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I wrote up a question on stackoverflow "How to insert an NSDate into a column in an Azure managed database?" and added three tags: ios azure and nsdate

I wanted to find the question so I searched for "ios azure nsdate" which returned no matches. If I search for "azure nsdate" the question is found.

I thought that search results would be the union of "questions with title matches" and "questions with tag matches" but that doesn't seem to be the case.

While it could be an intended feature (requiring tag searches be flagged as such when submitting a search) a typical user could not know beforehand if a certain word was in the question's title, or attached as a tag to the question.

I saw this question which suggests that users searching for term XYZ enter "title:XYZ or [XYZ]" but this becomes ridiculously clumsy in my case with three simple terms.

So my question is: is this truly the intended behavior or is it a search bug? If it is the intended behavior, I do suggest it be modified.

  • What is the exact search you used? – Undo Mar 27 '14 at 15:26
  • I first searched for "ios azure nsdate" which returned nothing, then I searched for "azure nsdate" which returned the question I was looking for – software evolved Mar 27 '14 at 15:28
  • Yes indeed, the search algorithm does not check every word if it's a tag or not. If it's not in square brackets it try to search for this word in title or body of the post. – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Mar 27 '14 at 15:30
  • Then why didn't the first search ("ios azure nsdate") return a title that included 2 out of 3 of the words I entered? – software evolved Mar 27 '14 at 15:31
  • @softwareevolved because iOS isn't in the post at all except the tag. It was looking to match all 3 and your post only include 2 of the 3 words. – psubsee2003 Mar 27 '14 at 15:47
  • That can't be right. If I search for "ios nsdate Z" I get back results that do NOT include the word "Z" in the title. In fact, it returns 39 results, non of which include the word Z in the title. Oh, you are saying the search ALSO includes a search of the body of the question? So..words being searched for are matched against TITLE, and BODY, but not TAGS. That seems really counter-intuitive – software evolved Mar 27 '14 at 15:52
  • I must point out that, not knowing the details of the search logic, I always assumed that partial matches were being returned. This, I now understand, is not the case. :-) – software evolved Mar 27 '14 at 16:04
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    @softwareevolved if you only want to search titles, that is what the title: operator is for. Otherwise it always searches titles and body. Tags are searched separately. If you want to change it, you can open a feature request to include tags by default. I like it the way it is because too often a tag is a language name that if it searched tags and body, you would have too many false positives and make it harder to find things. – psubsee2003 Mar 27 '14 at 16:05
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    @softwareevolved SE is using open source search called Elasticsearch, feel free to visit the site directly to learn about it more and you can probably ask technical questions in their forums. :) – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Mar 27 '14 at 16:11

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