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After a long hiatus, a new Custom Question Lists update is out with a fresh new design.

What's shipped?

If you are participating in the Custom Question List alpha (by checking a box on your profile and waiting), you'll see some brand new UI components when viewing question lists:

New tab bar and editor

Screenshot of tab bar and editor changes, described below

Based on your feedback, we decided to rethink the whole UI, removing some confusing and redundant components, and bringing back some much loved pieces. The new design is closer to "the existing question lists with advanced options" than "a radically new experience". Huge shoutouts to our new designer, Lisa, for making this new design possible and to Jane for picking up development while I was on sabbatical!

Some important notes for existing testers:

  • The summary is back in its rightful place next to the tab bar. If bounty or unanswered filters applied, the summary provides a clearer explanation of what you're looking at, inspired by /unanswered.
  • The "Filter" and "Sort" popovers are gone. Sort was too similar to the existing tabs, and Filter was a form in a popover. (how were you supposed to submit or cancel?) Now there's a dedicated UI for filtering.
  • The complex "Create" and "Edit" modals are gone. Now you just configure your list with the same UI as if you were filtering and click "Save filter" when you're ready to save.
  • You can preview your changes before updating a filter. Editing a saved filter and clicking apply shows you your new options while remembering what filter you were looking at. You can then click "Save filter" to either update your existing filter or create a new one.
  • We handle responsive better. The tab bar has been set up so it compresses more naturally on narrower browsers and mobile devices.

New sidebar widget

Screenshot of right sidebar widget, described below

A new right-sidebar widget has been added, similar to Watched Tags, to give you more direct access to your saved lists. This is where indicators will live in Phase 3 (which I swear we are actually going to ship).

Please give it a try. If you have any questions, bugs, or feedback, you can reply to this post directly or add a new question with the tag.

A wider alpha

Since we're nearing launch, we're expanding the alpha out to the whole network. So feel free to try this out on any site you frequent, to help suss out any site-specific issues.

What's next?

As always, Phase 3 of this project is adding indicators for new content, now in the right sidebar widget.

There's increasing interest in this feature from Enterprise, so I do really expect this to ship and get out of Alpha sooner rather than later and this time, I mean it.

  • 4
    The way to rename a filter is quite a bit unintuitive. You have to click the Edit icon, then click on “Save filter”, then type the name and finally click “Update filter”. I’d expect the name to be part of the options when you click the Edit icon. I’m also confused as to what “Apply filter” does and why it’s highlighted. Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:10
  • I left some feedback in the last status update for what I think is a bug. Should I move that feedback to this question or will old issues be addressed? Specifically I am referring to my answer here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/324553/299995. It seems like this is still an issue. I am not sure if it's actually a bug or by-design. Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:33
  • @KodosJohnson I've noted that bug and will look at it. No need to move it. Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:44
  • 6
    Question counts! Hooray!
    – Shog9
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 1:27
  • @SebastianSimon I agree. Perhaps you can add that as an answer? Commented May 7, 2019 at 20:56
  • These updates are awesome, I really can't imagine using SO without this feature, it is central to how I work. Thanks again for driving this and for giving us regular updates on this. Please keep doing these. Commented May 8, 2019 at 10:58
  • How extensive is the filtering supposed to be? Just off the top of my head, it excludes some features like searching by answer count and question score - is there a reason to not include them, or is it on an implementation schedule of 6-8 undesignated time units?
    – Zoe
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 9:23
  • 3
    Hello, could you announce such things before rollout, so we would be able to translate it? We have asked about it multiple times: meta.stackexchange.com/q/314599/260198. Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:42
  • 3
    Also, use special tags like featured, or, at least, announcements. Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:44
  • Custom question lists out of alpha? Commented May 11, 2019 at 19:16
  • @MEEthesneakyuser More that I couldn't think of a good reason to exclude the rest of the network, and several good reasons not to. I've added a note on this announcement. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:33
  • 2
    @Suvitruf Sorry about this. It's a known issue on our part and we know the havoc it wreck on your sites. Our translation pipeline is not great since strings are only pushed to Transifex when the hit master are in queue to go to prod. Alphas like this should be a little better in that users have to opt in to see them and there's cushion between when the strings appear and go live to all users. I'm passing your feedback to our PM to incorporate into our story around this problem. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:46
  • 1
    @Olivia Right now it's fairly basic. There's room to expand in the future, within the limits of our tag engine (different from our search engine) but this project has dragged on forever and we really need it to just ship before thinking about new features. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:57

18 Answers 18


Can we have the Saved Filters in the Home page side bar too?

