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Where are the Orchid Archives?


#1

For years I made regular use of the Orchid Archives to find detailed threads on specific issues —particularly including specific people. I can’t find any link anywhere on the site to the archives. Do we no longer have access to them…:-(…??

Janet in Jerusalem


#2

You can search every thread on Orchid all the way back to 1996… just use the little magnifying glass in the top right.


#3

If I write in, for instance, “Leonid Surpin”, there are only 50 results and they only go back to 2013. If I put in “Janet in Jerusalem”, the posts only go back to Oct 2016. If I put in “Janet Berg” or “janetb”, I only get about 20 posts. Is there a better way to look up a particular person’s archive entries? Thanks.


#4

Hi Janet. We imported every single orchid email ever going back to 1996. It was no small feat and took weeks and weeks of programming. :slight_smile:

I just checked into the search thing and turns out now Discourse has some limits on the number of search results it gives you but the next version of the software is going to have unlimited search results. Hopefully it will be released soon!

Here’s a tip for finding all the posts by a particular person in the mean time:

Click on that person’s username and then in the popup click their username again to go to their profile page and then click Activity to see all their posts. Example.

(Note: Sometimes people changed their email address several times over the 20 years of Orchid and as a result have several “usernames” here. So if you click on someone’s username, you only get what they’ve posted using that particular email address. Ideally we’d love to merge these instances into one username but the software doesn’t have a way to do this just yet.)

Here’s a tip for searching for anything else and getting more than 50 results:

Use google’s site-specific search by going to google and typing in something like:

site:orchid.ganoksin.com "janet in jerusalem"

And you get 446 results. Click here to see what I mean.

Hope this is helpful! Thanks for raising this question.


#5

Yes. I totally agree that google search gives much better results than Orchid’s search–that was sort of my point…:-)…

Orchid search seems to have been designed by a graphics person who does not do metal research.… It’s very pretty. But totally dysfunctional for the serious user. Let’s take a look at the person search you sent me:

There is a separate, very large entry for each post of each thread: 12" wide by 2" high. I only get six to a screen. I have to scroll to the bottom and wait a long time for more to upload. I have been scrolling and waiting for a looong time now and I only got to 2013! I don’t need the large logo of the poster or a link to the general category. I don’t know how the first two lines of the post are useful–they can’t tell us anything about what is in the rest of the post or the thread. The first 2 lines may not be relevant, while the rest of the post may have just what we are looking for. In the case of lists of posts, I would want only the name of the thread and the name of the poster to appear, so we could get as many threads/posts as possible on one screen. (Further clarified below)

In the case of a person search like the Example link you sent me, the Topics layout under Activity is close to what I need. But it only gives 11 threads for Leonid–a small fraction of his contributions. Having to know all of everyone’s past emails is not a reasonable requirement for a search engine to give what would normally be considered standard results…:-)…

In the case of an issue search, I, personally, found the old system perfect and the present system literally not usable…:-(… In the old system, I could put in a topic/word/phrase and get a list of relevant threads. Each line contained only the name of the thread. Indented under that line was a list of posts in the thread showing the name of the poster:

THREAD TOPIC (one line of small text)
Name of poster -date
Name of poster -date
Name of poster -date

THREAD TOPIC (one line of small text)
Name of poster -date
Name of poster -date
Name of poster -date

[I can’t make the names indent.]
So you could see in a split second what the thread is about, how long it is, who participated, and how much your favored people participated. In short, everything you need to know to decide if you want to go read the thread.

Crucial point: When you have to skim through large numbers of entries (be it threads or posts), having each entry take up only one line is crucial! Small print, with no spaces between the lines.True, it’s nowhere near as pretty as your present results page. But it let’s you find what you are looking for because it lets you run through a lot of info very quickly.

Ironically, the old setup turned out to be much more functional because it was so simple–no formatting, just plain text…:-)… I think I can honestly say that the present setup is in effect unable to allow us to search the earlier years of Orchid because it takes endless scrolling and waiting and then endless scrolling back and forth. I know how to use it but don’t. I’ve reviewed the issue because I always refer a student of mine to the Archives but she says she is unable to get to the info. I doubt if she is the only one having this problem.

The designer of a search system should watch an average user actually using it. Things that are ‘obvious’ to the designer are often totally unseen by the user. And vice versa. I tend to like everything to be aesthetic…except search systems, if it’s at the expense of function.

Janet in Jerusalem

PS The search results pages are very beautiful!


#6

I also found the old system very easy to use and did so extensively. And I have used the new search engine, mostly topic searches, but find it practically unusable, for all the reasons Janet states. Just my 2 cents’ worth.

Patricia


#7

Thanks Patricia–good to know it’s not just me…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem


#8

Maybe we can get better people search results by going to a specific member’s profile page and reading through all the posts in their Activities. That section seems to never end with prolific member’s posts.

I have not experienced waiting, but maybe our search terms are different. I never search by year and rarely use more than a couple of words in my search.

