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 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.
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:
“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.
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.
But that's practically what HN is, yet I like to believe it's a good platform without too much spam or trolls.
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'm sure moderating comments is hard. But when it's done well comments are great.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Confused the hell out of me.
(That said, I find Medium increasingly annoying.)
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
I believe the last time I checked the TOS, no such mention was made for Github pages.
What kind of website were you hosting?
Tried that once, fell down a 3 day rabbit hole trying all the static blog generators.. ended up picking WordPress.
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... :\
I'm still falling through the very same hole. What made you pick WordPress?
Essentially it was the default option
That seems to have stopped me from writing though.
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
Unless you're pulling a lot of traffic this isn't necessary
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
Edit: words go in a specific order.
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.
- 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
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.)
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?
It's a delightful experience.
A hosted platform like Medium or Svbtle solves this problem.
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?
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 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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And knowing when not to waste your time setting up one is an even more important skill.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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".
Not quite as functional as its bigger brother, but an option nonetheless.
no reason for sarcasm, it actually is safer. But UX is still bad, and emails are unreliable - true.
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?
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
I found that self hosting wordpress is incredibly complex and expensive.
Wordpress.com does a great job though, nothing to manage.
Works wonder. 2 decades of great service.
Hugo works extremely well for me. Very fast and reliable.
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.
Discoverability is key to the success of Medium.
Or by topic
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.
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.
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 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.
There's also integrity of your site, and many more future proof reasons. These days, there's no reason _not_ to use HTTPS, really.
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...
That's not worth a slow-to-load or even failing-to-load page.
It's important to make sure that inoffensive sites are behind the same barrier, to make that a poor signal.
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.)
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.
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.
Clifford is a big| dog.
Clifford is a big red| dog.
Clifford is a big red|dog.
Clifford is a big |dog.
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!
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.
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.
Any ideas on this?
Always import the story 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.
If you forget, Control/Command-? brings up keyboard shortcuts help, and the 2nd page has the shortcuts for code formatting.
- 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...)
I think it was a good article about a niche topic. Maybe being on Medium helped in making it viral to begin with...
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.
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.
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.
It doesn't matter that you have a medium or something else.
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  spec solves this problem, but sadly, it hasn't been widely adopted. :(
I'd like to think we also do a good job dealing with a lot of the UX issues that the author outlines :)
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
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.
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.
That's the biggest deal breaker for me.
almost nothing useful turns out.. any ideas?