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Why I left Medium and moved back to my own domain (arslan.io)
482 points by ingve on July 30, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 247 comments



"Writing comments to Medium posts feels awkward because each comment is treated as a blog post."

This is also awkward from the reader point of view. Trying to follow a comment chain on medium is frustrating as it only shows the first level, diving in switches pages, and often, a need to press a second "load all comments" button. Then the back button to wind your way back up.

Is there some sound reasoning for why it was set up this way? Some benefit I'm not seeing?


I suspect it's because they didn't/don't want people to comment in the usual way - you can highlight text on an article and leave short comments in the relevant place if you want to do that.

I think the comments section at the end was intended more as a place for lengthy reaction posts. It's why comments have "recommend" rather than "like" as a button. I might "like" someone saying "great post!" but I'm not going to "recommend" it.

It often feels like Medium has made a product for what they want online discourse to be, rather than what it actually is. I don't hate them for trying.


> I think the comments section at the end was intended more as a place for lengthy reaction posts... It often feels like Medium has made a product for what they want online discourse to be, rather than what it actually is.

That's exactly it. Medium was developed to solve online journalism, and instead of ranking articles & comments by clicks & pageviews (leading to clickbait), their metric is Total Time Reading, on the assumption that people won't keep reading an article they don't enjoy or find useful.

There's a bit more info on the Business Insider interview with Ev Williams: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/inside-the-meltdown-of-ev...

“The state of tech blogs is atrocious. It’s utter crap,” he told Bloomberg’s Brad Stone in 2013. “They create a culture that is superficial and fetishizing and rewarding the wrong things and reinforcing values that are self-destructive and unsustainable.” .... His idea back then was an algorithm that recommended high-quality stories not based on clicks, but on how much time people spent reading them.


Total time reading is a funny metric because the unintended consequence is that people who read faster are placed at a slightly discounted value to those who read slower.


Commenting on articles is a terrible method of interaction. Anti-spam is hard, and spammers always win. Trolls always win. Comments rarely add much to the discussion from the article, and they're often hard to follow. There's no reason to leave a comment saying "great post!". It's spam. It's unnecessary.

Blogs are a wholly inappropriate place for back-and-forth discourse to happen simply because if I have a blog, it's my blog. It's not a discussion board. I inherently have the advantage, I control the conversation, and it's all about me. I have the ability to delete comments I disagree with. That's not discourse, that's an echo chamber.

I completely agree with Medium. Just because blog posts have historically had comments doesn't mean it's the right choice. The minute people accepted "pingbacks" as a valid form of comment was the moment comments died. V!AGR@ and P3N15 type spam sealed the deal.


> Commenting on articles is a terrible method of interaction. Anti-spam is hard, and spammers always win. Trolls always win.

But that's practically what HN is, yet I like to believe it's a good platform without too much spam or trolls.


That makes me curious as to the mechanisms hn employs to combat spam. I've never seen a comment I've been able to tell was spam, which is impressive.


Visit your HN profile then set "showdead" to "yes" to see some of such comments.


There's some stuff that shows up there, but surprisingly little.

I've been browsing "showdead" for quite some time. My main complaint is that there's no obvious way to tell if an account has been shadowbanned or not. I'll report questionable instances to hn (via email), and on something like 3/4 of cases, the account has been, though it's not clealry evident.

I'll vouch for some flagged items. Flag others. Generally I think the comment ranking is pretty good. There's a tendency for somewhat fluffy comments to be excessively highly rated, but as compared to other systems (say, Reddit), HN compares favourably.

There's also a slight tendency for the hivemind to punish critical, but valid, comments. But again, compared to most other systems I've seen, not particularly, and the situation often evens out.


I also recommend a visit to the new submissions section. There's a lot more there too.


It's heavily stepped up lately, folks are just good at policing it. I have dead posts turned on and I usually see at least 2-3 "work from home" scam comments per article.


If you have showdead on, lately has been awful with comments about “I make $$$ from home” or some shit. I regularly read dead comments, because HN has a tendency to downvote even valid comments from time to time, but lately has been rough -.-


There's a lot of self-policing here. If a comment or submission is obvious spam, I am very quick to flag it (as are many others, apparently).


HN has several moderators. If you're willing to add eyeballs, any system can work.


Blogs belonging to software tend to be very valuable. People will share insights or tips long after the blog post has been written, often extending the shelf life of the code or software.


I disagree. There are lots of different kinds of "comments" on blogs. I agree that pingbacks and one word reactions are awful. However, comments that are a few sentences, or a few of paragraphs, of good thoughts are fantastic. Often people can provide additional info on a topic, or they don't have a blog themselves but want to contribute to the conversation. Besides, as a sibling pointed out, HN comments are basically off-site blog comments, and I think a lot of HN readers enjoy them.

I'm sure moderating comments is hard. But when it's done well comments are great.


>Blogs are a wholly inappropriate place for back-and-forth discourse to happen simply because if I have a blog, it's my blog. It's not a discussion board.

That's, like, your opinion, man.

I personally enjoy engaging in discussions on blogs and on my (now defunct) old personal blog, and have seen great exchanges (Just see Lambda the Ultimate for an example).

Sure, also bad ones, that's just life. Articles and posts can also be as bad, if not worse, than comments.


I hate reaction posts in comments section. I see this mostly on reddit with posts simply saying "I agree" or "well said" and if your lucky quoting some interesting part of the article. I get the feeling these are up voted by people that just want the important quotes to save time and those that agree so much they want to drown out other conversation. Intended or not these comments kill all conversation. They add absolutely nothing to the discussion and leave no room for more discussion.

If Medium is successful in separating reactions from actual content then I have to side with them. The fact is most discussion happens on reddit and HN so there's little real loss of intelligent discussion.


> I see this mostly on reddit with posts simply saying "I agree" or "well said" and if your lucky quoting some interesting part of the article.

That's not what "reaction post" usually means. That's just "reactions" (which I hate just as much as you).

A reaction post is something like "I disagree - here's ten reasons why" or "I basically agree, but here's a different perspective on this particular point".

So a proper blog article, not just one sentence or one paragraph.


GOOD point.


I agree, well said.


> The fact is most discussion happens on reddit and HN so there's little real loss of intelligent discussion.

HN has the opposite issue. There is no want of sophisticated dialog here, but it borders on discussion for the sake of discussion.

One of many such exercises in futility that has overcome this specious neo-hacker culture.


>>> It's why comments have "recommend" rather than "like" as a button. I might "like" someone saying "great post!" but I'm not going to "recommend" it.

No.

Sites replaced the "like" button because it was found to be inappropriate in too many circumstances.

For instance, you don't want to "like" an article titled "328 people dead in a train collision" and have your feed show "untog liked 328 people dead in a train collision".

FYI, Facebook allows publishers to pick a few names for the like button instead of like.


I don't hate them for trying either but it doesn't work and it's not really how conversations work best online.

If the purpose is meaningful responses then a much better strategy is to write meaningful essays which means don't write them for the audience write them for yourself.

My personal experience is that you will get lots of meaningful responses if you write about things you care about and therefore don't care about the length.


I'd be alright if they offered both, a comment section, and a response feature, which allows more elaborate replies.


I really miss the old 'sidebar' comments that they used to have when Medium first came out. It was a great way to post a short one or two line observation, and see it appear right next to the line/paragraph you were wanting to talk about.

