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Automated search when creating new forum topic

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:19 pm
by MintBean
It gets kind of frustrating when the same very basic question is asked several times in a period of only a few days. I often think to myself, if the poster had just performed a search using the exact words they used for the topic title they would find a complete answer in the first couple of results listed, so I propose something I have seen implemented on another site: when a user creates a topic, an automated search of the forum is performed using the title and the results are displayed. The user then has to click a button to the effect that 'this doesn't answer my question, go ahead and post.' I think this could increase the signal to noise on the forum and decrease the workload for responders, especially as I suspect the ratio of enthusiasts (those answering questions) to casual users (those only asking questions) will decrease as time goes on.

Re: Automated search when creating new forum topic

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:39 pm
by xenopeek
To add functionality to our board we'd need a phpBB 3.1.x compatible extension. See for available extensions and information for developers. I don't think there is one that does what you suggest. There is one that appears to have the logic to match keywords from the subject to other topics, but it does this for already posted topics: ... ar_topics/. Even if an extensions would exist or be developed, we're hesitant to add extensions.

It may work well enough for topics with descriptive subjects but not all topics are posted like that. For example because the user doesn't know enough about the problem they have to give a more descriptive subject, or they don't know the right terminology or English isn't their first language. Hence they may have already searched but not found relevant results for the same reason. I'm not saying that plays into all topics but it will for some portion I think.

Re: Automated search when creating new forum topic

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:20 pm
by Cosmo.
I see another problem with the suggestion:

Most likely also old and very old threads will appear in the result list. Even now it is partly not understandable, how some people manage to find years old thread and reopen them. (And why do they search for old topics, but do not read the forum rules?) The number of mortification will most likely increase significantly.