Help talk:Searching/Archive 4

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weird false positive finds the word "cluebot" in Preamble to the United States Constitution/text. Examination of that page, including a fair amount of its revision history, doesn't show any occurrences of that word. (talk) 21:11, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

You need to look at the source of the page. If you click the "edit" button you will see it is indeed there as a template parameter. --rainman (talk) 22:40, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. (talk) 09:08, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

phrase search too helpful

I'm looking for occurrences of the phrase "the the", an error that occurs in many articles (ref). But even with the query in double quotes, searching returns a big list of articles containing two "the"'s that are not adjacent. Is there a way to say "treat this query as meaning exactly what it says"? (talk) 01:25, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

It appears to work correctly for me but the displayed text on the search results page is often not the occurrence of "the the". Can you give an example of a page without "the the" or variations like the [[The ...]] in the wiki source? Note that search results are dated and it should be an example with no occurrence in the page version of that date. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:21, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Noo! Where's the search bar that used to be here?

This page was the only one I could use for the old search bar without creating an account. Can we have it re-added just to this page please? (talk) 01:09, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Using the search to directly get to a page

Well, that's fine, but how does one use the search WITHOUT directly getting to a page? The old style had a useful distinction between "Go" and "Search". And something seems to have gone wrong with the guidance at the top of this page. 45ossington (talk) 09:05, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, the guidance at the top of this page seems to answer your question - if you want to force a search, click on the "containing" link at the bottom of the suggestions list that appears.--Kotniski (talk) 09:41, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I see now. Many thanks. I have tried to make it a bit clearer for techno-idiots like myself, but feel free to revert if you think the additions are counter-productive.
45ossington (talk) 11:59, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
The list that drops down from ny search box has no "containing" option. Am I missing something? Using Iceweasel (Firefox) on Debian Linux. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 15:47, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe they've temporarily reverted the code, as the new code had many problems (see various threads at WP:VPT). -- Quiddity (talk) 18:28, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:46, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Knockout drum and gas scrubber

What is the difference between gas scrubber and knockout drum by process and construction wise? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arupukkottai (talkcontribs) 06:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Is it OK

Is it OK to promote "Delay in updating the search index" to level 2? We would like to link to it in a new template here. It doesn't send the right message to link to the section above; I tried this, but it didn't give me the desired result. If I'm forming the link wrong, I'm happy if someone shows me how to link to the level 3 heading, but I thought perhaps I needed a level 2 heading.--SPhilbrickT 22:28, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

There is a different way of doing this, I will sort it ^_^ Captain n00dle\Talk 23:18, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I did it with this edit Captain n00dle\Talk 23:22, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Your "this" link to Help:Searching#Delay in updating the search index is correct and works for me. I have made the same link from the help desk several times, for example at Wikipedia:Help desk/Archives/2010 May 24#Redirect. If your problem is that the section heading is displayed lower in the browser window than you expect then it's probably because it's too near the end of the page and the end is at the bottom of the window. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:20, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Search results from other language Wikipedias

In Special:Search results, hits in sister projects like Wikinews are included in a box on the right. I think we should also include hits from other language Wikipedias, as they may have articles that are missing in the English Wikipedia. Fences&Windows 01:18, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Discussion here, apparently the idea has been languishing on Bugzilla for 5 years. Fences&Windows 19:33, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Prefix search, excluding redirects?

Is there a way to do a Special:PrefixIndex search that excludes the (italicized) redirects? I thought I'd look for improperly named BLPs beginning with "Dr", but they're hard to find because of the volume of redirects. (See the results; all but a dozen on the first page are redirects.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:13, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect return values in dropdown

There is an error in the values returned in the drop down area below the search box. Try typing Nevada C. The entries in the drop down have a left parentheses ( overwriting the C in all of the words after nevada in the drop down box. There are other times I've seen them go a little wierd, but this one is consistent and covers many pages. Note, if you down arrow into the entries, what is displayed in the box that you typed in is correct as what the entries *should* be, but what is in the drop down box says screwy. I'm not sure where to report this. (This occurs in both IE6 and Google Chrome and both logged in and not logged in)Naraht (talk) 21:03, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

mediazilla:24237 has so many duplicates (meaning people report this all the time) that hopefully it will be fixed soon. — AlexSm 21:16, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
OK, so someone has figured it out, only 2 years until it gets fixed, right? 1/2 :)Naraht (talk) 13:01, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect return values in dropdown

There is an error in the values returned in the drop down area below the search box. Try typing Nevada C. The entries in the drop down have a left parentheses ( overwriting the C in all of the words after nevada in the drop down box. There are other times I've seen them go a little wierd, but this one is consistent and covers many pages. Note, if you down arrow into the entries, what is displayed in the box that you typed in is correct as what the entries *should* be, but what is in the drop down box says screwy. I'm not sure where to report this. (This occurs in both IE6 and Google Chrome and both logged in and not logged in)Naraht (talk) 21:03, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

mediazilla:24237 has so many duplicates (meaning people report this all the time) that hopefully it will be fixed soon. — AlexSm 21:16, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
OK, so someone has figured it out, only 2 years until it gets fixed, right? 1/2 :)Naraht (talk) 13:01, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

How can I search for use of ":)" and other emoticons in Wikipedia?

If I search in all namespaces for ":)", I get nothing while I guess some users wrote emoticons such as ":)" in talk pages or on their user pages.

I guess the problem is that the first character has a special use (separating namespace and title page), so how do I escape it? The URL for the query is

Thanks! --phauly (talk) 15:49, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I cross posted this question at Wikipedia:Help_desk/Archives/2010_August_9#How_can_I_search_for_use_of_.22:.29.22_and_other_emoticons_in_Wikipedia.3F and there there are some answers, but nothing that works still. Can you help me, please? Thanks! phauly (talk) 09:18, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Graphical smilies (bright yellow images) are considered harmful. If they start to get used prolifically, grumpy editors such as myself will TfD them, as happened to most of the old templates. See Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2009_December_9#Template:-.29 for an overview. Muttermuttergrumble.
As for searching for ascii smilies, I'm not sure. Even converting to ascii hex didn't work, in google's search or ours. So I did try to help ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:20, 3 September 2010 (UTC)


hola bebechito —Preceding unsigned comment added by Piperobles (talkcontribs) 21:19, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 26 August 2010


please open or unblocked my facebook profile i have seen in the window screen, link appears to be broken (talk) 06:16, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

This is Wikipedia, not facebook. Are you sure Wikipedia can help you?--Commander Keane (talk) 06:33, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

what is my own hpme page URL

'Home Page URL' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Edit summaries should be one of the available options to tick under namespaces

Edit summaries should be one of the available options to tick under "namespaces". This may sound stupid on the surface, but think of all the conversations that have taken place in edit summaries and all of the ideas that have been expressed there. Although plenty of it has ended up in the talk namespaces, plenty more of it has not. Food for thought. This idea may also be rather easy to implement (wrt technical ease), too (although I am not enough of an IT geek to know for sure). — ¾-10 19:13, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Searching only searches the current revision of articles. edit summaries are mostly attached to past revisions. what you really want is a bot or somesuch which searches page histories wikiblame may do it, or if not you might put in a request with them. --Ludwigs2 20:38, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I was also looking for this option. Palosirkka (talk) 13:07, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Wildcard search

The article speaks of wildcards (plural), but the only one which seems to work is the symbol *. Am I wrong? -- Tomdo08 (talk) 12:30, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

The article that I posted yesterday

Dear wikipedia,

Hello, yesterday I submitted an article about Ms. Shokufeh Kavani and was wondering how long does it take for you to approve it and put it in your site.

