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Search Messages Help

The ability to search the Atlas Quest message board archives is a powerful feature, and this page will help you make the most of your searches to really narrow down exactly the post or posts you are most interested in.

The most basic search of all includes typing in the keywords to search for in each post. Such a search will return all posts that use any of those keywords in either the subject or the text of the message. It will not search for posts by a specific person, unless that person happens to sign their posts with their name. All searches are case-insensitive as well, so you do not have to concern yourself with capitalization.

Some words will automatically be ignored—mostly short ones with three letters or less—since they are so common as to be practically worthless from a searching perspective. A search including the word 'the', for example, will return nearly every post ever made!

Posts that make the cut will be sorted by which are most recent, since you are probably most interested in the most recent posts of a specific topic rather than the older ones.

Then Atlas Quest will display the 500 most recent posts it finds as the results. The limit is 500 under the assumption that if more posts than that are returned, you really need to come up with a better search! It could take hours to sift through all that data!

A Better Search

If the most basic of searches, as described above, is returning too many results that need to be narrowed down, use these operators to help.

+ A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in every row returned.
- A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any row returned.
( ) Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions
* An asterisk is the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word, not prepended.
" The phrase, that is enclosed in double quotes, matches only posts that contain this phrase literally, as it was typed.

And here are some examples:

apple banana
find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice
find posts that contain both words
+apple -macintosh
find posts that contain the word "apple" but not "macintosh"
+(apple banana) -macintosh
find posts that contain "apple" or "banana", but not "machintosh"
apple*
find posts that contain "apple", "apples", "applesauce", "applet", etc.
"some words"
find posts that contain "some words of wisdom", but not "some noise words"

And there you have it: All the secrets of that little search box! Give it whirl! =)

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