Is "Search" Really Your Friend

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Pharaoh, Mar 30, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Pharaoh
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    Pharaoh Gold Member

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    Nothing to do with MP but I'm getting really tired of people saying "Search is your friend."

    No, it isn't necessarily your friend, especially if you don't know what to search for. If one is looking for information on "premium coach" seats on Delta it won't show up unless one clears the head block and searches for something which will show up, such as "economy comfort."

    I remember way back in second grade I asked my "teacher" how to spell sincerely and was told to "look it up." Well, as a budding baseball fan I liked the Redlegs and so tried and tried but there was no cincerely nor cinsearly in the dictionary. She even made me stay after school. Never forgave her for being as useless as the dictionary.
     
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  2. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Things like Google and Wikipedia can be fantastic tools, but the stronger they become, the more they become crutches; our ability to find and learn can become dependent on a hidden, invisible quality- the quality of their algorithms and of their data. They can be deep but narrow.

    I'm hoping young students are still also learning older methods of search, research, inquiry and questioning. While it is important to learn to do our own research, to just dismissively tell someone to "search" or "look it up" usually isn't helpful for either party.

    My parents regularly used the "look it up" method, but they also provided the tools (dictionaries, encyclopedias, library cards) and the guidance of how to use those tools. Thinking back on it, in a way they taught me to do my own soundex searches, and they were available to jump in if I got stuck.
     
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  3. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    I may be wrong here but I believe a big difference between FT and MP is that when you do a search on MP, it seems to take you to the individual posting, rather than a thread which could have 100's of postings. The bad news, of course, is that it is so new, there is less to search and fewer answers available. But if I'm right, it will be a wonderful tool.

    Look at the bright side - they could be telling you to go to FT! ;)
     
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  4. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    On FT you can choose to have individual posts displayed in the results. Not that FT's search capability is flawless. What's really aggravating is, on whatever forum, a simple answer is required and someone takes as many keystrokes to write "do a search". Why do that? Just don't reply in that case. Or worse, rather and simply telling someone that an answer is posted already somewhere, a poster writes something ridiculous such as "a simple search would've avoided this embarrassing situation and adding to an already cumbersome thread"

    One worry I have with the 20-something new hires coming into my organization is that they can actually work the search tools quite well and come up with results that are relevant in general. But they lack the ability to think through the issue at hand - to digest the data and derive a well supported, rational solution. In my job this is a critically important skill and we have a very cumbersome set of regulations and policies (government acquisition) to navigate. In other words, these folks just expect to be able to click on a few links and see the "answer" jump out at them.
     
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  5. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    My bigger issue is when the answer to the question is in the middle of a 800 post thread and someone tells you to do a search! I have no issue with a moderator deleting the thread the moment it's answered but I resent being made to feel that it is my obligation to spend and hour reading an entire thread to get the answer to a question that can be handled in one sentence!
     
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  6. prometheusg
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    prometheusg Silver Member

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    Yes, I'm not a fan of the giant 200 page threads on FT. Especially when someone tells you the question was already answered in post #643. :-/ Like I'm supposed to know that! If a thread is that important to have more than 100 pages of posts devoted to it, I'm of the opinion it should have it's own section. That's simply too cumbersome. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen here on MP.
     
  7. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    Ideally, if the content were that important to merit a whole thread, but yet be succinct enough to be answerable in a few sentences without requiring a thorough reading of the whole thread, it should be in the wiki.
     
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