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Help us improve the Instructables search! What haven't you been able to find? Answered

We're trying to improve the search on Instructables. Can you tell us what searches have worked for you and what searches have not? Specific examples of searches you know should produce results but for some reason have not would be the most helpful things to report. Thanks!


I live in a Condo and have across the wall Neighbors ( ranch style Condos). What kind of device do you have or what can I use to stop the Banging on the wall we share? A high pitch sound or something like that? I am desperate to do something even if it's not nice or illegal. I will not hold you responsible for what you can think of. Jim

I published a question on topic form and waited 3 days before looking it up to make shore it was there and it wasen't what's ronge. And also if people do respound will the comment go into my inbox.

I searched my username and only got one of my Instructables.

when i search for my 'ible i cant find it i search sansa and mine isnt in there yes i did put that in my keywords i just made it pls help here is a link to myinstructable

. I can't find a Help page for the Search function. Am I just not looking in the right place?
. If one doesn't exist and you can supply me with the info, I will post something similar to my text formatting FAQ. Yeah, it ain't great, but it's better than nothing. And thanks to some commenters, it's not terrible anymore. ;)
. As far as I can tell + and - don't do anything. Me again? Does it just OR every word?

Our search uses Lucene. Let me see if we have some documentation; ping me again if I don't have an answer in a week or so.

. Thanks! . Don't bother looking for your docs, I found them online, but now I need to know which version y'all are using (1.4.3-2.3.2). I should be able to document most (if not all) features without knowing the version, so no rush. If you've made any changes to the Lucene code that would affect user searches, that would be helpful to know about.

I know this is kind of an old thread, but I just tried to search for "cookie" in JUST instructables, and it will only search for "cookie" in ALL.


10 years ago

It would be nice if comments I've made on an instructable are still accessible to me (via search and via the "comments" section of my profile) even if the instructable they were made on is un-published. I was going to point someone at the discussion suggesting "american cheese" as an aid to queso making, but apparently the queso instructable is gone, and so are my comments... (I hope I'm correct that instructables are only unpublished/removed at the request of the original author (assuming they we acceptable to start with.))

It's rare that Instructables get deleted. If it was just unpublished, you would still be able to find your comments (it's just obfuscated, not removed). Do you remember the user that posted that one? Maybe I could look further into where it went. To address the larger issue about one user removing the content of another user: this is a tough issue. We let people delete their own Instructables because we view an Instructable as "owned" by the author. Similarly, comments are owned by their author, but this system does setup exactly the scenario you've mentioned, and we've choose not to address it directly because it's rare and because having the comments without the context of the Instructable would just be weird. I know that's a lame answer, but given our time-constraints, the perfect solution is more of an aspiration than a concrete to-do item right now.

The comments aren't always useless without the instructable. There's a lot of real data in the comments to How to Choose a Microcontroller, for example. (It's not the way I expected a "collaboration" to work, but it's not so bad, either...)

I don't recall the user who posted the Queso instructable. IIRC they got a lot of flack for using processed cheese, and were somewhat upset. I theorized that processed cheese helped make a sauce, and included a comment with a "queso for one" recipe, and none of the likely keywords find it (cheddar, queso, cheese...)

Along those same lines, it might be nice to have a search that only considered things that *I* have written. 'find when I said something about dolpins." By logical extension, it might be nice to filter any search by author.

Some 'ibles aren't tagged very well - maybe you could include an option to add tags to an 'ible so you can find it again or tell others how to.

We used to allow anyone to edit the keywords. Perhaps we should do that again?

Allowing anyone to edit an instructable's tags has its pros and cons, but it's probably the best way to get a thorough set of tags on everything. Set up a system that encourages users to click on appropriate tags to make them "stronger" with tags that get no love fading over time. Luis von Ahn's ESP game (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8246463980976635143) does exactly the sort of thing you need here, maybe with the addition of a few trusted users granted the ability to remove tags that violate the "be nice" policy or that are just wildly inaccurate.

. Since this site seems to have taken off and the number of Ibles is skyrocketing (and the number of subjects covered), it may be time to revamp the category/keyword system. I've always found the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems helpful for such tasks. . Changing will be a royal PITA, but imagine having to do it this time next year. I get the feeling y'all are just barely onto the steep part of the growth curve and a big change like that is only going to get more difficult the longer you wait.

I think the 2 categories helps out a lot. I think even a 8 more subcategories for each of the 9 we have now would help out a lot, and let people be able to browse, rather than search.

Amen to that. Sure wish they'd let me invest in them.

Was there a problem that was caused by this, that made it necessary to change that function? I am just curious.

There is an instructable entitled "What not to do when soldering" I can navigate to it by following links from several other instructables, but when I searched I could not find it with the search engine.

When I put "What not to do when soldering" into the search text box, that Instructable is the first hit. Do you remember exactly what search query you were using? BTW, this is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for!

Oh, sorry, I typed "not soldering" or instead of "What not to do when soldering" because I couldn't remember exactly what the name was at the time, I just knew it was something about the wrong way to solder. I do think it would be nice if the search feature would have returned that instructable with "not soldering", I've had trouble in the past finding instructables again that I couldn't remember the exact name. But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

OK, it should show up when you search for "not soldering". I only get two results, and both of those words are in that Instructable's title. So, this is a failing of our search.

No, it's caused by misconfiguration. It's hard to test every possible search, which is why we ask for help!

happy to help:) I'll let you know if I come across any others. This is completely unrelated, but I just can't help myself: AWESOME avatar, Goodhart!!

Recent developments at home have prompted this. It is temporary though ;-)

Recent developments at home have prompted this. It is temporary though ;-)

Yikes! :)

I mean, the "developments at home" have prompted me to mock the situation I allowed myself to get into; but that situation is about to change, drastically.

Nope, I was the dope handing over my paycheck to someone that said she'd "pay the bills" (she didn't tell me she would create most of those bills)

she didn't tell me she would create most of those bills


My condolences.

Well, I have taken back my income and now I will share with her, rather then the other way about.

Thanks :-) Oh it was touch and go there for a bit, threats and accusations etc....but I think she has calmed down to a reasonable "roar" LOL

I tried this out, and when I searched for "What not to do while soldering" it was nowhere on the first two pages of results (didn't look farther than that) but when I searched "What not to do when soldering" it was the top result. So maybe we need some word association for when you can't remember the exact title of an instructable. i.e. the search automatically sees words like "while" and "when" as synonymous.

This is true. To find something when I am sure of most of the title, I have to keep pruning it down until I get hundreds of responses to wade through.

I would like it if there was a resource ,and information section on instructables (other than one persons instruct able) that shows basic building skills IE.sheet metal working, woodworking, welding etc ,and how to find places in your area that will sell the supplies you will need to build your instructable.

The search RSS feeds don't work quite right. Even when sort=none, its still in chronological order, rather than relevance.

Also, keywords take priority over titles, which take priority over the text itself, I assume?
So if you searched "Pie", an ible with that as a keyword would be higher than an ible titled "Pie", wo/ the keyword, which would be higher than an ible that happened to randomly mention pie.

I liked the search before in that you could check more than one thing to search at once. It makes things easier to find.

You can still do that. The check boxes are on the left-hand sidebar on the search page.

. It would be nice if Search would remember which boxes I (don't ) have checked.

You mean, write a cookie to remember, and then depend on others to have cookies "enabled" ? Since it would be different for each person, that may be the only "sane" way to do that.

Or just store it on the instructables servers in the same place as all your account info is stored so that it shows up when you are logged in. Or does this count as "insane"? -josh

I was looking at it from a programmer's perspective ;-) so no offense intended... Indeed, there are other ways to do this, but you are either making further demands on "their servers" (creating a need for more storage) or on ours (a cookie is such a small and benign...normally...thing) . Writing, securing, and reading one's own cookies is easy. The other way may become cumbersome. MHO

No offence taken. However the need for more storage space would be minimal as you only need to store the users choice of the check boxes although a client side system is probably simpler to carry out. -josh

However the need for more storage space would be minimal as you only need to store the users choice of the check boxes although a client side system is probably simpler to carry out.

It wouldn't be much on each computer, but having everyone's on a single computer gets to be a bit much. Depending on how space is allocated for it. If all the choices are stored as either "checked or unchecked" then we create one problem. If we have one space allocated for a simple storage area, one that is read by another Jscript to check of uncheck the boxes on display; we end up with another problem. The actual display itself. If the script is loaded then run from our end, we have fast access once loaded, but a slower load time. If it is accessed from a JSP/ASP format, it may be a bit slower all around.

The man makes a good point. Cant argue with that!