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Sep 21, 2013 05:45 PM

Searching a thread [moved from Chains board]

i have a 2 part question. is there a way of finding a specific CH comment w/o having to read through 300 posts on a thread?>> i want to know what people think of the TJ froz pie dough, w/ contains both palm oil and butter.

when i do a CH search, it just lists the main thread, not the individual post about that topic. thx much.

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  1. I typed "Trader Joe's frozen pie dough, w/ contains both palm oil and butter, Chowhound." in a Google search engine and got this link right at the top:

    now if this isn't the thread you're searching for, I'd still recommend using Google to search for the original CH thread. It works, it works faster and it zooms in on very specific sentences that will help you narrow down your search.

    5 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      wow, i had no idea you could use that many words in a search. th you. in this case, the key words were in the OP so i'll have to do a test for a post buried in a huge long thread....

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        I've used the "Google" method to search out an older thread using a brand name, a CH s/n, a date and a specific food/recipe with a good deal of success. And even when I didn't find the OP I was looking for immediately my search was narrowed considerably until I found what I was looking for.

        IMVHO, no matter how many times the CHOW Search Engine is improved upon the entire archive is just too big to manage without a big push from a search engine like Google.

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          You can use several paragraphs worth of words for google search. It's an easy way to check for plagiarism.

        2. re: HillJ

          Brilliant, had no idea, works like a charm. Thanks so much.

        3. The new improved site search engine will take you to the specific post in a thread that has the terms you seek. The results page looks like it lists just the main thread, but when you click on in, you'll land on the specific post within the thread.

          One issue though is that in order to match to a specific post, it must contain all the terms you've asked for. In threads about TJ's, individual posters rarely repeat Trader Joe's in each post, so if you've used that as a search term, you won't be directed to a specific post. So you need to winnow down the search terms.

          For your search, the most limited terms could be "palm oil" and "butter". On the Chains board, here's what a search for just those terms looks like. You can scan down the list and pick the ones that are topics about TJ's and likely find the specific posts you're seeking, and if not the exact post, perhaps one just ahead or after will have the details you want.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            The issue Melanie brings up in the second paragraph here is something I'd eventually like to change, but for now, it's true.

            But our new search (launched last month) is really good at finding specific phrases. So if you search on the new CHOW search for the phrase "Trader Joe's frozen pie dough" that same thread that HillJ found is at the top, along with this thread :)

            1. re: Dave MP

              I wish I could confirm for you that the thread I found on Google was found by me on the CHOW search engine, but I cannot. Perhaps the creation of this thread, which came later, helped things along for you today :)

              Do I find the new search better than the last launch, yes I do; especially when I know what I'm looking for. If I don't recall enough details I find Google works faster for nailing down CH threads by any number of tickled words.

              It's okay if the largest search engine on the planet works faster than CHOW's search engine. I don't love ya any less.

              1. re: HillJ

                Using the exact string I said I used on Google on CHOW's search engine, this is what I got, Dave MP:


                1. re: HillJ

                  Taking out the extraneous punctuation and words, to search just for

                  Trader Joe's frozen pie dough palm oil butter

                  here's the site search result,

                  And it turns up the thread in question,

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I didn't use punctuation using Google or CHOW's Search, MW.
                    The only diff btwn the two searches was the word Chowhound added to the Google search.

                    But hey I was just trying to help out a fellow CH...and whatever works for the person actually looking for a thread, works!

                    I'll be using both for my own searches but so far Google gives me more bang for my research buck.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Sorry, I see two commas (,) and a slash (/) in your string, and that's how you input it to site search, as can be read in the url of the search result you provided. That's what I mean by punctuation. And that seems to be what you put in the search box, since that's what shows when one clicks on the result url you provided.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Actually what I did was cut & paste the sentence as written in the OP. But, I follow you.

              2. re: Dave MP

                That would be great. The key advantage for using site search instead of Google is that the result will take you to the exact post within a long thread that has the relevant terms, which seemed to be what the OP was requesting.

                I would also love to see site search have the intelligence to deal with typos and misspellings with a prompt for the right word.

                I use both. Google has a bias for popularity (and therefore a bias toward older discussions that have rec'd more hits due to longevity), so when I want that bias introduced, I will use it instead. Also while Google does index most threads on this site, it doesn't archive everything whereas site search does as far I can tell.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  That's a very interesting observation about how Google searches works on CH threads. I haven't notice any difference in the age/longevity of a thread or the popularity factor either.

                  What I have noticed is that Google will extract search results specific to CH discussions/threads whereas CHOW Search includes a great many more choices avail in their own archive under it's own sub-category list (recipes, articles, videos, discussions).


                  1. re: HillJ

                    You can improve your google searching by instead of typing in Chowhound as a search term, type your search terms, then add, meaning that you want results from within the specified site.

                    Here's an example:

                    Whole foods

                    Then you'll get results from the entire site and not just discussions/threads. Due to popularity, the Chowhound content will still tend to be on top, but you'll get everything else (if it exists) too should you care to scroll down.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Thanks for the suggestion, M. I never run into trouble using Google though. Even with the most modest of search terms, I find my threads. I use the CHOW Search for everything else and find those too.

                      And if I mention within a CH thread that I'm looking for something specific you can bet a CH will lead me to it asap! Very helpful community!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        The suggestion was also to explain why you're not getting the videos, recipes, etc. from the Chow side, since you're using Chowhound as a search term, and how you can retrieve those in the same google search if you wish. Since "chowhound" is not contained in the other Chow content, it won't show up when you search that way.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          I think I confused you. Sorry 'bout that.

                          While, Google's easy for finding CH discussions/threads fast.
                          CH/CHOW's search engine seems more direct for finding everything else (CHOW videos, recipes, etc).

                          Maybe it's just my preference and not that it's impossible to work it out. I am a creature of habit :)