On Stack Overflow, we have what some might consider to be a problem. (Many will argue how much of a problem this is, but I'm fairly certain most will at least acknowledge its existence.)
The problem is this: many of the older questions on Stack Overflow have answers that are either no longer applicable to the question (as technology changes and new software is released) or simply don't answer the question. Allow me to provide an example (which is by no means isolated):
The accepted answer has a score of 7 as of this writing. However, a careful reading of the question will reveal that the accepted answer doesn't really answer the question. The OP states that "...I would like to achieve a similar output to this." Yet the accepted answer doesn't even come close.
I recently came up with a solution to the OP's question that actually does generate documentation that is nearly identical in appearance to the page he linked to. However, it is very unlikely that my answer will ever outscore the accepted answer. (It will also never appear above the accepted answer, but that's a different issue.)
The reason for this is simple: the existing answer has been around for over two years and mine has only been around for fourteen hours. Why is this a problem? Anyone viewing the question must scroll to the very bottom of the page to see the "correct" answer - and there's a good chance that they won't since the big green checkmark and many upvotes will likely convince them that this is the best answer. It gets worse if the question has >10 answers.
Here's how I propose to deal with this: decrease the weight of votes over time.
Now I fully realize that there are a lot of implications involved with this. One of the first questions that you are likely asking is whether the weight of votes should correspond with reputation. (In other words, should the user's reputation decrease over time as the weight of votes they've received diminishes.) The answer is: I'm not sure. There is a good case on both sides.
The benefit of a weighted vote should be obvious: as long as the existing answer continues to be the best answer, it will continue to receive new votes and continue to remain at the top of the list. If a new answer is posted and offers a better solution, eventually it will receive more votes and rise to the top.
Why is it so important that the best answer be on top? Well, when Stack Overflow first launched, Joel Spolsky had this to say when describing the presentation of answers:
"Very quickly, the best answers bubble to the top."
This has been the key that has made Stack Overflow so successful.
So... feel free to jump on my proposal and point out flaws, suggestions, or improvements. There's a lot that would need to be discussed before something like this could ever be implemented. I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks of this?