What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

Dyslexic I am not.
I just want to know the best way to find previous questions that may answer mine (on SO).
I try to search but I tend to get too many irrelevant results.
What's your best method for researching a SO topic, before posting a question?

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 3 '09 at 18:36

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

7 Answers 7

You can use Google with the site limited to Stack Overflow.

For example: site:http://stackoverflow.com "Python IDE".

share|improve this answer

When you type in your new question, watch the suggested topics that come up. Phrase it a few different ways before you're sure that nothing already has you covered.

But, redundancy is OK. Think of it like Google -- if you try a few different sets of search terms and nothing comes up, then there needs to be an entry with those terms. So go ahead and ask the question.

share|improve this answer
  1. Search Google

  2. Switch to searching Google Groups if you don't find anything on the web

  3. Search Google with:

    site:stackoverflow.com searchterm(s)

  4. Use stackoverflow's search and restrict your search to specific tags by enclosing them in square brackets:

    searchterm(s) [tag1] [tag2]

  5. type just keywords into the Ask Question Title input and press tab to see suggestions
    (currently this will search just the topic titles for those keywords)
share|improve this answer

When I have a problem (almost always C# .net related due to my line of work) I usually google search first. Blogs are good, msdn can be quite good. Those question/answer sites that make you pay are horrible, newsgroups are pretty bad too.

If that fails, this site can be pretty awesome. If the search and tags fail you, just post, I suppose. Not many other options.

share|improve this answer

Now that we're public, you could try googling for your search terms with site:stackoverflow.com on the end.

Google often does a better job than the built-in search - it's their core business after all.

share|improve this answer

Currently search and browsing by tags are your only option. (How else do you "find" something besides searching?)

If you clarify your question with an example, we might be able to help you use the search better.

If you're looking for more sophisticated filtering, for example a search like

answered:today votes:10+ (asp OR vbscript)

Then you will want to post that feature on stackoverflow.uservoice.com

share|improve this answer

When I can't find something on google because I either don't know the correct terms to use or the terms are way too braod for an effective search, I jump on irc.freenode.net and join the official chatroom for what ever language/framework I'm having issues with.

The problem with freenode is you are talking to people so you have to be slightly more communicative than when you're talking to a search engine. The great thing about freenode is you are talking to a person that can probably grasp your problem better than a computer could. It's hit or miss on whether you get someone helpful but I've had good results on some of my more bizarre questions.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

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