Is it just a cowincedence that there are this many sponsored tags on the recent questions list or do they actually get a higher sort order than normal questions?
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If you look most of those questions were last modified by Sung Meister.
So they either answered them all or retagged them all (I'm going with the latter).
Checking edit history should reveal all. Which indeed it does:
This question was edited to add the [tsql] tag. So I'm assuming that the other edits were the same.
They appear first on the "Active" tab, because they've just been modified.
There just was a lot of recent activity in those tags. Sung Meister removed a superfluous
t-sql tag (in favor of the spelling
tsql). Also I previously retagged a bunch of questions with
So there has been a lot of activity in those sponsored tags, causing them to dominate the "active" page.
I don't known if the sponsoring of a tag makes the question be ranked higher, but I doubt it. On the "hottest" tab there are currently only very few (three of four) questions with a sponsored tag, so if they get any boost it can't be a lot.