Solved Erroneous google results from computing.net

September 30, 2011 at 21:51:22
Specs: Windows XP SP 3, P-III 550/384
I was trying to find out what motherboard the OP was using in this thread:

http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

So I did a google search for the one he listed:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...

and got one result--that thread--and then the google option to 'repeat the search with the omitted results included', which I usually do because I find google doesn't do a good job of deciding what's relevent. That comes back with 5,470 hits; apparently all from computing.net with 5,469 of them, as near as I can tell, referring to that original thread but having nothing to do with its topic. Of the ones I checked it was because 'wmta 2074-60002' was listed in the 'explore similar topics' section on those computing.net threads.

Of what value is a 'explore similar topics' section if it's coming up with thousands of worthless links?

It's bad enough that whatever algorithm being used to decide a 'similar' topic is generating nonsense but it's screwing up google results by hiding a possible relevent solution in a needle-in-a-haystack search.

Why don't we discontinue the 'explore similar topics' section? Either that or fix the algorithm.


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✔ Best Answer
October 2, 2011 at 07:05:29
Mike,

I see what you mean. I have fixed it on that page. I thought you were doing the search from the top query box on the site.

As for why the forum is required, its because each ID is unique to both the forum and the forum. For example, a post could have ID 231 on the Windows XP forum as well as the lounge forum. Without the forum, there isn't enough information to find the post.

Dave,

Like I said, its only temporary for new topics for the very brief period of time they appear in that related posts section. This is why I don't view it as a big issue. Topics only appear in that section for, I'd say, at most, a few hours.

Yes, it appears on every page on the site. That part of the sidebar is the same everywhere on the site. The logic behind it is that users might be coming onto the site in various ways (maybe directly onto a page through a google search). They might be interested in seeing the latest postings on the site, just to know that the site is active and if they ask a new question, they'll get a response. Like I said, it is very common for sites of all kinds (blogs, forums, etc) to show their latest articles/posts/etc inside a box unit somewhere on the pages... all pages.

Justin



#1
October 1, 2011 at 01:08:22
Hi DAVE,

on a similar vein, only yesterday I was having difficulty using the search facilities.

a) Site Search - requires forum

b) Message Find - requires forum *AND* message number

I had neither.

I was looking for a thread (not mine) concerning a particular subject, was unsure of the forum, and did not know its number. Although I found it eventually.

Suspect I would have found it instantly, if:-

(a) had an 'all forums' choice

Regards - Mike


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#2
October 1, 2011 at 07:29:49
Hey,

Dave, that isn't because of the explore similar topics. Its because of the "Recent Posts" module. The last five postings on the site appear in the recent posts. This is very useful for both users and search engines to find all the new postings on the site, so I wouldn't take it down. Most sites have some sort of "thread feed" somewhere on a page. I'm not sure it confused google as google knew to redact those similar results. Either way, that would only happen on new threads, and only for a brief period until the thread is pushed out of the "Recent Posts" module.

Mike,

There is an option for ALL in the forum search. Its in the drop down.

Justin


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#3
October 1, 2011 at 23:24:10
Hi Justin

I looked for an ALL option in both search facilities, but either I am getting old (or older) but am still not seeing it. Have W2000 and Firefox.

Site Search - drop down defaults to WXP and goes down to How To's

Msg Find - drop down defaults to WXP and goes down to The Lounge.

Query - with msg find, if you have the msg number, why is the forum required?

Thanks - Mike


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#4
October 2, 2011 at 00:39:29
Are you saying the last five appear on every thread a person may choose to look up--even one several years old?

I'm thinking that must be the case because I randomly picked a google hit from its page 9 results (headed 'administrator password') and got a thread from 2005 in the XP forum--certainly not one of the last five in that forum. And of course it had nothing to do with what I was searching for.

The brief explanation on the google page showed it was finding the September 2011 hardware forum thread on that six year old unrelated one in the XP forum.

What's the benefit of that? If google directs a person to a computing.net page because of their search parameters they're not going to be interested in unrelated topics from five or six years ago. And aren't they going to be pissed off when they find that page has nothing to do with their problem?

Also, the fact that google didn't initially list the 'similar' pages is a hassle. Often I've looked for some old thread I have a vague memory of and had to do the 'repeat the search. . ' option to find it. As a matter of fact, the more similar (read 'helpful') a page may be, the more likely it is for google to decide it's irrelevent.

But that's a google problem and nothing computing.net can do about that. I just wanted to point out you can't rely on what google thinks is relevent to find an answer.

Edit I did some google searches unrelated to new threads and didn't get all the irrelevent returns so maybe it is just a temporary thing with new threads. But still, it's a big problem when researching a new topic.


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#5
October 2, 2011 at 07:05:29
✔ Best Answer
Mike,

I see what you mean. I have fixed it on that page. I thought you were doing the search from the top query box on the site.

As for why the forum is required, its because each ID is unique to both the forum and the forum. For example, a post could have ID 231 on the Windows XP forum as well as the lounge forum. Without the forum, there isn't enough information to find the post.

Dave,

Like I said, its only temporary for new topics for the very brief period of time they appear in that related posts section. This is why I don't view it as a big issue. Topics only appear in that section for, I'd say, at most, a few hours.

Yes, it appears on every page on the site. That part of the sidebar is the same everywhere on the site. The logic behind it is that users might be coming onto the site in various ways (maybe directly onto a page through a google search). They might be interested in seeing the latest postings on the site, just to know that the site is active and if they ask a new question, they'll get a response. Like I said, it is very common for sites of all kinds (blogs, forums, etc) to show their latest articles/posts/etc inside a box unit somewhere on the pages... all pages.

Justin


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#6
October 3, 2011 at 15:42:35
Justin - Thanks and regards - Mike

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