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The Lindens Are Giving Search a Facelift, But Not Fixing It


Prokofy Neva
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I have to say I am in total shock after watching this video of the Web User Group November 3 meeting, where Reed Linden speaks.

 

He enthusiastically describes that the Lindens are working on giving search a "facelift". But then he cautions us that it will continue to work as it has, with the same algorithms.

Now, let's leave aside all the issues of Search that people have regarding secret algorithms and what they allegedly favour or don't favour.

I'm talking about how search has been broken just as a basic tool for more than a year. Now I know why. I was so puzzled. Recently I tried to figure out which meeting to try to go to, in order to try to find where Search is even worked on, whether it is server side or in the viewer -- obviously it must be server side, and apparently this is that secret group not announced on the Google list of Linden office hours but which those "in the know" can find out about or read Inara Pey's blog.

There have been numerous threads about how search is broken; those in various businesses are the first to pipe up about it. What I have always suspected is that the Lindens working on this don't realize how it used to be even last year -- not as it was under Viewer 1.23, which is why I really was unhappy to go to Viewer 2.0, but how it has been the last few years with 2ff.

This was not only the expected behaviour; it was the ACTUAL behaviour: Example -- and it's not about me -- I type in "Ravenglass Rentals" to search/places and I get back about 120 results -- as I have have paid 120 x 30L for the search ad (which is, indeed, an ad, and about having the land show up in search). 

For the last year, I type "Ravenglass Rentals" and I get back 2,313 replies, some of which are just other rentals companies. That is NOT what occurred when I typed those two words into search a year ago, and for the last five or more years, since 2.0.

One in 2018 search broke like this; businesses complained and instantly it was fixed, within 48 hours, and put back the way it was.

But this time, for reasons that are truly baffling to users, it has been left broken.

Worst of all, it has been impossible to get Lindens and many others to see it because Firestorm did not remove search as it was in 1.23, so it continued to work there and still does, due to the two types of search incorporated. 

So for those few users of the SL Viewer, trying to get Lindens who don't seem to ever need to use search/places or search/names to accept that it has been broken, is hugely frustrating.

And now Reed Linden has said that yes, it is a "blunt instrument" as he put it, and we need it to become refined, etc.

But again, what happened is that it worked; when it broke and started producing not the list of search/place ads but a huge grab bag, it was fixed and put back. It broke again, or was dismantled, and has been a bungle for the last year, making the 30L ad worthless.

Since people persist in viewing this as a problem of "why aren't I on top in search" and not "why can't I find my own land in search when I pay for search ads," let me try to burn it in more.

Type "Reed Linden" into the search/people box. You get 1,125 results. That's not a "blunt instrument" -- that's a huge mess. His name is on top, despite this huge number of returns -- but it's the luck of the draw.

Now type in "Izzy Linden."

OK then. Try to grasp the problem. Try to see how it might affect people not using search as a business tool, gaming it out or strategizing or using traffic gimmicks to "get on top". But just using search as a basic telephone book. A basic list -- for which you paid -- where you can find at the very least what you put into it, but also what others put into .

I realize the Lindens are on their own wavelength with this, it doesn't register with them, they have not heard our cries about this from the Mainland SL viewer users, and that they will not be fixing it. All I want is an *explanation of why it happened*. Was it deliberate? Did it have to do with the Google Appliance or Apache Appliance or some literal code? Did it have to do with the decision to "make the facelift". Was it related to the move to the cloud?

And I realize that even an answer to that simple question may be "proprietary," But then surely you can acknowledge simply that search is broken; it doesn't work as intended. If you type the precise title of a business or a venue into search, you shouldn't in our context thousands of returns; you should get one. Otherwise the search ad has no meaning.

 

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Just nothing that INVENTORY search is also broken -- and in Firestorm (assuming it is also in the Linden viewer).  I was looking for some inventory last week and knew the exact name of the item (my blog credits copied and pasted) and also knew I had NOT deleted it.  Couldn't find it with search. Suspect that the database fairy may have struck again but then wen painstakingly though my folders looking for it where it "should have been" and indeed it was there. I tried searching again using the exact name of the item and then part of the name (like "table") and neither of those brought up the item.   

 

I had suspected this problem for a long while but never bothered to test it thoroughly. SO if you are missing a particular item in your inventory (not a folder's worth, just an item or two)  it may still be there. Just don't expect to find it with search. SOMETIMES of course you will find the item you are looking for. Very confusing. 

