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This is a small exploit, but I found that you can remove votes on posts that you edit.

So, you could use this exploit to gain 30 rep on the cap every day if you were motivated enough.

To reproduce, fine an old (down)vote of yours, edit the question, remove the vote. (Profit!)

*Edit*: This may not be able to be used as an exploit. But it still undermines the point for being able to remove votes on edited questions or answers.

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I assume you're talking about downvotes? –  gnostradamus Aug 20 '09 at 14:50
    
Well, you could remove either, but can only really gain something from downvotes. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 14:51
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I haven't thought this through very far, but is this a gain? If I vote you down today, I can only gain 199. If I remove that vote tomorrow I get it back by getting 201. Doesn't that just even out? –  Bill the Lizard Aug 20 '09 at 14:57
    
I thought you could gain up to 230 if you used all 30 downvotes. If that isn't true, then this isn't really a problem. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 14:58
    
@Kyle: But you're still taking rep away from yourself in order to "gain" it later. There's no net gain. If I gain 100 rep today then go downvote 30 answers, I've taken myself down to 70 for the day. If tomorrow I get to the rep cap, then go undo all those downvotes I reach 230 for the day, but it's still a net of 300 points for the two days combined. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 20 '09 at 16:13
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5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Even if it works reliably, this has gotta be one of the more difficult ways to game the system. And it's hardly subtle: i'll often down-vote a bad question, edit it to improve, and then reverse my vote, but to do that on 30 posts a day, with the proper timing...

I can't help but think, if rep means that much to you, go for it. If your edits aren't harmful or completely pointless, who cares? May your extra 30 points bring you happiness or whatever...

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Ha, I like that tone/attitude of your last paragraph. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:58
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Here's a hypothetical situation which I can't test myself (as I rarely ever hit my Rep cap) so someone else will have to confirm if this works:

  • Downvote something.
  • Hit the Rep cap.
  • Undo the downvote (putting you at 201).

Will you actually gain the extra point doing this? If so, this "exploit" doesn't really require removing an "old" downvote (which would require an edit first). You could probably just undo the most recent ones you made before hitting the Rep cap. Also, you would have to hit the Rep cap after doing your down-voting, otherwise you don't gain anything (as Bill mentioned in his comment on the question).

Ultimately, I'm not sure this is really a big worry. Anybody routinely hitting their Rep cap would probably be high-profile enough that others would notice them doing shady things like this and call them out.

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Do you know how long it takes for a vote to become permanent? –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:31
    
I don't think it is very long, maybe just a few hours (or less even). It's been discussed somewhere on meta before. –  gnostradamus Aug 20 '09 at 15:33
    
Pics or it didn't happen. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:36
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Here it is: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6250/… . No real answer about what the length of time is though. –  gnostradamus Aug 20 '09 at 15:37
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I think the point here is that if you have edit ability on other people's questions, presumably it could be dishonest to change your vote on that question based on your own edit rather than someone else's edit. It's a little strange, in any case. If you thought you could improve it to the point where a downvote wasn't necessary, why not just edit instead of placing a downvote in the first place?

The exploit nature makes sense, too. Downvotes matter most on questions which are near 0 in their vote tally. If you go and find your own downvotes on questions which have been downvoted to oblivion (say -5 or more), or upvoted highly, then removing your own downvote will have little effect. The question will still have a ton of downvotes or upvotes, but you can get your shiny rep point back.

All that said, I'm still not convinced that the problem is big enough to warrant a fix. It seems very edge-case to me.

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I agree with your last statement. I figured I'd post it just for the heck of it. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:42
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But if you downvoted something why would you want to undo it?

Just don't ever downvote and you have the same gain

(Or didn't I understand something?)

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What you can do, is downvote 30 things and gain 230 rep for the day (i think). Thus you hit the 200 rep gain for the day cap. Then, you can undo those downvotes and gain 30 more rep for the day. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 14:56
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The behavior that you can remove or change a vote on the edited post is intended, I don't think it's intended to be used in this manner.

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You are allowed to remove votes from edited posts with the assumption that the content may have changed and you may not wanna vote for it any more. However, if you edit the post, you just reset the edit date, and can remove any vote you like. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:00
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I liked your other answer better. –  jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 15:21
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