RE: Is there a whale voter cult on Steemit? Yes, and it's killing Steemit!
What you're complaining about is a systematic problem with Steem and how the platform is designed. You can't fix this by saying, "Whales, do better!" As you put it, if we had a couple more million users than we have now and were much bigger, how do you expect whales to properly upvote everything and read content?
It would become a full time job, but without considerable amounts of funds invested, it will not pay as a full time job to curate. After hard fork 19, in my view, the "selfish whale culture" improved because the rewards were more widely distributed among the community. Yet even with more whales and linear rewards, it does not make the work any simpler.
It's not the case whales have the time to constantly curate content to distribute rewards.
If you want Steem to go somewhere, we need to recognize that most social media does not favor a traditional blogging platform. Facebook is not a blog. Twitter is a micro blog. Old-school blogging just isn't hip and this is what Steemit is.
If you really wanted Steem to go somewhere, we would put 100% of the community effort toward the DTube project, and get advertiser integration into that platform to boost monetization and we would attempt to compete with YouTube directly.
Steemit will never be facebook because Facebook is not a blog. Steemit will never be twitter, because on Steemit, micro-blogging is considered an abuse and could get you flagged if the rewards were too high for posting 140 characters.
What you're complaining about here is just something you need to wake up to... "Steemit is the way it is, by design. It is unlikely we are radically going to alter that design away from whales upvoting." If this is the nature of the system you are dealt, this is what you got. Improvements can be made, but without scratching the model and redesigning it, you are never going to get away from "Whales upvote to determine rewards. There are a limited number of whales, who are limited in the amount of material they can cover to upvote."