What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

To me, a downvote usually indicates a problem with an answer. When I downvote it's to mark the answer as having a problem, not the person. If the answer is fixed, I want to remove that downvote - but it's tricky to keep track of all the questions I've looked at over the last few hours.

I don't actually downvote very much, but it's very easy to forget what's going on.

It would be nice to have some way of indicating in an edit that you (the editor/answerer) believe the reason for the downvote has now been resolved, so that the downvoters could come and undo their downvotes or explain why it's still not fixed.

(Note: this isn't about rep-recovery, but quality control. I would feel a lot better about downvoting on "iffy" answers if I felt it was likely that the answer would be fixed and I could undo the vote. Whether or not I'd get back the cost of the downvote is somewhat immaterial.)

share|improve this question
This would only work if you gave a hint as to what was wrong with the answer that warranted a down-vote ;) –  ChrisF Jul 2 '09 at 10:42
Well yes - which means it's another encouragement to do exactly that :) –  Jon Skeet Jul 2 '09 at 10:48
And what about the time limit on changing your vote - would that then have to be changed? –  a_m0d Jul 2 '09 at 12:13
@a_m0d: Yes, I think so. –  Jon Skeet Jul 2 '09 at 13:41
I wonder how this would affect serial down voting. It could discourage some who don't want to be notified for bogus downvotes, but it may provide a payoff for others who would enjoy seeing their victims reaction. –  Sam Hasler Jul 4 '09 at 16:00
Note: this is basically resolved now, given the new comment notification features: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28042/… –  Ether Jan 21 '10 at 19:39
@Æther While that change helps, I am not sure I agree it is resolved. perhaps Mr. Skeet could advise? –  Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '10 at 8:28
@Jeff: It only helps if you left a comment and the answerer then replies back to you. Automatic notification of anything you've downvoted would give more blanket coverage. –  Jon Skeet Jan 22 '10 at 10:26
Is this still an issue? While I'd like to be able to find which posts I've cast each vote on (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44764/…) and I love getting notified of anything, I also think you can accomplish that by using comments rather than downvoting, and save the nasty votes for questions that are actually bad based only on that. So I don't see any reason for "notification of votes". –  Cawas Mar 31 '10 at 23:56
@Jeff: Also, this would help from the other side: when I was the one who wrote the answer, and the downvoter did not comment at all. Being able to send some comment (like @downvoter, as I see sometimes) which the downvoter would then see, would be nice. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jun 27 '11 at 16:18
Seeing you now can see a list of your downvotes in your user profile it takes us some of the way there. –  waffles Apr 30 '12 at 0:45
status-review? Please? –  Doorknob Feb 28 '13 at 0:21
I think this would pretty much fix 99% of complaints. It’s a better incentive to fix questions. –  minitech Jun 19 '13 at 22:46
Can the mods please change this to status-review? It's pretty evident that the community has a shared mindset on this. –  pauska Apr 3 '14 at 18:25
@rubo77: No, because the OP may not have added a comment. (And I may not have added a comment when downvoting.) –  Jon Skeet May 4 '14 at 13:07

17 Answers 17

I totally agree with Ólafur Waage's idea:

Or you could have a passive listing in your recent history area where you can see a recent list of edited questions of things you have "upvoted", "downvoted", "commented"

I'd only extend it to add in that listing all new comments on questions where you've commented. Now is a bit of a pain to have comment threads in an answer, having to review recent list and go check if there's anything new on it.