While I am on 'things I miss in Medium', I miss the old 'Collections' paradigm they used to have - I enjoyed picking Collection categories where I could browse topical stories (e.g. Programming, Fantasy, Food etc.) - but I especially miss being able to post stories of my own into a collection. I thought I used to get FAR better engagement with fans of a particular collection that way. Now I have to beg around for a curator of a 'Publication' on Medium to post my articles on their 'Magazine' in order to get to a special interest group on there.


I wrote one line comment and started getting these notifications as if I wrote a post. I felt embarrassed for misleading the reader with one line post.

Confused the hell out of me.


Medium feels like long-form Twitter with all these replies treated as posts. This is a terrible experience. Especially when you follow RSS feed of somebody on Medium and comments & replies are delivered and treated in the feed the same way as posts. I guess it's due to the fact that Ev was also Twitter founder and has only one construct in his head as to posts and replies.


Treating individual contributions on a discussion as atomic-but-related strikes me as a good design move. Trending a bit toward Usenet.

(That said, I find Medium increasingly annoying.)


Maybe to have the UI less cluttered. Just assuming here.


They are probably trying to focus on the content first - and the discussion second.

It might be a resource issue, because of all the content publication outlets there are they have to make that the best.

Right now, someone can easily post a Medium article here, or on Reddit, and get two different discussions on the same content each with their own features and community standards - without mixing them or trying to define what it means to start a response thread on Medium.

Because Medium's focus is most likely on being a publication platform, they probably see comments and responses to comments as Medium articles within themselves within the context of that thread. The UI seems clunky in comparison to HN or Reddit, or even Digg, but that may be "the point." If so, I still think they got it wrong, but only because they need to more formally execute against this vision.

Today, authors who understand this paradigm right a "response blog post" and link to the one they are responding to and provide context before making a long form response. I think Medium is trying to capture this, but they haven't yet.


It's quality over quantity.


more page impressions = more ads


Can't be this, since they don't have on-page ads.


I don't understand why people write programming blogs on Medium. I think that managing a live website with its own server (rather than only working on other people's projects) is a very important skill.

If you don't want to manage WordPress, try a static site generator like Metalsmith: https://github.com/segmentio/metalsmith

Deploy on Digital Ocean or Linode for $5/month. Free hosting options include Github Pages and Netlify.


I can't speak for others, but one reason why I'd use something like Medium is precisely to ensure that I don't manage anything by myself except for the content production part.

I have a long list of attempts at setting up my own site, but because it's mine I wanted to get it just right. And so down the rabbit hole I go: making sure my server is super-secure (because it's important hey I'll learn in the process!), finally trying out Caddy, using Ghost (node.js), building my own static site generator using React for the backend, which of course means updating and perfecting my Ultimate Front-End Setup.

And once that's done, I want to do right by the design, and of course make sure my html/css/js is impeccable and that it all runs on every browser under the sun.

Of course I love doing this and I learn a lot from it, but if my goal is to write stuff and put it online, this approach never really works. I'm happy it doesn't, because it means I still love what I do more than writing about what I do, but it's one very legitimate reason to use something like Medium.


I've had largely the same experiences. Recently I decided to challenge myself to instead keep it simple, rather than treat the whole thing as a "learn some new thing along the way" type exercise. The end result is I actually have a blog I'm actually writing on that is absurdly easy to maintain, rather than the usual (for me anyway!) 75 percent complete side project in some new technology I'll never get around to finishing.

Simple VPS, webserver, letsencrypt, static site generator, cloud flare for CDN duties and a little CSS. All I do now is write a new article in Markdown every now and then, then run a simple shell script to regenerate the site and rsync the newly minted static pages to the server.

Personal sites or new blogs are all too often victims of premature optimisation - your amazing google PageSpeed score is nice, but who cares if no one is reading.


> Simple VPS, webserver, letsencrypt, static site generator, cloud flare for CDN duties and a little CSS.

Why didn't you host on Github Pages and you could have saved all that but having the same flexibilty regarding a SSG use case?


GitHub suspended my account because I used it to host a "for-profit" website, which led to the website being down for several days before I checked.

I believe the last time I checked the TOS, no such mention was made for Github pages.


> GitHub suspended my account because I used it to host a "for-profit" website, which led to the website being down for several days before I checked.

What kind of website were you hosting?


A website for a car rental organization.


That's a hugely popular option for sure, and great for a ton of static site use cases, but you do sacrifice the flexibility of deploying whatever the hell you want on your own VPS. Who knows what I might want to do in the future?


> Why didn't you host on Github Pages

Tried that once, fell down a 3 day rabbit hole trying all the static blog generators.. ended up picking WordPress.


Same. For all the times this is recommended, I haven't found a static blog generator that really works well. WordPress is still the easiest and most flexible to get running, but it's a PITA to keep it maintained.

After trying Lektor (fine for general use, but hard to theme; no pre-baked templating/theming system at all) and Hugo (tbh I don't remember the exact thing here, but I got really frustrated trying to do something and ended up deciding that themeless Lektor was better), I'm now holding out hope that Ghost, while not a SSG, will be good and simple enough that I can self-host a "blog" without falling back to raw HTML editing or WordPress. Started out by having to edit the package dependencies to versions that work on recent versions of Node... :\


Write your own generator, it's pretty easy! Blogs don't have to be fancy, most programming blogs need just paragraphs, images, and code blocks. Then you can add fancier features (interactive diagrams, fancy animations, a nice deployment pipeline, etc.) as you go along.


We developed Strattic to solve the issue of difficult to maintain and optimize WordPress websites. Strattic publishes WordPress websites as static sites, and the origin site sits behind a login so it's only accessible to you. No server issues etc. Strattic is currently in beta: https://strattic.com.


Try Metalsmith if you want to poke around and write code. Try Hugo if you want something that works out of the box but that doesn't have a plugin system.


> Tried that once, fell down a 3 day rabbit hole trying all the static blog generators.. ended up picking WordPress.

I'm still falling through the very same hole. What made you pick WordPress?


Honestly no real reason other than it's the one I know and didn't want to spend any more time on finding software to write with instead of spending the time on writing

Essentially it was the default option


Heh I can empathise. Two of my biggest reasons for wanting to move to a static site generator are actually to have actual control over the content (in markdown files, and because WordPress and its plugins do a fair bit of processing on the raw content), and because I'm more comfortable hacking in languages that aren't PHP.

That seems to have stopped me from writing though.


> more comfortable hacking in languages that aren't PHP

Oddly enough it was the opposite of that for me. Each of the static site generators I looked at were non-PHP (which is fine but I lack the experience)

I tell you what, if someone ever had a gun to my head and said "make this Ruby software work first time without errors" they might as well just pull the trigger


> cloud flare for CDN duties

Unless you're pulling a lot of traffic this isn't necessary


True, but the free account is trivial to setup, and because entire site is static I can use cloud flare to cache the entire thing. They also have some nice features entirely unrelated to scale ("Always Online" is a good example).

Given the barrier to doing this is virtually non-existent (it's a handful of clicks on the CloudFlare dashboard), seems silly not to take advantage.


Maybe... but everything was so wonderfully independent before Cloudflare gets dragged in


Medium is great and you have perfectly legitimate reasons to use it. But if you ever consider setting up your own website and/or blog, look into Jekyll (the site builder) and GitHub Pages for hosting.


Self control is an amazing skill mate.


Self-control is mostly just arranging your life to avoid situations that are known to cause problems.


And that doesn't take skill?


