I'm concerned with the move that FreeCodeCamp just pulled by leaving Medium

Ben Halpern on May 28, 2019

FreeCodeCamp is a great organization and I presume the best intentions of everyone involved. That said, I am puzzled and concerned by their move ... [Read Full]
Editor guide

So, before I worked for DEV, I used to crosspost to both DEV and Medium from my own blog. That was my whole strategy, post in three places with different audiences, and it worked really well for me. But, that canonical_url was really important so that the SEO went to my newly growing blog which I had more control over.

Google also will sometimes punish duplicate content if it doesn't have the canonical_url because it thinks its spam or plagiarism. Several of my crossposted FreeCodeCamp posts were the #1 ranked articles for some keywords.

I think people who read my content know how much work I put into it, each one takes 8-10 hours to write (usually in a restaurant on Sundays), and I've never monetized my content.

When I saw that my writing was on this new site but with my name in a difficult to find location and without the canonical url pointing to my site or DEV, I was really disappointed. In the grand scheme of things, it's not hugely important or impactful on my career, but I really think that platforms need to put their content creators first. They can't be an afterthought or someone you ask forgiveness from instead of permission.

I didn't know this new site was going live, or the format of it, or that it may take away from the searches to my original content.

I searched through my inboxes over and over again to make sure I wasn't missing an email asking me to opt into moving to the new site, but I didn't find anything. And, it sounds like the same is true for other authors from speaking to them.

I also went through this when Hacker Noon moved off of Medium, but that one was super different -- they asked my permission before moving my content.

I know I'm in a lucky place because my readership is through social media, my audience on here, and then SEO comes in third. But I know for a lot of up and coming content creators, SEO is paramount and this really affects their ability to get eyes on their blogs.

If you all are in the position where creators are trusting you to keep their content safe, please value that. It's a lot of unpaid work to not get proper attribution for.

You can read more about the SEO implications here.

Edit: Here's a fun graph of my views going from~100 a day to zero overnight.


Hi Ali,

This is slightly off-topic, so apologies in advance.

You described in your comment above that you USED to create your content on your blog, then cross-post to Medium and Dev.to.

We (CodeTips) are doing something very similar - we're creating the content on codetips.co.uk, and then cross-posting to Dev.

We've currently only cross-posted one article to Medium, mainly because Dev is a better platform for us, but I'm interested why you stopped (assuming you did) cross-posting to Medium? Was it only because you now work for Dev?

Did you reach that many more people cross-posting on Medium as well?

Basically, I'm wondering if it's worth our time to cross-post everything to Medium as well...


I wrote A Month of Flutter and cross-posted to DEV and Medium. I had a fair amount of pageviews and engagement on DEV but much less so on Medium. That combined with all the extra work tweaking Medium posts make it so I wouldn't post to Medium anymore. Medium makes it so you can only set canonical_url if you import via a URL, the imported content always required updating tags, descriptions, code formatting or something else.

That's exactly the experience I had with the one post I cross-posted to medium and Dev.

I think I got something like 5 views on Medium and well over 300 on Dev. I did no extra promotion on one over the other either.

I've also managed to get 127 followers on dev in a week. It took me over a year to get 70 on medium.

Dev are clearly doing something right, I just wasnt sure if it was worth crossing to Medium for SEO benefits.

By the sounds of it, you dont think so?

I didn't look into SEO benefits. I wouldn't expect that Medium SEO rating to transfer through a canonical_link reference though.

Ah ok fair enough! Thanks.


// , Blogging is a pain in the ass, and often the reward isn't even attention.

That you seem to have gotten even a modicum of attention as a reward, and they take it away from you, it's like robbing a nun.


Wow. This is mind-blowing.


Hi Ben, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

We had to move off of Medium for reasons already laid out by Dan Abramov and others.

freeCodeCamp News is on the Ghost open source platform, and it's quite powerful. I'm meeting with all the writers individually to give them full access to their articles. Among other things, they'll be able to update their canonical URLs and see the full analytics of their articles.

