There are a number of questions related to the sort order between accepted and unaccepted answers. Discussion seems to revolve around the "correctness", "ownership", and default behavior of the site. There is clearly some desire for vote-based sort order.

I couldn't find an option to enable this or a widget on the page that does it already. The cases that motivate this feature are:

  • accepted answers that are really a work-around, a later unaccepted answer is a solution
  • the question is time-sensitive in a way that later high-voted answers are more useful

I care less about what the OP accepted at a point in time than I do about those responses that are most useful. Over time, I'm finding votes are a better indicator of usefulness than answer-acceptance. Of course, it's not much work to scroll past the accepted answer, comments, and advertisements. Sometimes I forget and annoyingly waste some time reading something that was not useful.

To be clear, I'm not advocating a change to the default/public behavior. I'm suggesting a preference setting that enables vote-based sorting of answers.

  • 5
    It is a tricky one. Accepted answers represent the best (or the most relevent) answer from OP's perspective. In most cases, it would solve the problem posed by the OP. Most voted but not accepted means that they contain pieces of relevant info that is valuable to the community and not necessarily the exact one that OP was looking for. Sep 12, 2013 at 18:05
  • 1
    @ManojPandey Accepted answers from an OP's perspective are at a point in time. Your conclusion about most voted hinges on the OP actually staying up to date with subsequent answers.
    – Ian Tegebo
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:31
  • But Manoj is correct. The entire concept of "accepting an answer" at SO means that it is the answer that the OP accepted as being the solution to their particular question. Accepting an answer as the solution is at a point in time, and it's what the majority (if not all) of the SE network is based on. I'm also not sure what the problem is; clicking on the Votes tab shows the accepted answer first, but then the remaining answer in order by the number of votes received. Surely a quick scroll down through one answer if there are multiples isn't too difficult?
    – Ken White
    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:15
  • 1
    @IanTegebo That also applies to votes (to a larger extent than you may think). It is less painless for an OP to change the accepted answer of a question than for the community to organically overcome a 300 vote disparity between a recent, correct answer and a popular outdated answer.
    – user200500
    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:17
  • 1
    @KenWhite My complaint about ManojPandey's argument is that his conclusion is based on the OP's judgement at a point in time. If the OP doesn't come back to evaluate subsequent answers, then we can't be sure that one isn't actually the exact one they were looking for.
    – Ian Tegebo
    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:21
  • 1
    @KenWhite Re: Votes/Scrolling you're correct, it's not too difficult. I scroll past an ad, look at the accepted answer, check the date, the vote, scroll down, do the same for the next few, and then make a decision about where to start reading. Having gotten tired reading outdated accepted answers (when I forget or misread dates), I thought I'd file a feature request...
    – Ian Tegebo
    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:41
  • I understand. I'm just not sure I agree that it's a necessary feature. :-) Not voting for or against at this point; just making sure I understood your reasons.
    – Ken White
    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:47
  • Closely related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/178439/…
    – Shog9
    Sep 13, 2013 at 3:48
  • @IanTegebo the problem is you are assuming that the highest voted answer is being kept up to date. It is uncommon for the most up to date answer is among the lowest voted one because it is a brand new answer. Given this, I fail to see the value here. Sep 13, 2013 at 6:51
  • @psubsee2003 your argument applies even more so to the accepted answer
    – Sparr
    Sep 13, 2013 at 13:34
  • 1
    @ManojPandey my problem with always putting accepted answers at the top is the frequency with which the OP will under-specify their problem, and then choose the answer that solves their actual problem rather than the problem they described. For example, if the problem is "my monitor doesn't turn on" and the accepted answer is "pay your electric bill", that's probably not going to be the highest voted answer, and definitely shouldn't be at the top of the list for that question in general.
    – Sparr
    Sep 13, 2013 at 13:35
  • This is a feature request: “suggesting a preference setting that enables vote-based sorting of answers.” How it can be a duplicate of the discussion? Apr 21, 2018 at 3:53


Browse other questions tagged .