I feel if we drastically reduce curation we are going to eliminate any incentive to power up. The majority of users already power down and sell as fast as they earn it. Very few will lock up any significant amount to just vote witnesses and proposals.
You are trying to encourage manual curation, but this would reduce the incentive to do it. To manually curate with any decent amount of stake is literally a full time job unless you just drop large votes on anything half decent you see.
No matter how altruistic you are, it's very difficult to justify spending 4-12 hours a day reading and voting content you likely have zero interest in the first place. That's how long it would take to manually curate with a sizable stake.
Reducing or removing curation will encourage those with stake (or access to it via circle jerks) to create more shit content to take more of the author side. One of the reasons there is a significant reduction of spam and abuse is curation is more viable compared to shit post farms and you can be competitive without voting on your friends or your alts. I find a lot of people underestimate the value stake holders bring to the ecosystem. While creating content is time consuming, earning and buying stake is as well and not as easily doable by most users.
In another comment you mention this:
It's not really changing the incentives to invest in Hive. It's changing voting incentives. The amount of lost curation rewards is exactly balanced by the reduced inflation.
I don't think anyone outside of Hive really cares about voting incentives, and those are the people we need to encourage to invest in Hive. I do believe reducing inflation is valuable, and it is something that outsiders care about. I've suggested in the past we cut the reward pool in half until we can acquire more users. I think targeting curation only would drastically reduce any incentive to power up. In fact, as someone who has powered up since I have been here, I would struggle to justify it myself if curation was made to be pointless. Curation is already soul sucking, you are damned if you don't vote someone, you are damned if you do vote someone, you are damned if you downvote someone, you are damned if you don't. Not only that it takes an enormous amount of time, more so than any other crypto project I know of to just "keep up with the Joneses". The problem is made worse when you see garbage rewarded extremely well for little effort on a regular basis. Many stake holders will likely feel they are losing their percentage share unless they also become an author, and let's be honest most people here are not authors, so they will turn to easy solutions.
Let me turn this bus around and get back to the root of the problem.
auto voting is bad.
I disagree, I think shitty auto voting is bad. I mostly see myself supporting people who create good content and put in effort. I maintain an eye on these people I support and adjust accordingly. I also give significant votes to everyone I vote, $4-5 typically. Here is the real problem that I have brought up before. The majority of auto votes give a few cents, their vote is only there for curation rewards and nothing else. This is the bulk of the auto votes you see, these votes have zero concern about quality and effort and are purely for curation rewards. This is the real problem in my opinion. This also results in clumping where popular authors get the majority of the votes. This is also the result of very limited pool of "good" authors to vote.
The other problem is very few are downvoting to counter the shitty voting that goes on, which would be a balance to keep the auto voting in check.