This thread is not for discussion of the forum search facility, or its limitations. I'm posting it merely to share a method I have found for partially working around the limitations on the length of search terms.
You will have noticed that the forum is set up to only allow searches for words which are equal to or longer than 4 characters in length. This is quite right and proper and helps to a) keep the size of the search index down, and b) protect the forum from the effects of people repeatedly searching for extremely short and frequently occuring characters (for example "a") which could place a massive load on the server and cause a denial of service.
There are, however, a number of abbreviations/short words that are commonly used that it would be helpful to be able to search for - I will use one of these "STB" to demonstrate the concept I'm describing.
If you use the forum search to look for occurences of STB
you will receive the following error message:
The search term you specified (STB) is under the minimum word length (4) and therefore will not be found.
Please make this term longer.
If this term contains a wildcard, please make this term more specific.
This is because STB contains only 3 characters and is therefore shorter than the allowable lower character limit for searches.
If you search for *STB*
you will see that the search will return threads where the letters STB
appear in isolation.
There is a limitation in this work around, in that the *
character is a search wildcard. This means that if you search for *ear*
you will also be presented with threads where the letters ear
appear as part of another word (fear, search, dissapear, etc).
This search technique is therefore best used for 3 letter abbreviations, or short words, that are not commonly found as parts of other words (STB, VBS, etc). You might want to pause for a second before searching in this way, and consider what other words the search might return - sometimes you may find this technique less helpful than other search techniques (using the Google search for example) due to the reasons described above.
Thanks for reading, I hope someone finds this useful. I'm planning a whole article on making good use of the search function at some stage - for now though maybe this will save some tears.