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Undoing an up-vote / down-vote on the Stack Exchange sites is achieved by clicking the original button twice.

Since the voting widget is a spinner, when I up-vote an answer, and later change my mind, I click the down button, which actually changes my vote from +1 to -1, instead of just cancelling the up-vote.

Is Stack Exchange's approach correct?

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There is never a correct approach to something. It is always someone's choice, and in the case of StackExchange, I think it works fine. You managed to work it out, as did pretty much everyone else.

It may look like a spinner, but it isn't - it's more like a thumbs up and thumbs down (but cleaner looking in my opinion).

If you were to "fix" it now, that would likely cause confusion as thousands of people would have to relearn what they already know - and that would be a poor decision.

  • They are not spinners, and the tooltips make this clear. They are votes on a question or answer. – Schroedingers Cat Sep 26 '11 at 11:21
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It addition to the other answers, the tooltip you get for the arrow is pretty explicit:

This answer is [not] useful (click again to undo)

I know not everyone reads tooltips, but it is there.

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i didn't think of it as a spinner but now that i think of it i find that SE's vote button doesn't behave like a spinner. so is SE's vote button bad because it looks some what like something that behaves differently, but for the most part i think no because spinners are rare, and for the most part have been replaced with text fields where the user types in the numbers rather than clicking a lot to set them.

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