I'm trying to trying to get Why not use "which"? What to use then? to show up in the search and I searched for title:which* and it is not turning up. Needless to say, title:which and title:*which* doesn't work either although the latter works literally which suggests that the wildcards don't work in titles? Is there a way to get them to work?

2 Answers 2


In my trials, wildcards simply do not work when using title:. For a demonstration try searching for title:char*cter.

This appears to be an issue that's been known about for at least a year. I found this meta highlighting the exact same issue as yourself.

You can also go directly to the API and use this page to query the site directly, but it will fail in the same way, mainly in that title: simply cannot handle wildcards, only literal strings.


I generally don't use the SE search unless I'm looking for something specific that I know I wrote up or Gilles, or some other user by name. So I often do user:me, user:885, or user:22565. I'll occasionally use our tags, but more times than not I'm using Google.

In your case, searching for that which question:

Shows it as the 7th result. If you can remember "not use which" you can get it as the 1st result:

  • I can never remember 885, let alone 22565… I do try to link commonly-used reference questions in the relevant tag wiki. Nov 19, 2014 at 1:33
  • @Gilles - I know! I have a cheat sheet for a couple of us that I know provide answers to Q's I've needed to dig up and couldn't find them easily via search. I just recently noticed you (or others) had been including key Q&A in the tag wiki as well. That's a good place to store them, but will probably go unnoticed by newer users.
    – slm Mod
    Nov 19, 2014 at 1:37

The word which is in quotes in the title: . I think there's some oddity (quite possibly a bug) where the indexer stores "which" (including the quotes) but the search query parser strips punctuation and passes which with no quotes to the backend. Wildcards don't help because they can't be combined with the title: operator.

I would edit the quotes out of the title, except that because “which” is a syntactically highly meaningful word in English, it would make the sentence hard to parse.

The easiest way to find this question is to navigate to the tag, which you can reach by typing [which] as a search query. That question is the top-voted one.

The question is also linked from the tag wiki.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .