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ROE On Searching And Starting New Threads

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There are often new threads that don't need to be started since their information has been covered in the past and needs only to be revived and possibly updated. Here's the ROE on searching and starting new threads.

1. UTFSF: If there is a remote chance that your topic has been discussed, use the search function to find it and re-open that thread.

2. Get something close: It doesn't matter if your specific question was not answered - find a thread that is close and ask your question there. The intent is to consolidate discussion as much as possible so there are a minimal amount of threads discussing the same topic.

3. Disclaimers are unneccesary: You don't need to start your thread with "I used the search function and I couldn't find anything." I've been around for a while and I'm pretty familiar with what's been discussed. If your topic was previously discussed, I'll probably know.

4. Smackdown for offenders: I'm going to lock the topic and send you a PM to inform you that your posting abilities will be disabled until you re-read this thread and the posting rules (these posting rules are all contained within the Posting Rules which are hyperlinked in the registration and required to be read before submitting for an account). Additionally I will increase your warning level (that little meter below your avatar). It’s hardly even a slap on the wrist and barely noticeable, but repeat offenders will get a temporary ban.

This isn’t about preventing new information from being posted – it is about getting people to stop being lazy and look for answers that are already there before they ask the question. Before these rules were put in place, I would routinely locked 20-30 threads a month for new threads that had already been discussed. Posting similar questions under the same topic consolidates these threads. This has exactly zero percent to deal with bandwidth – it simply puts all the information in one place to make it easier for people who want to find it later.

To help out with sorting through an excessive number of old posts on similar subjects, I have consolidated many subjects. I have merged a ton of old threads dealing with the same subject. Try searching for "LASIK" "Vision", "SERE" or any number of common subjects and you'll now only see one or two threads. However, these threads have 6-9 pages with information going back as far as 2002. In some cases the merge function hiccups, so you may the thread as a whole may be slightly out of chronological order, but the posts within the original threads remain in order (so the posts from a 2004 thread may appear before the posts from a 2003 thread). I've spent a good deal of time doing this, so I'm going to be particularly grumpy if any idiots start a new thread asking for questions on these subjects - PUT IT IN THE EXISTING THREADS!

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, here are some techniques to improve your search:

- Use the advanced search. If you simply type your word or phrase into the search container at the top of the page, it will only search that particular forum and will bring up every hit with a thread that has your word in the posts (which may be much more than you need). Instead of typing your info in that container, click “Advanced Search”, which will allow to search in specific forums, as well as search only thread titles for your topic. You can also limiting your search to a date range.

- Don’t look for words with less than three letters. The search engine cannot handle these, so it will give you zero results. If you use one short word that doesn’t bring anything up, try using a phrase that would likely be associated with what you’re looking for.

- Typing in a portion of a word will bring up any words with that fragment (typing "test" will bring up "test", "tests", and "testing")

- Don't use quotes - this doesn't isolate words like it does with other search engines such as Google. If you search for multiple words, the engine will only return results with the words in that exact order.

If you find a subject that has not been consolidated or you're having trouble searching, send me a PM and I'd be happy to merge the threads.

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