Although a bit late now, it struck me of another idea, though it doesn't really fit your requirements exactly.
Still have a numerical representation of how many upvotes, but include an additional meta category for each one depicted as aircraft which get "better" on each (or after set numbers of) upvotes / downvotes. e.g.
0 - handglider
1 - Cessna
2 - private jet of some type
25 - A380
You'll have to pardon the lack of knowledge of planes on my part, but you could probably see where I'm going.
Displaying this could be done via a silhouette background on the vote count possibly, though there are a few alternatives depending on site design.
As I say, it's not an exact fit to what you asked (a word), but it can be used for a similar purpose.