It has happened to me a few times. I've read through a question and answer, misunderstood some key point and accidentally voted the wrong way. Then a minute later I realize what I have done and try and undo my vote only to have it be locked on me. Surely I can't be the only one who has experienced this?

Sure you could argue that I need to read more carefully before I vote, but I think anyone is capable of making the occasional mistake. You can also kind of work around this issue by doing a quick edit to the question or answer that has a locked vote and then correct the vote, that is less then ideal though.

I've also experienced the occasional technical hiccup where my vote is marked on the client but when refreshed is not marked on the server. Attempted to re-vote to correct the state is met with the locked message, which is annoying to say the least.

My suggestion is to remove the vote lock or alternatively, increase the grace period to something more reasonable. While I understand that is an attempt to prevent tactical downvoting, I think the solution could use improvement. How about your votes only get locked on a per question basic if you have a "competing" answer?

Basically, I understand the need to prevent gaming, but this is one of those anti-gaming countermeasures that decreases the usability of the site is a highly visible way.

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    The purpose is to prevent vote fraud and gaming of the system. For instance, we don't want people to downvote answers to push theirs to the top, and then remove them later. What's wrong with just editing? No answer is so good that there isn't a some kind of edit that you can make to improve it. Then you'll be able to change your vote. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 14:59
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    The vote lock is there to try and stop people from gaming the system. If you do a search in meta for "Vote Lock" you'll find the posts discussing this. Extending the time-out has also been discussed before see Should the vote lock-in time be extended? Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:01
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    If it's only "a minute" then you're within the grace period.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:05
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    Thanks for the links to the other questions. I understand, but I still think the solution is less then optimal. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:26
  • Edited question to talk about gaming of the system. While I understand what tactical downvoting is, I don't really understand how locking prevents it. What's to stop someone from downvoting your answer and just leaving it downvoted? Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:33
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    @James It costs them rep and leaves a trail, since 1k users can tell that every answer was downvoted except one Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:48
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    And what is wrong with simply downvoting all answers except one. I systematically do that to cast my impression on how I think a bunch of answers should be ordered in a question with many answers. I think this is useful for the person that is going to read them. It is a good and useful way to expend reputation. Commented Jun 29, 2013 at 22:16
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    Consider the following: The 5 minute rule stays as-is, but allow one exception each week. This would be a low cost solution that would provide some relief to people who have an occasional need to undo a vote. One simple rule to fix a problem with a minority gaming group can justify another simple rule to ameliorate the effect it has on everyone else. Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


The voting grace period is 5 minutes. So after clicking up or down, you have 5 minutes to change your mind.

If the final vote state is indeterminate, that is, neither up nor down, you can still change your vote at any time.

If you need to change your up or down vote after 5 minutes, you can do so by editing the underlying post -- posts which have been edited since you cast your vote are always eligible for re-voting.

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    That seems like a very backward hack. doesnt that remove the block on exploiting votes when i could just downvote someone to gain popularity and then when i get the pop vote, edit the post and remove my vote?
    – Naftali
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 18:59
  • @Neal, if are found to abuse the system in that way, I'm sure the Mods wouldn't be happy.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 19:01
  • @jjnguy -- I am not saying that I ever would. But there might be others who will
    – Naftali
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 19:04
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    @Neal: a lot of the more bizarre behaviors in SE aren't about making bad behavior impossible so much as just difficult or tedious and annoying.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 19:21
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    @Neal - Voting is not tracked. Editing is. If you edit every other answer shortly after your post bubbles to the top, wouldn't that look a little suspicious? Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 19:39
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    @Kevin: Exactly. The edit history provides a degree of accountability.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 19:50
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    This very trick (editing just so I can vote) has occurred to me before, but I didn't do it specifically because it felt like abuse. Are you actually encouraging us to exploit a loophole in the system? I can't imagine this not being thought of as one. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 20:08
  • @Justin: Yes, yes they are. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 20:16
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    Well, in that case I'm favoriting this question so that in the future, when someone catches me doing it and complains, I can refer back to it and blame Jeff. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 20:34
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    You can't just edit the post and re-vote. It takes xxx reputation to edit, then you have to make more than xxx character changes, then you have to wait until someone else reviews it!
    – Chloe
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 16:17

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