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I think we need search functionality that allows searching for posts and excluding certain tag. For example, say, on Meta, I want to search for all posts in the [feature-request] tag, but not in the [status-completed] or [status-declined] tags. Can this be done currently, and if not, do you think we need it?

If we were to have this, I think that two possible ways of expressing a NOT statement would be:

  • ![tag] or
  • [/tag]
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you want to search for some tags, but not others, you can prepend the outcast with a minus sign, hyphen or dash (-):

So in the URL for tagged: [feature-request], [tags] not [status-completed], you have:


But when you're throwing it up into the search box, you have to format it a little differently. Best when you include the tags to exclude at the end:

possible [feature-request] [-status-completed]

(You can try placing the dash outside the brackets, but results are mixed (sometimes not expected at all))

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Ah, no wonder, thanks! – Maxim Zaslavsky Nov 29 '09 at 7:24
@Jeff or other StackOverflow guys; why is this not documented here? – MikeSchinkel Oct 22 '10 at 7:23
I missed it on the doc-page too. And: It doesn't work. I search for ellipse, which is a sequence of arguments (X x...) in Java (and C++), but also an imperfect circle, and I get lots of graphic results. Excluding -shape -paint -draw -circle doesn't help. Can I only exclude one word? – user unknown Mar 24 '11 at 20:28

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