You probably get sick of hearing this suggestion, but...(a quick search didn't reveal a similar thread).
In instances like How to add an image to a JPanel? it seems that there is a "community preferred answer" (which, we may be a "better" answer, since it satisfied the answer for many more people--see also the long list of examples, some of them seem to have obvious "better" answers, which are not listed first).
However, when users run into that site from google, the answer they are "first presented with" is not that one, but instead the one originally accepted by the asker. This seems logical at first, but it causes grief to users because they naturally see the first answer, it has some votes so they implement it, only to be surprised that there is another, better answer just below.
There are other instances, for example, where the accepted answer did once work, but has not become out dated, so is no longer relevant: How to mixin and call link_to from controller in Rails?
Feature request: if some answers have many more votes than even the accepted answer, then set the answer order to be.
- one with most votes
- accepted answer
- one with second-most votes etc. etc.
Other possible options:
- If there are answer with higher votes than the accepted, but the accepted is shown first, automatically add a little text comment near the accepted answer of "note, there are other answers that are as least as popular as this one which may be of use to you." to warn them?
- If a non accepted answer has 20+ votes and is "at least double" the accepted answer, place it first (does anybody know what the current algorithm is? I sometimes run into posts where the accepted answer is not listed first, but sometimes it is? It seems odd.)
- Motivate askers to go back and "choose" a different answer, later, somehow, for example, display a message to users telling them "hey, there is another answer that seems more popular than the one you accepted, why don't you go and select it instead!" or something ro motivate...
- do something to encourage users to "post mortem" switch their accepted answer, for instance a message "your answer appears to be less useful, would you consider accepting this other one that is more?" if it begins to appear to be out of balance...or some other means of encouraging them.
To me, "upvoting" an answer means "worked for me" or "that's the right answer" ("it was useful, because this was what worked" in many cases), if that helps any..
Thoughts? Any other options that would work here? May
What is the etiquette for correcting old questions with incorrect answers? seems quite related
Determining if a variable is within range? (has since changed order to be "better", but used to show wrong order--anybody know what's going on here? Why does it show the "better" answer sometimes but not others? )
Convert to/from DateTime and Time in Ruby (this one has comments on the question warning people not to trust the top answer!)
Regex (grep) for multi-line search needed (with this one, if you're not careful and scroll down, you'll be mislead).
How can I see the SQL that will be generated by a given ActiveRecord query in Ruby on Rails this one makes it look initially like SO doesn't have an answer...
Full URL with url_for in Rails a poor answer is first