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A search for que does not show results for qué. I think this makes the site less usable--especially for Spanish beginners.

Can the search engine be modified to not be "accent-sensitive"? (Is that a real term?)

And per @Gille's suggestion in chat, sometimes accent-specific searches are important, so a necessary feature would probably be to treat quoted strings as literals.


  • "que" searches only for a literal que
  • "qué" searches only for a literal qué
  • que or qué both search for either que or qué (and quë, què, qüe, etc)


In response to comments below, my new suggestion is:

  • "que" searches only for a literal que
  • qué or "qué" searches only for a literal qué
  • que searches for any variation (que, qué, quë, qüe, etc)

Or whatever more intuitive options might be available with the available search engine.

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It may or may not be a 'real term', but I knew exactly what it meant in the title. – Andrew Barber May 22 '12 at 20:04
Too accensitive perhaps? – Kevin May 22 '12 at 20:09
"diacritically challenged" perhaps? – Mat May 22 '12 at 20:52
This is not the common best practice for spanish language search. It confuses potatos and fathers. – Rosinante May 22 '12 at 21:43
If the primary use case is really Spanish learners, the question is probably correct in proposing stripping accents. – Rosinante May 22 '12 at 23:23
@Flimzy: Google offers both variants: The results of "papas" and "papás" are entirely different. Slightly besides the point: pápa isn't proper Spanish. – Dennis May 23 '12 at 2:30
My comment addressed your comment, not your request. Both versions are good, but I actually like the initial one better.. – Dennis May 24 '12 at 0:23
Note that this was also brought up in relation to Japanese and German. – Aarthi May 24 '12 at 18:35
And is currently being discussed on Arqade in regards to Pokémon vs Pokemon – Robotnik Dec 3 '13 at 0:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Thanks for bringing this up. We resolved a lot of search issues earlier in the year and I just now noticed this post.

As of the beginning of 2015, we have internationalized AKA "case folded" most fields that we search on. This means that qué is now the same as que with one exception. One field that we search and treat differently is code (code blocks). In the case of code blocks, we do not case fold, meaning that the 2 terms are treated as unique. So, while a search for qué and a search for que do produce different result sets, the additional results found in the que query are because they match on code blocks while qué did not (thought both queries have the same set of questions and answers in result where either term appeared in regular text). Personally, I suspect that some people spell "queue" as "que" in code and that's the reason for the difference.

This is an example inline code block: this is code

This is also a formatted code block which is not case folded

This block quoted text will be indexed as normal text and so diacritics will be treated as equal.

In other words, as of earlier this year, you are not missing out on any results due to diacritics.

Please let me know if that explanation wasn't clear and I can elaborate.

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How are "code blocks" determined? Does this mean anything for non-coding sites? – Flimzy Oct 28 at 18:46
@Flimzy it means anything fenced in code blocks like this or anything turned into code via formatting (4 spaces offset) – Haney Oct 28 at 18:48
That's what I was afraid of. Can that be turned off on sites that don't handle coding questions? Those sorts of quoting techniques are often (ab?)used on Spanish.SE (and no doubt other sites), where I think they ideally would not be treated differently. – Flimzy Oct 28 at 18:50
@Flimzy it's a possibility, but not one we'd take on at this time. Generally, code is easier to search when it has higher relevance. If people are misusing the code blocks, one solution is to edit the question/answer and convert them to blockquoted text. – Haney Oct 28 at 18:51
Fair enough. And thanks for the update! – Flimzy Oct 28 at 18:52
@Flimzy my pleasure! – Haney Oct 28 at 18:53

100% agree with the edited proposition. Regardless of whether its main purpose is to help students of Spanish, not everyone has a keyboard with Spanish characters on it (like myself) and I only have a few of the ascii codes for them memorized. Therefore, it should definitely be implemented; otherwise it would be too much like one having to know the answer to what they are asking before asking it.

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I totally agree! I was surprised to see that a friend didn't find me on Stackoverflow just because of my first name that contains an accent.

I'm sure that users are coming from a lot of different countries and for example, spanish or french communities are very concerned by this problem.

Searching for information about an user can be affected by this accent-sensitivity and today, as a developer, it's very important to be as visible as possible on such kind of platform. A lot of recruiters browse the web to get info (Github, Stackoverflow,...) and it can be a decisive advantage for some jobs.

Hope that this feedback will help this topic.

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