Re: [htdig] Meta description tags

Gilles Detillieux (
Tue, 23 Feb 1999 11:18:42 -0600 (CST)

According to Brett Baugh:
> I'm not sure if anyone actually saw this or not the first time I
> posted it, as there were no responses to it, so here we go again...

I guess the lack of response was that none of us had a clue what the
problem could be.

> Ok... I installed 3.1.1 and updated all the databases and everything
> was fine after the expected tweaking, so I installed it on a new site
> and discovered something. I used the same config file settings
> (changing directories and server names and so on, just not changing
> the other options) and the same binaries and the same common templates
> for making the new site.

Could you elaborate on this new site? Is it the same OS version as the
old site? Same library versions? I'm assuming the same processor and
OS on both, or else I wouldn't expect the binaries to work at all on the
new site, but what processor and OS are you using? Are you sure the sites
are supposed to be binary compatible? Can you try rebuilding the binaries
on the problem site?

> But something evil and ugly popped up in the
> results for the new site; it now concatenates the <title> contents and
> the "meta description" tag contents for each page, but only for the
> new site... thus, even using the built-in "short" type of results
> generation, I get links like:
> "FIC: PartnershipsThe FIC Group of life insurance companies, including
> Family Life Insurance and Investors Life Insurance, offer term and
> universal life insurance, mortgage protection insurance and annuity
> investment products for tax deferral, college funding and other
> investment objectives."
> instead of just:
> "FIC: Partnerships"
> Since the meta description is pretty much the same on every page in
> the site, just about every search result it returns has link text like
> this in both builtin-long and builtin-short types. On every other
> site I have htdig installed on, this does not happen. At all. Ever.

And do all the other sites use meta descriptions too, or just the one
where the problem showed up? Have you tried indexing the files from the
problem site on one of the sites that hasn't given you any problems?

> And the config file settings are identical except for the things that
> have to change for a different site. I've tried
> "use_meta_description: false" (even though that's supposed to be the
> default, and not having it in the config files for the other sites
> doesn't break them) and rebuilt the databases (even though only
> htsearch uses that parameter and thus the database contents shouldn't
> change from using that config value) and it still does it (I'm
> anticipating that will be your first question :)

Yes, use_meta_description only affect what text will go into the excerpts
that htsearch produces. It sounds like the problem you're having is in
the database code (e.g. Serialize/Deserialize causing strings to run
together), or the HTML parsing, or in the HTML code of the documents

> I've even tried
> "max_meta_description_length: 0" and "max_meta_description_length: 1"
> and then rebuilt; neither of them have any effect whatsoever.
> Ideas? I can't let it stay the way it is; someone more important than
> me would skin me alive... and no, removing the meta descriptions from
> all the pages is not an option :)

Can you post the head of one of these documents, or take a good hard look
at them yourself? Is the title properly surrounded by <title> and </title>
tags? Does it come before or after the meta description tag? Are there any
comments between or within these?

Sorry to provide a whole lot more questions than answers, but without more
details about the environment, we're really working blindly, and can't be
of much help. Maybe these questions will lead you to the problem yourself.
If not, please post your answers to the list, and hopefully someone will
be able to help you out.

Gilles R. Detillieux              E-mail: <>
Spinal Cord Research Centre       WWW:
Dept. Physiology, U. of Manitoba  Phone:  (204)789-3766
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 3J7  (Canada)   Fax:    (204)789-3930
To unsubscribe from the htdig mailing list, send a message to containing the single word "unsubscribe" in
the SUBJECT of the message.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Fri Feb 26 1999 - 14:34:12 PST