The proposal is change the reputation effect of downvotes received from the current -2 to 0. A downvote would reduce the score of a post, but generate no notification with "-2" in it.
The "-2" entries in reputation log are reasonably effective in creating problems, such as:
- annoying otherwise sane and productive contributors to the point of rage-quitting;
- generating complaints to mods and eventually CMs when the perceived revenge votes are not reversed.
But they are not good for solving problems. Reducing reputation might revoke a privilege, but (a) beyond the very low levels, this rarely happens; (b) the privilege revoked is unlikely to be related to the actual problem. Consider the scenarios where someone has a privilege they shouldn't have:
- If a spammer gets a misguided upvote, the solution is spam flags (-100 penalty, likely to be followed by user destruction). Similarly for trolls.
- For a voting ring, the solution is vote invalidation and suspension.
- When a user posts low-quality content, the solution is to revoke or reduce the posting privilege. And that can't be done by -2 penalty, since posting requires no reputation. Post ban or rate-limiting are based on the history of posts created, not on falling below a reputation cut-off.
If there's a specific improvement or correction to be made in a post, the solution is to leave a comment pointing it out. A downvote may be appropriate too, as a warning to other readers. But "-2" achieves neither.
Yet, we keep generating "-2"s - and then tell people to shrug them off when they get upset and post on meta...