share|improve this answer
+1, though Allow me to get notifications on specific down-voted questions would be more specific –  Tobias Kienzler Mar 14 '13 at 9:25
The problem with this resolution is that edits do not always mean the problems stated or implied have been fixed - on the author side this means an inability to communicate you've made a significant improvement and on the reader side the recent edits are more noise than a list of "Author Fixed" or some more relevant list. –  Chris Moschini Mar 27 '13 at 9:54
-1 This is not sufficient. This is not a notification. –  Tomas Jun 26 '13 at 20:48
I like this; you can choose to review this at any time instead of feeling the need to click on that nagging red icon :) –  Jack Aug 30 '13 at 5:44
I would be happy enough with this solution; I would not want an intrusive inbox notification every time someone edits a post I've downvoted. Particularly now that such notifications buzz my phone - I would end up wanting to create sockpuppets just to down-vote the posts again... –  Shog9 Feb 6 '14 at 15:58

I'd notify the downvoter any time a downvoted question is updated or commented, without any option from downvoter to turn it off, except lifting their downvote or the answer being deleted.

Downvoting, in my opinion, should imply more responsibility than just losing a point of rep and forgetting.

Usually, if an answer is irrecoverably bad, it keeps being downvoted until the answerer gets the message and deletes his answer, which is not a problem.

But if there is heavy activity or heavy discussion on the answer, there certainly is something about it, which should force a downvoter to keep an eye on the question.

share|improve this answer
+1 Actually, when you think about it, the same should hold for any vote. –  Steven Jeuris Jun 30 '11 at 13:55
@StevenJeuris: sorry for resurrecting an old thread! But actually, good answers turn bad much much more rarely than vice versa. So making users to track upvotes complicates their lifes over the usefullness (unlike tracking downvotes). –  Quassnoi May 18 '12 at 11:42
I'm the one who resurrected an old thread. ;p Agreed, tracking all votes would require too much work. –  Steven Jeuris May 18 '12 at 11:58
@StevenJeuris: for any vote it would create way too much noise. Normally posts get better not worse, I'd consider it very rare to see edit worth undoing upvote. –  Balog Pal Jun 9 '13 at 14:17

Similar in principle, though lighter-weight, than dasblinkenlight's suggestion would be to have the downvotes section on one's own profile have a simple indicator when a post has been edited since the vote action.

Then those people who care about responding to edits by withdrawing their downvotes have an easy place to check; and people who don't care don't get any new UI to distract them.

Mockup (sorry, the stars aren't freehand...) of what my page ( http://meta.stackexchange.com/users/151211/aakashm?tab=votes&sort=downvote, but only I can see that) might look like:

downvotes area with stars next to some post titles

share|improve this answer
I want to point out that this option would be incredibly easy to implement. Votes already have a status of whether they are locked or unlocked. Basically, just indicate next to the vote which state it's in (locked or unlocked). Votes can only be unlocked if the post has been edited, so a user can logically conclude that an unlocked vote means the post has been edited since they cast their downvote. You can even apply this to the upvotes tab too, for those who are interested. –  animuson Jan 26 at 17:22
A take-off of this idea - meta.stackexchange.com/a/247609/248652 –  YeZ Jan 26 at 18:28

I like the idea but wondering on the implementation.

You could have one of two things. (just brainstorming here)

  • An editor changes the question / answer and checks a field called something like "Notable improvement"
  • This sends a notification (either via the top bar or the envelope) to all downvoters (and possibly even all the commenters and other editors)

Or you could have a passive listing in your recent history area where you can see a recent list of edited questions of things you have "upvoted", "downvoted", "commented"

(upvoted also since you could change your mind if the essence of the question could change over time and you no longer agree with the current state of it)

share|improve this answer
Alternately, you could have a checkbox on the question object itself (answer or question) that says "Notify me if this is edited" Then toss it into the 'recent events' feed. –  devinb Jul 2 '09 at 12:01

It kind of seems that the people have spoken here:

enter image description here

330 up vs. 15 down at the moment, not to mention the 4 bounties. It looks like this is a pretty popular idea, and has been for some time now.

