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Old 02-08-2009, 12:00 AM
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Tips for Searching

As most of you are aware, it's not uncommon to have duplicates posts pop up around the forums. A lot of the time it's because people simply do not attempt to search first. Other times they might search and not find what they are looking for. Let's face it, this site has tons of information to digest, and it can be quite overwhelming for someone new to Windows Mobile and/or online forums. It's easy for those that have a good grasp on the site to forget how it was when we were new. Patience can be lost when seeing new threads being posted about the same things over and over. At the suggestion of gorillaguzzler here (please give him props as this was his idea), I thought I'd put this together. I know it's pretty basic info, but hopefully it will help someone out.

Before I get started I would like to ask this of ALL members: Please try and remain respectful and courteous to other members who post redundant threads. It does not take long to stop and politely point them in the right direction. Either post the information they are looking for, or direct them to an existing thread on the same topic. I hear a lot of people say they are intimidated to post new threads because they think they'll get ridiculed for not searching good enough. If you try the following recommendations for searching and still cannot find what you are looking for, then you have no need to justify creating a new thread.

Now, for the tips. When you click on the "Search" tab at the top of the screen you will see the following drop-down:




You have a few options here, Simple Search, Advanced Search, and Google Search. If you are having difficulty finding information with one of the search methods, please try the other two as well before posting a new thread.

1. Simple Search
This one is pretty straightforward. Just type in what you want to search for and then click "Go". For what it's worth, I never use this. I have much more success using the other search features.
  • If you decide to use this method, you may come across the following scenario. Say you want to search for something for the Touch HD. If you type that in, you'll get an error message indicating that you have not entered the required number of characters. To avoid this, you can use the * symbol as a wild card to complete the minimum character requirements. (Example: Touch HD*)
2. Advanced Search
This is a little better than doing a simple search because you have more options. In addition to searching by keyword, you have the option to search other criteria such as posts made by specific members, date ranges, limiting the search to specific forums, etc. It's pretty self-explanatory once you go in and try it out. Here is a screenshot of what the Advanced Search screen looks like:



3. Google Search
This is my search of choice. I've found that I find much more relevant information using this than the basic simple search, and it's equally straightforward. Here are some tips that I use for searching with Google:
  • Explicit Search: Let's say you are looking for information on Sprite Backup Errors. Instead of just typing Sprite Backup Errors in the Google search box, you will more than likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, just enclose the search phrase within double quotation marks. (Example: "Sprite Backup Errors")
  • Exclude Words: Let's say you want to look for information on TF3D but want to exclude any results containing the term Diamond. To do this, use the "-" character in front of the word you want to exclude. (Example: TF3d -Diamond)
  • Similar Words and Synonyms: Let's say you want to include a word in your search but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the "~" character in front of the word. (Example: ~modify)
  • This OR That: By default, when you search, Google will include all the terms specified. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the "OR" operator. Please note that the "OR" must be capitalized. (Example: tf3d OR manila)
There are many other tips and tricks to searching, but these are the ones I find the most useful here on the site. If you have anything else that I missed or you want added to the list, post it and I'll keep this updated. Let's please try and keep this thread clean, positive, and on-topic. Any off-topic and/or negative threads will be deleted.
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If you are new to the site, take a look at the PPCGeeks New User Guide to get an overview of how to use the forums.

Having problems finding what you're looking for? Here are some tips on how to search the site more effectively.

Last edited by Hafrust; 03-20-2009 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:08 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

The artist formerly known as Tripdub1 doing his thing with the most outstanding idea since the sticky for Reporting Spam Posts. This is so good and essential that this needs to be the sticky of all stickys.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:56 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

Nicely done!!! I am glad I finally had a good idea. Glad Hafrust put it together he did a great job.
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Last edited by gorillaguzzler; 02-08-2009 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:14 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

Thanks guys. Hopefully people will actually read this and put it to use!
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:01 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

Nice work my man!

late,
Coz
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:07 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

awesome.... i hate asking redundant questions.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:13 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

+1 for it to get stickied, awsome post bro.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:19 AM
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Re: Tips for Searching

Upon request, I edited the OP to include information on using wildcard in simple search. Thanks for the positive feedback guys!
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:35 AM
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Re: Tips for Searching

+1 on the awesome post!
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:19 PM
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Re: Tips for Searching

This has been sitting on the back of my tongue for a while now and this is the time to let it out. I personally think the search function of this site is fairly lame. You can type 5 or more relatively strong words and the search still comes back as "The search term you specified is under the minimum word length (3) and therefore will not be found. Please make this term longer." This happens constantly and then to add insult to injury after that happens, you have to sit there and twiddle your thumbs since you can't search again for another minute or whatever length of time it is! I do agree that the Google search is much more efficient, BUT, to my knowledge it isn't available in the thread searches, only in the global searches. Therefore it brings back alot of irrelevant results and further frustrates people who then have the "oh what the heck, I'm gonna post this and see what sticks on the wall." mentality. So, before we continue bashing, mocking and scolding every poor soul who falls victim to posting material that has already been posted, perhaps we should look within here and ask if we might not have a bigger problem. Namely an inefficent searching mechanism. I don't think it's the search engine's fault per se (especially not the Google function), just the entire mechanism around it. For a web site brimming with some of the most talented software development people anywhere in cyberspace, I think it certainly could be better. Ok, my rant is done. Feel free to flame, bash and otherwise mutilate my existence at this point. But hey I said it and I'm glad!
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Last edited by tbran; 03-12-2009 at 03:27 PM.
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