sdgluck

I don't like Medium

When Medium arrived on the Internet it was seen (or probably more pertinently, sold) as harkening a new era for content publishers all over to take back the reigns of blogging and easily and freely share their thoughts to the world.

It had this cool and novel feature for the time, called highlights. Users can highlight some text and a toolbar would appear with options to Tweet it and maybe do other things like post a comment which quotes it.

Here is a picture of a random Medium blog1 that I found:


Medium article


50% of the page is filled with cruft, encircled in red. All I care about as a reader is the stuff in the green box, the actual article content.

It's even worse when you reach your "free member-only stories" limit. The articles become locked-out with a box that looks like this:


Medium article locked-out


It says I can continue to read if I sign up. So that's what I did. But then...


Medium read more dark pattern


I have been tricked into creating an account! This is a dark pattern2, and I don't like it.

On a device with "slow 3G" (a mode that can be enabled in Chrome DevTools3) this page took a whopping 42 seconds to settle. It requested a total of 106 external resources over the network, which is less concerning as most of the modern web uses HTTP multiplexing4 these days. For an article, I can't find enough reasons that justify such high numbers.

On "fast 3G" it took 15 seconds which isn't nearly as bad, but still isn't great. On the global average mobile connection speed of ~30Mbps5 (as of writing this), it took 6 seconds. That's more reasonable but still quite a wait for what amounts to a webpage with some text and images on it.

I like the Bear platform because it does exactly what I want a blogging platform to do and nothing more. It has a text box for your text, and then it puts that text on a webpage. What else do you need? Leave content syndication to others. That is already a solved problem by Reddit, Hacker News, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Though Bear does have a "discovery feed"6, it doesn't take 5+ seconds to load.

I understand there is need for content creators to be able to easily publish their thoughts online, and platforms like Medium provide not only that, but a way to monetise their content too. Thinking out loud is important. I enjoy reading other people's thoughts. I just don't like reading them on Medium.


References:

  1. https://micahsifry.medium.com/a-tale-of-two-city-district-attorneys-56829b703293

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_pattern

  3. https://developer.chrome.com/docs/devtools/network/reference/#throttling

  4. https://blog.codavel.com/http2-multiplexing

  5. https://www.speedtest.net/global-index

  6. https://bearblog.dev/discover/

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