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I sometimes whish to use advanced searches to filter specific time windows. One could filter based on when a question was asked, or when it was last active. You might want to suppress brand new questions, or even go hunting for questions old enough to not show up in the homepage at all, but still fresh enough that the OP still is interested in an answer.

As far as I read the current documentation, there is no way to achieve this. But I guess it shouldn't be too hard to get something like this implemented. The most difficult part might be deciding on a suitable syntax, so I'll hope that answers to this question here might propose posibilities which can be voted upon.

As filtering by time makes sense in both directions (older or newer than a given date), most solutions will probably include some form of inequality specification. That in turn might be applied to other quantities, like votes, answers, upvoted answers, and so on, to further extend the power of advanced search.

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Could this question be reopened? I don't see why it's "too localized", I for one am interested in this feature as well. –  Jeroen Apr 26 '13 at 14:27
    
@Jeroen I would also like to see this looked into. I always have trouble finding a recent post (especially on Meta) that was not useful until maybe a week after reading it, and getting results since the dawn of SE is not useful. Can't cast re-open votes myself though. What would need to be changed in this post to prevent localization? –  Hydronium May 3 '13 at 16:04
    
Also interested in this. –  MDeSchaepmeester May 6 '13 at 17:45
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2 Answers

New keywords could be:

  • posted: The time when a post (question or answer) was created.
  • asked: The time when a question was asked. When searching for answers, this might even indicate the age of the corresponding question.
  • active: The time when a question was last active.

Each keyword would be followed by an inequality denoting either an absolute point in time or a relative age. Examples:

  • <3h: Less than three hours ago
  • >2012-01-01: After (0:00 GMT) of the given date
  • =2013-04-01: At a given date, any hour
  • >1d: More than 24 hours ago

No time specification should contain whitespaces, in order to keep the syntax clean. So perhaps absolute dates whould not contain times.

Note that the semantics of the inequalities is reverse for relative and absolute times: for absolute times, > denotes later date i.e. after, whereas for relative times it denotes longer ago i.e. before. Although the syntax might appear inconsistent in this respect, I still consider it rather intuitive.

A complete example would be:

active:>1h
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Have you by chance ever used the search page and clicked on the results ordering tabs? This page offers two things like what you're asking for, so to speak: meta.stackoverflow.com/search?tab=newest&q=memes –  jcolebrand Dec 24 '12 at 16:07
    
@jcolebrand, filtering for a specific time window is somwhat different than ordering by these times. On the one hand, for ordering it might be difficult to find the proper page of the result which matches the desired time window. On the other hand, combining multiple temporal restrictions can't be done by ordering alone. –  MvG Dec 28 '12 at 13:22
    
Ok, but I didn't understand from your post that you wanted multiple temporal restrictions. At that point, I think your best bet is to hit the Stack Exchange Data Explorer portal. –  jcolebrand Dec 28 '12 at 15:14
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This post indicates that searches by date ranges for the created and lastactive time stamps are now possible, using following syntax like

  • created:2012 (created between 2012-01-01 and 2012-12-31)
  • lastactive:2012-03..2012-04 (last active between 2012-03-01 and 2012-04-30)

However, there is no mention of relative times, and apparently no official documentation yet. Feel free to vote for this answer if you feel it sufficient to address the requested use cases. Concentrate your votes on other answers if you still want relative times or some other feature not addressed by this.

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