This time i would like to write about a very underestimated feature of the KDE Community Forums, because i am pretty sure most of you don’t even know what it can do for you.
Let’s take a look at it first:
Yes, pretty boring. But let’s see what it can do for you.
First you have the usual search options, like searching for a keyword, an author, and you can of course decide which area of the forum should be searched, or if the whole posts or only titles should be searched. Lastly you can decide the form of the output.
That is the most basic stuff you will find everywhere, still boring.
But some of you might already have noticed, we provide some additional modifications to phpBB.
First, we provide a tagging system. You can assign tags to your topics which then can be searched, either directly on the frontpage (use the tagcloud on the bottom) or in combination with keywords etc. in the search system.
Also, you can mark a certain post as the solution to your problem, which is quite handy, as you can directly jump to the solution from the topic list. But you can also nail down your search results to those topics who provide a solution.
Let’s paint a scenario. I want to have a list of all topics where our insane topscorer administrator/sysadmin Ben Cooksley (bcooksley) wrote something. Result for now 9442 matches. (Soon worth a congratulation btw 😉 )
Let’s nail it down to the tag “system settings”, as he maintains it. There we already are down to 16 entries, 46 if you use systemsettings as keyword instead of a tag. That is mostly because the tagging system is not used as much as it could be. It gets powerful in combination with the search. Consider that next time you visit a topic. Anyone registered can tag.
Anyway, we could now also nail down the above example to solved topics (4 hits) or search in certain areas.
So why could this be powerful?
Well, first, it happens quite often a topic lands in the wrong place, and those who could help won’t find it or it gets overlooked. Having it nicely tagged helps to find it later.
And i don’t need to tell you how much easier searching can be if there are only solved topics shown.
But this is not all. I know the lazy devs, who don’t like websites or forums at all and probably miss important information due to that. Those also can be helped.
See the link in the top bar, which leads you to the rss area. And soon you will notice it is the same interface as the search page. Actually it IS the same, we separated it to make it easier to find the new rss functions.
So everything you can think of you want to search can also be outputted as rss feed. No need to open your browser to get updates, just set up your search and copy the resulting search feed url into your feed reader or irc bot (our does use it already).
Why do i even tell this? Because as you can see it can be really powerful. But to be really powerful both tools, the tagging system and the solved system need to be used more efficiently. Sidenote: Tagging a topic inside the Plasma area with “plasma” is a bit senseless 😉
So go ahead, tag threads and make users aware to mark their problems solved as soon as there is a solution!
Do us a favour and make this search system really powerful