This one sentence brings up three major problems with Medium:
Top Writer has nothing to do with being a top writer in a subject; it has to do with writing on a consistent basis using specific tags.
There are sex confessional writers who can’t even make funny dick jokes who are listed as top writers in “Humor,” simply because they used the Humor tag.
That’s not to say you aren’t a top writer in your subjects of expertise — you deserve congratulations for getting 451K views on an article about slavery.
(BTW, I was aware of the massive increase in the slave population between the 1810 and 1860, after the US prohibited the slave trade, but was unaware of breeding farms.)
On the other hand, if Medium contends you’re a top writer in education because of three articles that received less than a thousands views combined their system is completely opaque and arbitrary.
I’ve written countless articles on humor, have been a top writer in that category for years, and haven’t had one humor article curated.
“Quality Stories” is the mantra of this site and I have to laugh because they never use an adjective to qualify the description.
They weaponize the word quality because so much of writing is subjective.
Medium promotes thousands of articles that feature regurgitated self-improvement, content marketers trolling for suckers to buy their writing seminars, and laughable sex confessionals — is that how they define quality?
I’ve written highly detailed articles about creativity and applying the work of sports psychologists (peak performance training techniques) to the writing process. I’ve written sports articles that correctly predicted that Toronto would play Golden State in NBA Finals during the first week of the regular season. And I’ve written humorous articles that entertain some of the best humor writers on this writing platform.
There is no correlation between “high quality stories” and the “quality stories” that get promoted by the curator bots, or whatever is being used to make these decisions.
The Secret Power of the Scam Artist is Word Control.
“Quality” is a word roared by people to justify their BS, but they never dare to define it. I wonder why.
Curation seems to be a subtle weapon used to punish those who speak up against the machine.
I was doing research on the subject last August and it turned out that for a three week period, only 6 out of Medium’s 205 “best stories” came from sources other than Medium-owned publications. That policy has changed since then, but the lack of transparency allows Medium to do whatever it wants, and drive people crazy.
I wrote about the gamification of online writing and how it affects people. The article followed Medium’s curation guidelines, discussing subjects such as cognitive dissonance, the Dunning-Kruger effect and the work done by Professor Kevin Webach, complete with references.
As you might have guessed, I haven’t had an article curated since then.
From Newbie to Addict: How Easily Did Medium Hook You?
An exploration of Medium’s game and its effect on players.
Writing in a vacuum is pretty close to, but not quite censorship.
After all, we are able to publish on the platform for free and our work can be found by people if they do a search.
Still, the effects of writing in a vacuum applies to everyone at some time or another, making it difficult to continue to find the energy and enthusiasm to write without at least some positive feedback.
As a Top Writer in Humor, I have had exactly one story curated. A friend of mine, an author and former columnist for the NY Times gets curated maybe once a month, even though she publishes every day and gets thousands of claps for every article. Guess what we have in common? We’re both over 40.
On the other hand, another humor blogger in her 30s get stories curated at a rate of almost one per day.
While we can argue that humor is subjective, I will posit that a humor columnist for the New York Times meets a standard far higher for consistently excellent writing than the collective tastes of a bunch of millennials working on Medium’s curation staff.
The only explanation is if you are not a member of the curators’ demographic, you will be ignored most of the time.
And my guess is that you don’t fit in their demographic, either.
Keep writing and stay safe.