First post on meta, so go easy on me here . . .
My thinking is that I downvote a lot of answers that I don't think are good. Downvoting costs reputation. I love that DVing costs reputation b/c it keeps the trolls(Edit: poor word choice) at bay, but I also get really annoyed when I see a post with 2 answers, one of which is obviously incorrect, that both have a score of 0. I would prefer that the bad answer have a -1!
So I think a badge that marked you as having sacrificed some quantity of reputation would be cool. Perhaps:
- Willing to Sacrifice : Gave up
500100 reputation to down vote poor answers
- Some name : Gave up
1500300 rep to DV
- Some name : Gave up
5k1k rep to DV
I know some people get annoyed at the concept of badges that advocate down voting, but I think that DVing is a critical part of SO, and that there are a ton of users who downvote but are not trolls - they are just trying to help keep the community organized
Edit: Perhaps 'trolls' was not the best choice of word. I am basically trying to point out that I like that the downvoting-costs-reputation is a check on the abilities of a user with a ton of reputation. I like that downvoting costs reputation, because it helps to prevent certain users from downvoting other answers that might be valid. Otherwise a user with 10k rep might hang around on new questions and attempt to downvote an answer that was correct in order to replace it with their own. (To be fair, the math is a bit off now. There is a chance that someone can downvote a valid answer on a new question, provide an equally valid answer, and receive a surplus in points because their answer was at the top of the list of answers and was therefore chosen as the accepted answer). So while I am recommending that we slightly encourage downvoting, I do not think it's a good idea to heavily encourage it by removing the reputation cost.
Also, obviously not all users go after all badges. Some badges fit your style and some don't. I simply think that there is already a small group of people who attempt to hide bad replies by downvoting them. I think this is a good service to SO, and those users could be rewarded with a badge that reflects this. Obviously etiquette would be to also mention why you are downvoting the post (I mean, there is a dialog box every time you downvote asking you to comment...).