I know this isn't a democracy, but if user input is really valued give it a shot.

share|improve this answer
Make that 5 bounties. I'll remove my downvote when I get a notification this has been edited ;) –  Cole Johnson Sep 28 '13 at 18:54

With the User Profile having so much in it now, it would be a simple matter to add an edited-downvote section to the Votes tab, like so:

Edited Downvote button

If we were to have a general notification of edits after downvotes, I'd put a time limit on it, like three days. I don't want my whole history notifying me of any edit like that.

share|improve this answer

I've long suggested this kind of thing in a more generic sense. Basically my idea (now a stagnant UV ticket) is that your recent activity view should include:

  • Answers to your questions
  • Comments on your answers or questions;
  • Edits to content you've downvoted; and
  • Any activity in a question you've favourited.

Of which this is one example. Basically the current mechanism is a little too crude for a good workflow. The point of a downvote should be to improve an answer but the UI doesn't help you at all in this regard. You have to somehow keep track of downvotes (yes I know theres a votes view) given and manually check them for modification. It should be easier than that.

share|improve this answer
I'm not sure I like the idea of using favoriting for the purpose of receiving notifications on everything. I just posted a feature request that is similar to this idea though. See my answer. –  Tom Jul 2 '09 at 13:35

I would enjoy this. I too apply temporary down-votes until solutions are cleaned up/corrected. This would be a great feature.

share|improve this answer
I used to do this until the undo-vote window became so tight that it's virtually impossible to get back to the post in time to undo. –  Ether Oct 2 '09 at 6:42
@Ether: You are always able to undo a vote if the post was changed in between. –  oberlies Jun 28 '13 at 13:36

I would go further, and create a queue of everything that I have downvoted that has since been edited. The queue would look and behave similar to the queue of reviews, but it would be private.

The queue should let me walk through questions and answers that I downvoted, display the cumulative edits applied since the moment of my downvote, and give me three buttons - Keep the downvote, Remove the downvote, and Vote up.

share|improve this answer
That would be a pretty significant development effort for something that's likely to only be used by a small percentage of users. –  Servy Nov 30 '12 at 21:36
@Servy Well, downvoting in general is a rare activity: I randomly sampled users who are around 1% top voters overall; the number of downvotes ranges from roughly one per day to one in 20 days. I predict, however, that downvoting would become more widespread once the feature is implemented, because the workflow would become a lot smoother. –  dasblinkenlight Nov 30 '12 at 21:48
You need to consider not only the amount of downvotes among active users, but the number of users who would actually bother to go through such a queue to evaluate items. I imagine most wouldn't; either because they didn't know of it, or because it was too much bother. Some would, and it would be nice, but many wouldn't. My criticism here is merely that the opportunity cost of implementing this is high; I would personally use it quite a bit if it actually came out. I know I'm not a typical user though. –  Servy Nov 30 '12 at 21:50
@Servy - Perhaps the implementation of this answer is a bit "extreme", but I like it. It would be automatic, so no involvement (checkboxes...) by anyone to make it work. Plus it's only shown if you visit that tab in your profile. For me, right now, I never downvote anything. This is because I feel that if I downvote a question or answer, I have a responsibility to remove my downvote if the question/answer is ever improved. Since I currently can't track those edits (short of frequently visiting all Q/A's I have ever downvoted), then I can't, justify downvoting. If I could track it, I'd downvote –  Kevin Fegan Jun 13 '13 at 5:11
@KevinFegan See I consider it a responsibility to downvote answers that are harmful because the negative effects of a reader reading an incorrect answer, or worse still an answer with subtle problems that still appears to work at first glance, is very significant, and as such it's very important that readers have an indication that there's a problem with an answer. Having a bad answer not downvoted is far worse in my mind than having an answer that was bad, but is now fixed, that has downvotes from when it was still bad. This also incentivizes users to post answer correct from the start. –  Servy Jun 13 '13 at 5:40
A feature like this might encourage downvoting, not saying that's a bad thing –  user241462 Oct 12 '13 at 10:59
@axrwkr Downvoting is a good thing only when it encourages posters fix their errors. I do not downvote over smaller issues as much as I could have been because there's no notification for me to go over corrections. –  dasblinkenlight Oct 12 '13 at 11:10
I think that this answer should be changed to a feature request question –  user241462 Oct 12 '13 at 11:15

I like this idea too as it should help improve the site. If posters see a reclamation of rep after fixing a post then it makes them a) more likely to do it in the future and b) more aware of what a good post looks like.

share|improve this answer

I think AakashM's suggestion makes sense, and apparently would be easy to implement - I would only add one aspect.

