Helmet Stickers are the currency of this site. You earn them by being active and providing solid comments. You lose them for running afoul of our commenting policy.
Each member receives one (1) sticker for a comment, two (2) stickers for posting a forum topic, and a whopping five (5) for posting a blog post. (We actually want to hear your thoughts, you know?)
Now here's the kicker: You can either gain or lose your earned stickers when people vote on your comments. We realize that puts people on edge, but we like it. It means our readers – our commentariat – will think before posting most times, and that's a win for everyone.
If you want to comment, you can't fall below -50 stickers and you can't fall below zero if you wish to create a forum topic. You'll need a nice, solid standing of 150 helmet stickers to create a blog post. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility.
If a particularly silly comment reaches -5 votes, it's unreadable. Once it reaches -10, it's locked. We don't want that to happen often, but we realize that sometimes the trolls come out from below the bridge. Don't be that troll. Don't hold a grudge and downvote people you don't "like" just "because." Be conscientious and understanding of differing viewpoints, they're what makes the world go 'round.
Oh yeah... don't cry about downvotes. They happen, despite our best efforts to manage the system. In aggregate, they work.