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Darrius Gothly

Question about Viewer 2.x and In-World Search

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I don't use the v2.x Viewer but I've noticed some behavior regarding In-World Search that I would like to verify.

When you sign up for Second Life then download and install a Viewer 2, what is the default Maturity setting for Search > All?

Is it:

  • General only
  • General and Moderate
  • Moderate only
  • Or something else

I ask because I'm noticing a shift in the statistics for hit rates on search results. Even though Search Rank isn't changing, the actual number of clicks on a particular parcel is decreasing for Moderate rated parcels, but seems to be increasing at a roughly identical rate for General rated parcels.

I get the feeling that the default maturity selection is General now and, as a result, new users on Viewer 2 are only searching using General. This would also fit with the ongoing shift toward only General rated content as well.

If anyone can provide additional statistics or verify the default behavior, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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I think I might know why you see this.

When you open the search window, and type a search in the field, you only get results marked General. Even if you have set it to other maturity ratings in prefs, the search window refuse to use these, and only give results for General.

If, however, you type the search in the search field in the location bar in the viewer, you get results for all maturity ratings you have set prefs to show.

I have no idea whether this is new behaviour (but is almost certainly 'expected behaviour' if you ask the Lindens), but I only noticed it a couple of days ago.

- Luc -

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Luc Starsider wrote:

I think I might know why you see this.

When you open the search window, and type a search in the field, you only get results marked General. Even if you have set it to other maturity ratings in prefs, the search window refuse to use these, and only give results for General.

If, however, you type the search in the search field in the location bar in the viewer, you get results for all maturity ratings you have set prefs to show.

I have no idea whether this is new behaviour (but is almost certainly 'expected behaviour' if you ask the Lindens), but I only noticed it a couple of days ago.

- Luc -

So the two separate places where you can perform a search will deliver different results? Is there any chance you (or someone) can post some screenshots of these two locations so I can get a visual fix on what you mean please? I am a complete newb idiot on v2 because I've never laid eyes on it for more than 20 seconds. (Just long enough to watch my daughter's computer blue screen time and time again .. before she uninstalled it and has never gone back.)

 

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I'll post a few screenshots when I get home from work today. The behaviour I describe above is what happens to me. I'm not sure it is like that for others, but it would be good to get some confirmation on the issue.

Basically, when you start the viewer, there is a search field next to the location bar, above the sidebar, which has a little magnifying glass in it. Typing in this field and then pressing enter opens a search window with the result in it. Doing it this way finds everything (or not?) with the maturity ratings you want, and expect. In the result window, all relevant maturity ratings have a checkmark next to them.

You can, however, press Ctrl+F to open the search window (the same window mentioned above) and type the search term directly in a field in this window. Doing this give results based only on a general maturity rating, regardless of what was checked before typing the query and pressing enter.

But, as I said, I'll provide a couple of screenshots later today.

- Luc -

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Luc Starsider wrote:

I'll post a few screenshots when I get home from work today. The behaviour I describe above is what happens to me. I'm not sure it is like that for others, but it would be good to get some confirmation on the issue.

Basically, when you start the viewer, there is a search field next to the location bar, above the sidebar, which has a little magnifying glass in it. Typing in this field and then pressing enter opens a search window with the result in it. Doing it this way finds everything (or not?) with the maturity ratings you want, and expect. In the result window, all relevant maturity ratings have a checkmark next to them.

You can, however, press Ctrl+F to open the search window (the same window mentioned above) and type the search term directly in a field in this window. Doing this give results based only on a general maturity rating, regardless of what was checked before typing the query and pressing enter.

But, as I said, I'll provide a couple of screenshots later today.

- Luc -

 

Excellent .. Thank you Luc.

So now I need to understand, when new users are using the v2.x viewer, which method do you think they use most often? For old-timer (okay okay .. "established") users on v2.x, which method do you think they use?

If the most common behavior results in the General-only search, that pretty much cuts out about 80% of the Grid from appearing in their Search Results. That would certainly explain a drastic downturn in In-World sales.

