What I'm describing here could have been discussed before. If so, I apologize in advance - this is a complex issue to search for (I tried!).
Many times I've noticed the following effect:
- Someone provides an answer
- Someone else downvotes it for one reason or another, maybe unjustified
- People seeing the -1 feel bad for the answerer since the answer is reasonable and vote +1 to balance
The effect of this: the user gained +8 reputation. The problem I see with this is that the answer would probably gain no upvote had it not had the -1 on it. The same works for questions, by the way.
Isn't it more reasonable to cancel downvotes with upvotes, at least in the vicinity of zero - so that an answer with +1 and -1 wouldn't have a relatively large net positive reputation?
Does this make sense?
Update: OK, thanks guys. I'll look there...