JIRA text-search treating 'accessible' and 'accessibility' as deriviatives of 'access'

One of my users just reported this one. He was trying to do a simple-mode search for all issues which contain the word "accessibility" and found that most of the results did not in fact contain this word. Instead they contain the word "access". After a bit more experimentation I discovered that entering "accessible" does the same thing. We cannot find a workaround - even enclosing the word in quote-marks doesn't help.

Does JIRA seriously think that these three words are synonyms?!

Searching for "accesses" also produces these results, although fortunately "accessor" is treated as being different.

3 answers

1 vote

This actually happens because JIRA, by default, stems words; which makes the JQL searches retrieve issues based on the 'root' forms of words instead of requiring exact matches. You can see more regarding Word Stemming here, and I'll quote below part of the text mentioned there:

For example, if you search for issues using the query term 'customise' on the Summary field, JIRA stems this word to its root form 'custom' and will retrieve all issues whose Summary field also contains any word that can be stemmed back to 'custom'. Hence, the following query:

summary ~ "customise"

will retrieve issues whose Summary field contains the following words:

  • customised
  • customising
  • customs
  • customer
  • etc.

You can disable word stemming (so that JIRA will find issues based on exact matches with words) by changing the Indexing Language to Other (under <tt>Administration > System > General Configuration</tt>). Note that you'll need to rebuild JIRA's search index after making this change.

By changing it, all the discrepancies mentioned above should be fixed. See the examples below after I've changed the indexing language (I've created six issues for testing):

summary ~ "dele*"


summary ~ "delete"


summary ~ "deleted"

I hope this helps!

Yes, I know what stemming is :-) My point is that 'access' is by no stretch of the imagination the stem for 'accessibility'! I think we're going to have to turn this off - unless it's possible to configure it to work correctly?

Not when you're discussing software it isn't...

We actually use lucene ourselves, and we do not have this problem with our product - presumably because we're using a different configuration.

Alex, access is the actual stem (root) of the word accessibility or accessible :P
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/accessibility?s=t

Indeed there is no way to configure this to work differently so my sugestion would be to disable this if needed.

0 votes
Janet Albion Atlassian Team Mar 12, 2013

Hi Alex,

JIRA does not search the issue directly in the database as this is very expensive. It will scan the index directory for matching parameter .

In general JIRA use Lucene to tokenise the word that is stored in the index directory. You can use Luke to see the action

http://www.getopt.org/luke/

I haven't check how the "accessibility" is being tokenise in JIRA, but you may try it to understand it further. But, I believe that Lucene "Stem" the words.

Yes, I imagined that was what was happening; I've worked on search algorithms myself. So it's basically a bug in Lucene, then :-( Terrific...

Suggest an answer

Log in or Sign up to answer
Community showcase
Published Nov 27, 2018 in Portfolio for Jira

Introducing a new planning experience in Portfolio for Jira (Server/DC)

In the past, Portfolio for Jira required a high degree of detail–foresight that was unrealistic for many businesses to   have–in   order to produce a reliable long-term roadmap. We're tur...

2,944 views 19 22
Read article

Atlassian User Groups

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find a group

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find my local user group

Unfortunately there are no AUG chapters near you at the moment.

Start an AUG

You're one step closer to meeting fellow Atlassian users at your local meet up. Learn more about AUGs

Groups near you