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Even I Have to Admit Stories About Medium Are Getting Out Of Hand, Here’s a Possible Solution

They’re bombarding everyone’s feeds.

Yes, I’m aware of the irony.

I’m the first to blame here. I write about Medium constantly. If you have ever done it, you know that those types of stories seem to do very well lately. Most of my income is based on those stories.


The issue

The problem is that the amount of Medium-centric stories is really getting out of hand. And with it the stories about making money on Medium or with writing in general. I read this story by Christina M. Ward with a screenshot that illustrates the issue. And it’s only one post out of a dozen similar ones I’ve read lately.

!https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*0V5jj0VZkCa3z9UEYRQH8A.png

Screenshot by Christina M. Ward

Look at that list of recommended posts. Even my feed — and mind you that I not only constantly write about Medium, but also follow many writers that do, and read a bunch of stories like that — does NOT look like the screenshot above. Mine is a little more balanced.

That didn’t come naturally though. I rigorously go through my favored topics, reading history, the following list, etc., and change or remove things to get a more balanced reading experience.

If you don’t do that, you’ll end up with something like the image above (or even with alterations, I don’t know if Christina M. Ward plays around with the recommendations as much as I do.)


The Medium side on this issue

The bottom line is, the Medium reading experience is unbalanced to the point that I have read numerous stories complaining about similar issues to the screenshot above. A constant feed of almost identical story types.

So, how could Medium conquer this issue? If they wanted to

For the record, I do think Medium actually does NOT appreciate this very much. In fact, Medium staff and execs don’t like stories about Medium (or meta stories like they call it). They exclude those from curation via the distribution guidelines.

!https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*_XTlnLFJAl4dNNK2xX9K7w.png

Screenshot by Burk

The algorithm, however, seems to love stories about Medium as even people who read very little about this topic are getting flooded by recommendations of Medium-centric posts.

To be fair, the algorithm is driven (to a high degree, I would assume) by demand which means people do read these stories.

The issue is that people who read these types of stories are most likely writers themselves and not “only” readers. Writers have an interest in Medium and how to make money here. The average reader, however, does not.


A possible fix

I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but I’d love to see the effect of the following proposal that I already presented a few months ago.

What would happen if Medium not only excluded meta stories (stories about Medium) from curation but from the partner program as a whole?

See, that meant no stories about Medium would be eligible for earnings.

That ought to put a hold on a huge number of these types of stories, wouldn’t you say?

Again, this would be bad for me as my earnings are based on meta stories by a large percentage. Still, I’d love to see the impact here. I’m not saying they should do it from my perspective, but from Medium’s point of view, I’d be looking into that.

What do you think? Stories about Medium, problem or no problem?

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