thread view from a search rather than a list of the threads containing them.  I can adjust, mind you, but the probability of being "overwhelmed" by a message list seems to me to be much higher than by a threads list where one can pretty quickly say, "Nah, I know it wasn't that thread."
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

 
Edited

Mark,

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:07 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:

I'm confused as to how you'd like search to work. Can you walk me through it?

Ok. My number-one requirement/request would be that if I search for a term in message view, I should get back each and every individual message that contains the term, immediately. I should not get back only the threads that contain the term in their title and have to do a second search within those threads. Even if you implement that [EDIT: even if you implement "search within thread"], it would not be acceptable to me to have to do two searches on a message space, using the exact same term, because the first search only returns threads.

The rest of this I don't care very much about:

In message view, you could ALSO return the threads. Or not. I don't think it would be confusing to do so, if they are clearly shown to be one of the other, either with a delineator or a color, or whatever. (It's fairly easy to tell because of the notation "n messages" on a thread, but that actually took me awhile this morning when I first did the search, so I'm not crazy about throwing them all together.)

In threads view, you could return only threads. Or not. You could return only threads with the term in their title. Or not.

My preference would be for a search in message view and a search in threads view return the same results. I've been saying this repeatedly. In either case, you are not searching thread titles: you are searching messages. For me, in the context of a search, the title is just part of the message. Like Brian, I am always searching only for individual, specific, message text, not titles.

But these are icing on the cake. The only requirement for a search is that if I search for messages containing a term, I should immediately get back every single message containing the term without having to search through threads afterwards.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

Brian/Mark,

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:21 am, Brian Vogel wrote:

I do find it utterly bizarre to have a long list of messages returned when I'm in thread view from a search rather than a list of the threads containing them.  I can adjust, mind you, but the probability of being "overwhelmed" by a message list seems to me to be much higher than by a threads list where one can pretty quickly say, "Nah, I know it wasn't that thread."

Just as I find it utterly bizarre to have only threads returned when I'm searching from message view. There's no adjusting to being forced to do more than one search using the same term to find what you need. In fact, since multiple threads may be returned, it may require multiple (I said "two" before) searches to get the results you need.

I also don't think it's quite right to shrug this off by saying you can quickly say "I know it wasn't that thread." I think It can be sometimes be sisyphean. Either way, the function is not doing its job if it requires the user to do that much of the work.

I'm not as interested in what happens in threads view, as I said before. Return just the threads; I don't care. Return just the threads with the term in their titles; I don't care. As long as the system efficiently returns to me all messages containing the search term, in one fell swoop, I'll be happy. Presumably, this would minimally happen from within message view.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Maria
 

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:07 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Before I changed search, if you were in Messages or Message view and did a search, only messages were returned. When you were in Threads view, only threads were returned (matches on subjects). Returning different results based on where you were was deemed confusing and unacceptable by the group, so I went searching (ha) for a different way, and ended up adopting what Discourse does, both thread(matches on subject) results and message(matches on body) results together.

If we find a match with a thread title, we don't also display any matching messages (ie. search matches within the message body), because that would lead to duplication/confusion.

I am only doing searches within @beta, so my feedback is limited to that, but so far this new system works better for me because i get the same results regardless of whether i'm in thread or messages view. I like that.

I understand the concern that messages within a thread aren't represented as individual messages in the search results and I'll give that more of a think and more tests before I share feedback about that aspect, but did want to share that i really like the combo and the same results regardless of what view i'm in.

I've used discourse's search and have also found that good, but I've also been happy with the Y! groups search too.

Maria

 

Maria,

Have you tried a search from messages view where the search term is contained in a thread title? That's where the problem lies. In that case, you won't get the individual messages back. Instead, you get all the threads, and are forced to search each thread to find the matching messages. Suppose you get back 100 threads with the term in their titles. You then have to search through all 100 threads to see where the matching messages are. Even if Mark implements a "search thread" function, that's absolutely unacceptable. I won't even equivocate.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 01:42 pm, HR Tech wrote:
same results regardless of whether i'm in thread or messages view. I like that.

I agree, they should be the same results. But they need to be useful results. :-) 
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.