There has been a fair amount of controversy over the recent change to the default sorting of answers, going from a vote- and time-based system, to a purely vote-based system that randomizes the ordering of questions that have the same number of votes. There have been at least a couple of discussions of potential problems that this introduces elsewhere (here and here, for example). I propose an alternative that is a compromise of the old and new.
I suggest that we borrow a principle from scoring in cycling, in which riders who arrive in the same pack get the same time. The way this would work is that, for purposes of sorting, answers are rounded to the nearest minute (or two minute interval -- seconds/120 * 120 using integer math). We follow the previous scheme whereby questions are first sorted by votes, then by time, but answers with the same sort time and vote values are ordered randomly.
This will retain the same basic historical view of the data. It will be easy to see which answers differ significantly in time, discouraging cutting and pasting answers as an obvious vote grabbing ploy. Users who answer quickly (and correctly) are still rewarded. There will no longer be an incentive to downvote a higher rated answer simply to get into the same "vote bracket" -- at least if you're outside the "pack" window.
At the same time, this removes some of the FGITW problem in that you'll have a minute or so (on average) to compose an answer, even after the "more answers are available" message appears, to complete your answer and still be "first." The pack window could be adjusted over time based on historical data to optimize it so that it really captures the same sort of principle as used in cycling.
FWIW, I have no problem removing what others may perceive as a bias towards early answers per se, since I think that in all but a handful of cases, good eventually triumphs early. However, the current system allows someone to simply cut/paste my answer and have their ansewr be presented in a way that it looks like I copied them, not the reverse -- at least to an inattentive reader who simply considers the order of presentation. Since it is natural to assume that the ordering is chronological, this isn't an obscure risk. My suggestion at least mitigates this risk since if they arrive outside the "pack", it will be clear to even a casual user what has happened.