Help talk:Searching

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Iffy search suggestion ranking after page move[edit]

After Macintosh was moved to Mac (computer), page views dropped abruptly by about 50%.

I believe search suggestions could have something to do with it. When I type "Mac" in the search box, Mac (computer) is the 10th suggestion. As I type more letters ("Macin", "Macint"), it disappears, replaced by articles for specific Macintosh models that receive far lower page views than the main article. The main article only appears again when I finish typing the full term ("Macintosh"), due to the redirect at Macintosh.

Could anything be done about this, short of moving the article back? Could the Macintosh redirect be treated as a normal page in the backend, so it shows up in search suggestions without needing an exact match? DFlhb (talk) 02:39, 21 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Unforgiving in namespace names[edit]

It occurs to me that the search is more strict in namespace name (prefix) than in title. Given a random typo (my favourite one): Tempalte, compare as namespace and as article title:

as title
as prefix (does not search for improved prefix then)
logged in url's; search history influence not known. -DePiep (talk) 06:42, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Adding to found items[edit]

I wanted to find 'SS Andrea Dora' but left off the 'SS', so it wasn't found. How could I help it find it? HuPi (talk) 22:51, 24 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Correction: I should have written 'Andrea Doria', when the search would have succeeded. HuPi (talk) 23:01, 24 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Searching redirects[edit]

Is there a way to search redirects? Insource and Intitle seem to exclude redirects. I don't see anything in the docs about this. Dicklyon (talk) 00:23, 19 May 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@Dicklyon: You can use insource to search for pages that include #REDIRECT. Jarble (talk) 16:15, 11 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Autocomplete option word order[edit]

The autocomplete search results are different to search results, in that autocomplete for searches word order matter, but not for search results. Is there an option for autocomplete so that it gives me the same results as search results, including results with different word order? HudecEmil (talk) 07:27, 24 May 2023 (UTC)[reply]


Is there a reason why wildcard characters can't be used at the beginning of a search string? In other words, is there a way to search for articles whose titles end in a particular set of characters? Let's say, for example, I want to find every town whose name ends in "-borough". Zacwill (talk) 21:58, 17 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I don't have an answer for the first question, but I have for the second one: Unfortunately, MediaWiki's search engine doesn't support the regex metacharacters ^ and $ that are normally used to mark the start and end position of a string. But if you're familiar with PetScan and have a category, search string, pages that use a certain template or anything like that in mind, there's "Regexp filter" in the "Output" tab that you can use to find articles whose titles end in a particular set of characters by using ^ and $ in PetScan's "Regexp filter": ^.*Example$ (replace "Example" with your regex search string in that search string). For example, articles in "Category:Boroughs" whose name ends in "borough" or articles found with the search string "intitle:/borough/" whose name ends in "borough". --JAAqqO (talk) 22:48, 17 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
That's very helpful, thank you. One more question: can I use this method to search Wikipedias besides the English Wikipedia? Zacwill (talk) 23:15, 17 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Never mind, I think I've figured it out. Thanks again! Zacwill (talk) 23:18, 17 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Are Wikidata queries supported?[edit]

This page doesn't mention Wikidata search queries. Does Wikipedia support queries using wbstatement, like Wikimedia Commons? Jarble (talk) 19:51, 18 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Searching for quote marks[edit]

Is there a way to search for strings that include quote marks? —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 22:32, 25 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

insource:/\“/ ltbdl (talk) 02:02, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. That helps a lot. But intitle:/\"/ -incategory:"Articles with quotation marks in the title" finds both article titles and redirects. I don't want the redirects. —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 03:44, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
maybe -insource:/\#REDIRECT/? ltbdl (talk) 04:33, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I tried that already. It didn't work. —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 04:37, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
In fact I think maybe that only finds redirects. I tried intitle:/\«/ and it didn't find the article at «O», but it found a few redirects. Or maybe the problem has something to do with the timeout error I received. It says to "Try simplifying your regular expression to get complete results", but it is hard to conceive of a simpler regular expression than that. —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 04:49, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Just found this in the Help page: "phab:T204089 – why you can't specifically include or exclude redirects from your search results". —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 02:49, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There's always PetScan that can filter out redirects from searches: use the Redirects field in the Page properties tab and the Search field in the Other sources tab. For example, here's a PetScan search for articles that 1) use the template {{Infobox film}}, 2) aren't redirects, 3) aren't in the Category:Articles with quotation marks in the title and 4) match the title regexp filter ^.*("|“|”|«|»).*$.
"Try simplifying your regular expression to get complete results" – yeah, if you don't have a category, search string, pages that use a certain template or anything restrictive like that in mind (like the template "Infobox film" in my PetScan search), then—because of the limits of PetScan and MediaWiki's search engine—your best bet is to download the database and then use a tool like WP:AWB for searching. For example, based on the datadump enwiki-latest-pages-articles-multistream.xml.bz2 02-Dec-2023 03:27, I made a list that lists about 2,400 articles that, as of 2 December 2023, 1) have “, ”, ", « or » in their titles, 2) aren't in the category Category:Articles with quotation marks in the title and 3) aren't redirects. And here's a PetScan search that updates that list automatically. --JAAqqO (talk) 17:37, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
That's very helpful; I'll study it. Thank you. —⁠ ⁠BarrelProof (talk) 00:50, 28 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Unable to ID articles. Unable to search for text in the actual final pages.[edit]

this search for insource:/\<span style=\"border:thin solid black;\"\>WARNING\<\/span\>/ is failing.
I'm trying to find which of the pages linked to from do not display the boxed warning. I want all of them to display it. They all should, but some of the wikidata entries haven't been updated (I don't understand why; I'm an OpenRefine beginner.) It seems like search searches the wikitext, not the resulting HTML pages. Any ideas on how to do what I want - at the high medium or low level? (It seems that this is, de facto, a place where folks are asking questions about search problems and getting answers, so I'm going ahead.) RudolfoMD (talk) 05:52, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

So, are you looking for articles that don't show the input "Legal status: US: WARNING" in {{Infobox drug}} from the property legal status (medicine) (P3493)? If so, here are PetScan searches for the articles that are:
--JAAqqO (talk) 16:32, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks! I lost my initial comment thanking you. I was able to improve the situation somewhat using your searches. Both were useful! (how odd that an IP deleted this section!) RudolfoMD (talk) 06:07, 11 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Searching for strings only inside/outside refs?[edit]

Is there any way to limit a search to only inside or only outside of refs in an article? Inside seems like it *might* be possible using regex, outside, I don't really see how... Naraht (talk) 14:28, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Try these:
Inside (example search):
insource:"Hello" insource:/\<ref(>| name[^>\/]+>)[^<]*Hello/
Outside (example search):
Hello insource:/\[https?:\/\/[^ ]+ Hello/ -insource:/\<ref(>| name[^>\/]+>)[^<]*Hello/
Just change the example word and regex in green. The insource:"Hello" or just simply Hello in the beginning of these search strings is used to restrict the search, so the search wouldn't time out and then give only partial results.
There's also a problem with that outside search: if a page has what you're searching for but also has the same matching search string inside a ref tag, the page won't be included in the search results.
--JAAqqO (talk) 19:47, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]