I realize that there are no hard rules surrounding whether a person shall, or shall not remove or cancel a vote on an answer. But often, while in the process of answering a question, or editing to improve an answer, someone will come along and down-vote for a reason that was valid before the edit was complete. My questions:

  • What is the right thing to do once the issue prompting the down vote has been addressed?
  • Should the down voter remove the down vote if problem was addressed in a reasonable time?
  • Is it OK to comment to the down voter that the issue has been addressed?
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    Interesting chain of related questions following a feature request by the legendary Jon Skeet...only Jeff Atwood could decline him, but at what price? Someone from Role Playing should write a ballad about this post or something... – Nick Stauner May 7 '14 at 23:39
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    @NickStauner I think it might be time to reopen that discussion, simply because it's been 5 years; SE has changed a lot in that time, and I think if there was a tab on your profile that silently tracked changes to posts you've voted on that could be a middle-of-the-road solution (since noisy notifications could get annoying). – WendiKidd May 7 '14 at 23:48
  • @WendiKidd: I'd upvote that answer! Plus reopening would permit someone to post a ballad about how Jon Skeet overcame the mighty status-declined without even lifting a finger. (Possibly embellished, but what do you expect from a ballad?) – Nick Stauner May 7 '14 at 23:50
  • The idea of a passive notification is good. There is already such a notification (kind of) provided for new comments targeted to @name. – ryyker May 7 '14 at 23:53
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    @NickStauner Done! Take a look over here. – WendiKidd May 8 '14 at 0:48
  • @WendiKidd: +1 again, but I gotta admit, I was hoping you meant the ballad... – Nick Stauner May 8 '14 at 0:50

You should always remove the downvote if the answer improves; the amount of time it took shouldn't matter in my opinion. Downvotes are for bad questions/answers, upvotes are for good ones, no vote at all is fair if you don't feel the edit is upvote-worthy. After all, the point of voting is to help future readers judge the quality of the post; you're not just helping the poster, here. And sure, if someone leaves you a comment telling you that there's a problem with your answer, why not comment back and let them know you fixed it? I'd like to hear that; it makes me feel like leaving constructive criticism in comments is worthwhile when I see improvements being made.

The problem is that there's no easily-visible way to see when posts you've downvoted are corrected. Unless you're the one that left the comment and the OP replies to your comment, you aren't going to notice (well, unless you keep all downvoted posts open in tabs, and that's going to get overwhelming fast). Not all downvoters are going to comment, though. Some people just don't want to/have time to, and even beyond that, once one person has left a comment with the criticism you want to leave, all you have to do is upvote the comment to show your support. And a reply to that comment isn't going to notify those people.

So yes, downvotes should be reversed after good edits, and commenting back at concrit is fine (I'd even say encouraged). But this isn't really going to make a big difference unless you have some way of being notified when posts you downvoted are edited.

One way to address this can be found in the feature request that Nick Stauner commented on above, but it's been marked status-declined. It basically asks for some way to be notified when posts you dowvnote are changed. I'd like this to at least appear in a tab on your profile, if not as an outright notification, but it seems that won't be happening at this time (though that request is almost 5 years old; maybe it's time to revisit the issue?)

  • Thanks. Especially liked your comment: it makes me feel like leaving constructive criticism in comments is worthwhile when I see improvements being made – ryyker May 8 '14 at 14:27

Etiquette implies a kind of social interaction that is absent on voting... namely, that you can see who is interacting with you, and whom can see you also.

Therefore, there is no such thing as voting etiquette, any more than there is etiquette for choosing candidates in an actual election (other than observing the correct procedures). In a perfect world, you make your choice based on who you feel is better qualified, having done adequate research into the candidates' backgrounds. In practice, people vote for all sorts of reasons, some of which don't make much sense.

Should you remove your downvote? It's entirely up to you. I'm of the mind that folks should try to make their posts good enough on the first attempt that they don't deserve a downvote. If they can't do that, why should I remove it later? That just sends the message that it is OK to write crap posts as a placeholder and fix them later, since the downvotes will be reversed anyway.

To put it another way, you should vote on the post in the condition that it is in when you encounter it. You are certainly under no obligation to keep visiting the post to see if the poster has made any improvements to it that would warrant a vote change.

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    You make good points, but I'm not sure I agree with the last one. I see where you're coming from, but I try not to look at it as rep/credit for/against the poster themselves. The ostensible purpose behind voting is to mark good and bad content to help future readers judge its value. If an answer gets 5-6 downvotes, then it's edited to become a great answer, and the votes stay... That's potentially valuable information that future readers are going to discount, and works against the mission of providing good (and community-judged) content to the world at large. /$0.02 – WendiKidd May 7 '14 at 23:52
  • Worth noting that it is also sometimes quite obvious who's voting and how...especially when we can't keep our big mouths shut (+1). – Nick Stauner May 7 '14 at 23:53
  • @WendiKidd: I made some updates to my answer. – Robert Harvey May 7 '14 at 23:53
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    Ah, after that edit I do agree with you. +1. Yes, you certainly have no obligation to keep checking and checking if downvoted posts have been fixed. I would like an easy way to view them, though. – WendiKidd May 7 '14 at 23:54

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