I think there are some huge improvements here! I've noticed that in general, the relevance of the search results is much improved. Thanks so much for all of your work on this! Some of the hiccups I've observed are below--
I had a similar experience with a search for Open Hour as Liz did-- none of the initial results lead the lead Open Hour page (https://publiclab.org/openhour), though some lead to invites or recaps of previous Open Hour events. When I search for "Open Hour" (in quotes) the page is eventually listed, but not at the top of the results. I do think it's important that our search help users find wiki pages on a topic and other static pages on the site, since there aren't super intuitive ways to reach all of those pages in other ways via the existing site navigation.
A search for Barnraising brought up some similar issues-- there were notes about some previous Barnraising events in the auto suggested results, but nothing relevant appeared close to the top of any of the results pages other than "likes".
I am not sure I fully understand the "advanced search" options. I think it would be helpful to lead a user to a more typical advanced search form (where a user can select the kind of search they wish to perform and the categories they would like to search, either in a tabbed box or a few search fields with dropdown options) instead of offering a single box with the ability to sort results after the fact-- if we're going to offer a site search function that breaks from convention, either visually or in terms of function,I think we might need to offer some more information about how each of the options work (ie "how to use this search").
Can you explain what "Natural Mode" is and how it works (especially in regards to results ranking)?
The Boolean search seems to lead to an error if I try to use wildcard operators (either no results or an error page), and it doesn't seem to work quite yet with text operators (a search for "barnraising not lumcon" , which I would hope would lead me to notes, about any of our regional Barnraising events (EXCLUDING the ones that occurred at Lumcon) only returned ONE relevant result on the first page of any of the categories (in the "likes" category).
Observation: There seems to be a default set of results that comes up a lot in failed searches, usually including the pages for The Public Laboratory, Gulf Coast,Thermal Photography, About Public Lab, NYC page and a few others across the top, regardless of the search terms or the tab. It seems like search is defaulting to a set of popular pages when other results are slim, but it happens also for terms where there actually IS a lot of relevant content available.
I've also noticed with searches that don't quite compute, the auto-reccomendations list will resort itself a few times (showing tags/categories, etc, but then switching over to a list that is only usernames, many of which are just spam profiles I've visited recently for moderation), or only research notes, etc. Is there a way to get back to the first view once the list has resorted? Are you able to explain the ranking of the profile suggestions? I think the cascading auto suggestions may be trying to offer too much information, but that may be a bigger conversation 😃
Thanks for all of your hard work on this!