If I search for "closed:1 ritchie" on Programmers it returns no results even though a search for just "ritchie" is returning some closed questions.

The same search on Stack Overflow does return the expected results.

I would have said that the search appears to be treating closed:1 as a search term rather than an option, but the results page seems to indicate that it is being treated as an option:

search results for
posts containing
search options

It seems to only be this particular search term. A search for "closed:1 linux" (or indeed any other term) works as expected.

  • Well, I think it's more that closed:1 is only examining the actual question, whereas the general search includes content from the answers too (I don't think any of the closed questions have "ritchie" in the actual question). I'm not sure if that's the expected behaviour though.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 11:45
  • @TimStone - ah - so what you are saying is that none of the closed questions contain the text "ritchie" in the question itself.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 11:48
  • Yep, exactly. I could see closed:1 "ritchie" being applied (correctly or otherwise) as "give me all posts that have a non-null ClosedDate, and from that subset look for the text ritchie," which would exclude answers from the running.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 11:53
  • So probably status-by-design but confusing nevertheless.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 11:55
  • This should be changed as it's unexpected behavior. If wanted to search only question titles/bodies, I'd use "search string" closed:1 is:question.
    – a cat
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


A quick gander at this search parameters will show you the reason for this. There aren't any results for closed:1 ritchie because there aren't any actual closed questions that mention Ritchie. The only questions that mention Ritchie are all open at the moment.

The results you see when searching just for ritchie are due to answers to closed questions. However, the display of the search results isn't entirely strong towards indicating this point.

  • It's only expected when you follow the logic.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 13:08
  • I do agree that it's not the clearest of things to expect.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 13:13

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