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Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea? [CLOSED]

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:27 pm
by JohnBobSmith
So lately, I've been wondering if a guide to better google searches would be a good idea for this forum. There are a LOT of tricks that many people do not know. Things like using short, descriptive terms to get better results. As an example, searching for "how to make a large punch drink quickly" may not get great results. Terms like "quick fruit punch recipe" would be better. Also, google can search within sites. So if a forum has a minimum of 5 character in a search and you want to search for RAM, HDD, SSD, etc. you'd be out of luck. I'm pretty sure this forum has some sort of character minimum when searching, that can be avoided by using google. Another problem I find is people relying heavily on one source. I like to use as many sources as I can when google searching. Then I can trim out the old, ambiguous, or otherwise incorrect answers. But perhaps that last one is just me.

Basically, if we can teach people to help themselves, we reduce the need for posts that ask the same question. We could also create an even stronger environment of learning. In such an environment, users can contribute back to the forum, rather than just being a time waster (or worse). Another benefit would be that such a guide could also ease tensions between green users and guru's. This would be possible because topics like "omg help me I can not do this at all" would hopefully be replaced with ones like "I have tried doing the following, but could not solve my issue".

Now, I feel that a guide to google would need to be peer reviewed before being posted here. Perhaps it could be community driven, where people could add to it. Just like the "What are your top tips for a Newbie?" topic. That said, I have written a guide that I have not posted online just yet. If you would like to see my draft and edit it, I can post it to github.

Let me know what your thoughts are on the matter, and hopefully we can all work together to make the forum a better place. :)

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:21 pm
by MartyMint
Why assume that Google is the search engine everyone uses (or should use)?

You should "google" for other available search engines.

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:02 pm
by Pilosopong Tasyo
JohnBobSmith wrote:So if a forum has a minimum of 5 character in a search and you want to search for RAM, HDD, SSD, etc. you'd be out of luck. I'm pretty sure this forum has some sort of character minimum when searching, that can be avoided by using google.
If only certain forum members bother to read the forum rules, they would have seen the following, and should know what it implies:
[1] Search Before Posting
  • Search the Linux Mint forums and Google for questions before posting.
  • As the forum search function is very limited, you should consider searching the Linux Mint forum site with Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo or your favourite search engine by entering site:forums.linuxmint.com with your search query.
Those who complain about the forum search function being limited or next to useless obviously didn't read the above item.

Also, there are a lot of sites on the web that already "teach people how to fish." I don't think making another one would make any big difference.
JohnBobSmith wrote:Another benefit would be that such a guide could also ease tensions between green users and guru's. This would be possible because topics like "omg help me I can not do this at all" would hopefully be replaced with ones like "I have tried doing the following, but could not solve my issue".
I'm a fan of ESR's How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. What you wrote remind me of an excerpt from his guide:
Before You Ask

Before asking a technical question by e-mail, or in a newsgroup, or on a website chat board, do the following:
  1. Try to find an answer by searching the archives of the forum or mailing list you plan to post to.
  2. Try to find an answer by searching the Web.
  3. Try to find an answer by reading the manual.
  4. Try to find an answer by reading a FAQ.
  5. Try to find an answer by inspection or experimentation.
  6. Try to find an answer by asking a skilled friend.
  7. If you're a programmer, try to find an answer by reading the source code.
When you ask your question, display the fact that you have done these things first; this will help establish that you're not being a lazy sponge and wasting people's time. Better yet, display what you have learned from doing these things. We like answering questions for people who have demonstrated they can learn from the answers.
-----

That said, it doesn't hurt if you make the guide and let others write their comments. You can edit the first post whenever there's a need (e.g. peer review). Who knows? It might get stickied if there's merit. There's nothing to lose, and there's that Mint touch to it.

My 2ยข.

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:18 am
by jimallyn
I would probably read such a guide. I already knew about using site:yoururlhere, but if there's other neat functions available, it would be nice to know about them.

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:52 am
by JohnBobSmith
@MartyMint
I feel that Google can both be used as a search engine as well as a verb. Same thing as the program Photoshop. Take for instance, "This image was clearly photoshop'ed". I mean't more of the verb meaning in the topic title/poll question. That said, possible suggestions will apply to most (hopefully all) search engines. I can also strive to keep advice more generic, and not limit others, so that they can use whatever search engine they want. Thank you for you feedback. :)

@jimallyn
Thats good to know. I think I'll wait for about a week (maybe more) before posting my guide. I'd first like to see how many people would be interested/benefit from such a guide. As for other functions (and easter eggs), many search engines are full of them. Searching for "easter egg list" in any search engine will mostly likely generate a list of easter eggs relevant to said search engine. :lol: The same works for feature/function lists as well.

@Pilosopong Tasyo
Thank you for your feedback! I agree with every point you have. As for ESR's How To Ask Questions The Smart Way, that is the general idea of what I am going for with a guide to google. Except it would be more, well, search-engine oriented. Since you also mentioned that there are a lot of guides already out there, I'm not really sure at this time if it would be worth posting. I feel that waiting a bit longer, be it a week or possibly more, to gather feedback and generate interest will be the first step.


Thank you to everyone for all your feedback in this thread thus far! :)

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:08 pm
by killer de bug

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:07 pm
by JohnBobSmith
Killer de bug, that's basically what I was going for. It might be a good idea to see if there is a way to get better Linux-based results. There is the Linux Beginner Search Engine project, but I'm not sure how many people use that.

Right now its looking like there is little interest in this guide. I'll probably post it on my github page at some point. That said, I will collect feedback for a bit longer and let you guys know if I decide to post it here or not. :)

Re: Is a "How to use google" guide/thread a good idea?

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:44 am
by JohnBobSmith
After a week, there doesnt seem to be much interest. I won't be posting my guide to the internet.

Best wishes to all,
JohnBobSmith