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Strongly disagree. Sure, when there is a dislike button a few people use it in an abusive way, but it's obvious that this is statistical noise. But when a majority of votes on a YouTube video consists of 'dislikes' there's usually an excellent reason. The result of having only positive voting is SEO, blogspam, and content farming. Hell yes I want the option to downvote things.

giving users a dislike option encourages crowdsourced censorship - people don't just downvote content they don't like, they downvote content they disagree with. look at reddit for a prime example of how allowing everybody to downvote encourages groupthink. additionally, a publicly available dislike button discourages content creation: people who might otherwise post original content start to get nervous about how it will be received if there is a capacity to express dislike.

a button to flag for review is one thing, but hiding content purely based on public user input is generally not so great. imho, HN has a great system of only allowing high-karma accounts to access the power of the downvote. it's a similar idea to selecting community moderators to go over any content flagged for review, but just a little more automated.

I disagree. Reddit is extremely diverse in opinion because anyone can set up their own sub-boards, and every content creator I know fears apathy more than controversy - not least because many creative folk are poor self-promoters. Overwhelmingly negative publicity can still lead to commercial success, viz. Rebecca Black.

It will always be possible to search without preference filters, because there's an economic incentive to providing all-inclusive indexing decoupled from the ratings system. However, being able to express only approval inevitably leads to a crowding-out problem; witness the ever-expanding ration of ad to content and the plethora of competing buttons to like/+1/tweet/digg/zzzz.

Lately I find myself filtering more and more; after blocking disqus, for example, I can't see comments on most news stories any more and this has been a signal improvement. I was a big booster for the democratization of the communication commons back in the 1990s, demanding that every media outlet put public comment facilities on its websites so that everyone could have their say on news stories and so forth. Boy, did I get that one wrong.

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