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Vote lockdown (after some time): is it possible to revoke or soften?

Suppose I got an answer, checked it briefly and voted it up. But after some time (not 5-10 minutes, maybe days/weeks) I find that something in that answer is really wrong. Now I can't downvote nor cancel upvote. What to do (apart from writing a comment)?

For example, answers can offer easy way to solve problems, but with opening of some security vulnerability (not obvious for the answerer or most people trying and upvoting the answer), so "good at first sight, but bad in the long run" answers can gain votes that can't be revoked.

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    One common example is I upvote answer A because I read it first and it seemed good. I later read answer C or D, find it to be better (despite being lower) and wish to revoke the upvote of the not-as-good but also not incorrect, answer A. I cannot. To those who say read all answers before voting on any (which is still valid advice) often answer C will be posted after answer A, possibly even after I've already upvoted answer A.
    – Servy
    May 31, 2012 at 17:45
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    Additional case: I downvote an answer because I think it's factually wrong and comment as to why. The answerer comments as to why it's actually correct. I realize the error of my ways, but cannot remove my downvote as it's locked in. The post was right all along, so it shouldn't be edited (to unlock the vote).
    – Servy
    May 31, 2012 at 17:58
  • @Servy: good opportunity to edit (or encourage the author to edit) the answer to clarify or explain the point of confusion. It's often not enough to merely be right - being able to explain why is valuable too. With this done, you'll be able to change your vote...
    – Shog9
    May 31, 2012 at 21:54
  • @Shog9 That's often applicable to the first case I mentioned. What about the second case where you downvote in error, rather than upvote in error? The answer itself isn't wrong, so it shouldn't need to be edited.
    – Servy
    Jun 1, 2012 at 13:21
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    We should be able to change votes at any time. Even if you are perfectly careful and only vote for things when you are 100% sure that they are actually correct, they can still become incorrect at a later date when an API changes, etc. There is no valid reason to lock votes, ever. If you're worried about people gaming the system, then use rep penalties to discourage the bad behavior. Don't set incorrect information in stone.
    – endolith
    Jun 6, 2014 at 23:24

4 Answers 4


Leave a comment stating which part of the answer "is really wrong". Ask the person who posted the answer to correct it; if (and only if) an edit is made to the post, you'll be able to change your vote. (Meaning if an edit is made and the information is still incorrect, you can retract your upvote.)

I know you asked what you can do apart from commenting, but commenting really is the best thing to do. It alerts the OP to the fact that something is wrong, gives him or her a chance to correct it, and alerts future visitors to the fact that the answer contains incorrect information.

If you're really looking for something else to do, you can edit the wrong information. Either remove it entirely or replace it with correct information. (I can't tell you which to do since you didn't link to a specific post.)


I've had situations like this in the past where I've kind of assumed it was right and upvoting it, yet upon further inspection I've realised it's not as right as I thought. At the time of realisation, voting is locked and the only option I had was to perform a minor edit on the post then retract my vote, I guess that's your only option though if the answer is fundamentally flawed.

Moral of the story: Just because it looks right, doesn't mean it is. Assumption is the mother of all mess ups. Before adding feedback MAKE SURE YOU TEST IT :)


After a vote is locked down, it will be released only when the post (question/answer)is edited. So if you find something wrong and realise later, why don't you edit it and rectify the mistakes, thus improving it?

A SIMILAR QUESTION HAS BEEN ASKED HERE: Vote lockdown (after some time): is it possible to revoke or soften?

  • The whole approach in the answer can be wrong, not just some details.
    – Vi.
    May 31, 2012 at 17:22
  • @Vi. If the whole approach in the answer is wrong, you shouldn't vote it up in the first place. If you think the whole approach is wrong, that's something that should be very obvious, shouldn't it?
    – Laura
    May 31, 2012 at 18:00
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    @Laura Sometimes you don't realize that it's wrong until someone else comes along with a simply fantastic answer explaining a really great new approach to the problem not addressed by any of the previous answers, and possibly even explaining previously un-discussed drawbacks with other answers.
    – Servy
    May 31, 2012 at 18:05
  • @Servy If someone comes along with a new, better answer...you upvote and (if you asked the question) accept. That's a different scenario from an answer being flat-out wrong. That's why you can vote on every individual post. You think something is good, you upvote it; upvoting is not saying "this is the BEST answer for all time."
    – Laura
    May 31, 2012 at 19:44

Don't worry about it the community will likely overcome your mistakes

People upvote flawed answers all the time. This time you're the one who did it and you know it, but you will see bad answers get upvotes and you will upvote the wrong answer from time to time and not even know it.

The great thing is that typically the community as a whole will be correct and over time upvote the best answer. In fact except for bike shed questions I find the most upvoted answers have a competing answer that is flawed.

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