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Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

These buttons/tabs (leaving tags, users and badges out) are available:

  1. Stack Overflow -> active = Questions that have been asked, answered or updated recently
  2. Stack Overflow -> featured = Questions with an active bounty
  3. Stack Overflow -> hot = Questions with the most activity and interest in the last few days
  4. Stack Overflow -> week = Questions with the most activity and interest this week
  5. Stack Overflow -> month = Questions with the most activity and interest this month
  6. questions -> recent = The most recently asked questions
  7. questions -> featured = Questions with open bounty
  8. questions -> hot = Questions with recent interest and activity
  9. questions -> votes = Questions with the most votes
  10. questions -> active = Questions that have recent activity
  11. unanswered -> my tags = Questions with tags I've participated
  12. unanswered -> newest = Newest unanswered questions
  13. unanswered -> votes = Highest voted unanswered questions

Now, for the expert user, maybe these all are very different. But for the newbie (hell, even I don't understand it despite frequenting the site) it's difficult to get a grip on what everything means and how they are different.

Some of my issues:

1-5 : It took me forever to understand that you could click on the site logo to get to this page with these five hidden tabs. For a long time, I thought the homepage was in fact the questions page. Apparently, when you go to the site by a bookmark or typing in the URL, you land on this page, but when you click on any of the "unanswered," "badges," "users," "tags" or "questions" buttons, it's unclear that you can actually get back to this first view. A part of the problem might be that none of the buttons is highlighted to indicate where you are in the navigation.

3, 8: What's the difference?

2, 7: What's the difference? Is there a difference between active and open bounties? And why is the layout slightly different? On page 2, the number of questions is in the tab, but on page 7 it is put in big letters on the right. Also the tabs seem to have shifted and changed size.

3, 4, 5: Why not have a range slider? Which is defaulted to one day. But one can tweak it to say last week, last month, or even September 1976 if needed.

6, 12: What's the difference? On page 12 I clearly also see answered questions listed.

9: Not much value in this page since it always has the exact same questions listed ("Hidden features of C#", I'm looking at you).

Also, terms like "activity," "interest" and "last few days" are vague. Especially since you don't see them come back as numbers or measurements in the questions or answers themselves.

I'm not sure what the solution to this problem might be. I'm just saying that, as it is now, there seems to be a lot of overlap and confusion in the various views available.

I would see more value in a view where one can set a date range widget, a filter, tags perhaps, some options and choose the ordering. (It'd be nice to be able to save these as personal presets.) But that might be a different meta question/discussion altogether. ;^)

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+1 I guess I've so gotten used to this that I don't notice this anymore. The difference between activity and interest is not clear to me - may be new post/comment constitute activity, votes equals interest. Anyways, most of the times the only thing I'm interested in is 6 - the recent ones - that too in my tags; I've bookmarked those. –  Amarghosh Jul 15 '10 at 8:39

2 Answers 2

It took me forever to understand that you could click on the stackoverflow logo, to get to this page with these 5 hidden tabs

Yes, we have cleverly hidden them on the home page of a site that gets 1.3+ million pageviews per day.

We're very, very sneaky like that.

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2  
hahaha... Let me rephrase then. The 'homepage' looks exactly like the questions page. Except for some minor CSS tweaks, and the tabs being slightly different. For a long time I thought the landing page(homepage) was in fact the questions page. –  Toad Jul 15 '10 at 8:50
5  
C'mon, Jeff. That was clearly not the only thing stated in this post, and many of the points made were a lot more valid than this one - especially the ones about how terms like "last few days", "activity" and "interest" boil down to numbers in the bee-hind. I know your ego is almost as big as the love for this site, but could you please try to take a little less offence when someone has something to say about the site? –  Tomas Lycken Jul 15 '10 at 8:53
1  
@Tomas, Jeff posted a lighthearted answer asking for clarification about the OP's ambiguous wording. The OP took it good-naturedly and elaborated. Jeff's other options were direct criticism or silence; I don't always agree with him, but I think he did okay here. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 19:52

I'm only going to field the ones about the point of some and the differences. Not any of the design decision ones like the lack of a range slider. I'm not the kind of person who'd know those kind of things.

Difference between 3 and 8 - The home page view (3) is filtered to only show questions with at least a minimum score. Very negative posts are not displayed. As well, it only shows the titles with tooltips for body excerpts, and there is only one "page" on the front. The questions view (8) is paginated and shows all posts with the excerpt not as a tooltip, and it updates at a different rate than the home page. The actual Hot filter applied is the same for both.

Difference between 2 and 7 - Same as above. The filter is the same, the only difference is that the home page only shows a limitted selection.

Difference between 6 and 12 - Unanswered questions are "Questions with no answers, no answers with >0 score, and no accepted answer". So yes, you will see questions with answers, but they will not be accepted and will have a score of 0 or less.

Point of 9 - It's useful in some tag searches when you're looking for a specific question that you know happens to have high votes. It's also useful if you want to go to the opposite end, by just skipping to the last page.

Some additional reading: The Hotness Algorithm, and The Unanswered Formula.

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