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7 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

Just nothing that INVENTORY search is also broken -- and in Firestorm (assuming it is also in the Linden viewer).  I was looking for some inventory last week and knew the exact name of the item (my blog credits copied and pasted) and also knew I had NOT deleted it.  Couldn't find it with search. Suspect that the database fairy may have struck again but then wen painstakingly though my folders looking for it where it "should have been" and indeed it was there. I tried searching again using the exact name of the item and then part of the name (like "table") and neither of those brought up the item.   

 

I had suspected this problem for a long while but never bothered to test it thoroughly. SO if you are missing a particular item in your inventory (not a folder's worth, just an item or two)  it may still be there. Just don't expect to find it with search. SOMETIMES of course you will find the item you are looking for. Very confusing. 

The revised inventory search at least on the SL viewer now has an added function where you can search by the name of the item, its description, the creator, or the UUID. What often happens is that you switch to one of those new search categories out of "Name," such as "Creator," then you forget to put it back, then the next time you search for something by name, it seems to be missing. Once you put it back to "Name" you find it. So that's worth checking.

The biggest problem for me with search is that the cursor constantly slips and cannot come to rest and stay put on the item you search with an exact name, in a large inventory (mine is 194,000). What that means is you can search for a precise item name, it might even come to rest on that item, you click on it to try to hold it in place, but then you have to delete your search term to actually see it. This seems like a crazy thing to be doing but we have always done it.

The other huge liability to this slipping cursor is that you think you have found something, let's say some gatchas you want to put into a gift giver, and you drag the item where your cursor has landed into a prim, in fact, that's not really where it has landed. It has landed on the folder, and then the entire folder of 2000 objects may be dragged into a prim. The Lindens have brakes on every other thing that might cause havoc -- there's only 256 spaces for letters, there's only X number of textures in the scripted texture changer, etc. etc. But putting one prim into another has no limits and definitely should. What is the use case for putting 2000 prims in another prim? What happens is that you cannot then search that inventory, or delete some of it; you have to wait for it to load, which can take 5 minutes or more. You can't highlight and delete items out of that situation; you can't put in "give everything" script in the hopes that it will give back to inventory proper, where it will be manageable -- that script has limits. Etc.

 

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It sounds to me as if the flaw is that the current Search is treating each word separately. So, if I search for "Ravenglass Rentals" I get results including Ravenglass, AND results including Rentals (which is just about every rental operation on the grid!).

Have you tried using Ravenglass+Rentals or putting the search phrase in quotes, "Ravenglass Rentals"?

Note, even if those produce "correct" results, I am not saying that it's user error here and we should all remember to parse our searches properly. Search should be smarter than that.

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7 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

Just nothing that INVENTORY search is also broken -- and in Firestorm (assuming it is also in the Linden viewer).  I was looking for some inventory last week and knew the exact name of the item (my blog credits copied and pasted) and also knew I had NOT deleted it.  Couldn't find it with search. Suspect that the database fairy may have struck again but then wen painstakingly though my folders looking for it where it "should have been" and indeed it was there. I tried searching again using the exact name of the item and then part of the name (like "table") and neither of those brought up the item.   

 

I had suspected this problem for a long while but never bothered to test it thoroughly. SO if you are missing a particular item in your inventory (not a folder's worth, just an item or two)  it may still be there. Just don't expect to find it with search. SOMETIMES of course you will find the item you are looking for. Very confusing. 

Aha.... maybe I did not delete that hair by a mistake... Chic, have you tried to clear inventory cache? (I assume you did, but still asking)

Clear inventory cache has helped me so many times, and if it is does not help on this issue, then I get grumpy. 🤬

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18 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

It sounds to me as if the flaw is that the current Search is treating each word separately. So, if I search for "Ravenglass Rentals" I get results including Ravenglass, AND results including Rentals (which is just about every rental operation on the grid!).

Have you tried using Ravenglass+Rentals or putting the search phrase in quotes, "Ravenglass Rentals"?

Note, even if those produce "correct" results, I am not saying that it's user error here and we should all remember to parse our searches properly. Search should be smarter than that.

IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING ON TOP

Well, yes, "treating each word separately" is the problem, and remember, it's NOT about me being "first" or "top" -- it's about not having to scroll through dozens of papers to find land that I have paid 30L to be in search/places -- and for a good reason, so that other people can look it up and get a list. It's NOT about typing "rentals" and getting me on the top -- I don't deserve to be on the top in anybody's system because I'm a small business -- that will go to the most searched, the largest, the best, the Lindens' friends, whatever. All I want it to do is work like it used to -- as a telephone book.

