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Stack Overflow has changed the way the answers are sorted:

We no longer pin the accepted answer (with the green checkmark) to the top of the list of answers. By default, we now sort strictly by votes (descending order by highest score), and the accepted answer's order in the list is based on its score.

There is a question now on Meta Stack Exchange if we would like to have the accepted answer unpinned on our site:

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. [...] We are going to collect feedback before the end of September 19th.

I am posting this question here to discuss what would work best for the Parenting Stack Exchange site.

Examples of questions where the sort order would change if accepted answer is unpinned from the top:
How often should I bathe my newborn?
How can I get my 12-month baby to sleep in her bed?
How do you feed a picky eater?
...

[Update Sep 21]

As of today, a substantial fraction of all Stack Exchange sites still has not entered their verdict (Unpin vs Keep the pin) on the original meta.se post.

We have communicated to CM that we, like other sites, will take more time to discuss the topic and reach a community consensus.

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    For the users unfamiliar with the specific vote tradition for this kind of post: upvote the answer(s) you agree with. Typically there are no downvotes. Upvotes on the question means “thanks for bringing it up, we should discuss this“.
    – Stephie Mod
    Sep 21 at 20:28
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No, continue to pin accepted answers from the top.

I would suggest not unpinning answers, particularly on Parenting.

My reasoning has nothing to do with old answers that would change sort order. I tend to think that's a relatively unimportant thing on most sites where there is not an "outdated" element (StackOverflow being the biggest example of course - where an answer that worked for v2.0 of a software in 2014 doesn't work in v8.0 in 2021); Parenting answers nearly never have any time component (maybe some technology based ones, but that's relatively infrequent). "How do I help my child learn to behave properly" is timeless, and the best answer in 2014 is probably still the best one now.

On the other hand, in the now, I feel like it will be somewhat negative in the (relatively infrequent) case that an answer is accepted that is not the highest voted one. That's because Parenting questions and answers, for better or for worse, have somewhat of an emotional component to them. When an asker asks a question, and sees an answer they're happy with, accepting it and pinning it to the top makes them feel like they're satisfied - they got their answer, good experience.

If there's another answer that's more highly upvoted, but not consistent with their opinion, or their specific needs, etc., or just not what they prefer, that asker will see that answer first if it's unpinned - and maybe not see the answer they like at all, if it's fifth or sixth by upvotes! It takes the asker away from the question entirely. While I can see the argument for doing that - not giving them a special vote, it's supposed to be a database of questions for the world - that ignores the human component that is our "asker" base, which is not as big as we'd like it.

Pinning the accepted answer to the top lets them have that say - and, for the specific question they asked, they are the best judge of the most appropriate answer right then. The highest voted answer ends up second, and I suspect on Parenting you get a lot more people who read all the answers than you do on StackOverflow. (It's probably harder to judge the metrics - people don't tend to copy and paste parenting advice like they do programming code, unfortunately.)

It does mean if a late answer comes in, it won't ever be accepted in most cases; but I don't think that's a big deal - again, I suspect people do read those second/third/fourth answers; if they don't, then it's not getting moved to the top anyway.

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  • Agreed with the proposal here and for this site because the majority of questions we get is very personal for the asker.
    – Stephie Mod
    Sep 26 at 19:45
  • @joe Actually, the stats seem to show that users are more likely to select later answers, even though early answers are disproportionately upvoted Oct 8 at 22:37
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Yes, unpin the accepted answer from the top

Most of the reasons for unpinning the accepted answer are well articulated here and here.

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  • I think the bold "better or the same quality" is a bit of a broad stroke. The very first question you link is a top candidate for me for why we shouldn't do this: anongoodnurse's answer is better, frankly, and much more applicable to the specific situation - hence why the OP accepted it. It's not the more "popular" answer, but it's the useful one for OP - and the one that should be on top.
    – Joe
    Sep 23 at 22:24
  • And the third one - where I'd be the "benficiary" - I think is another great example why not to unpin: OP found that one more useful, and more directly answered the question. Not pinning would lead to a worse experience for OP!
    – Joe
    Sep 23 at 22:31
  • @Joe Do I understand it correctly that you agree with unpinning the accepted answer in 8 out of 10 examples above? : Sep 23 at 22:55
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    Lol... No, I only looked at the top three; the second one I could see either way, but certainly there's nothing to say the order being switched would matter much on that one.
    – Joe
    Sep 23 at 22:58

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