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I appreciate the mechanisms which help bring attention to new answers to old questions - front page sorting, and the moderation tool explicitly designed for it. But I wonder if we can do more. I'm particularly interested in addressing answers whose validity has changed. In the worst case, they were correct when they were posted, but no longer are, so they mislead all the current users who find their way to them looking for an answer. More benignly, perhaps the best answer was good, but slightly flawed.

At this point, a helpful user may post a new answer, which is much better than existing upvoted and accepted answers. It can be difficult to overcome that momentum. What if the default sorting method took this into account? A naive suggestion: if a new answer has a large positive vote velocity, and an old answer has a negative vote velocity, perhaps the default sorting should place the new answer above the old answer. This could help make new answers visible to users who need a correct answer, and also help garner more votes to increase the confidence of the sorting decision.

I know this would be a fairly low-impact change, but nothing is permanent, and I'm afraid of answers with 100 upvotes being pinned at the top for years after they've become obsolete.

Edit: I would welcome other proposals that accomplish the same goal - my naive suggestion wasn't intended to be a complete solution, just one thing that a better sorting method would do.

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Why not just edit the original, highly-upvoted answer? –  Cody Gray Mar 13 '12 at 4:30
@CodyGray Well, it seems odd to edit an answer if the edit changes it meaning 100%. E.g., stackoverflow.com/questions/1131781/… –  derobert Mar 13 '12 at 4:34
@CodyGray: I'm for that if possible, but sometimes you may not be able to do anything but add a "no longer valid" note. It's definitely not a great idea to entirely rewrite an answer, leaving a large number of upvotes that were given to a different answer. –  Jefromi Mar 13 '12 at 4:34
I think this is a good idea. But I think this is a better idea: blog.reddit.com/2009/10/reddits-new-comment-sorting-system.html –  Ben Lee Mar 13 '12 at 7:02
One should also take into account that new answers start at the bottom, and so get less views. This is a solution for: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/15805/… , and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6662/… made a similar proposal. –  Ciro Santilli 六四事件 法轮功 纳米比亚 威视 Aug 13 at 5:24

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