Medium is not StackOverflow, it limits the number of articles that can be freely read.
If you ever learned something from a blog or from stackoverflow do contribute back by sharing your knowledge open on the internet not behind a paywall.
EDIT: For context, I don’t mind people monetizing their content, but in that case I’d rather pay them directly (like GoRails), and not a “subscription” for something I might check once in a while.
Read https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018677974 section What does the checkbox do
The average article we publish does 10k views, which for most authors is way more than they'd get self-hosting and posting out to Twitter/FB.
I think also that Medium is still overly dominated by user generated content, i.e. what people here are calling low quality articles. You'd think of that content differently if it were better curated and better edited.
But all of Medium's subscriber revenue gets reinvested in their content. Most of that is author payments, but also they pay copy editors and curation editors. What they haven't done in programming yet is pay for any articles that have had a proper high quality edit. In programming that's a story editor, tech reviewers and a bug/errata updating process. But I suspect that will change because the subscription numbers are starting to be big enough that they can afford to invest in these things.
That's an official publication of the company behind medium. Maybe they had some bugs in the past or the people who complained or the author just made mistakes.
Try to access this article: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/implementing-call-by-refer...
Can you access it or not?
If you hit the preview limit, you get the message "Not every story on Medium is free, like this one. Become a member to get unlimited access and support the voices you want to hear more from."
Non-metered (i.e. free) content is not behind the metered paywall. Also if the author posts a "friend link" the article is freely accessible, even if metered otherwise.
Do you have other sources?
Medium doesn't mind if you use a workaround - as long as you are using it. The business model is validated and metrics show that users are happy with it. The only way to change their mind is to stop using it entirely.
A thread about changing how programmers distribute written content in the context of HN could actually have an impact.
I mean, if people can't afford the $5 per month that it costs to read all medium posts, they really shouldn't waste the time complaining.
I also don't want to have to buy a domain and have a hosting service to push my own site having to load it up with ads or other nonsense just to make a side hustle possible. So I stick with Medium.
IMHO, you need to write about some cool hot or esoteric feature that solves a specific problem in a new way. Or about how a particular crash bug ended being based on something that everyone else thinks works one way when in fact it works the other way.
Do a search on a topic. Are there already thousands of pages that cover the same thing? If so, write on something else.
Trust me. It's possible to do a lot better than $1.50 an article.
works like a charm
1) Free, non-scummy tutorial sample, with the rest offered for money, or
2) Free full tutorial with non-scummy ads/UX, or
3) Free full tutorial with the understanding that this is self-promotion and I should raise my evaluation of the author and seek to hire their other work.
Which of those do you feel is unjustifiably entitled?
Your options are clearly biased towards the fact that you don't want really to pay anything, either in terms of money or ads/attention.
I'm not going to subscribe to Medium or other things like it. I don't like subscriptions and avoid them for the most part, and Medium is effectively a weird bundle of mostly crap I mostly don't care about.
When something is worth it, a la carte works for me. It should cost more than as part of a bundle. (Although I'd need to need your tutorial rather badly to pay the price of a book for it.)
Are you really trying to make the case that Medium is the only way people find and read content?
Now, if it ripped the authors off or engaged in other shitty tactics, then that's one thing. But nobody is responding with that kind of information. It's all a response against the paywalls, and I'm trying to figure out if it's knee-jerk or not.
I mean, aren't people allowed to make a living by teaching others?
Absolutely good point!
I think if I were to rephrase the submitter's comment in a way that aligned with my own views and concerns, it would be:
If your intent is to put information into the world for others to share purely out of charity/a desire to help others, or to get your name out, please consider options other than Medium, as Medium is ultimately in control if whether anyone can actually gain access to the content you've produced.
If, however, as you say, one's goal is to produce and monetize content as part of a personal revenue stream, then Medium seems like as good an option as any (though, personally, I'm not a huge fan of contributing content into walled garden ecosystems where the publisher can unilaterally change the rules on a whim), and folks here complaining that stuff is behind a paywall should go find free content elsewhere.
