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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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That's a good point, David. There's not the pressure to crank out more content here. Plus, people who follow you see your writing. If they follow, your writing reaches them. Every time. Simple as that. That's not the case on Medium anymore. I hope paid works out for you!

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If I'm honest, Medium /should/ be paying you like an employee! Not just for your writing, of course, but all of the goodwill and support you deliver for the community.

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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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I think he's very attached to the success of Better Humans and thinks everything that grew his publication can be applied across Medium.

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Ha ha, you know when you're multitasking and an idiot - this lady I had to correct reminded me of how you describe Tony. Must be a "knowitall" about everything despite the fact it's obvious that he/she are not knowledgable about it all, as none of us are.

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There's a quote I can't quite recall that says something about people who think they know everything will eventually be shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. lol.

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I never heard that quote before Linda, but it's got a lot of "Albert Einstein" attached to it in the typical online quote sites. But it really seems to be from Edmund Burke and a bit before Einstein - https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/59689-whoever-undertakes-to-set-himself-up-as-a-judge-of

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Omg, thanks! You went and found it. Burke sounds about right. A lot of his quotes get attributed to Einstein. There's a book on Amazon called Einstein Didn't Say That. I haven't read it, but it made me laugh when I stumbled across it.

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Just glancing at those quote websites, I was tempted to count up how many male quotes vs. female or nonbinary/unknown (I don't mean "unknown" as in "by Unknown" that well-known person). Just eyeballing, I didn't see ANY female names on main landing pages, so I'm gonna say it's 90 (male) 10 (other)?

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I had an interesting convo a couple of days ago with some clients and a guest they brought to the session, a woman who was a high-paid cancer industry executive (not a medical professional, a "marketing" expert). This woman was such a bitch - and I am invested in my clients, a top cancer doc and a top female tech expert working for one of the world's most successful and largest financial services businesses. Both are Black - one from Philly, one from Bahamas. This other lady? "Not Black." I usually am polite and accept whatever people say in this type of meeting but this gal was questioning a section of these ladies' business proposal in a way that showed she had no knowledge of total addressable market or market landscape - despite the fact that she probably makes mid-6 figures and obviously considers herself an expert in everything. I let her go a few minutes before popping her in a clean and professional manner. ("Yes, I understand that the wearable industry is very important and a downstream contributor but the primary industry we are presenting is telemedicine.") She didn't care for this, but I watched the two actual founders visibly relax and become more comfortable. They are not only my clients - not her - they are the ones who will make the difference for womens' health. Not her. I am absolutely done with this type of person. And you know - I wish you all the best in 2023, Linda because you are, just as they are, making a real difference.

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There are just too many of that kind of person. I don't know what it is, too easy to say ego. Maybe too much left brain dominance, and I only say that because of the work of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor after her stroke. Your last sentence puzzles me a little. I hear it a lot, people telling me I make a difference. I confess I don't really understand how but it makes me feel appreciated all the same. So thank you. :)

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Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

You use common sense. You state your opinion. You share facts. You say thank you.

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Margie the last one made me laugh. I do, that's true. And thank you. ❤️

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Agreed! - Linda, I've learned so much reading your articles. They are informative, enlightening, and interesting. And - about subjects we do not usually hear about, often "History of Women" or aspects of well-known figures we did not know, such as your article about Dickens. You help us learn and grow!

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That you mentioned the Dickens one made me full on laugh. What a nice comment to see first thing in the morning. Thanks Amy. ❤️

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Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

When someone doesn’t interact with the consumer, they simply don’t know how to behave. Tony won’t be around long. My prediction? 18 months. He’s clueless

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I guess we shall see. I mean, maybe he will see what is (and isn't) working and change things accordingly. If anything saves the site, it will be the strength of the community but in order for that to happen, people need to see results. You know?

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Jan 13, 2023·edited Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

I agree completely from the bottom of my heart. "Arrogance" for sure. Not so much of "delusional", although I may further phrase it as "his wounded ego leads to delusional", because he doesn't want to be seen as a "failure".

Truth is, if he'll just be a bit more humble, (not weak), as you said so, and simply do one thing -- Ask The Medium Community (of all categories, nationality, gender and ages), their wants, desires, needs, pain-points -- it probably make Medium a far more valuable place than the previous.

P.S. I say Arrogance, as a year ago, when I followed Better Humans and tried to pitch several stories to him, all of them were rejected. According to him, he set some high bars in accepting articles to keep the quality of content on BH.

Yet when I read some of the articles, it just seemed to me it's nothing special and it's often the same old writers anyway.

So definitely smell like the "wounded ego" to me, that just want to takes up space to mask one's inner fears.

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Gah, Yan, sorry that happened. I never submitted to Better Humans. In hindsight, it's probably a good thing.

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I don't even know how to pitch that s**t nor would I care to even consider it. Better Humans = not hard when you're below the average in nearly every metric, but consider yourself to be far above! LOL - Keep writing Yan, always tell the truth. Good lord, have I become such a Helbitch? Well - I've been watching Naomi Campbell. She always has good advice, which is always put your best interests first. These folks think they have their own best interest first but from the outside, it's clear they're just jerks.

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Funny, right? He call it Better Humans. When ermm... is he becoming one?

Oh geez. Your reply make me laughed and so I needed it. Thanks Amy!

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Yan, these guys are obviously pals with Douglas Rushkoff, whom I mistakenly thought was an "actual expert" instead of just a younger version of the appalling Ray Kurzweil. I say "appalling" because Kurzweil wrote this "Singularity" book and is affiliated with the even more appalling "Singularity University" and advertises himself as a total "futurist." His complaints about the horrific attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors of the Silicon Valley group are completely true - yet he is in reality, one of them. So, Kurzweil, whose main skill is self-promotion, closely followed by content-free bloviating, got this idea from someone who has real ideas, my friendly acquaintance Vernor Vinge, who is a true mega-genius and was a math professor at UCSD for decades. Here is a real conversation - I was on a panel with the very quiet, kind, and shy Vernor maybe 10 years ago in San Diego. People were asking about interstellar travel. Vernor turned to me and whispered "It would take about 30% of gross global product to launch an interstellar mission." I started thinking about that and realized that the human waste that goes on - just the basic WASTE of people with a lot of talent, gifts, and capability working to ... at the time I did *not* understand - working to benefit the richest in various ways - it's so far beyond what Vernor said. It isn't taking current resources - it is that we would have these resources for not only space travel but who knows what else to live better, preserve the planet, help animals, help each other - if this type of asshole did not only call the shots, but think they are the ones who should. Namaste and ... keep writing! What happened to you with this "Better Humans" publication run by a regular human who doesn't seem to get that he actually is a regular human. In the words of Naomi Campbell - move on and move forward!

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It's truly bizarre. I cannot fathom what is going on in these people's minds. I attended a couple of writer sessions when they were doing them by video. Seldom have I been so miserable or exposed to such self-centered, limited individuals.

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I didn't attend any of those, Amy. Yikes.

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They have writer sessions?

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They used to but I haven't seen one advertised for a while, probably since Tony formally took over. I suggested to have more training sessions and he "agreed" but I have not seen any of that since.

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When those were ongoing, I heard a people complaining that much of what they taught seemed to be personal preference more than actual writing skills. One thing I find very telling is the constant stream of staff picks. That alone speaks volumes about what they want there.

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Yes, most of what was covered when I attended were about stuff they were experiencing or interested in, very similar to somebody saying what they liked ...

in a college writing workshop lulz luv u dear Linda, don't be modest - you are a trailblazer !

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He doesn’t understand business or how to communicate to members.

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deletedJan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll
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Awww, Holly, your post made me a little sad. You're right, we do share a history with sites that died a painful death. Communities that welcomed me and friends that lost touch over the years. I'd hate that to happen to Medium. I've never had any communication with Tony, but that video was sure hard to watch. More than anything, it highlighted the difference between people who write to sell something and people who write for the joy of words.

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deletedJan 13, 2023·edited Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll
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Omg, I did not know Sue passed away. What a loss. I think my eternal optimism smacks me upside the head more often than I'd like. When Medium started, I'd really hoped that someone would finally get it right. When my income started crawling up, I started to believe. The smack upside the head was inevitable, even if I didn't see it coming. With coffee vs. absinthe -- why choose? This is why we have two hands, no? lol

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deletedJan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll
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I can imagine, Holly. I hadn't seen her for years but wow. I found her really uplifting. Such a loss.

P.S. Chocolate!! Chocolate is a great palate cleanser. lol

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Holly, the words below of yours are simply brilliant: The difference between people who write to sell something and people who write for the joy of words is their commercial value to the platform that hosts their work. Period.

I hardly ever say that about anything but in this case it is well deserved!

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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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You might be only one person, but your thoughts run parallel with the interview Ev did with Verge a couple of years ago. He'd actually laid a lot on the table and explained that their ideas for Medium weren't working. That's why they got rid of their publications and a bunch of staff. He said readers care about authors they come to read, not publications. And most of their new traffic comes from the top writers, which is how those one time bonuses came to be. A thank you for the people who were driving growth. But having said all that, no one did anything with it. Now we have another leader with his ideas for the site.

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Very interesting - hadn't seen that interview. An underlying problem as I see it, is that the algorithms take on a life of their own. Yes, readers are attracted to "top" writers. But readers often react to trends being created by the algorithms that are aggregating what top writers are writing - and a wave of like minded articles start sweeping in. In other words readers get interested in articles that 999 other readers looked at - they want to know why. Writer's articles get a boost, more readers are attracted - the algorithm picks up on this and creates a bigger and larger trend. The net result in my opinion is that top writers ride the crest of the wave and many other good writers gets crushed by the rest of the wave.

And it's not sustainable. Readers will get distracted by other trends on other platforms and then circle back looking for the latest cool things to read. I don't know - there's something unnatural or artificial about this process. Like advertising creating the next big stuffed pizza crust product that nobody thought of before because it's kind of crappy tasting really -- BUT it's different.

On my feed each day I get 85% listicles - they keep on coming and I don't read them but they are there every day. So, is the algorithm giving me what "I" want or what Medium needs to generate new readers. Because listicles on making money draw in people from other platforms. Medium's algorithms get close and intimate with Googles algorithms and after all this foreplay - we get lots of stuff they they want us to like and read and share.

It's like Kroger's pushing chocolate covered garbanzo beans because they got a shit ton in the warehouse, not because anybody actually wants them!

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I suspect the articles on making money are actually getting views. And it's for the simple reason that we're in a time where half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are worried about money all the time. Not that most of those articles are actually helpful, because I don't think they are. They're just people who realized they can get views by writing about the topic. Button pushers, I guess. They know which buttons to push to get views.

Here's the part that really kills me. I have had several readers tell me I do not appear in their feed. They follow me. Medium doesn't show them my stuff. It feels like Facebook all over again, where we build a following but they don't get to see our posts. lol. Except that Facebook lets people pay to reach all their followers and Medium doesn't.

The really sad part is that the people who were once top writers aren't getting the views they used to, and the stuff Medium pushes into the feed is mostly old content and what they want us to read. I don't know a solution for Medium, but for writers it might be to explore other avenues because that one feels like a dead end.

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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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I suspect there's a lot of pressure on him to make Medium grow the way his publications grew. I wouldn't want his job, for sure. But I agree that there seems to be a narrower focus showing up not just in content, but also in methodology. I see that a lot in marketing. People think what worked for them will work for everyone but that's seldom the truth. The sad part is that the writers who are struggling now were readers, too. As my earnings dropped, I started spending less time reading there, too. So in a way, as they alienate writers, they will be losing readers and that's unfortunate. Are you on Substack yet? I wonder if it would work better for you. :)

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You're absolutely right, and I had thought about that too - when you lose writers, you lose readers. I'm also reading less, except for certain people, like you, that I follow. Julia Hubbel has announced she's leaving, so I'm following her on Walkabout Saga. No, I'm not on Substack yet. I've thought about it, but I'm not sure it would work for me. My life also looks like it may be going in an entirely different direction soon, so I have to wait and see how that plays out before committing to anything with my writing. Thanks for hanging in there and giving us insights into what's happening. It's very helpful. :)

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My (unsolicited) opinion. Plant your flag here. You certainly don't have to start right away, but it would give you time to check out the lay of the land, attend a session or two of Office Hours, etc.

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Thanks Kevin - I'll think about it. :)

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He’s lost readers and he didn’t analyze why. sheesh

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They might be analyzing why, but coming to the wrong conclusions? Just a guess...

I've never been surveyed--either as a reader or a writer- by the company. Yet almost everyone I encounter in threads like this cites the same 1-2 answers. They love a handful of writers, or they like the connections they've made. That's certainly my experience.

