I recently tried to un-upvote a comment, and received a message that if I did so, I would not be able to upvote it again:

Are you sure you want to undo your upvote on this comment? You will not be able to upvote it again.

Unlike this question, I completely understand what the message is saying. However, why am I not allowed to upvote it again? What's the reasoning behind this decision?


2 Answers 2


The only valid reason for un-upvoting a comment is if the upvote was a mistake.

As it stands, you can only un-upvote a comment within 1 minute of upvoting it.

Since you have to take a very concious decision to un-upvote, allowing you to upvote after un-upvoting would be rather... inconsistent.

  • 4
    5 minutes? I think it's 60 seconds, and only if you're still on the page. I'd say it's merely to allow for flagging, as flagging is blocked once you upvoted.
    – Arjan
    Jun 2, 2012 at 19:30
  • 24
    What if the comment was edited to be something you disagree with, though?
    – Ry-
    Jun 3, 2012 at 2:45
  • 15
    There is more than one valid reason for un-upvoting a comment. Oct 23, 2012 at 3:55
  • 49
    1) Upvote, then not-sure, un-upvote, further review, upvote. 2) Upvote completely by accident, un-upvote, read comment, upvote. Oct 23, 2012 at 15:34
  • 1
    @nobar - If you un-upvote a comment, you can't upvote it again. The "are you sure" message for un-upvoting a comment is clear about that.
    – Oded
    Oct 23, 2012 at 15:36
  • 44
    @Oded. Yes, I understood that. That part I don't know is "why?" -- which is what this question is about. I am not satisfied by the "inconsistent" rationale. The other explanation that I have seen is "We do not want flip flopping" -- also not satisfying. Oct 23, 2012 at 15:43
  • 3
    @Oded - I agree with nobar. It's not like this is natural functionality, someone took the time to craft and test this functionality. This means there was purpose, and purpose has reason. Any way to figure out who made the change, and ask? Edit: Found the "perpetrator" :) - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1170/… (Mentioned in comments to original question).
    – user66001
    Jan 13, 2013 at 19:35
  • 19
    @Oded: One simple reason is that you can change your mind wrt. a comment. A la "A wise man changes his mind sometimes, but a fool never." I see no harm in allowing "flip-flopping". In fact, it would probably make SE's code a few lines simpler.
    – jdm
    Apr 16, 2013 at 18:00
  • 7
    I accidentally upvoted this comment, immediately undid it, accepted the consequences, and now regret it. Now that I've read it, I agree that it adds something useful to the post, but I can't show that now. Nov 22, 2013 at 4:30
  • 11
    @Oded "allowing you to upvote after un-upvoting would be rather... inconsistent." Humans are not machines, we can think and have a good conclusion and them un-upvote. We can learn, re-think, change the paradigm and upvote again. I think that's why StackOverflow is good... to learn, change wrong beliefs, change paradigms. We aren't making a surgery, we are just voting a comment.. we can miss and fix that.
    – Wagner
    Mar 7, 2014 at 16:30
  • 3
    @Oded Why are questions treated any different from comments? Votes on questions can be flipped, but only within reasonable limits. Why are the rules stricter for comments? May 10, 2015 at 17:46
  • 1
    @ghosts_in_the_code - because comments are less valuable than questions and answers (which is the focus of our sites). Comments are second class citizens - you will note there are no downvotes for comments. Comments only exist to help clarify a post and once incorporated into the post are liable to be removed without warning.
    – Oded
    May 10, 2015 at 18:00
  • 1
    You say "you have to take a very conscious decision to un-upvote" but what about when you can't see most of the comment because it's behind the modal popup demanding a decision for all of time? Certainly not the experience I have expected the last few times it happened to me and I realized something was suddenly escalated and I was screwed.
    – jnm2
    Jul 22, 2016 at 15:22
  • 2
    Question and answer votes get locked after 5 minutes to prevent gaming the system and tactical downvoting. Comment upvotes don't give any reputation though, so there's no point in disallowing users to undo-upvote and re-upvote.
    – clickbait
    Jun 15, 2018 at 17:04
  • 10
    I have personally upvoted, then un-upvoted a comment because I initially thought it contributed to the answer, but then came to believe its information was wrong. Following other answers and further discussion, I would now like to reupvote that comment to make sure others realize that it is indeed contains accurate, contributive information. Unfortunately, Stack Overflow sees the need to enforce some nebulous sense of lifetime commitment and overengineered consistency. Sep 18, 2018 at 14:11

On touch devices( mobiles and tablets) it’s too easy to accidentally press some button (e.g. upvote of comment), so unrestricted ability to undo any click must be implemented in any modern site.

I read some question with answers/comments on iPad and noticed, that some comment is marked as upvoted by me. I wanted to undo the upvote, and the prompt “Are you sure you want to undo your upvote on this comment? You will not be able to upvote it again.” sound very restrictive/annoying.

If comments are not first-class citizens, such restrictions are not needed.

Just kidding:to be consistent, the site should implement for touch devices corresponding warning on the comment upvote “ Are you sure you want to upvote this comment? You will be able to undo the upvote only once”

  • 1
    I liked the old mobile app's method of upvoting comments: doing so was two deliberate clicks, first on the comment itself, then on the upvote button on the top of the screen. Sadly this would be difficult to do on the responsive site. Mar 5, 2021 at 23:00

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