Thanks for your kind consideration.


Sanaz Alavi — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sanaz Alavi (talkcontribs) 09:12, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

How to do lazy searches?

How can I configure the search to do lazy searches like Google, i.e. where it searches for term #1 or term #2 instead of term #1 and term #2? Thanks! SharkD  Talk  05:32, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

I also support this format for searching on Wikipedia.-- CrossTempleJay  → talk 00:03, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
term1 OR term2 --rainman (talk) 11:06, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

stirling engines

where to find directory of manufacturers of Stirling engines ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anilagbm (talkcontribs) 11:48, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Text "search" in Search Box

I've noticed that Wikipedia seems to have added the text 'search' in the search boxes in the upper-right corner of pages. If you are logged in, it's in gray text and disappears as soon as you type in the box. If you are NOT logged in, it's in black text and has to be manually highlighted and deleted to remove, before typing one's search text. I don't know if this was intentional or not; but I think if the purpose is to further alert users to the function of the box (beyond the magnifying glass symbol), I think it should disappear for everyone when they position their cursor in the box; logged in or not. Thanks.PVarjak (talk) 21:34, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

This is mediazilla:25683 and its multiple duplicates; I don't think there are any differences between logged in and not logged in users except some option in your preferences. — AlexSm 21:48, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Searching for special page items

How would one use these powerful search features for searching and displaying items from special pages like "recent changes" and "new pages"? For example, I want to see all the recent changes or new pages that either fall under the category "mathematics" or have "mathematics" inside its contents. The search boxes in the special pages themselves do not have such search features (they only have a "tag filter"). Is it at all possible? If yes, how? If no, how difficult will it be to implement it? Subh83 (talk) 22:24, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Here's a link that gives you the recent changes for pages in the Mathematics category: Special:RecentChangesLinked/Category:Mathematics.
There's no built-in way to find new pages for a particulr subject, but the page Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics/Current activity has a list of new mathematics-related articles found by a bot. -- John of Reading (talk) 08:16, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Great! Thanks. Subh83 (talk) 22:55, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Needs updating

Help:Searching#Search_results_page reads:

When searching for articles, a box on the right of the search results page shows the most relevant results from our sister projects, such as Wiktionary, Wikisource and Wikibooks.

This is no longer the case. Why? I don't know, it was darned useful. There's a few other lines in this section that need updating as well. -- œ 09:10, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia article in Google Search

Hi, perhaps it is a basic question but as I am new to Wikipedia, I could not cope with it / find an answer on my own. I am interested in how do I let Google know about my Wikipedia article meaning, when people search in Google for things associated with my article, I would love it to appear in the upper search results... How do I do it? Regards, --Slagnäs (talk) 13:50, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Google has indexed your article; when I search for the phrase "Tire Pressure Indicator TPI is a product of the Swedish company", the Tire Pressure Indicator article is the first hit. But the relative ranking of the hits is entirely up to Google. Wikipedia is not interested in search engine rankings, because Wikipedia is not a means of promotion. -- John of Reading (talk) 14:40, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Idea - option to open searches in a new window

Sometimes, it is necessary, especially when editing, to open a search term in a new window.

How about adding a checkable box below the box where you enter the search term, so if the box is checked, clicking "Go" or "Search" will open the query in a new window. Sebwite (talk) 19:57, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Is it possible to do suffix matches in the same way as prefix matches?

Hi all, a search like this appears to work:

Special:Search/evidential suffix:language

But the suffix prefix would appear to be undocumented. Am I getting the results I think I am? babbage (talk) 19:28, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so, since the results include Andative and venitive, a page whose name does not end in "language". Try Special:Search/evidential suffix:wellington, and you'll see that "wellington" is merely being used as another search term. -- John of Reading (talk) 19:39, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Don't understand "this is helpful..." phrase under "Avoiding automatic direction"

This is helpful if the search doesn't yield the first result "There is a page named "[subject]" on Wikipedia: For search help, please visit Help:Searching" and then a full search below.

What does this mean? —Mu Mind (talk) 12:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Dunno... someone was obviously trying to express something, but we can't be sure what. I've commented out the sentence pending explanation.--Kotniski (talk) 14:37, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

"Seams" surname Rome, Lenawee Co. MI

I am looking for any articles, info on Charles and Elizabeth Seams who settled in Rome, Lenawee Co. Mi. Charles was born approxamtley 1833, migrated to US from Mechlenburg, Germany — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marcialesman (talkcontribs) 14:59, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

This isn't really a good place to ask; I suggest you try the Wikipedia Humanities reference desk. I tried a google search or two for you, but only found genealogy forums where you'd asked this question previously. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:22, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

anandapuram railwaystation

want to know whether railway tickets can be reserved online from anandapuram railway station.jose — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:30, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

This isn't a good place to ask, but you could try the Miscellaneous Reference Desk. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:06, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Oldest Lady From Egypt

Dear sir, My Aunt her name : 'BAHIYA KRIAKOUS BOTROS' IS BORN ON 1901 at a city called Qena - at Upper Egypt and still alive at City Ismailia. Sincerely Wahib Botros — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wahib Botros (talkcontribs) 19:33, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

This page is not a good place to submit ideas for article content. I've left you some introductory links on your talk page. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:09, 9 July 2011 (UTC)


где можна и засколька,приабрести параплаидер, — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:11, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

false arrest

hello my name is Anthony i would like to start by saying i was arrested for selling water when i came out of a store with a sort drink and chips i was arrested for selling water i had no water i was told to cal police justice which gave me this email. i also called and left my phone [details removed]. plus the arresting officer took my id . I have been back several times to claim it but it seems he is carrying it around and i cannot catch him to retrieve it. this happen at the 43rd prescient in the Bronx. what are my options? at [details removed].

thank you, ANTHONY POWELL — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Legal no.png We cannot offer legal advice. Please see the legal disclaimer. Contact a lawyer. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:05, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Manesi baba malula

Manesi Baba Malula,born in Congo kinshasa in year 1958,Malula kandolo is an artist musician who was discovered in the earlier 1982 in kinshasa with is own band <FASOL>. He share some rare stages with one of the big musical figures and icon of Congo, Tabu ley rocheraud before he converted as gospel singer. Living actualy in Australia,Manesi baba is now counted as one of the best singer that the Congo never knew,with his new band<RUMBA CELESTE> means paradise rumba or rumba from heaven Manesi baba is on his high way speed,praising and worshiping God. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Papamanesi (talkcontribs) 05:38, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

This isn't a good place to submit content for articles. I've left you some introductory links on your talk page. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:00, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

2006 nickel

I have a 2006 nickel with the following,, one side has a circle printed with "no war" the other side says "no lies" is this an issued nickel or made that way by another source? Annette — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:04, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

I suggest you ask this question at the Humanities reference desk, where it will be seen by the volunteers who enjoy challenges like this one. -- John of Reading (talk) 06:24, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

New scientific Discovery about Longevity by Frank Elias Georgalis

It is a very important topic dealing with longevity based on findings of well known scientists including de Grey. The article and many related articles written by Frankm Elias Georgalis are enjoying a good public reception. These articles are posted in the Internet under — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion -- John of Reading (talk) 10:50, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Mazdoor Club Kot Addu

Mazdoor Club Kot Addu is an office of trade unions allience in Kot Addu to protect labour and to fight together against any opression from any dominated class such as fudels etc — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mazdoorclub (talkcontribs) 20:09, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

This isn't a good place to submit content for articles. I've left you some introductory links on your talk page. You should also read WP:NOSHARE. -- John of Reading (talk) 10:53, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

kundalini yoga

what is meant by kundalini yoga? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sofiangels (talkcontribs) 11:02, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

If you type that into the search box you will find the article Kundalini yoga. -- John of Reading (talk) 10:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC)


Idogho [[[htt://|IDOGHO]]] is a unique name in then Midwestern region of Nigeria when Nigeria geographical area was been identified with regional segmentation such as Northern, Western and Eastern. Then it was known as Mid-Westerm Region carved to Western Region. There used to be Three main persons known with the name Idogho {IDOGHO] in Ughelli, Isoko and Itsekiri. The meaning as originally known as "Young Man"="IDOGHO" IDỌGHỌ {Idogho} The name has not been common. Not untill recent years that people started bearing their fore fathers Name of Idogho. — Preceding unsigned comment added by OLIET1 (talkcontribs) 14:28, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

This is not a place to submit content for articles. I suggest you use the Article wizard. -- John of Reading (talk) 10:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Ashlie Brillault

Born Ashlie Nicole Brillault (San Franscisco , 21 May 1987 )

plays Kate Sanders on Lizzie McGuire A popular girl — Preceding unsigned comment added by Monique123456 (talkcontribs) 07:34, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

The article The Lizzie McGuire Movie already mentions this, I think. Feel free to be bold and add other information; be sure to give a reliable source so that readers can check it for themselves. -- John of Reading (talk) 11:00, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

shkolla "Lagjja e Tete"

Shkolla "lagjja e tet" gjendet ne rrugen Riza poliqka ne Gjilan — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Why isn't this linked to the default search page?

Any particular reason why this help not linked from the search page - (talk) 09:19, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Good idea! I've posted at Village pump (technical), since I can't edit the search page. -- John of Reading (talk) 09:46, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
It does now (can be edited using MediaWiki:Search-summary). —Kusma (t·c) 10:27, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Interlanguage links in category space

It looks as if Interlanguage links in category name space cannot be found here nor on Commons. For example "Fiets" (bicycle) is found in the Bicycle, not in the category:Bicycles. --Foroa (talk) 15:42, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Any ideas ? --Foroa (talk) 07:16, 31 August 2011 (UTC)


It says their seach is better than google, ect. BIAS? Drlf (talk) 01:09, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

what is the meaning of words lamplight

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:31, 17 August 2011 (UTC)


The link in the Google section for Search the English Wikipedia only has been leading to an error page for monthns. (" We're sorry...

... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. ..." Is it working for others? Is there a better link to give? Libcub (talk) 00:09, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

This is a common talk page for several search related pages. Are you referring to Wikipedia:External search engines#Google? A while back Google changed something that broke old links to search a domain. I have made a fix [1] but it requires you to keep the site parameter in the search field. The Google feature used by the old links was a little different. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:12, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Your solution works great--thanks! Libcub (talk) 17:33, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

uhh need help with a tranlation to english

this is what a person poset on my fb page and im getting angry cause i have tryed all the translators and none of the work so heres what they said "mzta nka abs" i think its fillipeno but not sure at all — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

You could try the Language reference desk -- John of Reading (talk) 07:05, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

wildcard searching not working?

I'm trying to find disambiguated pages. For example, suppose I wanted to see all pages disambiguated as (bar), eg: foo (bar), fox (bar), etc... I tried the asterisk wildcard search *(bar) and intitle:(bar) as well as intitle:"(bar)". None work as expected. Am I doing something wrong or do I need specialized tools to accomplish this? Cliff (talk) 20:55, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

This is probably because of round braces. In any case, special tool on toolserver (listed as "grep") seems to be a better choice overall: \(bar\)$ (16 articles). — AlexSm 21:29, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

asing for an application form

were can i find an application form for the year 2012 academic in Namibia — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

This is not the place to ask questions, to report errors, or to contact Wikipedia. This page is only for discussion of the Help:Searching page itself. To get help with reference questions, see the Reference desk. Jebus989 08:21, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

How to turn off stemming

The help page currently says "Stemming: searches are subject to stemming by default. In some cases, it can be deactivated by using double quotes" (my italics). This is vague - how is a searcher to know whether it is going to work? Is there a reliable way to turn stemming off if double quotes aren't enough? -- John of Reading (talk) 15:46, 27 September 2011 (UTC)


WAT FORMULA OF BOROSILICATE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:15, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

This is not the place to ask questions, to report errors, or to contact Wikipedia. This page is only for discussion of the Help:Searching page itself. To get help with reference questions, see the Reference desk. Jebus989 08:19, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

search box vs. special search

For the most part I am fine with having to go to special:search when searching more than just the articles.

But I think the search box should be more aware of at least some of the namespaces. To be specific, if I enter something into the search box that fails to match or partially match an article, I would like it to apply the same search to what could be called the article-related or content namespaces (category, template, file, book, portal). If I as a new editor want to check something on an infobox or on the cite journal template, it would be nice to be able to type "infobox film" or "cite video" in the search box and get there. Sure, we all soon figure out that the search box behaves as we'd expect if we type "template:infobox film" or "template:cite video", but it is unclear why the search box couldn't be smarter about the namespaces to make it easily for new editors and more convenient for more experienced editors.

If this topic has been discussed already, sorry...just point me to that discussion and I'll catch up... (talk) 06:47, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Plato's book The Republic

Hi, did any one help me to find that when did Plato's book The Republic revealed first time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ahmed Faroooq (talkcontribs) 19:17, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Revealed to whom? I don't think it was ever lost. Maybe The Republic (Plato) has the information you want. If not then factual questions unrelated to Wikipedia itself belong at Wikipedia's Reference Desk They specialize in knowledge questions and will try to answer just about any question in the universe. Just follow the link, select the relevant section, and ask away. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:51, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Search and contact Authors

Is there any possibility for me to come to contact to the author of an article?

