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Recent Improvements to SL Search

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Jack.Linden

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At Linden Lab, we recognize that SL Search is an aspect of the Second Life experience that is a top “back to basics,” priority to improve. So, over the last few months, the SL Search team has been working hard to make Search results more accurate and prepare for the Teen Second Life migration to the Main Grid. Here's a brief overview:

 

New Filters for Search with General or Moderate Ratings

Until now, we've had both land and language filtering in search results. However, there was no real difference between General and Moderate content filters. We're tweaking the content filters, both by defining a "Moderate" set of keywords and by altering some of the teen-related language in the adult filters. If your parcel or profile does not appear at the maturity level you expect it to, then edit your text. You will usually see your edits reflected in Search within six hours.

 

Classified Ads Now Get Extra Level of Rating Validation

Classifieds have always allowed Residents listing a Classified to self-declare the maturity rating of their ad. With teens gaining access to the Main Grid, we've added content filtering to provide another level of rating validation. If you list an ad and don't see the maturity level you're optimizing for in search results, then just edit your text. You should see the edits reflected in Search in about an hour.

 

New Functionality Automatically Builds in Keyword Variations

We’ve also added new functionality (stemming and stop words, for all the industry professionals out there) into Classifieds, which means that advertisers don’t have to stuff their descriptions with every variation of a keyword. For example, a search for “Dance” will return descriptions with “dancing,” “dances,” and “danced."

 

More Sophisticated Filters to Identify Spam and Optimize Search Results

We've moved from the more rigid "past this point and you get dinged" method of calculating boost to one that balances several features of your page. These aspects include how often words are repeated, the nature of the objects on your parcel, the size of the parcel, unique descriptors, and the use of symbols and ALL CAPS. It is important to note that the filter takes into consideration many things. Depending on the combination used, your score could be impacted negatively or not at all.

A note about the perceived "size boost": We want to promote all relevant locations in Second Life -- big or small. Larger stores, with bigger inventories, are more likely to be mistakenly downgraded in Search for repetition in their descriptions and objects. So, we give larger parcels a minor buffer to allow for that. We’ve also adjusted this buffer so that it should be less noticeable. In addition, we now apply a negative boost for parcels that are below the minimum size permitted in search.

All of these factors are now rolled into the one visible spam boost rating on each parcel. It’s worth checking it over the next two weeks as we roll out changes and make the appropriate updates to your information. Edits are typically reflected on the World page in a few minutes and up to six hours in Search.

 

Destination Guide

Finally, we’ve made some changes to the Destination Guide to reflect each listing’s parcel maturity. This will ensure that teens have access to all of the Destination Guide listings they see in the Find window and all Residents will now see Destination Guide entries filtered by maturity level.

 

Let Us Know What You Think

We hope that these changes benefit everyone in Second Life -- inworld businesses and Residents alike. Keep an eye on Search release notes for ongoing updates. Try it out and let us know if you notice the improvements. We look forward to your feedback in comments below!

Note: Edited to fix spacing and headings on new platform. - Sea

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You are still giving large parcels for businesses you like a boost even when they should not be boosted because their products are fewer and inferior. It is called forming trusts to control an economy.

Also Jack thanks for admitting you give free advertising to your friends like Ozimals. You stated this clearly at your office hour today. Everyone in SL paying tier to support a business needs to understand LL gives unfair advantage to LL's friends. It is called forming trusts to control an economy.

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I am at a loss why so many businesses have to suffer, just so a few hundred kids can come on the grid.

 

The many have to sacrifice for the good of the few.

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Well Jack, how come you are not "excited" about this announcement. You usually are "excited," ya know.

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Ann Otoole  says: 

You are still giving large parcels for businesses you like a boost even when they should not be boosted because their products are fewer and inferior. It is called forming trusts to control an economy.

Also Jack thanks for admitting you give free advertising to your friends like Ozimals. You stated this clearly at your office hour today. Everyone in SL paying tier to support a business needs to understand LL gives unfair advantage to LL's friends. It is called forming trusts to control an economy.  

