A BROKEN ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

What’s Wrong With Middling?

I’d like to know

Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence
3 min readOct 3, 2023

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Man staring at computer and looking puzzled
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

I write at a site called Middling. I’m not sure why they took that name, but it’s a bit ironic in some ways. While Middling is a great place to write and is full of wonderful people, they do some things rather poorly.

For one example, while they have a way for readers to subscribe to your writing and get email notifications, those notifications sometimes mysteriously fail. When Bella G. stops sending notifications to me, I will eventually notice and check her page. Surprise! Bella has written several stories I have not read because I never received any email about them!

I check my Spam folder and my Trash, but Bella is not there. Perhaps I accidentally unsubscribed? Nope. I’m still subscribed. Unsubscribing and re-subscribing usually fixes this.

Though not necessarily for very long.

Any programmer will tell you this isn’t difficult to code. You run through the list of people who want to be notified, find their email server, and send the email. You check for any errors and, depending on what the error is, you might give up, or make yourself a note to try again later. Forgetting to try again later is a mistake a junior programmer might make.

I’m not going to blame Middling’s coders. My bet is that they are working at a higher level than this. I think they are working with some piece of software already equipped with an “email to this list” routine, and THAT routine is at fault. That’s just a guess, of course.

Another thing that baffles me is their method of finding the best stories for me to read. They call this “Blessing” a story. Certain writers can suggest Blessings, and some jury decides which stories deserve the honor. Why don’t they let every reader suggest this? Ask them once a week, “Which is the best story you read here this week?” and let them pick from a list.

The coding would be trivial. You’d look through all the suggestions and count how many times each story appeared. You’d check to be sure Sam and Jim and Suzy aren’t suggesting each other’s stories too often. That’s it! The result gives a most worthy list for your jury to look through. Or scratch the jury — you don’t really need…

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Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence

Retired Unix Consultant. I write tech and humor mostly but sometimes other things. see my Lists if your interests are specific.