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How are answers sorted?

In a question I see that each time I refresh the page, the answers were placed in different order. The question have 3 answers each with zero votes and users reputation was some like 6, 1,200 and 7,300 but it don't affected the order.

What is the critera of the sort order of the answers?

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marked as duplicate by hammar, Anna Lear Jan 12 '12 at 17:00

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Assuming you're viewing the question with the answers sorted by Votes, the accepted answer floats to the top*, followed by the answers in descending order by votes. If the answers are tied, they are sorted randomly.

*If the accepted answer was posted by the OP, it gets sorted regularly and doesn't float to the top.

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They seems to be sorted randonly. –  user174272 Jan 12 '12 at 16:44
    
"The accepted answer floats to the top"! What if the accepted answer is wrong and has a huge difference in votes with the next one. Example: stackoverflow.com/questions/4701532/force-maven-update –  Afshin Moazami Sep 23 at 18:09

The tab at the Answers section will let you know the sort order

enter image description here

  • Active: Sorted with answer with recent activity (edits etc) being on top
  • Oldest: Sorted with answer with oldest answer (edits etc) being on top
  • Votes: Sorted with answer with most votes (edits etc) being on top

If an answer has been accepted, it'll always be pinned as the first.

If the sort order is votes and the answers have same number of votes, I believe the answers with same votes will be sorted randomly.

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Thanks for helping me figure out the sorting weirdness I was seeing, as I've never ever seen tabs used to change the sort order of a list... they're supposed to show/hide, not sort. –  thinkOfaNumber May 28 at 0:42