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

 

Luc Starsider wrote:

I'll post a few screenshots when I get home from work today. The behaviour I describe above is what happens to me. I'm not sure it is like that for others, but it would be good to get some confirmation on the issue.

Basically, when you start the viewer, there is a search field next to the location bar, above the sidebar, which has a little magnifying glass in it. Typing in this field and then pressing enter opens a search window with the result in it. Doing it this way finds everything (or not?) with the maturity ratings you want, and expect. In the result window, all relevant maturity ratings have a checkmark next to them.

You can, however, press Ctrl+F to open the search window (the same window mentioned above) and type the search term directly in a field in this window. Doing this give results based only on a general maturity rating, regardless of what was checked before typing the query and pressing enter.

But, as I said, I'll provide a couple of screenshots later today.

- Luc -

 

Excellent .. Thank you Luc.

So now I need to understand, when new users are using the v2.x viewer, which method do you think they use most often? For old-timer (okay okay .. "established") users on v2.x, which method do you think they use?

If the most common behavior results in the General-only search, that pretty much cuts out about 80% of the Grid from appearing in their Search Results. That would certainly explain a drastic downturn in In-World sales.

 

Hmmm... Good question.

I don't know, honestly. I would hope most use the search field next to the location bar. That's what I do myself. When you think about it, viewer 2 was designed to be more like a web browser so that new people had an interface they would recognize. In some ways it does resemble a browser but in others it does not. The location bar with the address and search field is one of those elements that are like a browser, so I imagine it feels rather natural for people to simply click and type to search. Opening the find window first, and then type the query to search just seems to much of a hassle to do. Some people will prefer that method, though.

Established users. Tricky... I sort of see myself as established, and prefer the first method I mentioned above. Others might be more comfortable with opening the search window and type the search term in the window, simply because that's how it worked in viewer 1.2x.

But this is only my opinion - I have no idea of whether it's true or not. Maybe some more people have more of a clue....

Until someone else confirms that search really give different results depending on where you type the query, I don't even know if I'm right about that, either.

If I am right, though, search is broken more than it used to be, for sure, and need fixing.

So, do you still feel the need for some pictures, or did I manage to explain well enough?

- Luc -

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Luc Starsider wrote:

Until someone else confirms that search really give different results depending on where you type the query, I don't even know if I'm right about that, either.

If I am right, though, search is broken more than it used to be, for sure, and need fixing.

So, do you still feel the need for some pictures, or did I manage to explain well enough?

- Luc -

Nope, I think I have a good mental image now. As long as we can confirm behavior regarding Maturity Settings, this could be an even bigger issue than Search returning "wrong" results. Eliminating 80% of products being sold in-world is a MASSIVE hit to the economy and raises serious questions about LL's true intent.

 

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Soooooo. OK. I had another go at searching now that v. 2.6 is out. I still have the same issue, but my lovely lady and a friend of mine do not. For them, it does not matter where the search is typed, it works as expected. I, on the other hand, get an 'Authorization token missing' error, and only General results returned.

Maybe what I said before is not a big problem. Perhaps I'm the only one with the search issue, and it is something else entirely causing what you observed. (Typical! I was sure I was on to something here... :|)

I'd still like more people to say what's happening to them...

- Luc -

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My understanding of search in V2 is this:

- The very first time someone installs it they'd need to go into preferences and set the option for either general only, general+moderate, or general + moderate +adult.

- When they next type a search in the search box in the viewer it would open up the search window with the results but would only show general results. They would then need to tick the moderate and adult options in the search window to see more.

- Once they had done this, the tick boxes they had chosen in the search window would be remembered and all relevant results would be return on sunsequent searches (and that is remembered accross logons). Of course, someone may change those filters in the search window to narrow down results at some point and that would be remembered too if they forgot to turn them back.

