I agree that slope is slippery! As weasel snot!
Like Kyle, I don’t identify as a cyclist at all. I just like riding bikes, and have since I was a tyke. Bikes are not my career, profession, only hobby, only transportation, sole source of joy, or much else other than just machines which I find cool, fun, and useful.
I share some stuff (values, world views, activities…) with Kyle, some with 9watts, some with Jonathan, etc. And then I disagree with y’all from time to time, too. That’s how I view most of the commenters…well, at least the ones who engage with honest opinions and view points as opposed to trol^Wpolemicists, pedants, and other snark mongers.
I do sometimes see dog-piling by like-minded people, and there seem to be a few cliques of like-minded folks, especially around urbanism and how bikes work in every-day life in the city. I don’t see that as a particularly bad thing in the context of how Jonathan has built BikePortland, and in the context of it breaking down walls erected in other bikey “communities” (very nebulous use of the word!) where one group declares superiority over another (roadie, MTB, freak, stunt, touring, whatever). Also, I know (personal experience) that some of those “cliques” are actually real-life, face-to-face advocacy partners meeting on a frequent basis, so it’s hardly surprising that they speak a jargon unto themselves.
That’s all very general, and sort of how I let the noise wash over me.
As to +/- scores, at this stage of discussion it seems a lot like navel gazing to me, but I’ll go ahead and throw in my belly button lint.
I like the up/down better than just the thumbs-up, so far. The split is interesting, even if I can’t assign meaning to it. It at least indicates there’s dissent or diversity.
I give more + than - (no surprise).
To me, the harshest use of - means “you are a [pejorative] and your post is so [wrong, mean, trollish] that it’s not worthy of further comment.” It is also possible that I respect the fundamental opinion but that the tone is so awful that I down-vote it. It’s also possible that others have already answered with thoughts similar to mine, and I simply disagree without further comment.
A + means I agree, or I acknowledge the well-stated opinion even if I don’t agree.
If two commenters are going toe-to-toe, post after post, I’m likely to upvote my favorite side and downvote the other. (Haven’t done that yet, but seems likely.)
I have also done many a ‘thumbs up’ simply to let a commenter know that someone saw their comment and cared. I will do that with +, too. It’s often a new commenter, or one I think is shy or inhibited, and whether I agree with their comment or not I would like to hear more from them.
For me personally, the worst response I can get to a comment is nothing.