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I almost feel like his thinking is so strongly focused in one direction that he's unable to notice much outside of his "mega-blog" model.

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Since we don’t know how the algorithm pushes views, we’ll never know how the mega-blog is made. My story on tractors was pushed and was my biggest external read. Someone behind the screen chose to promote it.

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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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Honestly, I really think he's just taking what worked for him and applying it to the whole of Medium. His posts did well on a couple of external sites, so he thinks we all need to do the same.

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This has the ring of truth, plausibility, and human nature. He needs a Coach :)

Pretty sure he doesn't see the need

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lol. Oh man. No words.

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Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

Indeed he us. Can you imagine him on a Ted Talk

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Actually, I can. Right along side all the other coaches that tell us how everything works and don't seem to realize white male privilege is real. Show me one woman on Medium with Tony or Tim's following. No one ever can. You know?

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Jan 13, 2023Liked 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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I found myself wishing he would define timeless so we at least know what he thinks falls into the category. Not that I'd necessarily agree, but knowing always beats guessing. You know?

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Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

Yes, knowing beats guessing. Maybe when he figures out what he means he’ll do another video just to hear himself talk and make the video “timeless.”

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Poetry: always "lucrative" on Medium ... lol!

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And I have the pennies to prove it!

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Likewise - I have the Barbie poem pinned to the top of my profile.

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Jan 13, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

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

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Margie, I'm curious how you can tell? I'd love to know where my new readers come from. Medium used to have a really cool feature that actually told us. In the past, the emails we get weekly saying how many new followers we have used to list the top 3 sources of new followers. They've stopped doing that and I really miss it.

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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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I agree, Kevin. Wikipedia is not static. Most of the content on medium is static and mostly opinion, on top of the lack of fact checking. Will be interesting to see the info on editors. I'm cringing well in advance.

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I'm trying really hard to manage my expectations. To be fair, getting a first peek at the work of some authors brings me a lot of joy. For some others? I need $$$.

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Jan 13, 2023Liked 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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lol, glad I made you laugh. That's where the entire political section of Medium belongs. In a dusty old box of old news. I miss the history pub that left, too. I did really well there. True that life essays never really get outdated. That's good food for thought.

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Jan 14, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

Loving all the comments singing your praises!

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I love that you read all the comments!! ❤️

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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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Ouch, David. I think it would be helpful if all staff would read the interview Ev did with Verge a couple years ago.

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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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lmao, Dakota. You're welcome. ❤️

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Jan 13, 2023Liked 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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I see the same, June. He seems really influenced by the publications he runs and his experience in the coaching industry. And I'm not discounting them. There is a market for those, for sure. But that market isn't everyone and it doesn't apply to all writers. I hope he can see that.

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Jan 14, 2023·edited Jan 15, 2023Liked by Linda Caroll

And that market is over saturated anyway. I can read them on other pubs. I'm on Medium to read about the unique experiences. Not to read about how to this. Facts about this. Listicles, Etc.

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Right? I really hope they are paying attention to their stats. Because they'll learn more there than sitting at a board room table talking about direction. You know?

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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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It's very frustrating, for sure. I worked my butt off to write good stories, solidly researched and was doing great. Until I got punched out of the ring. lol. It sucks.

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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.

Linda

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Historical, for sure. Not that there's always accuracy because I've read a lot of incorrect "history" on Medium. Personal essays probably count too. Somehow I don't think either of those are what Medium has in mind, though.

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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 ---

BURN MEDIUM DOWN haha.

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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Well the first part is easy, Yan. I opened the transcript while the video was playing. :) Can you imagine how much harder fact checking is going to be as people start using AI to help write stories faster? Gah. I think as the use of AI increases, archives will become less gold and more a stack of old newspapers. lol

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aHhh you are fast reader!

Hahahah. so sad if old content are becomes obsolete. I must say, it sorta discourage me from writing or creating or even living, LOL JK.

I know right.

To me, I’m still leaning towards the camp that AI as a tool for marketing and content creation is no-no.

But AI for whatever research purposes to “improve or enhance” humanity, perhaps yes it’s good.

Else AI is just gonna amplify all the cracks in our messed up world.

Ah well, the divide & debate continues

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BTW, sorry if there are grammatical and spelling errors. It's 1120pm and for some reason, my fingers are moving slower than my mind tonight.

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Oh that's okay. I am sure some AI can learn from your typos. lol

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