So it is possible that new users could just be getting General results even after setting their preferences if they don't do the tick boxes in the search window too. However, I think it should be fairly obvious once they do a search as they should see that just the 'general' box is ticked and realise they need to tick the others for more results.

I haven't observed what Luc is describing. The first time I set my preferences and the tick boxes in the search window I'm pretty sure it's always been remembered whether I type my search query in the search box in the viewer interface, or from opening up the search window. It's possible something has changed recently though and I'll check the next time I get chance :)

ETA: Just noticed Luc's latest reply. I think that "authorization token missing' error might be a bug with the age verification that seems to effect some people. It might be worth trying to age verify again, update payment info again or raise a support ticket for that.

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Suella, you could be right that they forget to check the boxes for other maturity ratings than General.

And, as I said in my previous post, it may be only me who has the issue with the search window. Let's hope that!

- Luc -

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

I didn't have this problem with 2.5.1

After upgrading, still no problems with 2.6.0

I know it's been quite a while since you installed your first copy, but you do speak to more v2.x users than I do. Do you know what are the default Maturity settings?

 

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It's been a while since I installed V2 too, but I'm pretty sure that, even after a person has selected all maturity ratings in preferences, it still defaults to General only until the tick boxes are also selected in the search window.

So that might tie in with what you are seeing - more new users defaulting to General only for their searches. However, I would imagine that, assuming a new user has got as far as age verifying and changing preferences, they would also quickly spot (or already be aware of) the check boxes on the search window.

I suppose its also possible that an increase in General only search returns may be a result of the teens. Although, as their numbers are relatively small I guess their effect would be minimal (having said that, now 16 and 17 year olds can legitimately join the main grid, maybe there have been a ton of new teens signing up - would be interesting to see some stats on that actually, although I guess LL may not want to release them).

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

It's defaulted to General on a fresh installation for as long as I can remember. Possibly since the first versions.

Thank you.

 

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Suella Ember wrote:

It's been a while since I installed V2 too, but I'm pretty sure that, even after a person has selected all maturity ratings in preferences, it still defaults to General only until the tick boxes are also selected in the search window.

So that might tie in with what you are seeing - more new users defaulting to General only for their searches. However, I would imagine that, assuming a new user has got as far as age verifying and changing preferences, they would also quickly spot (or already be aware of) the check boxes on the search window.

I suppose its also possible that an increase in General only search returns may be a result of the teens. Although, as their numbers are relatively small I guess their effect would be minimal (having said that, now 16 and 17 year olds can legitimately join the main grid, maybe there have been a ton of new teens signing up - would be interesting to see some stats on that actually, although I guess LL may not want to release them).

 

Thank you Suella.

The measure of shift I am seeing is not something that could be accomplished by a few 100 teens. Even if there were nothing but new v2.x users using only General searches, the shift is so dramatic that I doubt it would account for all of it. However, it could be explained by several factors combined:

1) More and more searches defaulted to General only without the user realizing they need to age verify and set their specific Search maturity preferences,

2) Fewer people using In-World search due to its failure to return relevant results,

3) Decline in people purchasing In-World thus needing to search,

4) Decline in the market segments that I am drawing my statistics from.

Unfortunately the only entity in possession of any statistics that could tell us about any of those is Linden Lab .. and their official policy is to refuse to release all stats, even such "Generic" stats as Total Searches Performed at each Maturity Combination, Average Searches Per Hour, etc. In fact, since their official statement on Search is total silence, their (apparent) official stance is that Search works as desired and no amount of Customer Feedback will be considered.

If I thought for a second that Linden Lab would actually permit a third-party search service to use their (presently publicly available) HTML Parcel Listing pages, I'd toss my hat into that ring. But in light of the changes I've seen them make to destroy or disable any competitive services, I know it would just be a really frustrating way to waste a lot of money. Even when such a service offloads their primary expense onto a third-party, they still refuse to tolerate any competitors that might use their data.

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I'm a bit curious. Where does this statistic where you see the result come from? Do you get access to this statistic when you have a parcel/store listed in search?

