Medium should be about having the best quality writing succeed, not the most popular material. Really good, well written material should have legs no matter how old it is. And we should be able to find it more easily.

I hate the fact that the site has always been driven by tech industry imperatives (e.g. the demand to produce new content daily) rather than the thoughtful and gradual processes by which I want to produce and read the content I like. It's very annoying to feel that you have to work on someone else's schedule rather than your own when you are not a formal employee of the company.

I'm seeing now where Substack has an edge in this. You get to produce content on your own schedule and have it directly distributed to you without interference. I'm thinking I may have to take my account paid, as that may the only way I can get decently compensated for my work. Medium doesn't pay me enough for it to be fair that they treat me like a de facto employee.

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The word that comes to mind when I think "Tony" is "arrogant." If I am feeling kinder, I might say "delusional." Your point about fact-checking is spot on--it's left to the will of the writer and editors to get it right. Mostly, though, I think Tony needs to take a break and revisit the art of humility. It would buy him a lot more support. I write on Medium in spite of him. I like the community. That's pretty much the start and stop of the value prop for me. Tony? He needs a sabbatical.

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In my business life I was a troubleshooter. I was dropped into companies and divisions that were doing poorly and was tasked with fixing them. CEO Tony, has the same mindset of many people I ran into who were diligently "solving" the Wrong Problems and thus the company was failing. Medium has already "solved" a lot of problems that we know nothing about. You can feel it. Focusing on the wrong issues leaves a confused residue throughout an organization. Stats don't mesh, one to the next. News releases on upcoming changes sound confusing and at odds with what was announced last month. Execs getting excited about implementing new programs that no one really has any interest in.

It's the corporate equivalent of throwing dynamite into the lake, because you don't know how to find the fish!

My "troubleshooting nose" tells me Medium is having problems because they've already messed with the algorithms - too much. They've already implemented insufficiently evaluated changes to the site, distribution, feeds and so are now having to fixed new problems created by old solutions. They need to go back to a clean earlier version of the site that helped it to grow and reimplement what worked.

Will they do it? We'll see.

Old sales adage - you get what you incentivize. Medium incentivizes content that focuses on making money on Medium. That uses the terms $100, $1000, $10,000 in their titles. That tries to repackage the lightning that struck a handful of original writers 8-10 years ago. It draws in new readers looking for side hustles. Can't blame people for wanting to make extra money. However, you end up with 10,000 ways to be the next Tim Denning or . . . . . ! But there already is one of them and there won't be another. But it generates views and new memberships and a preponderance of similar content.

I don't like it, but I'm only one person.

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

When I joined Medium, I was under the impression that it was a place for all kinds of writing. I'm not an article or blog-type writer for the most part. Most of my stuff is personal essay and memoir. That kind of thing occupies a small space on Medium, which is okay, as long as it's recognized. But Tony puts himself out there like the Blogger's blogger. Medium is a blog. Period. I feel like he has a very narrow vision for what he wants and it doesn't include the kind of writing I do. Which is too bad, given that there is a group of us here with readers - not thousands of readers, maybe, but there are people here looking to read this kind of thing. I'll probably take my stuff elsewhere eventually. But it's sad for Medium, to become such a narrow place. Tony's place, as it were.

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It's bizarre to me that he would ask us to promote our work off platform when we don't get a dime from Medium unless other Medium subscribers read it. Why bother? If they want that traffic then they should pay us for it by changing the Partner program. I have 400K followers off Medium and while I don't mind using that form time to time, it's never once paid off.

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

“What’s the value of 75 million articles that are not fact checked? Is that really on par with Wikipedia? Because I don’t think it is. “

My thoughts on this quote:

In a word, hubris. False equivalency. Magical thinking. Wishing and saying they are equivalent will not make it so. Ever.

My thoughts on “what is timeless?”

