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I Lost All My Top Writer Badges on Medium and I Bet You Too (Without Knowing It)

  • 6 min read

It’s the end of an era. I can’t help but feel a pang of loss.

In my latest Substack newsletter issue, I wrote about platform fatigue.

I am sick and tired of algorithm blues, constantly changing platform rules, and new shiny objects such as Threads, Mastodon or new features on Substack and Medium.

In addition, I’m deeply tired of features Medium is removing (and then bringing back, e.g. writing and publishing via the app or resizing images).

What I didn’t see took me by surprise

Today, I logged into my Medium account, and what I saw (or rather, didn’t see) took me by surprise.

My ABOUT page, once adorned with shiny “Top Writer” badges, looked bare.

Apparently, Medium has phased out the “Top Writer” status.

It’s not a small change!

Here’s Medium’s official statement:

Screenshot from a Medium email by Linda Ng; I couldn’t find this email in my inbox

I couldn’t find this email in my inbox. So maybe you missed it too.

Linda Ng was so kind to share it with the community.

Now, to some, this may seem like a small change.

But for creators like myself (my students and followers) who have dedicated hours and days to curating content worthy of that esteemed badge, it feels like a part of our Medium identity has been erased.

Here’s why I’m particularly irked

1 — Validation & Recognition

Each of those badges was a testament to the countless hours of research, writing, editing, and engagement.

It wasn’t just a digital emblem but a badge of honor that recognized our expertise in specific niches.

2 — Motivation

Let’s be honest.

While we write for the love of it, those badges added a layer of motivation.

They pushed us to outdo ourselves, ensuring we consistently produced good content.

3 — Visibility Boost

Being a “Top Writer” had its perks.

It often meant increased visibility, with articles being frequently recommended to readers.

This status helped many of us grow our readership and reach audiences we might not have otherwise.

4 — Community Respect

Beyond algorithms and visibility, those badges signaled to the Medium community that we were voices worth listening to.

They instilled a sense of trust and credibility among peers and readers.

Side note: Of course, there were people gaming the system… I’m not talking about them but we’ll come to this later

Medium has an alternative recognition system in the works

The good news (or bad?).

Medium has a bigger plan or an alternative recognition system in the works.

There’s a new “Who to follow” section

In the future, Medium wants to show Boost-eligible publications and Booted writers.

What are Boost-eligible pubs?

Around September, Medium will have 100 Boost Nominators from the community who can nominate your story for a big fat Boost.

Medium’s Curation team will evaluate whether they’ll finally Boost a recommended piece or not.

What are Boosted writers?

People who got selected by Nominators and Medium Curators.

Their Boosted stories will be shown.

(Learn more about how to get Boosted in my interview with Ariel from Medium)

How does the “Who to follow” section look now?

I used to be a Top Writer in “Writing” (and multiple other categories, depending on the topics I was writing about)…

..here’s the proof:

This is what you get if you search for #Writing:

recommended stories

In addition, Medium shows writing prompts, inspiration and lists they recommend:

Here’s the “Who to follow” section:

From YouTube star and new Better Marketing editor, over “I want your cock so badly” to Part-time creator club owner…

Besides this Top 5 writers, the top 50 list doesn’t exist anymore…oh wait…now you can click on “See more suggestions”, you’ll get this:

Why not follow Gary V who hasn’t written a piece since 2016 and never recommends Medium as a social media platform in his videos?

I can’t help but feel a pang of loss

If you feel frustrated and tired of all those changes, you’re not alone.

To all my fellow followers and writers who’ve felt this change deeply:

Let’s remember that our value isn’t just in badges or accolades.

It’s in the stories we tell, the communities we build, and the impact we make.

(Of course, we need to get Boosted these days… otherwise, it’s not easy to get views on Medium anymore because the feeds are filled to the brim with Boosted stories.)

How do you feel about it?

I sincerely hope that in the absence of the “Top Writer” badges, they continue to find ways to recognize and uplift the voices that have helped shape their platform.

My opinion isn’t universal. What do you think? Here’s what some fellow writers say:

A — I enjoyed it while it lasted. I am certain new and better things will come along. B.R. Shenoy

B — It was so exciting to get the top writer award, and I’m sad it’s gone too, Pamela Oglesby

C — I never managed to become a top writer, so I feel somewhat indifferent about it going away. Autistic Widower (“AJ”)

D — The flip side is that it created a Keeping Up With The Joneses situation, where some writers felt they needed to keep overproducing to maintain their Top Writer status. I wanted that desperately to come to a halt. David Perlmutter

I think especially D is a good point.

You had to keep churning out stories to keep one of the Top 50 spots.

My recommendation: put yourself in a position of luck and try to get Boosted (write based on the quality standards of Medium).

Why? You definitely have an (unfair) advantage and will get seen and read more if you and your stories will be shown in the “Who to follow” section.

However, I understand if you feel deeply tired…

Learn more about the feeling of platform fatigue (we all feel these days):

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