This question has been put on hold as "too broad" by Drew:
The question is too broad. 1) One question per question, please. Please split this into 2 (or more) questions. 2) Please just ask how to do something specific. Stack Exchange is for specific Q&A, not for discussion. Please remove the expressions of frustration and asking whether other people think this or that are good design approaches for Emacs (primarily opinion-based). Thx.
To be sure, there are two questions in my question: "Does this behavior make sense to other users?" (referring to the default behavior of Emacs), and "I wonder if there is a way to globally fix the default behavior not just for Text mode but also for various programming modes". In between those two questions I propose a specific behavior, namely ignoring single spaces on the previous line when searching for tab stops.
Explaining what the current behavior is, and why it doesn't make sense to me, felt like helpful context to a question about how to achieve new behavior. For all I know, I've been using Emacs incorrectly and others could answer by sharing how their own use of Emacs avoids the pitfalls I encounter.
Basically I'm not really sure why or how this question has to be changed. To me it looks like someone was offended that I criticized a behavior which has existed for a long time.
Should I ask a much shorter version? In my experience this would lead to the question being misunderstood. Already the lone answer it has received seems to be of low quality, mentioning the
indent-tabs-mode variable, which I think is not relevant, and seeming to not acknowledge that when I open a file in text mode with
emacs -Q -nw, hitting "tab" causes indentation to advance to the location of whitespace-to-word transitions on the previous line, as in the examples I gave.