I am buying from time to time website-based tutorials or other type of content. I agree this creates a new problem: I don't even know what I bought in the last years, what kind of online live books with exercises I bought and from where. I try to keep them in a document, but sometimes I forget and search email to find out.
Still I would like to ask that if someone just wants to share information and it is not focused on monetization then please consider other options than Medium.
A lot of newcomers will not make a subscription there.
A few weeks ago I saw an ad on a blog post. I think it's the only one I've seen all year. I was so surprised, I looked at the source. It was just an image, hosted on the same domain, wrapped in standard anchor tag. It was even something I might consider using, a server monitoring service. I had never been so happy to see an ad.
I mean, if it were just as simple as, he likes gadgets and cycling: let's show him an ad for a new bike accessory -- that isn't so bad.
But when they know what your mood is, what your insecurities are, what your financial situation is, past purchases at one retailer linked with your phone number to purchases at another retailer, how likely you are to buy at a certain time of day, etc and then they show you the right ad, in the right place at the right time to exploit all of those things... that is too manipulative for my taste.
The ads are fine.
Surveillance capitalism is the problem.
Don't mistake the symptom for the disease.
It's literally $5 a month to subscribe to all medium articles, I don't get the problem. That's less than a starbucks latte.
A service must be really compelling and unique to persuade people to commit to an open-ended subscription on top of everything else crying for their dollars.
That's why the likes of Apple are racing to bundle their services for a single monthly family fee, they're getting ahead of 'subscription fatigue' where the mental and financial burden of managing a plethora of small monthly charges becomes overwhelming.
> That's less than a starbucks latte.
That's a perfect analogy. The majority of people in any population don't buy a Starbucks latté because the cost-value assessment indicates it's not worth it on top of more essential daily living costs.
That seems accurate in my experience.
I mean, not knocking who told you that at all, I think it's funny that they applied it to Medium the website. Just a little tidbit of info about the quote's origins, in case you weren't aware!
Given the nature of the medium, books usually have the highest guarantee of quality due to the resources used to publish a book.
I won't try to guess why, but the few pages I can access are always high quality, while poor quality pages (as discovered when opening the page anyway in a full browser) always try to block that setup.
I suspect quality means different things to different people and even changes based on context for the same person.
For instance, a blog describing some arcane linux command to run to fix the issue you're having does not need to be the same level of quality as something you're reading to learn + get in depth info about a topic you know at a very shallow level.
Usually you can find the signal in the first 2 or 3 sentences of in any post.
Medium.com has better SEO than SO and small personal blogs, so it's winning when searching for a solution.
At any rate, the idea is to somehow filter out all the garbage when I just want to know how to do something. Too often I have to find personal blog links on stackoverflow ("PS. I wrote more about it here") as opposed to that helpful article simply showing up in the search results by itself.
It would be interesting to see a curated version with an allowlist of domains as well, like how Angelfire and friends in the 90s used to be with a "web ring" of peer websites.
I have found several articles about Apache Kafka on Medium that have helped me a lot. I have no idea if it's by a junior dev or not.
I don't think they geniunely want to help people learn. I assume, given the low quality / effort content, that most are just trying to use them to build a prescence to help get jobs?
People see successful programmers giving lots of talks and writing lots of articles.
People want to be successful.
Monkey see, monkey do.
There just aren't many reasonable, free alternatives for publishing written technical. Medium handles SEO and makes it super simple writers who don't know how to host their own content otherwise to get their ideas in public. Plus, readers who click on a Medium link know they'll see their content in a standardized format.
Regarding standardized format, yes this is true. I don't have a rebuttal. I think it depends on the job to be done by the reader. For me getting to the information is more important than the format.
I learn things even by reading text mailing-lists.
For people simply looking to spread ideas and neat little hacks, it's almost always going to be better using either a 'traditional' blogging platform or homebrewing a blog with one of the static site generators.
