Am I able to use multiple or statements within my search query like:

[foo] or [foo1] or [foo2]

or use a wildcard like


When I try the above, it only returns two tags. Am I missing something?

  • Which tags are you using, exactly? And on what site?
    – Oded
    Jun 13, 2017 at 20:55
  • I just tried it here and it works as expected: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/…
    – Oded
    Jun 13, 2017 at 20:57
  • Which site is this on? I'm a bit hazy on the details, but IIRC Stack Overflow has some restrictions on searches by anonymous (and possibly low rep?) users because these tag lookups can get pretty expensive performance-wise.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 13, 2017 at 21:50
  • 1
    @Oded do it in Private/Incognito/not logged in and you'll see what OP means. Jun 13, 2017 at 23:03
  • Most likely part of the restrictions described here, imposed after DDoS attack 2.5 years ago, and were never lifted since, fearing more attacks. At this point, I can say for sure those restrictions are now permanent. Jun 13, 2017 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


We have some code that prevents anonymous users from issuing oversized tag queries, because in the past that has been used maliciously by issuing huge tag unions from botnets.

The code currently limits anonymous users to 3 tags in that UI; I'm open to increasing this - it is simply something that needs a little monitoring and thought. For example, I'm sure we could increase it to 5 without any huge concern, but we'd need to monitor it.

However! It looks like you're being unduly bitten by a small bug here; the code that applies this filter happens before the code that attempts to interpret the query, so "or" is being treated as a tag in this count. I will change the code to work correctly with combination markers.

This is especially awkward because it is only the "or" scenario that is a problem - when folks "and" tags (which is the default in some screens if no combination marker is present), it actually makes the query cheaper (usually, not quite always) - as it gives us more opportunity to pick the smallest set to work from. And if you ask for more than 5 tags in an "and", we know the answer immediately: nothing.

Edit: the bug re combinators being counted incorrectly is now resolved; links like discussion or bug or support now work correctly. I'm going to mark this as , and consider the "should we allow more tags than 3 for anonymous" a separate discussion that is currently .

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