In which Sea talks about Search Progress and Deployment 
Geschrieben von: Linden Lab   
Donnerstag, den 12. August 2010 um 17:53 Uhr

I'm feeling a little A.A. Milne this morning, so forgive the title.

Early this week, the additional relevancy improvements associated with last week's release finished rolling out. The index update took too long and we've made changing that a priority. It's a huge frustration that we share with Residents.

There were a couple of high-profile fixes in the last update. First and foremost, we have resolved WEB-2378  (Web and Inworld Search results are being mixed). This one was affecting relevancy for a number of keywords and we're glad to get the fix out! Next, we have, WEB-1819  (Find is resetting to start page). Having a way to easily get back to a previous Search is central to basic usability. The Search team came up with a solution that we think fits that need without interfering with the core search experience. We know some people would prefer a different solution, but we hope you'll give this a chance while we iron out the bugs.

Unfortunately, we also found some bugs pretty quickly in the last release and we've scheduled another deployment next week to release the fixes for these. Namely, they are that exact phrase searching is no longer possible and WEB-2536, a problem in our spam filter changes. In addition to that spam issue, we also see some enterprising Residents trying to spam in some pretty creative ways to get around the filter and we'll be looking at those, too. Expect lots of upcoming tweaks!

Residents have all taught me to be explicit about what else we're working on, so forgive me if there is a little repetition here. First off, we're replacing the maturity ratings system. This is a multi-phase project that we are testing at each step.

Let me segue into a side note about the current maturity system. Surprising as it may be, the current maturity system is working as intended. It is counter-intuitive, but it's not broken. The GSA looks at each set of results it's been given independently and it evaluates relevancy based on the set it has. Practically speaking, this results in some odd behaviour, but it also results in some expected behaviour.  So, I wanted to write a little bit about it.

First, the larger the data set, the less likely your parcel will be to show up highly ranked for your keywords. I know, this one makes sense. Adding more maturity levels generally means that your parcel is being evaluated against more parcels that might be similar. The GSA, just like Google, only returns the first thousand results. If you aren't there, try refining your keywords. Instead of optimizing for “beach" to be your main keyword try something more relevant to your business, for example, "beachfront rentals". The more specific queries will naturally have fewer relevant results. I have been a Search professional for a decade and I have never seen such an enormously long tail of search queries as I have seen in Second Life. Residents are using extremely specific queries!

Second, we realize that the current system is too unpredictable and frustrating for residents. Our new system will eliminate the counter-intuitive behaviour as well as extending smarter maturity ratings to Classifieds, Events, and database sorting.

Other fixes included:

  • Tweaks and fixes to the html pages in web Search
  • Search team’s part of the fix for owner links breaking in parcel descriptions
  • Lots of small localization fixes and updates
  • Stemming refinements to increase relevancy
  • Javascript warning enabled for residents who disable it.
  • Query speed testing and optimization
  • Lightened scroll bar in viewer Search
  • Spam system update

Next up, in additon to the items I already mentioned, we have a number of improvements on deck. Currently, Classifieds ads only count a portion of their actual clicks and teleports, so, the fix for that is on its way along with a number of localization changes, and some work on the new events browse tab. In addition, we’re testing what we hope is a vastly improved way to roll out changes. This new deployment change won't be live with our release next week, but we're testing it and focused on getting it out as soon as possible.

Thanks again for your comments! Sadly, I can't enable them this week, but I'll ensure we have them up for the Search post next week!

Read on: In which Sea talks about Search Progress and Deployment


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