I wrote a bit more about this here: freecodecamp.org/forum/t/279929

We are big fans of the open web, and we're big fans of Dev.to as well. We're hoping freeCodeCamp News can become an additional place where developers can cross-post posts from their own personal blogs.

I encourage everyone to run their own blog and not to become dependent on any one platform for hosting their blog posts - only for publicizing them through cross-posting.


I understand the reason for moving off Medium and I think everything you're doing in that regard is noble, but to ingest everyone's data and republish content without transparency or consent is a real problem.

I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like very shaky ground on which to be standing on while holding on to a massive amount of content.


What Quincy Larson said:

I encourage everyone to run their own blog and not to become dependent on any one platform for >hosting their blog posts - only for publicizing them through cross-posting.

I 100% agree with this. Run your own blog and then syndicate content to any other platforms.


It’s be nice if he said this before making the move and damaging the content of everyone who published part or all of their work on their site. You can’t preach the high ground after forcing everyone down a few levels without telling them. That’s like breaking someone’s leg and telling them if they want to be in good shape they should try running.

Yes, that's true. I guess I meant it as a more general comment - I personally believe it's always a good idea to publish on your own blog and then decide where to syndicate.

That’s fine, but in the context of this article it was a rationalization of FCC treating their content creators so unfairly. Which I don’t think is good as do most people who have written for them.


Was there an issue with migrating the posts with the original canonical_url? It's nice for authors to have the chance to make changes, but it seems as though it requires an action from them to set something back to the way they published it originally?


Medium didn't let authors set their canonical URL. Ghost (the open source blogging tool we use) does.

That's not correct. If you import a post using Medium's tool it is assigned a canonical_url. (You can't set it directly, only through import). Many of the posts that ended up as part of the FreeCodeCamp publication were created in that manner.

Can you point to some such articles? I can check their canonical links.

There are screenshots in the post that we're commenting on that show examples of this happening with Ali's post. The original canonical_url on medium points back to her dev.to post. The new site points back to the medium post, a different url.

I would check the one Ben put in this blog post.

Looks like you might be able to get it via the API: github.com/Medium/medium-api-docs#...

Eg they say a post object has a canonicalUrl, attribute. I can't tell from reading the docs, whether you can GET them via the API. All the examples are creating Medium posts via POST requests, and none are showing existing posts via GET requests.

But you presumably found some way to get it, so if you're getting it through an API endpoint, then check it for the canonicalUrl attribute. And if you're getting it by scraping it, then check for the link tag, eg this prints the expected value:

curl -s https://medium.com/free-code-camp/the-most-important-non-programming-skills-for-programmers-d39fadc1a0fa \
 | ruby -ne '~/<link\s+rel="can.*?"([^"]*)">/ && puts($1)'

(in reality, I'd use the CSS selector link[rel="canonical"], but I wanted an example that didn't require installing fancy tooling)


I can't reply to Quincy, but to "check canonical links" here you go:

The dev.to model of hybrid branched conversations which turn into flat chronological finds another victim 😄

I still believe it is a good system, but perhaps we need some re-thinking.

Maybe use threaded conversations as Twitter does? Could also color conversations in the same thread, similar to how we have colorized brackets in VSCode 😄

I swear Twitter changed something about that recently (like within the last 6 months). I'm having such a difficult time following conversations on Twitter now, where I never used to.

I generally like vBulletin's model, personally. It's been about a decade, but IIRC, replying to a post wasn't particularly relevant, it would just prepopulate your response with the quoted post, and the metadata of the quote contained the link to what you were replying to. So you could use that to focus in on which portion you were replying to, and you could use it to reply to multiple posts that happened before you. (NOTE: it's also possible we had modded ours, this was before I coded)

🤔 Maybe this is what Slack needs to do, too. That model is much friendlier to time series data like Slack posts. Their current threading model is fundamentally incongruent with their chat model. Eg do you put the reply as the most recent message, or under the parent message its replying to, or in both places? (note the "also send to #channel" option) If you put it under its parent, then now people can't look at the last several messages to see what's new, how will they know about this other new thing earlier in history? (hence "Threads" in the sidebar) Maybe move the whole thread to the front of the list? Then the root message is anachronistic, or maybe put the whole thread in 2 places? Then why the thread over the reply? (they don't do this, but it would be b/c the thread is only temporally at the front, logically the thing you want to see is what it's replying to, not some irrelevant other recent message) How do I make a thread inside a thread? (you can't) What if one message is sufficient to address 3 separate comments from earlier in the thread? etc...

