I often browse older questions on CR and while there are many good and helpful answers, every so often I come across great answers. Those are eloquent and full of helpful tips and general information.

In short, the author put in a lot of effort to write those and it shows. Sadly some of them have very few votes and while votes are not everything it usually indicates not a lot of people have read or seen the answer. Considering that all stackexchange sites aim to be archives of knowledge I think there should be a way to make great content more visible.

The question now becomes, how do we achieve this? I'm unsure how much we can change the site or the system but maybe we can re-purpose one of the existing tabs like the frequent or votes one. Right now those are, in my opinion, quite useless. They are simply self-perpetuating the same answers for all eternity.

Perhaps we could have functionality added that allows users to "nominate" answers. These will then show up in the (to be created) nominated tab and users can browse through and look at them. Additionally the system could also cycle the answers that show up there in case not enough users nominate answers. This way we could break the apparent deadlock of the current frequent and votes tabs and make great answers more visible to users.

I don't know how feasible any of this is but there are a lot of great answers here that should be looked at more often and by more people.

  • We've done best of Code Review some years. – Simon Forsberg Jun 17 at 9:02
  • As much as I would like to see this happen, it feels unlikely that Stack Exchange would actually develop some functionality like this - even if there are other use-cases beyond our site. Perhaps we can make use of meta, or develop and use a third-party application to showcase the best answers? – Simon Forsberg Jun 17 at 9:03
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    You could use bounties to do this. IIRC there's a bounty exactly for this scenario. – Peilonrayz Jun 17 at 9:43
  • @Peilonrayz Maybe I misunderstand how bounties work but aren't they supposed to be given for answering questions? I.e. bounty is promised before an answer is given? – yuri Jun 17 at 9:49
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    @yuri not always. "Reward existing answer - One or more of the answers is exemplary and worthy of an additional bounty." – Peilonrayz Jun 17 at 9:51
  • @Peilonrayz how would you award this? I can only find the "add bounty for answer" option. – yuri Jun 17 at 9:57
  • Are there other answers with more votes (the "really good answer" is a later answer)? Or does the question itself have few views (and thus fewer potential votes on the answer)? If the later, then the question is apparently not applicable to a very wide audience, so the answer, despite being good, does not help many people. – 1201ProgramAlarm Jun 18 at 3:18
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    I feel a indescribable urge to rename this "Make great content great again" – IEatBagels Jun 21 at 16:57

You can do this using bounties.

  1. Get an answer you want to reward. Take this one (this is the question I got the images below on).
  2. Select the 'start a bounty' option.

    enter image description here

  3. Select the size of the bounty you want.

    enter image description here

  4. Select the 'reward existing answer' option.

    enter image description here

  • This is pretty nice but doesn't cover all the use cases. [1] It's not immediately obvious you can award bounties to existing answers. [2] It awards more imaginary internet points but doesn't make the answer more visible to (new) users (I think? Please correct me on this if I'm wrong here) [3] It excludes new users or users with low reputation from participating. – yuri Jun 17 at 10:11
  • @yuri [2] It puts it in the featured tab for more visibility. [3] 75 rep isn't that much, so no I don't think it excludes new users. – Peilonrayz Jun 17 at 10:14
  • Well as a new user you either start with 1 or 100 (if you come from another stacksite). Assuming you simply come here to read through existing reviews and feel some of them should be rewarded then your options are quite limited. Of course the biggest flaw is that even if it were free, we assume new users look around before asking questions. Judging from SO this is hardly the case so maybe the whole point is moot. – yuri Jun 17 at 10:22
  • @yuri There are ups and downs to making this available to users with 1 rep. The above looks like it does what you want, if you think there are massive flaws with it you could go to meta.se to ask them to change the bounty system. – Peilonrayz Jun 17 at 10:28
  • @Peilonrayz: What happens if the bounty giver immediately assigns the bounty? IUC then the time in the featured tab will be minimized. – hoffmale Jun 17 at 10:30
  • @hoffmale You can award the bounty after 24 hours. What's wrong with the person awarding a bounty after a time they think is reasonable? – Peilonrayz Jun 17 at 10:33
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    I have awarded a bounty like this before, and I intentionally leave the bounty open until it expires.... and I get the notification that I have to award it. This gives the question/answer as long as possible in the featured tab. – rolfl Jun 17 at 14:26
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    In addition to the bounty, there have been occasions in the past where a good answer has some small issues.... and those issues can be fixed with formatting or editing, then I edit the post as well which also brings it up on the active questions page. – rolfl Jun 17 at 14:28
  • Two issues: 1) The bounty (while active) is applied to the question, not to an answer. If that question has multiple answers, it isn't obvious which one is meant to receive the bounty. 2) Once the bounty is assigned, it isn't easy to find that answer again (so it's only a temporary band-aid, unless you regularily create new bounties). OP seems to be more concerned about long-time visibility than short term boosts thereof. – hoffmale Jun 18 at 19:46
  • @hoffmale 1) You can link it in the optional description. 2) A week is quite long, also what prevent users slowly marking all questions as 'great content'? IMO it's good enough. – Peilonrayz Jun 18 at 22:31

If I get this question correctly then it's not (primarily) about voting more for answers that are of good quality but to make them somehow visible so more people can learn from them.

