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Roger

Name change to this section?

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Wasn't this formerly the newbies section? Or am I mistaken?

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smiles....."newbie" .."novice".."new users" (actually second chance user here but feel very new ) ----I never mind any of these. And best thing about this is forum is the guru's never seem to speak down to the new users --in fact is one of the most friendly and helpful 3d forums around. It is so helpful for new folks to not be intimidated by a community and here ----that never would happen. Its that's nice.

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There was a time when there were a number of accomplished users here who seemed to live in fear that if they didn't jump in to swat down every newbie's half-baked walk cycle or reply "RTFM!!!!!" to every question their professional reputation would be tarnished.

 

Those people are gone.

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GAH! I remember those days! The 'list'... RTFM! Our new forum is SO much more civil... I stand amazed each and every day by the brotherhood our experienced users show the incoming users. Let's keep on!

 

(RTFM= Read the FreakIN* Manual!)

 

 

 

*Note: The forum's bad word filter doesn't let the real definition stay.

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Well I never thought it was particularly negative. But I can see where someone might feel that way.

 

I do have to say, I have never gotten an RTFM response from anyone here.

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I've been around here since the maillist that predated the forum, and I honestly don't remember the RTFM comments or people. But it was never directed at me so I guess it was easier to ignore!

 

But then I also didn't notice the name change for this section. It used to be called Newbies?

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There are a few different levels of help when the person answering knows something that the requester doesn't:

 

1. RTFM. Variations include "it's discussed in the Tech Reference" (which is a large book), or "So and so wrote a tutorial on this" (without giving a link). This can sometimes be interpreted as "I'm tired of answering this question over and over again." or "you were too lazy to even try to look".

 

2. RTFM: see chapter X which discusses how to do this. Depending on how it's said, this can sometimes be interpreted as "I found this to be very helpful when I had a very similar problem" or "this tutorial or part of the manual explains it better than I could."

 

3. RTFM: see chapter X which discusses how to do this. In your case, you want to be sure to ... This is a really good method, because it shows where the general information about what they're working on is, plus gives them some ideas for their specific situation.

 

4. I tried it out myself, and here is my sample project and/or a screen shot of the properties and/or a video of how to do it. This approach shows that the community really cares about fostering others. I've learned a lot from seeing these replies to others. When others have done it for me, I'm sometimes embarrassed, especially when I was hoping for a pointer in the right direction and someone spends a bunch of time figuring it out. But I'm very appreciative, as well.

 

On our forums right now, I see a lot of #4, a fair amount of #3, and a bit of #2. I think that is a great ratio, and it fosters a lot of community, plus encourages people to be excited about the manuals and tutorials and learn what to find there.

 

Back on the old list, I occasionally got some "go read X tutorial" responses where X tutorial did not cover what I was having problems with. I was more timid back then, I suppose.

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Well I am guilty as many when they have a problem --post rather than search. I do search a lot in this forum as there are so many gems of help --sometimes even when searching find links and things was not looking for right then but wonderful to find !

 

So yes , I guess if someone answers with a go search for it answers --cannot blame them especially if its on an old topic rehashed a lot. But really ---this community is ultra cool to new users. It's one of the features to the software that cannot be stressed enough --how valuable it is.

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Well I am guilty as many when they have a problem --post rather than search.

It's worth mentioning that searching on the forums isn't always the easiest. A lot of people are used to Google-style results, and the forum seems to use different logic in returning results. It does take some persistence or creative ideas of what to search for to get good results.

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I agree that Forum search is lacking. One solution might be to allow Googlebots to peruse the forum, and then enable a Google search limited to the forum.

 

I think the Googlebots are currently blocked.

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Searching does bring up alot of things maybe less than perfectly matched---however for me some of those searches brought something cool !! but if time is tight ---better searching would always be good.

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I think the Googlebots are currently blocked.

 

Bots... Google or otherwise are not blocked.

Saying that, I still think searches can be optimized. (No surprise here but read on how I think we can further optimize)

 

The Facts (based on my current perspective):

Bots regularly and routinely scrub through the forum. They see roughly everything that someone who belongs to the Contributors group sees minus any area specifically restricted from their sight. For instance, at this time bots cannot see inside 'Off Topics'.

 

Some areas may be off limits to bots that were specifically set a long time ago and yet are not currently right-sized. For instance, I am not sure if all archived topics are always accessible to search bots. As far as I can tell they should be. I am not suggesting they are not. If bots are restricted from fully viewing the A:M Forum Archives those settings could be further optimized.

 

;)

 

The most important optimization is User Optimization:

(I'm going to pick on youse guys (a little) this stuff should be obvious but in practice it is not)

 

Properly label your topics

Proper labeling of your topics and use of proper terminology in the text is the best means to optimize searches performed by human's or bots.

 

Example: Someone recently noted their topic title was changed from "It is hard" to "Animation is Hard". One is crystal clear. One is not. Similarly, a title named, "Cool. Check this out!" is wasting everyone's time. While there may be some entertainment value in the title, there is absolutely no information conveyed and... it should be obvious... (it is the opposite of search optimization). You must also understand that seaches must content with artists... who enjoy being creatively artistic.

 

Using proper search techniques

This is your personal in road into search optimization.

 

For instance, a search for, "Sub Scarface Scattering" is going to be problematic.

A search for 'Scattering' is a good leaning toward optimization.

A broader search (but further refined) would be 'Scatter'.

