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Why am I not allowed to change my vote after some period of time? There are times when I go back to things I voted on, and decide they didn't deserve that specific vote. (I get wiser as I grow older)

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2 Answers

Basically it's to stop people gaming the system.

One of the ways people did this was by down-voting rival answers and then removing that vote when their answer gains popularity. There are others.

See the following blog entries:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/12/vote-fraud-and-you/

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/more-voting-anomalies/

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Why would they bother removing the vote? To feel less evil? Maybe I don't understand the 'gaming' thing. –  Tshepang Nov 24 '10 at 22:40
    
By the way, none of those two blog posts address my question. –  Tshepang Nov 24 '10 at 22:48
    
@Tshepang - ah, I was sure they did. I'd have to go hunting here on meta for the evidence though you could check out the "Related" questions that mention "vote too old" –  ChrisF Nov 24 '10 at 23:11
    
There's an elliptical comment on Jeff's answer to this question –  ChrisF Nov 24 '10 at 23:14
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I know not what you mean by elliptical, but while scanning meta.SO, I did come across that question, and as you may have noticed, there wasn't really a proper justification. –  Tshepang Nov 24 '10 at 23:22
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@Tshepang: "Why would they bother removing the vote?" To overcome the maximum-votes-per-day limit? –  Piskvor Nov 24 '10 at 23:44
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@Tshepang: "Why would they bother removing the vote?" The vote was added simply to make their answer look better, if nothing else removing it refunds the -1 it cost. –  ChrisF Nov 24 '10 at 23:49
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@ChrisF: It doesn't do much to stop the problem, though. With votes locked in, people will just downvote other answers and leave it that way. If you earn 20 points and lose 5, you're still ahead. –  endolith Aug 1 '11 at 2:02
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The op's original premises are still valid however and some votes should be removable as we learn more. Since gaming is done in conjunction with writing an answer of your own, could that detection criteria be put in so that if I don't have an answer to the same question, I should not be affected –  xster Jun 15 '12 at 20:19
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@Tshepang IKR! Locking won't prevent the initial downvote, nor provide any other benefit. It will only agitate and annoy more users. It;s called freedom to change your mind... –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 14:51
    
@YatharthROCK: Unless the post you voted on is edited, what need is there to change your vote? –  Robert Harvey Apr 11 '13 at 16:00
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@RobertHarvey Well, lots of things. For example, after reading the other answers you may have decided the approach was bad or incomplete. Basically seeing it in a new perspective. I don't mind not getting my +1 rep back, I just want to take back my vote. –  YatharthROCK Apr 12 '13 at 6:29
    
@RobertHarvey: A 100% correct answer about software can become 100% incorrect when that software changes its API or deprecates a feature. No edits, no comments, no changes whatsoever to the question or the answer, but the answer becomes incorrect because the outside world changes. Obviously we should then be able to change our votes so that visitors are not mislead. "Tactical downvoting" should be handled by rep penalties, not by locking-in erroneous votes. –  endolith Jun 6 at 23:52
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The justification of Jeff to prevent the "tactical downvoting" is not good enough.

It could be prevented by different approach, as I suggested in http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/135243/163139

The time limit to undo up-vote could be completely removed.

When user tries to undo downvote, it should be allowed after time limit(currently 5 min), but do not refund reputation point.

These changes will allow users to freely undo their up and down-votes but still will prevent unhonest "gamers" to restore points by undoing down-votes.

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I would appreciate a comment from downvoter explaining what's wrong with my suggestion. –  Michael Freidgeim Jun 11 '12 at 12:04
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It's not a matter of getting back a −1 from a tactical down-vote; it's a matter of gaining reputation because the answer is the one with the higher score. Who uses tactical down-votes hopes to get more up-votes because her/his answer has the higher score. If then the user is also the first one to answer, there are possibly more chances for her/him to get more up-votes. –  kiamlaluno Sep 6 '12 at 0:50
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But locking votes doesn't prevent initial down-vote to have her/his answer with the higher score. You just confirmed that locking votes is useless to fight tactical down-votes. –  Michael Freidgeim Sep 6 '12 at 21:25
    
What you are proposing doesn't prevent the initial down-vote either; plus, your system would not return the reputation to the user who initially down-voted a post, and removes her/his down-vote when the post is edited to make it better. Locked votes are useful in at least a case: Try down-voting 10 different posts written by the same user, in 10 seconds. –  kiamlaluno Sep 6 '12 at 21:48
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I am not proposing to prevent the initial down-vote. I am proposing to remove locks.Locking is not required, if it is only tries to prevent such wild cases. Set up patterns of suspicious users behavior in logging system and report it to moderators will be more adequate measure. –  Michael Freidgeim Sep 7 '12 at 11:35
    
@Michael You're right. This make so much more sense than ChrisF's answer. This kind of hopeless voting makes me wonder about where SO is going... –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 14:49
    
See meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/146353 –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 15:00
    
@YatharthROCK, link 146353 doesn't work –  Michael Freidgeim Sep 8 '12 at 23:41
    
@MichaelFreidgeim I think you're already following the post: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/146353/… –  YatharthROCK Sep 10 '12 at 17:03
    
I thought SO would automatically redirect you as the number's unique (right?). Won't links become dead if the title changes? That's bad for search engines and for permalinking to a post... –  YatharthROCK Sep 10 '12 at 17:16
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@YatharthROCK wrong link, it should be meta.stackexchange.com/questions/146353. "posts" stub is used only when we want to see revisions or timeline. –  Shadow Wizard Mar 6 at 20:49
    
@kiamlaluno: "It's not a matter of getting back a −1 from a tactical down-vote; it's a matter of gaining reputation because the answer is the one with the higher score." Locking in votes doesn't prevent that. –  endolith Jun 6 at 23:47
    
@endolith It prevents I down-vote 20 answers given by other users just to have my answer listed as first. –  kiamlaluno Jun 7 at 1:27
    
@kiamlaluno: No it doesn't. Locking in votes does not in any way prevent you from downvoting all other answers to make yours get listed first. All it does is prevent you from undoing the damage afterward. It makes tactical downvoting more harmful, not less. –  endolith Jun 7 at 15:56
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