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When I talk about Meta here, I mean any meta but this one.

I understand the Idea behind "Your vote is now locked in unless this answer is edited". However, I don't think this reason applies to meta sites and have some reasons why I think votes on meta sites shouldn't get locked:

Opinions change:
I thought a feature-request was just stupid and I downvoted it. Later on, after reading the answers, I saw the ideas behind it (which weren't included in the question), and wanted to upvote it - but I couldn't. Of course, the question was written badly, but ...

Votes on meta work in a different way,
as they indicate (dis)agreement instead of usefulness. So in my example, the question wasn't really useful as-is, but I did agree, after hearing the ideas behind it.

You don't get reputation on Meta,
so there is no reason to tactically downvote1.

So,

What would you say of disabling the lock-vote feature on meta sites?

And no,
There is no problem with users who go bumping posts by up- and downvoting all the time (as suggested in the comments), since votes don't bump - thanks Hugo and cpast.

Some very clear examples of when you want this

  • Moderator pro tempore elections - what if a nominated user does something stupid and you want to remove your upvote? Nope, too late.

  • Feature-requests can get more useful after a new feature implemented (e.g. when there's a request for changing the footer that you downvoted, and then the team changes the footer in such a way that you want to upvote it instead)


1: as Shog9♦ points out, there still is a reason to tactically downvote: when you've answered a question yourself as well, then downvote the other answers to get your question shown higher. I don't think this is a real problem with this feature-request, but a problem we have now too and will probably always have.

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"You don't get reputation on Meta" ... well, not on any Meta other than this one. –  Bart Mar 13 '13 at 15:56
    
Eh, yeah, forgot this was meta too - thanks, I edited my question! –  Camil Staps Mar 13 '13 at 15:57
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Interesting idea. –  Andrew Barber Mar 13 '13 at 16:15
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That's a very good idea in my opinion. All your points are valid. –  Second Rikudo Mar 13 '13 at 16:51
    
@HugoDozois Does voting affect the 'active' rating? Didn't know that. Hmm, thinking.. this should be resolvable - good point, anyway! –  Camil Staps Mar 13 '13 at 18:12
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@Hugo Votes do not bump the post. –  cpast Mar 13 '13 at 18:24
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@cpast that seems to be true after research. Camil you can now add that into your arguments! –  Hugo Dozois Mar 13 '13 at 18:26
    
@HugoDozois Done, thanks for the link! –  Camil Staps Mar 13 '13 at 18:44
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I agree, especially for older questions that were never resolved -- you come back to them with fresh eyes, your opinion has become more clear, and unless you make a gratuitious edit, you're stuck with what you thought a year ago. Meta should be allowed to be more flexible. –  Monica Cellio Mar 13 '13 at 19:05
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Wonderful suggestion, Camil, hope it gets the status-completed tag ;) –  brasofilo Mar 13 '13 at 22:11
    
(You should edit/bump this post so it get more visibility! It's a good suggestion!) And I have been having this problem lately on some meta...! –  Hugo Dozois Apr 9 '13 at 15:06
    
@HugoDozois I've done that some times already, but okay :) –  Camil Staps Apr 9 '13 at 15:07
    
@CamilStaps You should not be making trivial minor edits to bump a post. Only edit if you have something substantial to do that will truly improve it. If you want to give attention to a post you can put a bounty on it if you can't find any way of editing it to really make it better. –  Servy Apr 9 '13 at 15:16
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Can I change my vote? My opinion has changed. Thanks! –  Emrakul Apr 16 '13 at 7:46
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Votes should not be locked on any sites meta.stackexchange.com/a/135393/163139 –  Michael Freidgeim Apr 20 '13 at 0:07

3 Answers 3

This should be implemented. Sometimes your opinion changes on a question after seeing the comments/answers or just after going away (outside? is that real? Wow the new cry engine is sooo realistic!) and re-thinking about it.

We should not be obliged to wait for an edit to be able to change our voice. Meta is about making the things going on and part of this is being able to express ourselves properly without having to hack an edit to make a vote change.

It happened to me today, where I found a question, that I had downvoted some time ago. After seeing some new answers and comments (which gave more precision) or after realizing that that feature was needed while doing stuff on the network, it made me realize that this could (and should) be implemented, and that it would be a great idea. But the meta did not see the situation in the same way!

