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Search results for strings including semicolons should find page titles/namespaces with colons in the same position
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When searching for a page title with a colon in it, it is a very common to typo a semicolon instead.

When the target is a page in the main namespace, the search engine usually finds the intended page (e.g. searching for "Star Trek; Voyager" (with or without quotes) the search engine finds Star Trek: Voyager as the first result).

However when the intended page is a shortcut (e.g. MOS:HYPHEN) or page in another namespace (e.g Template:Unreferenced) and you use a semicolon instead of a colon then the search results don't feature this.

In all cases, the drop-down search suggestions do include the non-main namespace pages, but these are not available in all environments and not used in every place they are available.

The ideal solution I think would be to place a link as a "Did you mean" entry. For example if you search for Template;Unreferenced the search engine results would be prefaced by: Did you mean: Template:Unreferenced
I'm undecided whether this should apply only to exact matches - should searching for Template;Unreference (which doesn't exist) do as it currently does, or ask "Did you mean: Tempalte:Unreferenced" as is currently the case if you search for Template:Unreferece

In all cases if a page name exists with the semi-colon this logic should not interfere with taking you to that page (e.g searching for Help; a Day in the Life should take you to that redirect, not search for a page in the help namespace)

Event Timeline

Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptMay 18 2017, 2:19 PM

@Thryduulf: Is this task about CirrusSearch (the search backend on Wikipedias)?

@Aklapper if that is what generates the search results in Wikipedia's internal search engine, then yes.

Restricted Application added a project: Discovery. · View Herald TranscriptMay 18 2017, 11:47 PM
debt triaged this task as Medium priority.Jun 1 2017, 5:20 PM
debt moved this task from needs triage to This Quarter on the Discovery-Search board.
debt added a subscriber: debt.

We should look into pulling stats on how common this actually is and then see if swapping the semi-colon with a colon is a good thing to do, or if adding a 'did you mean' to it makes more sense.