Searching for closed answers should returns zero items due to only questions can be closed. But result is not empty and contains closed questions only:

closed answers

  • Downvoter, do you think search result is relevant to request? Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 7:30
  • 2
    My guess is that is:a searches for answers, while closed:1 searches for questions. This leads to a contradiction, and the search engine produces all threads because it doesn't know what else to do.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 8:34
  • FWIW this isn't limited to Meta.SE.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 8:37
  • 1
    @DonielF most questions on MSE related to whole SE network. Questions related only to this very site should be tagged meta. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 9:02
  • @DonielF this seems most likely.
    – user354226
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 13:05
  • After some similar experiences, I use the SEDE for similar digging. You have access to much more data as in the site search and it does exactly what you ask. (Furthermore, you have access to better site stats as the 25k+ users, but it is a different story).
    – peterh
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 0:21
  • @MartijnPieters "is:a closed:yes search now produces 0 results"... where? Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 10:24
  • @αλεχολυτ: nowhere, it turns out. The search engine blipped instead. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


I don't think it's a bug, or if anything, just a display bug, i.e. the "answers only" should indeed be removed as that option is simply ignored.

The advanced search operators got priorities behind the scenes, the closed:1 operator happens to be on higher priority than is:a so that's what being used.

Starting to check in advance for such "conflicts" is very complicated as there are great many combinations, and it's really not worth the efforts in my opinion.

  • Then why does it display all questions and not just closed ones?
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:19
  • @DonielF it's not all questions. Meta.SE has more than 80,000 questions, the result produces 30-something thousand.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:21
  • @M.A.R. Okay, but it still produces open ones.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:23
  • 1
    @DonielF both is:a closed:yes and closed:yes is:a produce 22,382 results for me. Only closed:yes produces 22,382 results as well. Anyway, it doesn't matter since a trivial bug from a behavior you don't need or should be producing isn't fix-worthy.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:28
  • @DonielF no repro, it's showing only closed questions to me. Can you post screenshot where you see open question in the search results? Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:20
  • @ShadowWizard No, I can't seem to. It was definitely showing all questions before, but I can't reproduce it now, either.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:24

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