One of the very cool things that we added as part of our 2011 upgrade is the ability to vote. Watch the video: “TechRepublic FAQ video: Voting.”

Previously, only the people who asked questions in the Questions forum could give the respondents a Thumbs Up — but now, everyone can vote on the individual comments in both the Discussions and Q&A forums.

What’s the point of voting? We want to help you all quickly find the good stuff (the comments that receive the most plus or positive votes) and ignore the stuff that’s not so good (the comments that receive the most minus or negative votes).

Please don’t vote down comments just because the opinions differ from your own. Instead, we’d love it if you Voted up comments that had a lot of thought put into them or were well presented, even if you don’t share the same views.

However, don’t be afraid to vote down comments that you think are either biased or unfair, or contain personal attacks or foul language. By default, after a comment has received five votes down, it gets hidden. Everyone can still read what that person said, but it takes an extra click.

To change your default setting, click Community Preferences at the top of any Question or Discussion or go to My Account (your account) at the top right of any page and select Preferences. The Threshold section has a drop-down option so that you can alter your default rating for hiding comments. For example, you can change your threshold so that comments are hidden after being voted down just three times.

If you run across really egregious comments — not just foul language but inappropriate personal attacks and name calling — please Flag it, select the Cause of the Report, enter a brief explanation (this part is optional), and then click Submit.

TechRepublic’s moderator will completely remove these flagged comments from the site, because we’re committed to creating a respectful and professional atmosphere for IT pros to exchange ideas. So, please remember: attack ideas, not people.