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I’ve got a sworn enemy on PerlMonks.   Only one, it seems, but definitely one.   And what this not-to-be named person does, among other things, is to downvote.   Having himself an XP somewhere in the stratosphere, this person not only pushes some folks up, but steps on the toes of others.

While I certainly cannot stop someone from doing what they are able to do, I would like to offer the point for consideration that many sites have chosen not to allow anyone to down-vote a post, or a geocache, or whatever-it-is.   They can nominate a posting for outright removal, by moderators or by being “voted off the island,” but the only type of feedback that they can make to a post and therefore to the poster is ... either positive, or not-at-all.

And this, in addition to resolving a source of personal annoyance (but nothing more) for me, is what I consider would be a significant improvement for PerlMonks.   I personally don’t think that anyone posts anything anywhere on any forum for any reason other than what he or she considers to be “good.”   If others agree, I think that “goodness that is a commonly-held opinion” ought to be rewarded.   But if they dis-agree?   Well, frankly, I agree with Dr. Richard Feynmann on this one:   “why do you care what other people think?”

Briefly pursuing this point, I feel that the posting of negative feedback on anything is, as eBay for example certainly regards it, an act of declaring that something is actually bad.   That it has been made with “bad” motivation.   And I simply do not think that people on a forum ought to be given the opportunity to express an opinion like that.   The posting, and hence, the poster, ought to be “presumed good,” with the report-this-post (or, in the case of this forum, “consider”) being used to weed out the exceptions.   If you think that something adds to the discussion, you should be able to clap your hands.   But if you instead intend to shout, “Boooo!” you should be given no opportunity to do so (other than the proverbial shepherd’s-hook that shoots in from the sideline of the stage while the tomatoes pelt down).

When I am looking through a forum thread looking for an answer, I am ultimately looking for an answer, and it so happens that a forum system like PerlMonks is an excellent way to quickly produce high-quality peer-reviewed answers, thence to find them again.   I frankly want to keep personalities out of that stream.   I want to find fav’d responses as quickly as possible.   I more-or-less think that a thumbs-down response is irrelevant at best, and maybe antithetical, to that objective.   You see, I do not participate here to hear myself talk.   I participate here to try to give something to back to one of my long-standing fundamental sources of technical guidance and information.

Epilogue:   This is nothing personal; this is not a rant; I have a Rhett Butler approach about such trivialities.   But it does get me thinking and this is what I think.   What do you think?

In reply to Proposal: eliminate down-votes by sundialsvc4

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