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How to Search The Forums and Get Relevant Results

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I'm not dead
Originally written by the great NeilR.

We've all been there, you're new to these forums or forums in general and you're not sure where to start. Maybe you've tried searching and couldn't make sense of the results you got or maybe you think it's too much of a hastle; In any event, chances are your questions have been answered before.

As a regular forum member and moderator, I've come to know the advanced search functionality quite well. Here are some tricks of the trade using a somewhat simple but relevant scenario.


You're a new member to the scene and just came to know about homebrew. You first glance around (like a good new member) but the information is just too much to handle; you start to panic and think to yourself "There's got to be a better way". Not wanting to come off as a complete newb (being a good member of course), you think to yourself "I'll see if there's a way to search for my answer".

Hint #1 - Advanced searching is best.

You take a glance at the available links in the main navigation bar and notice the search button, click it and then click advanced search:

That will bring up the full search screen:

From here on it's quite straight forward, you can fine tune your query and maximize your chances of getting relevant threads to read. Everyone's first reaction is to start typing your search keywords and give it a shot. Unfortunately, this brings up all kinds of results from all the forum sections; to make it worse, it brings up every thread that merely includes an instance of the keyword(s) you entered. That's alot of reading!

Hint #2 - Optimize your request and start searching.

You've made it this far and you're on the right track. Now to start querying the database for the info you want.

I ALWAYS start by selecting to "Search Titles Only". You may need to redo your search without it, but chances are, you'll get some great hits because:
  • People who post properly and include a relevant title to their topic will also be accomodated much better by the community.
  • You reduce the chances of getting results where your keyword was mentioned in passing within a thread that has nothing to do with your question.

Another selection I ALWAYS change the first time out is the "Search in Forum(s)" area. Remember - You're interested in a homebrew tutorial so why would you want to check the development forum?? You don't and you don't have to. In this case, scroll down the list and select "Guides, and Tutorials".

So let's try an obvious keyword grouping shall we?? Let's try "Installing TimeMachine"; your screen should look like this:


Now it's just a matter of clicking "Search Now". Here's the result you will receive:

Guess what, that's the best of the best when it comes to a complete homebrew guide, and you found it on your own. :)


What we've discussed here are generic hints that will help empower you with successful, relevant search attempts. Depending on the topic you're searching, you may need to try a few times with different keywords and/or expand the constraints you placed on your query.

A little effort can go along way, I routinely spend less than 2-3 minutes searching for something for someone else.. now you can too. ;)
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