“Medium is very slow (compare). Medium’s paywall is an insult to good journalism by forcing specific users to pay for content of often questionable quality. The Medium membership model doesn’t work for several folks (likely you too). But, most importantly Medium dilutes your brand and negatively impacts essential metrics.”
The old proverb says: “You are famous only if someone creates a website against you”.
Corollary: “You must be really annoying if someone creates a Firefox extenson to make your website readable”.
Thank you for this extension! I had been trying to get rid of the obnoxious pop-up, etc. with uBlock Origin but it didn’t seem to be possible without also disabling things like embedded videos.
It seems to me that suggesting a command-line-only (unless I’m mistaken?) tool like Hugo is a complete non-starter for, I don’t know, at least 80% of the people who are posting on Medium. I appreciate your effort—and I’m also becoming more irritated by Medium every day—but I think that learning how to use the terminal is just too high of a hurdle for most people to bother with. If your intention was only to convince the kind of people who read Lobsters and know what it means that something is “written in Go,” then it’s fine, but I don’t think this site presents a viable solution for the rest of the users.
The fundamental problem, I think, is that in order for someone to own their digital identity in any meaningful way, they have to have (at a minimum) their own domain name, and even that is a significant technical hurdle—never mind the fact that it costs money. Maybe the most viable “indie” solution we have at this moment is to (1) guide people through the process of registering a domain and then (2) offer an easy-to-use, web-based blogging engine that people can point their DNS records to in order to get started with their own sites. The latter thing could be made cheap enough to host that some benevolent geek could just subsidize it. Even this, though, seems like so much more effort than Medium for the non-technical user.
The IndieWeb community is very interested in breaking down the barriers to doing these things, like purchasing a domain name.
Or, just point people to one of the many 1-click setup Wordpress hosting services. I know people like to hate PHP and Wordpress but it’s still better than Medium.
Suggesting non-technical people manage their own Wordpress site is like suggesting a baby go carve your roast turkey. (It’s not going to end well).
Wordpress is the Internet Explorer 6 of CMS’ and it’s plugins are the toolbars.
Yes there are better things than Medium. No, Wordpress isn’t it.
Totally agree. I know everyone would rail against this idea because it’s somebody else’s platform, but this is why I host my blog on wordpress.com - They handle the security, I just get the super ease of use and platform with the widest client support of any blogging platform anywhere, and a really nice mobile client.
Do you think there is an opportunity for the modern database-backed CMS beyond Ghost?
Being database backed isn’t what makes Wordpress terrible.
However for a lot of sites, I think a SSG would be a better solution, even if that means they run a db backed CMS which then publishes content to a static location. The key thing with a SSG is that the rendered pages are static HTML. It’s incidental what the source format is - static files (eg markdown) is a common pattern but it could just as easily be a regular web app with a DB.
Glad to see these remarks already posted!
There’s still room IMO for blogging systems that live closer to WordPress on the Static-Site Gen <-> WYSIWYG CMS spectrum that are — crucially — easy to deploy on a basic LAMP stack. Make it as easy to post as on social media (Twitter / FB), with the admin part much more closely intertwined with the front-end, and you have a winner. (Would also love to know if there’s one already that fits the bill).
Do you know https://forestry.io ? It seems to me that what they are doing is pretty close to what you describe. (I am not affiliated in any way by the way).
Couldn’t agree more!
Generally speaking I think the first generation of web property developers created a monster with the whole idea of “free but not really” websites. Medium is just one example.
Maybe some kind of future where ubiquitous Raspberry Pi like server infrastructure would enable wide scale publishing and data sharing, but we have a LONG LONG way to go before we can get there.
I suspect in the nearer term, something like having pods of friends collaborate at some small cost to them to make their offerings available could work, but expecting everyone to use a command line is certainly a non starter.
We techies need to keep reminding ourselves that the rest of the world is not us. They don’t care that Medium is slow, or that the paywall violates our tender sensibilities. They want to accomplish something and want the shortest path to getting there. Full stop.
definitely agree here.
I like how you recommend not using a service, and then recommend some other service.
Back at the beginning of medium, they weren’t annoying, hence why everyone started using them. They became annoying over time, to make $$’s.
I’m not saying netlify will be annoying in the same ways, but if everyone starts using them, they will likely start becoming annoying in an attempt to make $$‘s.. as that’s how businesses work, their goal(s) and your goal(s) are not always the same.
“Back at the beginning of medium, they weren’t annoying, hence why everyone started using them. They became annoying over time, to make $$’s.”
