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Search Syntax

Search is done through the Search box in the top right corner.

On occasion, when updating the wiki, search won't return all results until the index is built. You can either wait until this happens by browsing the wiki, or ask us to manually update the index (in rare circumstances).


The search engine performs logical AND search. That means all the words you put in the query will be used. Search is always case insensitive.

The advanced search query syntaxes are described below. All of the syntaxes can be combined together. In this section, we'll use square brackets [ … ] to represent characters entered in the query.

Terms you want to exclude (-)

You can attach a minus sign - immediately before a keyword to exclude pages that contain this keyword from your search results. For example, the query [ Nietzsche -Zarathustra ] will find pages which contain “Nietzsche” but do not contain “Zarathustra”.

You can use this syntax - not just for a keyword, but also for a partial matching, a phrase search, a namespace search and a grouping search described below. For example, you can use the query [ -"phrase you want to exclude" ] to exclude exact phrases.

Partial matching (*)

You can perform a partial matching by prefixing and/or suffixing an asterisk * to a keyword. For example, searching for [ Nietz ] will only find “Nietz”, but searching for [ Nietz* ] will also find “Nietzsche” (prefix matching). You can also perform [ *ietsche ] (suffix matching) and [ *ietz* ] (partial matching).

Note that * is not a “wildcard”. You can't use it within a keyword, i.e. searching [ Niet*sche ] will not find anything for you. However, se further below for possible solutions.

You can search for exact phrases by putting double quotes around a set of words, e.g. [ "Friedrich Nietzsche" ].

Search within a namespace (@)

You can restrict the search to namespaces. To search pages within a namespace, prefix @ or ns: to the namespace. To not search pages within a namespace, prefix ^ or -ns: to the namespace.

For example, the query [ Nietzsche @en ^de ] will find pages which contain a word “Nietzsche” and are within “en” namespace (English) but not within “de” namespace (German). The query [ Nietzsche ns:en -ns:de ] will do the same thing.

The OR operator (|)

By default the search engine performs a logical AND search, but you can also use a logical OR search by using | or or as a separator of your search terms. For example, the query [ Friedrich | Fritz ] will find pages which contain either “Friedrich” or “Fritz” or both. The query [ Friedrich or Fritz ] will do the same thing. You may use OR as a simple alternative to Partial matching (*), e.g. in finding pages about people with spelling variations as [ Soren | Søren ].

The OR operator has a lower precedence than the default AND operator. That is, the query [ Kierkegaard Soren | Søren ] will be represented as [ (Kierkegaard Soren) | Søren ], not as [ Kierkegaard (Soren | Søren) ]. Instead, use a grouping syntax as described follows: [ Søren | Soren Kierkegaard ].

If you want to restrict your search on a namespace, you have to group your search with parentheses “()”, otherwise a search [ Nietzsche | Kierkegaard @de ] will behave as [ (Nietzsche ) | (Kiergekaard @de) ], i.e. searching for “Nietzsche” OR “Kierkegaard @de” over all namespaces, but not as you may intend searching “Nietzsche” OR “Kierkegaard” over the de (German) namespace, the latter being correctly expressed as [ (Nietzsche | Kierkegaard) @de ].

You can group search terms by enclosing terms with parentheses ( … ). Having the highest precedence, parentheses may be used to force precedence.

For example, the query [ Nietzsche -(Zarathustra | @de) ] will find pages which contain a word “Nietzsche” but not contain a word “Zarathustra” and also are not within a namespace “de”.


You can enter the beginning of a pagename into the search box and wait half a second. In most modern browsers you will automatically get a popup with matching pagenames.

Some Background on the Search Function

Information about a page's content is added and updated when a page is viewed by a user. Each page includes an invisible image (webbug) which calls the index update process if needed. This greatly reduces the page load time, and returns quick results from the wiki database. However, it is possible that certain phrases will not appear in your search results when we are updating the search index. We will endeavour to inform the users when this is the case.

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en/contributions/search.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/16 10:27 by babrak