It would be nice to have more advanced search features, things that Google cannot easily or reliably provide.

Some ideas based on "Ability to search my stuff?":

  • [user:dbr] to find my posts (questions or answers)
  • [question:Alice] to find questions by Alice
  • [answer: Bob] to find answers by bob

or, more similar to GMails search:

  • [user:dbr]
  • [user:Alice] [is:question]
  • [user:Bob] [is:answer]

Other ideas based on Masi's "Unable to find unaccepted answers effectively":

  • [user:Masi] [is:answer] [accepted:no]
  • or [user:Masi] [is:answer] [is:unaccepted]
  • [user:Masi] [vim] crashes

Other random ideas:

  • [is:unanswered] [python] - find unanswered Python questions, this is somewhat possible by clicking "Unanswered" and appending /tagged/python but you cannot search the question body/title, only filter by tags
  • [subjective] -[is:communitywiki] - find subjective questions not community-wiki'd (For the "Community Wiki Police"!..)
  • [.net] [is:answer] [votes:>100] - find popular answers to .net tagged questions
  • [is:flagged] [votes:>10] - find popular questions that have been flagged
  • [not-programming-related] [votes:<0] - find non programming related questions that have been downvoted
  • [vs*] - wildcard tag search. Searches for all tags starting with vs - to find questions tagged with vs2008, vs2010 etc (idea from here)

Thoughts? Other ideas?

  • 4
    I think a complete rewrite of the site in Perl is a bit excessive :P – dbr Jun 30 '09 at 14:05
  • 4
    Instead of reusing the "is" axis it might be easier to do: flagged:yes communitywiki:yes etc. – Michael Pryor Jun 30 '09 at 14:18
  • Michael: Good idea. Also "reads" better than the double negative of -[is:flagged] -> "not is flagged" – dbr Jun 30 '09 at 14:41
  • 2
    How about "in:1114 Google" to find all answers that contains Google in this question? – jonelf Jul 28 '09 at 6:40

10 Answers 10


Partially implemented


| improve this answer | |

Here are some more unimplemented ideas:

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    ...taking care to localise the date format! (7/13/2009 == syntax error in the UK) – Paul Stephenson Jun 30 '09 at 13:47
  • 6
    2009-07-13 would be a much better idea for dates, it's mostly unambiguous (t'is how the date it displayed on the Replies page) – dbr Jun 30 '09 at 13:50
  • I usually do my dates 2011_06Jun_02. The three letter abreviation of the month makes it easy to distinguish the month from the day. – this.josh Jun 2 '11 at 16:07

Definitely search by user! (or at least search my own questions and/or answers)

Sometimes I have an old question or answer with a particular keyword, and it takes me forever to find it because I can't easily narrow down the search results to only my own questions/answers.

| improve this answer | |

Excluding words from search: this that -not (with '-' sign berfore word to exclude).

| improve this answer | |

When I'm looking to see if a particular question is a duplicate, I often want to search just in the title. Please consider a search syntax that will permit that.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I like this idea, perhaps [title:blah] to find posts with "blah" in the title? – dbr Jul 21 '09 at 7:42

I like the idea of user filters. Compose your own rules and have the ability of 'saved' searches. (I always wanted a search option for truly unanswered questions). (Here are one and two screenshots how we did it once.)

| improve this answer | |

You know what would really rock? Taking Google's search operators and formalizing them into an international standard that anyone who wanted to do "search" could then implement (poorly). And from then taking that standard and formalizing how to extend it. Then I could tag Google's superior engine and use it to search StackOverflow within a specific tag like I can with the lackluster index on the site itself.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    you should really try our "lackluster search" again, based on recent changes to massively weight title and forcibly convert keyword-searches to tag-searches. – Jeff Atwood Jul 29 '09 at 5:37
  • I saw that this morning, good job. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 29 '09 at 13:08

You can't go to the tagged questions page for anything ending in .config, or that has a star in it.

I'm not the only one who wants this to work, just check here, and here.

I've heard that this is a setting in IIS, so it may be as simple as flicking a switch.

| improve this answer | |

I know this is going to sound very insecure (SQL Injection) but why not allow users of SO to search using a SQL like syntax. Most of us are programmers anyway, which also makes this a good learning tool.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 I really like that idea. – kemiller2002 Jul 25 '09 at 13:27

Boolean operators should default to 1. i.e. instead of:


we could use:


as long as they're terms that are waaaay unlikely to be used in questions. I think this would work everywhere except here on Meta.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .