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On Biology.SE, all other StackExchange sites, and until recently Stack Overflow, the answer that appears first is the accepted answer (if there is one), the one that the OP decides is to be marked "correct". It is followed by all the others in order of votes by default (users can also change to sort by Active or New).

As a result of user feedback, especially about "accepted answers" that have become outdated, and a test that suggests users on Stack Overflow benefit from the top answer being the one with most votes rather than the one that is accepted, this behavior has now changed on Stack Overflow.

Also quoted from that Meta announcement:

We can change the way the engine sorts answers in site settings. We would like to hear from you all if it is something you want to see on your site. (Please let me acknowledge in advance that we will not be able to run a test on each site.)

Currently we are planning to move forward with one of two scenarios, based on your feedback:

  1. Unpin the accepted answer on all SE sites by default and pin it back on a few sites that ask us to do so.

  2. Keep the accepted answer pinned on all SE sites by default and unpin it on a few sites that ask us to do so.

Please let us know what you think will work best for your site! If you can discuss this question with your community it would be awesome. We are going to collect feedback before the end of September 19th.

So, what do y'all think? Whichever way the default ends up going, how would you like things to behave on this site?

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    $\begingroup$ This has been added to the Community Team's backlog and we'll update you once someone picks it up and evaluates your request. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Oct 6 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat and Bryan Sorry, but this question does not lay out the case for both options. It's laden with loaded language and not presented in a neutral way. The case against has also not been put. This kind of post doesn't constitute any kind of serious canvassing of opinion. Literally hundreds of thousands of users (and probably millions) are going to be heavily affected by this decision, which will relegate much of the most helpful content on this site to obscurity. None of the advantages and disadvantages of each case has been put forward. And none has been invited. As seen from other sites ... $\endgroup$
    – Araucaria
    Oct 11 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat and Bryan ... once the serious problems with this proposal are mounted, there is often a very strong swing in the other direction. (Bryan can testify to that from Academia). Here, users don't even know that they can add their own points to the 'for' or against' cases. Voters should also get the benefit of points made in similar discussions from other sites. This extremely poor hat-doffing at consultation isn't good enough! $\endgroup$
    – Araucaria
    Oct 11 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat and Bryan A non-loaded (or perhaps reversed) version of the title might be "Should accepted answers appear first, just above the highest scored answer, or should answers now appear only in order of score?" $\endgroup$
    – Araucaria
    Oct 11 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Araucaria Actually, there was a bit of discussion on one of the answers in the comments. Biology.SE and Academia.SE are very different sites; I posed the question the same way on both. The answers made clear what was the current status quo and what the change was. As far as I can tell, you're not much of a regular at Biology.SE; trust me, users here know how to make their points of view heard, they are quite capable. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 11 at 14:59
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The top-voted answer should appear on top, even if a different answer has been accepted (this is the new behavior on Stack Overflow).


I've accepted this answer as the current meta consensus, total upvotes 12 in favor of change and 4 in favor of status quo. The question has been tagged status-review which flags for the SE staff to update the option on this site. Across the rest of the network the default will be the old status quo, but several other sites have also asked for the unpin change to be applied to their site (in addition to StackOverflow).

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  • $\begingroup$ This would work better on Biology $\endgroup$ Sep 8 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist I agree, fairly often an answer gets accepted, but it isn't the full, or even correct, answer and then the asker disappears, leaving no chance for a change in accepted answer. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Sep 8 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ The order should be random for some period of time and then the most upvoted answer should be on top. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 9 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @canadianer I'd highly suggest recommending that on the main meta to get some feedback and support there; I think it's unlikely without broader support that it would be an option for us specifically, but I like the idea. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Sep 9 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ After reading the main meta post, my point is perhaps a separate issue from the one being discussed. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 9 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @canadianer Separate, perhaps, but still somewhat related. I'm guessing you're thinking more of the "fastest gun in the west" problem rather than the "outdated answers"/"clueless or agenda'd OP" problem $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Sep 9 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes exactly. However I didn’t consider that answer sorting is a user-selectable option which would be broken by forced random sorting. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 9 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer Sure, but you could add a new option "random", and a new option "default", where default is random for X days and "by votes" thereafter. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Sep 9 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect a lot of people would hate that loss of control, but these are all things that could be hashed out in a separate meta post. While I appreciate your support, given that this site is the only one in the network I really participate in, where both votes and multiple answers are rare, I don’t think I really care that much. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 9 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Wow such a strong support, you probably should update your state here meta.stackexchange.com/a/369914/259155 (was looking the table, looking for arguments etc) $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 25 at 10:13
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The accepted answer should appear on top (this is the status quo).

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