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Frustration trying to search in the forums


kerriganmc
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Maybe this post doesn’t belong here, maybe it’s been answered somewhere but I can’t find it. How do I search for a phrase (e.g. “Tower of barriers”) for the game A1:EftP *without* getting pages of results all about A2 and A3? This has been frustrating me for years. It’s especially confusing when the same characters and locations occur in each (I have every game/trilogy they’ve released for the Mac). I’ve spent days if not weeks of my life confusedly trying to apply tips from the forums to my various Spiderweb games only to ultimately realize that the tip was from the wrong game. It can’t just be that I’m a complete idiot. Not *complete*, anyway. What am I doing wrong? 
 

incidentally, my search for “Tower of barriers” in the Avernum reboot forum gives me lots of results, not one of which seems to mention the Tower of Barriers. That can’t be right. ?? 
 

P.S. Please excuse my language.

Edited by Ess-Eschas
Removing cursing.
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If you search for "Tower of Barriers" (in quotes), you get 13 results on this forum. 1 result is this topic. The other 12 are all about Avernum: Escape from the Pit, and 6 of them are topics specifically and exclusively about the Tower of Barriers. None of the results are from 2 or 3.

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Thanks for responding.
 

Googoogjoob: “This forum” being the Tech Support forum? I’ll admit it hadn’t occurred to me to search here for game tips. If by “this forum” you mean the Avernum reboot forum, didn’t I just say that *I* got pages of results? Apparently *you* got different results than I, but I don’t know how you did it. Is the difference that the search function is case sensitive? I assumed it would not be persnickety about that, but maybe it is? 
 

Randomizer: I have found that googling seems to work much better that searching within the forums. And yet I keep trying. Silly rabbit.

Edited by kerriganmc
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  • Ess-Eschas changed the title to Frustration trying to search in the forums

kerriganmc, please can I encourage you to take a moment to review our forums Guidelines. You can find a link to these Guidelines in the tabs at the top of this page. In particular, can I draw your attention to the following, found under point number 2 in Rules:

 

“Don't use obscenities in any language, including masked or abbreviated obscenities.”

 

I have removed the masked curses from your post. While I appreciate dealing with things that don’t work the way you expect them to can be frustrating, please can I encourage you to try and avoid repeated cursing on these forums, even if it is masked.

 

To help you with your query, let me highlight something that googoogjoob has already mentioned, but that you might have missed. Most search engines deal with multiple-word queries in the same way. If you simply type in a few words into the search field, the search engine will look for pages that include one or more of those words. So, if you type in Tower of Barriers, our search engine will list every page on here that includes the word of. That’s a lot of pages, which explains why you’re getting so many results.

 

So, how do you get around this? It is a general convention that search engines will only look for every word you type in if you enclose them in quotation marks: “. If you search for Tower of Barriers, you’ll get lots of results that might not be very relevant to you. But search for “Tower of Barriers” – note the quotation marks about the phrase you’re interested in – and you only get pages that deal with this exact phrase. As googoogjoob points out, that search on these forums yields only a handful of pages, all of which are from the game you’re interested in.

 

To summarise, if you’re using search engines and are looking for a specific phrase, put quotation marks around it! It will give you better results, and save you a lot of frustration.

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As far as trying to find only A1 results, many topics (though not all) specify the game in the title. The search function doesn't appear to combine quotes and connectors (AND, OR) in a way that I would expect, so you may have to mess around a little to find the right way to do a search on "A1" and "tower of barriers," but it can be done.

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Ess-Eschas: sorry about the cartoon curses. Since they were not thinly-disguised curse words but rather taken from the Sunday comics, it didn’t occur to me that they could be offensive. Rather, I thought they were- well, comic. I stand corrected.
 

Of course, I did enter the phrase in the search in quotes, but thanks anyway. I can’t imagine why my results and yours (and googoogjoob’s) differ. To clarify: in the Avernum Trilogy (2011-2018 remake versions) forum, I enter “Tower of Barriers” in the search field (including quotes) and specify This Forum. I get 934 results. The first is the topic “Avernum 2: does anyone know what the tomes in Elderan’s tower do?” The second is “Avernum 2: Stuck in the gauntlet in Erika’s tower”. Result 3 is “A3: The Importance of Being Earnest”. Four is “Dispel barriers for Anama”. And like that. Does it not recognize the quotation marks for some reason? Is it because I’m on an iPad?

 

 Thanks for trying to help, guys.

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I suspect what might be happening- based on the appearance of the quotation marks in your posts- is that your browser (or the iPad itself, or whatever input method you are using) has "smart quotes" enabled. That is, it automatically implements fancy, contextual, printed-book-like quotation marks (“...) instead of the more common, noncontextual, computer standard "dumb quotes" ("..."). And I think what might be happening is that the forum software is not interpreting the smart quotes as quotation marks, for the purposes of searching.

 

You can try to turn off smart quotes, if that's something that won't bother you otherwise, but an even simpler option is to type "Tower of Barriers" (without quotes, this time) into the search box, and then, from the search page, select the "The phrase "Tower of Barriers"" option from under the text input box, which will automatically put dumb quotes around the search string, and get you the results you need.

 

(On further investigation: the smart quotes in your posts are actually inconsistent- sometimes the end-quote character is actually a generic slanted-quotation-mark character, and sometimes it's two slanted single quotation marks in a row, etc. So that's almost certainly what it is.)

Edited by googoogjoob
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