Medium Update: You Can No Longer Delete and Re-Post Old Content

Medium will suspend writers who delete and re-post old stories

Daryl Bruce
Nov 26, 2019 · 6 min read

Monday, November 25, 2019, I received the following email from Medium:

Hi Daryl,

First of all, I wanted to thank you for publishing on Medium. Your writing has enriched many readers and inspired countless writers.

I’m reaching out today because it seems many Medium writers are unaware of Medium’s policy around duplicate stories. As a reminder, the Medium Rules have always included a policy against duplicate content, but it seems that this hasn’t been very clear. The rules were recently updated to clarify this. Please review your account, pick a single instance of each post, and delete the other versions, including the unlisted ones. There is an updated Help Center article with more info on this.

If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know.

Thanks again for writing,

Kawandeep

The no duplicate stories rule has been around for some time now, but if we’re being honest, Medium really hasn’t been seen heavily enforcing it before. This has now clearly changed.

Based on the reactions on social media, many Medium writers received this email. Medium is now going to be enforcing this policy in a much stricter manner going forward and it’s important that we follow it, even if you’re not a fan of the decision.

As with many writers on Medium, I have, from time-to-time, deleted old stories, spruced them up, and re-posted them. To my understanding, this was acceptable. While there was always a rule in place about not having duplicate stories active at the same time, but as long as the original story was deleted there wouldn’t be an issue.

The Medium Rules post only gives a very brief statement about its policy on duplicate content.

We do not allow posting duplicate content, whether from a single account or across multiple accounts, either publicly or as an unlisted story.

It says nothing about deleting old content and re-posting. However, as Shaunta Grimes has discovered, the Medium Help Center goes into further detail. The help guide states:

We do not allow posting duplicate content, whether from a single account or across multiple accounts, either publicly or as an unlisted story.

This includes the following:

Taking a published story to unlisted, then re-publishing the same content into a new post.

Deleting a post and republishing it.

Cross-posting stories in publications. If your story is already included in a publication, you may not publish another instance of the same story for inclusion in another publication.

Accounts in violation of this rule will be suspended from Medium until they are brought into compliance. Repeated violations will result in permanent suspension.

If it hadn’t been for Shaunta’s detective work, many of us wouldn’t have realized how the policy has changed. I do hope that Medium consulates this information to one location rather than having it spread out across different pages.

The fact of the matter is that Medium is now becoming much stricter about content.

Going forward, all the content we post on the site must be new material.

It’s an understandable decision from a business point of view. New content is more likely to gain new subscribers and build up the site’s reputation of providing original and creative content.

For writers with an extensive back catalogue, it is a slight annoyance. For many of us, dusting off an old story that wasn’t getting any love was a nice way of being able to post content on days when writer’s block shows its ugly face. Re-posting old stories was also a way to try and gain curation the second time around.

The new rule means that once you post something, that’s it. There are no longer any second chances.

Sadly, this decision does mean that if your story fails to gain curation upon publication, there is really nothing you can do. You can no longer try to be curated on a second attempt. In my opinion, this is the only real major downfall to this change. Most of us have had the experience of writing a post that we’re immensely proud of, only to have to fail to be picked up by curators. Often times, these stories were curated on a second posting with a few changes. Regrettably, this is no longer an option. If a story isn’t curated, you just have to move on.

For the most part, I am okay with this decision, but I am slightly disappointed. I think many of us with an extensive back catalogue have stories that we know might do better now with our expanded following, but there is no sense in getting too worked up about it.

I know that there are some writers who are angry with this decision, and I can understand that. That being said, I would discourage you from ignoring it. By sending out these emails, Medium is politely telling us that they will no longer tolerate duplication, and I suspect in the coming weeks they are going to get very serious about it.

While it would be nice if there was a more transparent decision-making process in place given that we’re the ones producing the content that keeps the site afloat, we must remember this site is a business. Their primary goal, which isn’t dissimilar to most writers’ ambitions here, is to earn money. They are not running a charity for underpaid writers.

There is some silver lining to this decision. As I’ve discussed since the new MPP came into effect almost a month ago, my older stories are actually generating more income collectively than my new ones.

Under the new system, there is less incentive to delete older stories anyways. What this policy change means, is we’re simply going to have to promote our older stories with more intensity.

All of these changes mean that our back shelves of stories are now back in play in a much larger way than ever before. In order to earn more money, we have to market our older posts. This means embedding links to old stories in new posts and promoting our back catalogue on social media or on our email lists.

I’m sure there will be days when my creative juices are dryer than a desert and I will begrudge not being able to find an old, but still relevant, story that could use some freshening up, but it is what it is.

Producing new content should be the goal of every writer on Medium. It’s what keeps readers engaged and coming back. This new policy frees us of a crutch and pushes us to keep moving forward. From now on, if there is a story that you feel deserves more love, all you can do is draw attention to it by trying to promote it heavily.

I’ve said it many times before, but I think it bears repeating: there is nothing linear about writing. Change is a constant. As a freelance writer, I have come to learn that anything and everything can change on a whim. You basically have two options: accept change (even if it’s painful to do so), or give up. Most of us are here because, above all else, writing is our creative outlet. We have to write. Medium is one of the few places where we can express ourselves and make a few bucks in the process.

Daryl Bruce is a freelance writer, blogger, and writer of flash fiction. Writing across an expansive range of topics, he specializes in personal development, the craft of writing, LGBTQ+ issues, and politics. He is the owner of the Top 3 Publication on Medium. When he’s not writing, Daryl can be found in the kitchen or at the local movie theater. Daryl holds a BA with Specialized Honours in English from York University and is currently working on his first novel.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Daryl Bruce

Written by

A freelance writer specializing in such topics as writing, productivity, self, politics, and LGBTQ+ issues. Visit him at: https://www.facebook.com/daryldbink/

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

Daryl Bruce

Written by

A freelance writer specializing in such topics as writing, productivity, self, politics, and LGBTQ+ issues. Visit him at: https://www.facebook.com/daryldbink/

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

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