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Down voting are important- I know.

Why?

  • Because it'll let the moderators identify a bad question.
  • Because it'll discourage the users posting bad questions.

But where my reputation is earned with diligence, not by some gifts, why would I loose 'em helping the moderators or discouraging the newbies?

So, in that sense, down voting can be:

  • limited to certain reputed user level, i.e.: Reputation 100+ or 200+. A user below this reputation won't down vote any question or answer. And voting down should not take reputation down.

What am I wrong about it?

  • IMHO ( and only mine ) You are only wrong at the core assumption that people really do care about reputation . I can not talk for everyone, But what I care about is the validity of the information and it´s value. Not the English grammer ( like I have seen some people downvote for ). Not the lack of reference ( that can be self obtained ) and certainly Not the reputation ( own or otherwise ) . In other words - For me downvote is only valid in a case where a certain answer is wrong , misleading , potentially problem-maker or totally off the topic for the specific question. – krembo99 Feb 5 '14 at 5:22
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Think of your reputation like money. You earn it to spend it. :)

The 1 point negative on answers discourages casual down votes but it is a trivial price to pay when an answer really deserves it. I tend to save those votes for spam and answers with blatantly wrong or even dangerous information/recommendations. And that is probably the most direct answer I have: "Because some answers just deserve it and you owe it to the community to do your part when an answer really is terrible". I just can't let an answer slide when I know that it introduces problems-- potential vectors for attack, long term headaches due to the use of deprecated functions of Core hacks, etc.

Honestly, most people who show up here have no idea what they are doing and will copy paste anything. Those of us who do know what we are doing need to keep a check on the bad code. Maybe that is just me...

A fair percent of truly bad answers are deleted and you get your rep back and the Stack is heavily biased towards gaining reputation anyway. You have to work very, very hard not to gain rep over time.

11
  1. Downvoting questions doesn't cost you a dime
  2. Downvoting answers is a way to show people that something isn't right. And it's a chance (for them) to improve the answer.

Ad 2) You might have noticed answers where you voted a long time ago are locked. You can't simply remove the down- or upvote or do the other thing. First there has to be an edit. This actually is a hint:

Change your mind when the question or answer has changed. If it got rid of mistakes: Remove the downvote. If it improved: upvote.

So downvoting should always just be something temporary. Nothing that persists and pulls reputation from you and the OP.

  • I thought down voating takes down one point from the user who cast the downvote. – Sisir Sep 18 '13 at 12:30
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    Only for answers. And only if the question doesn't get deleted. – kaiser Sep 18 '13 at 12:34
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kaiser's and s_ha_dum's answers pretty much say it all and I hence was reluctant to add a third one, but I feel like the following can't be emphasized enough:

why would I loose [reputation] helping the moderators or discouraging the newbies

Our moderators are both doing a great job and have the role for a good reason, but they too are part of the community.
It is a wrong idea to think of participation as "helping the moderators". Rather think of it as advancing the community. A community which we all benefit from.

Also: Reputation is a nice gimmick and gamification remains a neat idea to encourage participation, but if rep is your main motivation to participate, something's wrong in the first place, I'd say.

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    "if rep is your main motivation to participate, something's wrong in the first place, I'd say." - exactly. I totally agree with you. That shouldn't be - I understand. – Mayeenul Islam Sep 20 '13 at 4:20
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In my opinion it takes reputation to discourage people from downvoting everything they encounter. It adds value to a downvote.

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