I have some questions about full-text search and how it's intended to work with NodeBB.
Default search: I have had NodeBB running with the default search plugin (
db-search-plugin), but search results were of very bad quality. I really tried to use it, but I can't tell users to "use the forum search" to find the answer for a question, because it just doesn't work. It shows a huge bunch of unrelated postings etc.
Solr: So I decided to set up a Solr instance and install "the" Solr plugin. However, it was not easy to find a working Solr plugin. There were several ones, some basically working, some not. Also, the only working Solr plugin reported that the Solr collection works; re-indexing and searching were also working (with high-quality search results :)). However, new postings were not indexed, although the option is on. So, using Solr is also very cumbersome and not really useable currently.
Redirecting to a search engine: On the public forum, I have just disabled forum search and used a search bar which redirects to a search engine (with
site:forum.domain appended). However, I'd like to start a private forum, too (with sensitive information), and that's not an option there.
Your opinion: importance of search? My personal opinion is that good full-text search is a very importang thing for a forum. Whats your opinion on that? Isn't it one of the most important features of a forum? Most people recommend to use the forum search before asking the same question again and again. In my opinion, good full-text search makes the difference between a volatile social network discussion and a knowledge database.
Suggestions: I know that good full-text search is a very complex topic and can't be done as a "side project". So I wonder whether the default NodeBB installation could be improved by providing
- a working and officially supported Solr plugin for those who need self-hosted search (for instance because the forum is private), and
- a working and officially supported "redirect to $search-engine" plugin (when the forum is public and the human/computing resources for self-hosting Solr are not available)
instead of activating the
db-search-plugin by default.
What to do? Can you suggest what I can do to get good full-text search working on a private forum? Shall I use the Solr plugin? Which one? Is there an officially supported plugin that's actually being maintained? I'd have to dig into the problem that new postings are not indexed automatically first.
What search plugins do hosted NodeBB installations use?
PS: Thanks for providing NodeBB as free and open-source software! I really love it and I'd also be motivated to contribute to NodeBB in this matter. I just don't know where to start, so I decided to start it by asking and discussing