Well, I think this is a great idea but not only for answers that already are of good quality bu but also as a way to attract other answers to be improved and enter the hole-of-fame.

At the same time I'm afraid that the only thing we can do is to create some question(s) for collecting and indexing such answers (by language). Similar to how it sometimes works on StackOverflow like Hidden Features of C# or others that I currently cannot find anymore :( but I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of them that linked to other answers.

Every couple of weeks we could nominate and vote for new entries somewhere... on meta?

Bounties in my option are not good for that. They attract attention only for a limited amount of time and they don't make it easier to find such answers - there's not even a filter for that in the search tools.

  • I don’t think that meta questions would attract more reputation than bounties. Both are rarely visited by random/infrequent users. I believe non-regulars just ignore meta completely. – Incomputable Jun 21 at 18:24
  • @Incomputable this isn't about gaining more reputation (rather a side-effect) but about making interesting content more visible and helpful. At least this is how I understand this question. – t3chb0t Jun 21 at 19:58
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    Yep, my point was about that as well. May be I didn’t include that regulars rarely miss any good content. The rest usually does not follow meta, or sometimes don’t login for weeks. – Incomputable Jun 21 at 20:00
  • @Incomputable actually this would be a nice-to-have on every stack-exchange site. Not all good answers get always many upvotes if they are about something interesing and less known. If people don't understand something then they don't vote for it but it doesn't mean the content is bad. On the other hand ridiculous topics like String vs string receive thousands of votes and they are not as helpful as the number votes would suggest. – t3chb0t Jun 21 at 20:08
  • Your assertion is correct and I agree with you that bounties, while nice, are not the best solution IMO. – yuri Jun 22 at 17:40
  • You yourself say in your answer you can't find lists, that you know about, on Stack Overflow, how will new users, or any users, find them? – Peilonrayz Jun 26 at 11:22
  • @Peilonrayz you can always put a link on the language about-page to that very special question etc. I also didn't says it's the perfect solution, it's something but I'm of the same opinion as hoffmale this is, SE team would need to develop a new feature for that. – t3chb0t Jun 26 at 11:37

Sadly, nearly all good solutions AFAICT require development effort on the Stack Exchange platform. But one can dream...

Hall of fame for answers

One (obvious) solution would be to introduce a (curated) hall of fame for good answers.

While this can be achieved via "special" questions curated by some members of the community, these require active maintenance to be useful.

A better approach would be to introduce a new section, similar to "Questions", "Tags", "Users" etc. for an automatically updated list of good answers. Even better if this list could be searched by tags and/or keywords.

Answers could possibly be nominated by a review-queue-like process, where some evaluation criteria (number of accepts? a ratio of approval > X%?) needs to be met before a question gets added to the Hall of Fame.

Browse by answer

Being a bit more pragmatic, one could simply add a mechanism to browse answers similar to the way we can browse questions right now. While this wouldn't guarantee that the "good" answers rise to the top (since votes generally correlate better to view count than quality), it would give us a better way to find good answers with all the powers of the Stack Exchange search.

  • Why would the hall of fame be any better than what we have now? Would it require a non-trivial amount of rep to nominate answers? – Peter Taylor Jun 26 at 11:38
  • As for browse by answer: we essentially have it already. It just doesn't have the convenient link in the secondary header. – Peter Taylor Jun 26 at 11:39
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    @PeterTaylor: What do we have right now? A special bounty that only increases visibility of a good answer for a short time, and a rather hidden way to browse answers specifically (at least I didn't know about that one) that is biased with regards to how many views that question/answer got. A Hall of Fame would provide a centralized point of access to answers that the community has deemed to be "good"/"great"/"way above average". The focus here would be on the quality of the answers. – hoffmale Jun 26 at 12:11
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    Some of the specifics of the nomination process would of course have to be ironed out if the demand validates the required development effort. How many nominations per user per day? Do nominations cost rep (and does that imply a bounty on the answer)? What are the exact criteria we as a community look for in nominations? Who gets to nominate answers? Who gets to review nominations? Do accepted answers get visually highlighted (even when viewed normally)? How to cope with edits/deletions? (And probably some more I can't think of right now). – hoffmale Jun 26 at 12:30
  • "What do we have right now?" We have a voting system. As far as I can see, your proposal is to create another voting system. So my point was that the proposal needs to emphasise the differences which will make the new voting system more useful than the old one. – Peter Taylor Jun 26 at 14:08

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