I've noticed that there's an increasing number of reports about unusual tag counts from searches or browsing. There's 3 tabs (Unanswered, FAQ, and Featured) which may show fewer results than the tag possesses. Of them, Featured also has a special feature in that the tab is subtracted from the UI when there are no bounty questions.
I've only got 4 on me to post here, but they're sparsed about in time from at least January.
- Missing posts on Stack Overflow?, person was on Unanswered, and simply had unusual counts rather than emptiness.
- Stack Overflow search box dead now? (10k only), user was on Featured which revealed a new element that this tab is now removed in this scenario.
- Clicking on tags broken?, another user on Featured, complete with some discussion of this issue.
- There seems to be a bug in searching by tags, today's report on the FAQ tab to hit all 3 outliers.
For Featured specifically, there is a giant message that tells you that there are no bountied questions. Starting after tonight's build (February 21st, 2011), there will also be matching messages for the Unanswered and FAQ tabs. But these reports, and earlier statements on the matter, indicate that somehow people still aren't seeing it. I know I've seen at least one other report of this behavior, and with the increase of tabs to 3 of these it seems to be on the rise.
Obnoxious formatting is, well, obnoxious. But certainly, there must be something we can do to make it more obvious to users that certain tabs do not yield the full results. Why aren't users noticing any of the current indicators that are intended for this very purpose?
I know the author of the most recent report mentioned the idea of putting "X/Y" notation for those tabs. Considering the issue seems to be isolated towards a resistance of looking to the left, I think it's at least something that can work. As well, it also covers the non-empty cases that cause (albeit far less frequent) confusion. What other ideas are there, though?