Aaaaand Imma just submit this now, b/c I could totally ramble on like this all night 😝


Quincy and Ben, thanks for having an open discussion about this. I appreciate what both of you are doing for those of us who are learning to code online. Your platforms are great and I appreciate the thoughtfulness you have towards the developers you encourage to post.


I support whatever you guys decide Quincy, thanks for keeping us in the loop and for continued support of opensource


I have unsuccessfully been trying to get in touch with you an your team to remove my content from your site. How can I do that? I went through the form for getting back ownership of my article without hearing from you. I'm very unhappy! ☹


Good morning, I am a concerned writer with some articles on FCC news. How do I update the canonical URLs?


Really disappointed by FreeCodeCamp, I had an appointment booked "to fix" and create an account but no one called me. I tried again to book one and no answer.


Didn't really realize what the canonical_url attribute was for until I read this... so I guess that's a silver lining for me.


SEO makes the world go round.


Or is killing the web


SEO is insane, there's so much too it. canonical_urls is definitely one I need to start using.


SEO is insane - it's not optimization any longer. It's compliance. And compliance with the world's largest ad company at that.

I knoooowwwwww. Google is trying to make the web their platform. I don't think it's cut and dry, but it's a real thing going on.

We play the open source game, but I totally recognize where you're coming from here and wholeheartedly agree. It's a big part of why we haven't adopted AMP, which is just about the boldest move Google has made in terms of trying to swallow the web.

Google employs a lot of great people and have done great things, but we should seek to divert power from them where possible.

Large sites silo away from competitors. They don't run their embeds/tech etc because then all your data & all your UI tips will go through their systems. 👀

They would never look at it or use it. Ever. Not their style at all.


Trust your instincts or study tech history or just wait a bit.

Google is really becoming evil.

Just recently, they disclosed that they're gonna disable adblocking for the masses in chrome, except for 'business customers':

It's time to change from chrome, or to fork blink as a community effort. It's the best web rendering engine imo, but them having this much power has to be counteracted, and I seriously hope that according to the rules of free market, this power will be soon seized.

// , Ben and Vuild, that's correct. For the amount that they're raking in, they've ended up way less corrupt than I'd expected. It's going to get even worse with the move away from perimeter security towards identification security consolidated in the hands of a few massive "trusted" platforms. dev.to's already screwing up that one.

And it chaps my ass that I have to qualify the word "standards" with the word "open." When did the oxymoron of "Proprietary Standards" become a thing technically literate people say?

Take the power back.


For some additional context since I posted this, here's Quincy's reply on Twitter and my follow up:

This is in addition to the comments in this thread and probably other tweets by now.

I really want to continue to give the benefit of the doubt, but I'm becoming more concerned, not less.


I don't think you're missing anything.


My initial reaction was "oh, this is wild but I assume they had authors opt in to this".


Yeah, the wiping out the canonical URLs is particularly unethical IMO. Even if this was a "mistake," Migration QA exists for a reason.

Plus, they are going to have some fun dealing with the Medium legal team.


My concern is that if you now have three copies of the article on three different platforms, it dilutes the comments and reactions even more, since the new platform, like Medium and dev.to, will also have a comment system.


The conversation is not a zero-sum game. The more likely outcome is that you are getting more engagement with what you write because overall more people will read it.


Medium app has been uninstalled on my phone for a while. :) I can't remember what was the tipping point but for me to uninstall a reading app it must have been something really annoying.


For me it was the limited reading ability. 3 per month sucks when you are already a logged in user.

At least on the web you can wipe their cookies and continue to the content.

I wouldn't mind so much but they force you into their whole subscribe funnel, which when on flakey networks often breaks.


