Shannon, I’m among those who are critic of Medium but I don’t feel much offended. On the contrary, one of the things I miss most on Medium are debates, open and respectful confrontations.
Having a love&hate relationship on Medium long since, I can say there are at least two types of critics here.
On one side is the negativity you talk about. Not making enough money, not being curated, and so on. We can’t blame (only) Medium for our lack of success nor for our unmet needs. We have to do something and step out of negativity. Nobody will help our growth except for ourself.
On the other side, there’s a critic about what’s wrong with Medium. If we don’t speak, who else will? We are a community and we hope Medium to support the community and the different point of views. Because I love Medium, I want to tell what’s wrong on it, to help Medium — in the remote case they will hear me — and to help other authors of the community to be aware of the bright and the dark sides. Since the bright sides are already plenty broadcasted, I tend to focus on the dark ones. But it doesn’t mean I don’t try my best here, and outside.
The choice of topics from Medium, for example, is openly biased. Just give a look at the topics list. But does it mean that I put myself in a corner, crying? Of course not. I’m just aware of the issue, then try not to get distracted by Medium choices, and build my own path around those issues. I speak my mind, then I focus on my writing, trying to make my writing matter for my readers, and also searching for my way outside Medium. I won’t be successful on Medium, because I don’t feel it’s home for my writing. I’ll cope with that.
It’s just a pity to be judged — not your case here, at least I hope — as soon as you critic Medium, and I’ve paid my toll on this enough. I’d hope there could be more room for different perspectives, even about Medium itself. Being successful here is hard — and you know well — . It’s possible — and you know this well too — but it also comes — or doesn’t — in many flavors and with compromises.