Why I Don't Use Stack Overflow's Search

Let me preface this by saying, I love Stack Overflow.  I got hooked listening to Jeff and Joel talk about how they built the site using asp.net mvc and managing their own servers on the podcast.  I think they've created an incredible resource for programmers and a vibrant community.  I've gotten numerous questions answered there and done my best to provide some answers of my own.

The site is fast, clean, and they continue to make small, cohesive improvements that make for a great experience.  I can tell they put a lot of thought into every aspect of the site and continue to refine and refactor.

The one issue I take with stackoverflow.com is the search.  Like many (maybe most) people I started finding Stack Overflow answers through searching in Google.  Joel and Jeff have made it pretty clear that they intend, or expect, for this to be the predominant way people reach Stack Overflow questions, and it works great.  But, after finding a number of great answers at Stack Overflow I began to go there first.  I didn't want to have to filter through Google search results to find the Stack Overflow answers.  But I ended up going back to Google because I couldn't find what I was looking for using the search on stackoverflow.com

For example, I was looking for a way to remove all non-numeric characters from a string using c# the other day.  So, I typed "c# strip numbers" in the search box on stackoverflow.com and the 3 results were:

How-to strip email and phone numbers from html input?
Strip wav header in c#
Scalable Moebius strip in WPF

Not at all what I was looking for.  So, I want to use Google and limit the results only to stackoverflow.com -- in comes site:  Add site:stackoverflow.com to the end of any Google search and boom, relevant search results from stackoverflow.com!  This has been well documented on the site and on the blog, but I find using this trick in my browser search bar to be easiest. Typing in the same search into Google using :site "c# strip numbers site:stackoverflow.com" yields:

Replace non-numeric with empty string - Stack Overflow

Exactly what I was looking for!  To be fair, the search on Stack Overflow yields useful result sometimes (particularly when using tags), but for now, I'm going to stick with Google and site:stackoverflow.com.  Stack Overflow continues to improve their search, but it is hard to beat Google, the most important website in the history of recorded time.


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