The more variables you put in the search the more refined (which limits what the search can find)

 

I am always amazed to see people enter lengthy text into Google search and be dismayed with the limited results they find. Try a search for 'Martin Hash' versus 'Where in the world are you now Martin?!?! Hash Inc Animation:Master forum'. They are both useful searches but only you can decide which is optimized.

 

Spelling Counts

It should go without saying that misspelted words are more likely to escape search bots.

Don't let this stop you from posting though if you have trouble with that... bad spelling is still content and good information can still be ferreted out! The more you get use to a word the more likely you'll get it spelledt right.

 

There is a lot more to do and a lot more to optimize in the forum (we're working on it) but we must first look to ourselves (and our own fund-of-mental knowledge). Then we can use what we know to help us search for what we need to find out.

 

There is one search optimization that particularly eludes me and that is to have the forum search function search through all of the Subtopics. Currently the Subtopics, which are quite useful for clarifying the focus of a topic, are entirely left out.

 

...and while the list of search bots that crawl the A:M Forum is a long one it does appear that what gets turned up in the searches is from a very limited search pattern. This may be related to the fact that each individual topic does not have a unique metadata description.

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I did a little research...

 

The option that allows us to perform a three letter search appears to conflict with Advanced Search function.

As the Advanced Search is probably more useful I've temporarily set this back to where it was.

Unfortunately, this means that searches on three letter words like SSS will no longer work.

I anticipate this problem will be resolved but we have to live with it for now.

 

I miss the three letter search already...

 

In the interim here is a workaround that yields similar results:

 

Enter SSS* (Please note the all important astericks. This tells A:M to find all text with SSS in combination with another letter or space)

 

Or... just click here on SSS which will peform a search for SSS*. Note that this will also catch onomatopoeias (word sounds) like SSSSShhhh.

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I think there is something preventing Google from indexing this forum. When i Google for A:M relevant things are no results from this forum.

 

I believe something is enabled that prevents search engines from cataloging what's here.

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I believe something is enabled that prevents search engines from cataloging what's here.

 

I agree with your assessment. The bot searches I see appear to be entirely too cursory and shallow.

 

I suggest we table adjusting any of the bot searching stuff for now because forum updates on the way may fix all of this stuff automatically.

At that time we should look at it again. Hopefully it is something that will work itself out.

 

That doesn't mean we should table the discussion.

This searching... and finding... that's important stuff.

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I see some sites that have "search powered by Google" or something like that so you can do more than search for words but also type in questions and get possibly relevant results that would answer the question.

 

I dont' know if they have to pay Googleextra for that site specific capability.

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I dont' know if they have to pay Google extra for that site specific capability.

 

I don't think they do but it needs to be able to search though the IPB database.

Here is the site that I think we can use to lean into it:

 

http://www.google.com/cse/ (Custom Search Engine)

 

There is an option there for creating custom searches than I'm not familiar with too.

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Digging further I see:

 

Standard edition: Free, ads are required on results pages.

Site Search: Starts at $100 per year, no ads on results pages.

 

Edit: I performed a quick proof of concept and the google custom search (free version) is easy to implement but isn't implementable at this moment. Ask about this in a few more weeks and we should be golden. Added: I may be on to an interim addition for the current IPB version.

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Progress being made... but still not generating the desired smiles that would accompany deep burrowing into the forum.

If you open the Search dialogue you should see a Google search option has been added.

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I've asked Google to crawl this forum's URL... They say the request will be processed shortly.

 

We'll see if that makes a difference.

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Thanks for looking into this, Rodney. It is really worthwhile. I really think getting search results from Google could have two large benefits: 1. an alternative search for users of the forum; 2. Bring in traffic from the outside world, and possibly get other people interested in A:M.

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I think Chris is right about outside traffic---3d animation is a niche area and AM is a Niche app --the more chances you get someone to pop in the better for everyone.

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1. an alternative search for users of the forum; 2. Bring in traffic from the outside world, and possibly get other people interested in A:M.

 

My priority is to help those who want to use A:M already so it's best for me to leave #2 to someone else.

I'd let all the sinners in. :D

The more the merrier.

 

But if you are gonna reel 'em in... best to have a feeding plan.

I'm all for seeing new faces but I'm rather partial to the faces we already have.

 

the more chances you get someone to pop in the better for everyone.

 

I will remember you said that. :)

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Do we have like a FAQ, or a section that basically lists all relevant topics in like alphabetical order or something? ie:

 

Actions

Animation

Choreographies

Modeling

SSS (Sub-Surface Scattering)

etc.

 

Sort of like TAoAM except much more catalogued and where the first post is ALWAYS the one containing all of the relevant info/tuts etc to date. So a heavily edited first post, but still allowance for discussion afterwards? Basically the Index of AM, like if it were a large book :P

 

EDIT: We do have the tech reference, though that seems really quite sparse and disorganized. I wonder if something like a blog format would work better for something like a directory? Y'know, the primary post is bigger physically, the comments are smaller in width with a clear separation from the primary post to subsequent comments. I dunno, just throwing stuff out there.

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This is an old topic but I am bumping up an even older topic in order to begin to collect 'excellent' searches.

If people add words of interest (or preferrably actual search links) it will eventually become a great resource.

Then it can be copied over to the FAQ.

 

It's called: The Search Topic (Automated Forum Searches)

 

One thing that everyone can do to help the search engine is to put a descriptive word in the topic title that suggests what the topic is about. If that won't fit make sure you use that descriptive word, or words, in the body of the post.

 

Thanks!

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