Lack of Advanced Forum Search is Crippling for Max Development

Dec 15, 2013 at 8:07am

Lack of Advanced Forum Search is Crippling for Max Development

I’ve been working on numerous Max and Jitter development projects recently, and I’ve found it absolutely maddening to not be able to search the Dev forum when I (frequently) come across issues often caused by the not particularly comprehensive documentation of the Max (and especially Jitter) SDKs.

I’ve very rarely had a problem I could not solve by searching the Dev forums, but it is impossible currently to wade through the masses of results from every forum for development-specific posts.

This is a really serious problem. Cycling 74 have a massive mine of useful information available in this forum but it’s currently impossible to access.

I have raised this issue twice before (http://cycling74.com/forums/topic/new-forums-advanced-search-missing-again/#post-249096) but even the Google workaround isn’t functioning now.

#275769
Dec 15, 2013 at 6:08pm

I agree so SO much. This forum is a joke and has been for quite some time. It seems to receive constant infuriating tweaking but there is never a look in for essential features such as advanced search or pming. I’ve given up searching and accept the loss.

#275815
Dec 16, 2013 at 5:54am

I’ve been using Google with the site: specifier for so long to search the forum that I’ve forgotten it had a built-in search function.

Yes, it would be nice for the forum to have a smarter search function. But does the work-around buy you anything?

#275853
Dec 16, 2013 at 6:32am

What’s frustrating is when a technology swap removes things you are used to. In the past i had the ability to mark all messages read, a better search engine, i was able to sent private messages to users. At the same time i don’t use at all the new stuff. The result is that i’m reading only the dev forum now. That’s surely not due only to the behavior of that forum. But this new style is an image of what the Max/MSP community is going to be. And that makes some people (me) upset ;-)

#275860
Dec 17, 2013 at 7:33am

Wow I’m amazed… and please enlighten me, do I understand correctly that currently there’s no way to search through the forums specifically? Not even talking about advanced searches is it currently even impossible to search for two keywords in for instance the ‘dev’ forum? Or am i missing something embarrassingly obvious?

#276003
Dec 18, 2013 at 6:29am

@Peter – I agree – i use google that way and find it works great!

#276096
Dec 18, 2013 at 6:49am

Yes, Google is the way to go – not only for search features but for speed. The lag on this forum is significant… and often affects my choice to visit, let alone search. It’s also quite ironic that a community-driven project like Max has a forum that doesn’t allow members to message each other. It’s been half a year now.

#276098
Dec 18, 2013 at 10:43am

Agreed. Private messages were a great way to not have to communicate your email address to the world. They also provided useful ways of pointing things out privately and politely.

#276141
Dec 18, 2013 at 4:34pm

Hi everyone – I hear you, and I apologize for features you wish were here but aren’t. re: advanced forum search, and private messaging, we’re considering our options. re: the speed of the forum, I hope you find it significantly faster lately. We’ve been able to shave more than 90% off of the average response time.

Ben

#276169
Dec 18, 2013 at 6:03pm

“significantly faster”, yes, but it’s still quite slow and significantly slower than before before – when there was private messaging

#276178
Dec 19, 2013 at 12:32am

re: speed and PMs (and search)

I never understood, or was even told, why the move to the new host happened. It just did. Fixing non-broken things? The site looks good, but handles like a drunk cow. There has since been a litany of problems with posting, uploading and browsing. I miss private messaging, and the search list hierarchy is a bad joke. Visiting this site has become a frustration, marred by intermittent behaviour and reduced functionality. Not good.

2c

#276194
Dec 19, 2013 at 2:31am

No more need to search boys! Just be connected to the flow. Everything smells like Twitter nowadays ;-)

#276197
Dec 19, 2013 at 3:08am

OT

I heard an informed opinion yesterday that relegates Twitter/FB/G+/LinkedIn etc to the realm of commercial MMOGs: contribute your personal data then join the fun.

Not for me, I’m afraid (sic)

Brendan

#276198
Dec 19, 2013 at 4:34am

@noob_meister – I’m sorry for your frustration. We definitely want the forum to be a good experience for everyone, so I appreciate all candid feedback.

In fact there were several things fixed by our upgrade to the latest version of this forum software, but they were mostly “invisible” administrative or back-end improvements. There were also regressions due to plugin incompatibility – eg, private messaging, advanced search. We’re working to patch these up now.

#276202
Dec 19, 2013 at 4:41am

@Ben

I love my old Mitsubishi Carisma, but it’s a bucket!

