Yes, I'd noticed your negative karma votes and couldn't for the life of me figure out why. Dave has a negative one as well because he stopped someone from trying to score free adverts. The database could be fiddled but we're waiting to see how things pan out.
The mystery of the universe is that I haven't got any negative ones yet. Maybe karma makes people behave themselves better.
I also like the little karma messages.
It's been suggested that we could change to having just "thank you" buttons instead, but that's not quite the same. Karma is more fun. I'll give a positive karma vote if someone makes me laugh or if they make an exceptionally good posting. I'd only do a more formal "thanks" vote for a more formal helpful posting.
It's early days and I'm sure the whole karma thing will settle down soon.
Maybe people don't quite "get it" yet. It's not meant to be a vote against a person if you disagree with them - and you don't have to vote for or against every post.
I'm giving out positive karma when I like what I read and reserving the negative karma for spammers or for any obnoxious postings. If the system isn't working in the fun way it's intended to it's because some people have been a bit quick to land negative karma on someone. I think I've only used the negative button twice in total (excluding on blatant spammers).
I think there's a fix we can implement whereby if people vote, plus or minus, then who voted is recorded and they are invited to leave a comment to say why they voted. That might sort out some of the concerns.
Dave knows more about this function than I do so... over to him...