I'm making a user voting system, I'm thinking if I should allow the user to take back their up vote or down vote.

Obvious reasons for allowing users to do that would be because they changed their opinion.

Any other reasons I should consider to sway me to either allow or disallow?

1 Answer 1


You are correct that it does help for users to be able to change their vote for a number of reasons; they could have misread the post, changed their mind, accidentally clicked the wrong one, etc. Perhaps you upvoted a post saying "I want world peace" and the the poster edited it to say "I like My Little Pony", if you can't take your vote back all your friends will think you're a Bronie.

However, you should also impose a limit to the amount of time they have to do so. If a user gets downvoted by someone on the site they may go out with a vengeance and take back every upvote they ever gave them. Or on a Q&A site like this if the asker accepts an answer other than your own you may try to retract your upvote out of spite. If the post hasn't changed there is little good reason to allow a user to change their opinion. That is why StackExchange gives you a 5 minute grace period to change your answer, after that it is locked in unless an edit is made to the question. If you try to change your vote you get an error like this:

enter image description here

  • Thank you for the great insight! What could be the reasons behind why some sites/apps that don't allow retraction?
    – Abu Nooh
    Jul 14, 2016 at 18:55
  • @AbuNooh If perhaps the site is for "voting" in a more strict sense, such as passing bills, elections, etc. They want your answer to be more thought through and final. They won't want people flip flopping and changing sides. However, for most cases where this isn't implemented it is likely just lack of forethought no realizing it would be helpful, or lack of development skills as it is significantly more difficult to implement (in my experience)
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 14, 2016 at 19:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.