Currently, accepted answers are always pinned at the top of the list of answers, regardless whether you sort them by "Active", "Oldest" or "Votes". You can see this for example in Did William Shakespeare hide things in his writings?, which has five answers.[1] Last week, Stack Overflow stopped pinning accepted answers to the top of the list. This has also been announced on Meta SE: Unpinning the accepted answer from the top of the list of answers. This change has not been rolled out to the entire network. In the above Meta SE post, SO employee Nicolas Chabanovsky asks,

Would you like to have the accepted answer unpinned on your site?

Do you think this change would make sense on Literature Stack Exchange? The advantage of this change is that the sorting of the answers will be based on what the community thinks is the best answer rather than the question owner. We should also bear in mind that on Stack Overflow before the change, any answers, including accepted ones, could become outdated due to technological developments, so an outdated accepted answer would remain pinned at the top even after more up-to-date answers had been added and received more votes. On Literature SE, by contrast, answers don't become outdated by technological developments, so unpinning the accepted answer seems less urgent here.

[1] Here is a list of question with at least two answers, one of which has been accepted. The query is easy to adapt to filter questions with a higher number of answers.

Update 14.09.2021: Since Meta SE want to collect feedback by 19 September, I have turned this question into a survey by adding two answers that people can vote on.

  • Worth taking a look at this old discussion; some of the points there might still be relevant to today.
    – Mithical Mod
    Sep 12 at 10:09
  • @Mithical "SE doesn't like making code changes for individual sites, and the accepted answer feature is, AFAIK, too deeply ingrained in the system to change it like this" - I absolutely agreed at the time, but this didn't age well :-) Some positive surprises coming out of SE lately.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 12 at 10:46

Yes, let's unpin accepted answers


No, accepted answers should stay pinned


This change makes more sense for Stack Overflow (and other sites about fields that change quickly) where accepted answers can eventually become obsolete or invalidated by new research. (I myself have written answers that were true at the time but since became obsolete).

It's a little less clear how often answers on a site like ours would become obsolete; after all, the texts of Mark Twain's books or William Shakespeare's plays don't change very often. I guess it is possible that some new research could be published and invalidate existing answers, but how often has that actually happened here?

  • Answers might not change over time here, but what about answers that were bad all along? Why should the questioner have the ability to choose which answer appears first? What use does it serve?
    – Alex
    Sep 19 at 23:38
  • @Alex What percent of accepted answers are fundamentally bad answers, though? Is that actually happening on a regular basis on our site? I've seen it happen on other sites (e.g. Stack Overflow answers that recommend demonstrably dangerous practices that the OP unwittingly accepts), but I'm not sure that it happens all that much here. If it is happening a lot, maybe there needs to be a broader discussion of that issue. Sep 20 at 4:19

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