When I search for a question I'd like to be shown the same results as when I type in a title in "Ask Question"

I often use the "Ask Question" as a search tool, like this:

Some results!

alt text

Better results?

Title search - many results

Update: I have updated the screen shot to a version without quote marks, the two search results are still inconsistent. But are they better?

  • As explained by @Pop you are comparing Apples to Pears here. THe one only searches titles, the other searches title and body. Why remove functionality? – BinaryMisfit Oct 13 '10 at 16:20
  • I'm not sure I consider the bottom one "better results" if it doesn't appear to return the question whose title is an exact match. – Grace Note Oct 13 '10 at 16:22
  • I fully agree with you. Every single time I want to ask a question I thoroughly check to make sure it hasn't been asked before-- come up with a snazzy title -- carriage return-- and boom, there is my question verbatim. It's like the case with the black box: if it's so indestructible, why don't they build the rest of the plane out of it? – puk Nov 8 '11 at 8:26

Your screenshot is a little blurry, but it looks to me like you have an open quote at the beginning of your search bar example. Assuming you have a close quote at the end, the search is only going to look for the exact phrase "Importing a MySQL schema to Xcode as a CoreData Data Model," so it's not surprising that you only get one result. You're not using the quotes in your title search, and you have lots of juicy programming-related words, so it's not surprising that you get many results there.

The main issue here is that the search bar searches everything, not just the title — though it was changed to weight the title more heavily at one point for exactly this reason — while the Ask Question bar searches only in the title.

I am against any proposal which would remove users' ability to search question bodies and answers, which is effectively what this proposal is (though I do realize that wasn't the intent of the request).

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  • I've changed the screen shot to remove the quotes. – Richard Stelling Oct 13 '10 at 16:19
  • I agree that searching the body of the text is essential, but both options would be very useful. Maybe some more syntax like {search only titles} or <search only body> and |search only answers| – Richard Stelling Oct 13 '10 at 16:22
  • @rjstelling There's an "intitle:1" operator you can use that lets you search only in titles. – Grace Note Oct 13 '10 at 16:31

I've just read this blog http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/07/stack-overflow-search-now-61-less-crappy/.

The best solution is:

title:only search these keywords in the title
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