I am aware of the reasons reputation has a floor of 1, and I think that's just fine. Occasionally I will downvote a post whose OP has a reputation of 1. I'm OK with how the downvote will only affect the post's score and not the OP's reputation. For reasons I do not understand, some of the terrible posts which I downvote will later get an upvote. (These feel like pity upvotes to me.) Since the downvote won't retroactively change the OP's rep, now they have a reputation of 11 but their single post (and it's usually a single post) is at e.g. +1/-3.

Occasionally I will come across the post again in the course of my normal site activity. If it hasn't been edited, then I can't reverse my vote. This is a little annoying but, in the grand scheme of things, small. If it has been edited (in which case I'm more likely to see it again, due to the bump) then I will typically undownvote and redownvote for the express purpose of making my vote "count". This is especially likely on Puzzling, where people will often blindly add spoilers to answers without checking for quality.

The first time I did this was out of spite, but now I also worry about them getting out of the new user restrictions (most notably, answering protected questions) just because of this bad post.

Of course, if I come across the post again but it's been improved, or someone has pointed out why it's fine after all, I'll usually reverse the downvote without redownvoting. Sometimes I'll even upvote.

I recently realized that maybe I was exploiting the system a little bit, so I guess the essence of this is...


Assuming this specific sequence of events has occurred:

  • I downvote a poor post
  • The post is edited (not by me)
  • I naturally find the post again, and it's still bad

Is reversing and immediately redownvoting OK? Should I stop doing it?

  • “Is reversing and immediately redownvoting OK?” -Do you find the edited question helpful, if it’s unhelpful, downvote it
    – Ramhound
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:25
  • @Ramhound I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do you mean I should downvote the edited but still bad post? I'm asking specifically about the case where I've already downvoted the bad post, and I manipulate the tools available to me to get the OP's rep down by two.
    – bobble
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:28
  • It doesn’t matter. Your reversal doesn’t earn them reputation back since their reputation wasn’t adjusted with the original vote. If the contribution isn’t helpful then you should downvote it.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:37
  • 6
    I'm still not sure what you mean by just downvoting it. I've already downvoted it. If I do nothing it will still be downvoted. I'm going out of my way to downvote it again. I agree that it should be downvoted. I'm not sure if it's okay to pull strings which will end up affecting just their reputation.
    – bobble
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:40
  • 2
    @bobble, I don't see much point in decreasing their score in this situation (leaving aside a question of whether trying to decrease someone's score is beneficial or not) (especially comparing -2 for downvote against +10 for upvote). If they are eventually stuck with reputation 1, there is nothing to do. If they have reputation >1 but don't create bad posts later, I see no reason to care about this -2 reputation. And if they continue creating bad posts, you can downvote these posts (again, no reason to care about just -2 reputation).
    – Dmitry
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:40
  • 3
    I'm also not asking for whether I should do this. I'm asking for whether it's OK to do this is I want to.
    – bobble
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:41
  • 1
    @bobble - The downvote either way contributes to a question ban or answer ban. So the only thing your downvote would do is temporarily prevent them from gaining additional permissions based on reputation gates.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:45
  • 3
    @bobble, IMO, it should be OK to do this since 1) its observable effects (including affecting the ability to answer protected posts) are negligible, as I outlined above, 2) you didn't violate any rules.
    – Dmitry
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:47
  • But does it actually make any difference? The order in which votes are cast shouldn't matter. Aug 20, 2022 at 7:03
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum it does, because users can't drop below 1, so if a new user's post is at +0/-2 then they still have 1 rep
    – bobble
    Aug 20, 2022 at 14:11

2 Answers 2


Is reversing and immediately redownvoting OK?

Yes, this is perfectly OK, in my opinion, especially with very low-quality posts where sometimes the post would get suspicious, unexplainable upvotes.

This is my rationale:

  • The system doesn't prevent you from retracting your vote as long as the post has been edited. It also doesn't prevent you from resubmitting your up-/down-votes.

  • You're well within your right to use the tools that the system provides as you see fit as long as there's no abuse.

  • I don't believe there's abuse in this case.


I guess part of the question is 'how' punitive a downvote is supposed to be. Assuming there's any reputation gain, it presumes the user has gotten rep for good answers and has presumably learnt their lesson. Taking the effort to downvote a bad past question seems a little mean if the user has learnt and is generally doing better. Negative reinforcement isn't our only goal/means to help users improve.

Changing your vote is supposed to reflect a change (in quality) of the post. Mechanically its fine, and shouldn't get you in trouble but it doesn't feel like the right thing to do.

  • 7
    "seems a little mean if the user has learnt and is generally doing better". That's a fair point, although bobble specifically mentions the case where the edited question is still poor, but has (probably) received a "pity vote", so its score is now +1/-3. In that situation, the OP probably hasn't learned to do better.
    – PM 2Ring
    Jul 15, 2022 at 12:31

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