It does not.

So again, try to hear it, the behaviour prior to late 2020 was that you typed the phrase of any business name (it's not about me) or venue name, and you DID NOT NEED to provide closed quotes or + or any Boolean helpers.

NONE of those methods were required to get *the exact name of a business of venue in search/places for 30L*. Nota bene: *for which you paid*. Some of us routinely will put 100 or 200 or more ads every week. Now that is worthless -- except it is still theoretically worth doing due to the large number of Firestorm users because Firestorm did not break search last year.

But let's answer your question -- and remember my business name is just the example here, and it is not about me -- see above for Silent Sparrow, a place I know as well (and if you mean the one Jessica Ornitz ran, who built Memory Bazaar in Ross and other sims for us, she hasn't logged in so much since going to university and I *think* her store is closed and at any rate moved from where it was years ago -- which is why it isn't in search). For a time "Apple Fall," likely the most popular store in SL for furniture, wasn't showing up and things like "Apple Orchard" were at the top, which was insanity. I mentioned this and maybe the Apple Fall people got the ear of the Lindens to fix their store from doing that - now it's at the top -- and again, it's not because they "deserve to be on top without gaming the system"; it's because a search on an exact store name should return that store name in the first few returns.

USING BOOLEAN OPERATORS IS NOT THE CURE

So to eliminate your claims that it is PICNIC issue (problem in chair, not in computer) --  let's put "Ravenglass Rentals" in quotes like that. Returns: 2,250. That's not normal given that a) I only have about 140 search/places ads now b) it is returning places that were not checked off to be in search. That part is important. NOT CHECKED OFF TO BE IN SEARCH. People don't want themselves in search always. You can fuss with those categories (also fairly useless) and take off "rentals" and put "residence" -- that doesn't always secure a non-entry in search. There are things in those 2,250 returns like "Ravenglass Realms" the region, a private island. Why have the entire island in search? There isn't a way to *put* it in search that I can see -- and in the old days, you would find a region using World Map, not search. Individual *parcels* on Ravenglass Realm maybe be put in search; not the entire island.

I just think this is carelessness, neglect, lack of concern and possibly malice when it goes on for a year.

Now let's try "Ravenglass + Rentals" since you want to hammer every last techie nail here and make sure "I'm the problem". But that returns 2,250 returns as well, and is even worse -- it has the sim called cleverly "Rentals" near the top of the returns -- unrelated to my business.

So I have compensated by telling people to put just "Ravenglass" into search, which is generally better. Except that turns up those entire sims and other odd things, not the parcels I *put in search by paying L30*.

WHAT IS THE LINDENS" THEORY NOW ABOUT 30L ADS?

Maybe the Lindens have another theory about search now, untethered to the 30L ads which are a sink for them, not a source. And there are certain characters on the forums that insist on arguing these 30L ads aren't even ads, which is ridiculous. Historically, for years on end, they functioned as ads; if you wanted to put your store, your club, your yard sale in the view, you purchased at the very least the 30L ad. It's a listing fee, which is still an ad! It's not an expensive classified add but then who has thousands of Lindens to burn on those every week? Not me.

So it seems to me, no, not at all, the current flaw in search is that it is "treating each word separately" because "that search with just that one word" still turns up things that were not put in search.

In the early months of this, it was really garbage -- old parcels that had been re-parceled and renamed in like 2016 showed up; land you sold that wasn't yours showed up; everything from soup to nuts. We complained, that much seems to have been cleaned up -- but not totally.

START WITH CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS, NOT CODE

The Lindens working on this are unable or unwilling to start with the 30L ad in search/places as their center of gravity. It's opaque and meaningless to them. Their world is dominated by fears of "gaming of the system". That's why in that meeting which was taped above you see comments about how "key words need to be blocked". I gather that means "bad key words" rather than "all key words" because obviously, you'd like to be able to type in "men's clothing" and get some reasonable list of things that are stores that bothered to put "men's clothing" in their key words.

So let's try that now: 1,453. Yes, some on top are actual men's clothing stores. But many are "men's hair" or "men's club" because they have the word "men's" and yes, the system seems to jam on single words more than the bound phrase, with or without quotations. Why? Why was that changed? How? With what appliance? 

PS Clearing inventory cache is irrelevant to anything.

