I think few of us would be here if it wasn't for the rewards, although the freedom aspect is cool too. That freedom included the ability to be a dick and there are a few of those around, but they are outnumbered by the good people. Most of those who want to screw things up do not bother to invest in enough Steem to be dangerous, but there are notable exceptions. We really cannot afford to be driving away good people even though some may be getting more rewards than we think they should.
Interesting that @paintingangels was making far more than I do on a post even with some flags, but if they were getting grief from people then maybe it is time to step away, even though you can just block people. I don't know what has been going on for @tcpolymath either. I only follow a few people and miss out on some of the drama. It's is generally just a piss-up in a paddling pool in the scheme of things as Steem is tiny in internet terms. Part of the reason I want it to grow is that will reduce the influence on some people. I really don't care about getting less rewards as I want more people to get the benefits. The Steem price is irrelevant apart from allowing me to buy more.
Nobody has to be online really, but we choose to be and that opens us up to attacks. Find the good people and work with them.