I know that people are concerned about “clap manipulation” and clickbait stories. But, recognizing and rewarding quality is easier on Medium than other publishing platforms given that payment will be based on engagement from paying subscribers.

That already raises the bar from platforms based on so-called engagement from free accounts, which is easily gamed.

But, Medium also has data for these accounts which allows them to differentially weight the quality of the claps, comments, and engagement. This means that engagement from a high-quality account is worth more than engagement from an average account (or even a fake account).

I’m assuming that Medium has a quality/reputation score for every paid subscriber that takes into account factors such as:

  • Age of account
  • Location of the subscriber
  • Quality and completeness of the profile
  • The number of stories the subscriber has also written
  • The quality of the stories the subscriber has written (e.g., engagement on those stories)
  • The number of comments the subscriber has written
  • The quality score for those comments (again, engagement)
  • The quality of the profiles the subscriber follows
  • The quality of the profiles that follow this subscriber
  • And on, and on, and on…

Basically, if Ev Williams engages with my story, that’s worth 1000x more than if 1,000 John and Jane Doe’s engage with my story.

It’s hard to eliminate the human judgment of true quality, but luckily Medium does not have to do this. They have great data that lets them assess the quality of a subscriber, and thus the quality of a subscriber’s engagement.

Clickbait crap won’t bubble to the top because large numbers of the highest-quality readers simply won’t consistently engage with it.

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