MERE TWEAKING WILL NOT HELP

So in conclusion, the Lindens "doing the facelift not the fix" of search need to stop thinking of this as merely a polishing or tweaking problem. They broke it badly a year ago and it has hobbled us ever since, harming business and making the 30L fee at least in part useless. It's driven people like me to use all kinds of other methods -- portals, paid ads at stores, more classifieds, more group notices etc all of which is time consuming and expensive, when WE USED TO HAVE a clean search return with names of stores.

This begs the question of why the Lindens spent a year on a facelift that could have been spent on a fix. But there are arcane and opaque reasons for this. The few meetings of Oz Lindens I attended over the years let me understand that when a Linden can't tackle a severe problem head on -- it's too expensive, it's tied to other things that will get broken, the management hasn't cleared it, it's too hard -- they tackle it by doing a cosmetic change to get the pitchfork crowd to back off. 

The Lindens spent 10 minutes explaining they haven't done mobile and have not completely written off mobile but might have mobile in their future, all the way hemming and hawing and saying "I might get in trouble for saying this."

But who needs mobile? This is a big, heavy, streaming, contiguous, user-generated world. What other thing like that in the Metaverse streams that way? Please don't site Roblox company-made games where your steam add is on mobile. That's not the same thing. Many people use their mobile phones all day yet they don't require SL to stream beautifully on it. They can use the one 3rd party app that isn't in the Apple store but which still can be found and which I find perfectly suitable for changing a group role to "resident" for a paid customers, the only thing I want to do on it if I'm traveling or out with only my phone. The version of SL you would have would ultimately be just a chat interface which is all SL is now for many people who never leave their sim. So go on Discord guys? Why make the Lindens chip their nails. Let the Lindens fix the world before they stream it to your phone.

FUELING CUSTOMER MISTRUST

When someone rents a store from me, which includes the search/place ad covered, a bug from time immemorial means they can't even see the checked off box, engendering suspicion. That's because only the officers in the group can see the checked off box in the land. I'm long used to that, and compensate by saying to people, "Type your store name in search, it should be there in a few hours or by tomorrow."

THAT REASSURANCE IS NOW IRRELEVANT.

Now they come back to me and say, "Why aren't I in search? I type my store name in and I see 2500 returns. Where is it? Are you deceiving me?" Screenshots of the checked box aren't always enough, as they can be photoshopped. Fortunately, only newbies with the SL Viewers, the odd person with the SL Viewer, will then harbour distrust in me and the system; the majority of people see their name in search because search works on Firestorm.

Is this enough to convert me to Firestorm? No way, never, given its history. Occasionally I will go on Cool or Catnip to look up my store or customers' venues in a normal search, to see if anything strange is going on -- a place left checked that shouldn't be, traffic where it shouldn't be indicating squatters -- the old search, when it worked, was highly useful as a tool, to find things, not to "put myself on top," the obsession of every land baron and merchant.

WE'RE NOT ALL IN WEB USERS' GROUP ALTHOUGH WE ARE WEB USERS

So Lindens, stop working in a silo unaware of land-owning customers' concerns. Stop just playing to the Web Users' Group attendees. Ask the people who pay you money what they think of your search. 

When I go to Concierge meetings, if I'm not working and also have drunk a quart of milk ahead of time to prevent toxicity, Wendi Linden and other land Lindens actually speak ruefully of search and say yes, we know it's broken, and yes it's being worked on. They are land Lindens. They look up land on search/places. They get it.

So Web User Group Lindens? I have no idea. So this is why I saw to every Linden I come across: look up your name. Oh, you're on top? Oh, you're lucky. Oh, you see dozens of pages and can't find your name? Well, speak up at the employee meetings then, please. 

NAME SEARCH IS EVEN WORSE

I'm not even going to get into name search as being an even garbage-filled hardship experience because I bought Artizan's name2key device which enables you to type any resident's name and get it right in chat, without coming near these dysfunctional search boxes, and then IM people who have *paid you money and whom you need to serve, number one by telling them to join a group they didn't figure out to join, so you can't find them*

From what I can tell, Web Users Group, which at least Inara Pey, a techie herself, covers, is "about" things like the Marketplace and other properties, but the real actual mass, typical users of those "properties" don't tend to be in the meetings; they either don't know of their existence or can't attend things during the day, they work or have other obligations; the people who come are techs focused on the tech side. Even so, some of them are merchants and sell things and are also techies so they have the Lindens' ears, unlike those of us in the humanities (see C. P. Snow's "The Two Cultures" which is now completely the reverse of what it was in 1959 and creates the fundamental tragedy of SL).

