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Search Changes

We're very excited to introduce a new version of the Search function on Chowhound. It includes the much requested ability to search and sort by date, as well as other new features like exact phrase searching, AND and NOT, search by username and many more.

You can check it out by entering a search term in the search box at the top right of most pages. Also check out the advanced options for more search possibilities.

We'll be watching for any problems and issues, and fixing them as we can over the next few days. If you find any bugs or have any suggestions, please add them to this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416539

Here some basic information on using the new search from our FAQ:

How do I search for something?
In the search box, enter the keywords you're looking for. You can use exact phrases, as well as Boolean search terms. There are also options for searching just within the title, or for Chowhound posts by specific users or on specific boards. Examples of your options are:

Match a word: armadillos
Match all words: armadillo strip
Match an exact phrase: "armadillo strips"
Match any words: armadillo OR strips
Match one word but not another: armadillo NOT strip

Match only in the title: title:armadillo
Match within a board by name: board:chicago
Match items a user has contributed to: user:"john mose"
Combine commands: armadillo OR wolves NOT strip user:"john mose"

What other options are there for using search?
You can click on More Options on the search results page to refine your results. You have four options:

Between: Enter the dates you want to search. You can use actual dates (Between: 2007-01-01 and 2007-01-31) or use natural language to describe the dates (Between: 1 year ago and last month).

Sorted By: By relevance of your keywords, or by date (newest first or oldest first).

Board Group: Search within a specific subset of the Chowhound boards (all of the New York - area boards, for example) or choose a board group and then choose a specific board.

Board: Limit your search to a single Chowhound board.

-- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

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  1. I think Search is not working correctly. I've been trying to limit my search to my own city's board and the search functions runs on the term ("tapas") but dumps the other criteria (Boards, Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania) and I get a bazlllion results from the entire site.

    I'm sure the increased functionality will be excellent once the bugs are worked out - thanks for your help!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mawrter

      What do you mean, it "dumps the other criteria"? I just tried your search and it seemed to work for me, returning 207 results:


      1. re: Chris VR

        I'm going to say that I'm with Mawrter. I just searched from something that I searched for a month ago (with success I might add) and was unable to produce results. Arrgh! If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

        1. re: amy_rc

          Personally, I was almost always able to find what I was looking for with the old search engine as well. But from the complaints I saw here, you and I were in a minority!

          The search function is quirkly designed, I'll agree with that. You have to fiddle around with options and read the help if you want ot get the most out of it. And I don't think that's an ideal situation. But I do have to admit that once I figured out how to use it, it does work better, and just the ability to sort results by date makes the trouble worthwhile.

        2. re: Chris VR

          Chirs, I just ran the search again and it works fine now. No idea why - or why it didn't when I posted about my problem. I wasn't saying, in my previous post, that the new search function isn't to my preference, or that I didn't understand how to use it. It was apparently buggy before, and it is running fine now.

          What I meant was, although I selected the options to narrow the search by boards (excluding blogs, recipes, articles, etc.), region and then specific board, when the search actually ran, it gave me results for "tapas" for the entire website, without using the narrowing criteria I'd selected. IOW, it dumped my selections of Just Boards, Just Mid-Atlantic, and Just Pennsylvania. Make sense now?

          1. re: Mawrter

            Gotcha! On another thread people are reporting inconsistent results and Engineering says that they know about it and are aware of it. So that probably was the culprit. Still might be- seems the problem is still happening.

      2. Not knowing if this is an easy addition or not I would like to see a "save search preferences" option become available. I normally am doing my searches on my local board (LA) and each time I have to go in and select those options. When I occasionally want to search on some other board I could individually select for that and then the search preference would revert back to my saved preferences. Any chance making that a feature?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg

          I think that on one of the other threads on this board about the search function - maybe the one about reporting bugs, some users showed how to book mark searches - not quite the same, but might help you.

        2. I just wanted to register a hearty thank you for all of the obviously hard, technical and careful work that went into revamping the search function (and the places database). The "search this board" feature is awesome and combined with the places database instantly made chowhound infinitely more useful. Thanks!

          1. Thanks in advance for all your hard work. Although I'm a newbie I really value the experience I get from this website.

            I find 90% of my searches are done on my own board.

            With the new search changes I have to do the following to search on my own board:

            Search in top right search bar
            Click on "show options"
            Click on "drop down menu" pick "boards"
            Click on "drop down menu" for board group, pick "international"
            Click on "drop down menu" for board , pick "Ontario"
            Press Enter

            This has to be done every time I want to search (unless I leave that window open)

            It's quite tedious for a simple search so I'll have to 2nd the request to be able to save search preferences. Think that will be an easy fix.

            Thanks again for such a wonderful website.

            3 Replies
            1. re: LeTimmy

              There's now a "Search This Board" option available, though the results are limited (they're fine for what I typically look for).

              At the top of the page, where the board title is displayed (TECHNICAL HELP), if you look to the right you'll see a "Search This Board" option just before the "Topic Options" drop down link.

              1. re: ElsieDee

                Ahh... didn't see that. Thanks a bunch. This is much better!

                1. re: ElsieDee

                  That worked like a charm and solves my problem perfectly. Thanks.

              2. Sounds good, but does not work. I cannot find any of the topics that I was looking through a couple of weeks ago.

                1. Search is randomly choosing boards for me... I tried searching from the Bay Area board on "Battambang" several times - once I got all the results for the Pacific Northwest - once for Ontario - once for LA.

                  If I search from the main "Boards" page, I get zero results. But then if I click on the drop down menus and choose "California" and "SF Bay Area", I get what I'm looking for.