When landing on the Home page, to get the filters menu, need to navigate to Questions page then click on the filters in the side bar.

Adding the saved filters in the home page side bar, avoid few more clicks.

Home Page:


Questions Page:


  • 4
    +1 This feature would be virtually nonexistent to me if I couldn't access it from the home page. I'd forget it existed, and I'd be surprised if many others ever learned it was even there. Commented May 7, 2019 at 10:45
  • 1
    This will appear in the next build. Commented May 9, 2019 at 18:35

Couple things related to sorting:

  1. Is "most votes" the right way to state this? It looks like "highest score" is the actual sort criteria.
  2. The "linked" sort option isn't sorting the way we'd expect given other data in the GUI. Here are my filters on MSE:

No accepted answer sorted by most linked

The counts in these images come from clicking the link under the "Linked" box in the sidebar on each question. There we see that the second and third results aren't sorted based on this number:

19 links for second result

21 links for the third result

Is there some other logic being applied in this sort option?

  • I noticed this too. Isn't the discrepancy based on which side is doing the linking? (A post that links to 50 other questions on the site isn't as valuable as a question that is linked to 50 times by other questions.)
    – Laurel
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 1:43
  • Yeah, this is pretty opaque. Here, linked means the number of inbound links from other posts plus the number of questions that mark this as duplicate. That Android bug has been reported 18 other times pushing it above the CSS one. This sort was previously called "Frequent" and I'm guessing we changed it to try to add clarity around its behavior. Commented May 7, 2019 at 21:46
  • For "Votes" I plan to leave it how it is because that mirrors existing language and it commonly understood to mean score (e.g., we say "votes" next to each question). For "Most linked", I'm gonna change that back to "Most frequent" since that also has a well established (but nebulous) meaning different from "linked". Commented May 9, 2019 at 18:42
  • @BrianNickel Can I suggest then that you add a tooltip that describes what "Most frequent" means? Commented May 10, 2019 at 3:00
  • perhaps "most linked to"?
    – ocæon
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 11:56

There is a plural issue in the filter description.

When I filtered support tag with has bounty on, the filter description as 1 questions with bounties

Has bounty

  • This will be fixed in the next build. Commented May 7, 2019 at 21:51

/ need clarification

I can add nonexistent tags.

nonexistent tag added

There's no [problem] on MSE...

While there's nothing to prevent searching with nonexistent tags manually, this is inconsistent with Watched Tags/Ignored Tags where it will show an error message instead.

nonexistent tag blocked

Watched Tags/Ignored Tags showing '[tag] does not exist on this site' error message

  • 4
    A challenge we have here is that meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/problem is a valid URL we have to support a UI for, and I wouldn't want a user with a 10 tag bookmarked URL having an issue applying the filter because one of their tags was bad. We could probably incorporate a warning indicator but that would involve an extra validation step because "apply filter" should always work instantly. Commented May 7, 2019 at 22:07

Can there be a way to create a filter from the Home page? With the Saved Filters widget on the Home page, I was looking for a button that would make a new filter, and it took a long while for me to figure out that I had to go to the Questions page first to create one.

It works fine with no filters:

No filters shows a "create filter" link

But that link disappears when we create a filter:

Without a link, when there's filters

Maybe adding an "edit" button would be consistent with the adjacent Watched/Ignored Tags widgets?

Watched and Ignored tags widgets

The edit view could possibly contain the create link, as well as edit and delete buttons for all the filters?


I can add the same tag multiple times in the filters.

Once the tag is added in the filter it is not listed in the auto complete, but manually I can add in the tag filter box. And it allows to create a filter with the same tag multiple times.

Same tag

  • We allow it because you can query things like meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/…. We could be smarter here, deduplicating if you're in an anded group and not filtering the dropdown if you're not. And of course, we support typing bug+bug+bug+bug in the address bar so we still have to consider about that case. Commented May 7, 2019 at 21:58
  • 1
    agreed i.imgur.com/o5P6Pn9.png ... i expected this feature to be turing complete, of course!
    – ocæon
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 16:24

There is no way to delete the filter without applying the filtering. Edit and delete buttons are only appeared after the click on item, same click do the filtering:


I think it should work similar as for the comment section, when mouse over the comment makes "Delete" link visible ("Edit" is always visible when comment is eligible to edit (5 mins for regular user), but I don't see a reason to do so for the saved filters block, since filters is editable anytime):



I'm unable to save a new filter (button is inactive) without applying.

can't save

But once the filter is applied, I can change any option and press "Save filter" to save the changed (not applied) filter.


too long

32 characters limit is too little for saved filter name. Especially with the displayed edit box width.

