The Autodesk discussion group search facility is still impersonating an industrial suction pump in a puddle. It sucks very hard and produces little useful output. In addition to the problems already mentioned ad nauseam (apparently there have never been any posts made containing the word “AutoCAD”, but 34 have been made in the past 90 days), here’s another one I spotted today: picking on Search Tips will give you a 404 error.
However bad the discussion groups are, at least the Subscription site is working (for me anyway, I know there are still people with login ID problems) and my helpful Indian chappie came back to me with a workaround. It’s not a very good workaround, and it only applies to Subscription customers, but I thought I would pass it on anyway:
Log in to the Subscription Center, pick Search in the top right corner, then fill in your search details or pick Advanced Search for more control.
This search method does find messages that date back before the recent web update. However, there are a few problems with it. There’s no way to restrict it to just discussion groups. Even if I restrict it to just “Communities”, it returns results that include various blogs, and to threads that have been moved or deleted. If more than one page of results is found, there’s no way of going directly to a given page, it’s Next > Next > Next > Next > repeatedly. If I try to restrict the search to AutoCAD 2009, for example, it returns nothing. Finally, it’s obviously only any good for Subscription users.
Another workaround is to use Google Advanced Search and set the Search within a site or domain field to discussion.autodesk.com. However, I know of no way of restricting the search to AutoCAD 2009, for example.
Enough band aids, the Autodesk discussion group search mechanism really needs fixing, along with all the other problems. I’ve already seen suggestions that Autodesk sabotaged its discussion groups on purpose. Personally, I’m generous enough to think that it’s just gross incompetence, but Autodesk’s continued silence and apparent inactivity can only encourage the conspiracy theories. I don’t know how much Autodesk pays for PR each year, but I bet the negative impression from this disaster is worth a lot more than it would have cost to have just done the job properly in the first place.