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I've noticed a number of edits with revision summaries such as the following.

  • hit the wrong dang vote button. +1
  • minor edit to undo upvote (see commments)
  • Minor edit to undo downvote. This doesn't cover all cases (no upvote) but encouraging editing is good (no downvote)
  • edit to undo accidental downvote
  • not a feature, and minor edit so I can upvote instead of downvote
  • fixed small error (down-vote -> up-vote)
  • Fixed naming (but basically a dummy edit to allow me to revoke my earlier downvote)
  • updated due to new information, and also so I can remove my downvote!
  • Edited to allow me to cast my upvote
  • I did intend to upvote this post too.
  • Changing my vote
  • no-op edit so downvote can be reversed
  • no-op edit so that i can change my vote since there is an SE now...
  • Urgent need to change my vote ;-)
  • mostly editing to remove my downvote; see comments
  • tiny edit mainly so I can re-upvote (I accidentally removed my vote after the last edit)
  • Edited to change a miscast vote.
  • vote change
  • Edit so I can downvote it.

Is this acceptable behavior? Even if I have edit privileges on a Stack Exchange site, shouldn't my vote be locked in until someone else edits a post? If not, what's the point of locking votes in the first place if anyone with edit privileges can get around that "restriction" anyway?


Other References to This "Feature"

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I upvoted because I agree with the premise: Should we allow edits to reverse upvotes and downvotes? –  JNK Oct 20 '11 at 19:57
    
@JNK Yeah, that's precisely why I tagged this discussion: I'm not sure that it's important enough to be promoted to a feature request, but it's always felt wrong to me. –  Chris Frederick Oct 20 '11 at 20:04
    
So excuse the dumb question, but how does editing affect already cast votes? –  slugster Oct 20 '11 at 21:02
    
@slugster Once you've voted on a post, you can't change your vote until the post is edited. However, this basically allows you to edit a post whenever you want to change your vote on it. This loophole effectively means that there is no restriction against changing your vote, even though that probably was not technically by design. –  Chris Frederick Oct 20 '11 at 21:20
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If we take this stance, should users be able to change their vote after approving a change suggested by an anonymous user? I agree that editing shouldn't be used as a "workaround", but I think that it will be very difficult to enforce without undesirable side effects. –  Brian Reichle Oct 27 '11 at 7:51
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5 Answers

up vote 22 down vote accepted
+50

+1 - I use this "feature" without shame and will continue to do as long as it's possible, but it doesn't feel entirely right.

"My vote should be locked until someone else edits the post" definitely sounds more right.

If the agreement is that higher-rep users should have the possibility to revert their vote later, then make it a direct feature instead.

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-1 Because there's a reason why votes are locked, and it is not related to reputation. –  NullUserException อ_อ Oct 26 '11 at 23:08
    
@NullUserExceptionஇ_இ But this is related to reputation because you need 2k rep (on Stack Overflow) to freely edit posts. You could submit a suggested edit with the comment "Dummy edit to remove downvote", but I don't know whether that would actually be approved. –  Chris Frederick Oct 27 '11 at 1:31
    
If you let higher-rep users revert their vote, how are you going to do that while preventing tactical downvotes and preserving (some) anonymity? –  NullUserException อ_อ Oct 27 '11 at 16:47
    
This problem would go away completely if votes weren't locked in the first place. –  endolith Nov 24 '11 at 1:22
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I think it's fine.

If you are trusted to edit someone else's post without approval or process, you should be trusted enough to change your mind on a vote.

I also do this not infrequently. Sometimes you read too quickly, then go back and realize you voted in haste.

It's also possible for the OP to edit the post within the 5 minute window, which I don't think qualifies as an "edit" for voting purposes but can completely change the content of the post.

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"If you are trusted to edit someone else's post without approval or process, you should be trusted enough to change your mind on a vote." - in that case if it's a "feature" can't we just remove the obfuscation around it then? –  Flexo Oct 20 '11 at 22:08
    
@awoodland I kind of like that you have to do the edit though, since it leaves a record and makes it obvious WHO changed their vote. –  JNK Oct 20 '11 at 23:04
    
it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for and 1 edit would allow multiple people to make changes to their votes, so it only records who the first person was. –  Flexo Oct 20 '11 at 23:26
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@JNK Note that you don't have to be honest with your revision summary. You could just use the auto-generated one to obscure your true intentions. –  Chris Frederick Oct 20 '11 at 23:58
    
If the OP responds in a comment saying "What you commented about was incorrect", then they don't need to edit the OP to refute your point. Assuming that they are correct, they are stuck with a downvote that they do not deserve. –  James Broadhead Dec 12 '11 at 11:31
    
@JamesBroadhead - that's possible. It's also probably preferable to edit the OP to clarify the point that caused the downvoter to misunderstand the post. –  JNK Dec 12 '11 at 12:03
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I think it can be valid, and therefore justifies allowing users the option.

Take for example clarification in comments. Sometimes a response given in comments can change a person's perspective, causing them to want to change their vote. Usually the comments can (and should!) be incorporated into the question/answer, but not always. In those cases, editing to allow the vote to change seems perfectly valid to me.

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It seems to me that the system currently has some great checks and balances in the form of both the reputation system as well as the visibility provided by the revision history:

  • User's must reach a certain rep threshold before being able to edit posts. The user would have to wait for the edit to be approved before changing the vote. If it's a vote they really want to change, then they can keep watching the post and wait for the edit to be approved. This would reduce abuse while still giving low-rep users the ability to change votes.

  • Higher rep users are more trusted in the community. Therefore, I'd like to think that the chances of a high rep user abusing the system is reduced. Additionally, as was already pointed out, there is no anonymity in edits, so this should reduce the chances of tactical down-voting or abuse of the system. Not only can moderators see this information, but also other users can see the revision history to help keep things in check.

To me, this doesn't appear to be causing any problems; therefore, considering that every feature involves development and maintenance costs, I'd prefer to see the StackExchange developers continue to work on other, more pressing issues.

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I don't think this is an issue. I do this all the time to reverse downvotes and upvotes I give because:

  1. I misunderstood the question or the answer and upon further reflection I want to change my vote.

  2. The post was ninja edited (ie: within the 5 minute edit window) and my vote is now "wrong," but I can't reverse it.

If "votes were be locked until someone else edits the post" this would make it that much harder for me to correct votes in these cases. So I strongly disagree with this change.

Since the real reason why votes are locked in the first place is to counter tactical downvoting, having any edit unlock a vote is fine by me. If someone does tactically downvote and reverses it with an edit, it will be very obvious.

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Hm, interesting. I definitely hadn't considered tactical downvoting to be the original and only reason for locking votes. If that's the case, then yes, I suppose the current behavior would be by design... –  Chris Frederick Oct 26 '11 at 23:09
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You have a point... I still argue for not using hacks, but I can understand where you are coming from. –  NickC Nov 20 '11 at 5:42
    
@Renesis Well, I like to think that using "hacks" is one of the reasons why we are programmers ;) –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 20 '11 at 5:44
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