Part of the reason I see this as an important feature request is because downvoting is an important service and responsibility that users have, and we would want to make it as easy as possible to use effectively. Burdening users with one more responsibility resulting from their responsible downvoting is one more impediment to being willing to exercise this responsibility.

Notifiying users every time a post was edited would perhaps be overwhelming. But, with the indication sitting in their "votes" tabs, never notifying them would impose upon them the task of occasionally sorting through every downvote they ever cast to see if it was edited.

Perhaps a friendly middle ground could be to implement as suggested in animuson's comment (displaying the already extant locked/unlocked status of votes), but to add an intermittent notification to the inbox that just says

You have recently unlocked votes

and clicking on the notification would take you to your votes page. The notification could be sent at UTC midnight each day where it was relevant. This would give users active notification without cluttering their inbox.

The system already differentiates between upvotes and downvotes, so this could be implemented in such a way to apply only to downvotes. And in order to not need to sift through the entire list, the recent changes could be highlighted in the same way that the reputation page of the profile highlights those items which are new since the last time you visited that page.

People who aren't interested in following up on their downvotes could follow a very simple method - click the red inbox, and then click anywhere else on the page, and *poof* the notifications will go away! Magic! This won't force anyone to follow up on their downvotes - it will just give them notice that there is what to follow up on, and they can feel free to ignore it, just like anything else that shows up in their inbox.

(A shortcoming of this approach - it would only notify the first time that a post was edited, at which point the vote becomes unlocked. If the post was edited again, it wouldn't register because the vote status wasn't changed. If anyone has a workaround to this, please leave a note.)

share|improve this answer
I have thousands of downvotes across SE. Granted, a number of them are on now-deleted posts, but still, I don't want a notification every time one of the non-deleted ones is edited. That would be overwhelming. I expect I'd be getting a notification every day, many of them redundant with a reply to a comment. No way. Besides, wouldn't your reasoning apply to upvotes too? I have over 80k of those, I'd be doing nothing but filtering that. –  Gilles Jan 26 at 19:29
@Gilles One notification every 24 hours would be overwhelming? Geez, you must have sensitive nerves. How do you deal with responses to your thousands of posts across SE? –  YeZ Jan 26 at 19:33
@Gilles It's one notification per day, no matter how many posts were edited that day. Just a note that tells you at least one vote has gone from locked to unlocked. So your 80k upvotes would not possibly result in more than one notification per day, if it were implemented in such a way as to notify for upvotes (which I don't see why it would have to be, anyways). –  YeZ Jan 26 at 19:35
One notification per site where a post that I voted on or downvoted was edited. And if I care about these notifications, I have to review every post, so grouping the notifications by site and day isn't really helpful. –  Gilles Jan 26 at 19:37
@Gilles You don't have to review every post. As suggested, you would have an indication of which ones switched to become unlocked. You could just review that post. It could even be highlighted to show which ones changed since you last visited the page, as it is in the reputation profile page. As opposed to the current model, in which if you wanted to be responsible, you have to review every post you ever voted on ever ever, at some reasonable interval, to be a responsible voter. –  YeZ Jan 26 at 19:39
There is nothing irresponsible in not reviewing posts that have been edited since you voted on them. The responsibility in the content of a post is on the author. If you want to let the author of the post notify you if they edit their post, leave a comment. –  Gilles Jan 26 at 19:43
@Gilles except that you are penalizing someone for a once-upon-a-time poor quality post. Essentially you are saying "If I am too lazy to leave constructive feedback for my downvotes, we should compound that laziness by leaving no way for me to know to reverse it when it's no longer applicable." I'm not sure what is responsible about leaving a series of downvotes which, if they served their purpose, are now residual penalties for not getting it right the first time. –  YeZ Jan 26 at 19:46

I think this is a great idea, but it would eventually get out of control. I currently have given over 150 downvotes, and received a few (not too many of course =P) As the system gets larger and larger, they're going to be sending out more and more edit updates.

But, I think this idea could work if you added a checkbox somewhere on the post itself (question or answer) that allowed you to say "Send me updates when this is edited".

That way, you could downvote it (comment why you did so) and check the box. When the OP edits the answer, you could go back and upvote them (if their change was satisfactory). But, if you become overrun with 'edited' updates, then you can simply uncheck the box.

This is similar to this question

What level of notification should we have regarding questions we have posted comments on?

and my answer was almost identical.

But a little caveat on both. There could also be something in your preferences that says "Notify me if any downvoted answers are edited" and then it would 'autocheck' that box when you downvote something.

share|improve this answer

Perhaps this could be incorporated together with getting notifications for new comments on posts (either questions or answers) that you've marked as as "interesting".

So, when you want to track a post (perhaps because you downvoted it, commented on it, or for any other reason):

  1. You would request to get notifications about updates (tick a box or something)
  2. When the post is edited, or a follow-up comment on it is posted, you'll be notified (via the envelope & Recent Activity page)

A bit like what devinb commented here, but using the same UI for keeping up with any activity (both edits and comments) on a post.

Granted, this would not be as fine-grained as some might want (e.g. you'd be notified also about new comments even if you were only interested in an edit that fixes the problem in an answer). But on the bright side, this would largely solve both this FR and the comment-tracking one, without cluttering the UI with too many options.

share|improve this answer

I believe that the change to the vote change time limit would make this unworkable. Unless the fix is done immediately, you won't be able to change your vote. Since the vote time limit change was shortened to prevent gaming, it's unlikely to be changed. If it were extended, the changes to random sort ordering would have to be rolled back as well as that is one of the main complaints against it -- the ability to down vote to increase your relative visibility and then come back later to recover your rep points after your answer has been upvoted.

share|improve this answer

I just posted a question that would, in my opinion, address this issue. It seems to incorporate some ideas here, and it's something I have wanted for a long time. Check it out here.

share|improve this answer
That idea relies on you, the down-voter, marking the answer as interesting. This idea pushes the notification at the down-voter. Even the solution of using the RSS feed won't work as again the down-voter has to subscribe. –  ChrisF Jul 2 '09 at 14:01

At the risk of igniting a flame war (and/or down votes without discussion about how to take an idea and make it better to solve the problem) about removing anonymous, uncommented down votes....

Make downvotes a separate item, either as a section or in-line with comments (which would preserve time-order). Make them attributable to the down-voter and require a comment of a given length.

Then provide people the ability to concur the downvote. The downvote and the concurrences would count as the existing downvote count. This might still allow anonymous downvoting via concurrences, but the problem is identified, can be responded to, and can later be marked as fixed, eliminating the down-vote cast.

Likely, marking a downvote fixed would require a certain reputation. This would also allow one person to sweepingly remove someone else's downvote and all concurrences.

This has many upsides. Perhaps some newbie garners several downvotes with concurrences causing a substantial downvote count. Before they even check this, reviewers fix some of the original downvotes. They return to find the corrections in place and only the now appropriate remaining down votes. They fix them. Someone acknowledges this and marks the downvotes fixed. Now the voting is where it is now appropriate to the current state.

If a down vote states a reason such as, "Poster did not research subject," when someone notes that research has been done, why shouldn't they be able to reflect that? The objective is good questions and good answers. This allows a policy where people can edit other people's posts. If my post isn't exclusively locked to me, why should a criticism (which should be appropriate) that has been appropriately addressed?

Right now, if you have the reputation you can downvote anything you don't like without comment or attribution. This is considered by many to be a virtue. It is not at all. There is no debate. There is no discussion. There is no appeal. There is no ability to fix. And the reason need not be supported by the rules. If you don't like it, that is good enough to downvote -- no one will know.

The poster's question is about asking someone to revisit their downvote. If they don't want to, no amount of tweaking this system to "help" will change that. So I propose that the community should be able to address it. The first response is, "They can, by upvoting." But that is false. Up votes are for "good" not "problem fixed." These are not at all the same thing. You should not vote "good" for "fixed."

As to the same issue with upvoting... I have no problem at all requiring attribution and comments to upvotes. People won't like that it takes longer. Sure a popup with pick your reason including "I want to know the answer" or "Very well prepared" or a field to free type would be fine by me.

But, this eliminates the free fire-and-forget anonymous, uncommented downvote...

share|improve this answer
1) How do you verify the reasons? B) Allowing one user to nullify others' votes is quite a privilege, and one that would itself have to be watched carefully. D) Why does this only apply to downvotes? Upvotes for bad reasons are harmful to the site -- they make poor content appear to have been vetted and approved. –  Josh Caswell Jun 19 '13 at 21:15
Comment addressed in answer. –  Jonathan Seng Jun 19 '13 at 21:51

While this is a good idea, I think @name comment notifications gets us close enough to this.

In other words, if someone leaves a comment about why your post is wrong, you can now reply to them and they'll be notified.


I think it's a bit of a lost cause to expect or anticipate downvoters who didn't leave a comment, to come back and change their vote.

share|improve this answer
I don't comment on most downvotes but I would revoke them if the post is corrected. –  HAL 9000 Jun 5 '10 at 12:08
but since most downvotes dont come with a comment, perhaps the answerer could do an @downvoters to notify the people who downvoted (this would also help keep downvoters anonymous) –  Neil N Jul 26 '10 at 17:02
Sadly this becomes a pain in the ass and doesn't quite work: If there is already a comment explaining a downvote, I don't won't make an own comment, but I will just upvote that comment. The answerer/questioner won't find out about me then - how could he message me? And also, only the first "@name" gets processed - what if there are multiple downvote comments (possibly addressing different things)? The poster would need to write multiple comments with one "@name" in each, or edit his comment to contain a different "@name" each time - i think this is a PITA. –  Johannes Schaub - litb Dec 28 '10 at 17:52
I would like to propose to reserve the name "downvoters" (hey, I just see @Neil had this idea already. duhh :)). This name would refer to all the users that downvoted the answer. A user that fixed problems could say "@downvoters, I fixed this and that. Please review". –  Johannes Schaub - litb Dec 28 '10 at 17:54
@johannes would lead to much bellyaching and infighting in my opinion. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 29 '10 at 1:56
If someone downvotes for a reason someone else already commented about, they almost surely won't comment again. Also, the time limit can easily be fixed by resetting the time limit for edited questions/answers. –  Steve Dec 2 '11 at 19:24
This is the official response, yet it has a very negative score. The question has a high score, as do many of the other answers that suggest implementation ideas. At what point is the question open for debate again? I appreciate this is not a democracy, but this is clearly something the users want! –  Duncan Feb 19 '13 at 15:43
status-review? Please? –  Doorknob Feb 28 '13 at 0:21
I agree; requesting a re-review of this. –  JoshDM Jun 20 '13 at 19:16
The standing policy of pretty much every SO veteran I know is not to comment anymore when downvoting because it only leads to trouble. At the moment, if you have a downvoted contribution on SO, there's absolutely no point bothering to try to fix it - often enough, not enough people will care to offset the downvotes (or assume they are there due to something they haven't spotted). Is that really the message we want to send users? –  Pëkka Apr 15 '14 at 0:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .