Worst. Publishing. Platform. EVER.
- you’ve been using Medium for any length of time
- you have any experience of other publishing platforms
… you’ll be aware that the Medium team is populated exclusively with schoolkids on day-release work-experience schemes; none of whom have any realworld experience of
- development in a professional capacity
- employment outside of a paper route or selling lemonade outside their home
… and only ever get one day’s experience, never having the opportunity to build upon what little they might have picked up on by the end of it — never actually learning anything about development or publishing at all in fact.
Which is why Medium is the worst publishing platform ever to have existed in the entire Universe and, unless the entire team (probably from the CEO down) is ripped out and replaced by professionals, will likely remain so until the Universe finally collapses in on itself in the Big Crunch, when Time itself ceases to exist, and it becomes the worst publishing platform ever to have existed in the entire Universe in the entire history of History itself.
If Medium had been designed in the 1990s, even Geocities would have laughed at how amateurish it is.
If Medium were a book, it would be this book.
I mean, seriously … we all know this, right …
Every time you move your mouse cursor within 30cm/12"/1 porn-actor of the icon, up pops Medium’s very own Clippy to tell you that you can’t do something you had no f**king intention of doing anyway … that you already know from the last 52,301 times it told you!
But what about this …
What happens if you block yourself?
Can you block yourself?
I’m scared to investigate in case I can and then it all goes holographically ¹ recursive and I disappear down the hole in the middle — I wouldn’t put it past Medium to be so badly designed that it’s capable of destroying the Universe with a single, untested feature and we’re all living on borrowed time, awaiting the day some drooling Morlock does exactly that for no good reason.
If it weren’t for the fact that there are a number of people here with whom I enjoy engaging, I’d leave and not simply never look back but open Facebook and Instagram accounts to advertise a free party in celebration, with everyone from the entire planet invited … if necessary, paying everyone’s fare from every corner of the globe, on the basis that I could never be so happy again in my life and, so, might as well run up debts I could never pay back and then commit suicide because I could never, no matter how I tried, recapture the rush that came with quitting Medium … forever chasing that high and doomed to a lifetime of bitter disappointment.
Okay … I’m being silly.
Of course I could recapture that high: every day would be not simply orgasmic but like the first orgasm and lasting all day without pause — if you’re happy and you know it, thank … your ex.
But, you take my point: it needs killing with fire and the ground salting.
Seriously … Facebook, Google, Amazon, et al, they’re all verminous, subhuman lifeforms just below tapeworms on the evolutionary scale, but (unlike Medium) at least they don’t add insult to injury by raping me with a semi (which is just disrespectful ² )
So, we need to find ways of getting around its many limitations.
One such is to use a 1x1 pixel transparent image, such as this:
… which, as you can see, is far from perfect by the time Medium have done whatever it is they do to it for whatever batshit insane reasons made sense to them after taking a cocktail of drugs that even Timothy Leary would have declared excessive … but can still be useful for spacing things out ³.
Unfortunately, however, you can’t use it in a text field.
So, when you find yourself in those annoying situations when, in what passes for its wisdom, Medium decides you need a title and subtitle for something that really doesn’t …
Or that you really meant to write something rather than simply posting an image or link …
… it won’t help you ⁶.
You could, of course, go and learn the various codes for inputting various characters, but
- Windows’ <ALT>+<numbers on the numeric keypad> don’t work on machines without a numeric keypad, Macs, Linux.
- Medium periodically makes changes that mean you can’t input them successfully and/or some/all of them stop working.
- Trying to remember the various <ALT>/Unicode/hex values is just not my idea of fun.
So, my advice is to tell Medium to suck it, by copying the character made available at https://emptycharacter.com. and pasting it into the appropriate places whenever necessary.
If you use the copyQ application … which I recommend you do, because it runs on Windows (get the portable .zip version here), Mac (copyQ.dmg) and Linux (get it from your distro’s repos, or for Debian/openSUSE/src), so you can use it on all three platforms without having to learn a new way of working each time and, also, you can take the database with you if you save it on a USB key … then, even if you turn its clipboard storing feature off and just use it to keep useful things (like that character), it means you can still do it even without an Internet connection or if the site ever disappears in the Future ⁸.
Granted, it’s not as satisfying as tracking the Medium team down, kidnapping them one-by-one and waterboarding them every day of their lives until they die in despair of ever escaping their fate, their black and wizened hearts giving up because they lose the will to live … because you don’t want them fix Medium … you’re way past that and now, however long it takes, simply want to eradicate Stupid from the World in such a way as to encourager les autres with an object lesson in DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU when their corpses are later discovered …
But it’s probably less risky ⁹.
¹ If you thought fractals were freakishly self-referentially recursive, wait until you learn that, if you break a (true) hologram into a zillion pieces and then break each of those pieces into a zillion pieces … and each of those into a zillion pieces, ad infinitum … each individual piece is a perfect copy of the original hologram (there is no information loss).
² If you’re gonna f**k me, the least you can do is mean it rather than promise me a night of horror I’ll never forget only to spend the evening whittling 25mm scale model German WWII planes from balsa-wood instead.
³ In my final year of undergraduate Psychology studies ⁴, I did a specialist module on communication, further specialising specifically in textual communications. As a result, I am able to tell you that the use of whitespace is incredibly significant, contributing greatly to the comprehension of information delivered in textual format (if you have to choose between more text or more whitespace, choose the whitespace every time, if you want to get your message across) ⁵.
⁴ The equivalent of a doctorate, if you’re studying in the US.
⁵ Unlike Stephen … who is ̶b̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶. a ̶s̶t̶i̶c̶k̶-̶i̶n̶-̶t̶h̶e̶-̶m̶u̶d̶, ̶c̶o̶n̶s̶e̶r̶v̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶, traditionalist, I like to mix it up a bit, myself … bend/break the rules a little … but, the fact remains that there’s a reason why we use paragraphs rather than one long block of text.
⁶ The astute amongst you may be wondering how a simple ‘story’ can involve a text field. It is because Medium delivers you an online HTML editor when you pen a ‘story’, so the component in which you write is actually a text field and the [Publish] button is simply an HTML [Submit] button with the caption ‘Publish’ instead of ‘OK’ or ‘Submit’ ⁷. Which was only ever going to be suboptimal at best (even Livejournal doesn’t deliver a webapp experience for editing … which is why you could already do more with it twenty years ago than you can with Medium today!).
⁷ I know things, see.
⁸ Give it a tag of nonprinting, so that you can search for it later, when you’ve filled copyQ up with stuff and it’s difficult to find.
⁹ Which is why I haven’t gone into detail concerning how one might go about waterboarding them (or what else one might do instead), just in case I ever find myself doing it and don’t. therefore, want to leave a papertrail back here and thence to myself — which would be stupid ¹⁰.
¹⁰ Okay, okay … I jest — really it’s so that nobody can read it and then frame me for it afterwards, because I’m the one who wrote about it in the first place.