Along the lines of this question:

Is it possible to see the number of score-10 questions of a proposal over time?

I understand why you don't want to artificially speed up a proposal's definition, but has Area 51 looked into offering other ways to sort the default sorting of the example questions so that people don't simply vote for the first 5 questions they read?

Having something that is not sorted by number of votes will encourage people to actually read more of the questions before they decide which ones to vote for.

  • Yes! This is really needed.
    – asheeshr
    Jul 5, 2013 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


I've been looking at alternate sort orders, and if you want the most thorough treatment of each entry, the best variations I came up with are

  • sort by "most recently added"
  • with "lowest voted first" being a close second.
  • Statistically, "random" would work, but isn't as interesting as the first two.

With our current sort order (highest voted first), the first-come questions tend to run away with the momentum vote. When users encounter a list of entries to vote on, they are more likely to see and vote on the entries they see first. The vote goes to "Meh, good enough." That is not ideal, and it doesn't generate the best voting sample.

If the most-recently added (or even lowest-voted) questions appear first, the users are all-but-forced to carefully consider what else is available by looking past the first questions they encounter.

The advantages of "lowest vote first" is that *if* users are voting willy-nilly just to push the proposal through, the proposal will not likely pass. They'll just be spreading their votes laterally as new questions arrive. Random participation will not equal progress. That's a good thing.

The advantage of "newest first" is that the most-recent questions are added with the hindsight and review of all the questions and discussions asked previously. In theory, the example questions should improve over time, so those most recently asked at least have a chance of being seen. That should be a good thing.


  • Both "lowest vote first" and "newest first" tend to push lower votes towards the top (whether it's because they are fresh or they are bad), which may artificially speed up the proposal. I guess the question is "Do people just vote for the first questions they see, or do they vote for the first highly voted questions they see?" An alternative would be to make how a proposal is sorted be a setting that can be set by the proposer.
    – Neal Kruis
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:49
  • Frankly, anything other than the current system would be good! I think a random sample with a mix of low vote (<3) and high vote (>7) questions would work best when the number of questions are low (<40). This would allow evaluating new questions with the quality of older questions in mind. Once there are >40 questions, then more predictable systems should be used such as lowest vote first. By this time, a certain baseline quality would have been established and lowest first may work out well.
    – asheeshr
    Jul 5, 2013 at 4:43
  • Any chance of this change being implemented?
    – asheeshr
    Nov 27, 2013 at 0:55

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