TL;DR: Suggested edits shouldn't unlock votes on a post until they are approved.

Votes on posts get locked in after a certain time. The reason given for this behavior is to prevent tactical downvoting.

There are known loopholes to get past this. Since the post being edited unlocks the post's votes, a user can edit the post for the express purpose of unlocking their vote. While frowned upon, there isn't a real mechanism to prevent this, other than the reputation threshold required to edit posts (we just have to trust that users with enough reputation to do so can be trusted not to abuse this loophole).

However, it appears this loophole can be exploited through suggested edits also. The suggested edit doesn't even have to be approved! Thus, anybody can throw a junk edit at a question just to unlock their vote.

  • My first instinct while reading this was vote to close as a duplicate. However, I think perhaps you should turn this into a feature request instead. Something along the lines of not allowing a user to undo an old vote if they were the most recent edit. – yoozer8 Sep 8 '12 at 14:53
  • The 'workaround' you propose does not apply to lower-reputation users, as they cannot "just edit" the post to unlock their vote. – Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 14:54
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    @Jim, but then when I downvote due to a typo, and later realize that I could simply improve the post, then I could not undo my vote after that? – Arjan Sep 8 '12 at 15:00
  • The only bug related to change a vote after editing, is in Undone edits disappear from revision history... Apart from that, even Jeff suggested to do a dummy edit if needed. – Arjan Sep 8 '12 at 15:08
  • (And I assume this edit was a test? If not: that was a bad edit.) – Arjan Sep 8 '12 at 15:11
  • @Jim Edited the post to reflect it. – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 8 '12 at 15:14
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    I also rolled back this one. – Arjan Sep 8 '12 at 15:15
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    I really don't feel your edit reflects what I suggested. If anything, this is now more vague and more of a duplicate. – yoozer8 Sep 8 '12 at 15:21
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    @YatharthROCK: right, so a suggested edit already unlocks the vote? That I'd call a bug, it should not (in my opinion) unlock the vote until approved. – Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 15:26
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    Downvoting an answer has a cost (-1 rep). Tactical downvoting means trying to keep your answer on top (to harvest the attention resulting in votes), until you are high enough to not care about the competing answer, so you can remove your downvote and regain the lost reputation point. – Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 15:28
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    @YatharthROCK: That is totally not clear. Nowhere in your post do you say this applies to suggested edits, for example. – Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 15:31
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    @MartijnPieters But for the downvoters, the cost of 1 rep is nothing to the chance of getting boatloads of upvotes and an accept (even one of which could easily make up for 15 others) – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 8 '12 at 15:31
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    @YatharthROCK I've edited it to make it a bug report about the suggested edits. I'm going to post a separate feature request about disallowing self-edits from unlocking votes, unless you'd like to do the same – yoozer8 Sep 8 '12 at 16:15
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    @YatharthROCK I think you've misunderstood the post you've just linked to. You can't change it indefinitely. It states that once a vote is unlocked, you can make exactly one change. So if you've downvoted, you can either undo do the downvote or cast an upvote. You cannot, however, undo a downvote then cast an upvote. – yoozer8 Sep 8 '12 at 16:32
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    That's true, and not relevant to this issue. You can change your vote as many times as you'd like before it is locked. – yoozer8 Sep 8 '12 at 18:29

I've tried to use your workaround to undo my accidental down-vote, but it didn't work for me. I've edited https://stackoverflow.com/a/4328971/52277, but I still wasn't able to change my vote.

It is not reproducible.

That's pity, because I hoped, that this "bug" will allow to workaround very annoying "vote-lock" restriction.

  • You can only do the toggling thing if the post has not already been locked. I removed the section as it did not seem relevant to locked posts. – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 10 '12 at 17:00
  • If you try it on another post, I'm confident it'll work. – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 10 '12 at 17:01
  • I just tried it on one of my questions on English. I could upvote an answer, remove the vote, upvote it again, remove it ad infinitum. – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 10 '12 at 17:47
  • So does that mean this only applies to downvotes? – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 10 '12 at 17:47
  • @YatharthROCK I rejected your edit. If you're just testing things, please use the official sandbox question instead of "real" posts. There will be cases where that's not feasible (in which case, explain in a comment or the "edit summary" field, I guess), but this shouldn't be one of them, assuming you're testing the behavior this question is about. – Pops Sep 17 '12 at 12:01
  • @PopularDemand Oh, OK. Didn't know about that. Thanks for telling me :) – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 17 '12 at 12:15
  • What should I do to get a 5-digit rep like you, i.e., what stuff should I do a lot to get me there? – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 17 '12 at 12:17
  • No problem, it's hard to find the sandbox when you're new. – Pops Sep 17 '12 at 12:18

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