And now I’m paranoid about being resistant to change……..aaaaaargh, no, please don’t let me morph into a Tory. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

#276203
Dec 20, 2013 at 11:33am

I remain convinced that the purpose of the slowdown was to stop people like me who complain a lot -:)

More seriously (I hope!), it is certainly the case that I have significantly reduced my participation in these forums, answering other peoples’ questions when I could less often than I used to, because it took too long to go through them.

These days I’m just keeping an eye out using an RSS feed but rarely actually visit.

#276318
Jan 2, 2014 at 2:49pm

I feel like there was a preview feature the last time I posted too. For me that was very important as I find typesetting and layout an important part of communication.

Also, I don’t think it was like this before, but it feels very strange entering a post in a monospace font when that is not how the posts are shown. I guess that may be good for when you put code into your post? /shrug

#277198
Jan 2, 2014 at 6:37pm

My participation in the forum has also reduced significantly. It is by far the slowet forum I use, it feels like it’s constantly stalling. Rather than feeling light and easy to use – it feels clunky and slow… This plus missing functionality. I used to check in a couple times a day – now it’s a couple of times a month. This is not all down to the site but a lot of it is.

Search is broken in every forum I use so cycling is not alone there… It’s still frustrating but I guess Google will always be better.

#277222
Jan 2, 2014 at 11:39pm

To be fair, the forum runs faster those days (thanks Ben), isn’t it?

#277242
Jan 3, 2014 at 2:35am

forum speed is like a thunderflash now

#277256
Jan 3, 2014 at 4:43am

I wouldn’t say that but it definitely sped up.

#277262
Jan 4, 2014 at 8:32am

It’s faster on the laptop but on my I do most browsing on the iPad and it takes 10 to 15 secs to open a thread. My contributions are usually not great anyways so maybe it’s for the best :)

#277387
Mar 18, 2014 at 2:25pm

+1

Not being able to search within specific forums is ridiculous. The data (the posts and threads) are obviously already tagged as belonging to one forum or another. So to be able to search by forum, the only thing missing is one extra webform field (forum selector), and a couple lines of backend code.

I’m not so concerned with the loss of private messaging. There are so many ways to reach people these days without giving out an email address.

Also, at what point was forum search removed entirely? Seems that the only search option offered now is the site-wide search box, at the top of the page – do I have that right? And then after search results are served back to you, you have to narrow it down by these categories?

All results
Forums
Did You Know?
Toolbox
Wiki
Projects
Tutorials

#284253
Mar 18, 2014 at 3:01pm

i would add that i am a bit concerned by the absence of private messaging :S not everybody on the forum has linked a place where s/he is easily reacheable, and several times i wished i could contact the author of an unactive thread and couldn’t/tried to bump it randomly, which is not that efficient.

#284255
Mar 18, 2014 at 3:14pm

+1 Vichug

#284256
Apr 2, 2014 at 11:58am

Vichug – I see your point about the virtues of private messaging. Although I’d be fine with just an anonymized email forwarding service (like what Craigslist does), rather than Cycling actually hosting a PM inbox for each user. Any PM system would need a notifications system (by email) to alert users that they had a new message anyways… so just cut out the middle man, and let users receive forwarded messages, while keeping their actual email addresses private.

#285513
Apr 2, 2014 at 1:21pm

well there was such a system before (how long ago ? i actually can’t remember…)… no email alert, i’ll grant you that, but it was already something useful.

#285521
Apr 3, 2014 at 12:34am

re: search
seriously now, i think ‘crippling’ is a very melodramatic/hyperbolic word and maybe this is one of those 1st world probs where people start to feel more entitled and high-maintenance no matter what they get.

if you are smart enough to be engaged on the ‘dev’ forums then you should be smart enough to enter the google search tags to get your desired search specifically for the dev forums.

say i want things related on the dev forums to ‘nicolas danet’.. i just google search this:
“site: http://cycling74.com/forums/forum/dev/ nicolas danet”
voila!
(excuse me Nicolas, for using you as an example, you are my favorite person from the dev forums… i think the only time i’ve actually received help on these entire forums which i actually used for something was from you on the dev forums)

For the renewal of all of your senses of humor:

#285544
Apr 3, 2014 at 4:53am

I took a peek at the underlying code on the Cycling74 search results page. I see a lot of references to http://www.google.com/cse/ which suggests that the forum search feature is using google for its search. Perhaps a search lag is due to the pre or post search result rendering cuz everyone’s mama knows Google searches the world in 0.0000000001 seconds.

If this is true…and anyone gets different/better results using the search at google.com…I think it would be beneficial for Cycling74 to have exact query examples so they can better their integration of google into the forums.

