Author Topic: Forum searches - has a change been made?  (Read 5448 times)

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Offline JPavlis_CA

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Forum searches - has a change been made?
« on: January 11, 2015, 04:36:46 am »
I noticed that a change has been made to searching in the forums. Sometime between December and now, the ability to search the forums without being logged in is no longer available. I am not always logged in and sometimes want to look for something without having to log in.

I have confirmed this with three different browsers on two different computers.

Why the change? Was this something you guys wanted, or something pushed with an update?

It is annoying.
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Offline ZG

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2015, 03:34:42 pm »
+1...  :iagree:

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Offline norm-9688

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 11:51:18 pm »
There was an update run not long ago, let me check k it out and see if a permission got changed during the update. :33:

Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2015, 12:38:41 am »
Guest searching was indeed turned off. I didn't change it and apparently neither did Norm. It may have changed when the forum got updated, I've turned it back on.
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Offline ZG

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2015, 02:01:38 am »
I've turned it back on.

Thanks WP!  :great: :beerchug:

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Offline S Smith

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 09:56:15 am »
Just wondering why the forum should allow guest searching. Logging in seems a minor inconvenience especially considering registration and use of forum comes without any cost to a majority of guest users. I just looked at the stats, and there were as many guests on the system as logged in users.  Is there a chance this poses performance or possible security risks? Something for the IT officer and club to determine/decide.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 12:28:46 pm »
Yes, if bots are performing hundreds of searches then it most definitely will affect performance. However that is unlikely, and they have to complete a captcha to do the search. Some bots will fill a blank field just because it's there, and some are capable of completing captchas, but there isn't any reason for them to want to do so.

Most of what is labeled as guests are spiders, crawlers, spammers and other bots.

If it becomes an issue, I'll turn it off again.
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Offline JPavlis_CA

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 05:53:23 pm »
Thanks, Willy.

Bots shouldn't be a problem - you never noticed any performance issues before the update, right?
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Offline smithr1

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 08:34:19 pm »
There are more reasons not to allow guest searches than reason to allow it.  I would have left it off.  Not only does it make it easier for bots it also is giving away a feature that should only be for registered members of the forum. 
Once again, my opinion.
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2015, 12:14:42 am »
There are more reasons not to allow guest searches than reason to allow it.  I would have left it off.  Not only does it make it easier for bots it also is giving away a feature that should only be for registered members of the forum. 
Once again, my opinion.


That's an excellent point.

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Offline JPavlis_CA

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2015, 12:56:51 am »
There are more reasons not to allow guest searches ....   it also is giving away a feature that should only be for registered members of the forum. 

<sigh> We've had these same discussions going back to the late 90's. I see nothing has changed.

To argue the flip side of this coin, why would you want to block a visitor from searching for info? It might be the very thing that gets that person to join the forum, and from there join the club. Isn't building the club the ultimate goal here?  I know from my own experience on other sites that if the site owner requires me to register, I move on - I'll find what I'm looking for elsewhere. I'll register if I what I find is usefull, but not if I'm forced to.

Butt... if you do believe that searches should be blocked, then I submit that the Wiki sections should also be blocked because it contains the same sort of info that we require club membership to view on the web site.

And then there's Rick's site... no registration required. Make of that what you will.

All I wanted was for a feature I used to be brought back, or at least explained why it was no longer available - I did not intend to start this discussion.

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Offline S Smith

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2015, 01:33:48 am »
Public posts are fodder for public comment. Everyone here should have the opportunity to ask why and get a reasonable answer.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 01:37:23 am by S Smith »
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There is more to be gained by members raising hands saying "I'll do that" instead of pointing fingers saying "nobody's doing that."

Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2015, 02:37:05 am »
Just curious . Is there a reason not to stay always logged in here ?
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Offline JPavlis_CA

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2015, 03:57:45 am »
Public posts are fodder for public comment. Everyone here should have the opportunity to ask why and get a reasonable answer.

Dat be true, Steve. So.... no comment on the points I made?

cra-z - Not logging out? Call it force of habit. I always log out of any site I log into. It's the security geek in me coming out.
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Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2015, 10:27:09 am »
Yeah , its probably better to do that but I have a hard time remembering all my passwords . I agree with you on the search option , thats the reason I joined after getting a problem resolved I wanted access to the other features , tech pages / etc .
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2015, 12:19:43 pm »
There are more reasons not to allow guest searches than reason to allow it.  I would have left it off.  Not only does it make it easier for bots it also is giving away a feature that should only be for registered members of the forum. 
Once again, my opinion.


