Is Medium An Hierarchical, Authoritarian Structure?

You bet it is.

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Of course, every business is an hierarchical, authoritarian structure internally. That is the form the decision-making process for any business takes. The deciders decide and the others do as they are told. Internally, as a business, Medium can be no different.

For this outfit, though, there is a bit more to it. The output of Medium is the effort of the writers who post pieces on it. Other than providing a, well, medium for the writers to access, the deciders in Medium contribute nothing else to that output.

Yet, they constantly make decisions that affect those writers by determining which pieces they will promote. They do go on about their process and how conscientious they are and how their only interest is promoting the ‘best’ writing and the ‘best’ ideas, but the former is largely subjective and the latter is nothing but subjective influences at play, especially for anyone not expert in a given field.

We writers have no say, individually or collectively, in what content will be promoted or to what extent. We are completely powerless in that process, subject to the arbitrary wills of the powers at Medium that be.

The thing is, there is no particular reason for it to be that way. It would not affect the business model of Medium one whit no matter who was deciding which pieces should be promoted or how. Again, Medium is nothing but the blank slate on which we write.There is nothing magical about the abilities of the deciders at Medium to discern, especially, what are the ‘best ideas’.

Clearly, the Medium deciders are on a power trip. No human being can be in a position of power over other human beings (who are not their children) and not be on a power trip.

Otherwise, they would be open to some more democratic process for deciding what gets promoted on this site where we writers pour forth the feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that are the content of our innermost selves. If what we writers face in Medium isn’t an hierarchical, authoritarian structure, then no such thing exists.