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Some really good answers get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps a "answer of the season" would be a convenient way to bring excellent answers a wider audience. Obviously the nomination process would have to be worked out so that not just anything can be nominated to get undue attention. There would no doubt be some kinks to iron out but I would appreciate the the availability of quality answers. The easiest way of implementing this would be to use star rankings (1-5 stars) instead of or in addition to up-votes. That way not just popular questions get upvoted, but they also provide some notion of the quality of the question. Dunces like myself can then easily see what good question look like =) as well as sort stack exchange for quality answers over a given time period.

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    $\begingroup$ Define quality. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 20 '13 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @40votes You bring up a good point that not everyone is qualified to define quality. However I would suggest that based on "who wants to be a millionaire" poll the audience feature people are collectively smarter than I expected. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ Note that this system would not necessarily have to be implemented all the time. Nor would the star-rankings have to be visible to the general public. There could be 1-week every quarter that people can nominate questions through giving stars without seeing what other put. Then the top 10 or so could be published in a tab something like the bounty tab. There could also be a "sort by ranking" feature in the search function without public display of a question's star ranking. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeHobbit I object to your metric, but agree with your conclusion. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Jul 20 '13 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ It's unlikely we'll see this though. It would have to be done at the SE level, through all sites. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Jul 20 '13 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber What aspect of the metric do you find distasteful? $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Currently there are two up-arrows and two down arrows: we could make there be 5 up and 5 down so that the arrow hovered over will highlight all the arrows between the vote-count and thereby rate the quality of the post: 1 arrow = poor but good idea, 2 = ok but not yet average, 3= average, 4= above average, 5=awesome. The results could remain anonymous and undisplayed but the data could be used to select the top answers of the week/month/year. I think this feature could connect new visitors with the best of SE and thereby inspire more to engage with the community as well as more to return. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:32
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    $\begingroup$ Using crowd-sourced statistics to determine best content on the site? We already do that, with results that are nothing short of embarrassing. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 20 '13 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @40votes Those "statistics" seem to be based on page views primarily. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ Here's what we get based on votes alone: not much difference. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 20 '13 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @40votes However star rankings are quite different than mere upvotes, which are actually more of an encouragement than an assessment of quality. Stars/arrows should contain data that mere upvotes/downvotes can never express. Imagine why Rotten Tomates doesn't use up-votes/down-votes. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 20 '13 at 23:54
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with star ratings by XKCD. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 21 '13 at 9:54
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select the top answers of the week/month/year. ... could connect new visitors with the best of SE and thereby inspire more to engage with the community

I completely agree with this part. We should do something like this, highlighting best content of the week or month on our blog -- the link to which conveniently appears in the sidebar for everyone visiting the site. Ahem, except that there is no Math.SE blog yet.

I completely disagree with the idea that crowd-sourced statistics, be they arrows or stars or stripes, can determine the best quality content on a mathematical website.

Furthermore, I do not believe for a moment that SE would introduce such a feature. All SE sites run on the same engine, which produces unified HTML markup of the pages: here and at Home Improvement and at Christianity. A feature that changes the way in which users interact with the site has to be implemented everywhere. It has to be something that can win the support of meta.SO. This feature isn't it.

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    $\begingroup$ So how can we select the top answers? Perhaps we should create a thread each month were people can nominate them for inclusion in the blog. $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 21 '13 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeHobbit Yes, as some other sites do. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 21 '13 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ Would that be unwelcome here? $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 21 '13 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeHobbit I don't see why it would be unwelcome. But we don't have a blog, which makes the point moot at present. $\endgroup$ – 40 votes Jul 21 '13 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ How do we get a blog? $\endgroup$ – User3910 Jul 21 '13 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ I am curious how other sites got their blog started, like TeX.SE. $\endgroup$ – Shuhao Cao Jul 21 '13 at 4:29

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