Documentation

The format is similar to Google's search format. Each line is called a filter, and a filter can contain one or more keywords (separated by a space).

Implicit AND

If there are more than one keywords, then the filter will match if all of those keywords match.

Match? Filter Text
Google Alerts alternative Can anyone recommend an alternative to Google Alerts?
Google Alerts alternative Can anyone recommend something similar to Google Alerts?

Case Insensitive

Keywords are case insensitive. This behaviour is similar to what you would expect from a Google search.

Match? Filter Text
syften syften
syften Syften

Word Boundaries

By default word boundaries are taken into account and special characters such as ? or - are ignored. This behaviour is similar to what you would expect from a Google search.

Match? Filter Text
plug plugin
syften.com I like Syften. ".com" is a nice domain.

Exact String Match

You can match keywords exactly and skip word boundary logic by putting them in backticks (`). Matching is still case insensitive.

Match? Filter Text
`plug` plugin
`fmt.Printf("hi!")` fmt.Printf("hi!")
`syften.com` I like Syften. ".com" is a nice domain.

Preserve Word Order

To match words in order use the double quote ("). This behaviour is similar to what you would expect from a Google search.

Match? Filter Text
Google Alerts Alerts by Google
"Google Alerts" Alerts by Google

NOT

Exclude certain keywords by prefixing them with NOT.

Match? Filter Text
NOT Google Alerts I received a few alerts
NOT Google Alerts Alerts by Google
Google Alerts NOT "Google Alerts" Alerts by Google
Google Alerts NOT "Google Alerts" Google Alerts

Comments

Filters starting with "//" (two slashes) and empty lines are ignored.

Title Match

Without a modifier a filter matches the title and the body of an item. Use "title:" to match the title only. For details on how titles are set for items that normally do not have titles (e.g. comments) see the individual backend documentation pages.

Match? Filter Title
title:`Who is hiring?` Ask HN: Who is hiring? (August 2019)
title:`Show HN:` title:"slack bot" Show HN: I made a new Slack Bot
title:`Show HN:` title:"slack bot" NOT title:php Show HN: I made a new Slack Bot in PHP

User Match

Match a particular user with author:username (must match exactly). It makes most sense to combine it with site: documented below. If this keyword is specified more than once per filter, then only one of the authors must match. You can use NOT to exclude a particular user.

Match? Filter User
author:michael michael
author:michael author:john michael
author:michael john
NOT author:michael michael

Site Match

Match a particular site with site:urlsubstring (the URL must contain this string). If this keyword is specified more than once per filter, then only one of the sites must match. You can use NOT to exclude a particular site.

Match? Filter Item URL
site:news.ycombinator.com https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20660634
site:reddit.com/r/startups/ site:news.ycombinator.com https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20660634
site:reddit.com/r/startups/ https://www.reddit.com/r/SideProject/comments/9xcb8p/
NOT site:news.ycombinator.com https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20660634

Type Match

In a discussion thread there are two types of posts: the one that started the thread, and the replies. You can filter those with type:post or type:comment.

To learn more see the use case from our blog.

Examples

Filter Description
author:tptacek site:news.ycombinator.com `secur` See what interesting security topics tptacek from Hacker News is talking about
site:indiehackers.com "slack bot" See who's developing new Slack bots on Indie Hackers
"wordpress theme" `?` NOT `https://` Look for leads to pitch your Wordpress theme to, while excluding links to other themes

Tips

Do a Google search for your filter. If the results are not satisfactory then it's unlikely Syften will find anything either. It's best to identify threads from the past that would have interested you, construct filters that would have matched them, and hope that in the future similar discussions will come up.