Background: I recently came across a question on Stack Overflow where the asker had a comment-reply to another user about how they didn't know how to google for compiler arguments that start with a dash (the tricky thing is that with google, starting a word/search-term with a dash uses the dash as an exclusion operator!). It reminded me how when I was starting out with C++, that was a problem that bit me for a long time before I somehow learned what was going on (the exclusion operator). I can't even remember how I learned what was going on. Remembering those experiences made me think that there could be value in asking and answering such a question about it somewhere on the Stack Exchange network, but I'm not sure where it might be a good fit to ask. This question isn't limited to compiler arguments that start with a dash. It applies for any kind of command-line flag that starts with a dash.
Since part of the question is about command-line arguments, I thought it could make sense to ask on superuser.com, but I haven't used superuser.com before, and am not sure if such a question belongs there.
I thought of whether it could make sense to ask on Stack Overflow, but that was when I was still thinking only about compiler arguments and hadn't realized the question could be generalized to any command-line arguments.
I'm aware that this question could be generalized even further by abstracting out the contextual detail about command-line arguments entirely and then asking this question on webapps.stackexchange.com, where a related (similar but different) question already exists. But I feel conflicted because I can speak from experience that such a non-generalized question about command-line arguments specifically would have helped me and probably at least one other Stack Exchange user who was on SO.
Here is my draft of the question and answer:
Title: Why don't I find any expected results when google searching for command-line arguments that start with dashes?
When I try to google search something like "
gcc -Wall" (for example,) to find documentation on the
-Wall flag's meaning for GCC, it looks like I get the same search results as if I just searched "
gcc": None of the results seem to include the text "-Wall" in them.
Why doesn't the search query with search terms starting with dashes seem to work as I intend, and how can I properly query for terms like command-line arguments that start with a dash?
gcc -Wall actually tells the Google search engine to include things that match "
gcc", and exclude things that match "
Wall". This is because "
-" is one of several special characters called "search operators" for the Google search engine.
If you go to "How to search on Google", it links to a page about search operators that documents the various search operators and how they work. For this particular one, if you start a term with a dash, it will tell the Google search engine to exclude that term from the search.
To properly search for pages related to "
-Wall", use the "exact match" operator: enclose/wrap the term that starts with dashes with double quotes, like "
Is such a question useful and a good fit for Stack Exchange in its current form where it asks specifically about command-line arguments? If so, is there a Stack Exchange site that it fits on? Does it fit on Super User? Would it be more valuable to the community at large if I abstracted out the detail about command-line arguments and asked on webapps.stackexchange.com?
Note: If such a question exists, maybe a duplicate signpost is in order, because I couldn't find it/them by googling the title of the question I drafted.
Update: This question has now been asked here on webapps.stackexchange.com.