I'm curious as to why, when there are many comments on an answer on SE sites, the comments shown aren't the most recent ones but the ones with the highest ratings. I understand the principle that the highest-rated comments are (supposedly) the ones that you want to see. But I find the system disruptive when reading comments, especially when people have written replies to someone whose comment is invisible until you click "Show more comments". I would prefer a system where the x newest comments were displayed, where x is some reasonable number, probably the same amount of comments that are displayed normally. Why is the current system better?
I definitely agree with a lot of what you're saying here. Especially out of context highly upvoted replies being basically useless without seeing what they are in reply to. That said often these highly upvoted comments are useful just on their own and if there are twenty of thirty comments on a post then it can make sense to just see those.
So I would propose a best of both worlds modification
- Comments are always in order, no matter what (as in the current system
- Comments are more likely to be shown if they are upvoted.
- Comments are more likely to be shown if they are newer.
- Comments are more likely to be shown if they are replied to by a comment that is shown [may not be technically possible as usernames change but comments don't].
This has the benefit of showing simultaneously things which have high relevance currently and also showing things which are marked as important.