While I've been using downvotes somewhat sparingly in the past couple of weeks, I do want to write about my thoughts on them.
On the one hand, they are an extraordinary tool to combat abuse and for the platform to self-govern itself.
As an example: the community on Steem decided that it would not accept promotion abusers to continue the way they did over the past years, resulting in huge changes across the platform.
On the other hand, downvotes are gamified actions with negative feedback loops, resulting in possible higher toxic behaviour than on any other social media.
The only example that I know of, where downvotes exist is Reddit. However, on reddit you're only "losing" visibility & possible karma, which in comparison to the real currency STEEM is more than worthless.
And there is most likely a good reason why nearly every social network only allows the user to like/upvote other content. It's simply a positive feedback loop, which is important in attracting millions of users. However, none of those social networks is actually handing out real money.
Which is why I currently come to the conclusion, that while downvotes are not entirely positive and have the capability to weaken the growth of Steem, they surely are needed in a system where rewards are given away from a shared resource pool.
And the best way we can soften the negative consequences is to give people more than enough possible reward pools they can tap into, without forcing them towards a global one. (You could see this as a clash of cultures and why it's important that people have the freedom to choose what they want to believe in, in their own countries. If they disagree with those believes, they can either introduce change or travel somewhere else)
Luckily, we're already well on our way for this vision to come into fruition as SMTs are nearly ready for prime-time.
What's your opinion on downvotes and do you share my thoughts on them? Let me know in the comments below.