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At SO I'd like to use the advanced search but I can't find the proper advanced search page with help (seems to be hidden somewhere). I would be happy if you put a small icon (like question mark) to the left of the search box (in the top right corner), and clicking on it would open a window with advanced search help.

enter image description here

(the question mark icon shouldn't be surrounded by black, I just don't have good image editor with me now)

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You can get to that page by entering an empty search, or just browsing to that page. I'd agree that that isn't very apparent, though. –  Tim Stone Dec 1 '11 at 14:30
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I'd prefer the advanced search help there as I sketched it so I don't need to load a new advanced search page. –  Tomas Dec 1 '11 at 14:35
    
@TimStone, yes, it is not very apparent at all. I wouldn't search for help in search results :) –  Tomas Dec 1 '11 at 15:09
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The link to the help page for the advanced search is not hidden; it's just present in the page showing the search result.

screenshot

Having an icon to the right side of the search box would be helpful to see the help page before searching.
The search box expands to the left side, when you enter a term; that is the reason I think it is better to have the icon on the right.

screenshot

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"link to the help page is present in the page showing the search result" - sounds like egg & hen problem :-) So I must first search something to see some search result and then I can get help how to search. :-) –  Tomas Dec 1 '11 at 15:10
    
thanks for the improved image, that's exactly what I meant –  Tomas Dec 1 '11 at 15:11
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I was just saying that is not hidden: It is well visible, if you search for something. :-) I agree we should be able to access the advanced search help page before searching. As it is now, it seems the supposed workflow is first search for something, and if the search page contains too much results, then see what you can use to restrict the search. –  kiamlaluno Dec 1 '11 at 15:22
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Currently, the link to the help-page appears too late:

  1. You have to perform a search already. Many people (like me) are hesitant.

  2. You must enter a complex search. That is, searching for a single tag does not produce that link.

  3. You must expect the help link to appear. But since simple searches do not show it you are not seeing it. Or, at least, I did not see it.

An additional place that does not clutter the interface might be the moment, when the large search box pops out. On the left, there is the text "search:" already. I did try to see if this is a link. It would be excellent, if this would be a link to the help page.

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that would not be very intuitive I'm afraid... the question mark is a usual user experience and should be kept I believe. –  Tomas Feb 20 '12 at 20:04
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Here's my suggestion, quoted from my question: (before I seen this one, I swear I searched meta first...)

I know we recently added the Search link to the FAQ based off this suggestion: Add link to search tips

And while that's excellent...I've been a member for 7 months, and just found that we have the search page.

Would it be too hard to add a "More Options" link to the search box, like either to the right of it, or just below it? Or heck, maybe some jQuery magic or something, and when you click in it, spawn a link below it that says "More Options". I would have been using it a long time ago, I just simply didn't know it was there.

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This is implemented now, but beside the search box on the search page instead. Also, it's inline and doesn't make you leave the page any longer. We'll update this with the latest operators such as date ranges soon.

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