Hyphenating My Apostrophes

A skeptical Medium loyalist grows more skeptical

Full disclosure: I clicked the “New Story” button directly from a “Story for Medium members only” post. “Getting to be more and more like everything else,” I sigh helplessly. But this little rant goes beyond my chronic paywall frustrations into the zone of disappointment at the platform’s lack of imagination and innovation. As I said, just like everything else online.

How ridiculous that such a highly sophisticated “For You” feed that automatically keeps up with so many things, including what the people I follow are reading, doesn’t bother to at least place a low-contrast padlock on a Members Only post is bad enough. Worse is that, once I wait the required time for my low-speed local broadband (which is technically narrowband) to render the page, I find it constructed to not actually reveal itself as a membership promotion until it’s fully loaded and I begin to scroll down. Also jaw-tightening is that the fadeout of the text even obliterated the lede. Only then do I go back and see the low-contrast alert at the top of the loaded page.

Don’t you know, oh masters of the internet, how bad this is as user experience? What a bad taste it leaves in the mouth? Paywalls can and do eventually generate hate and resentment. Let’s face it, many people are never going to pay for anything on the internet. Yet we, the unwashed freeloaders, make up the greater part of your editorial power. We, who love to read — and some who are compelled to write — are already used to searching the Guardian whenever we encounter the WaPo paywall.

At least with news and punditry there are second sources. With most Medium content there are none.

Not designating Members Only content on the feed creates a negative user experience rather than an incentive to fork over $60 a year. I love the platform, but I hate and resent it anytime a “business model” manifests itself in such frustrating ways, takes up my time and offers no rewards. Every time I click on an item on my feed, wait for it to load and discover a sales pitch instead of the piece I was inspired to read, my frustration with Medium ratchets up a notch. Is that really the experience you want your general readership to have?

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