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I am trying to search for questions that:

  • Have no answers at all (so the Unanswered Questions tab doesn't do what I want, as it shows questions with no Accepted answer)
  • Have been upvoted, so there are people interested in the question
  • The system will allow to be answered

A Stack Overflow search for 'answers:0 closed:0 votes:10' seemed promising, and currently gives 15 hits.

However, almost all of them contain "this question was merged with..."

How can I adjust the above query to exclude questions that have been merged with other questions?


  • I have read the Search Options page, and am aware of how to search for closed and migrated questions: this is specifically about merged ones.)
  • I've also tried searching for body:"this question was merged with". Not surprisingly, this didn't find the kinds of questions I'm wanting to exclude, as I presume that the "this question was merged with..." text is added programatically.
  • I've seen this Merged questions still show up in the Unanswered list, which is great, but I'm not searching the Unanswered page. If I knew how to combine the "Unanswered" page with answers:0 closed:0 votes:10 it would probably do the trick.


It's actually this search that I'm trying to emulate - the search terms are the same as my link above, but the "newest" page is selected, allowing the newest popular, unanswered questions to be viewed first.

Edit 2

I just added a separate question, suggesting a new advanced search facility: merged:0 (and its counterpart merged:1)

share|improve this question
Doesn't the no answers tab do what you want? – ChrisF Oct 8 '11 at 22:02
@ChrisF: Thanks, I didn't know it existed. I've tried it out, and it doesn't really help much, as it sorts by votes, so the stuff at the top can be quite old. I'll edit the question. – Clare Macrae Oct 9 '11 at 18:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The correct procedure for a moderator to merge a question is

  1. Close as "Exact duplicate" of target question
  2. Merge answers with those of target question

You can see in this question that step 1 was never performed and hence the question is still counted as "open". Here's an example of a question that was closed first and then merged.

So if it was never closed, searching with closed:0 will not prevent them from showing up on the list. To be fair to the moderators who merged the questions in your list, the system did not require them to close the question first. This has now been changed and is enforced by the software. This recent change was implemented because merged questions kept showing up in the newsletter.

So all questions that were merged without closing prior to this change will appear in your searches. Since merges cannot be undone, I'm afraid you'll have to look through the list yourself. However, since it's only 14 questions in your query, it shouldn't be much of a problem.

share|improve this answer
Thanks very much. In practice, I'd be searching for a lower number of votes, so would have a rather larger number of hits to sift through. Is there really no way to search for merged questions, then, as it's a different concept from closed? – Clare Macrae Oct 8 '11 at 15:10
Thanks, but sorry if I wasn't clear: I understand that they are different concepts, and why: I just don't understand why it seems impossible to search specifically for (stubs of) merged questions. – Clare Macrae Oct 8 '11 at 15:19
@ClareMacrae Oh, I misread what you were asking :D. The answer is no, you can't search for it, because the functionality has not been provided. There probably aren't too many cases where people would want to search for merged posts specifically (why would they, because nothing can be done to it), which is why they haven't added it. You can't search for locked posts either and the ability to search for deleted posts is available only to the moderators. – Lorem Ipsum Oct 8 '11 at 15:32
OK, thanks. (I didn't spell it out, but my reasoning for ability to search for merged posts would be to exclude them: I was presuming that if merged:1 was provided, then there would be the related merged:0. There do seem to be a fair number of merged-but-not-closed posts - I guess we will just have to live with them. Thanks again for the answer.) – Clare Macrae Oct 8 '11 at 15:39

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