But search issues don't surface for them! They're on Firestorm! They don't see it! Lindens are forced to be on the SL viewer by their jobs, although likely go on Firestorm on their alts. They don't see it because they are in outworld, not inworld business.

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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6 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

Aha.... maybe I did not delete that hair by a mistake... Chic, have you tried to clear inventory cache? (I assume you did, but still asking)

Clear inventory cache has helped me so many times, and if it is does not help on this issue, then I get grumpy. 🤬

No I didn't clear the cache,  but maybe I wasn't clear before. I searched a few times with terms that SHOULD have brought up the item.  Then (right after with no relog or anything) I did a MANUAL VISUAL search and found the item named just as it should have been in my inventory.  If I could find it there "by hand" the search feature should have been able to find it with correct search words.  That was my point :D.  

 

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14 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

I am not saying that it's user error here...

It is! A user error is by definition any problem that occurs because the user couldn't be bothered to learn the 500+ pages rambling, disorganized manual by heart. :P

Btw, this is a bit off topic but would I be wrong if I said that the more a developer insists that the code is the documentation the less he or she is inclined to agree the user interface should be too?

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1 minute ago, ChinRey said:

Btw, this is a bit off topic but would I be wrong if I said that the more a developer insists that the code is the documentation the less he or she is inclined to agree the user interface should be too?

From my previous experience on software projects, the developer documentation is purely for code maintenance. User guides were always written by technical authors. User interfaces were developed by joint efforts between the user representatives and developers to ensure that such interfaces met the user requirements fully and were documented to an adequate level for the users, whilst not causing the code excessive problems.

However, my experience was with safety-critical applications, and I suspect game pastime software does not have too meet stringent safety or regulatory criteria.

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22 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

But again, what happened is that it worked; when it broke and started producing not the list of search/place ads but a huge grab bag, it was fixed and put back. It broke again, or was dismantled, and has been a bungle for the last year, making the 30L ad worthless.

If I remember right, what happened was that LL used to use Google's search algorithm but then they decided it was not worth the license fee so they made their own instead and they're not very good at that. (That doesn't mean the LL developers are bad programmers btw. Algorithm development is a highly specialized field and much more about mathematics and, for search algorithms, language than coding. It's not something we should take for granted that even the most skilled general developer has mastered. Somebody once asked programmers on Reddit what was the most difficult (programming) language and the top answer was English.)

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6 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

From my previous experience on software projects, the developer documentation is purely for code maintenance.

That's how it should be and from what I've been told, Second Life's developer documentation is actually top notch. It's the user documentation that falls short.

 

9 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

User guides were always written by technical authors. User interfaces were developed by joint efforts between the user representatives and developers to ensure that such interfaces met the user requirements fully and were documented to an adequate level for the users, whilst not causing the code excessive problems.

Hmmm... "technical authors", "user representatives" ... do we have any of those involved in the development of SL?

 

10 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

However, my experience was with safety-critical applications, and I suspect game pastime software does not have too meet stringent safety or regulatory criteria.

You're right of course. Pastime software is hardly critical the way many other applications are. But recreational software is generally targetted towards an audience with lower average computer skills and less reason to spend hours trying to figure out the difficulties than "professional" software is. That means user friendliness is a crucial factor for such a program's market potential.

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6 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING ON TOP

Well, yes, that's the problem, and remember, it's NOT about me being "first" or "top" -- it's about not having to scroll through dozens of papers to find land that I have paid 30L to be in search/places

But this right here is why LL aren't reworking search.

This drum is being beaten loudest by a single land lord with a 30L grievance.

You're paying a dime for advertising .. that's worth about a dime.

 

We all agree search can be better, it can always be better, but better for everyone probably doesn't look anything like your 10c use case that dominates any discussions.

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2 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

But this right here is why LL aren't reworking search.

This drum is being beaten loudest by a single land lord with a 30L grievance.

You're paying a dime for advertising .. that's worth about a dime.

 

We all agree search can be better, it can always be better, but better for everyone probably doesn't look anything like your 10c use case that dominates any discussions.

Nice try, but this is hardly about a "single landlord" as there are thousands of people using to 30L search/places feature. That's how you found them in search. Some giants on private islands tend not to even bother to check the search box because they buy classified ads for tens of thousands of Lindens. But many owners of businesses and venues on the Mainland use 30L search -- for one parcel, for multiple parcels. Is the use case of multiple parcels only something "land barons" care about? No, because clubs and other venues are divided into multiple parcels as well.

