Searching The Site: How, Why, and Excuses

Frequently asked questions about how to be a successful poster here at
Shawn D.
Posts: 21726
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 12:00 PM
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Searching The Site: How, Why, and Excuses

Post by Shawn D. »

  • "Search the archives!"

    "I get too many results!"

    "I get no results!"

    "It doesn't give me what I'm looking for!"

    "Why can't I search on titles only?"

    "What's the harm in asking?"

The search function is one of the most useful features of the board, but the hows, whys, and wherefores of the use or non-use of it are some of the most contentious issues on the board. Successfully using the search function doesn't require a degree in rocket science or an exercise in melodrama. This FAQ is intended to eliminate the supposed mysteries of why you should use the board, how to use the board, and what excuses don't play well on the board.

Why You Should Use The Search Function
  • Most subjects have been covered before. Doing a proper search will give you results more quickly than posting a question and waiting around for answers.

    By familiarizing yourself with your issue, you will be able to ask educated questions. Folks will appreciate the fact that you did your research and will better understand your issue; as a result, you will get better answers that help solve your issue more quickly and with less frustration for all involved.

    You will not clutter/rile up the board with a question about a subject that has nothing more to say, clarify, or discover about it. For example, you would learn that there is no such thing as an "M528e" and that we already know that there's an E28 in the movie "Splash."

    Board members appreciate it when folks make a good faith effort to learn about and solve an issue before posting questions about it, no matter how simple or complicated the issue is. Expecting other board members to put out an effort to solve your problem for you when you have put out little or no effort on your own behalf is considered rude by many.
How You Should Use The Search Function
  • You must know the basics of what you're searching for; otherwise, it becomes a "You can't get there from here" type of proposition. For example, if you don't know what those five things that hold the wheel to the car are called, you won't get many or any results from trying to search on "wheel holder things" or whatnot. If that's the case, do ask the question "What are those things that hold the wheel on to the car?" Then you will be able to do a search on "lug bolts."

    You must be able to spell and type correctly. No matter what your personal opinion is of the necessity of proper spelling in society or on the internet, it is necessary to spell and type the right way when you do searches. The search function won't correct your misspellings or typos nor will it suggest alternates. This is not an issue of something like "tire" vs. "tyre" -- both are correct, but the former will give you more hits due to this being a US-centric board. However, it would be an issue if one spelled "taillight" as "talelite," or "windshield" as "winshield" or "windsheeld."

    To obtain the narrowest results, you should have the "Search for all terms (SELECT THIS ONE FOR MOST SEARCHES)" button selected (note: this is now the default). Otherwise, if you have the "Search for any terms or use query as entered" button selected, you will get hits for each term entered individually unless you put a plus (+) sign in front of each term. For example, if you want to search for discussions about the Air Flow Meter, you will get hits with each term together if you use "Search for all terms..." or "Search for any terms..." (while using +s), but using the basic "Search for any terms..." would return a multitude of separate and unrelated threads on "air" (including tire air pressure, air filters, air temperature, etc.), "flow" (including fuel flow), and "meter," along with threads containing "air," "flow," and "meter."

    You can use Google to search the site. Put the term "" in with your other search terms/phrases. Note that the "know the basics" and "spell and type correctly" admonitions listed above still apply.

    Be specific when asking for search assistance. If you ask for assistance in searching because you believe you are not getting adequate results, it is imperative that you tell us exactly what you used when searching. That means you must give us the exact words, terms, phrases, and the spellings thereof. That way, we can help you refine your search and/or point out why your search didn't work well.
Excuses for Not Using The Search Function That Do Not Play Well
  • "I get no results." This excuse will be usually be dismissed outright. Unless you have misspelled something, input a word that has never been used on the board, or made your search extremely narrow, this almost never actually occurs. Check your spelling and/or make your search less restrictive.

    "The search doesn't allow you to search on titles only." Sorry, but that's the way the search works, and unless you can find a phpBB workaround and point it out to the Beamters, that's the way it will remain. In any case, many titles are worded so poorly as to make title searches less than useful.

    "This is a forum for people to ask questions." True, but it isn't a place where you should think it's permissible to expect/demand folks to give you an A-to-Z education on everything automotive or even the E28. As said above, expecting other board members to put out an effort to solve your problem for you when you have put out little or no effort on your own behalf is considered rude by many.

    "I didn't know this FAQ was here!" Well, you do now!

    "I don't have time to bother with a search!" Well, then we don't have time to help you!
Follow the principles listed above and you'll get the most out of the search function -- happy searching!

-The Beamters