Search engines getting into forum

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BradOrbital
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:12 pm

Search engines getting into forum

Post by BradOrbital »

Hi guys, I've noticed search engines are now picking up posts in the forum. Is there a setting somewhere on our profile we can select to not allow search engines to index/block outside searches?

Failing that ability, can a mod please contact me so I can change my username? Thanks.
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BradOrbital
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:12 pm

RE: Search engines getting into forum

Post by BradOrbital »

So, a new account or can I change my username?
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Anathema
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:51 pm
Location: Australia

RE: Search engines getting into forum

Post by Anathema »

Can't answer for the mods but what you were originally asking probably isn't possible.

Websites use a file called robots.txt to tell search engines what to index/include in their search results and what to ignore. Theoretically you could use it to have certain URLs in the forum excluded, but isn't really practical or feasible and so I doubt it can be done. First the forum software probably doesn't integrate this feature and this would have to be done manually or scripted somehow which would be a lot of work. Then each thread has it's own URL and there are probably 100,000s or even millions of them which means even more work. Then it can't be used to ignore a single post, just entire URL's which would make administration a nightmare especially when one person wanted it excluded but everyone else wanted it included. Finally considering the search features of this forum have been regularly criticised for many years and people use a search engine instead, stopping them being able to use google to find the answer they need would probably upset a lot of the users. Basically the robots file is normally set up manually in a set and forget sort of fashion with only a handful of very broad exclusions for things like entire folders of scripts or CSS, rather than on a page by page basis because it isn't automated and the websites want to have their content available to search engines.

You are also unlikely to be able to change your username and even if they did manually edit the database, it might have unintended consequences and cause issues because that is your unique identifier used throughout the forum software. It also wouldn't produce a perfect result and for example if anyone has quoted your posts, then your username is stored as text in those posts, so changing the username in the database wouldn't alter this and would require other people's posts to be manually edited.

Even just deleting or editing your own posts isn't a perfect solution if someone has quoted you as I explained above.

You probably need a new username, but you should probably also just assume in future that anything you post anywhere on the internet is going to end up in a search engine and very few sites allow you to change a username.
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BradOrbital
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:12 pm

RE: Search engines getting into forum

Post by BradOrbital »

Hi Anathema, yeah, usually I'm on top of it but from all the other forums I've been involved with, they have generally been closed off to external search engines. Also didn't notice it with matrix before until now, so not sure if Google changed its algo or what. Oh well. Guess its a new username/account... *sigh* my 300th post, actually no wait, more, was part of beta but thats not counted in the open posts.

edit: Aagh pff I'll keep it. No use making another one. Have a great holiday all!
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