Why are so many people on this website so freaked out about downvotes?
I feel like a lot of people here completely miss the point of up and down votes. One reason may be that, so far, it's a pretty small community. If, say, 10 things are posted every day, the need for any kind of sorting or organizing of that content isn't so great. But if you have 1000 or 10,000 things posted every day, people browsing the site can't/don't want to go through every single thing that gets posted. Up/down votes are a solution to this problem! The content is sorted by the hive-mind! There's no need for everyone to go through 10,000 posts; let everyone browse, if they see something interesting or something they like, they upvote. If they see something that doesn't tickle their pickle, they downvote. The result is that when you go to browse the 10,000 things that have been posted on any given day, the first things you see will be the things that the largest number of people upvoted/didn't downvote. It's all about sorting. In an environment with a lot of content, everyone's opinion/snaps can't be at the top of the pile. And people complain "the down vote button isn't an "I disagree" button"... Sometimes it actually can be! If you're having a debate or argument for example, you can upvote things that you agree with, and downvote things you disagree with. The end result? Again, the opinions that the majority deemed to be correct appear at the top, and the ones that the majority deemed to be incorrect appear at the bottom. Simple. That's the voting system you've chosen for this website doing its job.
Yet people on here seem to be reduced to tears by a single, lonely downvote. Why and how could someone have disagreed with me!? And they didn't even discuss it with me first? They just mercilessly went straight for that evil button that twiddles the counter in the wrong direction! My 16 updoots have been reduced to a mere 15! Worse still, the bounds of my imaginary reputation points have been so coldly, so brutally, so callously cut short! It's so childish. Especially for a website where people seem to promote maturity. And all of the people blaming it on the influx of reddit users, as if people here are better than reddit users, or more refined and mature... if that were the case, maybe people here wouldn't take every downvote so personally and so seriously. People on reddit have already long been accused of taking the voting system too seriously. Hunting and hoarding imaginary points rather than just focusing on building the best quality interaction and content they're capable of. And that tendency to take the voting system too seriously is, from what I've seen, taken to the extreme here. The voting buttons are merely sorting mechanisms. 3 choices: up, neutral, or down. You've created a website with a majority-rules democracy, but then you complain when a member of that democracy has an opinion which differs from your own? Downvotes aren't an indication of some sort of decay or degradation of the community, they're an indication that the voting system you've chosen is working. If you don't like it, maybe try a different voting system. Something like facebook perhaps, with only the option to "thumbs up". Otherwise, accept that there is no epidemic. Your site is growing, with that will come change, some of which will involve seeing your voting system be put to use. Deal with it as maturely as possible.
EDIT: (I commented this below but I'll put it here for visibility)
Round 2! I'm just going to continue here since there are so many comments and a lot of them are saying similar things.
So first of all, a lot of people are saying WE DON'T WANT A HIVE MIND! People seem to be of the opinion that hive mind = reddit = chaos. Actually a hive mind is just about utilizing many minds in order to achieve something e.g. sorting. The voting system on this website is a hive-mind voting system! That's how it operates whether you say so or not! When you have tens of thousands of users sorting content by voting, that is hive mind voting. Downvotes or not, that's what it is. To everyone saying they don't want this to turn into reddit... the main difference between reddit and snapzu is in the number of users. Askreddit has over 9,000,000 subscribers. I'm a member of many small subreddits and you know what? They're full of polite, intelligent discussion and quality content. But when you take a subreddit that has over 9,000,000 subscribers, chaos is pretty much inevitable. That's not le evil reddit, that's people, and snapzu wouldn't fare any better with that many users. Read reddit's etiquette guide, it seems to be more detailed and at least as noble as snapzu's. And, same as here, it asks users not to downvote based on disagreement or emotional reaction. It works when you have a few thousand users, but it will fall apart when you have hundreds of thousands or millions of users. So to the people saying that downvoting because of disagreement is against the rules, that's all good and well but how do you enforce that? And when snapzu grows and has tens/hundreds of thousands of users, how do you police people's downvoting?
And the person who cited the Boston bombing, the Sunil chaos was not caused by the voices of reason being downvoted. The problem lies more with the fact that people disagreed with the voices of reason, but they would have done so whether there was a downvote button or not. It's complex, and I'm not going to sit here and blame it on one thing or another, but that was people being people. Reddit was just the platform and it would have happened even if the downvote button didn't exist. And another thing that didn't help was the media picking it up and adding weight to it. Reddit is just a platform for a bunch of people to express themselves, it can't really be expected to provide truthful or accurate information, whereas the media should, because the purpose of the media, ideally, should be to disseminate truthful and accurate information.
To people saying that downvotes are bad because they push content down so its harder to see: downvotes just add a little more heft to your voting. But if there are, say, 1000 posts, they have to be sorted in some kind of order. Something has to be in the 1000th spot, and the 999th, and the 1st etc. Provided you don't hide posts with a certain number of downvotes, downvoting won't "hide" content from the users. Whoever thinks that the 1000th post won't be seen because it has been downvoted out of sight... there will still be a 1000th post with just the upvotes/neutral voting system. So you're still pushing some things to the top and in the process, albeit more passively, pushing other things down. I honestly do think that people here have a strange view of downvotes; people tie so much negativity to it, they're upset when they get downvoted. If people were complaining because they felt like their point was valid yet they'd received -50 points, I'd be sympathetic and I think it would warrant investigation. If people were complaining because people were really abusing the downvotes (i.e. going through a users profile and downvoting all of their content out of spite, or multiple users banding together to gang up on a person and supress their opinion by downvoting, downvoting because of the user instead of the content etc.) it would warrant investigation. But so many people complain about one downvote! I think that reflects immaturity and I think that's different from what people in this thread are defending. I think that those people complaining about a single downvote aren't doing so out of fear of snapzu turning into reddit, it's something more akin to vanity, at least in some cases. And if there's a rule that says not to downvote just because you disagree, then why isn't there a rule that says not to upvote just because you agree? Why should people's reasons for downvoting be questioned any more than their reasons for upvoting? Nobody seems to be worried that they got upvoted solely because their opinion is a popular one, rather than because it was a quality contribution to the discussion.