That's an excellent point.

Not really, if a bot wanted to search the site a they don't need our search feature to do it. I don't recall any rule that searching the site should be for logged in members only.

I will check logs to see how many bots are using the search feature.
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Offline DoerOfThings

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 02:36:14 pm »
my take on this is that we shouldn't make accidental policy changes. It worked in the past and an upgrade (as opposed to a deliberate decision) broke it, so it should be turned back on.

With that out of the way, if we want to have the discussion as to whether or not to intentionally disable it, that's quite another thing.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2015, 06:29:08 pm »
Right. If the BOD decides it should be a COG member only, or a forum member only feature, it's easy enough to turn off again. If I even suspected it was having a negative affect on forum performance I'd immediately turn it off. But there are some members who requested it to be turned on, and there is no reason for it to be off.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2015, 07:08:31 pm »
In one log file there are 1657 access entries, search result pages were hit by users not logged in 4 times, and 3 times by users who were logged in.

In a second log file I looked at, there were 6864 entries, 20 of those were search hits by not logged in visitors. Of those 20, 2 identified as Bingbot. Oddly, in that file there was only one logged in search.
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2015, 07:36:29 pm »
Look at the error log.  There are over 8400 entries.  321 from today alone.  A very high percentage caused by guest users. Maybe this is normal?


In one log file there are 1657 access entries, search result pages were hit by users not logged in 4 times, and 3 times by users who were logged in.

In a second log file I looked at, there were 6864 entries, 20 of those were search hits by not logged in visitors. Of those 20, 2 identified as Bingbot. Oddly, in that file there was only one logged in search.
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2015, 07:15:29 pm »
And not one of those errors caused by guest searching.

Most of the critical errors are from people trying to upload too big a pic as an attachment or botching a login attempt. The greatest source of most recent non-critical errors was a mod that I have since removed. Aeva media (the gallery) also produces a lot of errors, and that will be replaced soon.

Those are the SMF logs, the ones I referred to above were server logs.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 07:22:04 pm by WillyP »
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Offline norm-9688

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2015, 11:29:02 pm »
my take on this is that we shouldn't make accidental policy changes. It worked in the past and an upgrade (as opposed to a deliberate decision) broke it, so it should be turned back on.

With that out of the way, if we want to have the discussion as to whether or not to intentionally disable it, that's quite another thing.
     +1   I asked because I was not sure how it had been set off for guests at start up or if the change had been just made.

      2 questions,  do guests get turned off by not being able to search the site without registering and leave?
       
       Do we get more registrations from making the search feature a part of a registration feature.

       I don't think we need BoD for something like this.

Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2015, 12:36:19 am »
I think it must have been on, as those members who complained about it were asking if it had been turned off. I agree we don't need the BOD to pass judgment, I was just sayin'... if they do... it's not a big deal either way.


Not really any way to tell for sure whether people get turned off by not being able to search or not.

But think about it... if you were not a member and you had just bought a Concours, or thinking of it, and you came here looking for info and could not find it, do you think you'd come back?

At any rate, I think we've discussed this far more than needed already, I'm done.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 12:40:53 am by WillyP »
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2015, 01:38:03 pm »
At any rate, I think we've discussed this far more than needed already, I'm done.

You can choose to stop participating in the discussion, but I'm feeling that it should be up to the Board and IT Officer if a club forum operational issue discussion has run its course.  Maybe I'm too sensitive and I hope you did not mean it this way, but your announcement that your are done discussing this comes across as a "WillyP has spoken" statement. 

As far as guests coming back or joining as members... the COGMOS database statistics show there are more Forum Subscriber level registrants than all the paid COG member registrants.   There have always been forum users who don't buy the milk when they can get the cow for free.  There are forum subscribers who join after they find out COG is a dues paid club or that the forum is a club supported entity.  Not being able to search without logging in is probably the least of the reasons the others have for not becoming a paid member or remaining a forum user. 

Just my $0.02 as a concerned board member.



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Offline WillyP

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Re: Forum searches - has a change been made?
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2015, 01:57:02 pm »
I'm done in the sense that I feel I've given my input and there's no more to be gained by me being involved in this conversation. If Norm decides to turn it off, well, he is the forum manager and that is his decision and personally I don't have strong feelings as to whether it's on or off. Please don't twist my words into something I neither said nor intended.

But if the final decision is that it should be off, let me know so I don't turn it on again after the next upgrade.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 02:00:10 pm by WillyP »
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