Some good pointers here which go beyond boosters and bribes, so thanks. My biggest issue with Steemit as a platform however is that these rewards are not organic... especially for minnows and the like. These days for the little guys it seems entirely required to play the bot & bride game on this platform. Its a core element (due to current system incentives) of selling follows, votes, reblogs and/or SP delegation (ultimately bribes). I feel this facet is extremely detrimental to this ecosystem and the general ideologies of a decentralized community and infrastructure.
Every persons's voice should have a similar weight (not 100x orders of magnitude off compared to the whales). More emphasis on the "social proof" aspect is needed. I definitely agree that good content creators should be amply rewarded, and the more active a user is on the platform the better off and more impactful they should be. But the current system is out of whack and promotes an oligarchy driven by 'tribute'. This makes it feel impossible for us little guys to get ahead via our content and community, without playing this disingenuous game.
I don't want to pour my energy in that BS, I want to make quality content, explore others' quality content, and have a genuine/organic community around it. Sadly the Donald Trumps of Steemit currently rule. Power to the people!