I would like to search for "\\?\" (two backslashes, followed by a question mark, followed by a single backslash (I had to type three backslashes to get two to appear in my post)) in all posts matching a certain tag (cygwin in this case). I first tried it with quotes: no hits. Then without: no hits.

So I wondered if I could just search for a single backslash. I tried \ (no quotes): no hits. I tried "\": no hits. I tried \\ (no quotes): no hits. I tried "\\": no hits.

So I guess my question is a two parter:

  • How does one search for a literal backslash in all posts?

  • How does one search for "\\?\" in all post?


  • I think it's the same as meta.stackexchange.com/questions/32879/… so the response is no :-(
    – xanatos
    Oct 15 '11 at 8:45
  • 2
    Is there a dump of the posts? Maybe taking that and grepping might work. Good luck with the regexp.
    – DanBeale
    Oct 15 '11 at 9:24
  • I like the dump idea. A dump of all posts would be impractical. But a dump of all posts matching a certain tag (in the case of my search it would be "Cygwin", which has only a thousand posts) would be really awesome. To prevent huge dumps from being created maybe it could be somehow limited to x thousand posts and one could filter with proper searchable words (you know with no funny characters). Where do I put in a new feature request? Oct 15 '11 at 11:50
  • 4
    Did you give data.stackexchange.com a try?
    – Mat
    Oct 15 '11 at 12:11
  • 1
    Oh. My. God. Get out!!! I've only spent about 30 seconds looking at data.stackexchange.com, but it <i>seems</i> I am able to query stackoverflow's questions and answers with sql. I'm beside myself. I've got to cancel all my engagements today and look more at this. Is the question content queryable? If so I will NEVER type anything into that little search input box again! And if so, you're comment should have been the answer. It's what I wanted. Oct 15 '11 at 16:30
  • 2
    @JohnFitzpatrick The data.stackexchange isn't real time updated. For example SO is updated until 4 ott
    – xanatos
    Oct 15 '11 at 16:42

You can search the archives of graduated Stack Exchange on the data explorer. You can make SQL queries against a read-only copy of the database. The copy is updated only every month or so.

This query searches a string in the title and body of questions and answers where the question must have a given tag. Enter \\\\?\\ as the pattern. Warning: this query is not very efficient. It works fine on smaller sites, but may require optimization to complete on Stack Overflow.

For more recent posts, you can use the API. It only offers a few search options, but it queries against the live database. You can use the search method with the parameters to retrieve the most recently updated posts in the tag, then retrieve the questions (be sure to pass answers=true) and search the bodies locally.

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