Saturday, July 25, 2020

Search boxes not working (+workaround)

The search boxes on the CPRR.org website, unfortunately, have stopped working, falsely reporting "No results found"

This is a search engine bug related to the search being of both the CPRR Museum website (at CPRR.org) and the CPRR discussion group (at discussion.cprr.net).

For example if you search for "railroad" the search box generates the following search, using a comma:
"railroad site:CPRR.org,discussion.cprr.net"
which no longer works.

WORKAROUND:
To correct the search, so that it correctly returns results, all you have to do is to change the search to:
"railroad site:CPRR.org OR site:discussion.cprr.net"
(instead of using a comma and without the quotes) and resubmit the search.


Of course, instead of railroad, use the search term(s) that you actually want to find.

What's really weird is that this new bug affects multiple search engines: DuckDuckGo, Google, and Bing.
Has the syntax for multiple site searches changed? If so, why haven't the search engines updated their handling of site search boxes so that searches will still work?

Can anyone explain what is going on, or have a better workaround???

Can anyone suggest how to modify the webpage code URL that DuckDuckGo generates for the sitesearch box,
https://duckduckgo.com/search.html?site=CPRR.org,discussion.cprr.net&prefill=Search CPRR Museum
so that it generates the correct "OR site:" syntax, instead of the broken "," syntax?

4 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The following bug report has been repeatedly submitted to DuckDuckGo, with no fix, and no response:

To: open@duckduckgo.com
From: museum@CPRR.org
Subject: Search Box Bug- Multiple site search has stopped working

Bug report: The multiple site search syntax (comma between sites) no longer works, falsely returning no search results. Help!!! [3rd bug report on this issue]

Your search box instructions say:
"Site search: ex: yourwebsite.com (For multiple sites, separate with commas: yourwebsite.com,anotherwebsite.com)"
https://duckduckgo.com/search_box

So,

site=yourwebsite.com,anotherwebsite.com

generates a nonworking search syntax "site:yourwebsite.com,anotherwebsite.com" (now fails, starting about a month ago, by returning no search results)

but the syntax which your seach box code does NOT generate,

"site:yourwebsite.com OR site:anotherwebsite.com"

succeeds.

***Please fix your code so that DuckDuckGo sitesearch boxes will start returning search results again.***

Example:

The search box at
http://CPRR.org/Museum/Exhibits.html
when searching for "railroad" generates the following failed search (no search results):

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=railroad+site%3ACPRR.org%2Cdiscussion.cprr.net&atb=v35-2&ia=web

when searching for,
"railroad site:CPRR.org,discussion.cprr.net"

But, if I manually modify the search to
"railroad site:CPRR.org OR site:discussion.cprr.net"
I get a working search, as follows,

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=railroad+site%3ACPRR.org+OR+site%3Adiscussion.cprr.net&atb=v35-2&ia=web

Thanks!

7/25/2020 4:48 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see, The ultimate guide to DuckDuckGo.

7/25/2020 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still no response from DuckDuckGo despite multiple requests.

The CPRR Museum's Welcome and Home pages search boxes have been temporarily modified to eliminate the CPRR Discussion Group from the search so that the limited search will work on those two pages despite the search engine issue.

2/20/2021 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An admonition to programmers everywhere:

It is unethical to create internet software for others to use according to your instructions, and then to silently abandon the existing method, to supposedly make some improvement, causing others' work to fail.

Broken links are also not permissible, as you have an obligation to keep the old pages online or to make the old links redirect to the updated pages.

Browsers also should use the Internet Archive to display missing pages (without requiring users to install an extension), so that they never display an avoidable 404 error when the archived missing page can be displayed.

Feel free to make changes that add improvements, but the old way that you documented and which has been used in good faith by others MUST CONTINUE TO FUNCTION!

Examples: In addition to breaking webpage search as described in this thread, one third party website abandoned their domain name which as a result then was used to display adult advertising to children, and PayPal silently broke their payment buttons so attempted donations all failed for three years.

9/03/2021 10:09 AM  

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