Except for the "Search For Author" buttons (which search across all forum categories for all messages contributed to by, or originated by, the single selected member), the current version of the message forum doesn't have any built-in search features. A more powerful search feature might be considered for a future release. But in the meantime, there are still ways to simplify the task with existing tools.
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 1:19:54 AM
Suppose you want to find a topic about "electric cars". First, go to the forum category that you want to search, perhaps "General" in this example, to see the 50 most recent topics. Click on the URL text box, go to the end of the string, and append the text "&page_size=500" and press Enter; this will load a new page that shows more hits at once. Go to the top of the page and click on some harmless text, like the "Logged in" line, just to make sure your current position isn't confused. Now use the browser's Find-In-Page function -- this seems to be on Ctrl-F in all major browsers -- and type the text "electric cars", and press Enter (or click the appropriate button). You could then open that link in another window (or tab), while you continue to search for more hits on the same page.
It's not as pretty as a having all the matches (and only the matches) displayed at once, but it does get the job done.
Alternately, you can try using a search engine like Google; this allows you to search by content rather than just subject lines. (Content search is not likely to be implemented within GasBuddy itself, because it would be too heavy a load on the servers.) However, past experience has indicated that Google coverage of the GasBuddy forum is not complete, so you probably won't be able to find older conversations. You can either use a query like [intitle:"gas prices" "electric cars"], in which the first token helps match only GasBuddy pages, or a special hack to search all GasBuddy pages (which might not be quite up to date).