Not that it doesn't take skill, but not putting yourself in that situation (by using something off the shelf) is applying that skill :)


If i am a chef, sometimes I'm tired and just want to order take out. Same applies for a dev posting on medium


But it's not the same sort of skill as, say, doing low-level graphics programming, or database query optimization. Just because you're a programmer doesn't mean you're a web developer.

It's like saying that it doesn't make sense for a carpenter to live in a house they didn't build, or for a heart surgeon not to pull out his own wisdom teeth.


To be fair, it probably doesn't make sense for a dental surgeon to pull his own teeth either.


If you're a halfway decent programmer, deploying a simple blog is trivial. There are many existing solutions that don't even require you to write a single line of code, and the problem is simple enough that you could write the entire thing yourself.


> If you're a halfway decent programmer, deploying a simple blog is trivial.

The first thing a halfway decent programmer learns is to not reinvent the wheel. I could implement some json library, but I have better things to do. I could deploy and manage wordpress, but that would be a waste of my time.

This relates to a post from the last couple days where a potential game programmer got lost in some random issue instead of focusing on making a fun game. When blogging, content should be the focus, not managing a website.


I like keeping what I do on my website because it is my property and I would never populate other people's websites with my content, unless I got enough money for it.


I disagree. It doesn't matter what kind of coder you are, at some point you always deal with a shell. And setting up a blog on bare metal is done in few minutes on a shell. If you have never faced a shell or a remote server as a developer then you should find a toy project to do so. It's not the worst skill to have.

Moreover, I wouldn't see basic HTML or CSS as specific knowledge. This is something every coder knows (like English), of course not advanced layout stuff like Flexbox but the basic of HTML and CSS are common knowledge. And you do not need React, Webpack or any advanced stuff to make a simple SSG blog. You even don't need to understand HTML or CSS if you just stick with the standard templates. Just Markdown.

Edit: Why the downvote?


> Moreover, I wouldn't see basic HTML or CSS as specific knowledge. This is something every coder knows (like English), of course not advanced layout stuff like Flexbox but the basic of HTML and CSS are common knowledge

i work in a building full of embedded developers who wouldn't know a css selector if it bit them on the ass.

what use is it to any of them?


> i work in a building full of embedded developers who wouldn't know a css selector if it bit them on the ass.

Maybe, maybe not. Even embedded coders face HTML/CSS at some point when their embedded devices incorporates a webserver for some admin interface which sends HTML/CSS to the world (e.g. a router). Or they have create an API doc for their newly created embedded system, on the web. There are many examples.

What I am saying is that HTMl/CSS is ubiquitous in tech and besides, not that hard to grok compared to code in Assembly or C for an embedded system. And again they don't need HTML or CSS anyway. They just need to know a bit of bash, git, Markdown and a SSG of their choice.


> Maybe, maybe not.

uh it isn't some sort of weird toss-up? i'm referring to specific people who i know.

> Even embedded coders face HTML/CSS at some point when their embedded devices incorporates a webserver for some admin interface which sends HTML/CSS to the world (e.g. a router). Or they have create an API doc for their newly created embedded system, on the web. There are many examples.

there's a whole world of embedded stuff that doesn't have admin interfaces, doesn't have APIs, etc. you can concoct increasingly strained examples all day long, and there are still folks doing work you didn't realize was even a thing, who'll have long and profitable careers without touching a line of CSS.


Ok, it's hard to imagine that such people exist but I believe what you say. You are right, they should rather use Medium.


I work with a lot of kernel dev type people, you may find it hard to imagine but there are a lot of people that only program in c, maybe python.

I even know a lot of fortran only programmers. If you think html and css are common you might want to expand your scope of programmers, there is a lot of people that don't need or want to know about web programming.


I'll use my Father as an example. He works for Autodesk, before that he worked for Revit (when they were a tiny startup before Autodesk bought them out). He writes code in C++ mostly (I think some C# these days). He doesn't use HTML or CSS, and has never learned either. Not because he can't, just because there's not been any point and because the amount of effort that would take is large enough to not be worth it. Why spend several hours or days of extra effort just for a blog post? Not to mention the extra money needed to buy a domain and hosting.


I don't understand this, because C++ or C# are both high-level programming languages. HTML, on the other hand, is simple markup language. I'd think it would take somebody on that level a weekend to learn it, possibly a few weeks or a month to be confident writing it.


I think you are missing the point. He is not saying that his father can't do it, he is saying there is no point in his father learning it.

Edit: words go in a specific order.


I haven't touched HTML since somewhere around v. 3.x... I haven't ever bothered to really learn CSS. I am retired, but I once write software to model traffic.

Just another datapoint for you.

I can install Wordpress and a theme. I have no idea how to really customize said theme. I could learn, I am not feeling compelled to do so.


HTML is really not all that ubiquitous. The breadth of the technological world is wide... In any case, from my point of view the question is not "could I put together a virtual server with some kind of blogging software on it?" (I'm sure I could) but "is that the most interesting/important/worthwhile thing for me to do with my limited time?" and "do I want to give myself the ongoing maintenance chore of ensuring that the server and software stack is up to date with security updates?". Those two things are why I host my rather-intermittently-updated technical blog on wordpress.com.


Having a Webserver is not that simple. Even if you knew HTML and CSS good enough to make decent looking blog, there are many things that are not so simple:

- installing the basics. Why would I know if I should use Apache or Nginx. The internet is no help for that and while both are easy to use, it is not obvious how to publish a blog. You might also need other systems such as a MySQL db if you want to use Wordpress to publish. And I wouldn't expect a Postgres to know how to use MySQL

- securing the server. I would not expect everyone to know how to secure a server. There are some many things that are hard. Even iptables is not easy if you use it for the first time (don't get my started on firewalld). More advanced things such as AppArmour or SELiunx are freaking overwhelmingly when you use it for the fist time and only use a shell. Those things take time to learn and get right. It is useless if you set up the ip tables correctly but save them incorrectly so they flush after a reboot.

- keeping the server up to date. It requires discipline to active look for updates and act once they are discovered. Why would a embedded programmer want to bother.

- price: while 5 bucks is not much for many of us, it adds up, Especially when you have many such little things. Secondly, such a cheap server might not be enough. You need backups which requires additional work. Furthermore, if you do not use a static website, the hacker news front page could quickly overwhelm such a little server (it might even be hard with a static website).

These are all reasons why one should not use their own server for that. If you want to learn a lot about web servers, having a blog is a good and valuable start but I would never expect anyone to do that


That's why we developed Strattic: it allows users to enjoy the flexibility and power of WordPress without the need to maintain and secure servers. Strattic publishes the site as static and serverless, and the origin site is only available to the site owner. It's like a static site generator, but for WordPress. Strattic is currently in beta: https://strattic.com.


There's more to Medium than exists on the surface. It's an entire social network of people recommending and tagging articles, newsletters, all sorts - I've gotten good long term traffic before now from posting on Medium, traffic that lasts a lot longer than a short term (but much higher) burst from a Reddit or HN post.

The problem for Medium is that it just wasn't successful enough. If a lot more people were using it, it would make sense as a social platform. But it's mostly just a blog platform people link to.

(also, being able to host a blog is an important skill, but I'd never dismiss a programmer who wrote a fascinating article just because they didn't also self-host it. I could just as easily make the case that writing clearly is an important skill, and any programmer who wrote an incoherent blog post is not worth their salt. But I won't.)


> I don't understand why people write programming blogs on Medium. I think that managing a live website with its own server (rather than only working on other people's projects) is a very important skill.