#285562
Apr 3, 2014 at 11:44am

Dear Raja_The_Resident_Asswipe,

While “crippling” may be an overstatement, that was just the particular word choice of the OP. Those posting here in support of the general sentiment nonetheless would agree, I suspect, that the current search capabilities are at least “seriously hindering” access for forum information.

I strongly disagree that this is a case of:

this is one of those 1st world probs where people start to feel more entitled and high-maintenance no matter what they get.

Here is why:

1. The Cycling ’74 forums used to have decent search functionality. That was taken away. We’re not asking for the moon and stars here. We’re asking for a decent “advanced search” panel… you know, a level of technology available on even the crappiest of phpBB installs for the last ten years or more.

2. Using the Google search is inconvenient. You have to memorize, or poke around to find, the URL string to include in the site: part of your query. I use the site: restrictor all the time when doing Google searches, but I don’t memorize all the URL strings for all the subforums on dozens of websites I may need to search. Having to use a Google “workaround” as your primary search method violates the “Don’t Make Me Think” principle of easy, intuitive access to information.

3. The Google search results returned are incomplete. Go ahead, try it. I just tried searching for the phrase “a very melodramatic/hyperbolic word”, and the search engine returns “No Results“. Hmmm, funny about that, because I clearly see that phrase two posts up from this one.

So no, this isn’t a case of feeling “more entitled no matter what we get”. This is a case of good shit being replaced with bad shit, and some of us want the good shit back. OK?

Leigh

#285610
Apr 3, 2014 at 2:54pm

Yes. I understand. No worries, I will behave :)

But I figure it’s worth it to offer a different perspective:
At no point when I bought a product from Cycling74, did I see included, a statement of guarantee that these forums would be maintained exactly as is, as part of the conditions of sale for any of their products.
Therefore, I do not see these forums as anything but a bonus effort made by cycling74.
I try to remember that.

(but they said they’re working on all these issues anyways so that’s good, too ;D)

#285618
Apr 4, 2014 at 1:26am

ye, all in all it’s quite fair. But you have to acknowledge that it’s frustrating to have all that previous cool features that got removed for what seemed like cosmetic changes – even though they have stated it was not cosmetic, database migration and all ; but from the average user point of view it’s quite not obvious to see what improvement it brought…

#285634
Apr 4, 2014 at 1:45am

also, over the last couple of weeks the forum has slowed down considerably again. I’m often waiting 3-4s for a page change. This did seem to improve for a while, but now…

#285636
Apr 4, 2014 at 1:04pm

HAHAHA: i totally missed this the 1st time: “violates the “Don’t Make Me Think” principle”

so i just have to add: (though it may not seem like it on these forums, hehhehehe >:D) my parents raised me to have better principles than to say “don’t make me think” or to whine about something which is completely a bonus gift in the first place.

/as-an-aside: wait… vichug is actually quite polite… so i should address him separately… re: “but from the average user point of view it’s quite not obvious to see what improvement it brought…”
the average user has nothing to do with the development of this site(we develop using max/msp, we don’t develop this site) so the average user of this site is not qualified in any way to judge it(even if you are a web-developer by profession).
i did contract work for cycling74 moving the old articles to this new website design(this was the last job i did for them before i did my 180degree turn into becoming the most obnoxious asswipe you all have ever seen). i do have some idea the great deal of effort it takes to keep this site up.
despite the fact that i feel no need to hold any reverance or loyalty to cycling74(back when i was completely polite and helpful, it was not fun getting ignored for the next contract by some nonchalant yuppie like david zicarelli… i can’t help it(and see nothing wrong with it) if i got tired of being the throw-away tolken for an all-white company:

http://cycling74.com/company/people/

)…
i still think fair is fair… and none of you are being fair because you’ve been given a free bonus gift with these forums, and when that gift is slightly less than what you’re used to, you forget that it was a gift in the first place.
/end-of-as-an-aside

it’s ignorant to think it’s just that easy to keep a company as small as cycling74 and keep all these BONUS features like this forum 100% in tact the way users like it for all time, without raising the price of max/msp significantly or experimenting with new designs and efforts.

