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Just asked myself: Why isn't "Questions" the homepage? And why is the homepage only accessible with a click on the logo?

As far as I can see there is only one significant difference between the homepage and the Questions page: The sorting of the questions. And there is a sorting functionality on both pages - with different options though.

This doesn't make much sense to me. Is there a good reason for it?

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migrated from May 17 '11 at 16:33

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for user experience researchers and experts.

Coincidence? I just asked about this in our internal chat room today! Had me a bit confused as well. – Michael Pryor May 17 '11 at 18:02
@michael see my answer – Jeff Atwood May 19 '11 at 2:51
up vote 8 down vote accepted

The different and inconsistent ways of navigating questions has always bothered me.

The home page has the following tabs

  • active (questions that have recent activity)
  • featured (questions with open bounties)
  • hot ("hotness" algorithm looks at votes and activity)
  • week (hottest this week)
  • month (hottest this month)

On the Questions page, the tabs are

  • newest
  • featured
  • faq (questions with the most links)
  • votes (all-time most votes)
  • active
  • unanswered

And there's a separate Unanswered page with tabs for my tags, newest, votes, and no answers.

If it were up to me, I would change it so that Questions is the home page, and it would have the following tabs.

  • hot
  • newest
  • active
  • featured
  • faq
  • votes

I'd leave out "week" and "month"; I think a single "hot" tab is enough. I'd also remove "unanswered" because there's a separate page dedicated to unanswered questions.

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see my answer. There is a very big difference between the "Greatest Hits" and the entire back catalog. Hence, hotness. – Jeff Atwood May 19 '11 at 2:50

The main homepage isn't paginated (obviously), so it's showing you "the best of" or "greatest hits". That's why the hot tabs are only present there.

The /questions route is paginated and is the complete library of questions for all time.

So basically this question boils down to "I don't understand the difference between The Rolling Stones Greatest Hits ...

Rolling Stones 30 Greatest Hits

... and the entire back album catalog of The Rolling Stones"

Rolling Stones entire album catalog

Which, from my perspective, is pretty obvious.

  • Casual visitors who hit the homepage at / want the greatest hits.

  • Superfans and avid community members want the deep tracks, the complete catalog that is /questions and /questions/tagged.

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"Which, from my perspective, is pretty obvious." Come on Jeff, you know better than that. – gitignore May 19 '11 at 11:40
Hey Jeff, thanks for your answer. But I'm afraid I have to disagree: As far as I can see the homepage doesn't show the greatest hits but recently changed/added questions. And I still don't see a reason why "Questions" shouldn't be the homepage (with default sorting "active" and pagination). – Phil May 20 '11 at 7:14
@phil the home page is top 40 radio hits. It's showing you what is currently playing. Additionally you should hopefully figure out that the Stack Overflow homepage DJ is spinning hot tracks just for you. – Jeff Atwood May 20 '11 at 7:32
@Jeff: Interesting post, thanks. Doesn't really answer my question though (having all questions on the homepage with more sorting options instead of homepage and questions). But hey - I was just wondering if there's a reason for it, not really complaining (I still think the stackexchange sites are awesome!). – Phil May 20 '11 at 8:39
@Jeff @Phil Stack Overflow's home page is different from the SE sites. SO has the super-cool DJ. UX just has active. – gitignore May 20 '11 at 10:07
@Patrick: Ok thanks. Doesn't change anything though IMO because it's just one more sorting option :-) – Phil May 20 '11 at 10:25
@jeff I love greatest hits! and I love the whole album... I think people are confused by the usability of the greatest hits being 'hidden' behind the logo instead of having it's own obvious link ... i.e. it's the confusion of the presentation, not the existence of the feature that people are objecting to... – Michael Pryor May 31 '11 at 18:06

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