Just thought I’d throw my opinion into the ring.
When I initially read your post I was like “oh yeah, hadn’t really thought of that before”.
However on reflection, I think it makes sense to keep it and here’s why.
I envision the ‘Latest’ view as a continuous stream of topics and the category and tag selectors simply as filters. I don’t imagine that I’m browsing to a different page that should necessarily have a different template. I’d assume that the filter approach is how it was initially conceived.
Although they may seem redundant, to me they serve the purpose of communicating that as a user you’re simply filtering, not navigating somewhere else.
In my opinion as soon as we start changing small things like this for different parts of the site, the more confusing Discourse will eventually become. The reason I like and use Discourse is for its simplicity and consistency in the design.
Now maybe it’s because I’m looking at this from the ‘Latest’ tab. I guess it could be argued that if you’re on the Category view and you click a category, it makes more sense to imagine you are navigating into a category and to a different page.
I think this is probably the two schools of thought and why people would disagree forever on something like this. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. A setting to behave like either would be beneficial I think as it should be up to the site owner to decide what he/she wants.