You've listed two different objectives: writing a programming blog, and learning to manage a live website. Why should anyone interested in the first automatically care about the second?


Some people (like me) write programing blogs on medium because it's much easier to get an audience there then on your own domain. It has nothing to do with technical issues. Like it or not, often more people will discover and share medium articles than posts on a no-name domain.


This is precisely why I created a medium account-- because there is already an audience that is reading, liking, and commenting on articles. I tested this theory by cross posting articles to both my domain[0] and to Medium[1]. The Medium article has thousands of views in a month and my domain gets maybe 20 views a month. This is partly because "publishers" pick up articles on Medium which shows it to a new audience.

[0]: https://www.ceriously.com/blog/post.php?id=2017-05-09-nodejs...

[1]: https://medium.com/front-end-hacking/promises-in-node-js-8-x...


I think that is the main reason for most of the non-technical people too. Medium started as a great way to be discovered. They have a minimal style that makes people compare the text and content. Is something totally different from host a weblog.


That and there's every chance tight web filters will block a random domain; I can't read the linked article, for instance.


I use Hugo with Digital Ocean and GitHub. Simple nodejs express script is running via PM2 and is listening for GitHub messages and serving as a webhook. Whenever I push to the site repo on GitHub, the webhook fires, which fires the build script, which does a git pull and executes the hugo command to rebuild the site.

It's a delightful experience.


That build process can be done using TravisCI for free, provided the GitHub repository containing your Hugo base is public (and why wouldn't it be?) This removes the need for that Droplet and its associated cost.


Nice, good to know. I'll use Travis in the future for some side projects. But for my site/blog I think I'll stick to using my current droplet because I currently have no build time delay, and hugo is very fast. As soon as the push to github is complete, I just refresh my browser and the changes are in. With Travis it appears all open source projects share the same build queue so it can take minutes for the changes to take effect.


That's fair enough.


For me the main problem with self hosting is that I ended up spending more time tinkering with the website than actually writing content for it.

A hosted platform like Medium or Svbtle solves this problem.


I'm a Web developer and I could manage my own blog site but I choose not to as it would be one more site I have to maintain. I'd rather put that time into building the product for my company or sleeping/doing something else.

To suggest that any half way decent programmer should do that is the same as suggesting you write all your css from scratch instead of using a front end library to help. Doable but ultimately is it the best use of your time?


One of the main reasons people use Medium is that their posts will be viewed by random Medium users in addition to their own fan base, thus growing their fan base and getting more views both in the short and long term.

I'd compare it to YouTube. People could theoretically host their own videos, but the main reason people use YouTube is because it is so much easier for others to discover your videos.

Also, +1 on using Linode! Have had multiple projects on their servers. No downtime at one point for over 365 days.


> I'd compare it to YouTube. People could theoretically host their own videos, but the main reason people use YouTube is because it is so much easier for others to discover your videos.

I appreciate the effort to create a comparison or analogy here, but hosting video is a far, far bigger problem than hosting some text. Bandwidth costs will reach into the thousands of dollars per month video that gets a few thousands views, which isn't hard to get on YouTube's platform.


You are off by four orders of magnitudes

DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode: $0.02 per GB over your transfer limit

OVH $9/month VPS: 100mbps unlimited bandwidth, and yes, OVH doesn't care if you have 7x24 100% utilisation on your 100 mbps.

Let's say you have a 100MB video that gets 20,000 views, and half of the viewers end up streaming the full video.

BW incurred: 1 TB. Cost to you: $20


Have you ever produced videos for mass consumption? I have. They don't weigh in at 100mb. Try 500mb. And the aim with sharing videos is to get as much global reach and viewership as possible -- 20,000 views? What? I want hundreds of thousands of views otherwise what's the point in putting the effort in?

If I can produce a blog post in three days that gets 100,000 hits and allows me to provide affiliate links, multiple, constantly visible adverts, and so on, all for $5/month, why would I spend five days writing scripts, filming video, doing post production, and uploading the video for potentially less impact at 10x the cost?


Don't underestimate the value of a known format. I have just as much distaste for Medium as the next person, but at least I know how to navigate the site and I don't need to constantly be subject to the unique style choices of the individual. If it's your site, you can obviously do whatever you want with it, but realize that deciding on Helvetica Neue Ultralight on a low contrast background is only broadcasting your unique lack of design pragmatism.


I've been using ghost and digitalocean for my CV site for some time (godinez.soy) and it has been amazingly easy.

As you, I never understood the attraction of the Medium platform for technical people. I mean, Blogspot was there long before them and multiply.com even before (for non-technical people).

For non-tech people I understand the value of it, however given the speed at how companies fold nowadays, I would not be happy giving away control of my content to someone else.


It can also be absolutely trivial and soul sucking in that you have to do lots of maintenance when all you want to do is share ideas.


Fatih works at DigitalOcean and absolutely knows how to manage a server.

People write blogs on hosted platform, despite being fully capable of hosting it themselves, because they don't want to be managing a server when they set themselves up to write something.


Why would a programmer use Github when they could easily run Gitlab on Digital Ocean?


Because Github is, for the time being, what everybody else is using. You can't go wrong choosing Github in terms of users and contributors being familiar with the interface.

That said, I only use Github as a mirror. My "master" repositories are on a private, co-located server. The beautiful thing about Git is that it doesn't require any special software on the server side for hosting--just the regular client. And in particular, Git doesn't require a special daemon service. It doesn't even require a special service for hosting read-only HTTP repositories. The stock Git client can clone repositories over HTTP from static site files. My "official" public Git URLs are just HTTP URLs to a static read-only mirror which is updated from a Git hook when pushing. Those HTTP mirrors required no additional configuration whatsoever; they just sit inside my public_html/ user tree.

The secret to running your own server over the long term (I've been co-locating a server for almost 2 decades) is to keep things simple. It helps that I use OpenBSD, which has always maintained default web and mail servers which, even if disabled by default, are still "secure by default" in the sense of the stock software and configuration being well thought through. (This is especially true since OpenBSD replaced sendmail and Apache with their own software.)

I originally used CVS before switching to Subversion for a few years. But I was never comfortable exposing even a read-only mirror until I switched to Git, as both CVS and Subversion required special server-side software that I was unwilling to run, let alone maintain.

I only started using Github because most other people prefer using Github's interfaces for forking repositories and submitting pull requests. It's a trivial cost on my end (just an additional push), so I don't mind.


GitHub's UI is far superior, for one. You're also placing your code in an ecosystem of other OSS projects, which I believe is a good thing.

Also, GitHub private repositories for an individual are far cheaper than running a H/A GitLab on DO, AWS, Linode, or any provider worth mentioning. By definition of running a H/A solution on DO's cheapest offering, you're paying $15/month for three VMs, and we haven't started talking about backups yet.

It's not worth it at all.


Many of the same arguments could made for using Medium instead of running your own blog software.


I never said I was against Medium ;)

I'm against self hosting when it makes no sense to do so, and only because I've seen people get burnt by the process and I don't want to the same to happen to you. I'm probably capable, but many aren't.

Legal or regulatory reasons are the only reasons I can think of that might force your hand in to self-hosting.


What is the nr. 1 thing you would change in GitLab to improve the UI?


I have a Medium account and my own blog. On Medium I get about 5K+ readers/month. On my blog I get 5. That's why people write on Medium.