Votes are locked after the first 5 minutes.

Sadly, I guess, I am obliged to stay against that idea then... Unless, someone edits that post AND that I stumble on the post again (AND realize it has been edited) AND change my vote.

That's a whole lot of things that have to happen in order for me to be able to change my vote!

I'm not saying that votes on meta should be ephemeral or always changing, but you should be able to change your opinion if someone brings up new facts and ideas in answers or comments, without someone editing the question.

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It's just so sad you cannot give yourself the bounty... ;) –  Camil Staps Apr 15 '13 at 20:23
    
@CamilStaps Haha I know!Though, I do consider giving it to djechlin because he is the only one who took a stand and answered, even though he knew he would get downvoted. And he does bring some nice arguments –  Hugo Dozois Apr 15 '13 at 20:27
    
It's your choice - it's a sportsmanlike decision, I just hope it wouldn't get interpreted as "I agree with this". But as you added an answer yourself, it probably won't. –  Camil Staps Apr 15 '13 at 20:29
    
I considered expanding my comments into an answer, but you got there first and covered the same territory. –  Monica Cellio Apr 15 '13 at 21:16
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It's should be implemented on all sites meta.stackexchange.com/a/135393/163139 –  Michael Freidgeim Apr 20 '13 at 0:08
    
These arguments apply to all the other sites, too. –  endolith Jun 7 at 0:00

You don't get reputation on Meta, so there is no reason to tactically downvote.

I don't feel strongly one way or the other about this suggestion, but I do want to dispute this particular assertion...

Folks might vote tactically on Meta for the same reason they'd speak tactfully with their local politicians: you want to influence how the place is run. Particularly on smaller metas, where a half-dozen voters might be all you can expect, getting your answer ranked a little better can make your ideas seem that much more popular...

The advantages would tend to be fairly limited - but then, I've never found tactical voting on questions that aren't watercooler nonsense particularly useful either. If the compiler sez you're wrong, down-voting competing answers doesn't help you much.

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You'll always keep people downvoting other answers, and that's possible on meta now too. So my statement that there is no reason to tactically downvote is invalid, but the point that there is no reason to tactically downvote for the rep is still valid, I believe. –  Camil Staps Apr 16 '13 at 5:31
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I was never clear on whether folks were supposedly retracting down-votes to regain the rep or just to hide their tracks. The vote-locking implementation would suggest the latter. –  Shog9 Apr 16 '13 at 5:32
    
Ah, I see. Yes, that might be a problem - but wouldn't the downvoting be saved in the database/logs somewhere and visible for 10k/mods? –  Camil Staps Apr 16 '13 at 5:34
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Votes are soft-deleted, so a developer could see them if necessary... But they're not exactly obvious to your average reader, who would presumably be the target for such shenanigans. Pulling a dev in to investigate every suspected instance of such gaming isn't really feasible. –  Shog9 Apr 16 '13 at 5:35
    
Hmm. But isn't that a problem now as well? Anyone can go downvoting and remove the votes when other answers have been edited. At least on main sites I've seen that happening. (Perhaps we should just make it impossible to downvote answers when you've answered the same question, but I'm not sure about that, random idea) –  Camil Staps Apr 16 '13 at 5:38
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Any progress on this feature-request? –  Camil Staps May 3 '13 at 18:19
    
Locking-in votes doesn't prevent you from downvoting competing answers. –  endolith Aug 17 at 0:20
    
Strictly-speaking, the "tactical downvoting" this restriction was implemented to prevent involves downvoting all other answers until your own garners enough votes to sit at the top anyway, then retracting your votes, @endolith. –  Shog9 Aug 18 at 20:40
    
@shog9 "Tactical downvoting" is when you downvote other answers to make yours rise to the top. Locking in votes does nothing to prevent or discourage this. All it does is make things worse by preventing the downvoter from undoing the damage later. Making the rep penalty for downvoting permanent would have the same effect, without locking-in incorrect information. –  endolith Aug 24 at 0:15

We should encourage users to think through their opinions carefully before voting.

