A little background:

I do not know what the specifics are, but I've noticed that a quick edit after a post will often times not result in an edit being posted. It's as if there was no edit. Edit: According to Bart this amount of time is five minutes.

The problem:

A user made a really bad post (said that ~ in C# wrt integers was used for deconstruction). I down-voted said post. Post quickly disappeared (I guess poster realized they screwed up and took back the post). Later, I come back and see my down vote but the answer is now correct (that ~ is the bitwise complement operator). I try to get rid of my down vote because it is no longer appropriate. However, it has been about half an hour and there is no edit posted (presumably the poster made an edit within the non-posting edit window) so I can't take my vote back.

Suggested solution:

If post gets edited (even within the non-post edit window) mark all the votes as changeable. I would guess that this would either involve an update on a table of votes or adding a column for last edit time which is not bypassed by the grace period. I realize that this may be an entirely non-trivial change, but unless the non-posting of edits is somehow changed to make sure the edit was trivial it seems this is necessary.

  • 7
    Edits within the first 5 minutes are not individually recorded. (This is referred to as the grace period).
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 19:25
  • 2
    Related: Why can't I change my vote if the post has been edited during the initial 5mn grace period? (which is marked completed, but not quite the way you're asking for)
    – Pops
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 19:31
  • @PopularDemand Good catch, didn't realize it was called the grace period (until bart mentioned it). I would have to say that I don't sit around and carefully watch posts for 5 minutes though, so I would still suggest my different way of handling things would be better.
    – CrazyCasta
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 20:41
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    I agree that your way would be better, but I don't think it's a big enough issue that it's worth fixing. I've been burned by this a couple times, so now I just don't downvote things until their grace periods are over.
    – Pops
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 20:42
  • 3
    You can edit the post yourself, you have the rep (edit reason for example "allow me to remove now unjustified dv", if you don't find anything serious to fix), or you could post a comment asking the author to edit so you can undownvote. Not perfect, but hey. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 21:09
  • How do I make an empty edit that actually counts? When I tried it didn't do anything.
    – CrazyCasta
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 21:34
  • @CrazyCasta: Make a substantial one. No post is perfect, find a flaw and fix it. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 21:42
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    I just came here to report this same issue.
    – Jason C
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 2:37

2 Answers 2


Posting a half-assed answer and then quickly fixing it up is a time-honored tradition, but it does have some risks.

This is one of them.

The author of the post can always edit again after the five-minute window is up, thus unlocking the downvotes (and bumping the post thus drawing more attention to what is now hopefully a good answer). If he's not willing to do that, then he'll just have to accept locked-in downvotes as the price of his haste.

  • What if it’s a question, as in meta.stackexchange.com/questions/181944/…?
    – Ry-
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 15:33
  • 1
    Same caveats apply, with the additional observation that there's less pressure to rush out a question. Of course, as a voter you can also just edit it yourself, then change the vote. Rare is the question that can't be improved.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 15:37
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    Sure, if you have enough reputation for that and the willingness to wait — not everyone does, though…
    – Ry-
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 18:30
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    And given that downvotes cost rep, the voter will have to suffer for the answerer's haste as well?
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:21
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    @AdamDavis I wouldn't call it suffering to bring a post by a gambling abuser down a notch. If I could spend 10 rep to bring it down by 10 votes, I'd do it. I'm for removing the grace window altogether, but as long as people are abusing it, it's their loss. Plus I can hope they'll delete their answer because someone's used his time more wisely to post a good answer. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 23:15
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    There is nothing in this answer that explains why SE devs think this is a good behaviour for the edit feature, and I don't think "deal with it" (paraphrasing your answer) is a valid justification for status-bydesign! Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 10:24
  • Seems like it would be a pretty easy fix to implement. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 12:53
  • 1
    This is a poor solution to the problem. The author could edit again after the five-minute window, but the problem here lies on both the author and the voters side. There are lots of people with very little rep, and burning rep needlessly to downvote an answer that no longer requires it is harmful to them. If this is by design, it is a bad design. If it is an implementation limitation, that is a different kind of problem.
    – Yakk
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 14:06

I also came here to post this same issue; although it does seem very rare (this has only happened to me maybe 2-3 times ever).

In this case (https://stackoverflow.com/a/22469258/616460), the OP made a significant error in the post, which I down-voted. I also left an explanatory comment. The OP then corrected the answer quickly, and a few minutes later I noticed and intended to remove the down-vote. However, I could not, because the quick edit was not recorded.

That said, if anybody else encounters this issue, a potential workaround is a behavior change on the voter's part: Leave a comment then wait a few minutes to see if the issue is corrected before down-voting.

It did seem odd to me, though - the behavior I expected was that even a quick unrecorded edit would reset locked votes.

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