|Keep It Simple, Stupid|
Several people have commented on how little negative votes affect your total XP. I never said the problem was losing XP. The problem is mostly emotional.
If I used all of my votes against you, you'd probably notice a small drop in XP. You'd naturally wonder which node was unpopular and would probably wander over to your list of nodes to see. At which point you probably wouldn't notice anything (unless you can keep better track of your node reps than I can) which would make you wonder further. At this point, you'd likely track your node reps more closely and finally notice that a consecutive chunk of nodes dropped by 1. This would make you feel that someone is attacking you in a very underhanded way. It is like finding your name on the bathroom wall -- you don't know who did it, you doubt you'll ever find out, you are pretty certain it was a negative act directed at you. That sucks.
I understand the reluctance to try a technical fix to what is not a technical problem. I'm not trying to fix the non-technical problem of people being jerks. I'm trying to fix the technical problem of the voting system being a good tool for such an underhanded insult.
By all means, let's all also do what we can to reducce the person-hours of jerk behavior on PerlMonks. Be polite, don't take things personally, promote good attitudes among others, etc.
I had originally supported being able to see the number of negative votes cast against your own nodes. This was motivated by curiousity on my part. I now think that this would just make negative votes more annoying and more likely to be used to annoy.
In fact, I think that if it was made harder to notice that someone is targeting you, that would also solve the problem. I think very little targeting would go on if potential targeters knew that their activity would go unnoticed by the target. In that light, I'd vote for negative votes never dropping XP until a node's rep drops below, say -3 (or -NORM/2, whichever is more negative). I'm sure this will be unliked by many. To aid its popularity, I'd support negative votes after that point having a much larger effect on XP, quickly growing to 100% likelyhood of XP-- once the rep reaches, say -NORM.
By the way, I think the term "Shadow Conspiracy" is silly. I never mentioned gangs of people conspiring against anyone. I've always been talking about a small number of individuals, each acting alone. You can't have a conspiracy unless at least two people agree to work in concert.
I don't think displaying total ++ and -- votes cast would help. But it might be useful to have a volunteer that occasionally gets a report of the most negative-voting monks and who they voted against, so a person could decide when a warning or more drastic action was warranted.
Finally, I've often tought (even in the very short time I've been here) "grow up and stop making a big deal about negative votes". In particular, I didn't have a picture I wanted to upload and so didn't care about XP. Then I got a negative vote that I felt I didn't deserve (and it didn't even drop my XP by 1). I was surprise how hard I took it. So now I cut people more slack when I see them react strongly to negative votes.- tye (but my friends call me "Tye")