The new search function allows quoted queries that include punctuation, and this is fantastic, most of the time. However, the search considers the punctuation as part of the word itself, so searches for "a test" will not show results containing a test,, a test., or a test?. The reverse is also true.

Is this the intended behavior ? <--(space added so that behavior will show in results.)

It seems that the logical way to do fix this (while maintaining character search) is for queries with punctuation to match results with punctuation, while queries without punctuation to match either with and without.

Example: "Thank you Jeff Atwood!" vs "Thank you Jeff Atwood"

A more practical example is described in Arjan's answer below.

  • 1
    This behavior seems intentional so that searches for punctuation are actually possible.
    – Charles
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:00
  • 3
    @Charles, I know, but it seems to me that this should not be used to exclude relevant results. If I search for "and this is fantastic" this question will not come up, since I omitted the comma after "fantastic". This is a negative behavior, IMO. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:02
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    IMO that's a bug if only because you didn't search "a test ", that punctuation is separate from the part in quotes.
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:11
  • Do you think the results should contain "a tested" or "a testaverde"? Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:13
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    @Some: No. Stemming should only occur on non-quoted queries. I'm saying that punctuation is a special case that should be treated differently by search. It would seem to me that the logical way to do it is that quoted searches that have punctuation should bring up results that have punctuation, while searches without punctuation should bring up results with and without. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:49
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    Another reported example: search for "StackOverflowException" which in the actual posted stack trace will have a leading dot.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


This also makes searching for exact error messages hard, even more so if the message is quoted in the post itself:

But also without any quotes, searching error messages is difficult:

As an aside:

  • As regards your aside, I've already asked about it: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/164674/… Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 15:38
  • 1
    Nice, @HodofHod. But apparently only when there are ignored words. (Cleaned up my answer; commented about the ignored word to your bug report.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 16:03

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