Hey, Medium. Could You Do Me A Favour?

Like, pretty please.

Aaryan Harshith


Image by Alfons Morales from Unsplash

Dear Medium,

Since I know you like concise articles, I wanted to keep this short.

I’m Aaryan. I like writing things — like this extremely festive Christmas gift request I’m typing out to you with my Cheeto-dust encrusted fingers. So far, I’ve written a few dozen pieces, got published once or twice, and made a cool $15.45 from your partner program last month. In other words, I’m ballin’.

But enough about me. This is about you.

Let me preface this by saying you’re definitely on the right track here. If you weren’t, the first thing that’d come to people’s minds when someone said “Medium” would be a clothing size.

I mean, how can you not love The Startup, those productivity posts that actually end up making you procrastinate even more than usual, and all the royalty-free Unsplash images that burn your eyes with their uncomfortably high-resolution?

But wait. I’m here to talk business.

You see, ever since I started writing my extra-spicy monologues on this platform (AKA since the dawn of time itself), I’ve always wondered:

“Why do two of my articles — that take me about the exact same time to read — show up with two completely different read-times on Medium?”

I found my answer surprisingly late, when I realized that Medium based its read-time estimates on the average adult’s reading rate of about 250 words per minute. For the longest time, I didn’t see an issue with that.

But then I realized the issue. For my more laid-back articles with lots of tiny words, that inflated the read-time. For my more technical articles with fewer, longer words, the read-time dropped faster than my fitness level after the pandemic. Not fun.

Imagine if I just copy-pasted the longest word in the world right here, like so:


You see those …’s? That’s 190,000 letters, or a solid three hours worth of reading. But, since it’s just one word, that’s a one minute read. Clearly not! Imagine how disrespected that word must feel.

By the way, that’s the full name of a protein called titin. Oh, and as someone who writes about biology every once in a while, that I might’ve actually used that word in one of my articles!

And hey — a little deviation in a read-time every once in a while shouldn’t hurt anyone. Except for the fact that read-time matters. You know this more than anyone, Medium.

If I write an article that you underestimate the read-time of, I subconsciously want to get to a solid six or eight minute read by adding in more words than I need to. If it’s the other way around, then my readers don’t want to click on such a long read.

TLDR: It’s the greatest tragedy since Romeo and Juliet.

Alright, alright. Tragedy might be a bit of an exaggeration, but for dramatic effect — please, please, please (with a cherry on top), put an end to this tragedy.

Sure, it might not be a moonshot concept that skyrockets your platform’s success — but, as someone who writes on Medium all the time, it’d help me out a whole lot. Thanks, and happy holidays ;)

— Aaryan