Ben replied already, let this thread sink. Or don’t. But just realize, you’re the ones who look worse off for it. Cycling74 forums are moving along fine and will continue to do so with or without your(or my ;D) participation.
Please feel free to leave and stay away at any time. No one will be missed. Ever. Because new people keep verifying the awesomeness of max/msp/jitter in general(shit, i’m back again on these forums because they came up with gen~… my god, what a gloriously beautiful creation… there’s no stopping cycling74 :D even if they are an all-white company consisting solely of out-of-touch yuppies >:D)

Complete tangent: i give $60 a month to help one child in the Gambia and one child in India through ChildFundInternational(my parents gave to them, and even visited their children once, to see the actual benefit… this is why i am also able to trust my contributions is helping… i say that because people in the 1st world think charity is stupid and don’t trust it, but you can rest assured, i trust it in an actual smart way). Even when i’m unemployed. My charitable contributions every year amount to about $2000(i also give to the dalai lama). If any of you here are ever thinking about complaining about something related to technology, you should first consider giving some of your money to charity… it might just help you with your perspective on what you are actually entitled to in this life.

#285690
Apr 4, 2014 at 1:19pm

wtf???

#285692
Apr 4, 2014 at 1:56pm

(That Raja, he’s just a self-righteous asswipe.)

+1 for bringing back PMs!

>;D

#285702
Apr 4, 2014 at 2:04pm

now you’re alter ego is calling yourself an asswipe…

damn, that’s too freaky, even for a Friday night ;)

#285703
Apr 4, 2014 at 2:04pm

but yes, PMs, please!

#285704
Apr 4, 2014 at 3:54pm

Dear Raja_The_Resident_Asswipe,

Don’t Make Me Think is a “classic” (if such a term can be applied to such a young field) book about web usability, written by Steve Krug, originally published in 2000. It advocates the position that a “web site should let users accomplish their intended tasks as easily and directly as possible”. This is what I was referencing in my post above.

Your ad hominem comments about my parents and the way I was raised do nothing to address the question of why the forum search capabilities here are so poor. It is interesting to hear that you have a personal history with Cycling ’74 – though I must say it is more interesting still that, although you apparently have an axe to grind (for all I know, entirely justified) with them on many fronts, you are still taking it upon yourself to defend their website design.

I strongly disagree with your assertion that “the average user of this site is not qualified in any way to judge it”. If the site isn’t working well for the average user, then who is it working well for?

Regardless of how much money I give to charity, I am still going to think it is a poor choice to not offer a forum search tool when you are hosting a forum. End of story. I am not saying that Cycling ’74 owes me a forum. But I continue to be baffled as to why, since they *are* hosting a forum, they have gotten rid of a forum search tool.

Leigh

#285714
Apr 4, 2014 at 5:25pm

hmmm the search and speed of forum are somehow back to normal for me (or have i gotten used to it ?…)
Raja, still a double-edge pleasure to read from you ;)

#285716
Apr 4, 2014 at 5:32pm

“This is what I was referencing in my post above.”

i know i know. but… after working for youtube, moderating flagged-videos, watching beheadings, random-skinhead-beatings, child-rape, terrorist-IED-explosions, all posted in pride… doing this for 75 hours a week for a year… i now appreciate most of all of(edit: by ‘appreciate’ i mean, ‘respect in a begrudging way’), the power of narcissism on the internet, and therefore do not subscribe to any general statements about how websites ‘should’ be because i keep hope for change in how they already are(which never goes beyond a very low-common-denominator of ‘good’ in my opinion given these guidelines so far anyways).
yet… i suppose since you’ve been patient enough to explain, i will go with your own belief-system this once.

“Your ad hominem comments”

my bad. (i’s actually just thinking of how strict my parents were :p)
(also, i call all of us who live or work based in california ‘yuppies’(due to its GDP outranking many countries in the world) but that might not be clear… i’d refer to myself that way, too… in an all around self-deprecating way… so i apologize for that word, too…)

“you are still taking it upon yourself to defend their website design”

at least you caught the hypocrisy in myself i was trying to convey :D
(if i’m going to defend their site, i wanted to make it clear how conflicting it is to do so :D)
i don’t actually have an axe to grind. i like to celebrate how stupid i was for dreaming of working for cycling74(grunt work is humbling for life… i’m now ok with the fact that i’m only skilled enough to be an admin style worker-drone who is free to dream of being a better and better musician to serve as an example of someone else’s product and nothing more…).

thanks for keeping calm and letting me examine the darkness in myself. your patient tone is the reason i take everything i said back and apologize for letting hyperbole get the best of me. hyperbole can be infectious :)

“it is a poor choice to not offer a forum search tool when you are hosting a forum”

true enough. i leave you all alone now :)

/EgoAsunder

#285717
Apr 4, 2014 at 5:46pm

“now you’re alter ego is calling yourself an asswipe…”

(ha! shit, i didn’t think anyone paid that much attention :p)

he’s still an asswipe :D

#285719

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