I'm using a touchscreen smartphone to browse SO and I go to favourite a question. Through a combination of Homer-Simpson-style typing ability and the general lack of accuracy afforded by an oldish screen I hit downvote instead of the favourite star.

Now I find myself in a situation where I either leave the poor guy wish an erroneous -1 (and slight damage to my own rep) or give the guy +1 when I didn't think his question was either good nor bad. I simply wanted to see what answers were given.

What is the correct course of action?

  • 2
    In general: see the many tooltips on the SO sites. Like the tooltip for the downvote tells you: This question is unclear or not useful (click again to undo)
    – Arjan
    Oct 31, 2010 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


You could always take back the downvote if you do it right away. Press the downvote arrow again to take it back. The problem is that you can't vote up or down later when the voting grace period expires (5 min apparently). If you can determine that you would upvote it eventually, then give it an upvote, otherwise leave it blank.

  • 1
    the grace period is much shorter, I think. In some circumstances I was unable to change even after as small as 15 seconds. Oct 31, 2010 at 10:04
  • @Stefano: According to Jeff, the grace period was relaxed earlier this year based on this response. I can't find anything recent to say otherwise. Were you aware of this change? Oct 31, 2010 at 10:18
  • I just tested, and the 5 minute grace period is confirmed. (I thought that change only applied during the edit grace period, but testing shows that indeed one can change votes during 5 minutes. Odd, given that earlier reduction. But nice.)
    – Arjan
    Oct 31, 2010 at 10:42
  • @Jeff I don't know, it could have been a network issue then. recently I was unable to undo a negative vote I issued. I started writing a comment, realized I was wrong, tried to undo the -1, but I was unable to. Actually, the counter went up and the arrow disappeared, but when I reloaded the page, my negative vote was still there. I tried this many many times, with no success. I don't downvote frequently, so I have no big experience with it, but that was my experience. Oct 31, 2010 at 11:28
  • @Stefano - it could have been that someone else down-voted at the same time. Did the arrow return to it's grey "no vote" state?
    – ChrisF Mod
    Oct 31, 2010 at 13:49
  • @Stefano - There is a bug with the display where retracted downvotes still leave the displayed vote total at -1 until someone else votes on that answer. Expanding the vote totals for these shows the vote split at 0/0 though. (Presumably related to this issue - though the complaint there is about retracted upvotes) Oct 31, 2010 at 14:14
  • @ChrisF : no, the arrow was still orange Oct 31, 2010 at 15:31

If the voting grace period has expired and you have the rep to edit other people's posts, make a trivial edit of their post (which will allow you to change your vote), leaving an edit summary like:

Trivial edit to remove accidental downvote from phone.

If you don't have the rep, leave a comment on the post saying what happened, and ask them to do the trivial edit. Come back later when they've done it, and change your vote. This has happened to me and I've found that people are happy to do it to get rid of that -1.

  • I tried this method where I edited it myself and was still unable to remove my accidental downvote. Jan 2, 2013 at 19:06
  • 2
    @bigmike7801 You don't have enough rep on any site to edit someone else's post without the change being peer reviewed. See meta.stackexchange.com/q/76251/146318. And trivial edits like I suggested will probably get rejected; enough rejections and you won't be allowed to make more edits for a while.
    – Niall C.
    Jan 2, 2013 at 19:11
  • Ah ok, I guess I didn't realize my edits were being peer reviewed first. Jan 2, 2013 at 20:55

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