Disabling the search engine

[I’ll post this again, cuz it looks like the first one was et.]
I didn’t want to hijack this thread about searching and sorting, so I thought I’d open up a new one.

I’ve read here that one of the big strains on the server is the search engine itself and the inefficient way some people use it.

For what purpose do people use the search engine? And when we’re talking about the “search engine” are we talking only about the search screen itself, or also the “view new posts” link?

I always click on the view new posts link, because I like to look at all of the forums, and to me it seems quicker to do through that link than to go to each forum individually and see what’s on the first page.

Occasionally, I will go to the search screen and search on my name or on an older thread to which I wish to link.

How do the rest of you use the search function?

And for you vB techies, is there a way to limit the way a person can search, i.e. if most people search all forums at once, and that action causes a big strain on the server, could that option be eliminated, forcing people to search only one forum at a time?

Also, would there be any reason to turn off the search engine as a whole? Of course, if doing so meant we couldn’t click “view new posts,” then maybe that’s not such a hot idea, anyway. (Although if that were the case, I’d go to the forum’s main page and see what was new that way.)

I’m just thinking that since use of the search engine seems to be such a strain on the sever, perhaps there are better ways we could utilize it.

And of course, if any of this is technically infeasible or inaccurate, please let me know.


I use it to search for:
myself, all fora, last week,
Rue deDay, same,
Fairy Chat Mom, same,
(regarding the above two, I always enjoy their posts), and
any subject about which I’m considering posting a new thread

I wouldn’t want to lose the “all fora” option. And I try to save my searches for User Name for Sundays, looking back only a week.

There are many ways to customize the search engine. Removing the ability to search all forums at once is a template change (IIRC, I don’t have the sceen open here), as is changing the default length of time back one can search, or adding other lengths of time. While there is a way to get around these, this backdoor can be closed by changing the PHP code. You could also divide it up by User Group too - allow unregistered “Guests” 1 search per every 15 minutes, Membres under 1 month/X posts 1 every 5 minutes, other Members 1 every 2 minutes, Paying Members 1 every 30 seconds, and Mods whenever they want (without the “60 second timeout”). On my Board, Guests are forbidden from Searching (as they are here, I think?), and Moderators have unlimited Search powers.

Note I’m not proposing any of those things at all, or making suggestions. I’m only speaking on what is theoretically possible.

But it’s a matter of code changes, and the SDMB Staff, quite rightfully so, do not wish to do code changes on the current Board. We need to support that wish, as I can tell you doing updates when you’ve applied numerous hacks is a pain in the ass. And since I imagine jdavis costs at least $500 a day internally to the Reader, expensive too.

I will say this, at the risk of sounding like I’m digging into things - I recently did a large memory upgrade on my machine, in addition to optimizing the PHP and the MySQL memory settings to correspond with it. On Searches, IP address lookups, and most all Admin functions, I saw speed increases of as much as 50 times what was there before. That is, doing an IP address search used to take 2-3 minutes to do. It now takes about 2-3 seconds.

Now mind you, I was in a seriously RAM-crunched situation, where my free RAM was about the same size as the database - a situation I think the SDMB may be in right now. Now, IIRC the SDMB server has 1 GB of RAM already, but perhaps an extra 3 GB would do wonders.

That having been said, we return to the “how can we help the SDMB server” issue, which the Staff have told us they are continuing to examine intently, so we should not discuss this here and sidetrack this.

Making any sort of actual coding changes is exactly the kind of suggestion I didn’t want to make, since I know that the CR doesn’t want to monkey around with the coding (and rightfully so).

I am curious to know, however, if the “view new posts” link is as bad or worse than actually going to the Search screen and entering a search string.

I guess the bottom line for me is: Is there a way that the adminstrators can alter the search engine that will relieve some of the strain that the search engine has on the server without needing to do any actual coding?

Anthracite, you said:

Do you mean posts or searches? Just wanted to be sure.

I meant Searches, but I can do either.

The admins here have, in the past, removed the “Search All Fora” option, so that at least is within the limits of what they can/will do. I suspect that that change was undone when we upgraded, and just hasn’t been re-implemented. There were workarounds (which I will not post here), and it may be that patching those workarounds would have required more extensive changes, but I don’t think that the workarounds were very widely used.