Ron, thanks for saving me the trouble of saying what I’ve been thinking.
I contacted Medium Help some time ago and asked them to box subscriber-only stories in red so that I didn’t click on them by accident. I also asked them to use their “viewed but not read” ability to avoid charging me for some story I clicked on without realizing that it was locked.
Of course, neither happened.
I’ve also noticed the same thing you have, namely, “Editor Picks” in my daily email are often 100% locked stories.
I would rather Medium adopted an “either/or” business model, namely, either a story is locked and is ad-free or is unlocked and contains ads. Medium could give the author 10% of the ad revenue for the free story or some compensation for the locked story from the subscription revenue.
Or, give the writer the choice of locking the story and getting compensation or not locking the story, having ads put at the top or bottom of the column and getting no compensation.
— David Grace