  • If a user receives more information that changes her opinion, then she should edit the answer to include new information, or post the new information as a new answer.
  • If her opinion changes because another answer is better, then more often that one is deserving of an upvote, and while she may "agree" with the original answer - well, this is only partly about whether you agree, it's about whether the answer was good enough to make you agree.
  • If her opinion changes for no reason whatsoever, then what's to stop it for changing for no reason whatsoever again? She should gain more information before locking in a vote, and get in the habit of not voting when it's still highly likely for this to happen.

Anyway, the bottom line point I am making is that it is good to think of a quality answer as one that brings people to agree with it, and bad to measure just by whether you agree with the basic opinion. Of course viewpoints become entrenched and periodically we take votes. But the quality of posts on all meta's is drastically increased by the idea that quality answers bring people to agree with them and build consensus, and this should be espoused.

Ultimately, we went with the SE approach to host meta.SO as well because at the end of the day, our discussions are more productive when they are not driven by flippant opinions, but driven by well-formulated, high-quality, persuasive answers and arguments. And this forum teaches its users that opinions may be formulated soundly and from reason and facts, that really shouldn't change unless the reasons or facts do. This makes meta awesome and we should continue encouraging it.

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...and here you have your own counterargument. "...driven by well-formulated, high-quality, persuasive answers and arguments." If you come to a question early, and actually, honestly think, and vote on the question accordingly, and then someone comes along later and posts a particularly persuasive answer, should that answer not be permitted to persuade you, even without an edit to the question? –  Ben Barden Apr 9 '13 at 18:16
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@BenBarden Exactly what I was going to write. If you get persuaded by comments OR another answer you should be able to change your vote on the question. –  Hugo Dozois Apr 9 '13 at 18:17
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"well, this isn't about whether you agree, it's first and foremost about whether it was a quality answer." Voting means something different on a child Meta. –  Camil Staps Apr 9 '13 at 18:18
    
@BenBarden not sure if I'm following. There can be two good answers, one better? –  AAA Apr 9 '13 at 18:41
    
@CamilStaps really? That sounds awful, and like answers really need to have better quality. –  AAA Apr 9 '13 at 18:43
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Yeah - didn't you read the entire question? "Votes on meta work in a different way, as they indicate (dis)agreement instead of usefulness." –  Camil Staps Apr 9 '13 at 18:43
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@CamilStaps but everything I wrote applies. Don't disagree until you've thought about the question enough to be reasonably certain the answer did not persuade you. I don't want people voting and not caring because they can change it when or if they get around to thinking about it more. –  AAA Apr 9 '13 at 18:45
    
Neh, your thought I quoted in my first comment is still as wrong as before. –  Camil Staps Apr 9 '13 at 18:46
    
@CamilStaps edited to make it sound less dichotomous. Quality is prerequisite to agreeing here. –  AAA Apr 9 '13 at 18:50
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I still disagree. My meta-votes purely indicate agreement, not quality. –  Camil Staps Apr 9 '13 at 18:53
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@djechlin That's true, but not what I was saying. What I was saying is that you can have your opinion on whether or not you agree with the question changed by sufficiently compelling arguments in answers or comments, and that this is a good thing. You should be permitted to change your vote on the question if this occurs. –  Ben Barden Apr 9 '13 at 18:54
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@djechlin, particularly for betas, a lot can change in a year. Things that seemed like a good idea in the first month or two turn out to be terrible ideas, or vice-versa. Short of editing everything (feels abusive) or re-asking old questions, there's no way to recover. I don't want to see people editing posts just to change their votes. Also, doing so removes the anonymity of the vote, for anyone who's paying attention. –  Monica Cellio Apr 9 '13 at 18:59
    
@HugoDozois aww that's sweet. But you make it sound like I don't actually agree with my highly-downvoted opinion... –  AAA Apr 16 '13 at 20:58
    
Awarded the bounty because you are the only who stand up with their opinion against the idea and had the bravery to say it out loud! –  Hugo Dozois Apr 16 '13 at 21:00
    
Perhaps it meta votes could be unlocked if an edit/comment/new answer was received, rather than just an edit, since this would try and encourage them to share any startling new revalation that had changed their mind and allow them to take into account someone elses answer –  figlesquidge Jan 27 at 20:22

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