Spirit, poetry (some) and energy. Not too many articles by physicists on Medium (not that I’ve looked). Lots of articles on spirituality...does he want to mold Medium into a New Age religion? Excuse the sarcasm. Poetry does not sell, generally, except in a very small segment of the population.

Maybe the CEO really does not know what he wants, because he really didn’t give much thought to what he said!

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

80% of my new readers have come from old articles. I write evergreen content.

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A couple of things came to mind as I watched that. First, Wikipedia & 'timeless" don't go together. Articles are constantly being updated. I don't know about anyone else, but I almost never update any of mine.

Second, a Wiki by default is a communal effort. Linda could write a historical argument on, say, Joan of Arc, and anyone of us could go in and edit/fact check it. That can't--and shouldn't-- happen with our work on Medium.

Maybe something was lost in the delivery; I dunno. Either way, it was an odd comparison to make.

P.S. For anyone wondering about Medium's proposed compensation for editors, he tweeted that we should see something in a month or two.

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

"Lots of content in those dusty boxes" made me laugh. :)

I think of evergreen as something that does not change, such as tornado safety or prepping for a winter storm or some of the Christmas posts.

Encouraging essays based on life experience fall into that category. Writing how-to does also, although I've found it not popular. Pretty sure no one cares if someone writes right or not. Strunk, roll over. Truss, too. :'(

I have missed receiving suggestions for the History folks; sorry they left, but I get it.

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Jan 14Liked by Linda Caroll

Loving all the comments singing your praises!

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

Shallow is as shallow does. I think the Medium CEO is fishing for "deep" ideas to make it seem like he has the chops to keep his job longer than a few months. Perhaps he should look into whether or not Wikipedia is hiring. As e.e. cummings wrote in a poem long ago, "A salesman is an it that stinks."

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I'm just shaking my head. Thanks for distilling the messages from the CEO so I don't have to listen to him myself. :)

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Jan 13Liked by Linda Caroll

Thank god for you, Linda. I thought I was alone in my thoughts about Medium's direction and Tony, but I'm not. Tony seems clueless to what half of the writers there are about. His focus is on having more content in programming, self-help, and marketing. So, if you're writing stuff like that, good for you.

I'm not. I write features, articles, opinion, personal essays. He hardly talks about writers in those fields. It's like he wants all of us to get out of Medium. He doesn't get that so much of Medium is about writers like us. He think writings that go over the bar are articles that fit his three pubs. It's obvious. Listen to his interviews.

He keeps saying think what value you can provide to your readers. He thinks value only comes from marketing, programming, and self-help articles written like a coach that he is. My instinct about him being a coach and how it's going to hurt us was damn correct. I wrote about it when he first came on board.

Thank god for this community and you for helping us navigate these changes. I'm glad I'm not alone in my assessment of him and Medium's future.

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It doesn't sound to me like they have a clue about what they want!

Also, I see articles constantly about new historical discoveries that change history.

Where does that leave Medium writers? Limbo. Or Purgatory.

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Personally, the only articles I would consider "evergreen " would be historical.

Republishing old articles as "new?" Ridiculous!

Two more reasons I won't go back to Medium.


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Wow Linda, how did you find the time and energy to keep track of what Tony is saying? LOL.

Anyway, my instinct response to your question after reading this is ---


We truly have too much information and content on the net.

Other things you mentioned.

1. Nope, I do not see Medium = Wikipedia. How dare he. haha

2. Agree on the citations and sources bit. It's not easy to write a truly fact-checked and verified article. I know I struggle all the time. Even research papers can be doubtful some papers are skewed due to sources of funding.

3. Relevance of old content for today: There is definitely some relevancy. I know I am digging some old content of others. An old friend of mine used to say " Archives are gold in present time" - it stuck with me till this day, and made me a wee bit of books and articles hoarder haha.

The trick with this, IMHO, is really to pick the well-thought ones from the copycats. Most writing, mine included I admit, have to come from somewhere. True original content is rare these days.

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