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Q: I'm trying to search around for something that I'm certain was on this forum, but I can't seem to find it. Do you have any tips?

A: While the vbulletin software we run on is probably the best on the planet, it does have it's shortcomings. One of which is a search function that doesn't always work as expected.

One of the things it has trouble with is short words. While The minimum searchable word length is 3 characters long, it will generally do a poor job at finding words that short.

For instance, not too long ago I was searching for a thread called: UFO Thread. I was certain of the title of the thread, however, the search function couldn't find it.

Ultimately, I was able to find it using some different methods.

Method 1 - In this example, since I was certain of the thread title, I simply put quotation marks around the search text, hence "UFO Thread". Voila, worked like a charm. In case you're not familiar with the convention, in general putting quotation marks around search text (be it here or on a search engine such as google) is a way of specifying the exact text contained within the quotes as the search term. Normally, when you don't include the quotes it will search for each word individually, which often leads to more results, but sometimes less accurate ones. As an example, try searching for "UFO Thread" with and without quotes to see the results.

Method 2 - I was also able to find the thread by using a wildcard (aka an asterisk). I entered: UFO* into the search box (note that I used no quotes) and the result was the proper thread. For those of you who aren't computer geeks and are familiar with using the wildcard character see here.

Method Man - A rapper from the Wu-Tang Clan.

Also, feel free to experiment with the options in the Advanced Search. You can narrow things down by specifying the username of the poster, as well as where and when it was posted.

Another option that's often overlooked is the "Show Results as" option, which by default is set to show the titles of the threads that contain information relative to your search. You may find it useful to change it to show the results as posts in the event that you're looking for a particular post, rather than manually looking through the pages each thread in the search results.

Hopefully these tips will help you find the information you need.
 
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