Searching by Intent

When I search with Mojeek, I tend to break my search up into two, broad steps.

One, locate the relevant pool of knowledge.

For example, I might search for PBS and filter by site.

  • Search for “pbs”
  • Click on the link “See more results from »”

And, step two, search that pool for my subject.

  • Update the search terms to “ baratunde thurston”
  • Search

This works well when the pool of knowledge that I’m targeting is confined to a particular website.

What I would like to do is create my own pool on the fly.

Conceptually, I would perform a search for a broad category–step one. And then I would search within those results–step two.

I think this would address an issue where Mojeek sometimes jumbles search terms and produces unexpected results. And, I think that happens because I can’t communicate my intent to Mojeek. In my experience, I can’t effectively group terms together. And features like Focus are too cumbersome for one-off searches. So, I thought these two-step searches might be a solution. I would just need a search operator that could capture the initial search. For example, if there was a link called “Search within these results” on the first page, then that information would have to be reflected on the next search results page. This is exactly the relationship between "See more results from" and “”

I don’t have a convincing example today. But, I’ve thought about this before. And, I hope you can see the value in communicating intent to the algorithm without forcing it to guess at semantic meaning like other search engines do.

You might also think of this request as prefiltering your results or as a cascading search.