I think this change is brilliant. if you will think about it, till today we had two major options for showing love the binary one (“like” or not hit “like”) vs. the numeric one (e.g “rating” from 1 to 5) clap is a new method which try to find the balance between the two. Gives the reader the ability to show love in more than 0 or 1, while still giving you the autonomy and freedom to show it outside of the 1–5 limits. Moreover, claps can be given at any given moment, so you can measure not only how hard and fast you clap, but when exactly, comparing to your place in the article.
As i see it, Medium are aware to the fact that people have different personalities and measuring it relatively to your tendency to clap, they actually will be able to evaluate your own reaction on a scale of 1–5 or 1–10. and later normalize it against other people as well.
Also about the quota idea, why doing it? do you have quota on your day 2 day for showing love to others? As i see it, it is indeed varies between different personas, there are people who smile twice and feels tired for the rest of the day, while others can smile and give positive feedback all day long. If we can measure and evaluate them based on their own preferences it will both gives us the ability to bring their personality to life on the online world as well.
Last but not least, I have hypothesis that there are interesting insights we can gain from knowing your personality. e.g. We will be able to identify trends related to different personas behaviors, like what those super-positive people are reading comparing to their 3-claps-per-day-and-i-m-tired or how much time they invest before clapping. also we will be able to learn when they are clapping (e.g. clapping 3 at the beginning but adding more at the end… etc.)