Prologue: This is an effort to follow up on this post which is marked as a duplicate of this highly voted and status-declined feature request (although they seem to be different, one focusing on the OP and the other on the downvoter).

My New Year's resolution was to downvote more. So on January 3rd or so, I saw a post that was low quality, and downvoted. Two days later, I came back to see if it was ready to be deleted or had gotten piled with downvotes, to find it with a significant positive score! At which point, I noticed that the answer had been significantly improved. So I retracted my downvote, changed it to an upvote, and immediately resumed my dearth of downvoting again.

I think I have a responsibility to downvote bad posts, despite that oh-so-painful -1 rep penalty. But if I am also going to have the responsibility to follow up on every downvote I cast, I'm not going to bother. I don't want my downvote to leave a residual penalty on posts that were once low quality, and I am not going to trouble myself to keep checking up on every post I downvoted.

Can a downvoter have an option to be notified when a post they voted down was edited? I wouldn't make this an automatic thing, because not all downvoters want it, and it isn't applicable to all cases of downvoting (although someone did suggest that this should be part of the responsibility of a downvoter).

Personally, I would make this a universal toggle on-off option on the user profile page, not a question-by-question option, but I don't have strong feelings about it.

  • 4
    You've currently only cast a few dozen downvotes. By the time you've cast hundreds the notifications would easily become very hard to manage. After casting a few thousand there wouldn't be enough time in the day to follow up on all of the notifications even if you wanted to look at every single one. Well, unless you only vote on content in extremely inactive sections of the site.
    – Servy
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:03
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    @Servy The notifications would only come if/when the post was edited, and would stop coming if/when you remove your downvote. So 1000 downvotes != 1000 notifications. And with the thousands of notifications being spread out over the course of time it took to cast those thousands of downvotes (if you used up all of your votes exclusively on downvotes every day, that would still be spread out over a month, and that is in a ridiculously extreme case), I don't see why it would be so overwhelming. It would reasonably not amount to more than 5 or 10 in a day. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:09
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    And if it became overwhelming, you could toggle it off! Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:10
  • If everyone either doesn't downvote posts, or finds it so overwhelming that they have to turn it off, there's no reason for it to exist. The number of people that would actually be using it would be so small as to not be worth the effort. Lots of people continue to edit their posts (or have their posts edited by others) frequently over time, and many fail to actually fix the problems that cause it to warrant downvoting. It's not like the first time every post is edited you'll remove the downvote and never get notifications about that post again.
    – Servy
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:13
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    Stack Exchange is not a fan of adding options to profiles. Not only do they make it confusing for the person trying to use the site, but also complicate things as the system has to figure out if each action even affects a user. Pretty much anytime someone requests something that says "add an option" you can almost guarantee the answer will be "no." That's why after so many years, the preferences page is still extremely small and simple.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:16
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    @Servy that was an excellent false dichotomy. I think most people on smaller sites would use it. I think that many people with a sense of responsibility about their downvotes would use it. And again, is it the majority of posts that get edited many times, which would cause your dreaded flood of notifications (which would take 15 seconds each to deal with), or is that an occasional occurrence? Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:18
  • @YeZ It doesn't need to be the majority of posts. Even with posts like that being uncommon, when you've actually cast a lot of votes, they still add up over time. The point is that every single vote you cast means more and more work reviewing past posts each day. It simply scales poorly. If you've only cast a small number of votes, its not unmanageable to go through them without this feature.
    – Servy
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:21
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    In my personal opinion, though, I believe there are much better alternatives to this problem than cluttering up users' inboxes with these notifications. I think this option is a much better idea because a) it could be easily implemented without any major changes to the system and b) it would work silently in the background - any user who wants the information can easily get it, while those who don't can easily ignore it. No need for options in their preferences.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:26
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    @Servy Do you stop posting answers because of the notifications from comments? Probably once you have thousands of posts, it becomes pretty heavy traffic. I'd venture to say there are more comments than edits on your average post. But since they add up over time it doesn't bother anyone. Why is this different? And I don't think it is manageable to sort through 100 posts every week or so to see if they were edited - it would be far easier to have a list of the ones that were edited. If a user downvoted 10 times a week, after 10 weeks they have 100 posts to constantly check on. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:27
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    @animuson I upvoted that suggestion, although I think it could be improved. But I just suggested what would work best for me, not what would be easiest or most preferable from an implementation standpoint (since I have no experience with that - I didn't even know about the reluctance to change the preferences page, thanks for pointing that out) Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:30
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    @animuson I borrowed your idea from your comment (with attribution) and posted an answer with a possible improvement suggestion Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:48
  • @Servy I think my answer here addresses all of your issues while preserving my basic intent - thanks for the feedback. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 18:29
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    @YeZ This is what I came up with: A unified solution to the “can we have notifications for this?” problem
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 16:39
  • @animuson thanks for pointing it out - +1. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:33
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    @ratchetfreak: Not really. The choice appears to be very meaningfully different between the two requests. In one case the OP chooses to ping downvoters, and here, the downvoter chooses to be pinged. It's extremely clear from the quote-block at the start of this question that the author is aware of the linked dupe and considers this to be a distinct request. Please do withdraw your close vote. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Combine downvoting with following a post. Also think about commenting to actively support improvements and later your ability to review, especially if there are lots of posts you follow and reactions are delayed.

(It's not the perfect match but it's close to the feature you are asking for.)


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