Okay, I will throw my comments into the ring. Let me make two comments first:
- Yes, mindless jerks downvoting a post because who wrote it, not on the content ot the post pisses me off.
- I have once downvoted Merlyn because I disagreed with what he said and how it was said. And I would have treated the post just the same no matter who wrote it. (and I have the scars to prove it :) )
What can be done about the problem of "personality voting"? (as a side line - just how many elections are won or lost on personalities, and not the true merits of the various candidates?). There are some sites that have non-anonymous voting - but that doesn't stop the problem. Some of these people probably crave the additional attention they will get. "See how leet I am - I can piss the so called Perl gods off." Maybe getting listed on the "Merlyn Hall of Shame" earns them the same respect among their peers as if they cracked some minor government web server?
The approach Merlyn is taking is one solution - but assuming you can find the culprits, what can you do? Ban them from the site? Hold them up for general ridicule? Reply in kind to every one of their posts?
The next problem is, how do you distinguish the "mindless personality downvotes" from the (relative small number) of downvotes that people gave after due consideration of the merits of the post?
In Australia we have behaviour we call the "tall poppy syndrome". Anyone who has achieved a certain level of fame has clearly got too big for their boots, and needs taking down a peg or two. This is just human nature; most likely rooted in jealousy. You can try to fight it - but you won't eat it. Or you can ignore it.
Ultimately, what is more important - the recognition from one's peers, or the juvenile chatterings of people that really should just be ignored.
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