A way to ease strain on the server - more selective searches

Often when I search I will automatically use “search all forums” but this is almost always completely unnecessary. I almost never need to search in The BBQ Pit, ABTMB, or either of the comments sections. So why not change the search function to allow me to search in, say, only General Questions and IMHO, or IMHO, GQ, and GD? It would mean far less strain on the servers, and far fewer unwanted results for me.

Also, if this is done, you should make it slightly more difficult for people to search in all forums, lest they might automatically stick with that method.

I’m sure the mods and admins appreciate the feature, if nothing else.

I remember when the “search all forums” option was removed briefly after having been enabled, and I’m not sure it reduced the strain on the servers. After all, there are quite a few people who do search all forums, and when they searched for anything (say, during vanity searches) they wound up performing a half dozen searches, one for each forum. So instead of one search, they did six.

I think Muad’Dib is talking about changing the “search” function so that you could check off multiple forums in a single search. This way, if you couldn’t remember if you had seen a subject in, say, IMHO or MPSIMS, you could check a box next to those two forums, and the search function would search only those forums, ignoring the others and maybe saving time. I like it-not sure if this is currently an option available with this version of vBulletin, though.

So I figured. I think that’d be neat.

When I search I usually search the entire board or a single forum, though, so I couldn’t in good conscience support a change I’d seldom use.

I’m pretty sure that those six smaller searches would add up to the same server load (not greater) as one all-encompassing search, plus allowing for breathing space for the server to do other things in between searches. And if a person can eliminate any fora at all, then the total searchage would shrink.

Muad’Dib, as it stands right now, you can already do that, just using two or three separate searches. Just go back to the search form and change the forum in the dropdown box. You can’t do it all at once, but it’s still not exactly difficult.

I wondered about that, Chronos. In my head I (probably incorrectly) equated time spent searching with strain on server, so therefore the less time spent searching, the better. Which is why I assumed that one big, over-with-quickly search is better than six smaller searches.

I’ve thought for some time the SDMB would benefit from a “search server” with replicated data. Possibly a 30-second to 5-minute delay, but most users could hit the slave server first and prevent a lot of the lag (then switch to the live search for more recent data). Additionally, I recommend limiting – sever-side – the numbers of pages that can be opened concurrently by one user.

Finally, how 'bout this? Instead of the “thank you for posting message,” why not a rotating ad for Straight Dope stuff? On the slow days, it sure would make me buy another couple of mugs.

I search the forum sometimes with http://www.google.com/

" The word “site” followed by a colon enables you to restrict your search to a specific site. To do this, use the site:sampledomain.com syntax in the Google search box. "

Would it be useful to disable what I’m assuming are little-used features like “subscribing” to a forum, posting notifications (when someone has posted a response) and the buddy list?

But that’s the only proof i have any friends!!1 :frowning:

Yes, it would, along with delaying the display of view numbers under high load, and not summoning past replies on the “Post Reply” page. A “Quick Reply” box might help even more, though it’s prone to produce posts made without reading the thread. But that happens anyway. :smiley:

Check out Genmay for an example of an unhacked, but optimized high-load forum. Currently, it ranks ninth on the www.big-boards.net listings, with the most posts per week of any vB forum on there.

Wow, I’m totally blind. You do have a quick reply box, it just looks different from the one I’m used to, and I didn’t recognize it as such. :smack:

Incidentally, I understand your reasons for not allowing editing, but in my experience the “edited by **** on ****” message is enough to dispel any questions about changes to a post. It tends not to be an issue, either.

I registed to this forum months ago, and made a few posts, but the server really is too slow for things to be as enjoyable as it seems they could be! :frowning:

Hmmm…based on the way the server lags, I guess it is the searches that kill it. Why not limit the search index to a few months of posts? It’s a trade-off, but perhaps one making.

(Ignore if you’ve already done this.)

<< Incidentally, I understand your reasons for not allowing editing, but in my experience the “edited by **** on ****” message is enough to dispel any questions about changes to a post. It tends not to be an issue, either. >>

Possibly. But the original message is gone, no matter what, and so people would always need to quote the whole thing to be sure that it would be readable in future, etc.

Just a reminder, Moderators and Administrators can edit, so if you commit an egregious error (leaving out a “not”, for instance), we’re happy to edit for you. And we all learn to be more tolerant of spelling and grammar mistakes, which is good in an era when English is a second language for many, many people; but bad in an era when people aren’t taught proper grammar.

I don’t think that Genmay is nearly as big nor as busy as we are. I found a bigboards.net, but I didn’t see any rankings there. And it was popup city.

For comparison purposes, we’ve had 2699 registered people visit in the past 24 hours. That’s not counting unregistered lurkers. I doubt that Genmay gets that many visitors in the same time frame.

Let’s see: SDMB 492 users online (358 members & 134 guests).

Genmay Currently Active Users: 273
There are currently 189 members and 84 guests on the boards.

So our load is almost exactly twice theirs, and I bet that we have many, many more searches going on at any one time. I know we have a LOT of people doing vanity searches.

{Edited to add stats. Lynn}

t’s here, Lynn.

And the SDMB ranks 13th in all boards listed (5th in vB boards) by number of posts, and 70th of all boards listed (51st in vB boards) by number of posters (And I think some of those others may be over-inflated since they might not restrict people to a single username). Y’all have some of the higher average post counts - 49th overall (35th in vB forums). We’re also listed as 29th overall (21st among vB forums) in posts made in the previous week.

So, despite our “terrible servers” it appears to me that people are getting through just fine.

Interesting site, though. Thanks for the URL, e-sheep.

When Genmay raised the logout time for a few hours as a joke, they got 4296 “active” users.


At what time? You must have been checking at night (the vast majority of users are in North America), because we regularly get peak weekday counts in the near 700 range, and the forum rarely slows down. The worst we’ve had was a period where about 1000 extra users (giving a total of ~1600) ended up viewing a single thread, at which point people started getting “Load too high” messages and would need to F5 a few times to get the right page.

Specific stats: http://www.nedstatbasic.net/s?tab=1&link=1&id=2271593 (lower than actual due to image blockers, etc.)

Big-boards.com stats (sorry, thought it was .net :smack: ): Posts last week @ Genmay - 121645. The Straight Dope - 28409.


I wouldn’t be so sure about the load, and certainly not searches. Genmay has no thread subscription or notification capabilities, so the only way I can quickly find replies to my posts is by searching. Of course, that means the search index needs to be pruned every few months, but at least it doesn’t kill the darn server! This seems to be consistent with the troubles experienced by www.hardforum.com, which, for all the administrator’s “it’s a hardware problem” comments, still runs like a dog on their spiffy new server–paid for with user donations, mind you! :smiley:

I don’t know what your configuration is, and I’m no vB or SQL expert, but perhaps it’s worth comparing some of the functionality.

See the edited by line? “Last edited by Lynn Bodoni on 10-16-2003 at 09:01 AM” I got the stats for both boards at about 8:55 AM Central US time.

Here’s a line from an old email: “Actually, not surprised this happened; Jerry told me yesterday the server was really taking a beating. We’ve gone from approximately 850,000 page views a week in November (prior to the new server install) to over 1,300,000 page views a week.” Jerry is our tech, and the email was written on Fri, 21 Feb 2003.

Generally, I don’t keep track of the stats or tech stuff, as it mostly bores me. In fact, I had to do a little digging around to sniff out the stats that I DID post. Oh well.

Out of curiousity, if you don’t mind, what are your peak weekday user counts? Isn’t that displayed on the main page for admins?