Checking Your Math

Screengrabs of Numbers Don’t Lie

Dear Ev, Medium, and Your Friends @ Medium,

Hey, just a quick note. I’ve noticed something I wanted to bring to your attention real quick. There’s a discrepancy in a few basic numbers that jumped out at me. Now, I’m guessing this entire site is not run manually by a room full of people diligently entering the data for every post by hand; but is in fact being entered by automated means. So I’m sure that what’s happened with this lowly, insignificant story isn’t the only incident. But anyway here’s the thing …

The discrepancy lies in number of claps displayed with a story and the actual numbers of claps on what I’ll call the “tally page.” In particular this story I posted earlier this morning —

Here’s a screengrab of the story I took a few minutes ago. Note the total number of claps: 14.

When we look at the “clap tally” page there’s a different story altogether. As you can see from the screengrab below, there are more respondents than “3” listed on the story page. And the total number of claps at the time of the screengrab was “14,” but “65.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve read stories by other writers — subscribers and non-subscribers alike — concerning the way things have changed here on Medium, and how there’s discrepancies in numbers. This is pretty egregious.

There’s an unspoken element of trust that exists between writers who post their work here and you, Medium corporation. You expect us to post essays, poetry, fiction, and to conduct ourselves within parameters you set forth. And in exchange, we expect you to be straightforward, honest, and equitable in your posting, accessibility, and record keeping of interactions readers have with our work.

That’s not happening. And I know if I’m aware of it, there are thousands more who are also aware.

So come on now … we’re all hip to the fact that you’ve got a snappy new editor (who refers to our work as “content”) and a burgeoning new business model that casts those of us who’ve helped draw readers and writers here in the first place isolated from the public and each other at the bottom of the “content” pool. Oh! And thanks for the heads-up that you’re bringing in journalists and published authors to sell their wares (which means they’ll be receiving places of prominence). And then on top of that, for you guys to overly cook the numbers in such a sloppy way sends several clear messages —

  1. Your original subscribers have served their purpose, so you have no use for us.
  2. Your priorities are not in the arena of the equitable and respectful treatment of your customers.

I get that you guys are in the business to make money not friends, but could you at least treat us, your customers, with a modicum of the dignity with which we’ve held for your business?

Thanks for your time,
Clay Rivers.

If no one ever sees this post and my numbers take an even more precipitous drop, well … I’ll understand.

[NOTE: Since this original upload, I emailed a copy of this essay to, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 18, 2018. Stay tuned.]




Artist, author, accidental activist, & editorial dir of Our Human Family ( and Twitter: @clayrivers

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Clay Rivers

Clay Rivers

Artist, author, accidental activist, & editorial dir of Our Human Family ( and Twitter: @clayrivers

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