When using the search function of Stack Overflow, it is including text from the Related section of a question in the results.

For example, I searched on system.windows.interactivity error clickonce, this was the result:

enter image description here

all good so far. Then when I go to the topmost question, the only mention of the word clickonce is in the related questions panel. That is of absolutely zero use to me! Especially when I need an answer now now now.... Can we please have this fixed? When you need an answer as soon as possible this is one of the most irritating things that can happen.

enter image description here


Nick has pointed out below that this is expected behaviour. I'm fine with that, but that shows an issue with the UX - it doesn't tell me that it is a best match without a specific keyword, so we need some sort of hint/clue that this is the case.

This is kind of important - there are lots of questions about System.Windows.Interactivity, but my question relates specifically to ClickOnce, I don't want to be trawling through results to find what I'm after. Without that aforementioned hint it isn't obvious to me that I need to use the + operator to ensure that every key word is included in the results.

  • Then what you want is this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10713/…
    – random
    Aug 12, 2012 at 23:02
  • @random That is a good related issue, but after Nick's answer I think the best solution is to make it obvious to the user that the search results don't necessarily include the keyword.
    – slugster
    Aug 12, 2012 at 23:19
  • 2
    @slugster: That's how every search engine works. This is basic Google-Fu here. Aug 12, 2012 at 23:55
  • 2
    @Nicol - you are correct, I just ran a quick test on Google and it didn't explicitly tell me that a specific keyword couldn't be found. But just because Google does it (the majority of it's users would be Mom & Pop users) doesn't mean it is right for technical users. Missing keywords from a search result means the result is somewhat random - it's NOT what I asked for.
    – slugster
    Aug 13, 2012 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


Honest question: there are no questions or answers with all of those terms...what exactly do you want us to show here?

It's showing the best match we have, which is without "clickonce". If you require all terms then use a + for each required term as in my example above:

+"system.windows.interactivity" +error +clickonce

The related questions don't factor in at all, so there's no bug associated with the hit being in the related questions panel, it's just a coincidence that it's there (well, not really given it's the same topic...so it's a high probability).

  • Good answer Nick, I've added an edit.
    – slugster
    Aug 12, 2012 at 23:00
  • 10
    "what exactly do you want us to show here?" -- it'd be nice to know right away that "We didn't find anything that matched all of your search terms. Here are some items that matched some of them."
    – Charles
    Aug 13, 2012 at 0:12
  • I systematically put a + before each word when I search on SE. I wonder how many people voluntarily search without a + (as opposed to not putting one because they're unaware of the feature or they don't want to bother typing an extra character). Aug 13, 2012 at 8:58

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