On views and who claps… I had a story last year that for a long time was #1 on Google for the searches “could all religions be true?’ and “are all religions true?” That story had over 10,000 views and 4,000 claps. It also earned very little money, because the vast majority of people finding the story via Google were not paid Medium members. So they didn’t count. Plus, all those Google visitors skewed the crap out of my Medium stats, so they were about worthless for getting a real idea of how stories were performing. I took that story off Medium and put it on my personal website. Why bring all that traffic to Medium if it only helps Ev Williams?
On the algorithm… Everybody twists themselves into pretzels trying to figure this one out, but we should consider the possibility that there is no algorithm, or at least that the algorithm they use isn’t all that complicated and is totally rigged. What if, for example, the algorithm simply tracks views to identify the most popular writers, and then human Medium editors divvy up the $$$ between them based on who they like? They throw a hundred dollar bone to second tier writers to keep them on the hamster wheel. Everybody else can just fuck off. That would just about explain what we see happening here.