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:

[li]**SDMB: **[/li][LIST]

[li]ATMB: +“About This Message Board”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"About This Message Board"[/li][/ul]

[li]CCC: +“Comments on Cecil’s Columns”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"Comments on Cecil’s Columns"[/li][/ul]

[li]CSR: +“Comments on Staff Reports”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"Comments on Staff Reports"[/li][/ul]

[li]**GQ: ** +“General Questions”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"General Questions"[/li][/ul]

[li]**GD: ** +“Great Debates”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"Great Debates"[/li][/ul]

[li]**CS: ** +“Cafe Society”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"Cafe Society"[/li][/ul]

[li]**TGR: ** +“The Game Room”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"The Game Room"[/li][/ul]

[li]**IMHO: ** +“In My Humble Opinion”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"In My Humble Opinion"[/li][/ul]

[li]**MPSIMS: ** +“Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share"[/li][/ul]

[li]**The Pit: ** +“The BBQ Pit”[/li][ul]
[li] %2B"The BBQ Pit"[/li][/ul]

**Searching within active threads

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

[li]Past 24 hours:**&tbs=qdr:d**[/li][li]Past week:**&tbs=qdr:w**[/li][li]Past month:**&tbs=qdr:m**[/li][li]Past year:**&tbs=qdr:y**[/li][/ul]
**Searching within a date range using daterange

**Google has a [FONT=Courier New]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:

[li]1999 March 09 - 2000 March 09: daterange:2451247-2451613[/li][li]2000 March 09 - 2001 March 09: daterange:2451613-2451978[/li][li]2001 March 09 - 2002 March 09: daterange:2451978-2452343[/li][li]2002 March 09 - 2003 March 09: daterange:2452343-2452708[/li][li]2003 March 09 - 2004 March 09: daterange:2452708-2453074[/li][li]2004 March 09 - 2005 March 09: daterange:2453074-2453439[/li][li]2005 March 09 - 2006 March 09: daterange:2453439-2453804[/li][li]2006 March 09 - 2007 March daterange:2453804-2454169[/li][li]2007 March 09 - 2008 March daterange:2454169-2454535[/li][li]2008 March 09 - 2009 March daterange:2454535-2454900[/li][li]2009 March 09 - 2010 March daterange:2454900-2455265[/li][li]2010 March 09 - 2011 March 10: daterange:2455265-2455630[/li][/ul]
Searching within thread titles using intitle**

**There is also an allintitle field but you will probably find intitle sufficient:

[li]site:boards.straightdope.comintitle:“perfect master”[/li][LIST]
[li] intitle:“perfect master”[/li][/ul]

**Searching for posts written by a particular user

[SIZE=2]Google can see the “Find all posts by …” text that is visible after you click on the username associated with a post:[/SIZE]
[li] “Find all posts by Cecil Adams”[/li][LIST]
[li] “Find all posts by Cecil Adams”[/li][/ul]

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.

[li] inanchor:“Cecil Adams”[/li][LIST]
[li] inanchor:“Cecil Adams”[/li][/ul]

Fuzzier still is a site search for the username.

[li] “Cecil Adams”[/li][LIST]
[li] “Cecil Adams”[/li][/ul]

** Example searches

**Now that we’ve got all the pieces they are easy to put together. Here are some examples.

[li]Find all posts that mention decapitation during the french revolution[/li][LIST]
[li] decapitation “french revolution”[/li][/ul]

[li]Find all posts that mention decapitation in their title and french revolution anywhere else[/li][ul]
[li] “french revolution” intitle:decapitation[/li][/ul]

[li]Find all posts written during the french revolution that mention decapitation. Hmm, I wonder why there aren’t any results…:smack:[/li][ul]
[li] decapitation daterange:2374479-2378131[/li][/ul]

[li]Find all posts written between 2008-2009 that mention Obama[/li][ul]
[li] obama daterange:2454466-2454832[/li][/ul]

[li]Find all posts by QED in the last year that occur in threads which mention gas. First you’ll have to find all posts by QED that occur in threads which mention gas and then add the [FONT=Courier New]&tbs=qdr:y url parameter. Note that its not possible to find all posts by QED that mention gas.[/li][/FONT]
[li] “Find all posts by QED” gas[/li][li] “Find all posts by QED” gas&tbs=qdr:y[/li][/ul]

[li]SDMB vocabulary special. Note Google’s 32 word query limit.[/li][ul]
[li] “Perfect Master”|“Gaudere’s Law”|felching|“The Grapist”|“Hi, Opal”|“Invisible Pink Unicorn”|“Junior Modding”|MMP|“1920s Style Death Ray”|“Penis ensues”|RO|Threadshitting|“When come back bring pie”[/li][/ul]

[li]SDMB vocab with fuzzy TubaDiva matching[/li][ul]
[li] inanchor:TubaDiva “Perfect Master”|“Gaudere’s Law”|felching|“The Grapist”|“Hi, Opal”|“Invisible Pink Unicorn”|“Junior Modding”|MMP|“1920s Style Death Ray”|“Penis ensues”|RO|Threadshitting|“When come back bring pie”[/li][/ul]

[li]Conversations involving Charter Members but not Guests. elitism++[/li][ul]
[li] -Guest +“Charter Member”[/li][/ul]

[li]Moderator activity in the last day[/li][ul]
[li] Moderator[/li][li] Moderator&tbs=qdr:d[/li][/ul]

[li]In Memoriam. This query demonstrates using dashes to achieve quotes within quotes.[/li][ul]
[li] Find-all-posts-written-by-(“Dirty Devil”|“poohpah chalupa”|Mimi|Persephone|Padeye|FixedBack|Toymaker|Ayesha|barracuda|indecisive1|Askia|Palikia|“David Simmons”|Reeder|RickQ|BarnOwl)[/li][/ul]

[li]All NSFW General Questions[/li][ul]
[li] NSFW +“General Questions”[/li][/ul]

[li]Conversations involving Guests but not Charter Members or Members. Also filter out the static html archives. elitism–[/li][ul]
[li] guest -“Charter Member” -Member -“View Full Version”[/li][/ul]

[li]A strange collection of threads with no authors[/li][ul]
[li] guest -“Find all posts by” -“View Full Version”[/li][/ul]


And the winner for post of the year goes to…


Of the year? Could you be any more insulting? I’m ready to give him the decade for that. Can you imagine how much work went into posting that? And for what? For other people, not just himself or kudos or an A rating in The Pit.

Truly a great post that should be stickied.

I’m putting it up as a Sticky for now… Great work, alterego

Thanks guys! I used exactly one breakfast’s worth of energy to write this. Eating when I started, starving when I finished… however long that takes :slight_smile:

It would be nice if we could have one of the Google Site Search mods for vBulletin (example) and this linked to from there as a custom help doc and/or a sticky. This has the benefit of automatically filling in the ‘’ portion of the queries. We’ll see what TPTB decide.

That “Find all posts” thing was brilliant. That’s the one thing I hadn’t figured out how to do (that I have needed in the past).

Wow. Just … wow.

And thanks.

Wow and thanks.


And thanks.


Absolutely. Thank you, alterego!

Now who’s going to code and host a web page that’ll allow easy use of all the above? :smiley:

Moderator note: I have incorporated the OP into the FAQ - Technical Issues, and it’s found here:

I’m un-sticking this thread, so it will fall to the bottom over time, although discussion is certainly still possible.