A long time ago I had upvoted this answer on StackOverflow.

I was browing through the answers today when I accidentally clicked on the "downvote" button. It immediately accepted my downvote, and I figured the answer must have changed because otherwise it wouldn't have accepted my answer.

Because I actually like the answer, I decided to change it back to my upvote - but it won't let me with the standard "vote too old to be changed" error.

I'm guessing I shouldn't have been allowing to downvote the answer either, if it's complaining about me trying to change it back to an upvote.

Is this a defect?

  • By design and a dupe...
    – random
    Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:14
  • I read some of the similar sounding questions but mine seems different. According to what I have read on the other answers, the instant you vote is when the clock starts ticking. How is downvoting any different to undoing my vote? Both are "changing" my vote aren't they? Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:15

2 Answers 2


I don't know if it's the same problem, but today, I downvoted several answers to What C# features would be removed if backwards compatibility were not an issue? because they were answers about BCL features, not C# features. I soon realized that the question was actually about both, and wanted to undo my downvotes.

I was not permitted to do so, and got the "not until edited" error.


Nope, by design.

Votes are locked in very rapidly after you select them, due to many many gaming exploits related to silent and invisible undoing of votes.


Exception: you may change your vote when the post is edited. However, you are allowed only one of two options after the vote timer is reset:

  1. Unvote, taking back either a down or upvote
  2. Completely reverse your previous vote. Switch that downvote to up or up to down. No inbetweens!
  • 2
    If my upvote (which I submitted a LONG time ago) was locked in rapidly, why was I allowed to immediately switch it to a downvote now? Shouldn't it have rejected the change from upvote to downvote? That's what I'm confused about. Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:17
  • 1
    it had obviously been edited since you voted. Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:19
  • So it's always the FIRST vote which sets the timer for vote undoing? This makes no sense to me. Maybe I'm not very clever, but I can't see how it opens up the system for gaming if you reset the timer after I put my (legally accepted) downvote in. Am I missing something here? Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:23
  • If you keep switching your vote, when will the final vote timer be set at?
    – random
    Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:32
  • 2
    If the post has been edited and I'm allowed to change my vote because of that, what harm is there if the timer is reset at that point? Maybe there is a way to game the system that I haven't figured out though. Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 3:48
  • After it's edited, you should be certain one way or the other if you should up, down or unvote. If by that time you still aren't sure, just don't vote. You don't have to vote on every single post.
    – random
    Commented Nov 10, 2009 at 9:26
  • 1
    Can you provide any evidence of these "many many gaming exploits"? Can you provide any evidence that vote locking does anything to stop them?
    – endolith
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 1:15

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