Oh, okay i see where I’m confusing people.
See, what you are suggesting is spending money directly on the stories. I still think that, to my tastes, this will not reward the best stories.
What I was talking about was indirect spending money, paying a curator. The voting would be about how much one agrees with the curator. I would like to have a Medium A/B-ish. Ideally different curator collections to choose from. Let us get to know some of the powers that be, see where their tastes lie and follow their recommendations. It would be like finding a movie critic you mostly agree with, or at least respect, to help you decide which of the movies you will spend your money on.
In a way, that is already happening. I follow people I respect, but also, if these people recommend things I just don’t want to see, I stop following them. That means they are already curating my stories for me. That does mean it’s harder to stumble upon someone completely new — let’s be honest, there is much more out there than one can read and time is limited for most people. That is the main issue I have with direct voting/payment. How would you know you’re not missing really good stories simply because the writers are new and you've not seen their writings yet? In your controlled class room setting, I assume everyone who pays is aware of every story in the program.
A curator’s job would (should) be to read everything. Or at least everything tagged with their assigned topic, which eliminates the by-chance element that prevents the truly good stories to get awarded in a direct voting/payment scenario. That is if the curator knows what they are doing.
How good a job a company is doing in hiring curators that make picks people want to read, is something we must vote on with our wallets. The better job they do, the more subscriptions they will rake in.
All that said, personally I am paying my 5 dollars to the developers, the use of this awesome text editor, my new homepage I would not want to miss anymore, and maintenance. I know how unappreciated IT work in general can be. Medium has put out some fantastic tools and a fantastic platform. I am supporting that.
I have told everyone of my friends who were unsure about the new homepage that they should not continue their subscription, because they would not get their money’s worth.