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  #1  
Old 05-25-2009, 06:04 PM
alterego alterego is offline
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HOWTO: Search the SDMB using Google

HOWTO: Search the SDMB using Google
Please post your own useful example searches in this thread. You may also be interested in my Doper RSS guide.

Searching the entire board or within a forum
Note that Google has not yet finished indexing the forums as of this writing.


This is the base query of all other queries.
In order to restrict your search to a forum you must include a plus sign (+) before the name of the forum in quotes. Otherwise Google will interpret your quoted forum string as meaning "Give me all pages related to the forum". Google's relatedness algorithms are extremely fuzzy and return all possible results in the case of the SDMB. Including the plus sign tells Google to "do what I say, not what I mean." Keep in mind that Google does not know what a forum is so the results still contain some fuzz. If you are constructing a url parameter you must encode the plus sign as %2B since a literal plus sign is interpreted as a space by Google:
Searching within active threads

These active thread query constraints are only available as url parameters:

  • Past 24 hours: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:boards.straightdope.com&tbs=qdr:d
  • Past week: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:boards.straightdope.com&tbs=qdr:w
  • Past month: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:boards.straightdope.com&tbs=qdr:m
  • Past year: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:boards.straightdope.com&tbs=qdr:y
Searching within a date range using daterange

Google has a daterange:start-end parameter but it is difficult to use because it requires Julian dates. You can use this converter from the US Naval Observatory but be sure to hack off the decimal place and everything that follows it since Google only understands the integer portion. Here are a few to get you started. Google's date matching is good but sometimes a bit fuzzy. I'm using "board years" starting on 3-9-99 since thats the day before the first post (in vBulletin) and it was easiest for me:

Searching within thread titles using intitle

There is also an allintitle field but you will probably find intitle sufficient:
Searching for posts written by a particular user

Google can see the "Find all posts by ..." text that is visible after you click on the username associated with a post:
A fuzzer variety of this search uses the inanchor field. Anchor text is simply the text that you see when you look at a hyperlink.
Fuzzier still is a site search for the username.
Example searches

Now that we've got all the pieces they are easy to put together. Here are some examples.
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2012, 11:06 PM
voltaire voltaire is offline
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TIP: If you just use "site:straightdope.com" in your search instead of "site:boards.straightdope.com", it will search all of Cecil's columns and the Staff Reports, in addition to the forums, all at once.
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2012, 01:55 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Thanks, Alterego. This is a great help.
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2012, 04:42 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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I'm having fun using the various search functions listed above, Alterego. Maybe I'm not all that quick on the uptake for certain tech functions; however, I would like to have the google search results come back in either date/time order or reverse date/time order. Is there a way to do that?
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2013, 04:01 AM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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An excellent contribution to the SDMB stickies! Thank you, alterego!
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2013, 02:54 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Just a note: Google may flag these searches for a "are you really a human?" test, since they're not the sort of format people usually type out. But other than that they work great.
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2013, 10:42 AM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Another useful example: find posts by a certain poster in really long threads:

site:boards.straightdope.com "Find all posts by Dave Hartwick" intitle:"stupid gun news"
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2014, 11:09 PM
Little_Pig Little_Pig is offline
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Maybe I missed something in the description on Searches, so here's my question. There is a thread named a_big_thread. The thread runs for over 60+ pages. I want to search for all occurrences of "this_string" in a_big_thread. How would I construct such a search?

Thank you.
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2014, 04:47 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Is there a way to order by date? The information is there (date, post count, number of authors), but I can't seem to find any way to sort the results.

Anything change since Monty asked back in 2012?
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  #10  
Old 07-25-2014, 09:39 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Anybody know how to Google search for all threads started by a particular author? It would also be useful to order it by date as Rhythmdvl previously asked about.
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  #11  
Old 10-01-2014, 03:45 AM
alterego alterego is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
Is there a way to order by date? The information is there (date, post count, number of authors), but I can't seem to find any way to sort the results.

Anything change since Monty asked back in 2012?
I don't see a way to do this sorry.
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2014, 03:49 AM
alterego alterego is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revtim View Post
Anybody know how to Google search for all threads started by a particular author? It would also be useful to order it by date as Rhythmdvl previously asked about.
You can do this with the forum search engine by going to the user profile, clicking statistics and then "Find all posts by *".
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2014, 01:11 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Sort by date is not impossible. It's just that sometimes it seems to not show some results that it would normally show. I'm not sure what causes this.

First, restrict your results to a time period, by clicking the Search Tools and then clicking the "Any Time" dropdown. (If you choose custom, you can cheat and say something like "After 1998" to search for everything on the board.) On the results screen, click "Sorted by Relevance" and choose "Sorted by Date."

The URL will add the following parameter: &tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:1998,sbd:1

Last edited by BigT; 11-10-2014 at 01:13 AM..
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