Right now the Type to find users search box on Stack Overflow unexpectedly returns matches for substrings starting from the beginning only, e.g.:

  • Expected:
    • Jeff matches all Jeffs
    • Jeff A matches some Jeffs
    • Jeff Atwood matches the one and only only ;)
  • Unexpected:
    • eff matches only users starting with Eff
    • Atwood matches only one user starting with Atwood

This appears to behave like that on SO only (revision: 2010.8.13.2), while some other sites like MSO here do still return arbitrary substring matches as desired (revision: 2010.8.13.1)


Yes, the user table on SO is too large to support unindexable %foo% style matching. We have switched to foo%.

This is specific to SO because its user table is more than 10x larger than SU/SF, and 100x to 1000x larger than other SE 2.0 sites.

We build a special table to support partial display name matches now.

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