I have not yet published anything on Medium, but had been interested in the FreeCodeCamp publication as a way to broaden my reach. This is incredibly concerning, especially when it comes to articles that previously had canonical_url's being stripped of them. I don't make my living off content creation, but many do, and that tracking is a big part of their brand and income building.


As a platform that tries to go above and beyond in these regards in terms of everything we can do to have a longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship with all content creators, it is upsetting to see this done carelessly in a way that violates a lot of trust.

Until I'm told otherwise, I'd definitely use the term "careless" rather than suspect malice from these folks. Still very frustrating.


You think this is bad, you should see what they've been doing to their guest authors on YouTube. They basically get them to agree to post 1-8 hour long videos onto their large YouTube channel with a promise that they will "promote" the author's content. Yet very few of these authors see an appreciable change in subscribers after doing so. And of course by promoting, I mean they just put a few small links in the bottom of the video's description box and pin a comment to the top of the comment section. They don't use the YouTube systems which were made for promotion like Cards or End Screens; in fact the end screens just promote more FreeCodeCamp videos.

One of these Authors gave them 4 hours worth of content which is roughly 80% of his channel. The video was comprised of 60 short videos in a playlist on his channel. The video got roughly 60-70k views on FreeCodeCamp's YouTube channel but the Author didn't see any change in his subscriber base and his original content is now dead with maybe 1/20th of the viewership (and that is considering all 60 videos). I am not sure if this is related but this Content Creator also hasn't posted a new video since.

They are basically getting these content creators to compete with their own content. And whats to stop them from one day deciding to add advertisements to their YouTube channel? I know a guy who was approached by them with this same deal. He expressed concerns to them about how they were promoting the content and they replied with a bunch of platitudes about how great free content is and how he should fork over his content regardless of any potential upside for the sake of making it "free". Any YouTube content creator knows that their content is basically free regardless of how many advertisements they put on their videos because a large portion of viewers use adblockers.

Frankly, this entire process is extremely shady and this is ignoring the potential copyright legality of re-posting content onto another channel. If FreeCodeCamp wanted to, they could issue copyright strikes against all of the guest content creators which is a scary thought. The Videos on FreeCodeCamp might be "free" but they promote the FreeCodeCamp brand and in doing so, squash the competition.


I manage the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel. I'd love to have a chat with this creator about how we can better support their channel. Could you have them reach out to me?

The feedback I've received from people who allow us to post their content has been very positive. There are many reasons people share their content on the freeCodeCamp channel. It is not always because they want to grow their own YouTube channel, though people report that they get a bump in subscribers. Some people want to promote their paid courses or their personal brand and others just want to provide quality learning content for free to a big audience.

People can revoke their permission at anytime and we will take down the content. This has only happened once. People have gotten jobs or raises at work partially based on their content posted on the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel.

Finally, freeCodeCamp.org will never show ads on any platform.


Somehow I doubt that you get mostly "positive" feedback from your guests. You guys basically take the content that they make and create a way for that content to directly compete with the original channel. My friend and I did the research, we went through a large chunk of the guests you've had on your channel since the beginning of the year. Very few of them have seen any kind of results from your promotion in terms of YouTube Subscribers or views. You talk about a bump in subscribers but I haven't seen anything of the sort after looking through the analytics. I won't name any names because I don't want to speak for anyone but there is very little cost efficiency for partnering with your channel.

Your company might be a not-for-profit company, but that isn't the case 99% of content creators. Most of them are developers and professionals who want provide education and make some money on the side. Many of them do the work because they find it interesting and fun but its also still work. Each video takes time and effort to create and giving away that work for "Free" to another company just isn't a good choice especially when that company could be doing so much more to pay back this donation via promotion.

To put things into perspective, it takes my friend roughly 4-5 hours to make ~20 minutes of video. This includes recording, editing, making a thumbnail, marketing, and setting up everything else. This doesn't include research which I would argue could almost double the time cost. If he was to give away 4 hours of his content; it would roughly equate to 48-60+ hours worth of work. If you do the math to make partnering with your channel worth while a channel would have to grow significantly and gain a fairly high click through rate (Which certainly isn't the case).

