Easily Search Only Your Own Forum Posts

A lot of times when I’m answering questions in the MSDN forums, I come across posts I know I’ve answered before. Usually I keep a doc of frequently asked questions, my answers, and links to resources that I can refer to in order to quickly craft the right response.

Wouldn’t it be great to search the forums for my own answers instead of having to keep a reference lying around? Right now you have the ability to see your recent activity under your profile, just log into the forums and click your name to get to your profile, then you can look at your activities which display all the forum threads that you contributed. Problem is you don’t have the ability to search within those activities.

This week I’m up at the MVP summit and I had the chance to meet up with the forums guys and one of them showed me a trick. You can use Bing or Google to narrow your search results to only threads which you contributed. The key is to supply some meta data in your search criteria and to narrow the site down to the forums. The meta data we supply in this case is the ThreadContributorUserName:

meta:Search.MSForums.ThreadContributorUserName(Beth Massi)

Then we want to narrow down to the MSDN forums site:


So if I want to query for posts that mention “Outlook Addin” then the full search string would be:

outlook addin meta:Search.MSForums.ThreadContributorUserName(Beth Massi) site:social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/

And the results:


There’s a bunch of other meta data that you can use as well when searching threads, for instance:

ex. meta:Search.MSForums.ForumName(vbgeneral)

ex. meta:Search.MSForums.IsAnswered(1)

ex. meta:Search.MSForums.HelpfulThread(true)

ex. meta:Search.MSForums.ThreadStarterUserName(Beth Massi)

ex. meta:Search.MSForums.ThreadContributorUserName(Beth Massi)

If you want to use more than one meta tag then just specify the “meta:” for each in your search string. For instance if I want just answered threads that I’ve contributed to then the search string would be:

outlook addin meta:Search.MSForums.IsAnswered(1) meta:Search.MSForums.ThreadContributorUserName(Beth Massi) site:social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/

Hopefully this makes it easier on moderators and answerers alike to quickly find their own related threads.