I asked a question, and someone replied with an decent answer, so I upvoted their answer. A minute later, I discovered there might be some inaccuracies with their answer, so I un-upvoted their answer. A few more minutes later, I finally concluded the answer was correct, and tried to re-upvote their answer, but the site said my lack of a vote was now "locked in". How is this possible? It's not showing I voted at all...

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Yeah I really hate this too, I hope this gets fixed. $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Sep 24, 2010 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ I believe it has been stated by the SO founders that it is not an abuse of the system to edit the answer (and leave no edits) so you un-lock your vote. I always found this a bit shady though. $\endgroup$
    – Justin L.
    Sep 26, 2010 at 0:54

1 Answer 1


You cannot change your vote ~3 minutes after you cast the first vote, unless the post is edited.

This is a feature by design:

To help curb "tactical-downvoting," we've changed a couple things with up/down voting:

  • reduced the time window where you may undo a vote
  • started the time window on the first vote, even if it is now deleted (your use case)

So, the clock starts ticking on the first vote you make - you get a few minutes in which you may alter it, but then it's locked until the target post is edited.

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    $\begingroup$ What I don't understand is why the lack of a vote is being treated the same as an upvote or a downvote. I agree that people shouldn't be allowed to retract a vote after N minutes, but if they do retract their vote before that deadline, they should be allowed to make a vote at some unspecified point in the future. In my case, this is preventing people from making ANY vote. $\endgroup$
    – Cerin
    Sep 25, 2010 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that this question was misunderstood. The question was not about a vote getting locked but about a non-vote getting locked. However, according to this answer, the problem has been solved in the meantime. $\endgroup$
    – joriki
    Mar 16, 2012 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't curb tactical downvoting at all. The only thing it does is prevent the cheater from later undoing the damage. Please get rid of “vote locking” $\endgroup$
    – endolith
    Sep 18, 2012 at 14:38

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