UseModWiki | WikiSuggestions | RecentChanges | Preferences

Suggestions for improving wiki searches

I would suggest that somebody more familiar with this wiki put some pointers here, to wiki pages with details of how to use the current search features (since searching on "search" turned up a zillion hits and searching on "search syntax" only turned up the wiki patch page for extended search).

Add a search button that searches from google

The searches (Example: on http://www.emacswiki.org) are sometimes very slow. OTOH, google can search much faster. It would be so nice to add a search dialog box that takes some terms and does a google search on site:www.site.org term1 term2 etc. on the terms. -- DeepakGoel

Search only links

I would like an option to search only the links in a page. Among other things, this would allow true display of backlinks. Currently the backlink display is too broad: pages containing the text "usemod" need not link to the page UseMod; it may be capitalized wrong, or enclosed in <nowiki> tags.

A parameter to control case-sensitivity would partially solve this problem.

There is now a patch to support BackLinking?. See WikiPatches/BackLinks.

Option to sort by number of hits

I like the way you can search for "wanted pages" with


and for external links with


but these would be a lot more useful if there was a way to reverse the results, sort of, so that you would see something like

  http://link.to/populartarget  ReferringPage1? ReferringPage2? Referringpage3 ...
  http://link2.com/another/one.html  ReferringPage4? ReferringPage5? ...

for the external link search, and something like

  MissingPage1?  ReferringPage1? ReferringPage2? ReferringPage3? ...
  MissingPage2?  ReferringPage4? ReferringPage5? ...

for the missing page search. Getting the most wanted ones listed at the top makes it easy to find the ones which would e.g. benefit the most from being added as a page to your own Wiki, or be granted a link directly from the start page, or whatever -- in short, this would be a useful tool for managing links within the Wiki.

I don't know if an option to action=link would be a good soltion, or if you'd instead like to have something like action=linktarget as an orthogonal case (of sorts) to action=link. -- EraEriksson?

Personally, I think it's better to keep the core script as uncomplicated as possible. I'd extract the link analysis to a separate module or script as it is really irrelevant to the core functionality. Notice how on MeatballWiki, MeatBall:WantedPages is a separate script from the core wiki script? -- SunirShah

Page to find NearMisses

Suppose I write AlaBama? and someone else writes AlabamA?.

We will miss each other, and end up with two pages on the same topic. This can be solved during a refactor, all of the stuff from the two pages can be combined by someone, and one page setup to forward to the other.

To help that process along, it would be neat to have a page like RecentChanges which would find near misses -- defined as pages which have exactly the same name if we ignore case, for which neither of them forwards to the other.

I haven't read your code yet, CliffordAdams. If you tell me that this would be very difficult, I won't attempt it. If you tell me that it would be very easy, I would appreciate the opportunity to write this code myself and send you the patch. I want to learn more about your code!

As always, of course, there may be some reason why this isn't a good idea anyway. :-) --JimboWales

See MeatBall:WikiNameCanonicalization which is what MeatBall:MetaWiki uses to resolve such collisions during MeatBall:TwinPages matches.

Slightly more intelligent search

When I search for 'CliffordAdams' I find what I am looking for, namely the CliffordAdams page, and some other pages where he signed his name or someone mentioned him. When I search for 'Clifford Adams' (note the more natural uncrammed spelling), I am somewhat disappointed.

I'm very consistent with my Wiki-spelling of my name. Sometimes I almost write CliffordAdams on MeatBall:BigBlueRoom forms. :-)

When the user types multiple words in the search engine, perhaps it could search for what they type exactly, as it does now, plus it could cram the words together for them and add those results as well.

There may be some other reason that I haven't seen why this would be unpleasant... I just thought of this now. --JimboWales

The current search form is rather minimal, and I hope to extend it in the near future. This is an interesting suggestion. I might even go the other way also and search for the natural-English form (with spaces) as well as wiki-words. Perhaps the search could be done twice--once for each form.

This would definitely have to be an option if it was implemented. Sometimes I want to search for un-wiki forms of common text to find stuff to wikify. Also, some wiki servers might not want to do a double-search, especially when they are on a shared service (like usemod.com). --CliffordAdams

[...] I find that it would be good to have the ability to search just in page names, like the original Wiki does. Maybe this is possible and I am missing it. (One could type a regular expression that matched ^[A-Za-z]*PATTERN[A-Za-z]*$ I suppose.