  • The edit box will be narrower in the next build. Same character limit though. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:24

What’s the reason to limit filter name only ASCII characters here on MSE?

enter image description here

For instance I can use Russian in ruSO (never mind about lack of UI translation yet):

enter image description here

And even an emoji:


  • 2
    It was an architecture thing, I think the word "collation" was thrown around. There are some issues with the original SO database that make Unicode not work as desired when doing things like sorting strings. We just follow the same rules as tags with regards to character support. Commented May 9, 2019 at 20:32
  • @BrianNickel what do you think about emoji “collation”? Commented May 9, 2019 at 21:33
  • 2
    No one is more disappointed than me that emoji didn't make it in here. Commented May 10, 2019 at 0:17
  • 1
    considering this is for independent users, it seems unfair that these cannot be named in whichever language is most natural to the user. i.imgur.com/qFKZtPF ... fine, i only tried it for testing purposes, but multilingual contributors are valuable!
    – ocæon
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:56
  • @BrianNickel I meant that I can use emoji as filter name on ruSO, but they’re forbidden in ruSO tags. Commented May 12, 2019 at 15:29

Filter gear icon isn’t aligned to the text:


Also, I’m not sure about intentions of existing the hiatus in background fill at the top part of button.

  • 1
    This will be fixed in the next build. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:22

Changing the tag list by keyboad automatically switch option from "My watching tags" to "The following tags", this is fine. But if I delete the tag by mouse from the list, the option won't to switch:

filter switch

There is also something weird with "or" appeared before the first / after the last tags.


Filter names should be wrappable despite of no space characters:


Tested on iPad.

  • I knew this would come up. I originally went with truncating but that broke other stuff, and in my experience word-breaking in CSS is tricky to get right. I'm writing this off as an edge case unless the Japanese site is negatively impacted. Commented May 9, 2019 at 20:35

Create custom filter dialog is too narrow on mobile, it could be more wider:


This can also improve localized sites like ruSO:


  • This will be fixed in the next build. width: 40% was being applied to the dialog (not sure which width this was meant for) which was breaking responsiveness. Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:19

Using the edit button for saved filters is OK on desktop browser, but on mobile (with responsiveness) it's slightly discouraged, simce the saved filter block is located at the bottom of the page, and tapping on the edit the saved filter button will scroll the page to the top.


If you would like to edit one more filter you need to scroll to the bottom again.

  • 2
    Can't you click More and select the filter, then Filter too? Might be a bit unintuitive, better would probably be that you have the editing controls in the dropdown too. Commented May 12, 2019 at 15:47
  • @MEEthesneakyuser this may help 👍 Commented May 12, 2019 at 16:06

Why the entity is called list here, when all other names use filter?


Same issue:



As mentioned in the original post, the custom questions filter list is rolled out to all the Stack Exchange sites.

A wider alpha

Since we're nearing launch, we're expanding the alpha out to the whole network. So feel free to try this out on any site you frequent, to help suss out any site-specific issues.

But still in the Preferences page - Custom Question Lists section, the description says the custom questions list is applicable only for Stack Overflow, Meta Stack Overflow, Meta Stack Exchange

Can the text be changed appropriately as per the current state?

Custom Questions lists


I can make filters with exactly same names (titles):

same names

How does this possible? Easy. Just add spaces before or after the name. Such spaces are not visible in the filter list, but actually exist in names, and accessible in process of filter renaming.

spaces before

  • 1
    One of the "OK, so just don't do it?" bugs... Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:16
  • @ShadowWizard when it's allowed it should work same everywhere. Why to truncate in one place and leave it intact elsewhere? Just trim all spaces, or don't touch them at all. Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:24
  • Well it's a bug, yes, but one of those bugs that don't feel (to me) like worth fixing. Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:38
  • This is fixed. We now trim the title as part of validation. Also another PR is coming through to catch the inevitable complaint about test{space}test looking the same as test{space}{space}test Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:20

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