Having looked at these questions about how to more easily search and locate own answers and questions:

Tags on Answers

Please allow us to browse our own questions by tag

Ability to search my stuff

Additional search features syntax

Maybe the way forward here is not to use the tagging system but to introduce a system of personal labelling such as that used by Google Mail.

For example, I have a group of answers related to IIS and programmatically setting or gathering data from the metabase. The spread of tags on the questions asked is quite wide because different users tagged them in slightly (but correctly) different ways. This means that there is often no overlapping tag that is common across them all.

Using a system of personal labels means that you can organise your answers without being beholden the repository of tags which are short, terse and you kinda have to know that an answer you gave did fall under a certain tag (or tags). For example, I'd probably label the answers I'd given above as "IIS Metabase".

Tags on questions are fine for finding questions but less handy for when you want to group your own answers together.

Whilst it's an extra set of metadata, it's a private set of metadata that has more meaning with regard to ordering and categorising your own view of your answer data.


While I appreciate the need for good search, I can't get excited - simply because SO is so well indexed by google - I just use queries like this to find my own answers:

+propertydescriptor +gravell site:stackoverflow.com
  • 1
    That's less useful if your name is in adverts ;) – Jon Skeet Jul 7 '09 at 10:27
  • Like all searches it can often rely on trial and error to drill down to the correct result. If I only have a few minutes to dig out and write up an answer during work hours then it's time wasted. Maybe I need to improve my google-fu. – Kev Jul 7 '09 at 10:31

Have you tried using AskJonSkeet? This isn't quite as silly as it sounds - if you embed your user id and name into the URL, you can search for answers from people other than me. For example, if you go to http://www.askjonskeet.com/user/23354/marcgravell/search you'll be able to search for answers by Marc.

  • Indeed, that is one of my regular bookmarks for finding dups ;-p – Marc Gravell Jul 7 '09 at 10:17
  • askjonskeet.com/user/59303/chrisf/search Scary - especially the photo ;) – ChrisF Jul 7 '09 at 10:19
  • Not ideal and still suffers from the same problems as trying to search for your answer. For example, I know I have N answers that are IIS metabase related and want to see them specifically. Also, it's reliant on an external tool which might go away someday. I'd prefer to organise these inside SO. But I'll play with the site in the meantime. – Kev Jul 7 '09 at 10:19

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