How Does Distribution and Curation Work On Medium?

Learn about the distribution and curation process for a story.
Feb 21, 2023
3 min

Distribution and Curation on Medium is complex. This story shows how each process works.


Distribution on Medium refers to the placement of your story among the Open PlatformPersonal NetworkMedium Network, and Boosted Network. For a direct source, read “What Happens To Your Post When You Publish On Medium”.

Open Platform

The “Open Platform” refers to the visibility of your story and account on the Medium platform. Being distributed on the “Open Platform” means that people can access your stories from the internet: Publishing a story makes it accessible from the internet immediately. So your stories are always distributed (visible) on the “Open Platform (Medium)” as long as the story adheres to the Medium Rules.

Personal Network

The “Personal Network” refers to the distribution of your story among the people who follow you and and those subscribed to your email newsletter. Your stories are placed in the “Following” tab of your followers’ homepage (logged-in). In addition, you have the option to send an email notification to your email newsletter subscribers when a story is published.

Medium Digest emails contain recommended stories for the user based on a recommendation algorithm (weighted for engagement). If your story scores high enough in this algorithm, it will be placed in the digest of your followers (without requiring further distribution). The significance of the Medium Digest using a recommendation algorithm is that your story is NOT guaranteed to be distributed in a reader’s Medium Digest.

Medium Network

The “Medium Network (Distribution)” refers to the distribution of your story among other users on the Medium platform. Note that your story must adhere to Medium’s Distribution Standards among other filters (such as rules, spam, NSFW, etc). Your story will be placed in the following places.

  1. The “For You” tab located on a user’s homepage (logged-in).
  2. The Medium Digest email that is sent to users that don’t follow you.
  3. The story’s tag (topic) pages located at{name}.
  4. The Explore Section of Medium’s Mobile App.
  5. The Recommendation View located in the sidebar labeled with “More From Medium” (website) or “Recommended For You” (mobile app).
  6. The Frontpage of Medium located on the homepage (logged-out). This includes the Ranked and Scrollable (Staff Picks list) views.

The distribution of a story in Medium’s Network is an automated process.

  1. “By default, all stories published on Medium are eligible for further distribution.”
  2. Medium will remove “low-quality stories” which do not meet Medium’s Distribution Standards (Distribution Disqualification).

Boosted Network

The “Boosted Network” refers to the distribution of your story among other users on the Medium platform. Stories that are “noted by the curation team of humans” receive a boost in distribution via a recommendation algorithm (weighted for “matchmaking”). You are notified when a story is boosted.

For more information about distribution in the Boosted Network, read “A New Boost For Top Stories”.


Curation on Medium refers to the placement of your story under a specific tag (topic) page. This involves a curation team of humans who read stories that adhere to Medium’s Distribution Standards. Once curated, your story is added to the tags (topics) it was curated in.

How To Check Curation Status

Note: The following information has yet to be confirmed and may contain inaccuracies.

How do you check the curation status of your story? You must read the page source of your story — while logged-in — using its long-form URL: To retrieve the long-form URL of a story, click its share button (which copies the URL to your clipboard). You can view the source code of a website in most browsers using CTRL/CMD + U (or Inspect Element). Use CTRL/CMD + F to find a keyword on the page.

The JSON Key curationEligibleAt contains a Unix Timestamp, which indicates when your story became eligible for curation. This timestamp is generated right after you publish a story and contains a value that occurs milliseconds BEFORE the published time (stored in firstPublishedAt). It’s speculated that the difference between each timestamp occurs due to an automated check that determines the distribution eligibility of your story.

"firstPublishedAt": 1676922111695, // Monday, February 20, 2023 1:41:51.695 PM GMT-06:00
"curationEligibleAt": 1676922111026, // Monday, February 20, 2023 1:41:51.026 PM GMT-06:00

When curationEligibleAt = 0, the story was never eligible for distribution.

The JSON Key curationStatus contains a String that indicates the current distribution status of a story. There are 5 known values for this key.

// Story never went through the curation process (i.e imported story),
// or the user doesn't have the permission to view the curationStatus (i.e logged-out).

// Story is published and passed the automatic distribution eligibility check.
"curationStatus": "CURATION_STATUS_PENDING",

// Story was reviewed by a human and not distributed.

// Story was not able to be reviewed by a human.

// Story was curated to the tag (topic) specified in the 'primaryTopic' JSON Key.

Read More