We’ve heard feedback from readers, followers, and even subreddit moderators that Medium has gotten overly aggressive toward logged-out users, even on completely non-monetized, openly-published, and openly-licensed content like the elementary blog. While we understand Medium’s struggle to balance a free experience with successful monetization, we strongly believe that our content should not require you to be logged in to a centralized service—and that services should not get in the way of the reading experience. Unfortunately, that is becoming difficult with Medium.
As a result, we’ve been investigating other options for some time. Ever since our first self-hosted blog—and on through our migration to Tumblr and then Medium—we’ve developed some loose requirements for a blog:
Multiple authors. We have a diverse community of folks with different interests and areas of expertise. While the vast majority of content may be written by Cassidy or Daniel (already making support for at least two authors desirable), it’s valuable to share the voices of other contributors. Our original blog, Tumblr, and Medium all handled this decently well.
Rich text formatting. As simple as it sounds, we do heavily use features like multiple heading levels, pull quotes, section dividers, etc. Tumblr handled this a bit, but Medium did it even better.
Rich image handling. We love to post screenshots. And we love when those screenshots are 1:1, pixel-perfect, and HiDPI. Medium has been pretty great for this, supporting drag-and-drop, automatically handing
@2ximage files, and even supporting multiple layout options.
Collaborative authorship. While it’s common to publish under a single author’s name, we work collaboratively on every part of elementary—including our blog and press releases. Years ago we would use tools like Google Docs for staging blog posts so we could edit in real-time and leave comments. Medium’s inline commenting on drafts came close enough to that experience as well.
One thing that hasn’t explicitly been a requirement (but has become common) is some form of comments or responses on blog posts.
We’ve written briefly about Write.as before in an AppCenter Spotlight. Since then, Write.as has reached out to offer their open source plan to elementary for our blog, and we’re giving it a try! Their core principles align perfectly with ours, which makes the arrangement all the more attractive.
So far, we’ve found that it handles rich text really well (yay Markdown!), but are still trying to work out if it handles our other (loose) requirements. As such, we’re still deciding if it’s something we will fully migrate to, just aggregate the blog to, etc. We’re also still thinking about comments and how that works—and we’re in contact with Write.as to discuss it as well. In the meantime, let us know on Twitter, Mastodon, etc. what you think of Write.as as a reader and that’ll help us make our decisions!
As always, thank you everyone who’s bought an app on AppCenter, our supporters on Bountysource and Patreon, and those who’ve purchased a copy of elementary OS or merch from our store. Every contribution helps make all of this possible, and we wouldn’t be here without you. If you’d like to help improve elementary OS, don’t hesitate to Get Involved!
Authored by Cassidy James Blaede