It just happened again: I typed in the start of a tag, used the arrow keys to select it in the box that appeared and hit Enter.

Only once again, there had been only one matching tag left and upon navigating to its entry with the arrow keys it was auto-selected and when I hit Enter I did not select the tag, but posted the whole question.

This behavior is inconsistent and unexpected and should be changed.

  • 1
    Hey...what happened to the "!->?" title filter?
    – John
    May 23, 2012 at 22:38
  • That was actually sort of a bug, @John. It's still blocked on the Trilogy (SO/SF/SU), but enabled elsewhere. It's actually quite useful here on Meta. Where we're all about the emotion!
    – Shog9
    May 24, 2012 at 2:48
  • I don't want to start an edit war with Jeff Atwood of all people, but broken behavior is certainly a bug, not a feature request... May 24, 2012 at 8:51
  • @Legate Insisiting something is a bug because you don't like it is not a great way to convince people. If anything, it makes you appear belittling (which is something you criticized in Cody's answer). It's fine that you disagree with decisions, and it's fine that you request revisiting them, but saying "You're wrong, I'm right, and therefore it's a bug, not a feature request" is not a good way to lead this discussion.
    – balpha Staff
    May 24, 2012 at 10:21
  • @balpha I guess you're right. It just seems to me like its saying: "Deviating from UX standards is a feature and asking for the removal of this feature is a feature request." May 24, 2012 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


When there is only one matching tag that appears in the pop-up results, and I try to navigate to it with the arrow keys, the tag gets automatically selected and the pop-up disappears.

That's precisely the behavior that I expect. If there's only one tag available, then I don't need to use the arrow keys to disambiguate between multiple choices. I want that oneright there!—the obvious one, you stupid computer!

Then, of course, when you press Enter, the default form button is triggered—the one that submits your question. I suppose you're arguing that is the unexpected behavior, but I disagree. It's now expected because the tag selector dialog was dismissed. It doesn't really make sense for your key presses to be interpreted as controlling a UI element that no longer exists. Yeah, you do have to glance up at the screen periodically. I don't know how we fix that.

Are you seeing something different in your browser? This is what I see in Chrome v19.whatever (stable). If you're seeing something else, which one of the cornucopia of options are you using?

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    A little less belittling would be nice. Apart from that, in my opinion it is unexpected behavior for a dialog to disappear upon navigating in it using arrow keys. Take Google's drop-down suggestion box as probably the most widely used example of its kind. Even if there is only one element, the box only disappears after I hit Enter. May 23, 2012 at 13:37
  • I see absolutely nothing belittling about this answer. Note that the sentence at the end of the second paragraph is not directed at you. I'm simply attempting to capture the frustration of a user working with the interface where the choice is obvious to him, but completely missed by the "stupid computer". Oh, and the rant about the seemingly endless sea of browser choices isn't a slight against you, either. It's not your fault, and I'm certainly not blaming you for using a different browser than I. I planned on deleting this answer if you said, e.g., "oh, it does something else in IE...".
    – Cody Gray
    May 23, 2012 at 13:57
  • And you're not actually "navigating" the dialog with the arrow keys when there's only one choice left. That doesn't make any sense to me because there's nothing to navigate. There's only one choice. You can't navigate between something and itself. Instead, using the arrow keys selects the default selection.
    – Cody Gray
    May 23, 2012 at 13:58
  • 3
    That seems to me like saying a button should be triggered once the mouse moves over it. The same way I might move my mouse away and do something else I might also want to move back to the input field and continue typing. A list is a list and should be navigated like a list at all times, even if there's only one element in it. May 23, 2012 at 14:02
  • UX designers would have a field day with the concept of auto-selecting the only option in a list. It breaks the regular usage paradigm of familiar products like your web browser's address bar.
    – user172164
    May 24, 2012 at 4:20

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