Thank you all for this great contribution for the common knowledge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:FAQ#Who writes the articles on Wikipedia? and Help:Using talk pages. If you register an account with email enabled then it's also possible to email some of the editors. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:25, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

POLS while searching the commons

(My issue ended up here because Help:searching on commons has no talk page and suggests I raise the question at wikipedia since the two share the same search engine)
Batzenberg bei freiburg.jpg

One small way I try to contribute to the commons is by adding categories to images I encounter. I thought the photo at right, an aerial view of Freiburg, needed more categories. It reminded me of veins on a leaf, so I searched on "veins"; amongst the first ten images returned was this one. I wonder if having that image among the most relevant results violates the user interface principle of least surprise. I think it does: the image is distracting, in the same way that an flasher would be a distraction if you encountered one while walking down the street listening to your iPod, or the way a sudden cut to a graphic and explicit close-up in a film or TV scene set around an autopsy table might be distracting. I expected to get human veins among my results, but its counterintuitive that genital veins would be a top match.

BTW, I had chosen to search on "veins" instead of "leaf veins" because I was looking for categories related to veins as visual patterns, and thought specifying "leaf veins" would result in limited results.

I agree with WP:NOTCENSORED. I don't want to resort to the limitations that come from WP:NOSEE. I could probably make a case that WP:PERTINENCE is applicable, but as an IP editor I don't have the patience to make that case among an editing community that feels besieged by challenges to free speech. Am I out of luck? Is the occasional flasher-like explicit image something I'll just have to live with when I attempt to search for image categories? (talk) 19:58, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Transliteration in searching

Hello, I wonder if there is any table with transliterations used for searching. For example, when you search Agri, the page Ağrı should be in the first results. But for the moment it's not. By contrast, when you search Alro, the first result is Alrø. Therefore, the search engine knows to search for "ø" too, when you search an "o". But for the moment it doesn't know to search for "ğ" when you search for a "g". Someone made such a list at ro:Utilizator:Rsocol/Diacritice. But I wonder if there is a more "official" table like that. A table where people come with suggestions what to transliterate into what, when searching. That should help the people who maintain the Wikipedia search engine. Or, at least, it would be useful to have the current transliteration table used by the search engine. —  Ark25  (talk) 04:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Searchbox mouseover message

When I click the search box to enter a search term, I always leave the mouse pointer in the same position as where I clicked and then begin typing the search term. Under the pointer, the message "Search Wikipedia [alt-f]" pops up. My problem with this is the message always partially blocks either what I'm typing into the search box or the first suggested article in the drop box (which is usually what I want) or both, and that often frustrates me. I think moving the message above the pointer or removing it altogether and replacing it with a button would be less distracting. Vanadus (talk | contribs) 02:36, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 19 February 2012

"Please change X" (talk) 07:53, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. -- John of Reading (talk) 08:10, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

There were no results matching the query.

A query made up of two or more words produces no results.pjoef (talkcontribs) 08:45, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Moved to Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Wikipedia_search_.282012-02-21.29. –pjoef (talkcontribs) 11:34, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

County Attorney's

Seeking information through experience or otherwise of decisions affects with fellow lawmakers (police/defense attorney's/trial judges/media). Appreciate your cooperation striving CJ student.

gitmo1941 13 Mar 2012 1030hrs HAVE A BLESSED DAY Thank You!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by GITMO1941 (talkcontribs) 04:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

what's the meaning of synthesizer of signal generator? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

sorting of results

Hi, is it possible to sort the results by date of last modification (of wp page)? --Arch2all (talk) 11:12, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

No, this isn't possible. There is a long-standing feature request: bugzilla:21139 -- John of Reading (talk) 08:21, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the info! I think, this is a quite important feature (for several usecases). Hopefully this feature request will be noticed by a wikimedia developer. --Arch2all (talk) 07:28, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


It lies within every cell, can never be found in time. There is a space for correction. It is the lining of the cell completely. And can be found in good places outside of the cell. This is not the law of Earth. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 22 March 2012 (talk) 13:40, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Not done: Your request needs to be made on the talk page of the article you would like to change and should be expressed as 'please change X to Y' for clarity and requires reliable sources for any factual changes. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 15:02, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

pmi megametanol project

please give me the answer specific information for this project such as End user. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

That question should be asked at the Reference desk. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:28, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Moka Rudrapurusha

Moka Rudrapurusha was the king of ikshvaku dynasty — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

accordingly wikipedia cham hindu in cambodia are minority. so i want to know about these cham hindu with photo

accordingly wikipedia cham hindu in cambodia are minority. so i want to know about these cham hindu with photo — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

pmi megametanol project

please give me the answer specific information for this project such as End user. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

That question should be asked at the Reference desk. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:28, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Moka Rudrapurusha

Moka Rudrapurusha was the king of ikshvaku dynasty — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

accordingly wikipedia cham hindu in cambodia are minority. so i want to know about these cham hindu with photo

accordingly wikipedia cham hindu in cambodia are minority. so i want to know about these cham hindu with photo — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 21 May 2012 (talk) 15:55, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. -- John of Reading (talk) 16:03, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


I'd like to know if the Resin Identification Code gives any indication of safety for the person consuming the contents of the container being used? More specifically, does the number in the triangle tell you at all that one number inidcates a higher level of safety for the consumer than another number? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:54, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

That question should be asked at Wikipedia:Reference desk. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:01, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Description of the Advanced search

Today's edits to the wording are being discussed at User talk:John of Reading#Your reversion to Help:Searching. All opinions welcome. -- John of Reading (talk) 17:02, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Searching Problem

Hi. When I Start typing to search there is no help. For example when I type G the search box should help with words starting with G Such as Germany, Greece, game ... but there is no such thing, it is just waiting for me to continue my typing. - Kurosch AM (talk) 22:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC) Kurosch AM

It's working for me now. If it starts working again for you, it could be that there was a temporary problem with the Wikimedia servers. You could also check that you have Javascript turned on - a way to check this is to go to Help:Collapsing/Test and see if the "Show/Hide" links work. Failing that, I don't know, and you should post again here, giving your browser name and version, and with luck someone else will be able to help you. -- John of Reading (talk) 06:35, 20 July 2012 (UTC)


ısı yalıtımlı malzeme — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

for help me plz

<<<medical details and contact information removed>>> — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:59, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

I am sorry, no one at Wikipedia can give you medical advice. Your IP address tells me you are in Ontario - I hope you can find a better source of help locally. I have removed your details from this page to protect your privacy. -- John of Reading (talk) 11:12, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

1941 Buick

I HAVE asked for a 1941 buick and have not seen one yet. I have one i put down the model no the series no and got a answer saying that there is no such car when there is because i owne it 1941 buick special model no 47 series 40 and it says there is none. But I own it, trying to find parts for a car that they say is not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

This page is part of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. We don't do car parts here. -- John of Reading (talk) 17:21, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposal: unsuggestworthy redirect template

(By default, everything is suggestworthy so it is not necessary to ever explicitly indicate suggestworthiness) In an archived discussion, it seemed like every redirect that is unprintworthy will be unsuggestworthy, but this is not the case as demonstrated by typing "Einstei" in the search box and getting the unprintworthy Einstein redirect appear. I think this is good because even if the redirect is unprintworthy, it can certainly be suggestworthy. However, some redirects are unprintworthy and unsuggestworthy, e.g. the typo redirect 14. amendment. The sole reason this redirect still exists as covered in a previous discussion is because it is getting hits from autosuggest, messing up the analytics. As an aside, 14 amendment never appears in the suggestions list. --JBrown23 (talk) 17:12, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 3 November 2012 (talk) 16:33, 3 November 2012 (UTC) Help me connect my information concerning General Afron Ugan from Google in that it can be search using Wikipedia Am the very General Afron Ugan ON GOOGLE Search.

