Everyone knows about vote locking and the idea of "just edit the post and you can retract your vote" has been thrown around quite a bit here on Meta. However, I just ran across a suggested edit which made a few very minor changes to a post for the sole reason of wanting to retract their vote. At first I was just going to reject it as too minor, having not even looked at the edit reason yet, but when I stopped and looked at it, I thought back to those Meta discussion and wondered "should younger users be able to do this to retract their votes too?"

I'm a little split on this one and wanted to know what the rest of the community thinks. Should this be approved out of courtesy to the user suggesting it or rejected as too minor as it is, well, very minor?

  • 1
    Editing just for reversing a vote is gambling the system because the lock is a feature IMO.
    – juergen d
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 23:35
  • 3
    Well, they call it a feature... Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


Unless the suggested edit actually has merit, I'd say don't approve it. We have enough difficulty with folks gaming the suggested edit system as it is.

When a user earns 2000 reputation, they've earned the right to make an occasional gratuitous edit to fix a broken vote (it should be rare, though). For suggested edits, we should focus on actual editing.


As long as the edits help, and don't hurt I don't see a problem with it. Heck, everytime someone comes to Meta to complain about not being able to retract their vote, they are told by many that they just need to edit.


One of the purposes of vote locking is to make it hard to win Fastest Finger in the West by temporarily downvoting other answers to make your be at the top in the initial voting spree, but undoing this later to cover your tracks somewhat.

Making an edit to retract your vote is a very public way of admitting you were wrong, so it's OK as a vote retraction mechanism but poor as an edit reason.

For that reason, I'd suggest to people considering this to err on the side of making a really good, substantial edit so it's win-win.

The question becomes "Is it OK to surpress normal edit rules to allow this?". Benefit: give lower rep users the chance to admit they were wrong or change their minds. Disadgantage: If we encourage it, that could bring a whole load of suggested edits that we ought not to need.

On balance I think this comes out a a reject action for me, but it's a close thing.

(That was an interestiing question to answer.)

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