Here's what just happened:

  • Question: "How do I do X and Y, I can't use flash"

  • Answer: "Well, use this flash player!"

  • I downvote the answer saying "yeah you're right, but the OP said no flash so -1"

  • The OP changes his question "edit: lololol in the end I can use flash"

  • I can't edit my vote unless I make a "fake" edit on the answer

  • Fail

Why not allowing changing vote on an answer if the question is edited?


3 Answers 3


If there's no other way, and the question isn't unclear, just do your fake edit and comment (in the edit summary) that it was done for vote-retraction purposes due to the changing of the question.

  • 2
    That's what I ended up doing, but you need 2k+ rep to do that.
    – marcgg
    Dec 8, 2009 at 16:40
  • 2
    This no longer requires 2k rep, but it does require a willing edit approver (or two, on SO) if you're below 2k rep, which may be even harder to get.
    – Pops
    Aug 30, 2011 at 20:04

Sorry, there are way too many exploits around allowing large vote undo windows.

So in this case, I agree with random: vote the question down -- as the tooltip says:

This question is unclear or not useful

  • 2
    What exploits? Make a list, and then find a solution for those exploits that doesn't lock people out of changing their votes. You're trying to prevent harm, but causing other kinds of harm in the process. Users should be able to change their votes whenever they realize they were wrong. "Wait until you're really really sure" isn't a solution, because people can be sure and still be wrong (or become wrong).
    – endolith
    Jul 31, 2011 at 21:44
  • this is the solution. long undo windows on votes is the source of 99% of vote gaming and griefing. Jul 31, 2011 at 21:47
  • 2
    This isn't a solution; it's a kludge that alleviates some problems while creating new ones. The ability to change votes does not cause vote gaming. The ability to gain rep from vote gaming causes vote gaming. The "vote undo window" should be infinite, and the vote gaming should be solved at the source, by eliminating the incentives to do it.
    – endolith
    Jul 31, 2011 at 22:12
  • unfortunately, doors have to be locked because sometimes there is crime. If you need to change a vote outside the 5 minute vote window, edit the underlying post to do so. I find that many posts I need to change my vote on, it's because they were edited and improved (or made worse, in rare cases.) Jul 31, 2011 at 22:21
  • 3
    Locked doors don't keep people out of their own homes. Problem: A small number of users are abusing their ability to change votes in order to gain rep. Bad solution: Lock down everything. No one can change votes ever again. Better solutions: Changing vote incurs rep penalty. Voting in a suspicious manner locks you out of casting downvotes/loses rep/gets you banned. Votes aren't displayed for a time so that answers are judged purely on their merit and there's no benefit to downvoting others. C'mon, you're not even trying. :(
    – endolith
    Aug 1, 2011 at 2:18
  • 1
    I can't get on board with random on this one. For the people who show up a month later via Google, the edit is ancient and irrelevant history. As long as the final version of a question has technical merit on its own, it shouldn't be downvoted just because its OP created it in a suboptimal way. Downvotes are not punishments, after all.
    – Pops
    Aug 30, 2011 at 20:09
  • @endolith: Reputation change when I vote is a terrible idea. It sours my experience to solve the "crime" issue that isn't perpetrated by me. Locking down with an easy work-around is 100% positive for me. I have no fear I'm going to be penalized, and if I'm too low rep on a site, it gives me something to work towards (which increases my interest and investment in said site). Fraud detection that is at all useful is not a solved problem, is not a one-time investment, quality-rots, and requires a team to maintain. I'd rather the investment be in any other feature that improves my experience Aug 30, 2011 at 20:36
  • 1
    @MerlynMorgan-Graham: Your reputation already changes when you vote. What "crime" issue?
    – endolith
    Aug 31, 2011 at 19:59
  • @endolith: As you suggested, "changing vote incurs rep penalty" to solve the vote gaming and greifing "crime" (Jeff called it a "crime" earlier in this thread). I don't commit the crime, so I don't want to pay a tax when I change my vote. I'm also willing to suffer locked doors, a) because they're already there b) because they don't effect me - I have a master key. For people who don't own the key -> one more goodie for when you use the site more :) Sep 1, 2011 at 0:41
  • 2
    @MerlynMorgan-Graham: I'm not sure if anyone commits this "crime", but everyone is punished for it. User "waffles" has shown that most people downvoting other answers are only doing so because the other answers are genuinely wrong, not to be "tactical" or malicious. The hacky workaround of editing a question in order to change a vote is not a "goodie". Preventing people from changing their minds makes the site's content less accurate.
    – endolith
    Sep 1, 2011 at 13:47
  • @endolith: Being able to edit a question at all is the goodie. Using that as a work-around for editing a vote isn't, but it might be the least evil of all options; taking time away from other more important features is evil (ala more advanced fraud detection). Harming my experience in any way I consider evil (rep hit for changing votes). Having a minimum rep to do anything that damages the site has been adopted in many places. If this is seen as a problem in need of a solution (the presumption made here), then it will be perpetrated by those with low rep. Locking them down makes sense. Sep 1, 2011 at 16:47
  • 1
    @MerlynMorgan-Graham: Being able to edit someone else's answer, you mean? Being able to edit and change things is not a "goodie", it's an important site feature. You don't get "gifts" by gaining rep. Getting rep proves that you're trustworthy and not going to abuse the site features. Locking down votes makes no sense, even if it is being abused (which might not even be true).
    – endolith
    Sep 3, 2011 at 13:31
  • @endolith: Yes I meant answer. Locking down content/features is a common reward mechanism - see video games. I know that's not how the site presents it or treats it. But that's a way users can choose view it. That's a way I've viewed it. But I've stated my point of view and I don't really have any more detail to provide. You are free to disagree with it. Both ends of our conversation are expressing opinions. There is no absolute right here. Sep 3, 2011 at 21:02
  • 1
    @cori: it's a matter of reputation -- the sum of votes is zero, but it has had both up and down votes. Once your reputation is high enough, you can click on the number itself to see specifics.
    – sarnold
    Nov 20, 2011 at 5:32
  • 1
    "I find that many posts I need to change my vote on, it's because they were edited and improved (or made worse, in rare cases.)". Well, if the question changed, that can cause the answer to improve or worsen aswell. The quality of the answer is not just an inherent property of the answer. Mar 22, 2014 at 16:32

I definitely see where this feature request is coming from, but I think it may be inadvertently treating a symptom rather than a problem.

If a question is edited so much that it makes existing good answers bad or vice versa, it's likely — just likely, not guaranteed — that something was wrong with the edit. It could be a case of an editor accidentally changing the question's intent, or it could be a confused new user trying to ask another question. In those cases, action should be taken, but resetting the votelock isn't the right action.

On the other hand, the edit could be the OP updating with an "I tried what user 124390 said, but it didn't work" message or clarifying an ambiguity/typo. In those sorts of cases, resetting the votelock could be appropriate, although it might be better to just have the answerers delete their posts.

  • This answer was originally (briefly) posted as an answer to another question, which was identified as a duplicate of this one.
    – Pops
    Aug 30, 2011 at 20:02

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