fathom - 6:21 pm on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
Exactly. I keep having people tell me I need to build my website with quality content.
When you link schemed your way to the top and got caught all that is left is acquiring earned links... that is how you recover. It doesn't matter how you feel about your quality level your votes are purely webspam.
If you can't earn them your vision of quality isn't as good as you think.
Additionally, just because someone else is in a high (or higher) position does not mean they earned anything either... their webspam just so happens to be a little more granular than yours for Google to detect... but give it time.