There also seems to be some sort of 'style' that every Medium writer starts to take on that you don't see other places, I can't put my finger on it but there's a certain tone to many of the articles.
I post maybe once a month tops, and for very specific niche queries I'm on the first page of results for the three main search engines. The goal for me isn't to make money or get famous, just to fill in some gaps where nobody's tried something before.
I'm not a medium expert at all, but I would wager that most incoming traffic is going to be from google searches either way. The sad reality is that search & social is the only place traffic really comes from, practically nobody uses RSS or subscriptions anymore.
I am not saying they are doing, but what happens with all this knowledge when Medium decides to pivot (I am not saying they do) or to close (hope this will not happen).
I see better chances for the content to outlive when it is spread in separated smaller blogs. Not all of them will close, maybe some of them will be archived, maybe moved to other domains, maybe cached somewhere. But having a lot of content under paywall, without any license on the code shared (or at least I don't know about it) is not creating a comfortable feeling for myself.
Of course if the purpose is to monetize then maybe Medium is the right place.
You must have a very different experience to me. I'd say the value is about 70-30% in favour of unofficial tutorials for the tech topics I've learned over the years.
Even StackOverflow is reaching the point of net-negative value; far too many of its questions and answers are outdated, but the nature of their system means the older (first acceptable) answers tend to be promoted as current answers.
I'd dispute "increasingly" - twas ever thus to some degree.
Spotting whether a tutorial is still valid is a skill that can be honed and it's part of learning how to learn.
Your argument has some merit but your solution of "let's stop writing tutorials" seems a trifle extreme. Wishing something was better isn't a great argument for it's extinction.
With general Google/DDG searches I often do filter to past year, but I've noticed increasingly that some sites have been republishing old articles with new dates, or minor updates (apparently to bump them up in search results?)
I think - in case of tutorials about programming languages/frameworks/libraries the bare minimum should be:
- Language Version
- Framework Version
Things move so quickly, in tech, that something is out of date, almost as soon as it's published.
I've been training for years, and setting up a syllabus/course is a big job. Often, my subject matter may be "old hat," by the time I am ready to give the course.
That often means that I don't teach "bleeding edge" stuff. When I take those courses, they tend to be mighty "scruffy," with ill-prepared instructors, and lots of "Well, it worked this morning..." stuff.
The same goes for topical material in walkthroughs and tutorials. If they are relevant, they are likely to be "scrappy." If they are good, there's a fairly high degree of confidence that they will be out of date by the time I see them.
Nonetheless, I have gotten fairly adept at translating "dated" stuff to my current circumstances.
For example the official docs should probably contain a bunch of "hello world" tutorials for using the features they offer. But often times once you are combining a couple of different tools it isn't clear if it should go into the official documentation for any one of them. ..and I especially don't want the maintainers of the official documentation acting as gatekeepers for what combinations of tools are "useful" enough to be allowed into the one source of information.
I find this really helps me.
I just don't publish the bloody thing to the internet! Because I know it would just be clutter when people are looking for an actual experts explanation of the thing.
It also means I have quite comprehensive notes I can go back to, again private though.
 - Obligatory spam link: https://scrawl-v8.rikweb.org.uk/learn
I have a custom Medium domain from back in the day when you could get them, and it doesn't suffer from any of the usability problems and dark patterns of the actual medium.com (though I should probably move away from it anyway).
IDK, but that seems pretty straightforward to me.
And I've yet to see Medium "fill the screen" with annoying banners. In fact, from what I've just seen, Medium just displayed a web page with the article's bottom half telling you you've read all of your free articles and asking you to sign up.
Too much hyperbole on the internet these days...
1. It is public (you don't need a subscription)
2. It has a license for using the code there (https://stackoverflow.com/help/licensing)
I am not affiliated in anyway with StackOverflow and actually I created a new account because of some things I disagree with.
It is ok to ask and answer your own question.
Running a personal website is a time sink and it can become a real pain as time goes on. It’s not a problem to create a personal website and shove a few HTML files on there, or set up a Wordpress installation, or create something with Jekyll. That’s easy enough.
