@Paladin is right, the separate feed idea which has been put forwards a number of times, is a twin consideration to this.
It feels to me the end solution will include both UI specialisation, and measures geared at the rewards specifically. Though related, the overlap is not complete and I don't think both aspects can be addressed adequately without looking at them separately.
I think the Narrative Company has been agnostic as to what the ideal balance of content types, from very short to very long form, might be, and as a result, we've ended up with a balance that is accidental, and incidental to the early UI and algorithm choices that have been made.
At some point, success will require more precise definition of the balance of content Narrative will be known and appreciated for: we can't be happy-go-lucky about this forever.
And we can't kid ourselves: there is no such thing as a natural content balance, and fearing to cause an artificial balance is a form of paralysis. From the moment you offer money for content and apply algorithms and the context of a platform, you will influence what kind of content people present. The Narrative Company did not set out to dissuade long form content, and did not set out to favour photo content, but the technical and economic implementation choices had an effect, inevitably, and that effect has resulted in the current (im)balance.
No rewards for reposted content
Recently, the decision to no longer reward non-original content was made. I think it is a great decision long term, but in the present, this tips the scales even further against long form content. Until now, reposted long form content could hope to compete with photo snapshot content, because a repost of a long, detailed article takes very little work, and can rival the energy/rewards ratio snapshot posts enjoy. Now that long form needs to be composed from scratch for Narrative, we'll see long form content become even more scarce on the platform, inevitably.
This should teach us something. Everything we do to the platform - even excellent things - can influence the attractiveness of certain types of content here in ways we don't want it to. These will be indirect influences - side effect influences - non-deliberate influences: uncontrolled influences.
What we need is a direct, precise way of affecting the balances to counteract the incidental influences of all the other moving parts. In this case, a change to the sizes of the dedicated reward pools would allow an immediate response to counteract the negative effect demonetising reposted content will have on long form content.
Without a direct, deliberate and controlled means of influencing content balance - and without a notion of what balance to aim for, we're basically flying blind.
A deliberate vision will have to emerge
There are two ways to reach this deliberate vision. The Company can build a theoretical ideal balance by observing other platforms, understanding what the different kinds of content do for SEO, sharing, and advertising, and deciding who their primary market is and what those people want. (Hint: primary market: "everybody"; and what they want: "everything" – are not really acceptable answers. You can't effectively market if your primary market is "everyone").
The other way is much more risky and we seem to be on that path: the vision seems to be expected to emerge from experimentation alone, without an initial theoretical target. If that's the way we are going to do things, then we will need an efficient way of iterating precise experiments with the platform's balance. A means of testing one balance, evaluating how well it is working for us, then rapidly and precisely achieving another balance, and measuring the effects of that new balance... rinse and repeat until Narrative finds its identity.
In terms of direct, precise influence over content balance, I don't think we can beat @J Bandel's proposal of dedicated reward pools. It is quick to implement and the most direct method proposed to date.
Are there more elegant programmatic ways of achieving influence?
I'm sure there are, but we shouldn't heed those siren songs. We're a seedling fighting for our share of sunlight, and thoughts of elegance need to be delayed until we've carved out our niche and reserved the sunlight we need for a long life. For now we need a purely pragmatic approach to proving Narrative has a viable formula.
Agility - Dedicated reward pools, a hack, or an efficient solution?
One of the rules of startup development is: avoid pouring resources into perfection... get the product to the point where it is competitive as fast as possible, then later, once that proof can attract greater resources, start worrying about technical elegance.
If we do soon decide that we should have a target balance (and I hope we do), then dedicated reward pools will still be the quickest and most precise way to achieve it, and then fine-tune it.
If a year from now, the landscape changes, and we need to pivot towards a new content type balance, those dedicated reward pools will still be the quickest way to achieve that pivot.
Investors along the way will become increasingly sophisticated - and sophisticated investors want to know there is a vision, and efficient means of balancing the ecosystem. I believe giving ourselves this tool of dedicated reward pools will give great confidence to investors that the Narrative Company is putting everything it can on its side in order to find its ideal stance and posture to succeed in today's landscape, and to adapt to the changes that landscape will undergo. Being able to articulate this to them will ALWAYS beat saying: we don't know what balance we want.
The love of coding
One thing I'd like @Brian Lenz and @Vico Biscotti - who are both software engineers - to weigh as factor going forward, is that a love of coding can influence decisions.
I'm not a software engineer, but I have coded a fair bit professionally, and for stretches, coding has been the main focus of my duties in various roles.
I've done enough of it to know that the love of the craft is a siren song in the early phases of development: luring us to devote endless energy to the most elegant, clever and satisfying ways to accomplish something, with as much automation as possible.
I also know that a clear deadline (whether it is set by a client, or the reality of finite budgets), is the best way to readjust the focus towards delivering results, that can later be improved upon. Public Beta, when used right, is also supposed to really help keep coders focused on pragmatism. Real users giving real feedback should guide the way. Those real users don't care about how elegantly everything is being achieved - they care about the problems their tools are causing for them, in the accomplishing of tasks that ultimately create the pay checks for both the users and the coders.
Right now, long form content creators don't really care about the elegance of solutions, nor do they care about the personal satisfaction of the engineers: all they know is Narrative's culture is stacked against their preferred content. So I think we should adopt the quickest solution to creating an outcome that is fair to them, and seek the luxury of changing how that is achieved later if that even ends up being necessary.
Several times, I've laughed at the initial plans I laid out to build a fancy tool, only to find that a much easier approach went on to provide years of great utility.