RE: Vote Power thoughs and seeking clarification
It does seem to be set up for curation bots and that is where the "money" seems to be coming from for many of the "whale" posts as well.
Unfortunately the current system encourages automated voting, as you say here. What is particularly unfortunate about that is bot-curation overlooks hundreds of potential "gems" put out by minnows who get little notice in favor of "meh it'll get more votes" so that the bot owners can rack up curation rewards.
I suppose one option to combat it could be "anti-curation" but in my opinion that would be flag abuse. So the method I go with is to only manually curate and to encourage others to manually curate. I read and interact with posts to try to curate high value regardless of whether it comes from a minnow or whale.