Shouldn't land barons just expect the other part of search, not search/places but the categories of "land for rent" with its immensely annoying and balky "customization"? No, because that yields even more garbage. When you select the categories, like a price and a maturity level, you have to keep putting back those categories after each search. It's also filled with junk because many people don't bother to identify a category on their land and toggle to it; others don't bother to switch it when it changes from rental to residence. I personally have totally ceased using that form of search as I think search/places works better. I poll customers and ask them how they found their rental. Answer: search/places or even search/everything. Sometimes it is a classified. Sometimes it is a profile pick. Often it is "word of mouth". But search/places is a very common answer -- that's why I bother with it, it used to work for years and years.

Do you have a business where you poll customers regularly?

The Lindens could easily tell us how many parcels are checked off and are debited 30L per week because they run that system on Mondays and it shows as a debit Tuesdays on group land because that's how group accounting works. Everyone knows that.

For computer professionals with six-figure salaries, "a dime" may not seem much. But it's not a dime; it's US $0.12 at the current LindEx rates of about US $4.00 per 1,000L

Furthermore, it's not about only one parcel and a "dime"; I typically might have 150 parcels. That's US $18 per week or US $72 per month. Not trivial and a significant business cost.

Again, the Lindens act in good faith much of the time, unlike the forums regulars, and they realize this because they can see how many debits of 30L there are in their system. Even if it turns out that it is some low number that is scorned by techs as "only 50,000," it's still a sink for them and a significant part of their own economic system. Boycotts are impossible to organize in the atomized, demoralized society of SL, but it would be felt if everyone stopped checking the boxes tomorrow.

If this issue were happening on Firestorm, boy, would we hear about it. It's not because Firestorm developers are not always in lockstep with Lindens.

And yet again, it's not only "not about me" and "not about businesses using 30L search ads," it's about the name search. Type "Izzy Linden" and see what happens. Gosh, if enough of you do that, does that mean by tomorrow, Izzy will be on top? Good, he deserves it! Then I have a list of other employees who are buried under dozens of pages of search results. Searches of exact names should not lead to thousands of returns in our little world; it's not Google.

 

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6 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

No I didn't clear the cache,  but maybe I wasn't clear before. I searched a few times with terms that SHOULD have brought up the item.  Then (right after with no relog or anything) I did a MANUAL VISUAL search and found the item named just as it should have been in my inventory.  If I could find it there "by hand" the search feature should have been able to find it with correct search words.  That was my point :D.  

 

I don't know how inventory search relates to search of land parcel terms; they must be related but I'm not sure they aren't in different boxes, so to speak. It's very common for a search term of a precise name or part of a name not to turn up items in search, even if you clear the issue I outlined above which you haven't commented on or noted that you cleared. I see it all the time lately. Much more than usual. I attribute it to the largeness of my inventory (194,000+); it doesn't like volume, it's not Google. On my alts with 5,000 items, it does better. But there is no guarantee there, because I think it's trained to handle only one word, or only that word at the beginning of the item's name.

The system doesn't do well with some brand names with funny characters (and that is most brand names, fighting to stay on top in search -- and search used as a telephone book, not just a sales gimmick or with some complicated names with multiple terms. Sometimes typing in a long complicated name of a product throws it and it produces nothing; sometimes typing in what seems like an intuitive part of a name throws it, and often I find that you have to use only the first word of the item's name to pull it up.

Hey, that's like group searches, another broken SL Viewer feature which I don't even comment on any more because to mention groups being broken is to invite Linden and resident scorn and dismissal, as if we are uncouth to raise the brokenness of a key feature of SL.

But everyone knows who has to constantly look up resident names in a group to answer their tickets or send them money or a help card that it does not work. You can't type a full name and expect anything to happen. You have to type ONLY a part of a name, often only a few letters. You must then battle your way through all kinds of strange characters people like to attach to their names and try to fish out just that one. Again, groups and search are so broken for trying to reach customers that I just use Artizan's HUD, it's faster and instantly pulls up an entire name searched in that fashion and enables you to IM them without the hobble of broken groups or search.

 

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3 hours ago, ChinRey said:

If I remember right, what happened was that LL used to use Google's search algorithm but then they decided it was not worth the license fee so they made their own instead and they're not very good at that. (That doesn't mean the LL developers are bad programmers btw. Algorithm development is a highly specialized field and much more about mathematics and, for search algorithms, language than coding. It's not something we should take for granted that even the most skilled general developer has mastered. Somebody once asked programmers on Reddit what was the most difficult (programming) language and the top answer was English.)

