For a long time, the EL&U community has had a problem. We have been unable to search for stop words (common words that are not searchable), which is "problematic since many of the questions on the site [are] about stop words."
Six months ago, the SE search engine introduced a feature that, if conscientiously implemented, would give us a workaround for not being able to search on stop words.
That feature is the ability to search for any text contained within code tags.
Theoretically, the code tags could therefore be used to enclose stop words that should not be ignored by the search engine.
Now, we have discouraged the use of code tags on the site, in part because they look ugly, and in part because blockquotes are really more suited to what we do here.
However, the argument has been made that keywords, i.e. the words we use to find the particular posts we are looking for, are essentially the "code" of our site. In other words, we could use code tags around words in the posts (particularly around relevant stop words) in order to improve the efficiency of searching because stop words enclosed in code tags would no longer be ignored.
For example, right now, you cannot easily find the question "What is the best way to explain how to choose between “its” and “it's”?" using the site search engine because "its" and "it's" are stopwords.
If we insert code tags in the body—What is the best way to explain how to choose between
it's?—the question becomes much easier to find because we can look for "its" directly.
So if we consider marking keywords with code tags, currently keywords would be formatted
thus. There exists the possibility that we can alter this formatting to something more appealing and site-specific. The question is
What is an acceptable, obvious, and standard method of marking keywords?
Some suggestions have been
- Italics plus underline
- Italics plus bold
- Italics plus dotted underline
- Small caps
- Small cap bold italics plus dotted underline plus green plus blink
- Leave it like it
already is(and perhaps stick them at the bottom)
- Make them look like regular text
Text would be tagged like it is now, by the poster or the community as we decide that it is needed for the purposes of making the site more searchable. It might have helped this user this morning, for instance.
What says the community?