I routinely find that the "questions that may already have your answer" list when I am writing a question is a significantly better searching tool than the search bar. For instance, just now I searched for "non-noetherian ring with noetherian zariski topology" in the search bar and got three rather unhelpful results. However, when I go to ask a question with that title, the second result I get is precisely the question I want.

Is there an explanation or deliberate reason for this? Why don't we just use the algorithm for the "questions that may already have your answer" feature for the search bar. I can imagine a situation where someone has a question, looks for it using the search bar and can't find the answer. He/she then posts the question without paying too much attention to the "questions that may already have your answer" since he/she has already searched for an answer and ends up posting a repeat that wastes everyone's time.


1 Answer 1


This has been discussed on network-wide Meta, e.g., Related questions in "Ask Question" page is better than search tool and Search box vs Question title. However, it's hard to know how much of this applies now because the search engine of the site has been evolving over time.

You may want to upvote the popular feature request: Link up the excellent search engine that gives "Questions that may already have an answer" with the search box

You are right that the built-in search bar is not very helpful[1]. Many users, myself included, use site-restricted Google search instead: see How to efficiently use Google to search Math.SE content?

[1] Unless one is searching for posts with particular parameters, like questions with a given tag and no answers, or closed negatively scored questions, etc.


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