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Medium Updated Its Rules — Here’s What You Need To Know

  • 9 min read

Medium’s new changes to its rules are stricter and clearer, but I still have some questions.

A few days ago, at the end of June, Medium updated its Rules.

Every writer needs to know about them.

Medium tracks their changes on GitHub.

They made 91 additions and 72 deletions.

To save you a lot of time and frustration, here’s everything you need to know in a nutshell.

I checked their GitHub history (red= changed, green=new) and found this:

Violations of Medium’s Rules

photo credit: Medium on Github

If you violate Medium’s Rules, in the past, you received an email:

“Your account is under investigation or was found in violation of the Medium Rules.”

You won’t get warned anymore!

“Medium has the sole authority and final decision as to whether content or behavior violates our rules.”

This means “accounts who plagiarize or commit copyright infringement will not be warned, and are not eligible for appeal.”

Hateful Content in Any Form Is Forbidden!

photo credit: Medium on Github

To stop the hate on Medium, the open platform doesn’t allow content that constitutes or promotes violence or harassment in any form.

Misleading statistics also violate Medium’s Rules.

If you include hateful text, images, or symbols, Medium will ban you too.

Medium Doesn’t Tolerate Harassment

photo credit: Medium on Github

Medium’s new Rules are very clear on what harassment means.

I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is this change:

“Using Medium features like responses, private notes, mentions, follows, story requests, or writer requests in a way that attempts to or does annoy or harass someone, or to draw inorganic attention to your content on Medium”

This goes out to all trolls and haters out there: Stop it!

Otherwise, you’ll get banned.

Redacting Names or Other Information Does Not Supplant the Need to Secure Permissions

photo credit: Medium on Github

I often see people sharing redacting names or other information when sharing their success stories.

Medium now wants us to have the explicit consent of the person:

“Posting images of, transcripts of, copies of, or links to private communications between private individuals without the explicit consent of all parties to the communication. Redacting names or other information does not supplant the need to secure permissions.”

Doxing Attacks Are a Thing of The Past

Doxing is also forbidden.

It’s a form of cyberbullying “that uses sensitive or secret information, statements, or records for the harassment, exposure, financial harm, or other exploitation of targeted individuals.”

I know several writers who experienced a doxing attack.

If you do, report to Medium that someone is doxing you and they’ll decide whether to ban the person from the platform.

Goodbye Pseudoscience, Disinformation, Contrary Information

photo credit: Medium on Github

Medium makes it very clear what categories they don’t want to see a story about:

  • Facilitation of sexual services
  • Facilitation of copyright or other intellectual property violation
  • Facilitation of illegal hacking (e.g., stealing credentials, compromising personal data)
  • Pseudoscience, disinformation, or other content that is contrary to public health or safety

Especially the last point comes from Medium’s learnings from the pandemic.

At some point, the platform was criticized for misleading information from users that went viral.

This is why you have to be extra careful when writing about health issues.

No Pornographic Images Or Videos

photo credit: Medium on Github

Although most writers think it’s forbidden, Medium does allow erotic writing and you can also get Boosted for your (fictional) stories as long as they are written in high quality.

Nevertheless…

“We do not allow posting, linking to, or otherwise promoting pornographic images or videos. We do allow erotic writing and non-graphic erotic images.”

I often see pornographic pictures being published.

It depends on the perspective, but you should think twice before publishing a too-sexy photo.

The No-Duplicate-Content Rule

photo credit: Medium on Github

Maybe the term *duplicate content* fills you with dread.

No worries!

This Medium rule isn’t as bad as it sounds.

You are still allowed to cross-post content from your Substack, blog, or website.

But you’re not allowed to share the same content twice on Medium.

This happened recently to a friend of mine who apparently lost track of his drafts folder and accidentally published a story twice.

Medium took his second piece down.

Hasta la Vista, Spammers!

photo credit: Medium on Github

At the moment, there are many people misusing or spamming Medium.

I’m glad Medium updated its Rules and thus says:

Hasta la vista, spammers!

photo credit: tenor

If you see someone interacting A LOT and linking to another source outside of Medium, report it!

There are some accounts that seem to clap and highlight as well as leave comments on autopilot.

There’s also a WhatsApp trap!

People offering to help you grow on Medium by simply sending them a WhatsApp message.

Then they want you to pay for their services.

Advertising and Sponsorships Aren’t Allowed!?

photo credit: Medium on Github

Bad news: you’re not allowed to promote or advertise other third-party products, brands, or services.

Good news: you’re allowed to promote your own business, products, and services.

However, apparently Medium still allows affiliate links.

So you can still earn a small commission from using affiliate links in your posts.

What you need to do is to disclose in your post that it includes affiliate links.

What’s not quite clear to me is this passage:

“(As per FTC Rules) you have received payment, goods or services, or something else of value in exchange for writing a post, you must still disclose this fact in writing within your post”

In my opinion, Medium contradicts itself.

This would mean we are allowed to promote or advertise third-party products, brands, or services, although Medium explicitly says it’s forbidden.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments!

If You Link Out From a Post On Medium…

photo credit: Medium on Github

To be honest, the embedded content paragraph is not entirely clear to me.

As far as I see it, Medium wants us to inform our audience when we link out from a post on Medium.

No matter whether we link to our Substack newsletter or website, we should inform the reader that he’s leaving Medium.

I wonder how you understand the changed passage above.

Please let me know in the comments!

Attention, Growth Hackers!

photo credit: Medium on Github

You might have heard that in the past Medium paid writers based on claps.

The more claps you got, the better.

Unfortunately, there were many people growth hacking their way to the top.

How?

They met on Facebook and clapped (without reading the content) each other’s stories.

Fast forward to today, I know that there are writer circles who support each other by sharing their content in Facebook groups, via email, or by newsletter.

I don’t think this is forbidden as long it’s not a daily practice and you clap and comment for one another without reading the post. If you really want to support another writer *actually read* his post!

Reading time = money.

There are also others who are using bots to reply to comments and interact with other writers.

Follows, claps and comments are still important metrics for Medium’s algorithm.

If you see someone “interacting with users or content automatically, systematically, or programmatically”, report the account.

Don’t Do Anything Malicious When Using a Custom Domain

photo credit: Medium on Github

You can direct a domain name that you own to a publication on Medium using the service offered by Medium.

By doing so, you acknowledge that your publication will continue to be hosted on Medium and must comply with Medium’s Privacy Policy.

It’s very specific, so check out the added passage in green.

Bottom Line

Congrats!

Medium changed its Rules and now you know the key changes although I bet you’ve got some questions left as I do.

I’d love to spark a conversation and then get back to Medium and ask them about it.

So please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Keep in mind: If you want to report someone who violates Medium’s Rules simply click on *Report*.

In addition, go here https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/requests/new, open a ticket, and send a request.

Plus, send an email to trust@medium.com.

If your account has been restricted or disabled in error, send an email to: trust@medium.com.

© Kristina God


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