A Power Reader’s Plea To Medium’s Curators

I want more variety in my recommended posts

Ellen Eastwood
4 min readDec 29, 2022
Woman with a frustrated expression looking at her laptop computer
Photo by Anna Tarazevich at Pexels

A few months ago, Tony Stubblebine announced some changes to Medium’s distribution system. Specifically, although distribution would be maintained, writers would no longer be notified if their story was chosen for distribution. And also, that human curation was back.

Human curators read stories published here on Medium and choose a handful that they feel should be elevated in the algorithm. These stories then get heavy dissemination among Medium’s readers.

I was a little skeptical of this decision when it was announced, but I’ve come to appreciate the results. As a writer, it may have led to greater success. I’ve had a few articles that did very well over the last few months. It had been a while since I experienced that, and while I don’t write on Medium strictly for the money, it’s nice to feel your work is getting out there and having some impact.

As a reader, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see a significant reduction in the amount of Medium earnings stories in my feed. With the platform taking more control over what posts are elevated, they’ve been able to de-amplify certain subject matter that was getting extremely heavy rotation.

So this change has had a number of positive outcomes as far as I’m concerned. But there’s one outcome I’m much less impressed by:

The Recommended Column (the sidebar column called “More from Medium”) seems to feature the same six to eight stories, over and over and over and over and over, for weeks at a time.

In this article, Tony made reference to a group of Medium members called “power readers.” I’m not sure what metrics qualify someone for that distinction, but I’d guess it applies to most of us who regularly write on the platform.

Writers are readers, after all.

Conservatively, I read about 10 posts per day on this platform. I know many writers read much more than that.

That means that I see the More from Medium column multiple times each day. And do you know what I see? The same stories, repeated over and over, ad nauseum.

Again, this is not sour grapes, because I’ve been one of those writers on heavy rotation a few times. I know it gets results.

This is about the readership experience.

I typically read most of the posts that end up being a sidebar darling. I agree with Medium that many of them are worthy of heavy rotation.

But you need to stop recommending them to me once I’ve already read them.

I regularly get stories recommended to me dozens of times, 50+, even 100+, times after I’ve read, clapped, and commented on them.

Why is this necessary? I’m signed in — Medium has my reading history on its electronic file. How difficult would it be to recommend different posts?

There are many talented readers on this platform. What I’d ask is that curators choose more posts to elevate for those that don’t want to see things they’ve already read, again and again.

This also applies to things I don’t read. Occasionally, a post goes on high rotation that for one reason or another, I don’t find interesting. It’s not a reflection on the post, everyone has different interests.

It doesn’t matter how often I don’t click on that story, Medium will keep recommending it to me, time and again, read after read, for weeks, literal weeks, on end.

Once again, I’m signed in, so Medium can easily see which stories I’m not choosing to read.

Can we arrange it so that after readers have declined a post 20 times, Medium goes on to recommend another story?

If I haven’t read something after 20 recommendations, it’s not a coincidence.

I read many posts on this platform that have the quality and insight of those that get high rotation, but they’re getting little recognition. Can’t the Medium curators work with the programmers to create a list for Power Readers that includes more than 6–8 stories per category?

Tony, you’ve said that Medium must prioritize the readers over the writers to survive. I get that. So as a reader, I am asking you, please add variety to my “More from Medium” recommendations.

  1. Stop recommending posts I’ve already read — dozens upon dozens of times

2. Stop recommending posts I’ve already declined — dozens upon dozens of times

There’s a rich variety of work here you can offer me. Please get better at doing so.



Ellen Eastwood

Culture and lifestyle writer | Generalist | Curious | Witty on a good day | Contact: elleneastwood@outlook.com