Since exactly zero people have asked, here are my Medium rules (for me, obvs; all of this is just what I’ve found myself doing bc I’m weird like sandpaper that’s gotten accidentally wet).
For recommending a piece:
It has to not piss me off.
*Caveat: I have, fleetingly, recommended pieces I vehemently disagreed with because I then planned to engage in the comments, or I planned on highlighting and recommending various comments already out there. I’ve stopped doing the engage-recommend. I just can’t. If the opinion is seven shades of bullying and based on four satchels of misinformation, then I’m a giant no. Shut the fuck up/zero recommends. No. Also, fuck politeness when your ‘opinion’, willful ignorance, and blatant lack of empathy shit on the entire concept of manners. Bye.
It has to be either good writing or good humanity (or both duh). Support recommends are a thing, and I happily do them, but because we just have the one green heart, it isn’t always obvious which type of recommend it is. Side note: can we maybe fix the hot mess of one green heart for every type of positive reaction ever THANKS. I don’t have to agree with it to recommend it; common ground is nice, but is not why I stick around.
I’m also weird about highlighting and not recommending. As in, I can’t do it that way. I tend to see highlighting as a step beyond recommending, like I recommend your piece, and here is what I specifically enjoyed on top of the general recommend. (And then I see commenting as a step beyond highlighting and recommending.) I think some peeps use it differently, like ok so I read your thing and I really dug this phrase/sentence/paragraph, but whatever fuck the rest of it, no green heart. Which, sure. Legit. I can’t make myself do it that way, though. I also think there are gray areas around concrit, possibly exacerbated by the solitary green heart issue.
If I didn’t read the original piece, I won’t comment. I’ll rarely recommend comments if I wasn’t in on the OP, but every once in awhile, I can’t help myself. People are fucking hysterical in comment sections and I get all trigger-clicky. Still, if a comment is going to get more recommends than the OP, there should be a reason other than the comment was written by someone with nine jillion followers. SIDE EYE.
If I am not a part of a comment thread, I won’t jump in unless I am reasonably sure I am being both funny and polite (ok sometimes I’m drunk and think I’m both those things and really no I’m neither but whatever your face is neither). There’s something really offputting about a rando jumping in to tell you all about no that’s not how you drink coffee when you and Carol were just having a lovely chat about French press. Seriously, fuck off, Debra. Take your greasy bulletproof shenanigans with you. No one cares.
I stay on topic. I’ve gotten in a few threads that devolved into utterly random shenanigans and they were all delightful. But now I’m Super Serious about my Craft, see, and thusly I must Do Better and that means No Chit Chat. (I’m mostly kidding. I think my ‘stay on topic’ bit is for the more serious pieces — see caveat below.)
*there’s also this thing peeps like to do when a piece makes them uncomfortable, myself included. I hate derailing and if I feel like that’s what’s happening, I sidestep directly back to the OP. Can’t do it. #nope
I know everything is called a story on Medium, but I can’t make myself react that way. Splat. When I’m commenting, it’s a comment. I love discussions that center around the OP, but there’s a whole other culture in responding to a piece with my own vaguely tangential piece. I just…I can’t do it. I really need for comments to just be comments and I constantly struggle with reminding myself that that’s not how it works here. Blaaaaarrrrrgh.
I DON’T KNOW/I HAVE NO RULES/FML
So I maybe am trying to follow peeps I consistently read. ?? Right? Except no because I’m already failing. There are people I followed awhile back and I never see them on here and it’s like what the hell, my love is pure like the dawn and look how you treat it. Then there are peeps I see all the time, and they’re wonderful people, but they write about things I just zero get (computer anything. tech. sports. business. I have an interest sphere the exact width of my driest booger), and so following them feels disingenuous because…people should follow others if they love (ahem even vaguely understand) what they write, right? Then there are peeps who I followed all support follow style, and then they turned out to be horrible jerks and then I have a hard time unfollowing because…I don’t want to be mean??? SERIOUSLY WHY IS THIS WHO I AM. ugh.
*also half the time I apparently don’t even know who I’m following. Or not. I’ll discover all drenched with embarrassment style seven months later. #perfect
*then there’s the issue of I can’t just follow someone because I like their writing, I have to be their friend, too, but then I get all overwhelmed because all the socializing and then I have to eat a basin of Chef Boyardee.
*this entire category is fucked.
*no one mock my chef boyardee needs.
*ok fine mock it.
When or When Not to Engage:
If I spot someone sad or struggling, I will toss a line out. Fuck the mirror when you’re alone and struggling. That mirror is a slippery post taco shit at best. I think it’s important to give warmth and different positive reflections so that struggle isn’t exacerbated by a scared and agony riddled perspective.
If I spot a fight between two actual people, I will almost always stay the hell out of it unless asked by both parties to mediate, emphasis on ‘mediate’ in that the goal is then ‘ameliorate’ or at least come reasonably close. Particularly with the way the feed works, and with how hopeless I am at navigating it and paying attention to it for long enough to make it work for me, I almost never have all the information anyway. Plus, also, groupthink scares the ever-loving shit right out of me like bad milk and too much spinach. So. Any time there’s even a vague whiff of a lean towards piling on to one side of an argument, I tend to run screaming for whatever urn is quiet and dark and far away and big enough to let me crouch in it.
I used to avoid trolls and engaging with them like the plague because I tend to see little point in engaging with someone who has zero interest in hearing me. Now I upvote and highlight responses to them, because I want to make sure the positive, empathetic side of Medium gets more light than its hate laden, gaslighting underbelly.
I sometimes engage with an iffy (iffy hurtful; not iffy as in disagreement) comment on my own stuff but more often, I just ignore and/or block. If someone I know/follow/care about says something that feels weird to me, I will always engage.
Everything. All things are bookmarked. I need a separate account just to hold my bookmarks. The amount I read every day equals exactly one wet fart in a field of hippo shits and so basically I am drowning in my own hippo shit wait what. #cries