Researching issues in our archives is fast because it returns individual posts. A thread is too lengthy and time consuming, but having enough to read about a single post helps to eliminate a post before reading. Likewise, reading a helpful post might convince me to read an entire thread.

~

The threads in our archives could be improved by not creating unnecessary posts, such as thanking someone. Fortunately our system has an advantageous way to handle this type of potential archive clutter.

Our “Like” system of clicking on the heart at the bottom of the post is an excellent way to offer thanks and it also makes the helpful post available in the thankful member’s profile pages on their Activity screen.

Using our “Like” system is a thoughtful way to reduce archive clutter, which saves time for those folks who read entire threads in the archives, and for those of us like Janet who have a long wait for the archives to return results.

If thankful words are necessary, sending them through our Private Messaging system would also help to eliminate archive clutter.


#9

Great points raised by everyone here! When we sat down to research all the different “forum” software packages we found that Discourse was heads and shoulders above the rest but, as you can tell, it’s still not 100% perfect.

Discourse is very actively being improved upon every day and I know there are some Search improvements coming in the next version so I have some high hopes there.

Here is another tip for the mean time, if you go to Discourse’s “Advanced Search”, you can get more granular with search results by specifying author, date range, etc:

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/search?expanded=true

Hope this helps!


#10

Hi Janet, congratulations on a superb tech post.
I regret to agree as my IT guru has commented what a crap re doing of this forum has been. And he’s a pro.
Ted.


#11

If that was intended as an insult you could hav kept it to yourself.

If it was intended to be a compliment for someone doing a tough job and keeping thousands of individual lookieloos happy you could have been far more sensitive.


#12

Thanks @rwade1. :slight_smile: We’re trying our best here for sure.

And we’re always appreciative of any and all constructive feedback so please keep it coming, all. Our goal is to have be as Orchid as great as we can make it. :slight_smile:


#13

Much appreciated @leah-ganoksin-admin.

At the end of the day, while I understand many folks have frustrations and even valid ones, the reality is that the new forum format is objectively far superior to the old. Features will continue to improve, of course.

Like other areas of life, much depends on how one defines “success” My objectives were;

  • make the forum more usable
  • make it more readily accessible to visitors from all over the world
  • allow the archives to be searched, and indexed directly by search engines

These objectives target not one or even a handful of users with specific needs, but rather, the many thousands of people all over the world who use Ganoksin and Orchid every day. That means, inevitably, someone(s) are going to be upset… you can’t please everyone unfortunately. Again, I don’t seek to invalidate the feedback or the frustrations - nor to suggest there aren’t many improvements to be made. I simply point out that as @rwade1 suggests, I need to consider the entire user base each time we make a decision.

That being said, I do think it’s prudent to judge us based on how we’ve actually performed against those objectives I listed above. So here’s a look at the actual numbers since we re-worked the forum. The date of the switchover to the new platform. 355 website visits a day to the entire 250,000 page Orchid archive (new threads also). That was almost one year ago now… today the Orchid archive gets around 3,000 visits a day and climbing. Almost ten times as many daily unique visits! So instead of 30,000 people in the last twelve months learning from our material, 550,000 people did.

Also, all usability numbers up across the board… amount of time people spend (triple), number of pages they visit (double), etc etc etc.

Again, I am not saying we don’t have a VERY long way to go, but I do think @vladimirfrater calling the re-work of Orchid “a crap” is, on the merits, dramatically overstated.


#14

Calmly presented and well stated.


#15

Oh My Gosh! Unbelievable statistics!
That is just why ‘we’ who are helping others on the Ganoksin/Orchid site.
We must be weary that all pieces of useful information is then correctly
posted. All of ‘us’ have so much to offer the next generation, what a great
& growing library. A mind-boggling collection of facts!
“Ganoksin” is years ahead of some of the other jewellery sites.
That is just why my “How to…!” setting series is carefully planned in text
& photographs. One word out of place & I have to catch it before I hit the
"Send" button…So many thanks “Seth & Leah!”

*Gerry Lewy *
*Toronto, *Canada.


#16

Hi Rwade, and Seth,
Firstly it was never intended to be an insult( thats your choice of words), nor a comliment either.
IF you re read my post its in 2 parts, 1. praise to Betty in Jerusalem, and
2. the opinion of my IT guru, all I did was pass on his professional opinion. assuming it my opinion is not reading whats written.
If you have read my posts over the past year or so I made it quite clear im computer illiterate. The best I can understand is win 3.1 and dos 6.22.Likewise smart phone ditto.
I use a dum phone where all info is in text form. It suits me fine. Likewise on line. Text is much more useable for me.Im certainly not qualified to comment on software. either it works for me or it doesnt. Thats why I have to get my IT man to handle this new software and post pics. its NOT designed for beginners like me.
Ted.


#17

Thank You Seth & Leah for all that you do on this site. It is really something to hang you’re hat on. Great job!
Ken Babayan
DHF Co.


#18

Janet in Jerusalem…:-)…