Currently, search seems to be doing odd things when you search for posts without certain tag(s) using the not operator. For example:

-[css] -[html] should return a list of posts that do not have the CSS or HTML tags, and it correctly looks for that criteria. However, it also seems to change my search query to "-[css] -[html]" (note the quotation marks) and searches for posts which do not have the CSS and HTML tags, but also contain the words CSS and HTML within them.

Search is Borken

The same thing happens whether you search for one or many tags. This doesn't seem to happen if you don't use the not operator on the tags.

  • Well, this works at least. Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 17:58
  • I blame the new nav.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 22:39
  • 2
    This looks like quite a serious bug (search is vital part of SE) can't you use your power to bump it internally? :) Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


There seems to be a problem when searching for tags with - operator (used for 'exclude' tags). But when I add an extra option say for e.g. "is:question" it works perfectly fine.

Here is the screenshot of the same:

enter image description here

Even the single tag search e.g. -[css] gets converted to "-[css]". Could it be because of the "-" modifier?. It seems that way as my search for [css] works perfectly but as soon as I prefix with - operator it treats as a special char. and surrounds with quotes.

Another thing I noticed is that it works perfectly when you search an exclude tag with an include tag e.g. a combination of either [css] -[html] or -[css] [html].

Here is the screenshot of the combination:

enter image description here

But the moment you add two (or multiple) tags with - operator e.g. -[css] -[html] it puts quotation marks around the search query. Does it means we can't just search with an excluded tags? I am confused on how to interpret this behavior.

  • It seems to be doing this only when all the given search terms are negated tags. Corrects itself whenever something else is thrown into the mix, whatever it might be.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 18:00
  • @animuson that's what I found too. I have added P.S. in my answer on the same but even -[css] gets converted to "-[css]" Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 18:39

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