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In thinking and reasoning about the new question navigation bar and trying to figure out where unnecessary and necessary redundancies are and what could be improved, I more often than not stumble across the problem that I don't really know what all those different options actually do, and neither of the two iterations of that official announcement question seems to completely explain it. I feel that any further question I'd ask might simply be an XY problem of not knowing what I want to improve at all. It might be clear to people deeply acquainted with the old navigation bar already what e.g. "recommended" actually means, but there are also other sub-options that seem to confuse people.

So hands down, what are the exact technical criteria (i.e. votes/answers/views whatever) that all the different tabs and their filtering/showing sub-options employ for filtering questions? I know what the tag filters do, or what the time filters in the "popular" tabs do, but especially some "show" options are a bit unclear to me, and others might be clear but I'd still like to have it canonically answered to be sure. In particular I'm having problems grasping the following options:

"new" tab

  • show: all vs show: recommended - That doesn't seem to filter only my favourite tags (for which there's a separate filter anyway), so what is recommended at all?

"popular" tab

  • sort: hot - Does this use the "arbitrary hotness points" of the HNQ or another hotness formula, or even other criteria in addition?

"need answer" tab

  • show: need answer vs show: no answer - I figure those are the good old "no accepted/upvoted answers" vs "no answer at all" options. But do they use additional criteria? I'm asking because some of the various "unanswered" views in the old design had the unexpected behaviour of excluding negatively voted questions.
  • show: all - What does this actually show? It seems to include questions with accepted answers, but how does it then differentiate from the show: all view in the "new" tab? Or maybe this even is absolutely intentional redundancy for easier usability?
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  1. Recommended is the same as the current Stack Overflow homepage where it is known as "interesting". It shows a subset of recently asked questions sorted by favoring your favorite tags and sprinkling in some random others via a magic unicorn algorithm.

Full doc: Why do some recently asked questions not show up in the question list?

  1. Hot is doing with a log decay algorithm similar to the hacker news or reddit formula.

Full doc: How are questions in the 'hot' tab selected?

  1. Need Answer and No Answer do correspond to the old unanswered tabs as you guessed, but they have new sorting options (e.g. by date)

  2. All in New shows all questions, whereas in Need Answer it shows open questions. The idea is that the former is meant more for moderation, and the second to help you find questions to answer.

  • 1
    I guess with "open" you mean technically open as in "not [closed]/[on hold]/[duplicate]"? Ok, that's at least a difference. – Chris says Reinstate Monica May 27 '15 at 10:49
  • The same filter can be useful in different places, there is no strict requirement for tabs to be strictly different in all cases :-) – Sklivvz May 27 '15 at 10:50
  • As to 3. So they do exclude <0 score questions? (From a short look at the SE main page it seems, but I'd really like to hear it from your mouth.) – Chris says Reinstate Monica May 27 '15 at 10:50
  • And if that is the case (which also seems to be the case from looking at SO), does that also do so for the "all" option in "need answer"? (I know I could possibly deduce those things from crawling through leagues of question pages, but it was the lack of a canonical point actually listing those exact details that made me ask this question at all.) – Chris says Reinstate Monica May 27 '15 at 11:11
  • But "all" in "needs answer" also shows questions that have accepted answers. – Catija May 27 '15 at 15:27
  • @Catija yes. and that's OK. – Sklivvz May 27 '15 at 15:32
  • So is that the only thing that separates "All" from "Needs answer"? That's what I was asking on my question and I'm not sure that part of my question was addressed. – Catija May 27 '15 at 15:47
  • Last chance to get the bounty if you could elaborate on the various unclaririties that still exist in the answer. ;-) – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jun 1 '15 at 11:56

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