Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I was going to ask a question about how should be handled in conjunction with accepting answers, as I couldn't find anything, but as I wrote the question, I finally got useful data in the Similar Questions panel to the right of /questions/ask.

So I decided to change my question to "why can't I do useful searches for these meta-meta-things?"

Why is it so hard to search for things related to status-completed (and other meta tags), ignoring the actual tag ?

  • The regular search tool is useless for this purpose; searches like status-completed -[status-completed] return no results, and searches like status-completed (wrangle with it to get it to not turn it into a search for [status-completed], such as by adding another keyword) just return a whole lot of questions.

  • The "Questions that may already have your answer" list that appears in the Ask Question page once you fill out the title are useless. (I suppose it uses the same sort of data source/technique as the regular search tool.)


So then: could the search tools be improved in some manner so that this style of search becomes possible? Perhaps by making status-completed -[status-completed] work, or by introducing some way of excluding tags from the search fields?

(It should of course be understood that mitigating this problem is the fact that it's really only the meta tags that will need to be searched in this way.)

share|improve this question

"status-completed" -[status-completed] seems to work:

share|improve this answer
OK, so that's the trick... double quotes. :-/ – Chris Morgan Oct 16 '12 at 12:55
@ChrisMorgan Yes, quotes prevent the automatic conversion to tag – Mad Scientist Oct 16 '12 at 12:55
Hang on... a search like vim -[vim] on the main site works, as does "vim" -[vim]. But one like objective-c [objective-c] gets interpreted as tags and thus gets no results (and "objective-c" [objective-c] works, as you indicated it would). So it seems like it's to do with the hyphen. That's not nice! – Chris Morgan Oct 16 '12 at 13:02
@ChrisMorgan Only the top 50 or something tags get auto-converted, this has likely to do with the tag popularity – Mad Scientist Oct 16 '12 at 13:03
Argh. This gets more and more entangled! I had tried a couple of tags of each variety and that seemed to be the common factor... – Chris Morgan Oct 16 '12 at 13:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .