never heard of that but it's a lot of the first part too. i just think the site would be so much better without the upvote system. it all just seems so contrived, like people not posting from the heart or their actual opinions, but what they think others will agree with in fear of getting downvoted into oblivion where no one will even get to read what they have to say, or just to get points and reddit gold or whatever the hell it is. i'm sure there's some really great hidden gem boards, but i'm just talking about from what i've seen.
There are a lot of more thought-provoking, discussion based subreddits that actively discourage downvoting based on difference of opinion. Like, when you put your mouse over the downvote button, it warns that you should only downvote if the link is not releveant or the comment doesn't add value to the discussion. On top of that, many have strict moderators to keep the content quality to a certain standard. Not saying those subs aren't still flawed, but it helps.
I recommend unsubscribing from the defaults, or at least a few of them, and finding subs that pertain to your interests or things that you want to improve at. Also, this blog post
is particularly helpful in making Reddit a more rewarding experience.