As a translator of Russian, I know the truism once identified by a famous translator in our profession: the hardest part of translation is knowing your own language, i.e. English. You understand the foreign language. But you search in vain trying to find your own language's equivalent. And PS the automatic, coded systems of Google Translate and Yandex Translate (much better) are still pretty bad which is why we still have jobs. Not to mention cultural knowledge, which is why IBM Watson's didn't know where the Toronto Airport was.

I have been told repeatedly by those "in the know" that the Lindens stopped using GSA and began using Apache. But that change occurred BEFORE "search as we know it" broke late last year. What was hammered on and broke late last year? The Lindens don't always talk about such things, except when they talk about them copiously, and incomprehensively (for most people). 

To me, what is more interesting, just in the study of LL over the years, is to learn why, in 2018, when search broke this way and a number of businesses complained, including me, on the forums, the Lindens immediately fixed it and put it back the way it was within 48 hours. Some key Lindens even IM'd me in world to ask me if I was finding my business name  -- again, they always think it's "about you" when they really should just try typing their colleagues' names into search and it will become abundantly clear.

But when it broke last year, they not only didn't fix it, they wouldn't acknowledge it was broken, and still don't. That's why I try to get them to focus on the 30L ads. 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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3 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

But this right here is why LL aren't reworking search.

This drum is being beaten loudest by a single land lord with a 30L grievance.

You're paying a dime for advertising .. that's worth about a dime.

 

We all agree search can be better, it can always be better, but better for everyone probably doesn't look anything like your 10c use case that dominates any discussions.

While I don't usually agree with some posters, the fact one of my alts does not appear anywhere within the first several pages of search, using People, does indicate there is a major problem.  When searching for something specific, such as a person who isn't hidden, the person should be at the top of the list.  Period.  As I've shown before...

 

Screenshot_20211109-150946.png

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2 hours ago, Rowan Amore said:

While I don't usually agree with some posters, the fact one of my alts does not appear anywhere within the first several pages of search, using People, does indicate there is a major problem.  When searching for something specific, such as a person who isn't hidden, the person should be at the top of the list.  Period.  As I've shown before...

 

AVD0OcV.png

3 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Type "Izzy Linden" and see what happens. 

tIUeJEo.png

SO58L1M.png

 

Can you see why this isn't getting fixed? A linden tests this by searching for people who can be found .. and finds them .. and then disregards the complaint.

There could be an account setting that removes a person from search ... like 

iXy8V1E.png 

From Firestorm, this flag is missing from web profiles, but that doesn't mean it's gone forever and not used anywhere (it could also be another setting that doesn't explicitly state that it removes a person from search). It also wouldn't surprise me if some LL staff have elected not to be found in search because they don't want random IM's from residents.

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6 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

From Firestorm, this flag is missing from web profiles, but that doesn't mean it's gone forever and not used anywhere (it could also be another setting that doesn't explicitly state that it removes a person from search).

There is a setting in firestorm preferences..which I have enabled for the alt I searched for above.  I suppose I could log her in on the official viewer but I haven't used that one since 1.23 and certainly not with the alt.  In fact, I've never hidden any avatar from search.

 

  • Show my profile info in Search results: When enabled allows anyone to find you using search.
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4 hours ago, Coffee Pancake said:

AVD0OcV.png

tIUeJEo.png

SO58L1M.png

 

Can you see why this isn't getting fixed? A linden tests this by searching for people who can be found .. and finds them .. and then disregards the complaint.

There could be an account setting that removes a person from search ... like 

iXy8V1E.png 

From Firestorm, this flag is missing from web profiles, but that doesn't mean it's gone forever and not used anywhere (it could also be another setting that doesn't explicitly state that it removes a person from search). It also wouldn't surprise me if some LL staff have elected not to be found in search because they don't want random IM's from residents.

Is that the regular viewer or Firestorm? 

If the regular viewer, I wouldn't expect you to do anything but try to disprove the obvious. When I search for my own name I get 36 results in fact, with G, M, A checked off, on the SL viewer, and I'm on top. But it's not about me.

Izzy Linden didn't uncheck himself; he's in the results, just way down. Like other Lindens I have noted whose names don't appear on top who in fact are there if you have the patience to page through numerous pages. I cite Linden names because then maybe the Lindens failing to acknowledge this will grasp it.

Vir Linden shows up at the top of the list for me on the SL viewer -- and no, SL's search isn't as sophisticated as Google's such as to produce different search results for everyone, leaving people in political silos.

