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Super Search is a great tool and I'm thankful for the influence of the steroids.

Recent discussions have suggested a few ideas that might help make it even more powerful:

  • Add the ability to search within a range of Reputation.

    This would help zero in on quality posts when doing searches for generalities. For example, a Super Search for nodes containing the words "cgi security" returns 100 nodes. It would be nice to be able to limit the search to nodes with Reputations higher than a certain value.

    I envison this as two text boxes: MinRep and MaxRep.

    MinRep would help you ignore posts that were voted down or weren't helpful enough to gain a decent reputation. It's not perfect, but it would help remove some of the clutter from general queries that might return more than the current limit (100 results).

    MaxRep would help you locate nodes that were formerly Best Nodes of All Time, but have been overshadowed by more recent postings.

    For example, Ovid has offered some excellent advice (notably Before You Post ... and Consider Your Audience). These quickly rose to BNOAT and were later replaced through natural selection. While I was able to find these again (through the Order By drop-down on User Search), it took some digging. Fortunately, I knew who wrote them and remembered the titles to some degree, so it wasn't a lot of time. However, a newer member may not have those advantages.

    I believe adding Reputation criteria to Super Search would help. Note that it's not necessary to display the node's Reputation, just to select on it.

  • Number the search results

    This should be reasonably trivial, simply enclose the current results with <OL> tags.

    Aside: Curiously, the current results aren't printed with enclosing list tags. There is a </UL> after the criteria table (an interesting place), but no opening <UL> tag.

    This seems a cheap way to show how many results were returned.

  • Add a Sort By drop down similar to the one that appears on User Search.

    This would specify the ORDER BY clause of the underlying SQL query (assumption) and would help you zero in on useful nodes more quickly.

    As an example, given that previous query, it would be nice to be able to order the results by Reputation. This would put the most highly regarded hits higher than the lesser remarks.

  • Include the poster's name in the results, much the same way that Newest Nodes does.

    Continuing the example, this would help you find comments by Ovid, tilly, merlyn and other experts more quickly during your searches.

    While not completely an indicator of quality, this would help you when you're trying to find a node that you know was posted by someone, but you can't remember its exact contents or context.

    For example, "Someone posted something interesting that discussed CGI security last week. Where *is* that node?" User Search can help when you remember who posted the node; this would help when you can't.

  • Add a second (or move the current) Search button to the right of the "Words in Text" input area.

    This is strictly an ease-of-use thing. I often search by keywords first, trying to get a sense of what to search for. I'm also a keyboard dinosaur, vaguely resenting the times I have to move my hand from the keyboard to scroll or click.

    Because the Search button is below all of the selection criteria, it's inconvenient to use keyboard-only navigation to start the search.

    Placing it (or a second one) to the right of the Words in Text input strikes, I think, the right balance between flexibility and convenience.

I know this seems like a lot of work and hesitate to take away from our fearless leader's study time, but I think these would help us find what we're looking for more quickly. Also, most of them should be relatively trivial to implement.

Thoughts? Feedback?


In reply to Considering Super Search: the Sequel by footpad

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