Update (Feb. 8, 2022):
I appreciate all the thoughtful feedback on this post. Your input caused us to rethink some of what we originally proposed. Rather than update this post with all the changes, I started fresh with a new post.
Please see the new post for the latest screenshots and details:
Revisiting changes to answer sorting menu: better use of space, moving menu into a dropdown, ascending/descending sort options, clearer descriptions
Over the coming weeks, we will be making some changes to the menu that allows you to sort the answers to a given question. We are making these changes based on a user survey that indicates that the names on the current sorting menu are confusing. This work is also part of the Outdated Answers project for Stack Overflow.
Moving the sort menu
The Sort menu currently appears to the right of the header that shows the number of answers.
We are moving it so that it appears underneath that header. We will run an experiment on Stack Overflow to make sure that moving the menu doesn't negatively impact the number of clicks on the sort menu or the number of answers created. Assuming no negative impacts, we will change the placement of the sort networkwide.
Creating a Newest sort
We currently have an Oldest sort that sorts answers in ascending order based on the creation date. In our survey, 51% of respondents felt that a Newest sort would be valuable. We are now adding a Newest sort that sorts answers in descending order based on the creation date.
Changing the names of the sort options
We are changing two of the sort names as follows:
Active will be changed to Last updated. Our survey revealed that 49.6% of users were confused by the Active wording, and many thought that it meant that answers with the most recent comments would appear first. In fact, this sort only takes into account the date that an answer was created or edited, so we feel that “Last updated” makes this criteria clearer.
Votes will be changed to Score. Answers are currently sorted based on the score (upvotes - downvotes), not the number of votes (upvotes+downvotes). This language makes that distinction clearer, and is a long-asked-for change that we are delivering. (This is now completed.)
Adding an info icon and popover
To make it clearer how each sort works, we are adding an info icon and popover that explains what each sorting option does.
Last updated - sorts answers by most recently created or edited
Oldest/Newest - sorts answers by the order of their creation date
Score - sorts answers by the number of upvotes minus number of downvotes, highest first
I’ve posted this primarily to give the community advanced notice on changes that are coming. But I welcome feedback on two ideas:
"Last updated" sort name. We debated internally whether "Last updated" was the clearest way to describe a sort that looks at most recently created or most recently edited. Keeping "Active" as the sort name is NOT on the table, as a substantial percent of users are confused by it. Do you have an alternative name? Needs to be succinct: 1-2 words.
"Last edited" sort. As an alternative to changing the name of the Active sort, we could also consider replacing the Active sort with a new Last edited sort. We now have a Newest sort that sorts answers by most recently created, so we don't necessarily still need a sort that combines last created and last edited. Is there any value in making Last edited a standalone sort? Why or why not?
Please provide feedback no later than Friday Feb. 4, 2022.