What I don't understand is why there aren't open online magazines/blogs for this kind of stuff. I.e. a blog with well-defined subject where there is some minor editorial oversight to filter out garbage, but where anyone can submit an article. This strikes the perfect balance between individual blog and a publishing platform. It can have features specific to the subject. The quality will be better. I've run a website like this with a bunch of people in the mid-00s and it was great. It had a real consistent community, and there wasn't a split between "staff" and "readers" which creates so many problems for more traditional online magazines.

The whole Web 2.0 movement vilified editor, but I think this was a great disservice to the Web. I'd love to have a website like I described above for programming stuff. It would allow me to concentrate on content, rather than maintenance of my own website and constant self-promotion.


I did not know Netlify and looked it up. I found this image [0] on their features page. Is that a joke or does their cli tool really use left-pad?

[0] https://www.netlify.com/img/features/section-art/dev-tools.p...


It's a joke, we don't actually use neither left-pad nor is-positive-integer...


I think it's a joke (npm doesn't list it).

I would say the next two packages were just joke names, but apparently "is-positive-integer" does exist[1]... though I suppose it might still be a more elaborate joke, but 1000+ downloads per month? The JavaScript world is simply amazing.

[1] https://www.npmjs.com/package/is-positive-integer



> I don't understand why people write programming blogs on Medium. I think that managing a live website with its own server (rather than only working on other people's projects) is a very important skill.

Because doing that yourself is a complete waste of time. Every web developer knows how to make a blog. All of them. So who cares if I make one or not to post my opinions online? No one.

So you can either spend the time dealing with server load, updates, maintenance, etc on a project everyone already knows how to develop and proves absolutely nothing about your skills or knowledge (not to mention being more expensive depending on provider and traffic) or you can let someone else handle it for you that may have multiple ways to accessing and publishing your content (medium, square space, wordpress, etc).

Managing your time is really important as a developer. Maybe managing a blog is a good use of your time but it certainly isn’t for me.


> So you can either spend the time dealing with server load, updates, maintenance, etc on a project everyone already knows how to develop and proves absolutely nothing about your skills or knowledge

Wait, what? The man just give you an option to use static site generator, and he even included the link of one. The cost of using this instead of Medium is absolutely nothing (Github account offer page hosting).


> Wait, what? The man just give you an option to use static site generator, and he even included the link of one. The cost of using this instead of Medium is absolutely nothing (Github account offer page hosting).

What you seem to be getting at is that your time is worth absolutely nothing and that it is worth using your time to create a simple, static blog and hosting it somewhere free.

I disagree that your time is worth nothing but maybe we value our time differently. Regardless it misses my point: if I'm comparing one developer to another it's never going to even enter my mind that they may or may not have developed their own blog because it's an entirely pointless distinction.


>I don't understand why people write programming blogs on Medium. I think that managing a live website with its own server (rather than only working on other people's projects) is a very important skill.

And knowing when not to waste your time setting up one is an even more important skill.


Their day job might be managing servers :)


Another free option: gitlab pages with built in ci configurations for a bunch of different static generators. All you have to do is commit for updates.


Totally agree. Code embedding is also limited on Medium, I think they still lack syntax highlighting.

Btw, great tip wih Netlify. How is your experience with them, what are pros cons compared to Github Pages and can I run server code like Node for free?


OT, but syntax highlighting is hardly the weakest part of displaying code on a webpage. Nobody's disrupting horizontal scrollbars or margin-busting, but the first person who does is going to be a hero.


I was so close to doing this when I was making my new blog, then I found out that the CSS element responsible for making the code block scollable isn't supported on mobile.


Any time I have to embed code in Medium, I just type the code in a free Github Gist and post the link - Medium automatically embeds the Gist in a nice, syntax highlighted format, with a link to the original gist.

e.g. (towards bottom of this article I wrote - syntax highlighting in HTML, Javascript and Ruby snippets): https://hackernoon.com/building-a-face-recognition-web-app-i...


> Totally agree. Code embedding is also limited on Medium, I think they still lack syntax highlighting.

Limited how? I find embedding GitHub Gist's works perfectly fine and is automatic -- just paste the link to the Gist in your post and you get an embedded object.


Amazon S3 is also a great option for hosting static content. The cost are negligible because you only pay for bandwidth not hosting.


Or even $2,5 Vultr if you are on a budget.


They are constantly "Temporarily sold out", at least in European regions.


They are available, but only in NY and one more (not sure which). I have confirmed this with their support. I am not sure if they are planning to introduce them in other regions anytime soon. I think NY is pretty much a good global location for America + Europe markets.


Agree that for a western English audience NY is the best location reaching both the US and EU with a ok latency.


I tried and gave up right away. You can't even insert a tab character. How can you write any code snippets?

https://medium.com/@shurcooL/trying-out-medium-b1cee6165fef


You don't understand that medium gets more traffic than someone's personal website.


I use Medium because I think their blogging software is superior to their competitors (WordPress). If there was something out there as good as Medium that I could install on my own servers I might do that. This seems to be the hierarchy of blogging software to me: Medium > WordPress > Blogger

I'm sure there are some other really great options out there that I've never heard of. And I'm sure if you spend a great deal of time looking you can find kickass WordPress themes. But the default WordPress themes are pretty weak, and Blogger is really weak.

So anyway, that's I use Medium to host my blog, because their blogging software simply kicks ass.


Did you try Ghost (https://ghost.org)? Their editor is quite good. Also, they've released version 1.0 a few days ago.


+1 for Ghost - it is really lightweight, and I have a blog running on it on a $5/mo Digital Ocean instance.


About the dickbars:

1) I uBlock them on my phone and tablet. Unfortunately there are plenty of random sites on Medium with their own domain. I don't follow any of them and get there from HN or similar sites. Blocking all of them doesn't make sense because I'll probably never get back to that domain. I agree with the author, the button in the middle of the page really sucks.

2) On desktop, the button and the dickbar never show because I'm running with NoScript and they are a JavaScript thing :-)

The author misses another inconvenient feature of Medium, the login. It's either by oAuth (I don't remember which providers) or by email. That means they send me an email with a link to click to login. In theory it's ok, because obviously email is safer and more convenient than a password stored in a password manager (/sarcasm). The first time I used it the mail didn't arrive until the day after, so I've been primed against it. Probably almost everybody just login with Facebook or something so, quoting the author, "I’m not a part of his [Ev Williams] vision".


In case you're not aware, NoScript also exists for Android: https://noscript.net/nsa/

Not quite as functional as its bigger brother, but an option nonetheless.


NoScript is also integrated into https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brave.brow... This uses Chrome so there's likely higher compatibility with mobile sites


script blocking may be built in but I don't think noscript is.


Other than name/logo what's the difference? Brave allows you to block all scripts by default and only whitelist specific sites.


Noscript does more than just turn javascript on and off. I recall the creator of noscript writing a post a few years ago saying that the plugin model of chrome didn't allow for all the things noscript does. That may have changed since and umatrix may be able to do things that the noscript guy said couldn't be done but I don't know


Brave's features are not an extension. It's is a fork of Chromium. Any mechanism they include in their build has none of the limitations extensions have and they're not extensions at all.


>because obviously email is safer and more convenient than a password stored in a password manager (/sarcasm).

no reason for sarcasm, it actually is safer. But UX is still bad, and emails are unreliable - true.


To the point criticism of Medium, very detailed and the OP is picking the right issues of Medium.

While Medium looks so beautiful and clean at first glance it really disappoints when you use it on a daily base both as a creator and as a user. Everytime I use Medium, I am surprised that Medium is successful. Its appearance feels definitely premium and significantly of higher value than any other blog system but the usability is a nightmare.

