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This proposal tries to solve How can we make good answers to old questions float to the top?

If a new answer to an old question with lots of answers gets a few upvotes, it is a strong indicator that the answer is good:

  • it is much more recent than the fastest guns, and so had less time to get upvotes (consider how old it is)
  • it is way further down than the fastest guns, so much fewer people have viewed it (consider answer count)

For questions less than 8 short answers or so, it does not matter much to me: my attention span is enough to scan them all.

But for larger questions, it would help. Specially on the "new technology came out that perfectly answers the question" scenario.

One may argue that such questions should be closed as too broad, but let's not touch that question here and suppose that they are valid (I think many are). In any case, as time tends to infinity, the answer count per question also does, so we either deal with it some day, or start closing them at some point.

I know it is not easy to come up with a sensible metric, and I'm not going to propose a precise equation on this question, but please do so in answers / comments if you have an idea.

The most obvious metric is to simply divide upvotes / time, but that has a few downsides:

  • may give too much importance to new answers that get that single upvote because they showed up on the front page. It would be cool to have a coarser method with a little more statistical significance.
  • does not take into account the "start at bottom" (number of answers) bias

Many similar metrics also take recency into account, e.g. our "Hot Network Answers", Facebook news feed and Reddit's "rising". Of course, I see that their need is much greater since their updates happen much more frequently than an old questions. But maybe we could take some ideas from those metrics.

Full disclosure: I might get tons of rep if this were implemented :-)

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  • Just noticed the possible dupe after posting on the "Related". Keeping around for google. Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 9:41

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