While I somewhat agree, sometimes I read stuff and think “pure poppycock.” It’s not something I’d share with others so why does it warrant a recommendation? Many of us on Medium are trying to get out of the echo chamber, so we read opposing viewpoints, but doesn’t mean we have to recommend what someone wrote if we disagree with it or don’t like it simply because we read it. So to your point, I think many of us are kinda like Siskel and Ebert. But that’s also the problem, because (as you astutely pointed out) it can easily lead to group think as opposed to discovering innovative new writers. Oh! And here’s something NO one is bringing up….
The read ratio to some degree is total BS. Many authors add bios, references/footnotes to their studies, or (like bullshitist does) a newsletter signup at the end. If a reader doesn’t scroll to the end of that, it doesn’t count as a full read. Some of what I’ve read on Medium has footnotes I don’t check, so it won’t count as a full read for the author. Medium should allow authors a footer that doesn’t measure into the read ratio to get a more accurate read ratio. Just a thought!