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My vote was only seconds old, minutes at the most.

Didn't it occur to SO coders that sometimes, on a second read, you realize that the answer is actually wrong (perhaps when you read the right one a few answers down)?

Come ON, at least make it a day!

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Totally agree on this one, and still don't understand why SO adopted this policy. It happens many times to give an upvote to an answer that after reading it again you change your mind, but unfortunately when you try to undo your up vote you get that damn box saying: "You last voted on this answer ... ago, your vote is now locked unless the answer is edited". What the hell, I changed my mind, and I want to UNDO my vote, I'm not tricking or modifying anything just UNDOING!!!! –  Marco Demaio Aug 18 '10 at 19:27

3 Answers 3

This is arguably a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I think the window is a little too short but I'm not too fussed about that I guess. I only have one real concern. Now I haven't tested this but I've seen it reported elsewhere. It seems that if you vote on something and then retract your vote the timer starts so you still have a narrow window to pick something and then it's locked.

If it works like that then I think that needs to be changed. I guess it could be argued that someone will sit there and click down (pause) retract down repeatedly to effectively game the system but... seriously?

Actually I thought of another problem and this one has happened to me: when you post or edit you have a 5 minute window to edit that and it counts as the original edit. I've had and given downvotes for a problem on something that's still being edited in that window but after the short window where edits can still happen after you then can't change the vote.

I'm just not convinced alleged vote gaming is worth these problems even if they aren't major.

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Timer does start from the very first vote action. Even a retraction keeps on the same ticker with no reset. –  random Oct 9 '09 at 2:27
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when you post or edit you have a 5 minute window to edit that and it counts as the original edit -- which, I assume, was meant to fix small typos, not for major edits? –  Arjan Oct 11 '09 at 11:17
    
This is no longer the case, you can now vote from the neutral state with no timer. –  Matthew Read Sep 3 '11 at 22:20

This has been discussed at great length. The problem this solves is that of fraudulent/gaming votes.

The basic concept behind voting now is: Be sure you want to vote, and how you want to vote, when you vote. It's a few seconds in case you accidentally click the button, not in case you re-read the answer and change your mind.

As tvanfosson mentions, there is a special case workaround for this: If you have enough rep, edit the post, then you can change your vote. There are potentially ethical issues around that, IMHO, but it's a viable option. (You could always make a trivial edit -- punctuation, capitalization, something small that poses no ethical issue.)

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Except that if you have enough rep you can edit the question, then undo your vote since you can change your vote once an edit has been done. –  tvanfosson Oct 8 '09 at 21:20
    
Good point; I've updated to reflect that. –  John Rudy Oct 8 '09 at 21:23
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... and provide a giant audit trail for everyone to see, removing the primary complaint about invisible vote undos. –  Jeff Atwood Oct 8 '09 at 21:23
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"The problem this solves is that of fraudulent/gaming votes" at the cost of having bringing the WRONG ANSWER to the top. This really seems like the #1 priority of SO, not whether or not someone games the system for almost useless points and badges. Really, isn't this all about the knowledge, not the points? –  Thomas Oct 9 '09 at 5:42
    
Have you had a chance to read all the links? The fraudulent voting patterns this solves also brought the wrong answer to the top. The correct course of action at this stage is to not vote until you are certain that you are voting the way you want to vote for the given answer. Again, don't vote until you've read and fully understand the answer, and feel your vote is valid. –  John Rudy Oct 9 '09 at 11:56
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I have, and I still say the implemented "fix" is horrible. –  Thomas Oct 10 '09 at 20:53
    
Well, I can't convince you otherwise, so all I can say is to each his own. –  John Rudy Oct 10 '09 at 21:17
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@Jeff Atwood -- why isn't there a "giant audit" trail simply for voting so we can get back to a better interface design and you can detect fraudulent voting patterns from the audit trail? People shouldn't have to jump through hoops to do normal things. –  tvanfosson Oct 11 '09 at 12:02
    
@JohnRudy: "The correct course of action at this stage is to not vote until you are certain that you are voting the way you want to vote for the given answer." So if we make a mistake, readers of the site should suffer for it? What if we don't make a mistake and the answer just becomes wrong on its own because the outside world changes? Locking in votes is a cure that's worse than the disease. –  endolith Jun 6 at 23:37

Based on all the "vote too old" feedback, I modified the text to make the timed vote locking a bit more clear:

You last voted on this question

Mar 28 at 7:55

Your vote is now locked in

unless this question is edited

Where "question" and "answer" are substitutions.

Also note that the window for undo was increased to 5 minutes a while back.

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People are still going to complain. The fact that currently they haven't voted up or down signifies to them that they have not voted. No matter what you put in the tool tip. –  Tyler Carter Apr 30 '10 at 2:36
    
I can see it now: "Tooltip incorrectly tells me I have voted on a Question/Answer" –  Tyler Carter Apr 30 '10 at 2:41
    
@cha complaining is the universal constant in the universe.. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 30 '10 at 6:16

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