This is probably the standard policy for all of the stack exchange sites but it's bothering me. When people post answers they get displayed based on the upvotes (I think) and not based on the order they were posted. This creates confusion when there are a lot of answers posted and some relate to others. You don't readily see who the first person to post a certain idea was, but rather you see the idea that was voted more, even if someone said it earlier. I would prefer if it just appeared chronologically.
Does this make sense? Am I missing something?

  • If one wishes to refer to another they should say something like "@Mark's answer" or "as @Mark" said, the ordering is never going to be predictable nor should it be for a Q&A site that cares about quality rather than First In First Out
    – Zelda
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 22:57

4 Answers 4


In my understanding, people who write answers based on the ordering/chronology of the other answers are doing it wrong. Each answer should stand alone, because other answers can come and go and can be edited.

That said, it would be nice if a little button would let you sort the answers, though I still agree that voting should be the default sort.

  • 3
    There actually is a little button (look to the right of where it says "1 Answer" and click "oldest").
    – waiwai933
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 15:07
  • 1
    Excellent! Didn't notice that. Now I have no complaints. Default is default, as long as users can change it it's alright in my book. Thanks
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 15:27
  • 1
    whoops, of course I knew that, and totally forgot when I wrote this answer, because I stopped clicking on that shortly after it was first introduced on SO. :) Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 17:19

The whole point of StackExchange, and what distinguishes it from a typical forum, is that the best answers rise to the top. As Mr. Shiny said, answers that refer to other answers should do so explicitly; referenes like "the previous answer" don't work.

So not only is this wired into SE and we probably can't change it, but I think we shouldn't change it. An alternate view (as noted in comments to Mr. Shiny) is fine, but the view presented on first view should have the best answers (per vote) at the top.


You're missing something. :) Look just above the list of answers: there are little links to sort the answers by "active", "oldest", and "votes". Either of the first two should do what you want. ("Active" goes by last edit date, "oldest" by creation date.)

  • Once you make a choice, it will be applied to all questions you view (until/unless you change it again).
  • Accepted answers will always be listed first, regardless of what you sort by.
  • Unless the asker accepted his/her own question, in which case it will be sorted as if none was accepted. See here.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 23:08

Just click on the "oldest" tab that appears after the question text, and before the first question.


Normally the questions are sorted by their score, where answers with the same score are sorted randomly (which means the order of the answers with the same score possibly changes each time you view the question); you can sort them by the oldest or the more active.

  • I guess I was thinking of food. :-)
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 21:58

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