So, after patiently trying to help a newb understand why his answer wasn't helping my question, and not wanting just to give him a down-vote without explaining why, I eventually gave up and just downvoted his answer. Then this happened:
And two seconds later:
The user in question had too little rep to actually down-vote, but it seems unlikely to be unrelated (I would guess a more established friend was involved).
It's kind of sad if this is the way the site is moving. Admit to down-voting someone and receive a "counter-attack". I tried to help this user, and I wouldn't have bothered down-voting if my question wasn't getting filled with poor answers, making it difficult for me to find useful ones.
Could StackOverflow do a better job of introducing the site to newbies, so they understand that a down-vote is just an opportunity to write a better answer and get the vote changed?
Edit: To anyone who wants to suggest I brought this on myself by trying to help a new user, please give me a break. This is a community, and we all need to help new users understand that this isn't a normal forum. Lazily downvoting without explanation when it's not obvious to the poster what they've done wrong only creates more morons within our ranks. That's not helping anybody.