I know that if your answer is edited, that you are then allowed to change your vote.

However, if you are the person who edits the answer, should you be allowed to change your vote?

The reason why I ask this is that one of my answers recently had a one character whitespace change, and immediately afterwards, was voted down... now, this might be co-incidence ;-) but it is a big one if so, and what I believe happened is that the question was edited, explicitly so that the user could change their vote.

What are your thoughts? Should this be allowed?

Edit: OK... I get the hint, this is as designed. I would delete the question, but too many people have disagreed with me, so now I can't ;-).

  • I have asked for the question to be closed, please stop down-voting? Jan 21, 2010 at 22:47
  • 1
    If you're concerned about the loss of rep, just edit and make it community wiki.
    – tvanfosson
    Jan 21, 2010 at 22:48
  • Not so much concerned about the loss of rep, more that the message has already been sent… Jan 21, 2010 at 22:49
  • 2
    Question closed on your request. However, this will only prevent answers from being added - people can still vote. Jan 21, 2010 at 23:10
  • 10
    @Paul: this is meta; don't sweat the downvotes. I've got some severely downvoted posts in my history and I consider it a badge of honour that I am so contrary :)
    – Ether
    Jan 21, 2010 at 23:52
  • 2
    The question shouldn't be deleted, it should just have the "status by design" tag put in.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 22, 2010 at 0:58

5 Answers 5


It'd be nice if they just allowed users of a LARGE rep to just be able to change their vote without an edit. This would keep out any hint of impropriety, and keeps the post from inching towards Community Wiki status.

  • 6
    +1. I'm good with the current situation, but if it's to change, I think this is a very reasonable and sensible way to approach it. I don't know what the threshold should be (maybe the edit threshold -- 2K), but it seems a good compromise.
    – John Rudy
    Jan 21, 2010 at 22:40
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    What makes you think users with large reps are immune to the temptation to game the system? If it's going to change, then vote history needs to be tracked.
    – tvanfosson
    Jan 21, 2010 at 22:49
  • @tvanfosson: Good point. I sometimes forget that other people aren't as blaise about Arbitrary Big Number as I am. You'd think that once the 3000 (or at worst, 10000) threshold is crossed, the temptation would go away, but I suppose that's not necessarily true.
    – John Rudy
    Jan 21, 2010 at 22:54
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    @tvanfosson, I agree, vote history should be tracked, but only accessible to the highest powers. I still like anonymous voting. Jan 21, 2010 at 22:55

'Time was, you could just change your vote. For any reason. Or no reason at all. Whenever you felt like it... Well, there was some cut-off, but it was hours or perhaps even days after the vote was cast; hardly notable, really.

Then someone made a big stink about "strategic voting", and the undo/change feature got caught in the crossfire. Poor little bugger, never really had a chance, such a sad demise (I mourn it still).

So now, if you up-vote a post and then realize that it has some grave but subtle error, or was edited after you read it but before you voted, or merely isn't as deserving of an up-vote as some other answer, you have to edit the post in order to retract it.

Clumsy? Yeah. But that's all we have - it's that or live with regret, forever tormented by The Vote That Should Not Be. C'est la Vie...

  • Yeah - if I'd voted differently on a particular answer, I'd have the Populist badge by now. The thing is - I voted it up figuring it was a legitimate way to solve the problem (my first day on SO), but I actually haven't ever really liked the answer, and wish I could take it back. Not sure I'd vote it down just for the gold badge, but I'd like to undo my upvote.
    – Rob Farley
    Jan 22, 2010 at 0:56
  • or merely isn't as deserving of an up-vote as some other answer Your vote on a post should not be "relative" to your vote on another post, at least no more than is already dictated by your own built-in "post quality" scale. That is, it seems wrong that you'd remove an upvote on post A because you later noticed that post B is even better. Mar 12, 2012 at 14:14
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    Yeah, a lotta folks disagree with me on this strategy, @Light... My rationale is simple though: I vote first to rank answers, and only second (if at all) on any sort of built-in "quality scale". IMHO, FGITW practically demands this - an early answer may be fine, but later answers (or edits to earlier answers) may dramatically change the landscape. And in some cases, perfectly good answers simply become obsolete! I don't care if your answer was good enough once - I care about now.
    – Shog9
    Mar 12, 2012 at 14:35

I'm fine with the current situation.

Like: if I misunderstood an answer and voted down, and then later understand that I was wrong, then why shouldn't I be able to clarify the answer (assuming that will prevent others from misunderstanding as well) and remove my downvote?


My understanding is that it is explicitly allowed, even recommended, when you want to change a vote after the initial lock-in period. The idea is that at least edits are tracked so if a vote is changed after an edit you can find out who did it and notice patterns of behavior that might lead one to believe that voting fraud is taking place. Normally, you'd see this as a downvote, edit, then removal of the downvote (strategic voting to improve the chances of the voter's answer being place higher in the answer list).

I personally see no problem with editing an answer to change a vote if no fraud is intended and that is the only mechanism available.


This is wrong. I might edit a post to change it from a bad to a good answer. Then I should change my vote.

Perhaps I should have edited it before downvoting but this is wrong too - my edit may take time or I may learn enough information from researching the awful awful answer to correct it.

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