I know that they can be abused, and used for spiteful or petty reasons. However, I have noticed a lot of posts around the forum, especially in the Writing Problem category and sub-forums, that are not only unhelpful, they are insensitive and degrading. Rather than ignore a problem they find insignificant, these posters (and I will not give names) make a reply - one that attempts to reduce the OPs problem or difficulty to nothing more than the whining of a child. Additionally, the posts tend to imply insult, not only disregarding the OPs problem, but implying that the OP is making it up, or worse! This creates an unwelcome atmosphere on the forum, and nearly drove me to quit in my first day or two. I do not know how many other users might be inclined to leave after receiving such negative replies. I feel that the only way to protect users, especially new users, from such offensive and unhelpful members, is to use negative rep. Either the user accumulates a lot of negative rep, and therefore is ignored, or the user begins to get negative Rep from other members, realizes what he or she is doing, and then tries to provide more constructive, considerate feedback - or just learn not to comment if they don't think the problem is worthy of consideration. And by the way, I am not talking about comments that say "oh, your story needs a lot of work" or "do it this way I came up with, instead of the way you wanted to do it in the first place!" I am talking about comments that basically say "you are being stupid. get over it. move on." Telling someone to just "get over it" is one of the most insensitive things a person can say! People, especially new members, reach out to this community for help - and we let people slap them and say "Stop feeling. Get over. Your problem doesn't matter, its not important, you shouldn't feel this pain/confusion/anger." How can we expect people to stay? With such a small, tight nit community as this one, negative Rep can be used to create hard feelings. I understand that. But a small community like this needs to look out for people who are creating an unwelcoming environment for new users. Obviously, in order for negative rep to be reinstated, certain conditions would have to be altered to make it less open for abuse. Perhaps a person can only give negative rep ONCE a week? Or perhaps one can only negative rep a person once every three times? (So they have to give two positive reps before they can negative rep again?) And one cannot negative rep the same person again until one has either positive repped 4 people or negative repped one other person? But I do believe that the option to give negative rep should exist - so that comments like the ones referred to above can receive feedback that does not start a flame war in the forum, nor a heated argument in PMs. If there is some other way to tell a person they are being a bit insensitive, I would love to hear it.