Search suggestion: default "find posts from" change

The search feature has been slow lately, which had me thinking about this.

The majority of searches conducted on the board, I’m guessing, are looking for the most recent threads. And yet, as it’s currently set up, by default, it’ll search the entire SDMB database.

For example, I’ll frequently search by posts made by me to keep up with threads I’m involved in. If I remember, I’ll change the “find posts from” dropdown to be from the last month. But often I forget, and just hit search. And so it searches years of history, up to 750 results before it stops - when really I was only interested enough in the last week or so. And so my search used far more CPU power and did more work than was necesary.

As a user, I can fix that by specifying my “find posts from” time, and I do sometimes, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who either don’t bother to do that, or like me, don’t remember to do that, and hence probably the vast majority of the CPU time associated with board searching is being used to find results that people aren’t actually using. Most people probably don’t use any search results past the first page, even though the system won’t stop until it hits 30 pages of results (or finishes searching the entire post database).

So, my suggestion is this: change the default “find post dates” to some more limited value than “any date”. I’m not sure if a month, or 3 months, or what, is ideal. This will take care of the majority of searches without wasting a lot of CPU time, therefore speeding up searches for everyone.

Users will still have the ability to search all posts throughout SDMB history - they’ll just have to change the “find post date” dropdown from its default back to “all posts” - this way, the people who still want to make use of the long, thorough searches still can. Essentially they’ll have to manually opt in for a more cpu-intensive search, rather than the current system of simply not opting out of it. The process of a long search will be deliberate, rather than oblivious.

Yeah, the search engine on the board needs some tweaking.

I’ll see what I can do.

Given the recent problems - and the fact that it relates to performance demands (that’s the explanation of the 5 minute limit) I wanted to bring this point back up.

I feel that it could substantially reduce the hardware demands for performing searches, should be very easy to implement, and doesn’t remove any features of the board. I don’t really see any negatives.

You can reset your fields. I keep mine at “last week,” and tweak it up or down more specifically when I remember.

You can save your defaults - I have mine set to 2 weeks IIRC. Making something similar a global default sounds like a good idea.

You can also remove the “Search All Open Forums” option so people have to choose which forums in particular they want to search in. Users can still search everything if they wish, they just have to hold CTRL and click each forum.

You can also use thread subscriptions rather than searching for your posts to keep track of threads. Then there won’t be a search at all. Not that your idea doesn’t have merit, but for the specific example you gave, you’d be better to not use the search function.

(with similarly arcane suggestions from Quartz,Slacker and 1920’s)

That’s really nice for the few conscientious Dopers who happen to read this thread. Changing the universal default would be way more useful, and I figure overall easier.

I have changed the default search from “search by any date” which means from the very beginning of time here, to 180 days, which is 6 months.

Perhaps this will make less of a burden on the hamsters. Let’s see what happens.

Cool. You may want to make an announcement so that people don’t get confused if they don’t notice it and their searches don’t turn up old threads they were expecting.

Edit: I notice “any date” is at the top of the search options rather than the bottom under one year. Has it always been that way?

Today, the default appears to be set at “Past 6 months”. I normally have mine set at a week. Unfortunately, saving my search preferences doesn’t do anything; it’s still set at 6 months. Another bug, I guess.