As I approach the 4 year mark of my residency here I am very close to hitting 2000 “stories” published. I put stories in quotation because, while my total published content is approaching 2000, the breakdown is skewed not quite 2:1 in favor of responses over articles (1272 responses vs. 692 “published” stories). I put published in quotation marks because all of those 1272 responses were also published, but not in the form of stories which is what the “published” number is referring too. As someone who traffics heavily in the responses (or comments as everybody else besides Medium calls them), and puts a ton of time and thought into them I was always bothered by this dichotomy. Writing is writing is my view, what’s really the difference? Many of my responses were and still are my most popular pieces and generate big traffic (for me) that presumably would translate to revenue. However, when the partner program began Medium for unknown reasons made the choice to exclude responses from the revenue generation scheme. I have tried many times to “monetize” these most popular responses by creating stories out of them, inserting links, etc., but not once that I recall has the associated story done as well as the original response. With the inception of the partner program I slowed my response rate somewhat, but still continued writing them at a fairly regular pace. Each time I did though I worried that perhaps I was “wasting” my time and would be better off trying to pen an original story instead. I can’t be the only writer here for whom this thought has occurred.
When I returned following my suspension and noted that the look and feel of the responses had changed, and that there now existed an option to “turn your response into a story” my heart was aflutter. Finally, Medium had recognized the value of the responses and addressed what was a major flaw in their model in my view. But I was soon disappointed to learn that all this option did was bring in the story formatting tools and allow one to add links. The links feature already existed in the previous version of responses so really all it amounted to was the ability to bring in the story text formatting options. These “stories” are still excluded from the partner program and cannot contribute directly to revenue generation. Why? The only effect this policy has is to reduce the desire of writers to actively engage in discussion on the site and changing this would seem to be a win win for all parties involved. Writers get more potential revenue generation streams and Medium gets a more healthy, active, and robust comments/response section which builds writer and reader engagement and sense of community among many other positive outcomes. In fact I do not see any potential downsides, and how difficult would it be to implement really? Medium makes changes to their revenue sharing model all the time. This little tweak would not seem that different from a hundred other they have made in the past. So, come on Medium, what are you waiting for?