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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorPeter Heinig
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2017

    Hopefully, the discussion topic says it all. In particular, this is about

    • whether Cat already has a “Latest Changes” thread

    an article whose title is too short to make the search functionality work (conveniently, for me).

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorPeter Heinig
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2017

    Sorry, I now accidentally found out that

    • the specific question about Cat has an affirmative answer.


    • the general question of this thread’s title remains (in particular, in this case it took me what I think too long a time to find out that Cat had a thread, even though I myself had already written in it).

    So the present thread is about the nLab technical matter of how to find LatestChanges threads for short-named articles more conveniently.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2017

    We don’t have a robust means to handle this. But evidently it helps to use alternative names for nForum threads in cases like “Cat”, such as “category of categories” (and any such alternative name should usually also be a redirect to the relevant entry, hence qualify as a name for that entry anyway).

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorPeter Heinig
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2017
    • (edited Jul 16th 2017)

    Thanks for the response.

    I realized that my question was based on a wrong implicit premise, namely

    • that there is such a thing as the canonical—and moreover canonically named—LatestChanges thread in the first place.

    Since this is wrong–and hard to make right–technological solutions seem impossible.

    And moreover, it is even not clear whether it would be better if there were such a rigid LatestChanges-routine. A little diversity and duplication of good things seems good.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2017
    • (edited Jul 16th 2017)

    I realized that my question was based on a wrong implicit premise, namely that there is such a thing as the canonical—and moreover canonically named—LatestChanges thread in the first place.

    Actually, myself I try to stick to naming LatestChanges entries here exactly by the title of the entry being edited, exactly so as to facilitate finding them. Some other regulars here do the same, but yet other regulars keep sticking to other conventions.

    (I think there is at least one contributor who capitalizes titles here on he nForum even when that coonflicts the capitalization convention which we try to enforce for nLab entry titles, and I think there is at least one contributor who puts double square brackets into nForum thread titles, probably in order to highlight their attachment to nLab entries. Of course neither of these two habits affects the searchability of nForum threads.)

    Therefore the real question to think about might be whether it is really a good idea to have nLab pages titled like “Cat” or “Mod” instead of “category of categories” and “categories of modules”. Even if I contributed to establishing the former habit, I might tend to think now that the latter would be better. But as long as either alternative is in effect as a redirect, which it always should, there is very little difference in practice.

    This is a general comment which I had made elsewhere, earlier: we shouldn’t put too much weight into the choice of title of any nLab page. In the end this is nothing but a way for the software to generate a URL, much like an ISBN number on a book. The real title, and discussion and explanation of any variants, should be part of the content of any entry.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorRodMcGuire
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2017

    Search engines used to have “advanced” features that worked (I think) but they seem kinda broken now.

    allintitle: “cat” site:

    Should return all nForum discussions with “cat” in their title but for me it only returns 7 results.

    1. nForum - Approximations to FREL in Cat
    2. nForum - Joyal’s Cat Lab
    3. nForum - Basic theory of Colimits in Cat
    4. nForum - Construction of enriched end requires enrichment cat to …
    5. nForum - (oo,1)Cat
    6. nForum - Pr(infinity,1)Cat
    7. nForum - limits in objects of CAT

    However changing the search to include “nForum” in the title

    allintitle: nForum “cat” site:


    1. nForum - Basic theory of Colimits in Cat
    2. nForum - Approximations to FREL in Cat
    3. nForum - Joyal’s Cat Lab
    4. nForum - Construction of enriched end requires enrichment cat to …
    5. nForum - Cat
    6. nForum - limits in objects of CAT

    which drops 5 & 6 (which have a “)” before cat) from the first search and adds the naked “nForum - Cat” in the second.

    At the bottom of the search results it says

    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 6 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

    Clicking on that gives 7 results with 2 entries

    nForum - Cat - nLab

    (I have no idea where the teminal ” - nLab” comes from)

    Searching without allintitle:

    “cat” site:

    says at the top

    About 402 results (0.34 seconds)

    though when I go to the 2nd page (at 50/page) it says

    Page 2 of 58 results (0.33 seconds)

    which isn’t all that many to skim through.

    Hower those results don’t include

    nForum - Cat

    Changing the search to include “nForum”

    nForum “cat” site:

    About 400 results (0.33 seconds)

    Page 2 of 56 results (0.33 seconds)

    now includes

    nForum - Cat

    but doesn’t include

    nForum - (oo,1)Cat

    nForum - Pr(infinity,1)Cat

    and I haven’t checked to see how else the lists differ.

    I know the Internet is supposed to be 50% about cats so maybe Google has made special rules for handling them.

    Does anybody have contacts at Google so the problems with these searches can be taken seriously and addressed?

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