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Edited:

When sorting by Votes, all else being equal (up votes / whether answer has been edited or not / how many comments the answer has, etc), I think answers are ordered in "most recent first" order. I suggest this be changed to "least recent first" (all else being equal of course). Reason:

Lets say A answered a question at 22:34:00. At 22:34:30, B gave almost the same answer, perhaps sufficiently differently worded. (B might not do this intentionally). And assume both answers are correct.

Now, the asker, and anyone else, are very likely to up-vote B's answer (usually much less ppl would go on to vote A's answer also as it is lower down the order). Clearly in this case, it is A who deserves more up-votes.

(Note that the scenario is not so uncommon, and likely to happen when many people rush to answer a simple question. I have been the benefactor in some cases, never counted if I ever 'lost out').

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Infact, so far, I have seen that the secondary sorting key when sorting by Votes is "last activity". (If vote counts are equal, it shows most-recent-first). Becuase of the reasons I mentioned, it should be least recent first. –  JP19 Dec 9 '10 at 7:04

2 Answers 2

When sorting by Votes, all else being equal (up votes / whether answer has been edited or not / how many comments the answer has, etc), I think answers are ordered in "most recent first" order.

No, that's only true when there's more than 1 page of answers. If there's no pagination, then equal voted answers are "sorted" randomly.

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Yup, its random. I think it should be least recent first, so that the early bird has the better chance to get its prize. Imagine two 0 voted answers - there is 50% chance that the second poster gets the first vote, and goes on to get more votes (well less than 50% because some people might actually take the care to see posting time - but you know what I mean). –  JP19 Jan 16 '11 at 5:22
    
@JP19, too bad: if the team would go for that reasoning, it would not have removed the "oldest" sort order either. And I guess I agree with the team for the randomization in the "votes" order: when sorting on votes you explicitly want to know what others think, and the equal voted posts are, er, equal then? (I don't like they took the "oldest" away though, but maybe we can get that back...) –  Arjan Jan 16 '11 at 10:32

You can already sort by "oldest" (note however that "newest" has been replaced by "active"):

alt text

But if you mean when sorting by votes answers on equal votes are sorted randomly.

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I usually have my default as "votes" - so yes, I meant when "sorting by votes". I usually always saw "most recent first" when sorting by votes. Didn't know it was random. I am not sure on benefits vs negative points of ignoring secondary keys. –  JP19 Dec 4 '10 at 17:34
    
Oldest appears to have been replaced with active as of today, this is the very reason I came to meta, I'm struggling to understand why. –  Andy E Dec 6 '10 at 14:13
    
Found the link - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/22481/… –  Andy E Dec 6 '10 at 14:19
    
Leaving this answer as a CW answer for reference only — and because this sorting order might come back, I really hope! –  Arjan Jan 15 '11 at 16:48
    
Do people actually use those tabs? –  IAbstract Jul 12 '11 at 13:10
    
@IAbstract - I use "active" (I used to use "newest") mostly. I do use the others from time to time. –  ChrisF Jul 12 '11 at 13:15

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