|Syntactic Confectionery Delight
The discussion has strayed a bit off-topic IMO. I don't think that novices should be exempt from -- voting, but I think that some consideration should be given for the -- vote, and it should be in relation to the abilities of the voted person.
For example, while I don't agree 100% with KMs stance on voting -- on my posts to newbies, when these posts don't use strict; and don't use warnings; (or have #!/usr/bin/perl -w for that matter), I understand the rationale behind it, and I agree that code for newbies should be made as safe and good-natured as possible - and adding a use strict; to the top of my code dosen't break it in most cases anyway :). In that case, I have abilities that I didn't use for the better of the newbies, and even though the measure is hard, it dosen't take (me) much to avoid it.
On the other side, somebody who is a newbie, naturally will ask newbie questions, that could/should be handled with a "RTFM", but in some cases a simple rewording of the documentation and maybe different examples help even more. Voting -- on such a post is in general not helpful, as the newbie does not have the abilities to use the resources at his/her disposal.
So all in all, I think that negative votes should always be given in consideration of the abilities of the posting monk, and also the spirit of the monastery should be considered. Excessive ---wars could be detrimental in my opinion to the mood and the culture of this site (and though I already have an arsenal of votes to launch, there are people with more votes than me ;).