I wonder why LL did not call the Atlas Program, Forming Trusts Program? Oh the mysteries of the minds of those who really run the Lab. It is no wonder Philip bailed out from acting CEO. He must have been completely baffled by it all.

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I am at a loss why so many businesses have to suffer, just so a few hundred kids can come on the grid.

 

The many have to sacrifice for the good of the few.

Indeed, but it started a while back when they stopped perfectly general rated business from appearing in general search because they had the audacity to be on mature land, all this for a few hundred kids.

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Hey Jack,

Perhaps you can take a moment out of your busy day buffing search results for your buddies who can afford huge plots of land and have one of you search people actually ANSWER MY NEARLY 3 WEEK OLD TICKET about my search listing now showing 0,0,0 coordinates.   Its really such fun to have inworld sales suddenly go to zero, finally figure out why (its dropping customers in the water at the corner of the sim) and then get ignored by support for weeks -- and when I do manage to get someone on Live Help, you close their escalation ticket without comment or actually fixing the problem the same day.

Between you skewing things in favor of big names, and mucking up the search results (if I search for dance, I damned well do NOT want dancing or dances) to be nearly useless, I guess I should not be surprised that I cannot get assistance from anyone to fix the problem YOU created for me.

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1. You've seriously harmed small business enough with your search tweaking, give it a rest.

2. The SEO folks will soon figure out your little plans and get back to the top, as they always do.

3. Classifieds are being limited to 256 characters, why? Less characters means a less human readable description.

4. Yet more silly language filters that frustrate people more than they help people, it's a silly idea and all for a very small number of teens for whom you should have a far better migration plan.

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Hey Jack,... my search listing now showing 0,0,0 coordinates.   ...

You do have a landing point set on your parcel right?

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Ayep, checked that as did the live support person.   But it comes up 0.0.0 in search...I think I will delete it and reset it and see if perhaps that helps.

Ticket still sitting there with NEW status in support.

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Ayep, checked that as did the live support person.   But it comes up 0.0.0 in search...I think I will delete it and reset it and see if perhaps that helps.

Ticket still sitting there with NEW status in support.

I have read that this is a Viewer 2 bug, and that LL doesn't understand how it presents a problem, so, it just won't fix it.

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Viewer 2 search is painfully slow compared to 1.x viewer search. And it resets after every TP. Start search again from the very beginning. Not user friendly at all. Wait, wait, wait .... yawn.

If I need to quickly find for example live music events, I rather use 1.x viewer. Or search people, again 1.x viewer search is more usable.

Search must be fast. It's not fun waiting, waiting and still waiting for the search results.

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Yes, this is imho an even greater problem. As much as I'm opposed to hardcoding stuff into the viewer, the "search as a website" just doesn't work. There's no reason to fire up the whole browser framework (mozlib?) every time search is opened. In the end, looks aren't as important as speed and functionality. 

PS: Why is everybody so shocked and whiny about LL giving some people benefits? It's their platform, they are a company, not an elected government (not even a charity or nongovernmental organisation) so they can of course give whoever they feel like whatever benefit they feel like. I don't think it's good for long term economic viability of the platform but, hey, that's LL's Problem

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Among the gazillion other things that need fixed with viewer 2.0, how about designating the same aspect ratio for the Land Description pic that shows up in search and the one that shows up in the Sidebar pop-out when the Profile button in Search is selected?

Or...

Put the Profile back into the Search panel where it belongs and forget about the Sidebar popping out!

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Your all new improved Search is not showing my place of business in Places/Traffic Search!

I'm on Gemini Isle and have the whole region designated as my business.

The land description is "AURA WIND CHIMES & MEDITATION @ Windchimes Gardens".

Yet when I go into viewer 2.0 Search, type in "wind chimes" and go to Places>Traffic, I'm nowhere to be found!