This is why I came up with a rule to not put my stuff into any service that’s incentivized to become evil over time. VC-based startups or small businesses with unclear, business model are warning signs. Anything ad-driven or likely to be.
The risks of Medium becoming a closed silo or turning evil were raised from the very start. But I think this is something people will have to experience themselves, much like financial irrational exuberance.
I think we can speed up the learning process with a concise list of examples across a few services. Then, maybe some alternatives with better setup.
The problem with this is that you never know what’s going to eventually be incentivized to become evil over time.
I think it’s best to assume by default that any online service you’re not paying for is incentivized to become evil over time.
That way you can be pleasantly surprised, instead of angry and disappointed.
That seems like a great rule of thumb.
I know what usually does. I know what sometimes doesnt. I cant know much more than that as you said. So, I avoid what goes bad the most focusing on whats more good. What else to do?
I’m not the author, but the appeal of Netlify to me is that it’s just hosting, not the CMS.
The actual site building is done in the open source Hugo, which is generating static pages, the easiest thing to host. If Netlify goes evil tomorrow, the amount of work required to move your site is measure in hours, if not minutes. And the places to which you could move your site is a lot.
This is true, only if you own your URL’s.. i.e. have your own domain. But I totally agree with you, it’s a lot easier to replace netlify than medium.
Netlify here is CI and CDN. Hugo is the CMS. Netlify makes it easy but, you could literally use any web front end (service or not).
I don’t think we can tell people to stop using Medium and switch to something like Hugo. A static blog generator and a managed platform are just not comparable.
Maybe the website can suggest alternatives such as write.as or svbtle.com and other competitors.
I like the idea of having a landing page that lays out the basic reasons not to use Medium. When I shared this on the fediverse, I got this comment:
You might consider modifying the theme to use a pair of foreground/background colours selected from https://botsin.space/@accessibleColors. Maybe this one.
I really need to fix this. Spelunking CSS to follow… If you don’t hear from me by morning, send help.
I host all my static nonsense on Gitlab Pages, and its CI is more than enough for what I need to do with it. One simple
git pushand minutes later, I’m good to go.
The fundamental problem I see here is that there are two assumptions inherent in this site’s assertions:
I think history will show with examination that these assumptions are at least not correct across the board.
I’ve been running Writefreely on chargen.one on an OpenBSD.Amsterdam VPS and so far it’s been pretty good. It’s not quite what I want in the long run, so I’m working on a django-based app that I’ll open source.
The fact that Medium is such an incredibly bad platform gives me more hope than I’ve had for some time that self-hosted shared writing communities could flourish.
Why not other “evil”, but at least readable services like blogspot and wordpress.com?
Why is wordpress “evil”?
I agree with others here that it’s really a bad idea to use any of these services. The best option is to purchase a domain name and then point it towards hosting, be it a full server rental (This is what I use.), which also permits easily branching out to hosting one’s own email and other services, or merely paying for a less in-depth host that simply gives you a place to store things away in and run some scripts.
Still, if one insists on neither of these good options, why not use something such as https://neocities.org/ , which I’ve seen no issue with over its existence? If there are disadvantages with it that aren’t the obvious lack of control, do tell.
As for learning HTML and whatnot, don’t many word processors permit exporting to HTML, nowadays? I don’t see how people can complain on one hand that there’s too much garbage floating around and, on the other hand, argue that people should be able to write for such mediums without actually learning anything related to what they’re publishing on. Now, the WWW is a set of garbage protocols and it’s only going to get worse until it collapses under its own weight or becomes unrecognisable, but even old authors learned about printing and typesetting and whatnot when controlling how their works were published when reviewing and whatnot.
Full server rental?!? And other folks are complaining Hugo is too complex for day-to-day use. The modus operandi of the industry cannot be, “if you don’t have a server, you don’t have an online presence.” Even as easy as that is these days that’s a high bar to cross for many.
What’s been the appeal of Medium? I don’t understand why so many people switched o to it. I must be missing something.
The reading experience didn’t used to suck. Also, it has a built-in monetization system.
“Built-in monetization system” aka you work for them now.
I should point out, GitLab has a WebIDE that is actually decent: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/web_ide/
If you wanted a front end that might do for some folks.
Why Netlify? If you’re compiling down to static HTML and CSS, you can
rsyncthose files to any box that runs a web server and you’re done. 100% generic web hosting is all you need, and you can point your DNS elsewhere anytime you feel like it.
Probably because of its free plan. The only other service that I know has free static site hosting on a custom domain is GitHub Pages.
No comma write your own sentence, what?
YES, YES, YES, PLEASE STOP PUBLISHING ON >>>MEDIUM<<<