Dear Khan Academy Staff and users,
I make this post mainly out of concern, and I hope all those reading this will continue reading on. This is a very important subject.
For the whole 4+ years I've been a part of Khan Academy, I've noticed several cases of people down-voting comments, and flagging them, even when the comments do not strictly go against the guidelines. Although both the flag and down-vote buttons have been abused several times, I think flagging by itself is a good thing to have.
My main question is: why the down-vote button? Bear with me here, and truly think about this. Why is there even an option to vote down a comment? Sure, you can vote it down if it's inappropriate, offensive, or just plain nonsense and clutter. But then again, you can just flag that comment instead. Isn't that what the flag button is for?
Did you know that the down-vote option isn't included on actual programs, just comments? If you like the program, you can vote it up. If you don't like it, then just ignore it, or, if it goes against the guidelines(and only if it goes against the guidelines), you flag it. Why can't comments be the same way?
Down-voting only causes strife, and, in many cases, the user who does the down voting is only doing so because of personal issues with the other user -- the comment itself is not usually offensive. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that malicious down-voting happens in all cases. Several users just want to do their duty, so when they see a comment disregarding the guidelines, they vote it down. But that vote is - nine times out of ten - paired with a flag.
To go back to my main point, I simply wonder why down-votes exist. In my opinion, they are unnecessary and Khan Academy would be a better place without them.
Thank you, and please don't hesitate to comment below if you have any questions or differing views on this post. I'd love to hear them. :)