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I have the following problem, which makes me search through Google instead of the internal StackOverflow search:

When I type a search of more than 3 words, the search is rejected and I get to choose 3 out of the 4 words.

This is ridiculous, most of the times I am looking for more than simple questions that require more than 3 words to describe.

So what I do instead is I go to Google and search there, using as filter.

To summarize, this is the actual question: Am I missing something and using search properly or there is another way to perform meaningful searches from within stackoverflow?

An example, (out of many I can think, and out of most of my searches too):

enter image description here

This is the main point of this question (I put it here instead of commenting each of the answers)

The internal search should be as flexible as possible because people searching for answers most of the time have fuzzy input.
It means that if AND does not yield results it should try OR, or try synonims, and if not that, try other things, and not require the user master in searchology to target specific results. Be like Google.

share|improve this question
Can you give the example of more than 3 words? Because I can get result even I enter 3+ words in the search box – hims056 Feb 21 '13 at 6:36
@hims056 Sure, "Android intputfilter call sequence" – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 6:39
@ilomambo: That's not because of the number of words, that's because the word "intputfilter" doesn't exist anywhere on StackOverflow... – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 6:40
@DavidRobinson What?!, of course it exists, look in this question… and there are many more like this – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 6:42
@ilomambo: I think you mean "inputfilter", not "intputfilter," then. – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 6:42
In any case: the reason is that Android inputfilter call sequence contains four words that don't appear together. (Try to find a case where all four words appear in the same question). It has nothing to do with the number of words. Android inputfilter call text works just fine. – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 6:45
@DavidRobinson That's not what I expect from a search, and to search for the words together, and this is written explcitly on the search result page, you should enclose in " ". – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 6:49
@ilomambo: I am not saying that the words don't appear in a row. I am saying that those four words don't appear anywhere within the same question. (Can you find a counter-example?) And can you admit that plenty of searches with five words or more work perfectly fine? – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 6:50
To those of you marking with - the question, you are not really using StackOverflow search very often, or you are so smart that you only search simple things. I put an example in the body of the question, you post the same search in Google with and you get a bunch of relevant results. Why cannot the internal search be at least as smart? – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 6:52
@ilomambo: The issue is that Google counts "CharSequence" as matching the word "sequence" (among other synonyms). If you want to focus on that, you should change the text of your question, which currently says that StackOverflow search cannot handle queries with four or more words (which is factually incorrect). – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 6:53
@ilomambo: I think you're misunderstanding my comments. First, your question says "if I enter an input of more than 3 words," implying that that StackOverflow can't handle four or more words. But that's simply false, and it means people reading your question don't understand your main point. Why don't you just edit it to focus on your issue, which is the flexibility of search terms? – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 7:04
Second, searching "Android" "inputfilter" "call" "sequence" shows my point- no questions have all four exact words in them. Two questions do pop up from that Google search, but both have the word sequence only in the related links. – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 7:05
Are you going to edit the part about "a search of more than 3 words" or not? (It's up to you, I just think that future readers would focus on that, and possibly miss your point about flexibility). – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 7:08
@ilomambo: I do still think that the first few paragraphs imply that the problem is some kind of "three word limit", when again that has absolutely nothing to do with it. If you focused on your query from the start, and linked to the corresponding Google query (removing the paragraphs about "3 words"), I think that would make it much clearer. – David Robinson Feb 21 '13 at 7:15
@ilomambo - your question is still incorrect. It still says you can't search for more than 3 words. This is just wrong. It works perfectly. – Rory Alsop Feb 21 '13 at 9:48
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can try searching with tag and sections as [android] body:inputfilter title:inputfilter. This does return several results. Have a look at that.

and not require the user master in searchology to target specific results. Be like Google.

You don't have to be a master, The advanced search (which is in fact advanced) has provided you with easy to use syntax. If you are destined to be a stack overflow user i.e. a developer this should not be difficult to you.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
See my question edit – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 7:05
Saw your edit, it is much much much much much easier for me to use Google as I described. I am a developer, which means I look for practical way to do things, and given a complicated way and a simple way, I choose the simple way :::: This post is taking too much of my time, I thank you for your interest and leave it now to do some real work. – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 7:17

It is possible, it's just that there isn't any single post that contains all four words. SE search is an AND search now, so all terms must exist in the post for it to turn up in the results.

I guess the logical thing to do would be to have an OR operator in the new search. It exists for chat search already.

share|improve this answer
See my question edit – ilomambo Feb 21 '13 at 7:05
@ilomambo: It's easy to say "be like Google". It's hard to do it. You forget that Google's main focus is on search. They are constantly improving the algorithms, and all this "synonym search", etc came after they amassed a large amount of data on searching. It would be disproportionate allocation of resources for SE to add such features to search. Having a fallback OR search, I agree with. The rest, I don't. – Manishearth Feb 21 '13 at 7:28

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