                  Edit to add: just tried again from the SF Board and got the results I was looking for... weird.

                  Edit to add: tried it one more time, and got results for the NY area.

                  1. Maybe I am just being thickheaded, but I do not understand how to use the advanced search optinos and doing the drop down options is tedious. If i want to search for tacos in the Manhattan board, what do I type? tacos, board:manhattan? I am sorry, but i really don't get and I would like to do searches within a board that are more comprehensive than within the last year.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sambossanova

                      Here are the results of a search I just did for tacos on the Manhattan board over the past two years with most recent posts showing up first. Questions?


                      1. re: Servorg

                        So there is no way to do it, other then doing the tedious work of pulling down the drop down menus. I don't understand how to use the advanced search options or are those just the drop down menu options. For example, the option that follows:
                        Match within a board by name: board:chicago
                        How and for what is that used. I was hoping that there was some way to limit what board you are searching within without have to use the advanced options/drop down menu option.

                        1. re: Sambossanova

                          You can only do the one step board search if you don't mind restricting your search to the past year.

                          Update: However, if you do the one step "Search this Board" selection and don't like the one year results which show up you can then change only that parameter to go farther back in the archives. That way you don't have to select anything else but the number of years you want to see in the search. That should take care of your problem.

                    2. With all of the incredible content you have from prior years, why in the world are you limiting searches to only the past year? Maybe I am missing something, but I am not getting any of "past "stuff" I typically go back to time and again. I have been using CH for many, many years and if that content is no longer available 1) You must be kidding, and 2) I will be seriously pissed. (By the way, let's keep it simple in the future. This new "search functionality" is anything but. CH's best features historically have been its simplicity and ease of use. Please do not mistake movement for progress, although I know that usually is a tough disinction at the corporate level.)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mattyb

                        I think it's only limited to one year if you use the "search this board" shortcut/link. If you use the search button on the upper right, you can search the whole way back.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          That's good. I was pretty disappointed also when it semeed that searches weren't yielding more than a year back. For some searches, that's great, but like Matty says, it would be a shame if all the content had gotten lost.

                          Thanks again to the Chow team for all the hard work! The increased functionality will be great. :-)

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            And, even if you elect to use the "search this board" shortcut, you then can alter just the field that says how far back in time you want to go (if one year doesn't cut it for you) - so that shortcut / feature is really the best of "one stop shopping" totally eliminating going to the pull down menu and choosing all of the various options it has to offer.

                        2. I don't understand one thing- why does "search", within a board, return results from all over chronology? I searched "Boulder" on the Southwest forum, and got resutts from 2003 up there with 2006 and 2007 in the first page.

                          Most of the places listed in '03 are closed or changes greatly from 4 years ago. Why is it not possible to list the results in reverse chronological order, instead of wacky random order?

                          Perhaps it's to keep new people posting about the same thing over and over, increasing "userness", but it's really just turning off longtime users, especially when last week's thread on the same topic doesn't come up until page 4- what's the point of responding when that response is essentially unavailable?

                          But it encourages redundancy, and maybe that's the point.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: cheesemonger

                            I just used the shortcut / Search this board feature and got the following results for Boulder: all in perfect chronological order from most recent to latest.


                            1. re: Servorg

                              So you have to use the advanced feature, according to that link. If I just go to the "search" in the upper right, I get random results.

                              For instance- here's the link for the search results that I got, when I put "boulder" in the search box on the southwest page.


                              Not at all the same. Why?

                              1. re: cheesemonger

                                Because your search field is "ALL CHOW" which means you are NOT searching only the SW board like my search is. You have to use the link that says "Search this board" to get the results I produced (which is NOT the advanced search feature), but you HAVE to be on the SW board when you are doing this.

                                Scroll to the top of this thread and look to the immediate right of the right of the words that say TECHNICAL HELP. You will see "Search this board".

                                Now when you are actually ON the Southwest Board you will see the very same thing (except with the DIFFERENCE being you won't see the words TECHNICAL HELP but rather the word SOUTHWEST to the left of the link you will need to click on).

                                When you click on the "Search this board" link while ON the Southwest board you will get the same results I got when you type "Boulder" into the box that pops up which says "Search this board" and then hit Search.


                                1. Go to the SW board

                                2. Click on the link that says "Search this board" which is to the right of the all cap's word which says SOUTHWEST at the top of the board.

                                3. Type in the word Boulder in the blank field box that opens up to the right of the words which say "Search this board"

                                4. Click on "Search"

                                Tell me what you got.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  got it, but that's limited to one year. If you do the whole rigamarole of an advanced search, maybe looking for something and you can't recall how far back it might be, you're kinda out of luck if it's more than a year old.

                                  1. re: cheesemonger

                                    You actually aren't limited because all the search fields shows up with the results, and you only have to change the one field to however many years you want to go back from the initial 1 year. It really is easy and convenient. Try it once and you'll end up searching each board the same way after that.

                          2. this new search function doesn't make sense. when i want to find "tapas", i want to find it within my own city. plus you can't search beyond 1 year?

                            bad idea. my vote is to go back to the old way.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: awl

                              At the top of each board is a clickable link that says: Search this board, (next to one that says Topic Options). If you click on that link you will "only" be searching that single board. While the search through this clickable link "starts" at newest and goes back 1 year, you may simply change the 1 year to as many as you wish. It doesn't get much easier or more convenient than that.

                            2. Search isn't working as you describe. A search for "Dailys" (which is the name of a restaurant) is returning matches with "daily" highlighted. This makes the search especially useless, because the word "daily" is used a lot, whereas "dailys" is very uncommon. Why is the search written to modify my search terms?

                              I wound up using Google to find what I was looking for.