I accidentally downvoted an answer that I really meant to upvote, and didn't realize it until it was too late. (The answer not only gives the desired result, but includes a good explanation, so a downvote clearly isn't warranted.)

The system says that I can't retract the downvote until and unless the answer is edited. And I don't think that means I can change the vote if I edit it myself. And even if I could, that wouldn't reverse the change in rep that I suffered because of the downvote.

I'm not sure that flagging the answer is the right way to go, but I think that only a moderator (or someone higher in the hierarchy) can do anything about that.

So what is the proper action?

  • I was told that if you edit the post you can revise your vote. It didn't try this out, though. You could also ask the OP to edit it, or explain that you edited only to revise your vote. If you have a reason to edit (fix a typo) it might be less awkward. (I should perhaps also say that I am not excited about the locked vote "feature". Seems to indicate that the powers do not trust us enough to assume that we wouldn't to revenge unupvotes.)
    – user194703
    Apr 10, 2020 at 22:46
  • @Schrödinger'scat -- Too late to try that -- I've already apologized. (That'll teach me to be more careful with the touchpad on my laptop when I'm also eating from a bento box.) Apr 10, 2020 at 22:52
  • 4
    "And I don't think that means I can change the vote if I edit it myself" yes you can, already tested myself in an analogous situation. You can do a little edit, revert the vote and, if you like, you can edit the edit to go back to the original post.
    – CarLaTeX
    Apr 10, 2020 at 22:53
  • @CarLaTeX -- Saved by a friendly Alan Munn. Apr 10, 2020 at 22:59
  • 1
    @CarLaTeX You could write an answer. If I remember correctly, I heard this trick from you (but I never tried it out). Of course, there may be an issue if someone considers this trick vote fraud.
    – user194703
    Apr 11, 2020 at 0:05
  • 2
    @Schrödinger'scat I prefer some moderator writes an official answer
    – CarLaTeX
    Apr 11, 2020 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


Voting is the voter's prerogative, and therefore they are the person who needs to intervene if something was done by accident and any correction period has lapsed. The best way to handle it is to edit the post, then reverse your vote or vote alternatively. Yes, this is possible.

These types of voting corrections should be very few, and therefore shouldn't cause an issue with flooding of the active posts or misuse of editing privileges.

The only need for a moderator to step in would be if the person doesn't not have the reputation to edit the post. Even in that case, as a last resort, you could follow the post (click on the follow link at the bottom of the post) and revisit it when you receive a notification about an edit, at which time you can take the appropriate corrective voting action.

  • Yes, it seems this is the only reasonable answer. I still have a problem with editing a question for such a reason because I find it misleading. (I have a similar problem with making trivial, meaningless, edits that don't add anything useful, as it might lead someone looking at the current active list to make an incorrect assumption about who is responsible for a question. But that's the way the system works. So be it.) Apr 22, 2020 at 23:40
  • 1
    You can make invisible edits by adding an HTML comment to the source. This will still count as an edit but won't be perceived as having done something trivial to the actual post.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 23, 2020 at 13:17

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