Locked Six Word Poems and Other Pet Peeves I Won’t Pay You For
Unfair practices that will not engender positive regard or engagement.
I seem to be running into more and more things that annoy me these days. They say this happens when you get older. I’m not sure exactly how old older is, but apparently I have reached it.
In following with this, I have run into several practices that writers on Medium employ to increase their earnings that I find particularly irritating. These are things that will guarantee that I won’t engage with your article and you won’t receive any of my membership fee.
Locking Six Word Poems
This has become my pet peeve of the month. There are those individuals who seem to write only Haiku or a mix of Haiku, stories that run around 100 words and pretty much say nothing, or short filler placed around a bunch of link boxes trying to get people to click on other stories.
If these are merely attempts to gain readers I’m not nearly as annoyed by it, though I still can’t say it will impress me. But at least I won’t swear under my breath and jab at the button to take me away as quickly as possible to make sure I don’t register as an undeserved reader.
But when people do this and then lock these quick attempts at attention getting, I get really irritable. Don’t get me wrong — Carefully rendered Haiku that are skillfully crafted based on the principles of the poetic form which seem like they could take a lifetime to master are a different story. I am happy to clap for these.
However, I have seen a sum total of three people who have this skill. Others apparently believe that a Haiku is anything that fits the syllable pattern of 5–7–5 and often it’s one run on sentence that is just separated into lines of these syllables which says nothing of interest. Here’s an example of one I would not clap for.
Give Me Money
I am writing this
to get more money please give
I want some more dough
When a Haiku is at this limited skill level and is there just to make money, I definitely swear under my breath and jab the button to jump off the page as quickly as possible so a potential read isn’t registered. Perhaps this last part seem a bit obnoxious but then so does expecting people to pay you for the 10 badly written Haiku you write and promote all over Facebook every day.
People That Want Halo Engagement But Won’t Become a Member to Give Halo Engagement
There are many of you out there who refuse to become paying members. This is fine. Provided you do not expect to earn money from those of us who are. If you make more than five dollars a month from Medium, and intend to increase this, then fair is fair — Join for heaven’s sake! And if you pay for the year at $50 that’s only a little over $4 a month!
I have spent almost a year contributing money to everyone on share threads regardless of whether or not they are a haloed member. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, paying members have a green “halo” around their profile picture.
I’m not saying that I won’t read your work or ever engage with it if I feel it’s a really strong piece. I appreciate and reward quality stories without regard for the writer’s membership status. But I am a very discerning reader and have fairly exacting criteria for what I consider to be high quality.
If I know you have been writing on Medium for a while, especially if you’ve mentioned how happy you are about your earnings, I expect to see that green glow around your picture. I’ll give you a few months leeway but after that if I don’t see the green halo, my money will most likely be going elsewhere.
A Combination of The Above Two Practices
When people write a few words or lines and lock it to get paid for it, and refuse to join Medium in order to contribute to other writers, that’s when I not only swear under my breath but I start throwing things as well. This is often followed by a loudly proclaimed, “You must be kidding me!”
Please be advised, from here on out no more Ms. Nicegirl. I clap lots for what I love which is strongly influenced by skill level. I clap a moderate amount for articles that are skillfully rendered, even if I don’t think the content is particularly unique, creative or exciting.
But I will no longer clap for Haiku that are thinly disguised efforts at getting paid for something that took a couple of minutes to create or other pieces that took less time to create than it takes to make a cup of coffee, especially if you are not a member. If you start writing before I started brewing my coffee and you aren’t still writing when I pour it, don’t be surprised not to see claps with my name assigned to them.
Pretending That You’re There for the Community When It’s Just About Your Own Popularity
This one bugs the heck out of me. There are certain writers who create groups that are said to be all about community. But the more involved you get, the more you realize that the people who are running it are there strictly to gain popularity and name recognition. They should be the first to support other writers in the group but you never see their name associated with highlights, never see comments they make and they never clap for other writers stories.
If I determine this to be the case, I don’t care how much I’m interested in a story you’ve written I’m not reading much less engaging. And once you’ve lost my respect, it is unlikely you will regain it. There is just too much content available that is written by those who don’t do this sort of thing.
