The consensus on downvoting is weak, and needs to be strengthened. All voters are stakeholders, and share a common interest in growing the network and its value. Downvoting to the point of censorship is destructive to the network, but so is spam. Only spam/abuse of the platform should be voted into net negatives. When large stakeholders downvote posts and comments out of simple disagreement, they do serious damage to their investment by building the perception of Steem as a closed, unwelcoming, and unfree platform.
To address this I'm proposing 2 courses of action, the first of which every reader can begin now.
First, we should share comments and posts that are not spam but have been heavily downvoted to attract voting firepower to them. Every attempt at censorship should become a battlefield and an instance of the Streisand Effect. This effort will be further augmented when web and app developers implement the next action.
Second, Steem websites and apps should add a "controversial" section to elevate the visibility of posts and comments for which votes are highly conflicted. This will undermine the use of voting for censorship while preserving its utility for spam and abuse prevention. I think subjecting contested downvotes to more extensive community review and accountability could significantly improve the voting dynamics.
Ready to start? Go check this post and upvote it if it's still negative: https://steemit.com/steemitdev/@steemitdev/steem-blockchain-update-august-2017#@elfspice/re-steemitdev-steem-blockchain-update-august-2017-20170807t203318660z
Then find more instances of attempted censorship, share them, and link them below so I and others can counter them.
In the future it may (or may not) be beneficial to hard fork an update to make downvotes risk some of their stake to penalize abuse, but that's a discussion for another day.
Thanks for reading.