I recently asked a question about a Full Text Search to find out if anyone had experience or tips on how to handle a wildcard search (was about one wildcard on each side of the search string, making normal indexes unusable)

Someone in the comments asked me to show the structure or the table (Expected) and the composition of the data in the offending column.

Unfortunately, this is information which I'm not allowed to disclose to 3rd parties.

So, I'm at a loss, how can I provide enough information to allow DBA users to be able to create a good answer without them having to make wild guesses and assumptions about my table structure/data ?

1 Answer 1


I think you can easily reduce your example (including renaming tables/columns) to something that does not reveal anything about the real DB you are working with. The same applies in most cases to the data: full text search against 'normal' text will just work. I can imagine cases where you try to use it against some 'interesting' data, and showing those might be too revealing - in this case, you might be still able to sufficiently mimic the data. If it is really sensitive and you have a testing environment, there should already be some process to obfuscate the real stuff anyway.

  • While that's true, in the example I'm using, I'm looking for a way to optimize the FTS on table1.code then someone commented as expected what the contents of that code would be and there really wasn't any way to obfuscate the data in the code column without either actually describing the contents or use made up data that would trivialize the question. Commented May 9, 2017 at 8:37
  • @FMashiro I am afraid that you are limited to your own resources (colleagues maybe?). Commented May 9, 2017 at 8:49
  • I guess I am, however that is also the reason I came to this site for help, as I am probably the one with the most experience in database administration (even though I'm a junior developer) My colleagues aren't much help either they just expect a solution to a problem without trying to think it through, and of course, before asking I did plenty of reading up on the problem. This does really limit the excuse my wording "usefulness" (for lack of a better word) of this site as most of the questions I'd have would be too sensitive, but I guess it can't be helped and you aren't to blame. Commented May 9, 2017 at 8:54
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    @FMashiro How would made up data trivialize the question? It's just data. If you have a piece of data that has "TopSecretThing" in it and you replace it with "Ponies" I think code that would do a wildcard search for "Ponies" would be pretty similar to the wildcard search for "TopSecretThing."
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:00
  • @Aaron Bertrand I couldn't think of anything remotely like the data I actually need to search for, and all mundane examples would invalidate the need for a full text searfh Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:11
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    @FMashiro Well if you can't think of ways to mask your data well enough so your question still makes sense, I don't know what you expect anyone to do for you - looks like you will just have to solve this problem within your company's walls.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:13
  • @AaronBertrand Yeah I figured, thanks anyway! Commented May 9, 2017 at 13:13

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