Can we get an option to sort answers by upvotes only?

Sometimes I want to view answers based on upvotes only and to ignore the downvotes, particularly since many users don't realize that downvotes can mean disagreement on meta, so they don't use them.

For example, I have seen cases where the meta community is at odds with the non-meta community, so although two answers saying opposite things will have roughly the same upvotes, the answer that the meta community disagrees with will have many downvotes pushing it down, while the answer that the non-meta community disagrees with will not.

Other times, I find the top voted answers are all shorter less-helpful answers which have few downvotes because there is little there to disagree with, while longer more substantial answers are further down the list because they say more, so there's more for users to potentially disagree with.

So can you give us an option to sort meta posts by upvotes only because of the way voting is different on meta, but not everyone realizes this and votes this way?

  • I'm not sure I understand why you would want that. Doesn't the score of other answers as well as the overall score affect voting? I know my highest voted answers often come when a competing answer says something different. – Some Helpful Commenter Dec 10 '12 at 17:29
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter There are many times when I want to see the top-voted answers to a question, excluding downvotes. Sometimes it could be the case where the top voted answers are all very short, so are easy to read/upvote as there isn't much to disagree with and I have to search for the more substantial answers, and other times there are cases where I think the meta community is at odds with the main community, because one answer will have many upvotes only, while another question will have just as many upvotes, but also many downvotes pushing it down. – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 17:35
  • @Servy I'm not asking this to be a default view for answers, I merely want it to be a viewing option for the times when I want to see the top voted answers, regardless of how many downvotes it has received. Perhaps even only make it available to users who can view vote counts (although honestly I think those should be open on meta too because of the way voting is different, however that's been denied) – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 17:36
  • @Servy Thanks, I've updated my post based on your feedback to try and clarify why I think this would be a good idea. I also removed the examples, as I think they detract too much from the actual proposal :) – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 17:54
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    "the answer that the meta community disagrees with will have many downvotes pushing it down, while the answer that the main site's community disagrees with will not." Meta is not a special club reserved for the elite, although some folks do occasionally divorce themselves from meta because they don't like some of the community consensus. But Meta is where that community consensus is established. We're not talking about two separate communities here. – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 18:01
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    Reading some of the questions (that you edited away) makes me really want to get my reputation up on Meta, I feel like that's a lot of very relevant information I don't have access to. – durron597 Dec 10 '12 at 18:05
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    @RobertHarvey I think parts of the MSO meta community is different than the regular community, although you're right that for the most part, the two communities overlap. I've updated my question though as that should be meta vs non-meta, not meta vs main site. There's definitely a difference in voting patterns between users who actively participate in meta and understand that voting rules on meta are different than they are on the main site, and users who don't participate on meta much and don't realize this. – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 18:17
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    That's an educational problem. I'm not sure you solve it by hacking Meta. – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 18:18
  • As an aside if implemented, this should probably be only available to users with > 1000 rep since that's what's needed to see the votes. Below 1000 it would seem random. – Some Helpful Commenter Dec 11 '12 at 21:18

I'm not sure I see the point. Voting is wildly arbitrary on Meta no matter what you do. Anecdotally, I've experienced a situation where I suggested a feature in an answer, netting 16 votes in total, but when I made it a separate feature request, it ended up at -8 IIRC. Voting is, at best, a rough approximation of the general feeling of the audience present while the question happens to float on the front page.

Adding another filtered view will not make the vote counts any more or less meaningful than the totals are right now. Only a serious overhaul of the entire system (where we have actual voting on feature requests, separate from the normal SO voting system) might achieve that.

  • "Add transparency to the voting system"? – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 18:04
  • While I agree the voting system needs an overhaul, I think being able to sort answers by upvotes only would be easy to implement and a step in the right direction. Upvotes are fairly easy to agree on, while Downvotes are quite controversial and can mean many different things on meta, so I think allowing users to sort posts by upvotes only would be one way to let users make a more informed decision about the usefulness of an answer. – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 18:05
  • @Robert I edited the sentence, better? – Pekka Dec 10 '12 at 18:05
  • Better. But I'm not the downvoter. :) – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 18:07
  • @Rachel I don't really see it - upvotes are likely to be equally skewed, ie. people upvoting a suggestion even though they don't agree, just because it is well argued. – Pekka Dec 10 '12 at 18:08
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    I'm the downvoter, because I disagree that is no point to such a proposal :) – Rachel Dec 10 '12 at 18:09
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    On MSO, you also give up rep for downvoting on answers but don't for questions, which can discourage some answer downvoting. That's not true on the other metas, but it also doesn't seem to be common knowledge that downvotes everywhere are free on those metas. – Troyen Dec 10 '12 at 18:36

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