Wind chimes are my main product and I can't even get shown in traffic search with a whole island?

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If more than 1 avatar has the same displayname how do I find the correct avatar in the search on the SL website?

How do I know who is who?

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Yes, this, beside ranking and parcel dropping, is hard.

  1. Slow: it often takes up to 20 seconds until the search results show..or the result page stays just empty at all...
  2. Reset after every TP ? When i searched for something, i ended with pen and paper making notes what places to visited. Was far faster than starting a new search after each shop i had visited.

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Why is there now a resident named "Gowns Resident," with account created on 11/19/2010, who shows up first in Search All under a search for "gowns?"

Profile is blank but for the name. Search is performed in a TPV 1.x-based viewer. Is this an LL cludge of some sort, or a new way to use display names or avatars to game the Search system?

(Also now taken/unavailable in account signup: Skin, Skins, dresses, makeup.... do we see a trend here?)

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It healed itself sometime between yesterday AM and this morning (I just looked, was about to reset the LP, since I didn't get to it last night).  cant tell if they got to the ticket or not as the view tickets page just says loading with a spinning disk that never stops, but my store now has real, working coordinates.   And sales have started once again.   Something happened, not sure what, since if a linden fixed it they didn't bother to drop me an IM.

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  1. Is it meant to be that way, that when searching for "Moderate"-only content a lot of "General" results appear ?
  2. Is it meant to be that way, that when searching for "Adult"-only content a lot of "General" and "Moderate" results appear ?

I see super-ranked 'General' and 'Moderate' parcels ... so good ranked that they even appear in 'Adult'-only searches.

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So since we were asked to post what we think in the comments: It's buggy. A search for any word with "General+Moderate" gives the same results that a search for "Moderate" only. Same for "Adult"-only searched...the results that should show only adult places have a lot of general/moderate results in them.

Maturity filters were broken with this update.

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Why is there now a resident named "Gowns Resident," with account created on 11/19/2010, who shows up first in Search All under a search for "gowns?"

Profile is blank but for the name. Search is performed in a TPV 1.x-based viewer. Is this an LL cludge of some sort, or a new way to use display names or avatars to game the Search system?

(Also now taken/unavailable in account signup: Skin, Skins, dresses, makeup.... do we see a trend here?)

 

I noticed this to.

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Jack: about the spam filter part:-

You say that "Edits are typically reflected on the World page in a few minutes ..." but you are wrong. Edits used to be reflected on the page in a few minutes but not now. It now takes hours for an edit to be viewable in the page, and sometimes not until the next day. That alone makes your new system virtually unworkable for place owners.

To start with, all the biases will be included in the one "boost" figure, so we won't know if a negative boost is caused by page content or by something else. We could work with that if we could do as you suggested - experiment with the words on the page and see the updated page and boost in minutes. But, since it takes at least hours for any edit, and its effect on the boost, to be seen, the new system will be virtually impossible for users to work with. It could take goodness knows how many days of testng to find out which part of the page is causing the negative boost, when it may not even be the content at all. That's *really* bad. Do you really want people to empty their pages altogether and spend goodness knows how many days of adding bit by bit to find out which bit causes a negative boost?

Judging by your blog, you didn't know that pages now take such a long time before any edits are viewable. Get that back to minutes and it will be workable but, as long as an edit takes hours to be reflected in the page, the new boost system will be virtually unworkable for users.

You say that "the nature of the objects on your parcel" can be a negative factor, but you don't say what the "natures" are and we will be blind. I can only come up with three "natures" - normal, not-for-sale and html in the line. Normal objects can't be faulted and html is stripped out of the data that's fed to the GSA, so there's no need to penalise that. That only leaves not-for-sale items and they can't be penalised because there are lots of freebie items around. Perhaps you'd like to tell us what you mean by "object natures" and what types of objects will cause a negative value. Even if there are types of objects that cause a negative value, why not simply leave them out of the page data that's fed to the GSA instead of giving the page a negative boost value because of them?

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