I recently upvoted an answer to one of my questions. The answer was wrong, but I thought it was helpful enough to earn an upvote.

A couple of hours later, the answer changed significantly and (in my view) got a little worse. The answer was still wrong and had earned 4 upvotes. So I decided to un-upvote.

Seemingly as a result, the answer's vote count changed by -2. This raises a question.

Was the -2 change due to my own upvote being removed and a downvote being logged? This was not my intention. I believe this is the case because (1) the downarrow now glows on my view and (2) it says under "reputation" that I received -1 for downvoting this question.

Why can't I just undo an upvote? edit: I can, but didn't know how; thank you for the remedy mentioned in the comments.

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ To undo an upvote you have to click the upvote arrow again. Clicking the downvote arrow will change the vote to an actual downvote, not only undo the upvote. $\endgroup$
    – user35354
    May 28 '14 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ And as a corollary, you can undo an unintended down-vote by clicking the down-arrow again (within certain time-frame). $\endgroup$ May 28 '14 at 18:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sorry... this undoing manoeuvre was not obvious to me! $\endgroup$ May 28 '14 at 20:02

Yes, the change of -2 was due to your up-vote being directly changed to a down-vote.

Clicking the down-vote button also when having clicked the up-vote button beforehand has a down-vote as outcome.

There is however a way to undo an up-vote: click the up-vote button for a second time.

The situation is analogous for undoing a down-vote.

Also note that both types of votes can be changed for some period of time after they were cast, yet not indefinitely. After some time they are "locked" and can then only be changed if an edit happened after the vote was cast.


The vote count is a net score, or the sum of up-votes shown over the sum of down-votes when it's expanded, or just the sum otherwise. Now that we update this in (close to) real time, it's increasingly common to notice several people voting (or un-voting) on any given post at the same time. Hence, someone down-voted as you were retracting your up-vote, retracting it doesn't automatically cause you to cast another vote in the opposite direction.

This is precisely why we allow you to take back (or even reverse) a vote once a post has been edited, if it no longer merits the vote that you gave it (in either direction), you should have the ability to change it.

Note, depending on your connection (and ISP), the 'real time' stuff can look a little off. If you visit some hot questions from around the network right around the time the US East Coast gets back from lunch, you'll see what I mean. You can always click to show the vote counts in order to get an accurate count at the time that you clicked.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ "Hence, someone down-voted as you were retracting your up-vote, retracting it doesn't automatically cause you to cast another vote in the opposite direction." No. The question was based on the false premise that clicking the "down" button is the only thing that can be down to get rid of the marked "up" button, which is what OP did. Thus they actually changed the up to a down vote and changed by their own action the score by -2. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Jun 3 '14 at 14:58

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