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In 2012 un-upvote of a comment was implemented Cancelling upvote on comment?, but with serious restrictions:

Comment upvotes can only be undone for a short time and while you did not navigate away from the page. Once you undo the upvote, you cannot upvote the same comment again.
From Cancelling upvote on comment?

As a reason it was said “We do not want flip flopping, nor do we want people to un-upvote stuff from the past. The only use case is undoing a mis-click.”

It is not clear why “we want” such way. There are multiple comments to the answer and Comment upvote, undo, and then re-upvote: why not?, describing different scenarios that will benefit from giving user ability to upvote and revert when user needs.

I didn’t noticed any comment explaining what harm would be if user changed the vote to the comment more than once.

The answers to questions Why is re-upvoting not allowed for comments? and Comment upvote, undo, and then re-upvote: why not? also do not explain the reason, they refers to original implementation answer and require user to “have to take a very concious decision to un-upvote” (within 1 minute)

I had a few times, that after comment’s upvote, I start to think, was it correct or not, and having time pressure(to decide within 1 minute), I made wrong decision, that later I wasn’t happy about.

Please remove restrictions on un-upvote and re-upvote and allow users to express their opinion any time.
Changing the mind over the time is in a human nature and should not be prohibited.

Update: Thanks to Magisch’s comment for explaining one of the reasons for downvotes. I am aware that comments are considered second class citizens, but they are not temporary. “They don't. They stay around.“ If the comments and comment votes are not important for site, why site developers implemented some complex logic to restrict the votes on comments? Give users more control, in particular if it doesn’t cause any harm.
Comments are content; votes on comments are content as well.” and if users have an option to upvote the comment, they should have an ability to change the vote, when they change their opinion.

Update: similar previous incorrectly closed suggestion No way to remove accidental upvote on a comment

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  • 6
    If you downvote, please leave a comment explaining what you don’t like. Nov 20, 2018 at 13:45
  • 2
    At least make it consistent with how voting on posts work (even if that's not ideal either). Nov 20, 2018 at 13:57
  • 8
    Downvotes do not require comments. Asking for such comments only attract more downvotes.
    – fbueckert
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:12
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    @fbueckert, what is wrong if I want to understand, what people do not like in my Feature-Request? Are you telling, that people will vote not for/against my suggestion, but because I asked to leave a comment? Nov 20, 2018 at 14:41
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    No, I'm saying that downvotes are, "I disagree with this feature request", which you seem to understand. By adding a comment that says downvoters should comment, you are trying to stifle dissension to your idea. That's bad faith. I don't see you requesting upvoters to explain why they like it. Some users might be on the fence, but evidence of bad faith towards those that disagree will tip others over the line into disagreeing.
    – fbueckert
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:43
  • Yes, asking people to explain their downvotes may make people more negative and critical, and thus more inclined to downvote. Nov 20, 2018 at 14:49
  • Seems utterly inconsequential to me. Comments are already temporary, comment upvotes mean even less.
    – Magisch
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:59
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    I just upvoted fbueckert last comment, after already upvoting 1st comment by poster - now I want to remove my upvote of that first comment, now that I've changed my mind from reading fbueckert last comment - but its too late, I can't :(
    – cellepo
    Nov 21, 2018 at 3:11
  • Dukeling's suggestion on "make it consistent with post voting" is fair, but votes on posts are also locked after a few minutes, and can only be unlocked after edited. The difference is, posts can always be edited at any times while comments can only be edited in the first 5 minutes. Nov 21, 2018 at 10:36
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    @fbueckert, I am surprised with your interpretation of asking for explanation as bad faith. According to meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/252826/… , majority consider asking downvoters for comments is appropriate, and on main sites (not on meta, as I know) it’s encouraged Nov 26, 2018 at 6:05
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    First, I think Stack has now answered the argument of "Should downvotes have comments explaining why" by putting in a message when you downvote recommending a comment ;-). Second, it's weird that Stack assumes that you are undoing a mistaken comment upvote, and allows that once, but doesn't account for the fact that the mouse button could have slipped and created a "double-click" that resulted in an upvote, then a mistaken undo, which can't then be undone. Just happened to me - And now I can't upvote a comment to give credit to the author. Mar 9, 2021 at 20:06
  • I remember before that was implemented, you could flash a user by repeatedly up and downvoting. :) It was fun to see that. Back to the real issue, I don't see why it shouldn't be allowed to retract the vote later. I sometimes noticed myself that I changed my mind, based on some comments or answers. Especially when downvoting it is annoying when you cant remove it.
    – Devolus
    Apr 9, 2021 at 10:04

2 Answers 2

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I won't repeat all of my reasoning from my other answer on the subject, but there is an important point that I will expand on here: the five-minute edit window.

