I wanted to look for a book called Essential JavaScript And jQuery Design Patterns in List of freely available programming books on StackOverflow.

I performed the search using essential javascript inquestion:194812. To my surprise, there was no result returned. I was not aware that the term javascript was turned into tag automatically until I read about it.

A friendly way to notify users and/or turn off the auto-tagging in search would be helpful. Possible solution:

  • As suggested by hlovdal, a visual notification like "You searched for XX but we assume you meant YY (if this is not correct click here to search for XX)". This would be especially useful and friendly for new users. They would not know how to avoid/remove the autotag by using double quotes until they read this post.
  • Another Super Ninja search syntax, like autotag:0 (this would add more complexity though).
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    If the user knows to add autotag:0, why don't they simply quote those the search terms? "essential" "javascript" inquestion:194812 – kennytm Jan 12 '11 at 9:02
  • @KennyTM, that is feasible, but not so friendly. Imagine typing 10 double quotes with five terms. Imagine surrounding every terms with quotes. – Gan Jan 12 '11 at 9:43

You can achieve this by putting a plus in front of the search term, but I do not recommend it.

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    Also, quoting does the trick. – Arjan Jan 12 '11 at 15:45
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    thanks for the "plus" info, but could you elaborate more on why you do not recommend it? Also, my question is aimed to provide a visual cue to users who do not know how to remove/avoid the search auto-tagging (unless they read this post, of course). – Gan Jan 14 '11 at 1:28
  • ping: any clue as for why putting a plus in front of the search term is not recommended? (Just curious.) – Arjan Jan 16 '11 at 16:58

Due to the changes we made in the search engine recently, this is now easier. Before the only option was +term to avoid it becoming [term] (a tag search), now you can do it without requiring the term by using quotes around a word. So for example "javascript" would not turn it into a tag search, you can try it here: https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=%22javascript%22

Or, more relevant to your question, your query would be: essential "javascript" inquestion:194812

Try it here: https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=essential+%22javascript%22+inquestion:194812

  • The "surround search terms with double quotes" method was already possible before the recent search engine changes. Please refer to the links in my question and comment by KennyTM. New users would not know about this double quotes method unless they read this post. What I suggested was a more user-friendly way to allow users to turn off auto-tagging (refer to my 1st possible solution). Is that possible? – Gan Feb 6 '11 at 13:24
  • @Gan - This actually didn't work in the same way before - it works in all cases now. I don't agree it's a more user-friendly way of disabling tagging...not that I think either way is especially intuitive. We're just doing what works for the most users possible to get the results their after. There are other back-end changes we're making based upon what people are searching for happening as we go. For example sql server will now convert to the [sql-server] tag, same with objective c, searches we're seeing very common and weren't relevant before (searching for "objective" and "c"). – Nick Craver Feb 6 '11 at 13:34
  • all in all, this still doesn't solve the user-experience problem stated in the question. – Gan Feb 10 '11 at 11:08
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    @Gan - I would argue it should, the issue isn't searching, it's mis-tagging on the questions that aren't returned, a separate issue we're trying to address through several changes (code highlighting based on tags for example) lately. – Nick Craver Feb 10 '11 at 12:14
  • sorry, probably I wasn't clear. I was saying, as at this moment, when new users search for the terms essential javascript inquestion:194812 (as stated in the question), there is no result, and they would not know they can search essential "javascript" inquestion:194812 to get the result they want until they read our post here. Note that the question does not have the [javascript] tag. This is what I meant by my previous "still doesn't solve the problem" comment. – Gan Feb 12 '11 at 18:37

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