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I guess it's long been an issue that searching on SO is not perfect. I've just come a-cropper here by asking an exact duplicate because I searched for profanity and swearing instead of expletive and salty. (Following which I got quite comprehensively downvoted).

This would have been picked up if some kind of thesaurus-o-tron was at work on search. I don't know much about search and indexing but I guess that this kind of thing must be possible (i.e. to identify key nouns in a post and index that post by their synonyms as well).

EDIT; whilst I accept that Google is a valid answer to this question, I have seen Joel himself say that Google does not do search properly on Q&A-like content (e.g. by giving prominence to older content) and I have also seen him say that on SO "the act of asking a question is also the act of searching for the answer". If this is the case, and if I'm to end up losing a load of rep because the search algo could be improved, I'd like to see the search algo improved!

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What are you talking about? The search is fantastic! Almost as good as Opera. –  random Nov 6 '09 at 16:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is why tagging correctly is important on this site. With correct tabs, finding questions can be much more simple and helps the search find questions.

I like your idea, but the search has been discussed a lot here and the verdict is using google for detailed searches because that is what they do best.

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As my comments below; Joel himself has mentioned clear Google drawbacks on Q&A search. He has also said that the "act of asking a question is also a search for the answer" because of how SO works. If I'm to end up losing a ton of points because the SO search engine is not quite clever enough, then I'd like the engine improved! –  oxbow_lakes Nov 6 '09 at 15:41

Ask the guys who know searching best!

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This is a very good comment - Joel has certainly said that he thinks Google should be the SO front page! –  oxbow_lakes Nov 6 '09 at 15:34
    
I mean answer of course! But Joel has also pointed out that Google is not great for searching programming-related questions due to many reasons: priority given to older answers being one of them –  oxbow_lakes Nov 6 '09 at 15:35
    
Not everything that Joel says, is worth being repeated ;) Joking aside, the idea is to provide one brilliant answer to each question. That includes updating it (that's the wiki part) when it runs the risk of becoming out-dated. That would solve the "priority to older answers" issue. –  Ladybug Killer Nov 6 '09 at 16:56

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