It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points
out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man
who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who
comes short again and again, because there is no effort
without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive
to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great
devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the
best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and
who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring
greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Examples from :
Metaphor: Argument is war
I shot down his argument
He couldn't defend his position
She attacked my theory
Love is a journey:
Our marriage is at a crossroads
We've come a long way together
He decided to bail out of the relationship
Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s
how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re
rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in
the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or
initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off
like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the
conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration).
In the "old days," there was more-or-less agreement that the vote was for quality of comment -- feedback about the value of the participant to the community -- and agreement/disagreement was voiced (if necessary) in comments. As a rule I (and others) would upvote comments we disagreed with as long as they were thoughtful. There were exceptions, of course, as you have aknowledged, but this was a pretty good guideline.
Now I think things have turned around a bit, and votes have started signifying agreement/disagreement more than quality of comment. I think this takes the community in the wrong direction.
You seem to be thinking that this is largely trollish behavior. I suspect, however, that most of it comes from ignorance of the expectations of the community. I'm not sure there is a fix for the trolls. But for noobs that watch reality tv shows and want to come here and be the acerbic judge I think we can stop it by keeping the behavioral expectations in the forefront.
The flaw with the idea isn't what you say. I think it's important to expect decent, reasonable behavior. The flaw is, 'ok, we have two buttons. Now what?'
I would start with having the quality score 'float' the article and pretty much ignore the agree/disagree score in karma metrics. But I would probably keep that a secret.
Now personally I'd rather be able to tell jokes on HN than be able to veto. But then again I'd have to sift through the bad jokes that other's tell.
In any community like this it takes some time to learn the rules. I'm sure there are quite a few people who don't necessarily know who "pg" is for that matter.
And now I went and explained it. Sorry, tptacek.
If I am selling something and asking $1000 and the person comes back with an offer of $500 and assuming I am willing to take that offer (because I was shooting high) I need to offer some "kickback". This could be as simple as saying something like "well, if I accept can you pay within 5 days?" Or perhaps, "can't do $500 but I'll consider $600". Otherwise the buyer feels perhaps "hmm wow that was to quick and to easy" and might back out of the deal. Strictly my experience over many years.
Instead you should ask to be able to green-light one applicant per batch. That way, it would be possible for your contribution to be very valuable.
To support this proposal: When I first arrived here (from your homepage), I didn't notice anything about guidelines until I stumbled upon a comment which mentioned them. Then I eventually found them on the bottom of the page (which can be quite long), where I seldom look at.
I'm not keen to make a new account to test this out though.
The bad ones, I reevaluate whenever I see another comment, but I've never yet seen a good reason to remove someone from that list. Sadly they never seem to end up hellbanned. It's uncorrelated largely with agreeing or disagreeing with views; it's just that there are a group of people who are, as the OP said, really negative, irrational, and destructive to civil discourse.
The problem I see is - How do you know if a comment is negative or not? Surely, you can tell, but problematically that might be tough.
Maybe swap out the "post comment" button for 2 "commit" buttons 1 that says "Positive" the other that says "negative". (This could be done a myriad of ways, but you get the point)
You could then measure a users tenancy to post useful positive/negative comments based on the average votes that type of comment receives.
posters that consistently have low average scores for their comments could lose posting rights, for a period.