Google custom search tool is embedded into gmatclub and facilitated by google.com. It is not only advised to search a question before creating a new thread, but also mandated as an implicit rule of posting ethics.
Users of the forum must learn how to quickly search a question that has already been discussed and reply to the searched topic if they have any doubt. Users who won't comply with this requirement and post an already discussed question as a new topic will be in violation of the posting ethics and will be warned once. Second instance of violation may cause a permanent ban.
Why is searching and replying to an already existing thread more important than creating a new thread altogether?
Many users have a notion that if they create a new thread with their question, they are more likely to get the query answered than if they replied to an existing thread from the past. Theoretically it doesn't make sense. A reply to an existing thread results in exactly the same notification as creating a new thread does. Meaning thereby, if a user posts a reply to an already existing thread, the number of notification send to the subscribers will be the same as in the case of newly created thread. Furthermore, a reply to an existing thread has umpteen advantages.
1. The necessity of merging two threads reduces to a great extent.
2. If a question is wonderfully discussed before with many great replies, it becomes unnecessary to further discuss it with the same explanations on a different thread. However, if there are no good replies to a discussed question, the user may just reply asking for a better explanation. Diligent repliers actually won't mind replying to a question whether it comes from an already created thread. After all, the thread would have the same question on it. I humbly request GMAT experts to reply to a query that comes from a thread created from the past just as they would have replied had the question been from a newly created thread.
3. Currently there are thousands of questions in the forum, that upon the search will result in 100 different search result links. I understand it is very difficult, sometimes impossible, to locate a satisfactory answer from these 100 different links. User gets frustrated and creates a new thread, an act that many would think is justifiable. Understand this; why is it that we get 100 different search results upon a search today. It is mere carelessness of the users from the past who either didn't know how to search properly and created a new thread or simply because they found it more convenient to create a new thread than to search for one. Same behavior is seen in many active users as well. This vicious circle has to end someday, and that day is today. My advice for now would be to just pick the first searched result link and reply asking for better explanation or whatever query you may have. That way, we at least check the redundancy immediately. Meanwhile, the moderators and the developers can come up with some solution to merge all the already existing redundant threads. Wouldn't it be nice to see just one link for every searched question where you can find all the discussion that had ever happened on that. At least, one of those posts is bound to satisfy what you seek. If not, just reply to the thread. Many of you might have noticed a feature recently implemented that distinguishes a more useful reply from the relatively less useful ones. You can immediately look at the good replies and see whether it covers your query. People who just give few letters replies, such as +1 for E or B is the answer, are advised to refrain from posting such replies. It is considered post padding and is useless to the readers. Sincere thanks to everybody who spends his/her valuable time to justify the answer in the best way he/she can.
How to perform custom search:
Let's take the CR question discussed here:cr-prep-every-fall-croton-s-jays-migrate-south-119589.html
Every fall Croton's jays migrate south. The jays always join flocks of migrating crookbeaks with which they share the same summer and winter territories. If a jay becomes separated from the crookbeaks it is accompanying, it wanders until it comes across another flock of crookbeaks. Clearly, therefore, Croton's jays lack the navigational ability to find their way south on their own.
Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument above?
A. Croton's jays lay their eggs in the nests of crookbeaks, which breed upon completing their southern migration.
B. The three species most closely related to crookbeaks do not migrate at all.
C. In the spring, Croton's jays migrate north in the company of Tattersall warblers.
D. Species other than Croton's jays occasionally accompany flocks of migrating crookbeaks.
E. In the spring, crookbeaks migrate north before Croton's jays do.
Pick what you think is a unique sub-string out of the entire question.
"Which of the following" is NOT unique. You would get thousand different results if you searched by something like that.
"jays always join flocks" - This is something I call unique.
The search box is the rectangular box with magnifying glass located at the top right corner of every page in GMAT forum.
Just type in these unique words exactly the same way you see it. Don't miss spaces; don't alter the case(uppercase & lowercase); just type in or copy-paste the unique sub-string in the same way it is written in the question. This is the very reason we insist that posters must post their question exactly the same way they see it. It helps these searches a great deal. Imagine if the poster had mistakenly written "jeys" instead of "jays"; you may just not see a search result in that case. Moreover, rewording a small part may change the meaning of the sentence or create confusion. Why harass yourself and the readers; just post a question exactly the way you see it.
Let's see the picture:
gmatclub_google_custom_search.JPG [ 35.22 KiB | Viewed 49208 times ]
See how I used double quotes at both ends, for I am sure about the correctness of the question. You may just search without double quotes, but that may give you undesired results as well. Just type-in the string and hit the magnifying glass showed by the right-side red arrow.
The results would look something like this:
gmatclub_google_custom_search_result.JPG [ 129.01 KiB | Viewed 49208 times ]
Just pick the link shown by green ellipse and post reply.
Now, searching a Verbal question is pretty easy because it involves mostly the text. Quant questions are little hairier to search, esp. if it is inequality or modulus question, for those types mostly contain numbers and symbols. Google custom search doesn't properly search the texts embedded within m-tag. The best you can do is to look for a non-number, non-m-tag portion of the question and use that as unique string for search.
Can the positive integer p be expressed as the product of two integers, each of which is greater than 1 ?
(1) 31 < p < 37
(2) p is odd
I wouldn't search for "31 < p < 37" because it involves symbol "<" and numbers 31 and 37. I'd rather search "expressed as the product of two integers". The searching process remains the same. The importance lies in how best you choose your unique string for searches.
Please cooperate to make the forum more useful so that everyone can benefit.
I'll keep editing this post for more rules. Raise concerns, provide ideas to make this post more worthwhile.