This is the internet weblog of Bix Frankonis.

Meta: Medium And My Mental Health

For a week and a half now, since not long after beginning to use Medium as a place to learn about and express my own thoughts about my autism diagnosis, I’ve been plagued by a technical issue that seemingly manages to poke just about every button I have that in any way relates to rigidity or a lack of control: the Highlights tab keeps disappearing from my profile.

When it vanishes, it does so from both the website (across browsers and devices) and the iOS app. The most Medium Support ever managed to suggest to me on Twitter was that my Highlights page itself remained accessible via its direct URL. That’s true, but it doesn’t do my readers any good, and doesn’t apply either to them or even myself if you’re using the iOS app.

Also, that’s not the point.

Medium Support then directed me to a support email address for any further assistance. It’s been four days since then, and they remain silent even as the issues continue.

It occured to me early on that perhaps this is some sort of automated system, designed to temporarily block a user’s Highlights tab if they’ve been doing a lot of highlighting. While I don’t think I do a lot of highlighting, it is part of my mental health regimen here: bookmark posts on autism, anxiety, and various potentially-related mental health issues; highlight passages as I read; post responses to several of the posts for which I’ve highlighted passages.

That entire process falls apart if my Highlights page only loads ten highlights. Which means my entire experiment in using Medium as part of my own mental health regimen grinds almost entirely to a halt. Let alone that I think my highlights might be of use to other people. The only workaround is to use the iOS app (and this only works if the Highlights tab isn’t missing form my profile altogether), where my Highlights aren’t cut off, start a response there, let it save to draft, and then continue on the web.

This is nonsense, of course.

As part of what I’m trying to do for myself here on Medium, I became a paying member. Maybe five dollars per month isn’t a lot to someone like Ev Williams, but it is to many of us. It would be nice to think that people at Medium appreciate that.

Even membership, apparently, isn’t sufficient to get Your Friends @ Medium paying attention when something isn’t working right. I’m not sure how many Medium Staff exist, exactly, but apparently it’s so few there aren’t enough of them to help a paying member figure out why his account is misbehaving in exactly the way required to cause just the sorts of stress and anxiety he’s trying to come to grips with by making use of the site to begin with. Is this just some sort of Medium Engineering anti-spam measure? Who knows. It took Medium Support four days to say anything to me about it on Twitter, and that was just to say “use the direct link”.

Which, of course, then doesn’t fully load.

I would much rather be spending this Sunday using Medium for what I’m here for; there are posts whose observations about autism, anxiety, and related mental health issues have resonated with me that I haven’t been able to respond to because Medium is broken.

I don’t want to be using Medium to complain about Medium. I want to be using it to help myself, and maybe, on occasion, be resonant for someone else along the way.

But here we are.