The problem is that 10 years later, your HTML files are sprawling, or you rely on Wordpress plugins that are no longer maintained, or you’re fighting against your generator for whatever reason.
I’ve somehow managed to get my personal website into a state where posting a new article is little more than adding a file to a Git repo and then running a command to deploy it, but I always feel like I need to modify the scripts, and I always want to revisit choices I made when building the website.
I used to host my blog on Wordpress, and I agree; massive timesink.
I’ve thought about Hugo but it might require a serious migration effort. My current website is written in Go templates so I can do something like:
Things would be different if I had chosen a static website generator from the start rather than letting things evolve naturally from hand-written HTML files. Currently, what I want to do is get rid of the templating and use DOM manipulation, so I’d write the above like
<src-file src="_src.c" />
I agree that running a personal website is a time sink.
But there are many other options like: Github/Gitlab Pages, Medium ....
Persoanlly, I prefer simple HTML pages or Markdown. Plain HTML will render easy many years from now. They are easy to transfer and hard to get lost between migrations.
I started out writing my webpage in HTML, and if you dig around you can find my old GeoCities page, but plain HTML suffers from some problems that make it high-friction for posting frequent updates. So you start adding a simple templating system. Maybe at first it’s just a header and footer you stick on to every page. Then you start adding indexes so you don’t have to update index.html every time you write a blog post. Your plain HTML starts getting more and more complicated, and it starts relying on some kind of library of scripts which you are now maintaining.
That’s what happens if you dive straight into it and use whatever technology is simplest to understand. I think most people would be better off picking a static website generator, to be honest.
(Also: When I started posting content to my website, Jekyll didn’t exist.)
Btw, cool website. I didn't realize there's an N64 homebrew game development scene until looking at your blog.
I had hoped to pull it off with uBlock Origin but I couldn't get the filters to do what I wanted. I ended up making a Firefox add-on that takes a regex and some css, searches all attribute values and/or text for a match, and applies the css to the element with the match.
So, I have a regex for a handful of popular domains I never want to see and matched elements get "visibility: hidden". The result is that I never see a link to Medium. In fact, I usually forget the site exists until someone mentions it without linking to it, which is almost always a post about how Medium sucks :) Same for all the other domains in the list.
The plugin works on Firefox for Android, so I've enjoyed the benefits there as well. However, I expect that to be a problem soon. I don't do much browsing on my phone anyway.
It's only designed for personal use, so the interface is terrible, but I had to submit it to the official add-on repository because there's no reasonable way to run an add-on locally for practical every-day use, so it is available for anyone to use . Source .
I'm not familiar with the workings of Medium, aside from the fact that there's a limit on the number of articles one can read for free each month.
> You’ll be able to get paid for all of your writing, some of it, or keep everything free and accessible to all. The choice is yours.
So it looks like the authors are the ones responsible for putting up the paywall.
OMG! The horror of it all. ;)
The thing with medium is I can write a tech post, and I may not get good reach, but I can syndicate it to another medium blog like the startup, and then it gets mega reach and I make like $100 easy.
I guess I could just repost my content on my personal blog and charge people like $10/month to access all my posts. Seems $5 though for a multi-publisher paywall is a lot more reasonable than say the wallstreet journal, or new york times.
Others (like self-hosted blogs or Stackoverflow) don't.
Maybe StackOverflow should add a Medium-like product where people can write tutorials?
If you don't want to use an SSG, or if you're not a techie, you can use or self-host: https://write.as/, https://bearblog.dev/, https://rwtxt.com/public, https://the-federation.info/plume
The downside of the above options is that they are nowhere near as prominent and thus don't provide the same level of discoverability as Medium -- in which case, if you're really hurting for cash and are trying to make a career of writing, maybe it is in your best interest to stick to platforms like Medium, despite how intrusive and reader-unfriendly they are.
