I am for a 2-24 hour window as you suggested in the post. At first I was at 24 hours because you can wake up and find new content everyday and be in the rush to vote. However, I do like the idea of 2 hours, as you said it creates a bit of competition and 2 hours is still plenty of time for manual curators. Maybe 2-3 hours can be game theorized and see if it makes much difference.
As for the reversion back from penalizing small votes, (comments got hurt the most by this) I am for this. I think we should try to boost engagement at all times and most users simply stopped voting comments because they can get better ROI (by a long shot) curating and voting bigger on post.