I was searching for questions which had the word "algebra" in them.

At first I was searching "algebra [measure-theory]" and much to my surprise the result was that it searched for "[algebra] [measure-theory]" instead.

I did a couple of tryouts and it appears that the search automatically assumes the first words are tags, unless encapsulated with quotes.

If this is by design, then this is a bad design in my opinion. If this is not by design, well... it is a bug.

  • $\begingroup$ this is actually documented on math.stackexchange.com/search which I had forgotten -- " any search terms matching the most popular 40 tags will be automatically mapped to a tag to help narrow your search" $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2011 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


If you enter a search word that maps to one of the top 40 tags (where each of those tags has at least 100 questions), it will be automatically converted to a tag.


This is done because a lot of unsophisticated users will type in extremely common tag words as their "search".

To avoid this, put it in quotes.


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