I find the search to be utterly useless.

Before I posted my latest question on P.SE, I searched for related questions with this search. My topic was quickly closed as a duplicate.

Now, I did a pretty broad search for the term 'perfection', in expectation that it would match variants there of (perfectionist, perfectionism) (as most searches would). The question of which my question was marked a duplicate of, should have shown up in those search results. It is not there.

Call me crazy, but I presumed it to be redundant to search for "perfect perfection perfectionism perfectionist" just to match every variant.

Can StackOverflow spend some time on the search, please? How are we expected not to post duplicate questions, when we cannot adequately search for existing questions?

  • 1
    Wow yeah that's pretty bad.
    – John
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 19:44
  • 2
    Somewhat disheartening: I performed several searches as well and neither of the questions were near the top 100 results.
    – IAbstract
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 19:52
  • Did you try the same variant of "perfect" as used in your title?
    – random
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:03
  • @random - no. Call me crazy, but I presumed it to be redundant to search for "perfect perfection perfectionism perfectionist"
    – Craige
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:07
  • No. (15 characters)
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 23:16

2 Answers 2


as most searches would

Google doesn't do any better with that query, so I don't know where your expectations are coming from. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but if your search query is one word, then you're not trying very hard to find the answer to a question. You need to be more specific.

That being said, asking a question and having it closed as a duplicate is not such a terrible thing. If it leads you to find the answer to your question, then it was time well spent (or at least not completely wasted). No one really expects you to not post duplicates. Your question was just closed, not deleted. The next person who searches for the same question with the same phrasing that you used (instead of the original) will find your question and be lead to the answers.

  • 1
    Well, there's a bit of a unique predicament for this specific case because both questions did use the same terminology ("perfectionism"), but people just searched a different term altogether. So if someone did search with the same phrasing as searched, it'd ironically fail.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:01
  • They could always include the Root.Word plugin
    – random
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:02
  • @Grace: True, but that's the only non-stop-word in both titles, and the two questions have no tags in common. Searching for one word is a gamble. I think this is a case of faulty expectations. Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:04
  • @random: It's possible that it's already included, but I really can't say. I know Google has the equivalent in whatever magical incantations they use. Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 20:08
  • 1
    As the Mod who closed the question I'll add my 2 cents... I did a search as well and found nothing, but KNEW that there was another question because I had read it earlier in the day (both were posted on the same day). I ended up browsing through the questions until I found the earlier one.
    – Walter
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 21:41
  • @Walter - so suffice it to say that the search did not return appropriate results for you in this case?
    – Craige
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 21:50
  • 1
    @craig neither does Google, which is the point Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 1:19
  • search is the achilles heel of SO. It's just not very good. Well if I'm honest I think it's rubbish. Web search is how I search SO. I'd love to see some improvements. Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 0:23

Perfect and Perfection are synonyms and I agree they should be treated as such. Good news, since the move to elasticsearch, they are! Try out the searches here: perfect and perfection.

However, perfectionist (a person) and perfectionism (a trait) are not at all synonyms to perfect, they have different meanings. They should not, and are not treated as the same thing in any search engine I'm aware of. They will continue to be different searches.

You can search for things via wildcards, e.g. perfect* if you want that kind of behavior...but semantically they are different, and elastic appropriately treats them as different.

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