Every time I try to search using the forum search box. I get taken to a search page. If I click search there it returns me back to itself. Why?
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It's happening to me too. What I don't understand is why nobody seems to be concerned about this issue. What's the point of having forums on this site if nobody can search through the posts? I feel like fixing this problem should be a top priority for GameSpot. I see that this thread has a lot of views but no posts - chime in, maybe we could get someone over at GameSpot to take a look if we make a proper fuss.
From what I can tell this is most likely a back-end problem (assuming they haven't changed the variables or something, can't imagine why they would) - at a glance all the data/variables appears to be passed through correctly initially, the search just isn't bringing anything up, and every now and then it refreshes and loses the data too. Regardless, it's consistently failing to show any results, literally just an empty "forum-messages" div (surrounded by "forum-bar" divs for spacing), which doesn't tell me anything useful - there's also sometimes a red bar appearing briefly at the top before the page (re)load finishes, but with no text on it..this of course suggests something is failing or buggy, however the bar itself I've seen briefly upon leaving successful search pages as well at times, so it may not even be related to the search failing.
The 'specific forum' search is also searching for articles/videos/etc instead of forum boards, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's a similar issue with the search on the whole. The genre search on the new games page used to have the same problem too for that matter - though that has since been replaced with a more reliable drop-down menu with a full list of genres. The code suggests the specific forum search part should be searching for forum boards, despite clearly doing a search for articles/videos/etc in practice...using a default value when it shouldn't be perhaps? Doing a search with one of the things from said specific board search (none of which are actually forum boards) in the forum search causes a http 500 error, but that's not really a surprise - the ones in the drop down don't cause a http 500 error, but still fail to show any search results, merely causing a page reload (and usually maintaining the search terms)
Regardless, it's clearly broken and is another thing to go on the list of bugs to fix for the devs if it isn't already (though considering how old this thread is, they probably knew a while ago and it just isn't top priority - remember that GS is a business and as such top priorities normally go to the money making parts of the site). Seems to be affecting multiple (if not all) browsers and at a glance doesn't appear to be a script-blocking issue or similar such issue.
@robotopbuddy: Wow, thanks for documenting the problem so thoroughly. I did not even notice the "search for a more specific forum" link until you brought it up! But you are right, it does a normal search for the site (just like the Search GameSpot field at top right of the website). It definitely is broken. From what you are saying it sounds like GameSpot would have already seen this thread and documented the problem, but doesn't a staff from GameSpot usually confirm this? Or maybe since you are a moderator you can report this problem directly? I am sorry, I don't exactly know how things work around here at GameSpot forums. By the way, what do you mean by back-end problem? Do you simply mean that it isn't a problem with the client (our browsers) but it's with the servers?
@GameSpot: This should be pretty up there in the priority list. I know maintaining site content is important for the majority of people who come here just to browse. But what about those who want to be active in the community? The forums are the center of any online community, and I was just about to commit myself to it after being a silent member for 9 years, but alas I can't search for any threads from the past, so I can never know if I am opening a redundant discussion, asking questions to already answered ones, etc. It's a serious issue. I have been thankful for GameSpot because it's the single game-only website I can find with decent content. But please, you guys can improve. Thanks.
@koreform: I can't say for certain either way, it's possible it was missed amongst a flood of other threads, and it's also entirely possible it was noted and merely not responded to, not every staff member with a direct link to the dev team will always post to say they've read something, especially if they're just skimming the board to jot down issues that need looking into - even the dev team browses this board and they obviously don't have time to reply to everything. Similarly at times moderators may read and report them via other channels without necessarily replying to the thread. The closest thing to 'direct' bug reporting moderators have are contacting appropriate staff members to inform them of the bugs though, we can't directly raise bugs on whatever system the devs use to track known bugs. As such I also can't check a list to see if it's on there already or not. Anyway, @LarkAnderson should be able to confirm either way (or at least add it to the list if it was somehow missed).
By back-end I'm referring to it likely being an issue with the server database or something else server side that the client side cannot directly modify. As such, there's not really much you can do beyond raising awareness of the issue and waiting for it to be fixed. So basically yes, it's a problem with the site itself, unrelated to anything on the client side. You could probably use URL manipulation to assign a specific board that's not in the drop-down correctly (that is, skipping the board search and putting the ID into the URL manually), but that doesn't fix the main issue of the search itself not working and would require figuring out the value needed for said board to be added as the board variable too. Not to mention that in most cases the boards in the drop down are the ones that users will be searching within anyway.
@robotopbuddy: You couldn't have made it more clear, thanks. The whole URL manipulation thing is a bit confusing, but no reason explain it further for me (unless someone else wants to know) since my thick skull isn't very receptive anyways.
I want to note that GiantBomb's website has a very similar layout, especially in the forums, and their forum search function seems to be working fine. I wouldn't be surprised if the code for both are similar if not identical. Just saying, GameSpot is the bigger brother with more staff and more resources (I assume), there is no reason why this feature needs to be indefinitely broken. I am not trying to whine or troll, simply pointing out stuff that might motivate the developers on the off chance they might read this. In the meantime, I will wait patiently (for a reasonable time).
@koreform: Unfortunately, the developers are actually split across quite a few sites, so they essentially have the same resources, it's just wherever they're focussing on at the time. The base code of the new GS site is essentially the GB code, but obviously with all the changes to meet user requests and fix other bugs (as well as any other changes) since it went live, further changes likely need to be made to get the forum search working again.
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