Any Linden in good faith who looks up a bunch of things will discover that yes, search is broken. Concierge land Lindens admit this. Coder Lindens and Web User Lindens have more trouble admitting this because they're the ones who coded this disaster. As said above, it's hard, and if it works badly, it doesn't mean they are bad coders. But they still want to do a facelift rather than a fix, to distract users once again, "oh, look, shiny," and get a glowing Inara blog.

In my view, the search we had in 1.23 was better for our little world which after all, might seem to have a zillion things, and all in your own inventory, but in reality is quite finite, quite tiny compared to Google writ large. And I was harassed and pilloried and called a Luddite and scorned by Oz Linden, may he live forever, when he put in Viewer 2.0.

But guess what, there's another group of people who kept search the way it was in 1.23 -- wait for it -- Firestorm developers. 

Every time this point is made, some tech will nod sagely and say, oh, but there are two kinds of search blah blah. Except...we all know that Firestorm users use this old search because it works better to find store names especially. Hello. Shopping.

Rowan is hilariously saying "I haven't used the SL viewer since 1.23".

Did you realize that your search is still 1.23 search? As the old TV ad used to say, "Madge, you're soaking in it." 

That is the ultimately irony of broken search. It is not broken for the 90% of users who use Firestorm. (Or whatever that high percentage of Firestorm users is). It *is* broken for the 10% of us who insist on using the SL Viewers for all sorts of reasons. The Lindens develop their own SL Viewer -- they don't buy out Firestorm like they did Windlight. So they need to fix their Search.

None of the brokenness of Search is about people checking themselves off to hide from it in names.

I don't check my land parcels off to hide obviously; I pay 30L per parcel for them to be in search which is US $72 a month.

And the returns include parcels that are NOT in search and which are now private residences, so go know.

 

 

 

It's not about people like Lindens removing themselves from search.

Vir Linden.png

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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I'm totally aware that Lindens referenced could have put themselves on hide by now, or were always on hide, and any one of them may come along and say now, "But I'm on hide".

And that doesn't obviate the point one bit, as we have all used search for the last year, those of us studying this problem in good faith, and we have all see how "Apple Fall" didn't show up but a lot of apple orchards did, and how it is impossible to find tenants, ordinary people, not Lindens.

BTW did you know there is a JohnGalt Linden. Yes, indeed. Paging through dozens of pages trying to find certain Linden names I found him.

Ok, then.

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11 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

Rowan is hilariously saying "I haven't used the SL viewer since 1.23".

Did you realize that your search is still 1.23 search? As the old TV ad used to say, "Madge, you're soaking in it." 

Yes, I know that and why I mentioned not using the LL viewer.  I do, however, use the website quite often when not logged inworld.  That and the web search tab in the Firestorm viewer are the same.  So, although Firestorm search is not broken, it still incorporates SL search on one tab and that one IS broken just as the website is.

Never used Palmolive but it was Madge who said, "You're soaking in it."

 

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19 hours ago, Rowan Amore said:

Yes, I know that and why I mentioned not using the LL viewer.  I do, however, use the website quite often when not logged inworld.  That and the web search tab in the Firestorm viewer are the same.  So, although Firestorm search is not broken, it still incorporates SL search on one tab and that one IS broken just as the website is.

Never used Palmolive but it was Madge who said, "You're soaking in it."

 

Yes, Madge is the one who says "you're soaking in it," everyone knows that who is old enough to remember that ad, and yes, if I wrote "Madge, you're soaking in it," this is one of those search-string errors that people love to pounce on, and it is technically "wrong,"  but I think most people get it, that it should have been: Madge: "You're soaking in it," as she is the speaker. Actually, in the earlier ads, Madge's customer would jerk her hand out of the Palmolive, in shock that she was soaking her hands in a dishwashing liquid. And that's the point, that all those fanboyz that cheered the Lindens forcibly moving us all to 2.0, despite our protests that it was ruining search in 1.23, in fact KEPT 1.23 ALL THIS TIME, sometimes not even realizing it. That's the amazing thing. Because the main beef with 2.0 *was* the ruination of the then-search which did not use GSA but a different system. 

Every time this discussion comes up, as I mentioned, someone always mentions that "the web site and the Firestorm web search tab are the same". I can't speak to that. But the inworld search is different because they did NOT jettison search as it was in 1.23. I don't use the web site search nor Firestorm. I use inworld search because I'm...inworld.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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