First Scenario: Edits so Upvotes can be Changed to Downvotes

Recently I found an interesting occurrence when going to re-edit one of my answers. One of my answers were edited by a person, so they could un-upvote it and then down-vote it.

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I assume it was to gain some kind of strategic advantage on the question, as one cannot normally change their votes after 25 minutes, so by putting in a small edit, the vote can be changed.

Second Scenario: Opposing Example

On the other hand, this allows us to change downvotes to upvotes when question frames change or we make small adjustments to answers: enter image description here enter image description here After a small edit, I felt that it clarified the answer enough that the downvote was no longer necessary. In fact, combined with a frame change on the question, their answer was now one of the best. Following this edit, I changed my vote from a downvote to an upvote.


I believe the intended reason for being unable to change a vote unless an edit is made, is for when a fix or change is made, and an answer/question is improved enough to warrant a change from a downvote to an upvote (similar to the second scenario).

By allowing re-votes after a personal edit, one can do the second scenario, making the necessary change oneself and revert their vote from a downvote when the answer has been improved, or the question frame has changed. At the same time, however, it enables the first scenario, where someone can edit another's answer to change their votes strategically.

Is this first scenario sufficiently offset by the second to justify allowing votes to be recast after personal edits? Curious about advice/opinions from other users.

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    $\begingroup$ "Strategic advantage on a question"? Is there some kind of contest going on? Can I play? AM I PLAYING NOW?? $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 16 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk Yes, I assume they're using the 'do a barrel roll' strategy to try to come out on top $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 16 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Use of 'Strategy' inherited from this famous parody post of 6 simple tips to get rep fast: number two of farming rep, 'Use Downvotes and Comments Strategically', haha $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 16 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ While there will always be ways people can game the system, I've noticed lately that there have been a number of dishonest vote casters. Gratefully, SE's engine is actually pretty good at tracking that behavior and busting the proverbial head, but it's a practice in patience (it's intentionally slow). $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 20 at 6:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Interesting, I remember reading about SE’s engine being able to rollback suspicious upvotes and accordingly dish out suspensions for repeat offenses, does this also apply to downvotes? $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 20 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it does. The rules governing the automatic behavior are a closely guarded secret (so people can't skirt them). Very early on in my SE experience I was question-banned for a while on Stack Overflow. The "rules" had been set extraordinarily tight (I'd asked 3-4 questions before the ban) and mine was one of the thousands of complaints that led to SE's changes to the Code of Conduct and how the automatics work (because the SO culture at that time was toxic, making the rules basically irrelevant). But, yes, the automatics apply to ups/downs/votes/flags... you are being watched, my friend. $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 20 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Big brother, wherever you are, please spare me. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 20 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ If someone does this, can you rollback the edit, and if so, does that undo their "un-upvote"? Anyone know the answer? $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Oct 13 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DWKraus I can say that I rolled it back, as the edit did nothing substantial for my answer (one word change). It didn’t seem to reverse the downvote or upvote, however. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Oct 13 at 23:00

I have been a Worldbuilding member for like four years, and SE member for over seven years. I don't remember a single case in which someone managed to alter someone else's answer to make it worse.

I think that's because of a combination of factors:

  1. Changes to allow you to change your vote are all very minor;
  2. New users (rep < 2,000) cannot make changes without approval from older users (rep = 2,000+).
  3. The vast majority of people who get 2,000+ reputation end up learning the ropes along the way, so they know how to use the site in a fair way.

Since an edit will either keep the answer quality as is or improve it, I think the case in which someone would edit an answer to downvote it is really an edge case scenario (and I'm surprised it happened here). Usually we edit in order to upvote something once it has been improved. I do it all the time.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see, you make some good points; I did not consider that, to hit 2K rep means to have some degree of responsibility for the rights we gain for editing, so most will probably use these abilities for positive purposes. Thanks for the answer! $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 16 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ Accepted as the answer for now, I believe your answer makes sense, and justifies why such a system is generally positive :) $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 18 at 1:26

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