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Editing Help
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Editing guide
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The quickest way to find information in Ballotpedia is to look it up directly. Type your query into either Search box on the left side of the page to get started.

Click here for a screenshot tutorial on how to search on Ballotpedia.

Tips for effective searches

Put your keyword in the searchbox.

  • Go - (or Enter on keyboard) will take you automatically to the article whose title is the exact words that you entered into the search box, if it exists.
  • Search - will search the text of all pages on the wiki (with some restrictions, see below) that contain the word(s) you entered in the searchbox.

If you clicked 'search', or you clicked 'go' and the page you were looking for did not exist, you will be presented with a list of articles that matched your search criteria (or a message that no matches were found).

Using the 'Search' button

Here's how the search works:

  • Only the article content is searched - the page title is ignored.
  • The article content is searched in its raw (wikitext) form - i.e. it searches the text that appears in the edit box when you click 'edit', not the rendered page. This means that content coming from an included template will not be picked up, but the target of piped links will be.

Restricting the search

If you click the 'Search' button without filling in anything, you will be taken to 'Special:Search' which gives you extra searching options (also available from any search results list)

You may find it useful to restrict a search to pages within a particular namespace e.g. only search within the 'Talk' pages. Tick the namespaces you require for this search.

By default only the namespaces specified in your preferences will be searched. Logged-in users can change their preferences to specify the namespaces they want to search by default.

When searching, it doesn't matter whether you use upper or lower case characters

Searches on Ballotpedia are case-insensitive.

Whether you search for "ballot", "Ballot" or "BALLOT", you'll get the same search results.

Put phrases in double quotes to find exactly what you want

If you want to know if Ballotpedia contains an article that is an exact match for a specific phrase, enter that phrase into the "search" box surrounded by double quotes.

For example, "Social controversies" returns 2 matches--meaning there are two articles on Ballotpedia at this time that include the phrase "Social controversies" in just that order.

Entering Social controversies in the search box --the same two words but not encased in double quotes -- returns 16 matches, meaning that at this time there are 16 articles on Ballotpedia that contain both the words ( the AND function).

Avoid short, common words because they yield irrelevant results

If your search terms include common words (such as the, your, more, right, while, when, who, which, such, every, about), you may see many irrelevant results.

Words in single quotes

If a word appears in an article with single quotes, you can only find it if you search for the word with quotes. Since this is rarely desirable, it is better to use double quotes in articles for which this problem does not arise.

An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, meaning that the name Mu'ammar can be found only by searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with 's is an exception in that it can be found also by searching for the word without the apostrophe and the s.

All search terms must be present

Only pages that contain all the words exactly as you typed them in will be returned. So if you didn't get any results, leave out one or more terms, or make sure that all search terms were spelled correctly.

The source text is searched

The source text (what one sees in the edit box, also called wiki text) is searched. This distinction is relevant for piped links, for interlanguage links, special characters (if ê is coded as ê it is found searching for ecirc), etc.

Delay in updating the search index

For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes are not always immediately taken into account in searches.

Part of this article came from the Mediawiki site and Wikipedia