I've never used the chatterbox, and I never will. Not as long
as it has a tiny, tiny, tiny textfield to input your stuff in, and
an itty-bitty column cramped in the right column for reading.
The textfield to put your normal posts in is already small enough
(djees, even in the 70's we had 80x24 ttys) to get claustrophobia.
If I want to chat, I'd use IRC. The simplest of clients has
a better interface than the chatterbox.
Re: -ve XP, node reputation, voting and learning
Replies are listed 'Best First'.
How about some user defined CSS for the writeup edit box, the Java Chatterbox for chatting, and the Message Inbox for (at least replying to) /msg's? Even with ye olden days Unix tools, the idea was that users should be able to choose things to their liking, and the monastery is the most accomodating website I've run across with regards to letting you set things up the way you like them best.
The Unix spirit also means reusing tools. If you want to send
me a private message, and have some chance of reply, do what
people have done for more than 15 years already: send me email.
If you want to chat, use IRC.
I don't believe every web site should have its own set of tools
to basically do what has been around for eons.