Medium’s ‘Clap’ Problem

Tony Peak
1 min readSep 12
Image credit: Jocelyn Morales via Unspalsh

Here on Medium, if readers like your article, they can ‘clap’ for it, which is the equivalent of a ‘like’ on other social media platforms.

I found out today that readers can select to offer 1 clap for that article…or as many as 50. Yes, 50 ‘likes’ from the same reader.

That’s not helping anyone. It inflates the apparent attention an article has received when other readers view it (the writer can see the real numbers in their story stats) but as another Medium writer told me, it’s more or less a shot of dopamine for the writer. It keeps you coming back to the site. It entices you to write and post more content here — but now it feels like that endeavor is under false pretenses.

If numbers cannot be accurate, then they are meaningless. Which is how this platform feels to me now.

I don’t want dopamine. I want the truth.

Tony Peak

Science Fiction & Fantasy author, member of SFWA, HWA, & Planetary Society; represented by Ethan Ellenberg