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The answers to questions comes up-down ordered by date ascending. So the first answer always goes upper than next answers. If you investigate a few dozens (or hundreds) questions, you'll find out that count of up-votes strongly depends on position of answer in list, but not only on it's usefulness. I mean 1st answer in most cases get 30-50% of all votes even if there are plenty better answers after it. A very good answer, that was given 10th for example, most likely will gain at least 10 times less votes than any useless first answer... And usually first answer is whether completely correct, or have many improvements and better answers followed by it.

I propose to reorder answers in reverse order: so that newer answers go first and older - on the bottom of the screen. The exceptions (out-of-order first place in list) should be made for messages, marked as answer and probably to messages that continue gain up-votes being not on the first rows.

I think such reordering would be very helpful for searching real answer for the question when there are dozens of answers (or few very big but helpless answers on the first places). And also it will make the ratings more fair.

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There are three different sort orders for answers: by activity (newest/recently edited on top), by age (oldest first), and by votes (higher votes first). – Adam Lear Dec 29 '11 at 13:18
What Anna says, and the default order is by votes, isn't it? – Pëkka Dec 29 '11 at 13:19
Click the Votes tab over the list of answers to get back to the default ordering, which is by accepted answer then by vote total then by random (if the vote totals match). – tvanfosson Dec 29 '11 at 13:51
You seem to be making some strong claim to statistical information which I suspect you can't back up, beyond one or two anecdotal cases which I'm sure could be explained otherwise. – Andrew Barber Dec 29 '11 at 20:42

The default sort order for answers is by votes, with the accepted answer anchored to the top*, for a good reason. We want the best answer to float to the top of the page. This is one of the major advantages that Stack Overflow has over traditional forum software that forces you to read an entire thread in order to find an answer to a question (or if the answer is even there).

I mean 1st answer in most cases get 30-50% of all votes even if there are plenty better answers after it.

I'm doubtful of this. There's definitely an advantage within the first few minutes to being the first to post an answer when all other answers are the same, but I've seen plenty of good answers that were late get upvoted as well.

* unless the OP accepts their own answer, then it's purely by votes, with a random ordering within each equivalency class.

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