That's a shame and exactly my worry, I don't consider you or Zkup to be trolls who make crappy posts, quite the opposite, your posts are often detailed and thought out but we have you both claiming to have received downvote barrages in the past which have pushed you away from commenting, I don't see how this issue gets better, I see it getting worse, downvotes weaponised more and good users discouraged from posting.
I'll say again, the chances of someone not posting anymore because they were downvote bombed is hugely higher than someone deciding to not comment anymore because they lost downvoting power, it's a weigh up of which is hurting the site more and I believe downvotes are.
I also agree, I'm not sure why downvoting isn't an option in the main forums, I also don't understand why there's a difference in policy, it does make no sense, I've asked why in this thread multiple times and nobody else seems to know why there should be a difference either, not that I would want downvoting in forums, I think that would be awful but I think that's what most others would think too, so why the difference?
I'd be fully in favour of making downvotes and upvotes not anonymous anymore.
I have rarely seen meaningful discussion in the comments on articles. Normally I see shallow opinion and by shallow I mean not well supported. People don't typically write half a page worth of response in support of their view in the comment section. The default sorting option is by popularity. Simply put I don't see it as in depth discussion.
Threads on the other hand often contain replies (gems here and there) that have a good deal of effort behind them and I believe the evolution of the conversation is important (i.e. being in chronological order is quite important). Sorting on the metric of popularity has no place in a thread but finds a good home in the comment section. If someone wants to disagree and make it known then they can make a comment rather than just give a thumbs down.