So we are back to square one. Which blog system should we use? SSG on Github Pages?


As a reader I avoid Medium based articles.

For one thing, the UI for wildly different blogs are the same. This means that I am unable to place anything I read in context. As a visual learner, one of the ways I remember stuff I read is by remembering the entire context (for blogs this is usually the look of the blog). Medium completely eliminates that crutch for me.

I feel the overuse of annoying funny GIFs in the middle of articles is far more prevalent on Medium pages. I suspect because it's one of the only ways for authors to personalize their content visually.


Medium blogs all have different colored nav-bars and logos.


That's so minute. Different fonts, typography, page layout, structure, etc all improve uniqueness and memorability.


I guess I'm in the camp of people who prefer uniform blogs. The decorative accents on medium are more than enough for me to be able to distinguish them. I enjoy the fact that the layout is familiar and I can dive right into a piece without the distraction of a different or unique layout. To each her own!


> Which blog system should we use?

Hosting your own WordPress site? It's simple and easy. Why did anyone ever want to be on Medium in the first place? Most likely for the name association and the visibility that comes with it.

I think we have a responsibility to promote self-reliance as part of technological culture. If we want people to move away from centralization (which I do), we have to teach by example (which I do).


It's the visibility, yes. I just moved my various blogging endeavors to one domain (coyotetracks.org) rather than the mishmash I've been using, which includes a few articles on Medium. But with only those few articles, I have over 400 followers on Medium, and my most popular article has 59K reads and 175 recommendations. (The next most popular has 39K and only 10 recommendations, because it's a criticism of "Mr. Money Mustache" and most people are hate-reading it from a link from his web site. Article #3 drops down to a mere 2.3K views, but 51 recommendations.)

I moved to hosting my own WordPress site; as much as I think WordPress's internals are a garbage file (actually, a series of garbage files passed around as globals, but never mind), it's so easy to make work--and the ecosystem is so big--that it almost makes up for its nastiness. But when I write an article that seems "Medium-esque," there's a very good chance I'm going to crosspost it to Medium to attempt to get those views. (With links back to my main web site, of course.)


"Hosting your own WordPress site? It's simple and easy."

I would think that, for at least 90% of those publishing on Medium, that's neither simple nor easy.

Even ignoring that, hosting your own Wordpress site means taking responsibility for keeping it up to date, security-wise. That hurdle alone probably makes most bloggers use some third-party blogging provider.


It's just an example, there are many choices, some of which are presumably even simpler.

But yes there will be some responsibility involved, I think that falls into healthy technical culture as well. It's the difference between taking care of something and getting someone else to take care of it. At the end of the day, someone has to do it, and we shouldn't always simply trust others with it just because it's easier.


WP can update itself though.


Wordpress is for sure powerful, has a huge ecosystem and is for teams a safe bet because of very good and battle-tested workflows.

But sorry, I don't want to setup a stack I did 20 years ago. However, I haven't looked into Wordpress for years.

For simple personal blogs I like DB-free SSG blog systems. But I am still wondering which one is the best. Just Hexo (Node) and Hugo (Go) come to my mind.


As I mention in my other reply, I meant it as an example. The issue to me is more "self-reliance" versus "paying others to do it". I'm certain that an increased trend of self-reliance such as hosting your own blog would go a long way towards demystifying the internet and therefore getting people more interested in the very real political issues behind the tech.


I agree, there's an air of "my gardener moved away, how ever will my grass get cut now?"


How easy do you think it is? Have you done it?

I found that self hosting wordpress is incredibly complex and expensive.

Wordpress.com does a great job though, nothing to manage.


Use wordpress.com

Works wonder. 2 decades of great service.


> Which blog system should we use?

Hugo works extremely well for me. Very fast and reliable.


The best part of reading technical content is the discussion in the comments – Medium makes that impossible.


I've seen many technical articles link to an HN post for discussion instead of using Disqus or hosting on something like medium.


I get it, too. HN is a threaded comment system, which we've been iterating on since the USENET days.

Not that threaded comments are the solution for everything, but it excels at visually separating each of the distinct discussions that may arise around a given topic.


Medium is a blog platform and a news aggregator. I use it mostly for consuming news by using tags of interest. Good luck with that writing your own blog on your own server. Oh, and the daily newsletter is a delightful joy.

Discoverability is key to the success of Medium.

https://medium.com/tag/swift/latest

https://medium.com/tag/kotlin/latest

https://medium.com/tag/python/latest

https://medium.com/tag/java/latest

Or by topic

https://medium.com/tag/design/latest

https://medium.com/tag/UX/latest

https://medium.com/tag/AI/latest


Why should I discover content on Medium?

This job is done by HN and Reddit and unfortunately Facebook if I am on FB. I don't have time to get sucked in another feed.


Specific content. For example I follow the Laravel tag on medium, I've not seen anything regarding Laravel on HN in a fair while.


Because most aggregators become biased and limited silos either intentionally to sell advertising or otherwise via community moderation, power users, etc. The same stuff always bubbles to the top or is buried at the bottom. Variety is key.


Using something like Jekyll to create a static blog lets you put it on AWS S3. For all but the highest traffic sites the bandwidth cost is trivial and you totally remove all the issues with uptime and securing a server.


Same applies to GitHub pages.


GHP means you're subject to github's downtime, which tends towards more frequent than s3 (outside us-east-1). Worse, you can't run HTTPS with GHP and a custom domain.

You could use CloudFlare's flexible TLS, but it's unsecured from their system to your site, which has resulted in carrier level content being injected[0].

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12091900


That's what got me to host my Jekyll sites on my own too (lack of proper end-to-end SSL on a custom domain).

Also, if you're not using S3 / CloudFront you can use Let's Encrypt to issue free SSL certificates on any cloud hosting provider.

It's an awesome set up once you know how to get everything up and running.

I even recently released a course[0] that explains how to do it step by step (setting up a custom domain, hosting multiple sites on 1 DigitalOcean server, A+ SSL ratings for both nginx and Apache, etc.).

It takes less than 1 minute to deploy and protect any custom site (or web app), since the course comes with ready to go configs and scripts too.

[0]: https://httpswithletsencrypt.com/


You can run GHP over HTTPS through services like e.g. Cloudflare.


I originally tried github pages, but had issues with getting an SSL cert working with Cloudflare. I ended up using AWS Certificate Manager to add an auto updating cert to CloudFront.


Do you have a login? Or why would you need SSL on a static page?


You can use HTTPS to secure many things, not only login details. Not least of all, the privacy of your users/readers.

There's also integrity of your site, and many more future proof reasons. These days, there's no reason _not_ to use HTTPS, really.

https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/security/encr...


Except for the difficulty of managing and keeping up to date with TLS (I'd have to upgrade my RPi's OS for example, to do it well), and the fact that it actually reduces performance for small simple sites with local readership, even with HTTP/2 for example.

http://www.earth.org.uk/note-on-carbon-cost-of-CDN.html

Edit: I note that I got downvoted, though no reply with reasons. I accept that it is currently widespread dogma/fashion that everything should be HTTPS, and there are some good reasons for it, but as someone that has worked in what might be called 'real' security in on-line finance for example, I fear that HTTPS-everywhere is as much security theatre or cargo cult as taking your belt off at the airport scanners...


The one thing that HTTPS provides on non-sensitive, or even non-interactive sites is privacy; it hides the request URI from prying eyes (ISP, government etc.) That's worth a lot to me.


My sites are totally anodyne and not going to cause anyone any embarrassment; bank auditors tell me to relax a bit. The Chinese government was happy to grant me a site 'licence'.

That's not worth a slow-to-load or even failing-to-load page.


If all inoffensive sites ditched HTTPS, merely making an HTTPS request would justifiably arouse suspicion.

It's important to make sure that inoffensive sites are behind the same barrier, to make that a poor signal.


We have to hurt everyone to attempt to mask this weak signal?


For most sites, the Google organic search penalty for not having https is reason enough.


I have run side-by-side tests with the same site exposed both over http and https from a very performant CDN, and right now Google showed the http site on a simple search, not https, for example.

I don't believe that any penalty is currently significant, nor likely to be soon. There's plenty of good historic sites which SEs don't want to exclude just because someone doesn't have the resources to rework them and keep them maintained with the latest TLS. (Note issues like embedded http resources that would all have to transitively converted to avoid warnings.)


I don't think I would trust your data point of 1. Google has officially announced that it will factor in and many other sites with many data points have confirmed the effect.

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-s...


I believe Chrome, along with other browsers mark http sites as not secure, which is obviously undesirable.


Only when submitting forms.


Because everything has to be SSL these days. Static content, open content, everything. Google, among others, say so.


This is exactly how we publish our content. We are currently experimenting with Gatsby as well. We will see how it turns out.

https://github.com/gatsbyjs/gatsby


Switched long time ago to Blogger--free to use your domain, change template design as you like as much as you like, connect external widgets like Disqus (my blog to check how Blogger may look: http://blog.babich.me/).

Also, a huge thing is integration with Google Photos and Google Drive. You may insert in a post photos from your Google Photo right by selecting them inside an image addition menu--no need in hustling with links, just look through Google Photos inside Blogger. BTW, it's possible to see photos uploaded via Blogger in Google Photos folder inside Google Drive (Google Photos app itself does not show photos uploaded via Blogger).

You also may connect FeedBurner (Google company) in Blogger settings and collect subscription emails and also automatically send emails to subscribers via FeedBurner when a new post is published. BTW, every tag used for tagging posts in Blogger becomes dedicated RSS feed. So, if you write about different topics (e.g. coding and travel), it's easy to set up for people to follow RSS or subscribe via email only to a topic they are interested in and not everything you write.

And it's all free!

Medium feels like long-form Twitter with all these replies treated as posts. This is a terrible experience. Especially when you follow RSS feed of somebody on Medium and comments & replies are delivered and treated in the feed the same way as posts. I guess it's due to the fact that Ev was also Twitter founder and has only one construct in his head as to posts and replies.


One of the things I hate the most about Blogger is their stupid JS template where on mobile swiping left/right (to move the page if you're zoomed in) switches to the next/previous post instead.


I just rewrote the template completely. It's not that hard. So I do not have to deal with standard templates issues.


Yes but since it is owned by Google I'm afraid that they will shut it down on a whim


I do not think so. Too many blogs are there that provide Google with data and show Google Ads. It's a valuable asset for Google.


A commentator on Arslan's post mentions “Medium’s foolproof wysiwyg editor.” This surprised me. I find their WYSIWYG editor to be incredibly frustrating, counter-intuitive, limiting, and obnoxious.

Allow me to belabor only the last point.

Imagine typing the following sentence (I’m using pipe | to show the cursor):

  Clifford is a big dog.
But it's missing something, so you move your insertion point:

  Clifford is a big| dog.
and you type “<space>red.” In any sane editor, the result will be exactly what you typed:

  Clifford is a big red| dog.
But on Medium, the result is:

  Clifford is a big red|dog.

Clifford is a big reddog? Ffffff. This happened because when you typed the first space after “big”, the result was not the insertion of a space but in fact the same as if you had hit the "right arrow" key:

  Clifford is a big |dog.
Not cool. I have a strong habit of inserting words with the surrounding spaces already inserted. How dare Medium forbid me to type the way I want?

I know that Medium does this because they are on a crusade to kill the usage of two spaces after sentence. That doesn’t excuse insane frustration of the editing process. No wonder most Medium posts don't look like they have ever experienced the most cursory proofreading!


I don't think this is an either/or situation.

Medium's value is in exposing new, (arguably) high-quality content to its readers.

Every so often, when you write an extra high-quality article, post it on medium as well, with a way for the reader to subscribe. It'll expose new readers to your writing and you still keep your content on your own platform.


The OP forgot to mention the worst (IMHO) problem: Medium does not support multi-language content (more here: https://medium.com/@oleksiy/multilingual-content-management-...). If I write posts in English or Hungarian it is okay. But when I start to write in both my readers will see unreadable gibberish when they come to my page and half of the content will be noise for them and it can't be helped.

That's why I do it the other way around. I have my own domain and page which runs on a custom Jekyll / GitHub Pages setup and I import stories to Medium from my page.

This way I can keep using medium and get more readers for free but Medium will display the "Originally posted at ..." line at the bottom. Win-win! You should try this out and use Medium for what it is useful for.


Moral of the story: Try to never rely on another company's platform for your business. It's hard enough creating a successful business, but to add a layer of risk on top of that is not smart.


Github, an ISP, mobile phone company, rented offices, an OS, hardware, and the list is almost endless. I actually think it's important to outsource as much as you can and focus on your core business.


you're obviously not understanding my comment


I never understood how writers of any kind would let Medium (or Tumblr, or ...) rip all control off their hands.


Thirst for (fast/instant) fame.


This is good. Medium is, in a sense, the anti-internet. It centralizes where no centralization is needed.


I feel one of the main reasons Medium is so successful is that they cracked discoverability and rank high on Google for any topic (sort of like Wikipedia). Hence, I am hesitant to move away from it although I really want to build a sustainable, long-term business on my own domain.

Any ideas on this?


My advice: Publish on your own domain, syndicate to Medium (and LinkedIn, and whatever) shortly after.

Always import the story[1] so that Medium adds a rel="canonical" link, and link back to the canonical version (e.g. "Originally published at XXX" in the text of the story itself.

[1] https://medium.com/p/import


Any idea how to get code formatted properly?

https://medium.com/@mcguire.crsr/applied-formal-logic-brute-...


If you type ``` on a new line, Medium will switch to code input mode.

If you forget, Control/Command-? brings up keyboard shortcuts help, and the 2nd page has the shortcuts for code formatting.


Did not know that this is possible. Thanks a lot! Probably there are similar import options on Linkedin et al.


How did they cracke discoverability? Some posts are famous and rank higher, I haven't noticed a general rank boost. Also, I have stumbled upon a lot of blogs on own domains that turned out to be Medium hosted. I assume these don't get any advantage on Google?


I am not sure if I am overvaluing Medium but I feel that I owe the existence of my recruiting agency to them:

- In November 2014 I published "8 reasons why I moved to Switzerland to work in tech" (https://medium.com/@iwaninzurich/eight-reasons-why-i-moved-t...)

- I immediately started getting CVs from people who googled "work in Switzerland in tech". Then, I asked local startups and firms if they would pay me if I find them engineers. This worked out and now I run https://www.coderfit.com.

- After 2.5 years I still get a couple CVs a week due to the blogpost on Medium.

If one only has one or two blog posts (like me in the beginning), Medium is probably the best place to write. But now, since I want to grow my business, it feels like a waste not using my own domain.

(Fun fact: It took me three days to write this blogpost, and according to Medium 22k people (truly) read it and some even moved to Zurich with their families and their life completely changed. However, it took me one year each to write my bachelor's and master's thesis and the professor and his assistant (maybe) read it...)


Nah, I don't think it's Medium. That article featured here on HN and was commented a lot, I remember it myself.

I think it was a good article about a niche topic. Maybe being on Medium helped in making it viral to begin with...


It was never really "featured" on HN. I just posted it every now and then, when I thought it fits the conversation.


Not to be dismissive but I think you forgot very important issues, biased to your personal situation.

1) Switzerland doesn't speak English, it doesn't even have one language.

You don't feel it because you are German. One is going to have a hard time in Zurich if he doesn't speak German.

2) Considering a 20 years old insurance and a shared flat is surreal. All cities are affordable when you live in a dump with flatmates, including NYC, SF and London.

The problem is when you live in decent conditions, or worse, have a family. Your expenses will skyrocket and consume all the LOCAL salary.

Don't get me wrong. I love Switzerland, it has great a environment and it is safe. The costs of living is no better than anywhere else though.


I disagree with everything you wrote. From what you say, it seems you never lived here and you must be trolling.

Regarding 1) I can give you at least three personal contacts who can not speak German and get by well in Zurich. You have people living here for 10 years and don't speak German. 30% people living in the city don't hold a Swiss passport which makes it the city with the biggest "foreigner" rate (higher than London or Berlin)

Switzerland is the best place to have a family because cities are very small. I am surprised how many people don't get this. I recently overheard a discussion of a bunch of bankers in the train (One Swiss guy, two English guys). They UK-guys could not understand that most people "don't live in the city". The reason is this: It takes you 8 min by train from the city center into "nature"(e.g., Zurich HB -> Schlieren or Stettbach). In NYC, London or Berlin it's more like one hour. That means if you work "in the city" and if you are ok to commute like 10 minutes, you can get a very good and cheap apartment.

I even know one Phd student who earns 4000 CHF (waiter's salary) and feeds his wife and two kids from that money. This is unthinkable in Germany or any other place I know.


That's a scary thought.


I can concur that this is a problem.

I had a medium blog which is now dead and I moved my stuff to a private domain which I had for decades.

The medium blog still ranks higher in google searches than my own domain.


Google will discover anything. It is incredibly good at discovery.

It doesn't matter that you have a medium or something else.


I recently wanted to move my Tumblr personal blog to Medium however after a few days of nightmare and still unable to setup a custom domain despite having paid $75 fee i requested a refund and closed my account. Their customer service and documentation kind of sucks!


It's sad that a process like this is still somehow manual. I can't imagine what technical debt they must have where they can't automate custom domains.


I believe it's by design. They want their brand "medium.com" visible. They don't want to become a commodity blog hosting.


Personally, I never write comments on blog posts, but I participate in communities like Hacker News and a couple random subreddits.

I prefer including links to Hacker News or Reddit in the blog post. I'm not interested in handling authentication, moderating users, or dealing with spam. News aggregators usually do a great job with all those points.

The Webmention [0] spec solves this problem, but sadly, it hasn't been widely adopted. :(

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webmention


At https://dev.to we have a similar product to Medium in a lot of ways. One thing we try to do is offer the benefits of Medium in terms of distribution, but also encourage users to easily make their own site the canonical source, because we don't want to force vendor lock in when you get to this point.

I'd like to think we also do a good job dealing with a lot of the UX issues that the author outlines :)


Why lose flexibility and switch to medium in the first place?


People use Medium because they want to be heard. Marketing is hard (although this author doesn't seem to have problems with that.)


Because when I switched to Medium my blog posts went from ~50 impressions to 1000+ impressions

Exposure.


Are you using a custom domain with Medium?


No I opted for no-domain because my articles can be sequestered to any publication where they will receive better exposure than if I had reserved it for my own.


Probably the usual - it was new cool and convenient.


I don't use medium, but also don't need much flexibility. The content is my focus and priority.


From a branding and long-term point of view, it's really important to "own" your content by hosting it on your own domain and even server space. The advantage of a platform like Medium is that it can increase the reach of your content, but it's too risky to go all in with them since who knows how long they'll be around, or what limitations they might add down the line.

But there's a way to have your cake and eat it too: you can publish first on your self-hosted WordPress site, and then republish automatically on Medium with a canonical tag pointing back to your WordPress site. This means you get the SEO and control benefits of WP, and the reach benefits of Medium.

I wrote a guide on how to make this magic happen: https://illuminea.com/ultimate-guide-to-wordpress-medium/. Of course this post is also reposted on Medium with the canonical tag :) https://medium.com/@miriamschwab/6425c2d5e5c4


It's not easy to run a team (engineering) blog with static site generators. Authoring in markdown, reviewing, external contributions etc takes up a lot of time.

With medium we've encouraged the team to run personal blogs and add interested articles to the team publication. It's a bottom up approach.

In return, we get viewer-ship when medium recommends our articles on other (medium) blogs or via tags. Medium has a sense of community. Speaking strictly for myself, running your own site is tad selfish, it lacks as sense of community. Right now medium does that, We'd only move out of medium if there's something that does it better.


I find the first part particularly interesting. I always contemplated of whether or not I should start blogging. And for me it always seemed an obvious choice between whether or not I want to host my own blog, which would mean a lot of energy and money investment, or if I should start a medium page, possibly losing control over my texts and page views.

When you now say that it's a hassle to setup and even costs money, why should anybody use Medium? Do people not know how much you already gift a page if you let them host your content? They should pay you and not the other way around.


Not to be a horrible self promoter (it's just the ideas I care about), but my 2012 discussion of the problem with new blogging platforms still applies, from a general perspective, to Medium: https://alanhogan.com/the-problem-with-new-blog-platforms. (tl;dr is that eventually you will grow out of virtually any non-Wordpress platform, especially one you don’t control yourself.)



HN really need to add Matthew Butterick's sites to spamlist.


Why so? I just skimmed read the linked page (after pasting the URL manually...) and it doesn't seem any worse than other articles posted here.


Because if you follow the link you get http://practicaltypography.com/graylist.html. That page has about the same amount of content as a typical spam page.


He's just blocking high traffic referrers. Which I agree is odd. It's not like his site is media heavy.


He attempts to monetize without resorting to ad networks. A laudable goal, even if the methodology is idiosyncratic.


I had no interest in using medium, but this is one extra little reason for not fixing my unbroken pelican+GitLab pages setup.


Why remove all your posts from medium.com? Why not post to both wordpress and medium.com?


I haven't followed the progression of Google search indexing, but in the old days, the 'rule of thumb' was that having the same content on two different domains would hurt your rankings.


Does medium allow you to monetize your content and put ads? If it's not the case then why do people write for Medium. What's there to gain?


Medium is blocked in China. And there are as many people learning English in China as the entire US population.

That's the biggest deal breaker for me.


One thing that really annoys me is embeded gists don't render in medium's mobile app.


Interesting read. Personally, I prefer Medium for the convenience.


My blog is hosted by Medium on my own domain and I think it kicks ass. All of the issues the author brought up in his post seemed pretty minor to me. Just my opinion, but Medium has the best blogging software out there, by far.


Irony: I am getting a "This site can be reached".


Privacy Badger blocks most medium sites for me :)


Setting up a domain was difficult. Really?


i generally avoid medium.com blogs because the ui is bad. i hate the comments system.


may I ask which theme you use? it looks very nice..



i did some google search for

"gatsby themes" "gatsby disqus"

almost nothing useful turns out.. any ideas?




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