By downvoting, you effectively say "because I disagree with you, neither myself nor anyone else should even hear your ideas ... this person's voice shouldn't even be heard ..."
I strongly disagree with that argument. Replace downvoting with reaping and i will agree. Downvoting existed at this site long before reaping, which came about from trolling. Downvoting is peer review. Think of it as a pain receptor, like when you touch a hot surface. A significant number of negative votes (more than 2) means that the author _probably_ said something wrong. Downvoting is a simple feedback mechanism - replying would be better, but not everyone is confrontational. If someone feels that they have been wrongly downvoted, they can always raise the issue in the Chatterbox.
Replying instead of downvoting is not always an option. Some monks are too busy at the moment. Some monks might have already told the author in question in a past post why they were wrong, see the author do it again, sigh out loud and --. Some monks will send the author a private /msg after downvoting. Some monks feel that the author should know better, and no explaination for the downvote is necessary. Whatever the reason, it is their choice, and i respect them for exercising their choice, even if i don't agree. It is our right.
jeffaoff the soapbox and back to learning Perl
UPDATE: reply to your reply
Sorry, but no, we don't agree. If you want to view it that way, then by all means do so. But i don't, because i do not believe that all nodes with a negative rep should be reaped. What would be the point of Worst Nodes then?
Also, what i agreed to was that reaping a node is silencing that person's voice, not downvoting is just a means to have a node reaped. Big difference. (and there are two categories: downvoting and reaping ;))
But i think that we can agree that Perl is the main reason we are here, so let's just agree to disagree on our interpretation of downvoting/reaping. Sorry to step up on my soapbox. ;)