March 10, 2008
A New (Hopefully Less Sucky) Custom Search Engine For SocketSite
We recently received the following email: “I love SocketSite, but the search sucks.” To which we respond: Thanks, and yes it does (or rather has). And as such, we’re trying out a new Google search engine.
Perhaps you’ll be so kind as to poke around SocketSite this morning to see what you can find. And to let us know what you think of the new search. Better? Worse? Suggestions?
And yes, we’re still working on eliminating all of those annoying “Internal Server Error” messages that occur all too often when leaving a comment, so thank you for your patience. And as always, thank you for plugging in.
UPDATE: A question we should have anticipated: "Are you doing this for the 'extra adsense?'" And the answer: No. If people prefer the Google engine we'll actually kill the AdWords (which plugged-in people might recognize as an indicator for 'the indicator').
First Published: March 10, 2008 3:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Thanks! My vote is lukewarm, tho I admit I didn't use the old search too often (but do remember using it successfully), and now I can not compare the two.
Naturally, to stress-test the system, I searched for "satchel" ;), and the related ads (the ones at the bottom which were not blocked for some reason) were not appropriate ("Stout leather satchels"). I clicked, of course, both to teach the advertiser a lesson and to help support the SF housing market by helping google :)
As for search quality, well, it's good enough, results are there, but there is no particular structure, and I don't remember them being better or worse than before. For example, I would expect results for "satchel" to be ordered by post date, but of course they are not. It's just naively throwing all the posts containing "satchel" into the results. Soon, this very post/comment will undoubtedly rise to the top in a "satchel" query. Satchel.
Anyway, it's been awhile, but doesn't moveable type have a decent internal search capability? Are you doing this for the "extra adsense"? Have you considered moving the whole thing to typepad or blogger (some high traffic blogs run on both these platforms).
All questions I've been dying to ask, but were not appropriate until this thread. Thanks for trying to improve socketsite, and thanks to satchel for being such a good sport :)
Posted by: dub dub at March 10, 2008 4:56 AM
dub dub --
Search results should be ranked by relevance, not by date.
Posted by: Delancey at March 10, 2008 5:46 AM
Delancy -- "relevance" is subjective. For a *blog*, date is relevant.
This google search seems to use simple keyword match/weighting (that's all it has, since there are few in/out links in comments) -- not exactly useless, but very 1998.
And as I look at it, the results are matching against original posts+comments, not the comments alone, so it's even less useful than I thought (but good enough).
Again, I don't remember if this is better than the native moveable type search (was it really worse than this?), but it's not a home run.
It's certainly faster (good), requires less "maintenance" (also good, but consider changing hosts), however the extra irrelevant adsense - "Wholesale Plastic Bag Supply All kinds of bags home or business." - flea-markets the socketsite brand.
Anyway, that's enough feedback from me; it's meant to be constructive! :)
Posted by: dub dub at March 10, 2008 6:37 AM
Anyway, it's been awhile, but doesn't moveable type have a decent internal search capability? Are you doing this for the "extra adsense"?
The Moveable Type engine we were running was way too clunky, and if people prefer the Google engine we'll actually kill the AdWords (which plugged-in people might recognize as an indicator for "the indicator").
Posted by: SocketSite at March 10, 2008 7:58 AM
i wasn't going to say anything, but since you are asking for feedback...
the change to the rss feeds made a week or so ago really sucks. i used to read pretty much everything posted here just because it was easy, but now i feel discouraged from reading a lot because the rss feed only contains one sentence and if i want any content i have to go through the pain of loading up the whole page with comments and all sorts of things i am not interested in. and loading up the socket site main page isn't a good alternative because the posts don't always show up in order, so i miss things.
Posted by: hotep at March 10, 2008 8:22 AM
This could save you a lot of trouble- all you have to do is go to goog and do a:
< search term > site:socketsite.com
try it, it works.
Posted by: M at March 10, 2008 8:28 AM