Here and at many Stack Exchange sites, there's a tendency for the chronologically first answer to receive the most votes. Once an answer has acquired a lead, it almost always retains that lead. I suspect this happens for the following reasons:
- Users rely on the wisdom of crowds. If the first answer has 10 votes and the second has 2, it means more people liked the first, which, all things being equal, suggests that it's better (but it may be that it merely hasn't received as much attention).
- Users seem to rarely return to a question twice. New answers to existing questions do not receive much attention because the user already saw that question yesterday and is unlikely to revisit it.
- It appears that users often upvote the current top answer and ignore the rest, even if those are also good or correct answers.
Once an answer has acquired a sufficient lead, it rarely loses that lead, and newer answers receive fewer votes than their quality suggests, or no votes at all. This encourages users to lurk and answer quickly, and penalizes users who visit infrequently or take longer to write better answers.
Is this something we can or should fix?