If we were to expand the behavior for comment votes (and unvotes), we would surely make it match that of post upvotes. Once five minutes of the vote existing has passed, the post must be edited in order to retract the vote.

Therein lies the problem with comment votes. Comments can only be edited for the first five minutes at which point the content is essentially permanent for the remaining existence of the content. So then... when would a user ever be capable of undoing a vote if after their vote has been locked in the content will never be edited again? Well, never. So why put in all this effort to expand comment voting behavior if it would have to function differently than post votes? We wouldn't.

I understand that people occasionally come up with rare instances where they would like to retract a comment vote. Plenty of people also complain that they cannot unvote a post without it being edited too, but our philosophy on vote locking has not changed over time. And we definitely would not establish different rules for comments than for posts.

Our established use-case for unvoting comments is to correct a mis-click only, which is why the time limit is only one minute and requires staying on the page. Further featuring surrounding this makes no sense given other rules surrounding voting.

If your time allotment to undo a comment vote has expired, it should simply be considered as permanent as the comment is.

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  • 1.Comments are very different to posts according to StackExchange philosophy, so decisions about their lifetime can be made independently - reference to posts restrictions is irrelevant. 2. 5-time editing limit for comment is independent behavior(also arguable)- voter can change their opinion about the comment regardless of the change of the comment. 3. “why put in all this effort to expand comment voting behavior” -the effort to remove the limit is minimal. The question is “ why effort was put to create such limitations to comments, that officially considered as not important. Apr 9, 2021 at 6:01
  • 4.” to correct a mis-click only” - touch devices(mobiles and tablets) make too easy to mis-touch any buttons( and often without user noticed it immediately), that for any modern web site ability to undo any changes without time limit is a must. Apr 9, 2021 at 6:06
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    Simply dismissing all the arguments as irrelevant really does nothing to advance your case here. I'm afraid you'll just have to accept this is not going to happen.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 9, 2021 at 6:08
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    I see only one relevant argument “our philosophy on vote locking has not changed over time.”. It’s regrettable, because it is one of the most annoying behaviors in StackExchange, e.g. see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6250/… Apr 9, 2021 at 6:21
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    Opinion can change based on a comment or answer, which may come much later then the alotted five minutes or staying on that page.
    – Devolus
    Apr 9, 2021 at 10:06
  • @animuson, I again hit the same problem from my iPad(and there were much more instances ). Why do you think that “ instances where they would like to retract a comment vote.” are rare? Sep 22, 2021 at 21:24
  • @animuson, another example- I never intentionally upvote the comment stackoverflow.com/questions/60137762/…, but it is shown as upvoted, and I can’t change it. please reconsider “decline” of the question. Apr 12, 2022 at 22:31
  • @animuson "our philosophy on vote locking has not changed over time". Could you please tell me where I can find this so-called philosophy so I can learn why it is so wise to lock upvotes in comments and posts?
    – sourcream
    Jun 29, 2023 at 16:38
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Per my understanding, Stac Echange is a serious place. Users are encouraged, or sometimes required, to think twice before they act. This is the reason for many restrictions, including this limitation on un-voting and re-voting comments. Similarly, one cannot cancel their up/down vote on posts after 5 minutes, unless they're edited.

If you want to repeatedly vote/un-vote a comment, maybe you should ask yourself "why am I repeating this?", "do I really need to repeat this?", and think thrice before you submit your vote. This is not a game.

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    Links in my suggestion provide multiple reasons, why people want to change their vote, e.g. they learn more or subsequent comments convinced them that initial view was wrong. Or I came to the same page 3 years later and my opinion changed during this period. Restrictions on questions/ answers has some reasoning about preventing reputation games(see separate discussions about them, e.g see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/70853/…). Comments are not associated with reputation, so they do not have any excuse for restrictions Nov 26, 2018 at 6:19

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