There are a lot of different search options when it comes to values like score, views and number of answers:

Different options applied to the score operator.

  • score:n to search for posts with a score of 'n' or greater (Note that score:n.. has exactly the same meaning)

  • score:0 to search for posts with a zero score only

  • score:..n to search for posts with a score of 'n' or less

  • score:n..n to search for posts with a score of 'n' only (Exactly the same as score:n-n)

  • score:n..i to search for posts with a score within the 'n' to 'i' range (Exactly the same as score n-i)

The same applies to the number of answers and views on a post.

The "How do I search?" page in the Help Centre does not do a good job of explaining these. This is the relevant part of the page:

Range Operators

To search for only questions that fall within a particular range for score, number of answers, or number of views, you can enter an upper or lower parameter, or a range.

  • score:-1 or score:-1.. will both return posts with a score greater than or equal to -1
  • views:500..1000 or views:500-1000 will return posts with 500 to 1000 views
  • answers:..3 will return questions with 3 or fewer answers

Although this covers three main search options, it does not

  1. explain which values apply to which operators (it could be understood that each operator can only be passed a value similar to what is used in the example)
  2. give a comprehensive list of operators and what they do
  3. give any indication of "quirks", such as that '0' passed to an operator behaves differently to other numbers

As noted here there seems to be almost no documentation on this. Newer users might be left in the dark, and miss out on some of the power of the search engine.

Ok, here is the feature request:

I think there is a need for a FAQ devoted specifically to searching, a part of which would be about search operators and how they work. The advanced search tips should then have a link to the FAQ.

The alternative, expanding the "How do I search?" page, could be a bad idea, because it would get longer and longer, eventually becoming a pain to slog through (if is isn't already), but as things stand at the moment, a FAQ page would be mostly duplicating the info already in the help centre.

To get this to work, the help centre page would have to be edited, and a lot of information moved to the FAQ. This would turn the help centre page into a quick reference guide. The FAQ could then be a very in-depth guide and reference.


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