Help:Searching

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Search facilities in RotaractorWiki

This page explains the search button for the search box which appears on every page. and the "Search result settings" section in the preferences.

list of all pages

Please note that a-z come after A-Z.

For some other namespaces, see MediaWiki's Help:Namespace.

Search field

Pressing the [Enter] key while the search field is active is equivalent to clicking on the [Go] button. While this is obvious when using Internet Explorer (tested on version 6), Mozilla (version 1.6 at least) provides no such indication.

Tips

Avoid short and common words

This is the most likely cause of an unexpected failed search. If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "one", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about", "onto"), then your search will fail without any results. Short numbers, and words that appear in half of all pages, will also not be found. In this case, drop those words and rerun the search.

See [Help:Common words, searching for which is not possible] for the stop words filtered out by the database. From there one can at least go to a page with a stop word as title. Searching for the combination of one or more words and the common word "not" give a database query syntax error due to a bug in the software.

Search is case-insensitive

The searches for "fortran", "Fortran" and "FORTRAN" all return the same results.

Words with special characters

In a search for a word with a diaeresis, such as Sint Odiliënberg, it depends whether this ë is stored as one character or as "ë". In the first case one can simply search for Odilienberg (or Odiliënberg); in the second case it can only be found by searching for Odili, euml and/or nberg. This is actually a bug that should be fixed -- the entities should be folded into their raw character equivalents so all searches on them are equivalent. See also MediaWiki User's Guide: Creating special characters.

Phrase

There is no method for searching for a phrase. Contrary to what you might expect, enclosing phrases in double quotation marks such as "can of tuna" will retrieve all pages containing "of" "tuna" and "can".

Searching limitations and Gotchas

No regular expressions or wildcards

You cannot use regular expressions or wildcards such as ? or *. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it. To search for pages with the words "boat" or "boats" search like this: "boat or boats".

Words in single quotes

If a word appears in a page with single quotes, you can only find it if you search for the word with quotes. Since this is rarely desirable it is better to use double quotes in pages, for which this problem does not arise.

An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, therefore Mu'ammar can be found searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with apostrophe s is an exception in that it can be found also searching for the word without the apostrophe and the s.

Delay in updating the search index

For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes to pages are not always immediately taken into account in searches.


This was derived from MediaWiki's Help:Searching page