For some reason, searching for 'make' in any of the Stackoverflow engines returns a page saying "Please enter some text to search for in the upper right!"

This doesn't appear to be length related; searching for net and home work fine. Is make a reserved word somewhere in the search validation code? I was attempting to search for anything relating to GNU Make on serverfault when I ran into this issue. Very frustrating.

  • 1
    For a second I thought the title said "fake mails".
    – mmyers
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:07
  • @mmeyers me too! Weird...
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:20

4 Answers 4


Even given jjnguy's explanation: entering text, clicking 'search', and then having the system tell you "You didn't enter any text!" seems like bad UI.

At least, it could say "The following very common words were excluded from your search string: ...".

  • Valid point; I shouldn't have needed to come to meta.stackoverflow to find out why the query failed. :) Commented Jul 26, 2009 at 16:48

Make is a very common term in every day language. Thus it is filtered out.

Jeff has a blog post about this.

Stop words are words so common they are typically ignored for search purposes.

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    +1. It's a little frustrating though; make is a tool that I would expect to have a non-negligible amount of questions relating to it in the fullness of time. Shouldn't people be able to search for those questions? Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:10
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    I agree that it is a bug. I was just posting an explanation for it. It should probably be fixed.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:11
  • Until then, use google to search with the site stackoverflow.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:12
  • 1
    Joel CoeHoorn has a good link to a custom google search page you may wanna check out.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 21:14

make should probably be included in the search, though. Perhaps StackOverflow – like Google – should include a way to explicitly search on a word, even if it ordinarily would be a stopword. That way, we wouldn't end up with a make or "The Who" situation.


One way to work around this is to search for the make tag. Bracket the word [make] and it will allow the search.

  • I almost suggested this. But when I tried out the search myself, I found no questions...Now I realize that I searched meta for [make. No wounder why I didn't find anything.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 22:02

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