Back in 2009 I suggested a flat-out grace period increase and it was declined despite some support from the community at the time. Fair enough.
The purpose of locking a vote after 5 minutes is twofold:
- it prevents gaming the system when answering very new questions, and
- it prevents people doing drastic things removing all the upvotes they've ever given.
Because of #1, the grace period has to be extremely short.
But #1 doesn't apply to a question posted in 2009, right? Can we increase the grace period to 24 hours only for questions older than a week without compromising the reasons behind locking the votes?
When I work on a problem, I often find that the top answer seems to have worked, but within 24 hours discover an issue with it. I search again, find the same question again, and the actual, fault-less answer buried deep in there. I personally just post a dumb edit to take away my upvote, but others don't have this privilege. As a result, the top, seemingly-working answer will forever remain at the top, which is a frustrating realisation for someone who cares about SO's long-term impact as a go-to resource.
24 hours will, in my opinion, make this issue unnoticeable for a large percentage of legitimate changes. If it were up to me, I'd also increase it for several days when a question is older than a year, too. I don't think I've ever wanted to change a vote after more than a few days, but 24 hours will still be too restrictive sometimes.
If you don't like this proposal, please think about why. "This is how we've done it for years" is not a good reason. It is clearly a problem for users; just count all the Meta posts about vote locking. It's frustrating because someone who's legitimately trying to contribute, selflessly, for the benefit of others, is prevented from doing so.