Writing Controversial Articles Intended to Offend to Get Massive Engagement
I have seen some writers who have been criticized for certain viewpoints that are in some way prejudicial to a group of people. They then publish other articles escalating the conflict around the criticism made in previous comments. This becomes a pattern over time.
When you look at this person’s profile it is clear that they are not expressing a well organized view or position but are waffling based on wherever the most controversy can be generated. When members of the group they are writing about try to present the other side of the argument, or call them out on intentionally creating arguments for the earnings the responses generate, they are banned.
I fell for this trick a time or two. It’s easy to do. When someone is being so clearly prejudicial or just a great big jerk, it’s hard not to respond and tell them so. But then the realization struck, I looked at the person’s profile and recognized the pattern. Comments are part of the Medium currency. Earnings come from claps and engagement, translated as highlights and comments.
I can’t stop you from engaging in this type of scam, but I can refuse to pay you for it. Be advised: I have wised up and have your number. You will not get my goat again nor will you get any of my money for these types of shenanigans. I hope other writers will take similar action.
Private Elitist Groups Formed Just to Increase Earnings
I don’t have a problem with private groups being created. Sometimes organizers prefer smaller groups or don’t want known agitators or problem members from other groups to become members. This is understandable.
But there are some writers who create groups, try to get as many members as possible, then create offshoots to separate out the highest earners. I don’t necessarily even have a problem with this. But when it becomes touted in the main group as something to strive for so the organizers can learn what techniques are effective for increasing their own earnings, then I start to get testy.
Thinking Others Should Spend Their Time Supporting You While You Spend Your Time Writing
This is one of those things we all want to do. Humans are an egotistical bunch. We sometimes have a hard time seeing beyond our own interests. I didn’t know about the Facebook groups for several months after joining Medium. When I joined the first one, my views and engagement suddenly jumped. I joined several others after that and reveled in the sense of community.
But at that point I was only producing a few stories a week and was still experimenting with the idea of earning a significant amount from writing. Once I committed full out with the goal of making my writing my priority, I realized I would need to significantly increase my writing. As I did this, it became a struggle to read and engage with the other stories in each group and write at the pace I wanted.
But I struggled and I still do since I recognize first, that expecting everyone to engage with my writing while not reading theirs is just not fair, and second interacting in these groups provides a sense of community I don’t have elsewhere. Every so often, I see comments in the Facebook groups from writers saying things like, “What does everyone think about a new goal of all of us trying to read and engage with three other stories each day?”
And these aren’t just from new writers. These comments usually give the sense that this may be an unrealistic goal since we all need to spend most of our time writing, but we should all at least try.
Three stories a day? So let me get this straight. You want to drop your link on a thread with somewhere between 50–150 other stories and think maybe it would be a good idea to try to read three of the others while expecting everyone to read yours? And if you can’t really do it that’s fine too?
Nope, nah ah, no way. If you drop a link on a sharing thread you better be spending a decent amount of time reading and engaging with other stories on the thread! Not try to, do it!
Yes, it would be great to be able to just produce new work all the time, promote it on some magical site, and get a million reads, claps, and comments, without ever having to do anything in return. But that’s not how this goes.
If you don’t have the time to read other people’s work and engage with it in a thoughtful manner then do not drop your links for others to support you! There are some days we all feel the need to spend most of the time or maybe even all of the time writing. On those days, give your links the day off and let them rest where they are without sharing them!
If you haven’t gotten the message yet, here it is in a nutshell: Don’t try to earn big bucks on the backs of others! Please be a good citizen of Medium and don’t try to use others for your own advantage without ever giving back anything in return. You might get away with it for a while and even earn something in the process. But eventually people will catch on.
And please I beg of you, do not make me rise to the level of throwing things. It’s simply not good for my blood pressure.
Natalie Frank (Taye Carrol) has had work featured in Haunted Waters Press, Weirdbook Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Lycan Valley Press and Zero Fiction among others. Her poetry has been featured in several anthologies. She is Editor for 1-One-Infinity, The Partnered Pen and One Table, One World and is Editor in Chief for Promposity and Mental Gecko. She is also the Managing Editor for Novellas and Serials at LVP Publications.
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You can find links to my other work on Medium and follow me here. Thanks for reading!