You’ve hit on what I think is a much bigger change than the switch from claps to reads as the new algorithm for payment. The very sudden change from featuring Medium’s in-house pubs to a hodge podge of random writers and stories across the homepage without any announcements or updates is pretty drastic. For the first time since I’ve been on Medium, it seems like a move to boost membership and readers rather than to promote what the editors view as quality articles. A much lower viewership for everyone could mean that membership as a whole has fallen.

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