Also, I wonder, is the change you notices a marked change, or is it gradual (as in; could it be tied in with some specific event or is it just a general change over time)?

(btw, I hope I didn't waste to much of everybody's time with 'my' search issue. It did seem to fit very well here, but does indeed seem to be something only I'm experiencing...)

- Luc -

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

I sell a number of products that are designed to aid Merchants in improving and optimising their rank in Search. As a result, I am able to evaluate rank and search statistics across a broad range of keywords, product types and parcel ratings. There are no statistics provided by LL, only those I derive.

(BTW: Just for those that might be a bit skittish, none of my products track IP Addresses of any sort. All statistics come from In-World objects anyway, so the only IP Addresses would be from Sim Servers and NEVER from an end-user or other personally identifiable source.)

Oh, OK. I imagine that must be useful for a lot of merchants. You can never get high enough in search ranks, right? It seems it's not easy to get something like that out of LL. And you are probably wise to specify what data is collected, from where and how it is done after the recent focus on privacy...

 


Darrius Gothly wrote:

Very marked, and recent too. Within the last few weeks the numbers show a steep decline. There has been a very tiny uptick in the past day or two, but nothing that returns the numbers to the levels of a few months ago.

 

This, to me indicate the change being cause by a specific event of some sort. Since it seems the default maturity settings for search haven't changed lately, the effect of people discovering that they have to actively check moderate and adult in the search dialog to get all results I think would be more gradual - it would happen over time.

 

Suella mentioned the teens, but also that the numbers are perhaps to small to have a big impact on search statistics. At the very least the teens joining would mean that the 'general' search results would increase as opposed to the other maturity ratings decrease in your statistics. How does this fit in with what you're seeing?

I wonder if there have been some upgrades to the sim servers that could have an effect like you see. Maybe changes was made to search a few weeks back. Perhaps some indexing issues resulted. It seems like a long time for things to normalize, though. I have not been paying attention to any of this, so I wouldn't know.

- Luc -

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Suella Ember wrote:

ETA: Just noticed Luc's latest reply. I think that "authorization token missing' error might be a bug with the age verification that seems to effect some people. It might be worth trying to age verify again, update payment info again or raise a support ticket for that.

 

I just noticed your edit.

Thank you Suella. So it's a known bug? It could be that I'm just to lazy to do proper searches for these issues. :) 

I use Paypal, and want to keep it that way, so it is out of the question to update my payment info. The Lindens have more than enough to do with far more important issues, so I don't think I'll be opening one for this little thing. It works fine as long as I type in the correct search field, so it's not really a problem.

- Luc -

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When I began to notice the "shift", as is my usual practice, I started hunting out possible causes. As I was sifting through the likely culprits, one came to mind that I knew absolutely zip about .. how the Search UI works in Viewer 2.

Since my original post, and as the various answers have trickled in, I've eliminated some suspects, elevated others .. and continued to theorize.

I have to exclude the "Teen Influence" because while they may be doing only General maturity searches, I do not believe their introduction has replaced the rest of the current and new adult shoppers. Therefore if it was just them, I would expect to see a rise in General only searches but not a concommitant decrease in Moderate and Adult searches. But that is what I'm seeing; as the number of General searches has gone up, the number of Moderate and Adult searches has gone down .. almost directly proportional.

Sim software has no effect on how people search, but the Viewer does. If LL has set the default on install to "General Only" and as the user base slowly shifts over to the new LL Viewer 2.x ... that would explain the shift.

If it was some external cause (such as the oft-cited Japanese disaster) then I would expect all maturity levels to decline, but that is not what I'm seeing.

I'm still not convinced that it is a "single cause" issue either. Any cause that effects as vast and diverse a population as that in SL seldom is a single point of influence.

Oh well .. I'll keep digging and crunching. If I find a smoking gun, I will be sure to run around screaming "The Sky Is Falling!" (since it is my typical modus operandi .. *GRIN*)

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