The "vote too old" window must be increased to let people fix genuine "first impression" mistakes.

I appreciate that you're trying to solve the Tactical Downvoting problem, but this way sucks, and Dan Dyer has proposed a much better solution in his comment on the above link.

Example 1: I read the top answer. I think it's good. I upvote it. I read the second top answer. It provides not only a better answer but also shows that the top answer was strictly speaking wrong. I upvote the second answer and try to remove my vote for the top answer. OOPS! Too late now. I've permanently upvoted the wrong answer. What's worse is that because of the way it's written, and because it's currently on top this will keep happening forever, and the second top answer (the correct one) may never "win".

Example 2: I read an answer. I think it's wrong, so I downvote. Shortly afterwards I start having second thoughts and do more research, and indeed it turns out that the answer was correct. But it's now too late to change the vote.

I strongly urge you to find alternative solutions to all problems you're trying to solve by making votes permanent. I've already mentioned someone's great suggestion for Tactical Voting. Are there any others?

Edit: there are several examples (more) describing the problem of downvoting something permanently. Even that isn't always seen as terribly damaging; downvoting and then undoing the vote must be so minor that I honestly don't see it deserving a "fix" like the "vote too old".

If we need a fix for downvote-then-undo tactical downvoting (which many have denied, see links above) at all, then I'd rather have all my downvotes have a permanent effect on my rep, but be undoable (like Andomar suggested)!

  • 4
    +1 Couldn't agree more (braces for incoming close vote storm)
    – Andomar
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 21:51
  • 1
    Well one answer is to force yourself to read all the answers before voting.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 22:04
  • 4
    When users complain about some aspect of my software, I don't answer them with "someone complained about that last week. your complaint is closed as duplicate."
    – Andomar
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 22:16
  • 3
    The complaint may or may not be valid, but all of the SO sites are designed to note have dupes. It's been discussed, at GREAT length. So yes, I've voted to close as a dupe, since it is ... a dupe.
    – John Rudy
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 22:20
  • 2
    Oh, and for the record, most places I've been do close multiple copies of the same feature request/bug report as duplicates. Once it's addressed (be it agreed & fixed or denied) it's addressed.
    – John Rudy
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 22:24
  • 2
    The objective issue is duplicate, but the subjective concern is not. So I'd close the issue internally, but take time to interact with the customer to motivate and explain
    – Andomar
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 22:26
  • 1
    Here's a better dupe link: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19021/… -- it is status-declined without explanations. Most comments appear to support the idea. There's a reference to "exploits" but I wish it were more explicit, since I have no clue what sort of exploits and hence if there are better ways to address those.
    – RomanSt
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 23:16
  • Here's a question that explains tactical downvoting: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6460/… Like all other cases in which I've seen it, the community response totally wiped out the offense, even before the vote window "fix"
    – Andomar
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 23:27
  • @Andomar: besides, the "fix" does nothing to prevent a permanent downvote, which has a negligible cost in this context. Here's an alternative fix proposal: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28777/…
    – RomanSt
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


Alternative for the voting window: make the downvoting reputation loss permanent, even if undone.

The permanent reputation penalty would attach to the first of:

  • Switching an upvote to a downvote
  • Downvote
  • Removing an upvote

The solution is:

  • don't vote until you're sure.
  • if the post is edited, you may re-vote on it
  • if you have 3k rep, you can edit a post to force a re-vote
  • s/3k/2k/. Also "if the post is edited, you may re-vote on it" -- sure, if you happen to refresh the page the instant the edit is procesed...
    – Ether
    Commented Nov 6, 2009 at 4:18
  • 6
    Jeff, the point is that you CAN'T ever be sure. So if I want to contribute I'd rather vote the moment I'm reasonably sure, which means every now and again I realise I was wrong. I am yet to find any reasonable explanation for why permanent votes are actually necessary in the face of several better suggestions to prevent gaming.
    – RomanSt
    Commented Nov 6, 2009 at 12:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .