I'm for the idea of being able to see and search by vote count (++ or -- separately even, but only if they're seen together as GotToBTru stated). With that said, there's a reason you get consistent downvotes... the vast majority of replies you write are difficult to follow, provide little benefit and barely ever contain any code. (I pretty much stick to only downvoting blatantly abusive posts though, but I appreciate why some are a bit more liberal with the downvote button).
As far as hostility, you're going to get some of that anywhere you go. I find PM the least hostile place in terms of hostility-to-education ratio in regards to coding help sites for both Perl and Python. If someone isn't willing to put in a bit of effort before asking a question for help to a bunch of professionals who are likely at work, there's bound to be at least one or two people upset.