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Upon reading this question, i was intrigued - i'd never realized that such a feature existed on SO!

Unfortunately, that was because it didn't exist on SO. But, come on - it'd be cool, right? After all, everyone loves wildcards! And when i'm in a hurry, i'd rather just type singular-tag* than bother looking it up to see if perhaps the plural form has more questions attached...tes

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I like this idea, too, though the tags page itself does a decent job of searching tags –  Michael Haren Jul 2 '09 at 2:52

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Looks like it might be possible

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_Server_Full_Text_Search#Prefix_Term_Searches

Actually, it's not possible, since that's only a "begins with" search which does not work well with our tag data. On top of that, asterisks aren't possible in URLs (this was fixed in ASP.Net 4.0).

However, I implemented an experimental "explode" operator which allows you to effectively do the same thing -- it "explodes" the tags using ~ wildcards in a begins-with and/or ends-with manner.

For example:

all questions tagged bug, but without a tag beginning with "status-"
http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/bug%20-status-~

all questions with a tag containing "edit"
http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/~edit~

I haven't fully tested all the permutations, but you must include at least 4 characters for it to be a valid match.

Also: THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL. Like I said!


Update: You can now use * for tag wildcards as well, for example: http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/bug%20-status-* http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/edit

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Couldn't you translate '' specially for tag searches? E.g. [tag] is translated to [tag~]? That way the ignored/interesting tags and search box would all behave consistently. –  Jonathon Watney Jul 23 '09 at 17:58
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I agree with @Jonathon -- this should work the same way as interesting/ignored tags. Simply use some javascript to translate the asterisk to your explode character before posting instead of putting the burden on the user to know that search takes one form and filtering takes another. Either that or change the filtering character to the explode character. –  tvanfosson Apr 25 '10 at 13:58
    
@jon no, the asterisk is really hard to get at in the ASP.NET URL pipeline, unfortunately. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 1 '10 at 4:10
    
I agree with Jonathon that the search box should understand the wildcard. Or at least the tilde, like [meta~]. As I understand it, currently the only way to search for tags starting with something is typing the URL, which is not intuitive at all. –  Michel de Ruiter Jun 24 '10 at 11:37
    
is there someway to use this wildcard in the search box, I've been trying but I don't see any way besides changing the URL up top. –  Lance Roberts Jul 13 '10 at 18:38
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@Nick Is this still working? How can you trigger a wildcard search from the search box? Could you throw some enlightenment here? –  Gilles Feb 3 '12 at 1:09

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