It's been really informative to get everyone's perspectives on the voting system, and it's prompted us to reconsider how it works.
After a lot of careful thought, we've decided to remove downvotes altogether. This aligns us with the standard among most social platforms and will prevent the trolling we see from a very small minority of users.
As with twitter, if you don't like a post you can just ignore it. We're also looking to add a mute function which will hide posts from contributors that you don't find valuable.
We'll hopefully have this delivered soon.
The best way to ensure you see the content that is most valuable to you is to follow users and companies that you are interested in, and then configure the filter settings (located at the top right of the newsfeed). For example, you could select to see only the content from those you are following only, and turn off forum posts and trade notifications. Remember too, that you can drill into all the content from a particular user by going to their profile page and clicking on the 'Activity' tab.
Also, on a Company page, you can sort Straws according to votes so as to easily find the most endorsed material. We're also going to add valuations to this feed so you dont have to scroll through users individually.
Down the track, we're hoping to develop a smarter newsfeed which will prioritise the most valuable content (this is actually a lot harder than it sounds, and is something the big tech companies have spent millions on refining).
With Strawman, we're hoping to avoid the clutter and noise (and frankly the hostility) that is typical of most stock forums. Our approach is to give every user their own personal company report for every company, on which they can post whatever content they want without having to get drawn into long debates.
If someone has different perspectives, they can post their own insights (Straws) and Valuations. The community will decide what is best via the voting system, which will influence the ranking of content and contributors. And, as Bear77 says, the forums are there if people want to have a discussion.
As always, we're looking to continually refine the platform and are very much guided by community feedback.
Onward and upward!