Search results should prioritize first post in topic when title matches search term

Recently I’ve noticed that when I search for a specific topic, the search results give me a post in the middle of the topic instead of the first post. This happens when a post in the topic contains the same search term that the title of the topic includes. Here are two recent examples from

Searching for “Self Study Quiz” or “Self-Study Quiz” gives me [Userscript] Self-Study Quiz - #731 by prouleau - API And Third-Party Apps - WaniKani Community instead of the first post.

Searching for “ご注文はうさぎですか” gives me ご注文はうさぎですか miscellaneous discussion - #93 by seanblue - Reading - WaniKani Community instead of the first post.

I put this in #feature because I’m not 100% this has ever worked the way I’m describing. However, I search for the second term above several times a year, and I’m pretty sure the search results used to return the first post in the topic. If this was changed unintentionally at some point, you could consider this a #bug.

I know there’s an advanced search option to only search topic titles, but that seems unnecessary in this case. Since the search term matches many posts in the topic as well as the title itself, I think it should automatically prioritize the title match and return the first post.


This is the result of @tgxworld and @sam changes to search recently. Perhaps they can respond.


Yeah we have a long discussion about this, overall my preference is for search to be very dumb and always prioritize the first match in the topic regardless of ranking. It makes it far easier to explain to people, ranking feels very arbitrary and magical.


I understand the request in the OT to let search reference the topic itself (i.e., the first post) if the topic title matches the search criteria. If not, then reference the concrete post where the match occurs .

The problem is that we may have 15 matches in one topic, one of the 15 has the highest “rank”

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Frankly, as long as the first post (via title match) is prioritized above all else I don’t care much about the rest, but what you’re saying sounds reasonable to me. When a dozen posts in the topic match the exact phrase you’re searching for, the one actually being returned in the search results certainly feels arbitrary right now. Always returning the earliest matching post in the topic feels like a good solution to me.

That said, the search algorithm should probably at least still prioritize exact matches to make sure an earlier post that only partly matches the search term isn’t prioritized over a later post that matches it exactly. I don’t know if that’s relevant since I’m not that familiar with the algorithm. Either way, as I said before I think all these details are far less important than prioritizing title match over everything else.

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I keep getting tagged from people linking to a post of mine from the middle of a topic when they meant to share the topic itself. The current approach sure is causing confusion.

Yeah @tgxworld and @sam this really has to be changed. We’re so far beyond the rule of 3 here. Title match should have massive supernova blackhole weight in the ranking.