"Before having a discussion on how EXACT search "should" work I believe it would serve everyone to have a detailed, in-depth discussion of how EXACT search presently works."
For the most part exact searches act as one expects for mosts fields and databases. Searching a single field for exactly what is entered. But not always, as this thread attests. The first variation on this is where you have the mixing of names we see here. Depending on the database, this may have to do with how the db was indexed at the time it was indexed, or through an attempt to make the records discoverable for secondary persons on the record. I'll tell you that the change did result in more of these records beign found, I know this is a frustration and I am hoping we can improve it.
The second variation has to do with the "Lived In" example I mentioned. In the talks I've had with passionate users like yourselves (and myself, for that matter) there does not seem to be a consistent take on whether "Lived In" should be explicitly called out in the record, or if implicit is okay. For the most part, old search goes by "implicit" lived in while the search that shall not be named goes with explicit (while Any event sort of covers the implicit). This is why I'm particularly interested to hear from you all on what you think this field "should do." Don't worry, I WON'T be changing old search on this, but from my perspective it is misleading.
"I will add one thought- on a GLOBAL search the use of EXACT should be limited to only those fields that are common to EVERY database in ALL of Ancestry's collections."
That would mean no exact search on global search for any field (because OCR databases are not fielded). Would you want to go that for? That is what is done on the simple search form for "the search that shall not be named" (ny new unofficial name for new search). What about caveat emptor?
@AGHatchett3rd & xandervan
You're both sort of right. We're not going to make any significant investment in Old search, but if I can throw you all a bone every once in a while then I will try to do so.
Thanks for your thoughts on the "Lived in" question. Your preference is similar to others (but not everyone) I've spoken to. My question to everyone here is whether you ever are specifically (there's that word again, sorry) looking for records that explicitly indicate residency (that is, you don't want to see ANY implicit ones)?
1) No, they don't
2) No, they don't
3) Depends on your definition of the word "does"... I think I answered this above. No plans, but if we find things that will provide significant improvement without stirring significant rancor and which may be fixed without significant effort, I will try to get it done. To be clear, though, it is very unlikely that many of those things will come up. The above issue could be the only exception, and I still don't know for sure we can do it.
Well, I think that covers everyone's comments so far. Time to enjoy the weekend. Thanks again for everyone's input. Keep it coming.