Reddit rolls out a revamped search system, makes it easier to find comments

Reddit (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Reddit has announced changes to its search system.
  • Users can now search within comments for the first time.
  • Changes to the wider search system should make results more useful.

Reddit has announced that it is overhauling its search system to make it easier to use while also adding the ability to search for comments, too.

The new search system was announced via blog post and includes a revamp that offers a new, more friendly search experience on both desktop and mobile. The results will appear in a new-look view that is simpler and easier to navigate.

Reddit also announced that it is improving relevance in search by using data patterns to improve results, incorporating signals for post results, and more. Search results should improve thanks to three main changes:

  • Allowing for less restrictive matching - 100% of a query doesn't have to match the text of a post to return relevant results. By doing this we saw a 60% increase in results for queries that previously didn't receive results. For example, let's say someone searches for "dogecoin stonks 2021," and doesn't find what they're looking for because there isn't an exact match; with our new treatment, they're more likely to get related results (and more of them) than they would have before.
  • Using user patterns to improve results - we now have a better understanding of user intentions when they search for something on Reddit. For example, if someone is searching for a topic that a lot of other people are searching for, we'll automatically sort their results to prioritize the newest content to make sure the results are fresh.
  • Incorporating signals for post results - this enhancement looks at users' clicks and interactions on search results as a 'signal' of what might be valuable for them. For example, if 30 other people clicked on the fourth post result when they searched for "succulents'', the next time someone else searched for "succulents," we are more likely to show the fourth post at the top position in results.

But perhaps the best improvement is the new ability to search for comments on Reddit without the need to find a thread and then manually scroll through potentially thousands of comments. Now, people can select to only search within comments for the first time, making the right comment easier to find than ever before.

With this new capability, users looking for particular discussions or comments on Reddit no longer need to click on several posts and then scroll through what can sometimes be thousands of comments to find threads that are relevant to them. The new feature solves this problem and quickly gives redditors the ability to comment search directly and further refine their searches by searching for comments within specific communities. For example - if someone wants to find a thread about the best locations in London, previously they would have to look through each post in the r/London community, browsing the comments to find it. Now, they can easily see all the different recommendations on the best places for high tea that people have shared in comments.

This change means that, for the first time in 16 years, the whole of Reddit can now be easily searched — making it easier to find the content and discussions that you're looking for.

As great as these improvements are, the official Reddit app for iPhone and iPad still might not be for everyone. Those looking for something more capable should check out our list of the best Reddit apps before their next dive into their subreddits of choice.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.