You know, sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like some answer or question is deserving of an extra downvote. So wouldn't it be groovy if SO voting worked like a real-world democracy, where you can bribe for and buy extra votes?
We already have the bounty system for the opposite case, for answers that are highly underappreciated, whose votes don't correlate with writing and research effort.
Downvoting on the other hand, I don't have any statistical proof, still looks somewhat underutilized. In particular as the inflow of trivial content feels on the rise. So I'd prefer a new community tool to counter that.
Currently a downvote costs zero for questions or one puny rep point for answers. My proposal being that you may vote more than once, which however incurs a higher cost to the voter. For example:
2^2 (-4 rep) for the second downvote 2^3 (-8 rep) for the third extra vote 2^4 (-16 rep) fourth downvote // Notably these are the bribery costs to the voter, // a vote ought to subtract only -2 as usual from the Q/A poster.
Maybe even a bit more expensive. The point being to deter from overuse, but allow sorting down of overly substandard answers. (For questions the closevoting scheme is often sufficient, with the notable exception of weekends and our nightshift of course.)
It certainly would need other safeguards, like actually forbidding to cast those extra votes on concurrent answers, limiting it to a maximum of three or four bought downvotes, or an overall site total of 5 per day, or something.
I see the actual hurdle with implementing a sensible UI for such a feature. But we should talk about use cases beforehand. Is this needed at all? Could it incur more annoying revenge downvoting drama etc.? Or should this wait until the long-requested comment requirement on downvotes is implemented first? (just kidding)
Also I realize this might be highly unpopular. But just imagine you could express your disagreement by downvoting this twice! ;}