I take it for granted that I will get some retaliation for downvoting those who try to game the Steem platform. It is mostly no big deal as they just take cents and cannot harm my reputation score. One of these has been trying to remove comment rewards at the last minute for about a year, but is irrelevant.
The other is a more recent case who was spending serious Steem on votes. They had good engagement from the German community anyway, so why bother unless they are just greedy. They have stopped posting for more whilst going on a flagging spree against the good people of @steemflagrewards.
This is a critical time for Steem. We have lots of new people joining from the Tron community and we need to set a good example. At least trending is more organic these days, but we have to emphasise that this is a social platform that the community moderates for the good of all. I have offered to create accounts for new users, but I hear that Steemit are processing them in a matter of hours lately.
Buying votes is generally bad as it deprives others of rewards. If you want to promote a post then decline the rewards to show good faith. We can easily track who is buying votes, even if they do it through proxy accounts. It looks like less people are doing so these days. That is good, but we must remain vigilant.
Some people will never get it, but I have helped persuade numerous others to change their ways.
Also, be sure to vote for witnesses so the community can influence the direction of Steem. Feel free to set me as your proxy as I use all 30 of my votes.