EDIT: I am hesitant to recommend https://dev.to/ because I have this sinking feeling that it will eventually become like Medium. Also, semi-related, but Dev.to uses endless scroll, which I think is very bad for readers (also it makes it impossible to click links in the footer).
I will often (but not always) mirror the article on Medium.
I'll often post links, here, to the Medium articles, because I have had my site get the "hug of death" a few times.
In the old days, that was cool (The term "slashdotted" came from that). These days, it doesn't really mean much; except that the server goes down. I don't get any real advantage from it.
I think Medium kind of butchers my work. I have full control of presentation, and whatnot, on my site, and I can do series. There are always links to my original articles, because I don't really trust Medium. I could see them try to claim ownership of my work; simply because it's on their server.
As for people applying value judgements on me for using Medium? Eh. Whatever.
I agree, though. Static site generators are nice. I will probably look at doing one, sooner or later.
My issue is that I like to have a fairly "branded" experience, so I want to control all kinds of stuff. I'm not usually one to leave "standard" templates in place, without peeing on them.
I do use Blogger, so load isn't actually an issue.
Since the paywall became increasingly obtrusive I stopped mirroring and just use my own blog or one of the numerous other publication channels I write for.
Despite this I still see the value in Medium over what I would do and over other options like blogger, quora, stackoverflow, etc. Medium's premium content ranges from horrible clickbait to significant thought pieces. It's all over the place but it's best content is pretty good and I think the reason why is because of their monetization strat.
So quite apart from the nagging annoyance of being unable to access various padded-out articles (tip: private browsing FTW), this has highlighted that a need from 20 years ago hasn't changed: the world still needs better editors.
If the bigger newspapers like NTY, WAPO, The Cardigan would get behind tech in this way AND provide editing and curation, it'd be amazing. Maybe.
If they made it in book form, would that be ok, or is paying for learning material just not acceptable?
Creators like to get paid, and if they are clicking that checkbox to make it so they get paid, there is a good chance that they wouldn't bother making that content for you if they weren't getting paid. Then the world would be worse off for the lack of their contribution.
Medium is free for all articles in which the author chooses to give it to you for free. This is the same for news, or youtube, or music. Some stuff creators will give you for free just for the satisfaction of you enjoying their work, but usually the output in those cases are small, or just monetized in other ways. Regardless of if you are paying for a subscription or just voting up someone's question on StackOverflow, providing a positive incentive for creators to go on creating is essential if you want to have quality content and a steady stream of it.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
I mean, talking of technical article/tutorials, it is not like nowadays (and in the last - say - 10 years) there are not other ways (personal site/blog or if the issue is expected huge traffic other free hosting sites, like - still say - github).
What is the perceived "added value" by Medium (in case of free content)?
Always write on a domain you own. You don't necessarily have to own the server, but if you own the domain, you have the freedom of choice.
I want a Medium that charges me to write, but anyone can read for free. I pay DO $5 a month to host something, why should I not be willing to gain a benefit of a medium with large SEO and strength in numbers, and pay that $5 a month, but still allow people to read for nothing? But no one wants to pay to read or write so you go alone and google ignores you.
Unfortunately, any such platform will be in due time be trying to seek income and will transform into such an ad-powered walled garden, whatever the good intentions in the beginning may have been.
What could be the solution to this?
Like it or not, websites cost money to run. The more popular they are, the more money it takes.
So... what? Spend your own money? Ads? Paywalls? Sell t-shirts? Try Patreon and hope enough people throw a dollar or two into your hat?
* Shameless plug: my blog lives at salem.io, and I'm more than happy to answer blog-related questions (or any other, honestly) if you're interested in starting but need a little push. My email is in my profile.
Lately every third link I click there's this HUGE div blocking the content and I need to pay or sign in to read.
It's very frustrating and I leave immediately.
You get the ownership of your own site, and the reach and SEO of medium and 3rd party publications.
I'm even starting to wonder if part of their pedagogical process includes "Every week you write an article". Perhaps by sheer number of posts, an individual has been trained to believe they will be more likely to get hired.
