Most of the time, the reputation system is not a popularity contest. Sometimes it can be, but more or less those who have high amounts of positive reputation have contributed a lot of thoughtful, helpful, and intelligent posts to this forum.
Whenever I post things to the forum, I don’t care about post count. I could sit here and post every five seconds to a Chit-Chat or Game thread and quickly rack up 1,000 posts a month. But instead I care more about quality than quantity. If I have something productive, helpful, or intelligent to post, then I post it. Sometimes I post several posts in any given day. Other times I may post once in two weeks.
But in the end, it is possible to post your sincere thoughts and opinions and NEVER, ever receive negative rep. Trust me. Sometimes although you may think it’s your opinions that may cause you to get negative rep, it may really be the tone of your post or the way in which you posted information. (Remember, you can’t always use the same tone in which you speak with a person right next to you as you do in the Internet. When posting things here, people can’t see your facial reactions or hear your tone of voice. The only thing they see is letters on a screen and an occasional smilie, so your choice of words is of paramount importance. ;))
Just to prove that, look at these following examples to see how choice of wording can affect the post. Here’s a great example of two different ways to post the “same” thing, the first of which would probably merit negative rep while the latter might even merit positive rep.
Bad post: “These transmissions reelly suck! we kept popping chain an whoever designed them did a badd job becuz the gears didnt shift right and our robot never drive straight and we lost several matches because of this! Never use them!!!11!”
Good post: “Last year, in the particular application in which we used these gearboxes they did not work for our team. Due to X factors, we often popped the chain on our drive train, and the robot would often be hard to control. However, after spending a lot of time looking over the gearbox design, we believe that if the output shaft was moved higher by about an inch, and if the second stage reduction could be changed to W:X instead of Y:Z, it would allow for teams to use a better range of sprocket sizes, to better adapt for a more versatile mechanism design.”
[These are just examples of a possible scenario.]
Even though both of these posts convey the same information, the latter will probably ensure that you won’t get negative rep - ever. Sometimes you have to act humble. Don’t blame all the problems that your robot had on a particular robot component or Regional referee or game rule. Instead, just take responsibility yourself. Instead of blaming the gearbox design, review your mounting bracket designs to see if you could have did anything to improve it.
Act humble, avoid hubris, and post widely and thou shalt receivith postive rep.