On meta I just tried to searched for

support stackoverflow

and wondered why it got converted to a tag search

[support] [stackoverflow]

Is this intended behaviour and if so on what conditions? I tried other search terms that (luckily) did not get converted to tags.


1 Answer 1


The answer below was correct from 2009 to 2013, but an update was made after the blog post I cited that made it so tags in search terms won't be converted unless all words in the search can be converted.

Source: Nick Craver's answer here, and @V2Blast's comment below.

Only the top 60 tags on the site you're searching will automatically be converted. and are currently the #3 and #6 tags respectively on Meta, so they get converted when you enter them as search terms. You can circumvent this conversion by putting your search term in quotes. Example: "support" or "stackoverflow".

Any individual search terms which map directly to the top 40 tags will be auto-converted to tag searches. So if you enter

c++ entities

it will convert to

[c++] entities

automagically on your behalf.

Source: Stack Overflow Search – Now 61% Less Crappy

  • 1
    That does not work as decribed. Try support something. It does not get converted to [support] something. It seems currently all search words must be in the top 40 tags. I guess that is why I never saw the autoconversion in my searches until now.
    – juergen d
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 14:16
  • 2
    @juergend You're right. The c++ entities example I quoted doesn't work on SO the way it's described either. I'm looking to see if this is an intentional update. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 14:20
  • 1
    @BilltheLizard: For future reference, Nick Craver mentioned it in this 2013 answer to a similar question: "we will no longer convert terms to tags unless we can convert all of them to tags. This supports the case of C# redirecting to the tag page, but not causing a query like Test configuration with IIS to become Test configuration with [iis] on Server Fault."
    – V2Blast
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 15:25
  • @V2Blast Thank you for the update. I've been looking in to this the whole time! ;) Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 15:47

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