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I just had the case on SO that I answered a question very quickly and after my answer the OP made an update to the question so that it became more concrete.

I then received a downvote because my answer didn't fit the question anymore.

Wouldn't it make sense to lock downvoting after the question has changed? At least for some time, maybe with a notification, so that I have at least the chance to react on the update/edit?

Update

As @ChrisF mentioned, another way could be to warn the potential downvoter that the question was updated since the answer was given.

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How about a popup on voting if the question has been edited since the answer was posted/last edited? Though I'm not really sure it's a good idea. –  ChrisF Jan 30 '11 at 19:06
    
@ChrisF: You mean something like "Do you really want to downvote this answer? This question was edited since this answer was given!"? I think that would be a good idea. –  Martin Buberl Jan 30 '11 at 19:08
    
Something along those lines, but I do have my doubts (hence the comment rather than answer!). –  ChrisF Jan 30 '11 at 19:16
    
If the question is unclear or vague, I agree that it would be better to clarify first via comments. But what if the question gets edited because the answers are not going in the direction the OP thought about. –  Martin Buberl Jan 30 '11 at 19:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I don't like the idea. If your answer does not fit to the question, a downvote is the right thing to do. Delete your answer, ask for a recalc, you get your rep back, case closed.

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I see your point. The concept of a self-instigated reputation recalc was new to me. Thank you. –  Martin Buberl Jan 30 '11 at 21:43
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The problem is that once you edit your answer to fit the updated question, there's no way to let the downvoters know that your post has been edited. –  Gabe May 26 '11 at 15:54
    
@Gabe: Is that really a problem for you? Do not concentrate too much on rep. Nevertheless, if this bothers you, delete your answer, ask for recalc and post a new (edited) answer. –  Ladybug Killer May 26 '11 at 18:46

I don't think we want to add an impediment to voting in either direction, either up or down. I do think the idea of a popup notification that the question was very recently edited and the answer was posted before that edit would be helpful, but there needs to be a short shelf-life of this grace period (say, 5-10 minutes). After all, this should really only help give you a chance either to edit or delete your answer; after all, if it genuinely doesn't fit the question, a downvote's not unreasonable.

I think if we were to combine this alert with an additional item showing in the notification that a question you have answered was edited, we address the corner case that you're describing.

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