The search box at the top right of each Wikipedia page is designed to search within Wikipedia only. To run a search returning Ugan's Twitter and SoundCloud pages, you'll have to search using an ordinary search engine such as Google or Bing. -- John of Reading (talk) 17:27, 3 November 2012 (UTC)


'Bold text Sono malattie ereditarie caratterizzate da mal formazioni e tumori a partenza da vari organi, ma soprattutto della cute e del sistema nervoso centrale. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DiabKabha (talkcontribs) 16:56, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

This page is for discussing improvements to the help page, Help:Searching. -- John of Reading (talk) 17:29, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Unprintworthy redirects are not being excluded from the search dropdown as expected

Per /Archive 3#Proposal: Exclude "unprintworthy" from the search box autocomplete/suggestion dropdown, and requests in a few other places, redirects in Category:Unprintworthy redirects and its subcats should be excluded from the autocomplete suggestions list in the internal search bar. For at least several days this has not been happening, and needs to be re-enabled.

See also Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Unprintworthy cross-namespace redirects are not being excluded from the search dropdown as expected and Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2012 November 24#Articles for deletion. Thryduulf (talk) 11:56, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

false negative with hyphen or en-dash in phrase

Certain searches produce false negatives. They're usually of a phrase in double quotation marks and including either a hyphen or an en-dash, spaced. They should point to Success Academy Charter Schools, but the first 250 results don't include that result. However, the search works in Google. The page is revised rather frequently but the search term has been in the article for weeks, at least. Here's an example:

SA – Harlem 4

Replacing the en-dash with a hyphen gets the same nonresult.

I tried this at least a week or two ago and some of it again today, so I doubt it's a temporary glitch with your servers.

Either search works in external search engines. Either way, the Wikipedia page is 7th in Google's results. In Bing, either search produces the Wikipedia page as 5th. The external searches were done without quotation marks.

For Wikipedia, I was thinking of creating redirects but Wikipedia's own search should work. Any ideas?

Nick Levinson (talk) 21:43, 5 January 2013 (UTC) (Corrected two misspellings: 21:48, 5 January 2013 (UTC))

Accents are NOT disregarded in search anymore

On 2010, LA2 added a paragraph to Help:Searching#Search engine features which among other things says that "accents are disregarded in search". Nonetheless,

Was this feature broken in some recent MediaWiki update? Did it ever work? I reported this on bugzilla:44238 as well, in case it is indeed a bug. Helder 12:36, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Scope of basic search

If I understand correctly, this documentation concerns searching a page as rendered by a webbrowser. Evidently I am finding something else when I use basic search for FORCETOC and get 543 hits, or for TOCLIMIT and get 1 hit; or when I search article space (avoiding the redirect to help space) for DEFAULTSORT and get 216 hits. Apparently these are not part of the page as rendered, nor are they all appearances of the strings in page code.

I have asked some questions at Help talk: Magic words#Scope of basic search. --P64 (talk) 03:51, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Phrases in double quotes

The syntax section says:

  • A phrase can be searched by enclosing it in double quotes. For example, "holly dolly" returns very few results as opposed to holly dolly (two standalone words).

I see that it's using {{Search link}}. When I click on the one in quotes, I see at the top of the results:

  • You may create the page ""holly dolly"", but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered. Shouldn't it say,
  • You may create the page "Holly dolly", but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered.

as the second link (without quotes) does? I'll bet, as a result of this misleading message, some editors actually create articles like "holly dolly", when they really only wanted to create Holly dolly. Is there a way to distinguish these, i.e.,

  • Search for all occurrences of the two words holly and dolly appearing next to each other in that sequence
  • Search for "holly" in quotes, and don't show the word when it's not quoted

Wbm1058 (talk) 17:06, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

The message "You may create ..." is made by MediaWiki:Searchmenu-new. I don't think the current software has a way to omit quotation marks from the red link. Searches with search syntax like prefix: and intitle: also get a red link with that included. This results in page creations like Prefix:Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard and Intitle:William Francis (I wonder what happened when those pages existed and their names were entered in the search box). Your quotation case is far more common. For example, as an admin I can see 91 deleted page names starting with "Ho. Around 70 of them also end with a quotation mark. Many are song titles and similar which should have quotation marks in article text in Wikipedia, but not in page names. I only see 100 deleted page names at a time with a given prefix, and don't know how many there are in total. PrimeHunter (talk) 04:12, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your informative response. Is this as issue that the MediaWiki developers need to address, if so, is there a way to see if it's been reported (bugzilla or otherwise) and report it if needed? Wbm1058 (talk) 16:02, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It may actually have become practical to implement this directly at the English Wikipedia after the Scribunto deploy yesterday, but I'm not sure whether MediaWiki messages can use Scribunto, or what the server admins would say about the performance of testing for this with Lua on every search without a title match. But this is low priority and a discussion should probably wait until Scribunto and Lua is well-tested and trusted. I haven't studied Lua so I couldn't code it personally. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:35, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Need an advanced and basic search help page

At present this page gets about 100,000 hits per month. The vast majority would be readers rather than editors so we should have a basic page as well as a lengthier version. (See Template:Reader help for examples of basic reader help pages.) To this end I want to move this page to Wikipedia:Searching (currently a redir to here) and have Help:Searching as the basic version, with both pages being interlinked with hatnotes. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:33, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

I have started a draft at Help:Searching/Draft. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 03:59, 24 February 2013 (UTC)


The talk page archiving bot is seen "archiving one thread" a bunch of times. It's hyperactive, and I'm gonna slow it down a bit, from algo=30d, to 120 days.

I don't want to start an edit war, but we need to lower the edit-barrier and see what happens. I'm requesting we unprotect the page.— CpiralCpiral 10:03, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Miltary history ----Of Sven Alvar lundquist ---Finnish Army WW 2

Looking for records of My Fathers military Career-WW2 for the Finnish ARMY ---He left Finland in 1952 --and raised his family in Canada creating a Family tree ---and would like to know --a little more of his Service ---and any pertinent info I know he Fought the Russians but because my father was Injured in the war ---not much info was forth coming from him during my childhhood any info provided would be greatly appreciated --so I can hand down this info for the Next generations coming up ---Gary Lundquist ---Edmonton Alberta Canada ---E mail [details removed] -----Note Our Last name had been adjusted to suit Canadian Lanquage ------LUNDQVIST is the correct spelling --------- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

This request is misplaced. I recommend you post the question at the Reference desk, and the volunteers there will try to help you. I have removed your email address from your post to protect your privacy. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:02, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Magdeleine Varanne

Madeleine de Varannes (Magdeleine Varanne) Is a French actress. she joined the theater troupe of Molière from the beginning. Died during a tour of the company, she was buried on 1 November 1648 at the Church of St. Cybard Poitiers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

This isn't a good place to submit content for the encyclopedia. Wikipedia:Your first article will help you. -- John of Reading (talk) 05:36, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Searching the categories

The search engine does search categories, but the lead says it doesn't. I thought I'd offer time for persons to support the lead's statement that says it doesn't search categories, before I remove it. — CpiralCpiral 22:10, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

It does not search categories by default. Maybe you have selected Category at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-searchoptions. For users with default settings, and unregistered users, categories are not searched unless you select them. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:50, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
It searches articles by default. That's a fact. But why say " box does not search categories." That's not true. I can just say in the search box "categories: boom", and it searches for boom in the titles and content of categories. — CpiralCpiral 01:38, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
It's "category: boom". That feature is described under "namespace name:" at Help:Searching#Parameters, and also at the link in the sentence you partially quoted from the lead: "This basic search box does not search categories." I think the details of namespace searches are too technical for the lead. Many readers will not know what a namespace is. They just enter a search term in the search box and then it's relevant to know they don't find categories. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:06, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the FAQ says that. Right, the lead is not the place for technical stuff. I know we're going to understand each other pretty soon now...

"The basic search box does not search categories." If you think "basic" means "default", then I say "box" means "box", and that same box will be used when the reader gets to our parameters section, where they will put "category:" in the box and find that the sentence in the lead is amiss. Right? Or by "basic" you mean the user's skill level. The lead describes the box, not the user. Saying "box doesn't search categories" is a Santa Clause, because the box does not change. — CpiralCpiral 06:19, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I interpret the "basic" search box to mean the one on all pages, as opposed to the one at Special:Search. I have added "by default" to "This basic search box does not search categories by default".[2] I think that is as much as we should say in the lead. Interested readers can follow the link or read lower on the page. PrimeHunter (talk) 13:15, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
(Otherwise I'm reading you, but the FAQ is not our topic, please.) — CpiralCpiral 20:54, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Forgive me if I'm wrong now, but there is no such thing as a "basic search box". The box itself is the same box technically, whether adorned here or there on the wiki. Because it is the one search engine's interface, I think the lead cannot say "basic search box". (This is a new complaint, BTW)

Also you seem (to me) to be confusing "default" with "basic". There is enough of a difference between the "basic" reader-viewpoint (textual-scope) and the "default" software configuration (made for that reason). That difference is large enough to demand at least two sentences. But please don't misunderstand, I don't want two sentences.

These two now being the case in my mind, and I believe I have clearly stated the two confusions above, I want to belay that sentence because I think 1) the lead cannot say "does not search" namespaces, be it categories or otherwise, and because 2)there is no such thing as a search box that "develops" an ability to search namespaces. "Category:query" is always an option, whether the reader knows it or not. — CpiralCpiral 20:54, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the two search boxes at Special:Search are the same. One of them depends on selections below it. The other is the same as on all other pages and has no selections below it. I'm not sure what you want. Do you want to remove any mention that categories are usually not included in searches from the lead? Or do you want to mention it but without using certain words like basic and default? PrimeHunter (talk) 01:01, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Our article is about the search engine, and not about the GUI. The search engine is the search box as far as we're concerned, and the MediaWiki version. I want to remove the remark about categories. And if "basic" refers to the GUI, I want to remove that. "Default" on the other hand, is permanent, and we can say that. As for the other matter that cropped up, see the next paragraphs.
By search box, I have meant a dialog box. The search box is a CLI in a GUI of a page. The parameters are CLI mode, and are always available, and are only emmulated by the various mouse-oriented adornments you speak of. You seem to mean the entire GUI when you say "box". Of course there is only one search engine, with various interfaces. Since the same advanced features (our parameters) are available from the precisely and exactly the same search-box/dialog-box, from most basic to the most advanced GUI/page-adornments, and in every conceivable arrangement of user preference, it always takes the prefix or namespace parameter and can search any namespace. Something else I'm sure about is that the box over-rides the user-preferences or the GUI/page.
There is only one difference in the box we're discussing here, that I've ever noticed, and that is the difference between "navigating" and "searching": When search results pop up, there are then two search boxes, one with a search button beside it, and one with a magnifying glass icon. The one with the search button can receive the exact page name, and still only list search results as if you'd said "contains", but the one with the magnifying glass will "navigate" to that page. But they both accept any and all parameters similarly, there and everywhere else the search box ever will be. — CpiralCpiral 03:34, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Transliteration in searching

I have to come again on this matter. On Romanian Wikipedia, when I search for Carol Popp de Szatmary it shows only 3 results, and it won't include the ro:Carol Popp de Szathmári article, which is almost the same with the text I was searching. You can check that for yourself: [3] The search engine doesn't know to associate a for á, which, I am quite sure it should be something basic. Can anoyne fix this bug? When I type the Carol Popp de Szatmary text in the search box, it suggests me to jump to the ro:Carol Popp de Szathmári article, but the problem is when I search for Carol Popp de Szatmary or for Popp de Szatmary (and in this case, it won't suggest the article). So the search engine knows how to make the association between a and á, but only when suggesting, and not when searching. Thank you. —  Ark25  (talk) 21:47, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Even when I search for Popp de Szatmáry it won't find the article, so it seems the bug is not (only) about transliteration. Might be something about UTF characters, I don't know. —  Ark25  (talk) 21:49, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
This recurring matter about the character transliteration might be a legitimate concern at WP:village pump technical. Now it really seems stemming should include that "a" character, but the search engine doesn't seem to do character-level stuff, such as finding content with a <character> in it or not in it.
Your documentation is good. But the sentence "when I type... but when I search..." seems contradictory to me, just because the title looks identical in both cases, yet you say the results differ. I think you need the extra polish: Bullet point each {{search link}}ed search so as to get character alignment, or else I will wonder if you might have missed something obvious. In any case, your external link clearly showed the transliteration error. Good luck with that at Village pump. — CpiralCpiral 22:43, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. My english is far from perfect. By "when I type.." I meant typing the text in the searchbox without pressing ENTER (and waiting for suggestions). By "when I search" I meant typing the text and pressing ENTER, visualizing the search result. Thanks for the info, I will continue at the Village Pump. Cheers! —  Ark25  (talk) 00:04, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
  • If you want to help people who type variations of the name to find the article, then you need to add redirects. It sounds as if they already exist. But I think that the auto-suggest drop-down list does not (or cannot) display extended-Latin characters; most people do not type extended-Latin characters into search engine search boxes, and Google doesn't display auto-suggestions with extended-Latin characters, does it? (I'm not sure about Vietnamese, will ask). LittleBen (talk) 04:23, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I reported the problem at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Transliteration in searching. —  Ark25  (talk) 06:12, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • You may well find that the auto-suggest drop-down does not include redirects. Many redirects are mis-spellings of article titles. There would probably be too many suggestions if all the redirects were shown. LittleBen (talk) 08:08, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Draft of intro. paragraph for discussion

< This draft is based on a discussion here > Not there anymore. Moved here:

  • The current version mentions "the standard skin". The previous version said "the standard skin, Vector". Clicking on the "skin" link gives us the info. that the "default" skin is currently Vector. So changing "top right of the standard skin" to "top right of the current default skin, Vector" would arguably be an improvement. (I added current because users who have been around a while got a different default skin when they signed up).
  • "it has a magnifying glass icon in, or has a Go button and a Search button, depending on the user preference to enable a simplified search box or not" might be simplified to "depending on your user preference settings, this basic search box may have either a magnifying glass icon or Go and Search buttons".
  • The next paragraph is very long and detailed. It is probably better not to present complex and detailed explanations of several alternative ways of doing things, as many readers are likely to be confused or "lost" (a brief explanation of one or two of the simplest ways of doing things is probably better). It would be possible to add screen shots of the two basic search boxes and the advanced search box if you think that this would be an improvement. The previous version also had some long sentences containing multiple ideas. Something like "to display a more advanced special search interface with more search options, perform an empty search..." would be good.
  • My reason for adding "This basic search box does not search categories" before the paragraph on the advanced search box was that if your search does not find a matching article, you are asked if you'd like to create an article with that title. I think that it would be an improvement if you were then presented with the option of searching categories. Because most people don't search categories before creating article titles, often there are similar or virtually identical articles with different (alternative) titles. The creating of duplicate articles—because users can't find stuff—wastes a lot a time. I found that there were lots of articles about web browser engines, and the template listing related articles also mentioned "web browser engines", but the category containing them was called Category:Layout engines. It takes quite a lot of work to fix such problems.
  • To sum up, I think that the first paragraph should be about the basic search box, followed by a brief note that often you can find articles more easily by doing an advanced search for categories, followed by a brief explanation of how to do an advanced search.
  • If you don't mind, I can create a suggested version based on the above—or let you do it, if you prefer (please let me know)—and we can take it from there.
  • If you like the idea of adding screen shots of the two alternative basic search boxes and the advanced text box, then I can provide these. =Very best regards, keep up the good work. LittleBen (talk) 00:57, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. The image files are a plus, for sure. Please add them. But also:
  • I'll rewrite the second paragraph, where you mention it's too confusing for beginners, but maybe I can't make it less technical. I mean the premise of my message to Liefting was that it is time to move to a WP version and leave a Help version for beginners. Many project pages are doing this. (Help is like the MediaWiki User manual, and Wikipedia is the Administrative manual, as in the titles of a typical Unix library. WP is for advancing editors, and these are ultimately administrators who'll acquire technical descriptions of how things work, along with technical explanations.) At this point its Help:Search and WP:Search. See?
  • I already mention the user preferences in regards to the "simplified search box". But it's down in H:S#User preferences.
  • Your idea about mentioning categories before ending some search effort with a page creation is astute, but irrelevant here. Please understand.
In summary, you're very much, entirely appreciated, and welcomed. Do the pics! I agree the lead needs attn. Let me continue the go for a day, whilst pondering your lead section structure suggestion, then, LittleBen, I'll see you 'round. — CpiralCpiral 01:58, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Maybe I didn't explain the Categories idea very well. A draft of my suggestion follows:
  • <1st paragraph about basic search>
  • Basic search does not search Categories and other Wikipedia namespaces. You can frequently find many related articles about a topic by finding the Category that contains it. To perform an advanced special search:
  • <Description of special search>
  • Namespaces are one of the most confusing aspects of Wikipedia. Most beginners will never find the Wikipedia: namespace, much less work out how to search it. That's why I think a link to more information about Namespaces and Categories is so important.
  • The great majority of users don't want to know what Javascript is, or how to enable it in their browser. It's sufficient to say that "you may get a drop-down list of article title suggestions when you start typing"; [you don't need "if Javascript is enabled in your browser"—because it is in almost every case, and if it isn't then most dumb users are not going to be able to fix it).
  • Tell you what, I'll throw together a draft of my ideas for an intro. and put it on the article talk page. I'll also take screen shots. I'll have to work out how to upload this stuff to Commons, and find out the preferred WP way of embedding images and formatting them. So it may take a little time. LittleBen (talk) 02:45, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Done, it's here. I'll do screen shots later. LittleBen (talk) 03:46, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
  • This Help:Search page is used by a lot of non-geeks. The intro. should be as short, simple, and non-technical as possible, so as not to scare people away. I think that it would be a good idea to advertise drafts (as a "comments wanted" RfC) to get as wide a range of opinions as possible. I don't mind if you want to put up a separate draft for discussion, before or after mine. LittleBen (talk) 04:05, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
  • BTW, WP:SET is already linked from a hatnote at the top of the page, but I agree it's useful in "See also" as well. LittleBen (talk) 04:32, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia basic search boxes
Basic search boxes for skins MonoBook (L) & Vector (R)

Basic search: To search Wikipedia, use the search box; there is one on every page of Wikipedia. The location and type of search box depend on your user preference (appearance: skin) settings. The basic search box is located at the top right of the default skin, Vector; on other skins it is usually part of the toolbox in the leftmost column. It may have either a magnifying glass icon, or Go and Search buttons" (see screen shots). When you start typing into the search box, you may get a drop-down list of existing article titles; you can use the up/down arrow keys on the keyboard—or the mouse—to select an article from these suggestions, if you wish.

Wikipedia special search box
Wikipedia Special search box showing "Advanced"

When you click the magnifying glass icon or Go button, or press the enter key on the keyboard, if the words you entered match an existing page name, you will navigate (or Go) directly to the corresponding article. Otherwise a search results page list of close matches will be displayed. From this search results page, you have the option of using the Special:Search box (see screen shot) to do a more focused search such as an advanced search.

Some Wikipedia advanced search options
Some Wikipedia Advanced search options

Special search and Advanced search: The above basic search does not search Categories: and other Wikipedia namespaces such as Help: and User: by default (but see note below). You can frequently find many articles related to a topic by using advanced search to find the category that contains topic-related articles. To perform an advanced search: Use the special search box that is displayed on the search results page (mentioned above), or—from the basic search box—display it by doing a null search (with nothing in the search box, click the magnifying glass or "Go" button, or press the enter key). If you then click on "Advanced", an even more advanced interface is displayed, allowing you to search other namespaces such as categories.

  • Notes: You can change your user search preferences. You can also find pages in other Wikipedia namespaces (even in the basic search box) by entering the namespace, such as Wikipedia: (can be abbreviated to WP:) — or entering both namespace and page prefix, such as WP:Help desk, WP:MOS, WP:WikiProject, or WP:Portal. You should get a dropdown list of suggested matches that you can select from. However, you can search for items that are in Wikipedia namespaces other than the Article: name space only by using Advanced search or Google Site: search (see WP:SET).
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Note to Cpiral: Both basic search and advanced search include redirects by default, so we don't have to mention them or explain what they are. LittleBen (talk) 03:55, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I have a comma followed by a but or an except for, for most of your assertions for this page. (But you might already have guessed this by the discussion before this one Searching the categories. The spirit of our drives are clear to me. (Mine has JavaScript, tildes, and mentions redirects, etc.) Again, it seems time to put a comma between Help:Search and Wikipedia:Searching, as this section heading implies.
Do you agree we should nominate a page move? That way, if you decide to apply this draft to the Help version, we go together on wings in drafts. A rare air it could be: collaboration on two versions. If so, then little else need be hammered out here. We could even start the Help version from before I started hammering away at this one; we could just happily collaborate where necessary, coordinating and noting why the differences in the versions. I don't know. I don't sense much but hope from the watchers. Wikiproject:Help Wikipedia, the division of a cell. Yet another project page refinement.
  • I think that the WP convention is that if you want help on a topic then you type Help:Name of Topic. That's one of the most important things that new users should learn. Only later, if they set up an account, will it be desirable for them to learn about (non-article) Wikipedia: namespace WP rules like MOS and other such stuff. They do not need to know much about namespaces from the beginning, but we can give them links to learn more.
  • Argh! I just tried to search for "How to create a Wikipedia account" and turned up nothing. Somewhere there is a page that explains the advantages of setting up a user account, and I wanted to link to it from User: in the draft above. WP is so user-unfriendly. -> Finally found it.
  • This is surely one of the most important pages for non-geeks on WP, and we are geeks. We need to get input from people (like the WP:Help desk and WP:Teahouse people) on how to make this stuff more user-friendly to non-geeks. I personally believe that a newbie coming to this page will read only the intro. (and then only if it is very short and simple and (ideally) has pics that anybody can understand: Many people can understand only the simplest English, but they can understand comics ;-) I don't mind if there's detail in the body (which most people won't read) but the intro. must be very short and simple and cover the bare essentials that most newbie users will need to know, with links to more info.
  • I don't see any point whatsoever in having two versions. Keeping two versions in sync is just too much hassle and too much duplication of effort. It's better to do one good version than two patchy ones that turn people away. Long and wordy turns people away, but you can put geek stuff in the body. My Responsive web design is very short, but it's gone from zero to about 120,000 monthly pageviews in just over a year. (I have to go out soon for a few hours). LittleBen (talk) 06:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
See the rationale in the next discussion section about a page move. Basically I need to say here that we put a hatnote on the help page saying for more details see <the WP version>. That way the style of each page is simple because it's at a consistent level of abstraction. One is geeky and geeks use high-level computer abstractions, and they'd thrive on the wiki if they could make notes on a page with their perspective. Do you know how hard it is to write well? (Most of the computer articles on OS's and stuff are poorly written, but who cares because it works for them. Ours would get makeovers in an ideal world, and the one doing the follow-up makeover would learn the tricks and have happy editing.) Making paragraph and subject matter transitions is like magic it's so difficult, or it takes much training or practice, or natural talent to write like that. Making a style gradient is yet another hurdle to good writing. I am certain of this: a style gradient, where section 0 is easy, 1 is med., 2 is difficult... is not necessary where storage space is unlimited, and the audience-spectrum is so widely varied. — CpiralCpiral 00:12, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • <Quote>Do you know how hard it is to write well? (Most of the computer articles on OS's and stuff are poorly written... Making paragraph and subject matter transitions is like magic it's so difficult, or it takes much training or practice, or natural talent to write like that.<Unquote> I'd agree that it's very difficult (and time consuming) for a geek to step outside himself (or herself) and see the subject through the eyes of a newbie. Even for a geek like me, with 40 years of professional tech. writing experience, it takes a lot of editing—and a lot of time—to create something that is simple but not ambiguous. Many knowledgeable geeks quit WP when "their" creation is trashed repeatedly, or when they are forced to waste time discussing stuff over and over with arrogant, clueless, and obstructive people. I understand where you come from, and sympathize with you. ;-)  LittleBen (talk) 03:46, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • <Quote>Help:Search has languished in the dust for a very long time, as have many important editor help pages. Why?<Unquote> I agree. It takes time, experienced people, and people to provide useful examples that encourage people to explore and experiment. I have done a lot of work on WP:SET and {{Google RS}}, but some people are removing my examples and proposing to trash my templates because search results in reliable English-language sources don't agree with their POV. (Whoever would expect English Wikipedia to be written in feelthy English?)  LittleBen (talk) 04:11, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • As I said, I am not proposing to make any changes to the body of the article (unless you ask for it)—you are welcome to continue to enhance it with more geek detail—but I think that the intro. would be greatly improved by making it shorter, simpler, and more newbie-friendly (with pics.) as per the draft above. But I'd like to fix the examples in the Note at the end.
What we are referring to as an advanced search is an entire page, the Search results page (a section of our page here), which offers an expanded/advanced GUI in potential. The page is for refining the search, so I call it the refinement search box because pressing the enter key only offers search results. The search box is the same as ever. The page is advanced, not the search box. Verily, the GUI interfaces the search box, and the search box interfaces the engine.
A video in the intro, maybe, but otherwise the single pic goes as close as possible to the precise words they enhance, so I think the section for the lower two pics is Search results page. I'm gonna try them out now, and edit the intro into better form, towards your gracious recommendations. Thanks. — CpiralCpiral 00:02, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Help please

I added a note about namespaces at the bottom of the draft above, but I don't think my information is 100% correct. I'd appreciate if somebody could suggest improvements/corrections/references as to how it's supposed to work. I'm guessing that "WP:Help desk" AND "search phrase" would be the simplest way of searching WP:Help desk for "search phrase", i.e. intitle: is not required in front of "WP:Help desk", but it would be nice to have confirmation. LittleBen (talk) 07:56, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Here's a search for wp:help desk and "john of reading". It doesn't seem to work as you describe it. Instead, it searches the WP namespace for pages that contain the words "Help" and "desk" and the phrase "john of reading" - and therefore returns some ANI and VPT archives where I have written about the help desk. This search or this one find pages in the Wikipedia namespace whose titles contain the words "Help" and "desk". I don't think there's a way to combine a title search with a page content search "Find me pages named Help desk which contain the phrase John of Reading". -- John of Reading (talk) 15:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Many thanks for your comments. I've just come to some of the same conclusions myself. It looks as if the easiest way of doing the intitle: searches would be to create templates (if they don't already exist) based on the {{Google}} series of templates. (It looks as if the only way to combine an intitle: search with a page content search would be to create a Google site: search template to do it). Thanks again.
  • As an aside, as I note above, I have done a lot of work on WP:SET and {{Google RS}}, but some people are removing my examples and proposing to trash my templates because search results in reliable English-language sources don't agree with their POV. (Whoever would expect English Wikipedia to be written in feelthy English?)  LittleBen (talk) 15:33, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Comments welcome here:

WP uses MW's Extension:Lucene-search search engine. Google's search engine doesn't share the same syntax or parameters, i.e. user interface, i.e. search box. Nor do I get from WP:SET that MediaWiki search engine uses Google site:, as you say. You might want to try a search "search engine" at MediaWiki wiki; doing so I find some things close to what you are saying, but not supportive: mw:Extension:Google_Custom_Search_Engine. When MW goes to the Apache search engine, then the syntax and parameters will change but it will be the same old search box in a white square. — CpiralCpiral 00:02, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks. I have boldly refactored the Help:Searching page to put the Google search related stuff together in a section separate from the Wikipedia search stuff. LittleBen (talk)