Okay, jokes aside... I do agree with the -1 for don't care, and I've already argued (peacfully) the reasoning in a comment to the author's diary.
It has to do with probable outcomes. If a story is acceptable but uninteresting to the vast majority, and those who don't care vote 0, then there's a story posted that most people simply don't care about.
If the story is really that good, and really that interesting, it's voter positive base will make up for the difference when those who don't care vote it down.
Voting -1 does not register as an attempt to silence the speaker from saying something. Zeroing their comments is more like that. Voting them down is giving your opinion on an article that they've submitted for approval.
Further, while I agree that the 0 vote is a feature, I don't believe that voting -1 on a story you don't care about actually harms the diversity, but can in some ways strengthen it. There's a lot of articles posted that I don't care for, and have voted -1 on. It's a sign that there's enough people who do care to support the article. The different groups have enough voting power to support themselves.
In this way, I think that the diverse aspects that are strong enough to be seen will not be flooded out by those that aren't. If K5 was mostly content that I didn't care for, I wouldn't have joined - of course. I liked the idea of K5, but only so long as it was actually useful to me.
Taken to an opposite extreme, if people voted solely on the quality of the article, and not on the content whatsoever, well, kuro5hin would not have passed the 10k users mark, I think.
I don't think the voting system is perfect. I don't think there is a realistic perfect system. When I'd first read rusty's comment, I thought, "nah..." but I started to consider it, and realized that it made (to me) statistical sense.
In addition, I find it necessary to at least skim the article and read through the comments before dropping a -1 (or any other vote). The reason being that a lot of the time an article that seems uninteresting turns out to be interesting, or the even more likely possiblility that some really interesting discussion makes up for my lack of interesting in the article itself.
I think this makes a lot of sense. K5 is a discussion site more than a news site. In that respect, a piece must be discussable before it can get posted. If a perfectly written article is destined to get only two people talking, then it probably shouldn't get posted, unless the content is actually truly interesting to a large group.
Anyway, that's all I've got to say for now.
farq will not be coming back