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
    Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 14:05
  • 4
    Instead of reusing the "is" axis it might be easier to do: flagged:yes communitywiki:yes etc. Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 14:18
  • Michael: Good idea. Also "reads" better than the double negative of -[is:flagged] -> "not is flagged"
    – dbr
    Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 14:41
  • 2
    How about "in:1114 Google" to find all answers that contains Google in this question?
    – jonelf
    Commented Jul 28, 2009 at 6:40

10 Answers 10


Partially implemented



Here are some more unimplemented ideas:

  • 3
    ...taking care to localise the date format! (7/13/2009 == syntax error in the UK) Commented Jun 30, 2009 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
    Commented Jun 30, 2009 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
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 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.


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


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.

  • 1
    I like this idea, perhaps [title:blah] to find posts with "blah" in the title?
    – dbr
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 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.)


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.

  • 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. Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 5:37
  • I saw that this morning, good job. Commented Jul 29, 2009 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.


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.


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.

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