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We can't sort by votes on the new tag:

No option for votes

Even changing the url manually:

https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/new/privacy?show=all&sort=votes

quietly converts the sort order to:

https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/new/privacy?show=all&sort=recentlyactive

I agree with Sklivvz that it seems strange that the top result on the "new" tab might be very old if sorting by votes. But that didn't stop me from being unpleasantly surprised that the sort option was not available. Maybe orthogonality is overrated:

Any computer scientist who praises orthogonality should be sentenced to use an Etch-a-Sketch. —Larry Wall

It is possible to sort by votes on the popular tab for all time, but that does not seem to show all questions:

enter image description here

So while there is a way to sort most questions by votes, it does not seem possible to sort all questions in a tag by votes. I'm not sure which questions are excluded from the "popular" tab, however. Perhaps the solution is to remove whatever non-time-based filter is applied to popular questions when sorting by votes.

  • One reason I switched back to the old(er) nav, and prolly the biggest reason, was that I couldn't effectively sort by votes. This has a +1 from me. – Marshmallow Aug 19 '15 at 17:22
-1

The newest tab implies a sort by date IMHO. With the option you select in the sort dropdown you only choose what date to sort by. Sorting by votes doesn't have anything to do with the date a question was added/modified/answered. The only thing that would make sense in this context would be to sort the questions by the date the last vote was made to it or any of it's answers (as opposed to the amount of votes which is one of the popularity measurements).

  • Hmmm... I thought the idea was that the tabs and the sort order were orthogonal. When I read the tabs (from right to left) I think: "need answers" is for when I want to help someone, "popular" is when I want to read something interesting/important, and "new" is unfiltered. In other words, I think of the tabs as filters and not really anything at all to do with sorting. In any case, there seems to be no way to get an unfiltered view of questions sorted by votes, which seems a common use case. – Jon Ericson Aug 21 '15 at 18:52

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