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Type "s" in the search box and seven 50-proposal pages of matches show up.

Type "sc" in the search box and zero matches show up.

Type "f" in the search box and the seven pages show up.

Type "fi" in the search box, and five matches appear.

Type "fic" and no matches appear.

This must be a use of the term "works" with which I had previously been unacquainted.

(apologies to Douglas Adams, my copy of his book is not handy).

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

We're now a bit more helpful. We require a 3 character minimum and tell you about it, and if your search consists only of stop words that are stripped we'll tell you instead of returning all results.

Right now we're relying on SQL Server's full text index, which is still giving some strange partial-substring search behavior. We could still improve that to use simple LIKE clauses as well, but that would require a bigger change.

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Thanks for the quick fix. –  John Saunders Jun 21 '10 at 18:12

It appears that:

  • One-character searches are ignored
  • Two-character searches are done on word boundaries
  • Three-or-more-character searches are substring searches in some cases (not sure which)
  • All searches are subject to the common-word filtering

So if you do a search for "in" it gets stripped completely, while searching for "f1" does not (note: I'm not sure what is being searched, because "f1" returns 3 results, only 1 of which shows "F1" right in the results list).

If you search for "sci" it does match the "Science Fiction" proposal, while searching for "fic" does not. Interestingly, searching for "hist" ("his" gets filtered out) does not match the proposal "Historical Reenactment and Play"... so I'm not sure what's going on with this.

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Yep, I can reproduce.

I'm not sure why we'd want to ever match on a single character, though -- maybe we should only even begin matching on a 3 character sequence?

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