When performing a [tag] search, the results show users' gravatar, badge count & rep, while a keyword search only shows username and a timestamp. Why is the format of results different?

  • The first gives you a question list page (with /questions/tagged/), the second a search result page (with /search?q=). But I suspect the question is a bit deeper than that?
    – bobble
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:36
  • I'm just typing things into a search bar. Regardless of how that's queried on the back end, I would normally expect result sets to be presented in the same format. Feb 1, 2022 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


The Stack Exchange search engine is smart/perky enough to convert a search for a single tag to a redirect to the tag's page. At that moment, you're not in the search results anymore; you're in a part of the site which falls under the umbrella of question lists. Those pages have additional benefits over the search results page:

These options are most useful when you're searching for questions you can answer, rather than when you're looking for a specific question or answer, but in those cases you are likely to use keywords as well and you are not redirected.

I guess that additional functionality was the reason for this redirect, but I couldn't find a Meta post introducing this feature, let alone the official reasoning behind this design choice. The search results page has to support both questions and answers, so that's why it has a different layout, and the other layout already existed.

If you do want the layout of the search page, because in the near future the question list might look different*, simply append is:q to your query:

enter image description here

*: I realize the search page may get a redesign in the future as well. Time will tell what happens ...

  • Thanks. But what about searches for multiple tags? Those show a list of search results but aren't the "tag's page" but just a list of questions filtered by the tag criteria. It seems the layout changes when anything else gets added. Feb 1, 2022 at 19:17
  • I guess I just don't understand what the purpose of creating two different layouts for a list of search results is. Your answer illustrates some differences and when they occur - but sheds not much light on why this design choice was made. Feb 1, 2022 at 19:18
  • I couldn't find an authoritative post about this design choice, but I've expanded my answer a bit with possible reasoning.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Feb 1, 2022 at 21:43
  • 1
    Thanks for taking the time to expand on your answer. Even if not 100% certain, your reasoning is sound. Feb 4, 2022 at 14:01

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