So given that most content on the internet is garbage, I will never, ever pay for access to content before I can assess the value of it. I will (and do) subscribe to some writers/musicians on Patreon.
Medium might as well be the next Experts-Exchange... cluttering up search results with paywalled trash.
How come you know so much about them? Do you often find yourself digging through medium articles?
Yes, it has its issue but for many it is an easier writing experience than setting up one's own blog. In fact, a few people I mentored started writing precisely because there is Medium.
(I subscribe them. I wrote a few article on Medium. Yes, if for one there is no difference, I suggest GitHub pages a way to disseminate knowledge.)
I would say medium has better way to identify content you like as well. And sort of introduce you non IT content at the end of this daily newsletters. I like that.
Seems to be hitting some nerves.
If you're interested, here is it:
I'd say 95% of my process with medium goes like this:
1) Finds a blog with a tutorial or something relevant.
2) Opens it and sees a paywall
3) Opens it in incognito mode
4) Browses through the article
5) Leaves the page and learned nothing
However, Medium is a like a book publisher for articles. It's a good way for simple and/or new articles to get an audience that wouldn't elsewise.
Medium is pretty awful for that.
On the other hand, StackOverflow simply limits the number of interesting discussions that can be had.
DDG Hide unwanted results.
Sounds like you place enough value that it would be worth it to you, and you can feel good knowing you're helping contribute a small way back to the author (who gets small proceeds based on how long you read the article) and supporting one of the leading platforms for an ad-free experience to read interesting content without all the distracting popups.
Personally I avoid Medium links, I find that it isn't worth it to me. But I guess for most people it is
The main counter argument I see is that people aren't aware that viewing their content is painful for many. If that is the case then awareness is good. If authors are intentionally using the paywall so that they can get paid I think that is good! However if they think it is just an easy place to share information then I think it is good that we are asking them to reconsider.
Quote: If you are a writer enrolled in the Partner Program, when you click Publish on a story, you will be prompted to choose whether to make your post eligible to earn money as part of Medium’s metered paywall. [...]
Only writers in the Partner Program see this checkbox. Stories from writers who are not enrolled in the Partner Program will no longer be part of the metered paywall.
So authors obviously have the choice whether their tutorial is behind the metered paywall or not. Here an example of a free article: https://email@example.com/implementing-call-by-refer.... Can you access it or not?
And don’t spoil market valuation for good guys :)
Not every story on Medium is free, like this one. Become a member to get unlimited access and support the voices you want to hear more from.
Read any story. Access everything on Medium across all your devices with no limits or ads.
Reward great writing. A portion of your membership fee will go toward the writers you read most.
Considering the author you have to wonder.
"Ctrl shift p"
For instance, this article I wrote is still available outside their paywall: https://medium.com/@alsargent/monitoring-aws-with-telegraf-i...
It's literally right click, 'open in private tab'
Follow up question. What are opinions on publishing technical books?
I don't have an opinion on technical books. I buy them. I have ebooks from Amazon to iBooks, to Manning, Apress, Pragprog ....
I don't have something against paying. I have something against subscription paywall. I pay this month and I read something. Then next month if I want to read my subscription needs to be valid.
A book once bought I can read it anytime I want.
Also my main thing is not even with paywall.
It is a trend I saw which I think it makes the path of self-through beginner harder. Also Medium started to appear from time to time higher than other resources.
I am working with some people who are trying to switch to IT and I usually need to explain to them either how to open Medium to read the article or how to go to next resources. I am pretty sure some of them are spending time navigating information. Yes, maybe the solution is to say: go and make a subscription to Medium, but it just raises the bar of entering the IT.
Then my second thing is this: what happens with all that content when Medium decides to go away (pivot, close ...)? It will vanish like many other great content online.
I guess I'll have to do it myself: dear beginners! We don't need your (n+1)-th "how to do [basic thing] in React" tutorials. Please stop polluting our search results.
In addition - does anyone make money worth mentioning from Medium? I thought they were the Spotify of blog payouts. We're funding them, not the writers.