An Open Letter to Medium.com

Hello Medium Staff,

First off, I’d like to take this opportunity to compliment you on the progress of your site thus far. The design and concept of the platform are first-rate. Few sites can measure up to the ease of use or that give users the latitude to publish and promote one’s literary work like yours can; however, I believe that I have discovered a fatal flaw that highly concerns me, and I am compelled to bring it to your attention.

Having now been a Member of your platform for approximately four months, I finally decided to take the plunge and become a “paid” member last month. I quoted the term paid because I technically haven’t paid anything yet. You offered me a free month to try it out, and I thank you for your generosity. Now, on the eve of my first five-dollar debit, I believe I’ve had to chance to review your platform for the most part and have an excellent idea about what it has to offer. I have even decided to take part in your Paid Partnership Program, possibly. But this is where things become problematic.

After reading what the bulk of your writers have to say, with a sample size of approximately 3–400 articles, according to your promotional material as being tailored specifically for me, it is glaringly apparent that your writership and readership leans extremely Liberal. I can only speculate as to whether this is simply a reflection of the current political climate or if it’s by design. If it is indeed the former, only time will tell. If the latter, well, shame on you. Maybe this is an unintended by-product of your algorithm, but it begs the point of my letter to you. It leaves no room or opportunity for divergent ideas.

Giving a chance to your algorithm to provide me with content that details BOTH sides of a given topic, I sadly did not find much. The act of muting dozens of authors and publications didn’t help my cause either. My experience has been that for every conservative post, I’d come across 10–15 that were highly liberal. Here’s a shortlist of selected article titles that now populate my reading list:

To All the White Women Calling for Compassion and Tolerance Right Now-Your privilege is showing.

Trump Voters Showed Up Because of the Pandemic, Not in Spite of It

Kamala Harris Is Our Symbol of a Better Future

America Would Rather Destroy Itself Than Take Care of Itself

Mute: A new way to control your Medium experience

American Democracy is Hanging on by a Thread

I Guess I’m the Intolerant Left But I Don’t Really Care Anymore

Worse Than Hitler

Can America Close Pandora’s Box?

56 Funny Code Comments That People Actually Wrote

Yes. I was eventually forced into reading Programmer Humor. For a system that supposedly tailors articles specifically for me, I must conclude that it is an abject failure. In the spirit of being contrarian, not of course, but rather in a quest for the opportunity to expand my personal consciousness. If the articles you promote only reflect a singular worldview, how could any content that disagrees with that world view gain any traction?

According to your Official TOS:

“…you have the chance to receive revenue based on various performance factors, including reader engagement. Based on the performance of a post, Medium will pay you a portion of revenues received by Medium from subscription fees, as determined by Medium.”

While I recognize that everyone, large and small, are caught treading in the current of the sea of change, there ultimately must be a responsibility to ourselves and future generations not to diminish the zeitgeist. We do ourselves a disservice if we allow prevailing winds to dictate the course of human philosophical evolution. We must lend ourselves to the promotion of divergent viewpoints, if not only to create a fair “medium” for all opinions but also in the interest of fairness to the content creators with opposing views hoping to receive their fair share of readership revenue.

In short, I hope there is an explanation as to why the vast majority of promoted posts have a decidedly liberal slant. It isn’t that I am afraid of being unpopular; actually, quite the contrary. But if this platform's readership is firmly grounded in the notion that it is unworthy of criticism, by sheer volume alone, then maybe the platform isn’t doing what it was designed to do. I’ll leave it up to you to tell me which- if you should accept the task of doing so.

I’d love to hear your stance to provide clarity on this conclusion. It will give me a better idea about whether or not I’d be wasting my time subscribing, and ultimately, contributing content to your platform. Your time and attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

AG

Slowly gaining dexterity in my opposable thumbs.

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