For whatever reason, I tried to search using a tag containing an asterisk * - instead of returning no results, it returns an entirely blank page. For example:


It seems that any URL containing an asterisk will return a 400: Bad Request and an entirely blank page:


The same thing happens if you go to and URL ending in .config (as Brad Gilbert pointed out here):

  • 2
    Appears * doesn't work in any type of tag search. Correct if I'm wrong Jul 1, 2009 at 23:28
  • Closing since this is not a bug, but a lack of a feature, and because this feature is now requested in meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1114/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1672/…. Jul 2, 2009 at 2:46
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    Well this is a bug, there's no reason putting * in a URL should return a blank page!
    – dbr
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:53
  • OK, I accept that. Reopening. Jul 2, 2009 at 3:04
  • :) Thanks. It's interesting that all URL's containing a * break (which makes more sense than only the tags-search, I suppose!)
    – dbr
    Jul 2, 2009 at 3:14
  • Adding an interesting tag like status-* does work in the sense that matching questions get the highlight. But it fails in that clicking the button to see all the matches gets the blank page.
    – RBerteig
    Jul 16, 2009 at 7:21
  • This is exactly what I pointed out in the following url, but you explained much better - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6092/…
    – Pauk
    Jul 18, 2009 at 12:40

3 Answers 3


We now replace the client wildcard (*) with the server wildcard (~) on tags.

Update: Due to changes in ASP.Net 4.0 URLs like this are now properly handled:


However, be careful, because the server has rules that the client does not. Most notably, any wildcard searches MUST be a minimum of 3 characters in length (not including the wildcard chars themselves), or they are ignored.

  • Thank you! This was an annoying removal of functionality, but at least it was replaced with a much better version. Even if it wasn't a "supported" feature before.
    – Jab
    Aug 25, 2009 at 14:40
  • @Nick: then why not display an error page explaining the problem then? Apr 4, 2011 at 22:28
  • @Kop - Can you clarify? The recent changes made this more flexible...there should be no additional error pages as a result of the * support. Apr 4, 2011 at 22:44
  • @Nick, contrary to your notice about the four character minimum, it seems that /questions/tagged/php* seems to work, even though it's only three characters. Is this intentional, or an oversight?
    – Charles
    Apr 5, 2011 at 2:14
  • @Charles - We relaxed this limit about 8 months ago to 3 characters since that was still reasonable...this post just needed some update love, it's now correct. Apr 5, 2011 at 9:55
  • @Nick: I meant, both of these pages should display an error stating that * cannot be used without at least 3 letters: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/a* and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged* Apr 5, 2011 at 14:10

This impacts clicking on interesting tags which use wild-cards. And that did work before.

Addition: @Jeff: it certainly did. I could click on any of my interesting tags on SO, many of which have wildcards.

Maybe the problem is the creation of the links for clicking on interesting tags, that wildcards are no longer striped out?

  • no, it didn't work before. Jul 18, 2009 at 10:06
  • 1
    I could've sworn that it previously did this, too. Maybe by accident, it stripped out the asterisks and sent you to the C++ tag when clicking on a (asterisk)C++(asterisk) interesting tag
    – Andy
    Jul 18, 2009 at 12:07
  • 1
    It worked by taking the asterisk off the tag, so it was displaying something, but not really what you clicked though. Now the link has been changed to include asterisks, its now broken. Took me a while to work it out, but someone pointed it out on a question I asked here on the same subject.
    – Pauk
    Jul 18, 2009 at 12:42
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    This now makes having * in my interesting tags very annoying as unless there's a question on the main page there's no other easy way to see questions with that tag
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 19, 2009 at 13:51
  • 3
    Something changed recently for sure. I have almost all wildcard tags that I regularly search by clicking. I knew it didn't respect the wildcard, but it would strip them out. Can we get the old behavior back? Or rush the wildcard tag search ability?
    – Jab
    Jul 29, 2009 at 19:55

This has never been supported, so you're describing a bug in a "feature" that doesn't exist.

  • 2
    Damn. I was really hoping that it had once worked and i'd just forgotten all about it...
    – Shog9
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:33
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    Indeed, I didn't know if this would work, but it failed in a way I didn't expect (thus the bug-report!) - I've made the question a bit clearer, I hope?
    – dbr
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:37
  • Well, i want it. So... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1672/…
    – Shog9
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:39
  • Shog9: I added it to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1114/… also
    – dbr
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:40
  • Ah, cool. :-)
    – Shog9
    Jul 2, 2009 at 2:46
  • 1
    Could you just go back to stripping the * out? My *sql* tag would very much appreciate it. He feels so inadequate now that I added a sql tag just to provide a quick link to the questions.
    – Eric
    Jul 19, 2009 at 18:02
  • @Jeff: Could change the behavior from showing a blank page to something more appropriate like a page with an explanation? Jul 31, 2009 at 23:13

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