I have enough reputation to upvote but not to downvote. I upvote a post. The post is then edited (or very little time passes). I then change my mind and attempt to downvote it. I am told I cannot due to my low reputation; and my upvote stays in place. I think my upvote should be canceled when I attempt to downvote, since clearly my intention is to no longer upvote.

Update: See blahdiblah's answer and his own comments thereon: they explain what I meant better than I did.

Question 8390 is similar in wording but requests that every voter need to click twice to switch votes (which I don't agree with). My request applies only to those with the upvote but without the downvote privilege.

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    Why not just remove the upvote? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jul 23 '12 at 21:20
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    @msh, what happens when you click the up-arrow again? – Synetech Jul 23 '12 at 21:24
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    @Pekka, Synetech, obviously you can deupvote my clicking the up-arrow. My point is that clicking the down arrow should accomplish it also. – msh210 Jul 23 '12 at 22:11
  • @Synetech please see my preceding comment (and then flag this as obsolete). – msh210 Jul 23 '12 at 22:12
  • @ChrisF, did you see the last paragraph of this question? They're different. – msh210 Aug 5 '14 at 18:24

I'm not sure why this is being so poorly received, it seems like perfectly sensible UI to me.

If you have enough rep to do both, clicking 'downvote' on a post you've upvoted does two things:

  • Removes the previous upvote.
  • Adds a downvote.

The first action doesn't have a reputation requirement, so why should the UI hinge on the second action that does?

From the perspective of intuiting the user's intention, clicking 'downvote' also seems to pretty unambiguously imply 'remove any existing upvotes.' Is there some use case that I'm missing?

To anyone in favor of maintaining the current UI, would you also be in favor of forcing people to manually undo upvotes before they can downvote so that attempting to downvote a post you'd upvoted would give an error like:

You have already upvoted this post. Please undo that upvote before attempting to downvote.

That's crazy talk. No one wants that. So why is this case any different?

Clicking 'downvote' should always remove an existing upvote and *then* check if a downvote can be added based on the user's privileges.

  • Thank you! You explained as well as I should have done in the first place, or better! +1. – msh210 Jul 24 '12 at 0:52
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    it's different because such a user can't downvote yet. Doing what this post suggests could confuse someone into thinking they have down voted. – Andrew Barber Jul 24 '12 at 0:57
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    @AndrewBarber I don't think anyone's suggesting that the "You don't have enough rep to downvote" error message not be displayed, just that the upvote be undone. – blahdiblah Jul 24 '12 at 0:58
  • so, you are suggesting an error message, coupled with a half-successful action? – Andrew Barber Jul 24 '12 at 1:02
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    @AndrewBarber Sure, if you want to put it that way. Are you suggesting that there are lots of people who, upon being shown the error message telling them that they can't downvote, will still want to keep their upvote on the post? – blahdiblah Jul 24 '12 at 1:08
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    What happens when a new user U uses this method of downvoting to undo an upvote and starts to think that it is the correct way to undo an upvote? Suppose that some time later, U does get enough rep to downvote a post. Now U thinks that hitting the downvote only withdraws his upvote, when in fact it does that AND adds a downvote. This is not what U intended to do. I see an erroneous action here... – inspectorG4dget Jul 24 '12 at 2:29
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    @inspectorG4dget Every single time they do this, they'll get a message saying that they don't have enough rep to downvote. If user U thinks that the normal process for undoing an upvote involves a big honking error message saying "No downvote for you!" then I don't think there's much we can do for them. – blahdiblah Jul 24 '12 at 3:39

Pressing the downvote button means, oddly enough, "vote this post down." It shouldn't mean "vote this post down if I can, but if I can't, then take away my upvote." We have a way to take away votes: you click the button you voted for again. That's why it's highlighted (orange on Stack Overflow, black here on Meta).

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    The highlight is simply to indicate your vote, not to indicate that you can click it again to undo it. – Synetech Jul 23 '12 at 21:38
  • @Synetech: But it serves that purpose. By highlighting it, you know that you can click it again to undo it. – Nicol Bolas Jul 23 '12 at 21:45
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    @NicolBolas, no, there is nothing about it being highlighted/bolded/outlined that indicates that you can click it again to undo the vote. The cursor changing to a hand serves that purpose infinitely better (though it still only indicates that you may be able to click it, not that you can undo the vote by clicking it; if anything it may be perceived as allowing multiple up-votes). – Synetech Jul 23 '12 at 21:50
  • I'm colorblind, I just call it "that different color" – gobernador Jul 23 '12 at 21:50
  • They're toggles, not incrementing buttons! – Ben Brocka Jul 24 '12 at 2:26
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    @synetech the tooltip over the vote, when you hover your pointer over it, says "(click again to undo)". That explains quite clearly what will happen. – Jeff Atwood Jul 24 '12 at 3:57
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    @JeffAtwood, yes, the tooltip is clear, and fortunately pops up fast enough to be useful, but that has nothing to do with the highlight which serves a different purpose. – Synetech Jul 24 '12 at 5:33
  • @BenBrocka, yes, you and I know that, but newcomers might not (especially if they come from sites where you can vote for your favorites this and that multiple times). – Synetech Jul 24 '12 at 5:34

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