Five Best Friday Columns

Alexis C. Madrigal on Medium, Roxane Gay on real feminism, Paul Krugman on the age of bubbles, Mat Honan on alternatives to comment sections, and Caity Weaver in praise of extroverts. 

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Alexis C. Madrigal at The Atlantic on the mystery of Medium: Medium has developed a content mix of "passaroundable" smart essays and hackish, sometimes plagiarized posts, Madrigal argues. The site is able to promote the good posts and let the bad ones sink into obscurity without blemishing its reputation with the good ones. But if Medium wants to grow into a more magazine-like platform, it has to figure out its editorial style. "What are the boundaries and limits of Medium? If anything defines a publication, it is what it *doesn't* do," Madrigal notes. At the same time, Medium might be beyond categorization. Maybe it can just be a combination of stories by "top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks," Madrigal notes. "In a world when every post stands on its own, atomistically, perhaps it's silly to think a publication can't be incoherent," he writes. "Very good question (and post)," tweeted Tom Standage at The Economist; several others, including former Wired editor Mark Horowitz, agreed.

Roxane Gay on NPR's Codeswitch on real feminism: The recent #solidarityisforwhitewomen Twitter hashtag brought to light the divide between white feminists and women of color. The discussion sparked an NPR roundtable, including a piece by Roxane Gay that argues that the conversation on who is or isn't a feminist is way too limiting. "Feminism is not a possession. It is not a credential. It is not the mantle on which to build one's brand. There are liberal and conservative feminists. There are religious or spiritual and atheistic or agnostic feminists. Feminists inhabit the gender spectrum and are represented by all races and ethnicities," Gay writes. "Feminists are individuals who ideally share the belief that the rights of women are as inalienable as the rights of men." It will take a lot for feminism to heal, but recognizing the different beliefs held by feminists is a necessary first step. "Drop what you're doing and read @rgay here," tweeted Michelle Dean, a contributor to The Awl.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times on the age of bubbles: The value of India's rupee, Indonesia's rupiah, the South African rand, the Turkish lira are all plummeting, thanks to a pull-out by Western investors, Krugman writes. Though the Federal Reserve is a popular scapegoat, Krugman is clear to place blame on global financial deregulation. "The main lesson of this age of bubbles — a lesson that India, Brazil, and others are learning once again — is that when the financial industry is set loose to do its thing, it lurches from crisis to crisis," he wrote. Guardian contributor David Wearing agreed, tweeting "Financial deregulation still working its magic."

Mat Honan at Wired on trolls and moving beyond comment sections: Comment sections are outdated, and the trolls and spambots of the internet make them more trouble than they're worth, argues Honan. "We’ve bought into the fallacy of comments so completely that they remain nearly universal—and universally terrible," Honan writes. Services like Branch and Gawker Media's Kinja, meanwhile, give authors more control in selecting which comments are contributing to discussion and which aren't the pixels they're printed on. Even social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are better options than comment sections, Honan argues. "If we want actual conversations, we have to acknowledge that those conversations are as important as anything else we publish," he writes. "I was all set to hate @mat's piece on how we need to banish the comment box, but his point is a good one," tweeted GigaOM writer Mathew Ingram.

Caity Weaver at Gawker on the necessity of extroverts: There have been a number of stories on introverts recently — Weaver identifies 8 from just the last month — but there hasn't been much in the way of praise for extroverts. "You know who wasn’t an introvert? Jesus Christ. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dick Van Dyke. Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter," writes Weaver. Extroverts have as much to offer as introverts, they just obsess less about the need to be alone. "Down with the introversion fetish," tweeted Jared Keller of Al Jazeera America. "This is some of the most necessary trolling of all the trolling Gawker has ever done," tweeted freelance journalist and (likely) extrovert Steve Huff.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.