On the main photo.stackexchange.com page, I see a list of Top Questions, ordered by activity. Today, I noticed a question in the list that I answered back in 2018:

Where can I find the old (free) version of Nik Collection?

The question is marked in the list as: "modified 19 hours ago marg 1"

However, when I go into the question itself, I see no recent activity. Also, this user "marg" seems to have no actions listed in their activity in their user profile.

So, what's going on? What activity did marg perform today on that question?

Additionally, I have a notification that I've lost 2 reputation points coming from that question. I suppose it means my answer there was downvoted? So, is it correct to assume then that marg (with no great participation on the site, and a rep of 1) came along and downvoted my answer, and by virtue of that, the question appears as active on the homepage? Sorry to "out" marg with regard to downvotes, I'm just trying to understand.

2 Answers 2


marg's "answer" was a question asking for help installing Nik software. It was flagged as not-an-answer, and I deleted it.

Regarding the downvote on your answer to the same question, it wasn't marg, it was somebody else's DV. If I had to guess, it was probably just drive-by DV, sort of an "opportune shot" following the question's sudden visibility due to marg's now-deleted answer to the question.


Though this does not appear to be the case in this instance, it is possible for a user with editing privileges to edit an answer, remove their own previous upvote or downvote, then roll back the edit. Or they can simply add a single space at the end of the answer and not roll it back.

The reason the edit is done is because upvotes and downvotes are "locked in" after a specific period (5 minutes?) and can't be changed unless the answer is edited after the vote was cast.

Confession: I have been guilty of this strategy to remove downvotes that I later realize I had cast in error.

It seems this practice is not viewed in a positive light by those who administer the SE network and the mods who (sometimes) enforce the administrators policies.

A while back it was fairly apparent there was a specific user doing this rather frequently over a short time period to several of my answers that user had previously upvoted. By editing my answer the other user was able to both remove an upvote and cast a downvote. This reduced the answer's score by two (-1 for removing the upvote, and another -1 for adding the downvote) and my total reputation by 12 points (-10 for removing the upvote and -2 for adding the downvote). Of course I have no way of knowing for sure that the same user did the edit, removed the upvote, and added the downvote. But when they all happen within a few seconds of one another, it doesn't take much to connect the dots.

In at least one case, the user also deselected my answer to one of their questions as the "accepted" answer, removing my answer from the top of the listed answers and also reducing my rep by another 15 points. Of course, since the OP of the question is the only person who can select/deselect and answer as "accepted", there's no doubt what user that action came from.

  • 1
    You are correct, SE frowns heavily on such "vote, and edit the post later to change the vote" actions, at least when it happens as a pattern. It happens sometimes, and usually the well-intentioned voter/editor comments when they do it (because they are trying to undo a downvote, and change it to a neutral or upvote). In those cases, mods don't do anything; after all, the intention is good. In the edit-to-downvote case, mods are more inclined to intervene and address the issue with the edit-to-downvoter.
    – scottbb Mod
    Jan 30, 2021 at 1:11
  • 1
    I have to admit, in years past I have edited posts in order to remove my downvote to change it to neutral or upvote. This is usually due to my misunderstanding of the post when I initially downvoted it, and after discussion in the comments, if the post never received an edit, I'd copy-edit it for grammar, punctuation, etc., and then change my DV. It's been rare and isolated when I've done it. But I shouldn't excuse myself: it's still gaming or misusing the intention of the SE system. But in the serial behavior you were describing, yeah, that certainly warranted higher attention.
    – scottbb Mod
    Jan 30, 2021 at 1:15
  • @scottbb Though it's been several years, as I recall the issue got higher attention. I don't remember if the actions were reversed, but it did seem to stop any further use of that process by that user, at least with regard to answers I've posted.
    – Michael C
    Jan 30, 2021 at 13:22

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