Look under peoples profiles to the left of their post and there is a blue check mark. That is how you give rep to something you deserves it. People will give you rep if you post something that they think is intelligent or that they agree with. From what I know, there is no negative, although there should be.
I remember people being more upset that they got negative rep.
I don't remember too many times where it seemed out of hand - but many members hated it from the early days and it was taken away.
I loved it though. There was even a time that you could give negative rep and it was anonymous. Towards the end it said who gave it and that's when people really couldn't handle it imo.
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