[wp-meta] [Making WordPress.org] #7: Search individual plugin/theme forums

Making WordPress.org noreply at wordpress.org
Tue Jul 11 21:42:32 UTC 2017

#7: Search individual plugin/theme forums
 Reporter:  Daedalon        |       Owner:
     Type:  enhancement     |      Status:  new
 Priority:  normal          |   Milestone:
Component:  Support Forums  |  Resolution:
 Keywords:                  |

Comment (by Starbuck):

 I'm rather passionate about this problem. We all get frustrated by
 inability to find information and tons of duplication of requests in the
 forums. The following notes can be used right now to effectively search
 this site. I'm hoping we can vet this content, post it to a FAQ on the
 site, then link to it from all Search boxes. Other solutions like a
 replacement for CSE or a new database would still be welcome, but the
 following requires almost no effort for immediate and effective results.

 The WordPress.org site uses a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) which
 applies custom rules to queries entered in search boxes on this site.
 While the rules filter the content that's found here, entering plain-text
 in the search box is subject to default Google search rules, which doesn't
 help people here to find content that is in specific desired locations.
 Examples of those locations include specific forums, support threads,
 plugin reviews, and the plugin repository. The following tips will help
 you to find the information you are looking for, at least until a
 different search engine is implemented here, or until the default Search
 UI can be replaced with one that removes a visitor's need to know these
 site-specific rules.

 This documentation uses the well-recognized Yoast SEO plugin for examples,
 no recommendation or promotion is implied.

 '''Searching Plugin Support Threads'''

 When you do a Search in the Support area for a plugin, your text is
 augmented with a modification to help narrow the search. So a search for
 'taxonomy' gets modified to this:

 taxonomy intext:"Plugin: Yoast SEO"

 That tells the CSE to narrow the search to only pages that have specific
 text on the page. All Support pages have the text "Plugin: " followed by
 the plugin name.

 At this time that shows 10 pages of hit results. To narrow that down add
 the following to your query:


 Because this site puts all support posts into a permalink with
 "support/topic", specifying that URL restriction eliminates anything else
 the CSE added into the result set. You may note at some point that in the
 text "support/topic", the slash gets converted to a space by Google, so
 either slash or space works there.
 That narrows the results down to 5 pages, all of which have just the
 desired information.

 '''Using Google.com to Search Support Threads'''
 If you want to use Google.com to do your searches, you need to use all of
 those parameters:

 taxonomy intext:"Plugin: Yoast SEO" inurl:"support/topic"

 But you also need to specify the site you want to search:


 The Search results from both the CSE and Google.com often include user
 profiles and non-English results. So add this into the search box with the


 Notice the '-' before the parameter. That removes subdomains which clutter
 the results. (Specifying the www sub-domain does not return results from
 just the root domain.) If you want the results from a specified domain
 and/or language, use site parameters to specify what you do and do not

 So for Google.com, we're looking at this to query for support topics:

 taxonomy site:"wordpress.org" -site:"*.wordpress.org"
 intext:"Plugin: Yoast SEO" inurl:"support/topic"

 That query returns just 2 concise pages.

 '''Finding Reviews'''

 There are two primary views of a post in WordPress, the Archive and the
 Post page. To find archives of Yoast reviews that mention "useful":

 site:wordpress.org -site:"*.wordpress.org"
 "inurl:plugin wordpress-seo reviews"
 -inurl:feed intext:useful

 The site params are consistent with those above. Note the difference here
 between specifying a plugin ID as a part of the InURL value, and the
 plugin Name within the text of the page.

 While the URLs for review archives begin "/support/plugin...", we can
 ignore that detail for now.

 The "-inurl:feed" value says "we do Not want the word 'feed' in the URL".
 Notice the '-' before the parameter.

 Rather than just using "useful", this query uses "intext:useful". That
 eliminates many duplicate hits, and narrows the results down to just a few
 actual posts. When doing your queries, just use the text you need but you
 may find it helpful to also try using the intext filter.

 Googling through the archives can be frustrating. The results contain the
 pages as they were when they were crawled. Since the details in archive
 pages shift, it's frequently going to be inaccurate. The results also just
 get the titles, so if your search term isn't in the title it might not be
 in these results. So we need to see review posts too.

 If you look at the URL for a review post, it's exactly like a support
 post. You can't tell the difference from the URL. The only visual artifact
 on a post page that distinguishes a support post from a review post is a
 bit of text on the page. So we look for a support post as above, but add
 refinement to see just reviews:

 site:"wordpress.org" -site:"*.wordpress.org" inurl:"support/topic"
 intext:"Plugin: Yoast SEO" intext:"In: Reviews" useful

 If you change "In: Reviews" to "In: Support" you'll find that you get
 completely different results where the word "useful" is used in support
 topics. Because of this, it's advisable to use these intext values in
 queries to filter your results for support topics.

 ''' Narrowing Support/Review Posts by Time'''

 We frequently want to narrow down searches to recent posts, as old issues
 may have been fixed and no longer apply to our current challenge. You can
 append a year range to the end of the query, separated by a dash. For
 {{{2016-2017}}} or {{{2017-2017}}}

 Just adding the text "2017" into the query will return anything that has
 the number 2017 in it, which is probably not desired. At Google.com,
 narrowing down to specific date ranges is currently inconsistent with this
 data. Try going to Google's Advanced search to see if it helps you find
 results within desired date ranges.

 '''Non-Plugin Forums'''

 Here's an example to look within a specific support forum:

 site:wordpress.org inurl:"support/topic" intext:"Developing with
 WordPress" permalink slug

 That returns only 2 pages of on-topic search result goodness from the
 desired forum.

 Note that the text on the page is actually "Support » Developing with
 WordPress". For some reason that character cannot be used with intext, and
 leaving it out results in zero results. If intext:"some forum name" turns
 out to be common text, you can try to narrow the search using this
 {{{"Support * Developing with WordPress" permalink slug}}}

 There we see an asterisk being used as a wildcard, so the word "Support"
 must be followed by 'something' which must then be followed by the rest.
 The text in quotes must be found together, and the text outside of quotes
 can be found anywhere on the page. This is basic Google syntax but usage
 of the asterisk is unusual and may be very helpful here.


 The Google CSE on WordPres.org (and all sites that use it) pre-filters
 content, but site-specific nuances require crafting of the queries that
 are ultimately processed. Users typing into a Search box shouldn't need to
 be masters of Google-Fu to find content, so it would be ideal if a plugin
 could be used to serve as a front-end for this syntax. (That's a huge hint
 to aspiring and talented developers.) Until then, while we're all
 frustrated with the defaults we have available now, the tips provided here
 should allow everyone to find answers to questions before posting what may
 be a repeat of repeats of postings of the same topic on this site.

 I can add more content for finding plugins and themes but the mechanisms
 in place are adequate.

 Verification, comments, and suggestions are most welcome. I hope this goes
 somewhere in one form or another. Thanks

Ticket URL: <https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/7#comment:43>
Making WordPress.org <https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/>
Making WordPress.org

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