One of the more popular suggestions from We're not a Q&A site. But what should be done about it? was to change the search bar's placeholder text. We've been asked to flesh this out in a separate feature request so that SE can look into whether they'll make these changes for us.

So you don't have to follow the link above, here is the proposal:

Modify the placeholder search bar text

If you look at the top right corner of the page, you'll see a search box with the placeholder text "Search Q&A." Even outside of the context of deemphasizing the Q&A terminology on our site, I think this could be better phrased as "Search the site" or similar. So while we're requesting that Q&A-specific text be changed, we might as well request this as well.

So this post is here to discuss the proper wording for that placeholder.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It has been changed to Search on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf...; the issue is resolved \$\endgroup\$ – MilkyWay90 Apr 6 '19 at 16:47

"Search Posts"

Short and consider but also sounds natural. This encompasses both non-challenge posts but also fits the scope of our site

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is accurate within SE terminology but a bit nerdview-ish. I don't know what proportion of new users would understand precisely what counts as a post. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Feb 7 '17 at 8:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor The proportion of people willing to search on a recreational programming website is probably nerdish in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – Fatalize Feb 7 '17 at 9:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fatalize, I should probably have hyperlinked nerdview, because it's not the same as nerd-ish. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Feb 7 '17 at 10:32


Simply removing the "Q&A" part makes sense. It is already clear what the search box would search, and not having anything after Search prevents issues with non-challenge posts. Plus, it's concise.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's less clear than I would hope. IMO a plain "Search" would not communicate that it doesn't search comments. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Feb 7 '17 at 8:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor "Search Q&A" doesn't, to me, immediately imply that it doesn't search comments, either. \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Feb 7 '17 at 21:05

As @MilkyWay90 pointed out in a comment, the placeholder now says Search on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf... on the main site and Search on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf Meta ... here on meta.

This is due to a network-wide change. The format makes sense for all Stack Exchange sites, so customization is (imho) no longer required.


"Search Challenges and Answers"

I'm totally behind and agree with Dennis that the text needs to be changed. And we always call what would be called "questions" on other sites, "challenges", so it was only natural to me that the text should become "Search Challenges and Answers".

The only small problem is that the text might be too long, but it fits almost perfectly on my screen: enter image description here

Additionally we can use the "&" sign:

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ That covers ninety-something percent of all posts, but we do have some non-challenge questions on our site. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Feb 7 '17 at 3:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sold on the "and Answers" part. While there are times when I want to search for an answer, I rarely find it by searching for keywords in the answer (as most of the answers don't even have keywords). \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Feb 7 '17 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill That's what search does though, although I agree that searching for answers is usually quite pointless. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Feb 7 '17 at 5:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the record I actually search for answers on a regular basis although it's a lot trickier than searching for challenges. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Feb 7 '17 at 7:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is correct to replace “questions” with “challenges”, but why stop there? Why not replace the “answers” also? I would prefer “Search Challenges and Solutions”. \$\endgroup\$ – manatwork Feb 7 '17 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe "Search Challenges, Solutions, and whatnot" \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Roh Feb 9 '17 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis I usually search answers with the question ID when there are too many answers and I don't want to post an exact dupe. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 13 '17 at 15:52

"Search the site"

Mostly because this was the one suggestion in the original post and no one has turned it into an answer yet. I also think it's fairly clear although like some of the others it also doesn't imply that comments aren't searched.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this has the exact issue the answer by AlexL. has too. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 13 '17 at 15:54

Search PPCG

While some may argue that PPCG may not be understood by all visitors, I have seen it used many times in comments to welcome new users (usually with a recommendation to use the Sandbox!) and I think most people who are interested in searching the site would understand anyway.

Edit OK, understand that the way voting works on here is just opinions but why no comments to justify? It tells people what they are searching. "Search site" could mean search the whole of SE for all they know.

My alternative suggestion would be to get rid of the placeholder altogether. Everyone knows what an empty field with a "spyglass" icon means. In fact, thinking about it more, I think this is a much better idea but I expect more down votes for it. Personally I don't like placeholders anyway. For me they are patronizing and imply that whoever is running the website is assuming that I don't know what I am doing. Example: field label "First Name", placeholder "Please enter your first name here". I never use them on my own projects for this exact reason. You can never get it right for everyone.

I guess my real point is, does it really matter?


"Search Site Content"

I agree with Dennis as well that the text should be changed. I like Maltysen's idea, but in addition, I believe that since the search bar can be used to locate users as well, that "Site Content" may be a more appropriate term to better represent it.

Additionally, it fits pretty well on my screen with a decent amount of buffer room.

Search Bar Screenshot

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could downvoters please explain why this is not a good idea? It's just an idea, and if it's not good, I may delete it. \$\endgroup\$ – user42649 Feb 7 '17 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't say deleting it is right. People just don't like it. For me I think it's kind of overly technical saying "Site Content". Perhaps you may want to make a new post saying "Search Site" however that may be considered too vague \$\endgroup\$ – Downgoat Feb 7 '17 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Downgoat Okay. I may think of a new idea later on as well. \$\endgroup\$ – user42649 Feb 7 '17 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Deleting answers on meta, as long as they're actual answers, is a bit pointless. This is a useful suggestion; the downvotes just mean that the community didn't like it (voting is different on meta). No need to scrub it from the record. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Feb 7 '17 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis Oh okay, I was unaware of the voting system's differences on meta. Thanks for clarifying. \$\endgroup\$ – user42649 Feb 7 '17 at 23:55

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