Interesting and Ignored Tags Now Support Wildcards

by Jeff Atwood

on May 7, 2009

Today's new feature will be useful for those of you who happen to have a lot of ignored and/or interesting tags. You can now use the asterisk to set up wildcard matches, rather than having to laboriously construct a list of every single tag as before.

stackoverflow-ignored-interesting-wildcards

This was a fairly highly voted request on UserVoice, too.

Simply specify one or more asterisks to match any number of characters, either in the middle, the beginning, or the end of a tag. So all these should work as you might expect:

*.net*
jquery*
*c++

While building this, we realized it would be super-duper mega convenient if we could use a regular expression as a JQuery selector. We did a quick web search and ended up on this Stack Overflow question, which was, ironically enough, the top Google search result for our search terms. Not the first time this has happened to us, but still pretty cool. We built a thing that .. helps us build the thing.

Unfortunately, the solution proposed there, JQuery filters, while cool and useful, wasn't a good fit for our code. So we did some more searching and discovered James Padolsey's most excellent Regex Selector for jQuery. While there, we noticed that James links to Stack Overflow on his blog under the "Got a problem?" section, and the front page of his blog features another Stack Overflow question.

A recent question on Stack Overflow posed a common question concerning DOM insertion and specifically the dire performance of IE6 when using innerHTML to parse a large amount of HTML markup. [Head over there](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/788614/ways-to-increase-performance-when-set-big-value-to-innerhtml) to read the question for yourself. I thought it worth sharing my solution;

So, naturally, we edited the accepted answer (no offense, Xenph, but the whole "see official documentation" wasn't a great answer) to include a reference to James' regex selection filter which we felt best answered the original asker's question.

Thus, in a beautiful kind of synchronicity, we used Stack Overflow to build Stack Overflow, while simultaneously constructing a web of improved links for future programmers to help find their way.

I don't know why, but I personally find that immensely gratifying.

Oh yes, and enjoy the new wildcard tag matching feature.