Dear Medium: The 1:1 Story/Publication Restriction Is Lame
nina alter

Dear Nina: The 1:1 Story/Publication Restriction is Lame, but here’s why

Hi nina alter:

Thanks for your on point product feedback. We feel the problem you’ve identified, and this issue is top of mind for us.

A little backstory: originally, we had Collections on Medium, and posts could live in many collections—no restrictions.

However, back then, the Collection feature wasn’t really built for publishers. They served more as a general organizing structure that people used in a variety of cool and interesting ways—curatorial collections being a main use case. As we continued to learn and get a better sense of this group’s needs and requirements, we transitioned Collections to become Publications.

The point here was to strengthen the tools we had for those who create content for a living. There’s a set of needs around branding, identity, and most importantly ownership of posts in a capital-p Publication.

So, we introduced the 1:1 Story:Publication constraint.

But then, we started to feel that Publications weren’t as collaborative as they could be. That one of the big things about being on Medium is that here, you’re not alone, you’re surrounded by others and connected to people in the network.

Then we added the ability for Publication editors to “request a story,” as an incremental step to making curation around Publications easier.

There’s a larger, fundamental difference in the use case of a professional publication that is creating original content and the “community-centric collaborative-spirited Publication” you described.

Publishers creating content want ownership of posts in their Publication, whereas curators have a different agenda—whether it’s collecting your own pieces as a writer to have a cohesive package of your work, or if it’s someone like you who simply wants to build a community around a theme or subject—your goal is not to assert explicit ownership, but rather to express and build a name for yourself based on taste, by highlighting stories and articles you find interesting, thought-provoking, or worth people’s time.

We appreciate the compromise suggestion, but I think the underlying issue here is more foundational.

We feel the same tensions you’ve raised. We’ve tried to address this problem in small and iterative ways in the past: we added support for richer post embeds that we called “Mixtapes” internally, with the hypothesis that a post could be a curatorial construct as well. Then, as described above, we added the ability to request story for a publication—but did not remove the 1:1 limit.

However, we don’t believe small and incremental steps to addressing this broad problem and larger use case will get us to the best place. Tacking more features on or putting in bandaid fixes are unlikely to be successful in the long term, and the nature of this kind of reactive work can create a piecemeal, non-cohesive product experience. We need to address this in a foundational, big picture way.

Yadayadya. Great Athlete Talk, I know.

But this issue is top of mind for us. So stay tuned. And thanks for the feedback!