PhpBB does not have the greatest search capabilities in the world. But with a few smarts about how it works, you can usually find what you want. Here are my secrets:
1. Zero in with the right search word(s).
Obviously it will be more effective to search with less common words-- Tol'able will get you only posts about Tol'able David, David will find Selznick and Copperfield too. In fact, under the default setting, two words are often worse than one-- they'll both return all possible choices containing either word. So "Iron Mask" will get you lots of Iron Horse results, and lots of Behind the Mask of Innocence results too.
2. Select "Search for all terms"
A better way to search for "Iron Mask" is to click on "Search for all terms" right under the search keyword box. This will return ONLY posts containing both "Iron" and "Mask."
3. Narrow to a specific forum or category.
Further down on the page you'll see a couple of pulldowns which let you limit a search to a specific forum or group of forums. This is another excellent way to reduce search terms to the ones likeliest to pay off.
4. Screw it-- use Google.
Enter your search term in a Google search field like this:
tol'able david site:nitrateville.com
Google will only return results for this site. Well, it will once it discovers it, which it hasn't yet....
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“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir