Similar to this question, but different reasoning:

Be able to edit a vote on an answer if the question is changed

And I feel like I have to ask a new question so that Jeff will notice.

Someone writes a question. Suppose it's a SQL one. They don't provide version information, so then I upvote an answer that runs nicely in SQL 2008. Then the question is edited to say it's actually SQL 2000. All I can do is put a comment on the answer I upvoted, saying that my upvote only applies because the code is fine in SQL 2008. But in the meantime, the answer that works on SQL 2000 is left languishing somewhere else, possibly never notice because the asker hasn't accepted it. So unless the person who Googles/Bings/Altavistas the solution notices the 15th comment where I write "This doesn't work on SQL 2000", and only notices the 100 upvotes (oh, sorry - I had said 'SQL', so that's not going to apply), the searcher is going to feel misled by this site.

So please, let me know if a question is edited (so that I can change my own answers), and so let me change votes if I feel it's necessary.

  • 2
    One question related to this - do answer upvotes unlock when a question is edited? I think perhaps they should if they don't since that could invalidate an answer just as much as an edit could.
    – David Hall
    Jan 4, 2010 at 4:27
  • 3
    That's what I'm saying. When the question is edited, I can't change my vote on the answer.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 4:36
  • Sorry I didn't quite make it clear enough David - I've edited the question slightly now. Theoretically, any answers on this question should be able to have their votes changed, except that this is functionality that seems to be unavailable right now.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 4:38
  • @Rob: I really don't enjoy finding "bait'n'switch" questions like what you describe.
    – OMG Ponies
    Jan 4, 2010 at 5:24
  • 1
    @OMG: Exactly. If I've written an answer, I can always change it. But if I've voted, then I feel powerless, because until the answerer changes their answer, I can't change my vote (and even then, I have no way of knowing that it's been changed).
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 5:26
  • Based on Jeff's comment... Perhaps I would prefer to be able to change an vote if a "vote-changing comment" is applied. Like "I've changed my vote from an upvote to neutral because:" and then whatever I type. So... "Because the question changed", or "Because I've done some more research and found that actually, this is bad." or "Because I misread that JOIN, and it doesn't actually work..."
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 5:28
  • @Rob: But who determines the vote changing comment? I admit I'm really tempted to downvote questions who can't properly ask their question, as long as it's apparent English isn't their first language.
    – OMG Ponies
    Jan 4, 2010 at 5:38
  • Thanks @Rob - It's clearer now (though I've been feeling a holiday dip in reading comprehension so that could be something to do with it too) As as aside, is the comment notification different here on meta? I didn't receive any notification for your comment.
    – David Hall
    Jan 4, 2010 at 6:02
  • Ah - just found a post where thread comment notification is flagged as deferred. Notificaiton is just to the owner of the post. I guess I never noticed on SO because I obsessively refresh there.
    – David Hall
    Jan 4, 2010 at 6:05
  • @OMG Sure... you can downvote the question if they've changed it, but you can't change the vote on someone's answer.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 6:11
  • All of these questions are old, but possible duplicates: Be able to edit a vote on an answer if the question is changed, Allow changing votes on answers if the question is edited (I'm not sure which should be closed as duplicates of which)
    – V2Blast
    Jan 30, 2020 at 21:51
  • 5
    Does this answer your question? Allow changing votes on answers if the question is edited
    – V2Blast
    Jan 30, 2020 at 22:26
  • No. That workaround isn’t ideal at all. This question was placed because of different emphases (such as around tags), and it got Jeff’s attention enough for him to comment. I don’t want this question to be removed, but I’m fine with it being closed.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 31, 2020 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


Does this really happen enough to justify the massive increase in complexity, and the additional rules people would need to understand?

Some problems are better solved through social means and not technological ones.

  • 2
    If it's too hard, then don't worry. I just feel like I keep finding myself upvoting something, then the question changes and I want to go back and change the upvote. I feel as if I've endorsed a product that I no longer believe in. In fact, I'd really like to be able to change a vote if I give a reason. Special kind of comment perhaps that gets associated with it, so people can see that I've changed my vote, and can flame me for it if appropriate. ;) (Perhaps that's a better request?)
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 4, 2010 at 5:04
  • 2
    I came across this question because I just faced a similar situation. Honestly I didn't even know that votes were locked in to begin with... I'm not quite sure I understand -- from a social standpoint -- why vote locking needs to happen.
    – slifty
    Mar 8, 2011 at 20:41
  • Sad (to engineers and the similarly minded) but true that some problems have non-technical answers.
    – this.josh
    Apr 28, 2011 at 18:33

It seems to happen quite often. Another example here:

Problem with static variables in java

At first, the OP didn't specify his environment. So the above answer was OK if the environment had been a J2EE server or any other server situation. But since in a Swing environment, this answer probably doesn't make sense, people might want to undo their upvote. But it's too late. And downvoting feels a bit wrong, because the answer was ok at some time

  • 2
    Edit the answer trivially and take back your upvote. This has been discussed before and is considered acceptable.
    – agf
    Aug 30, 2011 at 8:00
  • OK, I didn't know that. Thanks @agf. I guess that's good enough if this doesn't happen too often...
    – Lukas Eder
    Aug 30, 2011 at 8:07
  • @agf: Not "edit trivially", but "edit the answer so it says what it applies to". Aug 30, 2011 at 12:17
  • @Paŭlo Ebermann, that's even better
    – Lukas Eder
    Aug 30, 2011 at 12:19

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