I think the pay necessarily went down per person when the group of people being paid was expanded. Once those writing for publications could also put their work behind the paywall, paywall articles really proliferated. If more people don’t become members and pay the very small amount of $5 a month, there’s less money to go around. Simple math. Everyone gets paid less. That was great that you were featured several times initially and received a $100 bonus. I don’t fall into that category, but have seen claps and interactions for my stories rise steadily as I’ve written more, (hopefully) improved my writing, and taken time to engage with other writers and support them on this platform. This last part, the opportunity to support other writers, is a very significant aspect of writing for Medium. As far as top writer status…when i continue to post stories under the tags that I’m listed as top writer for, and they continue to receive decent response, the tags remain. If I go through a dry spell, or travel and don’t have time to post, the tags disappear. Someone else has simply written more stories and gotten more traction in those categories. They top writer status has reappeared when I’ve resumed writing and posting and interacting.