I propose we lower curation rewards to the point where the potential gain from curation is too small to make it worth the negatives associated with using an auto-vote bot
The issue here is that to a large stakeholder there are virtually no negatives to using an auto-vote bot. It's completely free, takes all of a couple minutes to set up, and you sit back and collect the rewards. So if the curation rewards are anything at all, it will still be worthwhile to use auto-vote bots. So, primarily for this reason, I don't think reducing curation rewards will have the intended effect and wouldn't support that change.
Another option I have been thinking about (which is more work) is to allow people to opt out of the voting game and just earn a straight return on their HP. So we divert a portion of the current reward pool to this new HP staking reward fund or whatever it's called, and people can opt into that if they want, and if they do then they cannot use their stake to vote on content.
The returns from this would depend on how much HP opts in to receive the straight staking rewards, since it would be splitting up a finite reward pool between all of the stake opted in. On the other end, users who choose to keep their HP voting will see their vote values per HP increase significantly due to a large amount of HP no longer participating in the voting/reward pool. So users will arbitrage both sides until the system hopefully comes to an equilibrium.
Basically, the system allows the HP holders to collectively determine the best APR on staked HIVE vs vote value in a free market type system.