Originally Posted by ZephyrusX
I like the latter part of the post, but generally, in my experience, if a person is inclined towards snark and passive aggressiveness, they will take it out on you one way or another. Simply removing neg reps won't stop this. Taking away the rep system altogether won't stop this.
The other side to that is if it's public, or if someone has to send a PM, it invites a response. It takes a lot more effort and it's a lot more likely to get them called out if they go too far. It's much more in alignment with courage. They're still ass&*$^#@ but at least they're bold ones.
The questions I've been asking are:
1. Does neg rep facilitate meaningful communication and is that its most probable use?
2. Is anything lost without it?
With the first, it's debatable because it depends on a whole host of factors and it's rarely had a measurable impact on the forum. (Plus we don't have the necessary data to calculate accurate probabilities.) It has, without question, provided growth experiences and that's what I drew from when I was on the other side of the argument.
Would that growth have happened without it? There's one case I can say no, there are plenty more where I can say yes because it was dished out while or after a detailed discussion where many of the same concerns or criticisms were brought to light.
This brings up a third question:
3. Is it worth keeping around for the positive experiences it cultivates?
My answer should be fairly obvious with my recent posts. Assuming neg rep is disabled and nothing else changes, nobody loses anything and something which tends to get blown out of proportion is taken out of the equation. We're talking about the loss of a minuscule number of growth experiences for a gain in threads that don't get derailed and drama that isn't
caused. That sounds like a win to me.
Conflict and hurt feelings are inevitable on a forum of this size and I wouldn't attempt to stop that because that's something you accept when entering such a diverse environment. You would have to sanitize it and all the grit, all the value, from the discussions would be lost. Simply altering this one element wouldn't do that.
Even taking another step and getting rid of the rep bar wouldn't take away the reputation system, in fact it could be argued it would make the feedback more meaningful. That's purely theoretical without testing but it may be something worth trying down the road. Right now, I'm for keeping positive rep and the bars that go with it. Who cares if that gets 'abused'? Most of us got our bars by playing the rep games in the Fun & Recreation section. People view it and its significance differently so they'll use it how they wish. Nothing wrong with that.