In a perfect world people would play nice in an anonymous place but the reality is that a good number of people do not play nice, particularly when shielded by anonymity. In light of this reality and its implications on a forum such as this, it seems better to me for the forum software to take reality into account and limit opportunities for people to do things that are not nice to others. It just heads trouble off at the pass.
Yeah, because the best way to stop people from faking the results of elections is to get rid of elections.
The system we have in place is the very thing that is "taking reality into account" and allowing people to do something about it. There would be no down-votes without things deserving down-votes. Getting rid of the ability to down-vote won't eliminate the posts that would otherwise get down-voted... it will merely take away our ability to down-vote them.
It's like being upset at a missile turret sitting at your base, being "useless", costing minerals to build and eventually getting destroyed by mutas. You might say to yourself - "I'll just skip the missile turret and all the headache it costs me, that way it'll never get killed by mutas". Then mutalists swoop into your base and kill all your SCVs. That was NOT reasonable thinking.
Here's the clever part: you can't down-vote a down-vote. You can reply to a bad post with another bad post, possibly spiraling the entire thing into a raging inferno of the social feedback loop. A down-vote, on the other hand, has only a single degree. It sends the right message, requires multiple people and prevents counter-accusations. It's a sharp reaction to an acute problem.
I seriously can't stand the absurdity of the argument that since people are upset over getting symbolically called out on upsetting others, we should rid the forum of one layer of communication, and things would get better as a result.
Seriously - LESS forms of expression should make the place nicer? Is this in the same sense that the less a dumb person says, the smarter he sounds? Were the forum predominantly populated by the "wrong" crowd (whatever that might mean), the forum would be already, pretty irrevocably, lost; removing or adding features will help nothing. Conversely: if the vast majority like, respect and care for each other, there is no reason to take away their means of repressing the unaccepted behavior of the minority.