Re: Let's all take a deep breath (everyone please read)
I think the carrot part of the rep system is good, but the stick doesn't hurt enough to change behavior. I want to see negs count as much as positive rep. I also want to see disciplinary actions of any kind result in a pre-defined decrease of rep. And if a poster drops below certain pre-defined rep levels, reduce their privileges on the board.
The Dead Horse forum is an interesting concept, but I wouldn't like to see it used for threads that start on a completely different topic and veer into "dead horse" territory. Posters should be able to scan the list of topics, see that there are three topics in there that mention "Dunn" and "strikeouts," and recognize that the issue is effectively verboten. If a poster looks in the special forum and sees a bunch of thread titles that are unrelated to the "Dead Horse" issue, I don't think it will solve the issue any better than locking such threads.
Maybe instead of the separate forum, there should be a wiki page listing current "dead horse" and "hot-button" topics, linked from the board as a forum, that only the mods can edit? I think the mods and admins would benefit from having a place like that to publicly post their current hot-button issues, to avoid the need for Boss to start up a thread like this when things boil over. The mods communicate among themselves, I presume. Having a wiki page would enable them to communicate better with us.