I don't get it. I'd like to remove my downvote against an answer on this question: Use SSH hostname aliases in browser

But I can't. Someone has actually coded a feature to prevent you doing this after some time threshold.


  • 2
    Side note: People with high rep get random downvotes all the time. They really wont give it a second thought. Noob tend to freak out however, so better to be careful around them.
    – Chris S
    Apr 17, 2013 at 12:51
  • Ok, a couple of people are making the assumption that I'm motivated by others' hurt feelings. It's actually more about correctness: I consider the downvote an error, and I want to correct it. Apr 19, 2013 at 7:11
  • One workaround to level it back out...just downvote every other answer. ;)
    – TheCleaner
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


It's not X days, it's 5 minutes...

(In principle, this question belongs on meta.SO, but I think it's worth having an answer here that doesn't require people to go looking over there.)

As far as I can tell, this answer of Jeff's (one of the SO founders, though no longer part of the company) is still the official reason: they don't want people to downvote a post to make it look bad, post their own answer (which will look better because it's not -1), then later take the downvote away.

There are a number of questions about this on meta.SO, but despite some good arguments against locking votes after 5 minutes, SO Inc. thinks it's fine the way it is, so it's not going to change.

There is a laborious workaround: edit the post then change your vote. But that only works if you have enough rep to edit w/out your edit being reviewed.

So basically, don't worry about it. Since Iain's answer is the only one with a downvote, it's obvious that that's the vote you'd like to change. But it's just one downvote and since he gave an answer you'd ruled out your downvote it arguably appropriate and - unlike some SE sites - I don't think SF has people who go nuts about every single downvote.

TL;DR: Don't worry about it, just move on.

  • 1
    Ah. Jeff Atwood. Again. Should have guessed. \ Anyway, I may have misunderstood the downvotee's answer, and maybe he was actually proposing something similar to what I gave as my answer. Apr 17, 2013 at 3:36

Yep. Because the theory goes:

  • This is a poor answer, I will give it a -1
  • If they want to rid themselves of the -1's, then they should improve their answer with an edit
  • If they edit it, everyone who has previously voted can re-cast their vote
  • If they don't edit it, then the original reasoning for your vote still stands

See for more info:

  • Vote for my answer, now with 3x more opinion! Apr 17, 2013 at 3:31
  • I can't decide if I should leave my downvote in place to illustrate how stupid the tactical downvoting justification is... Apr 17, 2013 at 3:32
  • Nooooooooooooooo my first ever negative scored answer Apr 17, 2013 at 3:32
  • I'd forgotten the bit about how a 0 answer shows up before a -1... Apr 17, 2013 at 3:34
  • 2
    If they don't edit it, then the original possibly mistaken reasoning for your vote still stands Apr 17, 2013 at 3:36
  • @SteveBennett - correct. Not saying I agree with it, but I remember when it first came up and honestly - it doesn't cause too many issues. Just be glad it happened to such a high rep user who is already cynical and jaded, and so can probably survive a single downvote :) Apr 17, 2013 at 3:38
  • 1
    You should see it over on SciFi.SE I've seen whining from 5 of the top 8 users when they get a downvote. Apr 17, 2013 at 3:40
  • 5
    -1, excellent experience, would downvote again.
    – Wesley
    Apr 17, 2013 at 4:49
  • 2
    Oh, darn, I wish I could take my downvote away now that my answer has benefited from being more prominent. It really hurts me not to be able to... Apr 17, 2013 at 5:08
  • 1
    You're eligible for a badge now :)
    – user9517
    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:37
  • I thought the theory was - 'Take time to think before voting'. Be certain that the question is good or bad before you cast a vote.
    – Zoredache
    Apr 18, 2013 at 18:16

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