Unable to search for topics started by any poster with private profile?

Am I missing something? Is it possible to perform a search for threads/topics started by a poster via the search dialogue? If they have a private profile, there’s no way to search via their profile activity.

Assuming you’re on a PC; a phone may look different …

Click the search magnifying glass. In the pop-out click the word “options” to open the advanced search feature. The topmost input box on the advanced search screen is “Posted by”. Type your target’s name there. Click either the magnifying glass at top middle or the [submit] button at the bottom.

“Posted by”, yes, but I was looking for a thread/topic “Started by”.

Where is the setting to make your profile public/private?

Sorry I misread what you had asked. My error.

In addition to my directions above to select the user name you’re targeting there’s an additional step to retrieve just their OPs.

A little farther down the advanced search page there’s a section labeled “Only return topics/posts …” followed by 4 checkboxes and a dropdown. Don’t check any of the boxes and in the dropdown select the “are the very first post” choice.

Viola! Bob’s your uncle.

Assuming on a PC not a phone …

Click your avatar / initial at any page’s upper right, then your username at the upper left of the pop-out. Select the gear “Preferences” submenu. On the resulting page, Select “Interface” from the left margin menu. Near the bottom under the “Other” heading is a checkbox “Hide my public profile and presence features”. Make your selection and click [Save Changes] at the bottom.

Of course you can choose to keep your profile public but just not enter very much info into the optional areas of the “Profile” page. That exposes your statistics and presence but nothing more.

For example my profile is unhidden, but except for my location the rest of the fields are blank. I also found that on the Summary page you can put whatever you want in the “Name” box and that appears below your username at the top of your profile. I put “Semi-retired” as my Name field entry.

Didn’t work. That returns only posts which include the name in the body of the post, not “Started by” the poster.

Hmm. My profile is public. I’d like to experiment some more, but I don’t know how to identify whose profile is public and whose is not.

If you have an example poster who is private I’d be glad to research more. Whether or not that example poster is your quarry today.

You need to put an @ sign in front of the name (or put the name in the ‘posted by’ box).

I just made my profile private if you want to experiment with it. I’ll switch it back tomorrow.

Seems to work:


Brilliant! Now Bob’s my uncle.

Thanks, everyone!

Thanks. Experiments done. Feel free to re-public yourself. At least on my behalf.

The difference between public and private seems to be that private shows your username, whatever you put into the name field, and your membership status, e.g. guest, charter member, etc., and nothing else. While public adds the location and any other fields one has chosen to fill out, plus one’s badges and statistics.


As to search there is zero difference between public and private users as search targets.

In the OP’s defense, I have seen that the advanced search UI is a little flaky. More than once I’ve made inputs that didn’t seem to “take” when in the results.

I’ve figured out the problem …

The various textboxes, checkboxes, etc along the far right are actually just building up the specially formatted search string in the upper left search box that does the actual work.

Said another way, what’s in the main search box is what matters; what’s in the subordinate input gizmos on the far right is not what’s actually searched for.

If you tab from input field to input field the search box is alway updated correctly. But if you mouse from one to another it may not be. As well, if you fill in a field and don’t leave that field by mouse or tab before submitting, then the value isn’t necessarily transferred to the search box and is ignored when the search runs.

Such are the tribulations of writing complex web apps in javascript operating in lots of different browsers across lots of devices. A truly awful tech for us to have based our economy on.