Actually, you couldn't use that regular expression because the wiki does a case-insensitive search. For now, you could load a page like UseMod:action=index or UseMod:action=links and use the browser-search features. Later, I hope to add options for title-only and plain-text (non-regex) searches. --CliffordAdams

Better search output

See WikiPatches/BetterSearchOutput

In-line searching

MoinMoin also supports an in-line search capability of some kind, making it really easy to create index pages for a group of related pages. Something like @SEARCH "My Search Text" would do the trick.

-- WillDuquette

Powerful Inline Searches

A powerful inline search extends the possible uses for a wiki a great deal. Example: The ability to list selected pages (e.g out of a WikiCategory?) makes it possible to use the wiki as a flexible tracking tool (think WikiCategories? such as "UseCase?" or "TaskAssignedTo?"), or one can make a RecentChanges page for a set of pages e.g CategoryPersonRecentChanges?.

A inline search could look something like:


Some search options I put in the word "Powerful" (no particular order):


daysago=<days> (default:BeginingOfTime ;)

scope=all|body|link (default:all)

reporttype=link|brief|page|rc (default:link)




casesensitive=yes|no (default:no)

regex=yes|no (default:yes)


A simple search:

@SEARCH{"Some text to search"}

The RecentChanges page could be implemented with this:

@SEARCH{daysago=30 sort=date reporttype=rc}

..and the CategoryPersonRecentChanges? page mentioned above could be implemented with:

@SEARCH{"CategoryPerson" scope=body daysago=30 sort=date reporttype=rc}

(scope=body will prevent the page name "CategoryPerson?" to be matched, only pages containing the text "CategoryPerson?" matches.)

Ok, I think you get the idea.. Im not completely happy with the reporttype option, the search output should be very flexible to fit most applications of an inline search and I dont think reporttype is flexible enough. [TWiki] has a quite good inline search feature, maybe some things could be learned from that [TWiki InlineSearch].

-- ChristianHolmboe

How about just MeatBall:InternalTransclusions, but include such things as the search options? -- SunirShah

I'd like to see actually the [TWiki search] possibilities implemented in UseMod. They are by far the best I know from any wiki sw. There are a lot of possiblities in UseMod already but they are hardly useable for general users since there is no simple tag to include a text box AFAIK, thus you have to know the syntax or search for it. Easy text box inclusion would be really neat for several purposes anyway. -- DavidAndel

Redirect to search as error capture

Currently, if a bad pagename is specified the user is left looking at a curt error message. Would be nicer if it instead tried doing a case-insensitive search, possibly stripping off any extraneous punctuation

Also, when browsing an unknown page, there is faux wiki text saying "Describe the new page here." Perhaps it could also insert a search result for that page name, thus revealing any near-misses in AlabamA?

search voyeurism

Log all search requests. Reveal that log. Apart from purposes of voyeurism, search logs are a very handy tool used by usability engineers and content managers to improve websites ... what people search for, especially weird spelling variations and synonyms, reveals a lot about what the existing navigation structure is failing to provide.

embolden term hits in page names

When doing a search, the resulting list can include pages that include the term in the page name itself (eg. a search for 'wiki' finds WikiPatches), along with many pages that don't contain term in the page name, only the page content.

It's fair to say that the former are likely to be more relevant to the searcher, so perhaps those particular hits could be emphasized in the search list.

target=_blank when in edit mode

The number of times I've blown away an edit in progress by foolishly triggering a search ... I'm forced to resort to opening a new browser window, loading any darn page, then entering the search term and executing. Blech.

Is it possible to detect that the current page is in edit mode and thus have the GetSearchForm sub modify itself to specify target=_blank?

(btw: hooey on W3C deprecation of target=_blank)

(btw2: yes, I'm smartalecky enough to use a bookmarklet to automate a search for selected text, but won't anyone think of the children^H^H^H^H^H^H^Husers!)

Search the "Summary" comments, too.

Either additionally or optionally let include the "Summaries" to be searched, too. It may happen that you want to search for the editor's comment(s) where he might use other keywords than in the actual document. --RadoS

Search for "editor".

In case some spammer slips through and his changes drop out of awareness in the recentchanges history or get overwritten by an unaware editor, it would help track it down. --RadoS

Literal or Quoted Search

Since a lot of wikis are used by technical communities, some options for literal searches or quoted searches might be a good idea, to allow searching on command options (example: "mutt -y", or mutt "-y")

Actually, a technical community probably doesn't need such a feature. They would probably be comfortable using the existing UseModWiki regular expression search functionality. For example, seaching this wiki for mutt results in several hits, but searching for mutt\s+-y matches just your text on this page. -- RichardP

...please feel free to add more...

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Last edited March 14, 2005 1:51 am by MarkusLude (diff)