A different way of interpreting the voting system. [suggestion]
Currently the position of a thread in a discussion is determined by the votes of the first comment of a thread.
Since people tend to vote-up only answers (and the first comment is usually a question) I suggest combining votes from the initial comment and its sub comments to get the real representation of how useful that certain thread is and where to place it in the discussion.
This could be good for those threads, with some very helpful comments, that are placed at the bottom of a discussion because the question was down-voted.
There are some problems with this system that I'm proposing, like what if there is a comment with lot of negative votes in a thread that has some great answers. [possibly a solution: don't include negative votes (to be clear those votes that go below zero) in the calculation]
What do you think about this?
Perhaps they should look at reddit's Best ranking system, explained here:
It was based on the 'solution' in this article:
Most of our discussion threads are still fairly small and manageable, so wouldn't really be necessary for them. But might have been useful for some of the larger, recent threads, such as the one introducing language certificates. I suspect that a lot of people are disinclined to add new comments to older threads as they realise they are probably going to languish mostly unnoticed at the bottom.
If the duolingo staff did want to change it, it would probably be achievable in the hackathon as I think it would mostly be a simple matter of swapping out one sorting algorithm for another.
There could be another tab added to Popular/Top/All Time for Top Comments. This would omit the initial post for yet another "I hope they add (language X)" thread, but it might show a funny and/or helpful answer within that thread. Of course, it's likely you'd need its context, in which case you're back to square one.