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.