For a recent example lets look at this video: "Learn Data Science - Full Course for Beginners" which was just released on the 30th. This video sits at about 36k views right now and it was created by a YouTube channel that has a total of 1.4k subscribers. On the day that the video was released, the channel received a total of 88 subscribers, the next day they received 36 subs and then the next day they received only 15 subscribers (falling back to its original average). Lets assume for a moment that all of those subscribers came from this video release (probably not the case); that's 139 subscribers in three days from a video that has 36k views - a 0.3% click through rate which is pathetic (for reference, 4-5% is the average you would expect on a normal YouTube Video). Most of the top comments on this video directly reference free code camp; they don't seem to have any idea that this was created by a user who isn't affiliated with your company. And why should they? nowhere in the video does it show that this video was created by the 3rd party author. The first thing you see is a big logo for FreeCodeCamp.

This video is a 5 hour video by the way, this author was very generous when he gave you the content. But where is your company's gratitude for this content creator? There are no cards promoting the channel, no end screen, no logo in the beginning of the video, no audible mention of the channel name, nothing except a small link in the description box (at the bottom mind you). And whats worse, you guys went and branded the video with your own brand. All I see are people talking about how great Free Code Camp is when in reality you are just taking content that other people made and not giving them proper compensation.

This is really shitty. I think I am going to go and contact your CEO directly because this is seriously worse then I thought it was. You guys are like a cancer that potentially destroys many budding content creators. I personally am going to go through each and every one of the guest authors that you've had on your YouTube channel; look at the analytics and parse the data so that I can create an article addressing this problem.

This is my experience, and I'm just one person but I thought I'd share.

First-Hand Experience

I'm a guest content creator where I have published 3 courses (4 hours, 4 hours and 10 hours) and the result has been overwhelmingly positive every single time.

The struggle was incredibly hard before freeCodeCamp Youtube that I'd be embarrassed to put that story to ink. I will tell you first-hand experience the results it has produced.

The Results

This is the results of publishing on freeCodeCamp Youtube:

  • Searching "AWS" on Youtube puts me on top as the first result
  • My own Youtube channel has received a large uptick in subscribers
  • Even though I gave my courses away for free, people pay to support the creation of my free courses. This is leading to sustainable revenue.
  • Multiple job opportunities, paid workshops
  • Nearly everyone in Toronto (that's where I am) whether it be an accelerator, incubator, tech firms or otherwise knows who I am. No more am I being ignored and people want to collaborate. I have the street cred to do talks where I was one turned away.

The Support

Both Beau and Quincy will provide you with the support and mentorship you need for your content to succeed but it's your choice to listen and take action. If you listen, they'll tell you more, and in turn, you'll maximize the result you to gain.

Thoughts About Promoting their Guest Content

freeCodeCamp isn't a big ad for my brand and to convert direct sales to me. I never expected Cards or End Screens because that would go against the principle of the no ads.
I mention my name and my brand in the introduction. At every section, I say my name and my brand, but this simply out of habit and because I already shot the material. I make no call to actions, I don't show people my platform, people consume my content, they get to know me and find me afterwards. Is it in the magnitude of the number of views on the original video? No. But it is still in the thousands.


I can't believe they basically said: Hey, we've moved over most of the articles, fill out this form so you can edit and fix your canonicals.

And not contact any authors to let them know what's up, ask for permission, pre-set them up accounts to review their "moved" content for fixing prior to Google indexing.

I've never really read much from freeCodeCamp (probably because the paywalls), but this feels ... odd.

I hope everything does get sorted out. The more platforms we have (without paywalls) the better.


No, I can absolutely believe that. The way these people act is almost as though they are entitled to the content because of their "noble" goal. As I mentioned in my comment, they've done similar stuff on their YouTube channel. Frankly, while many people have been able to learn to program via their platform, its come at the expense of smaller educators and content creators.


Gives me bad feels.... I don't think you missed anything unless they are working on bugs related to authors...


I'm not sure that helps? Even if it links back to Medium it doesn't give that attribution to the original source in the metadata. And it's still migrating them away from the terms originally agreed to.


Ah yes, I do see that linkback attribution. That is a good thing.

Again, I have to think they tried to do this the right way, but at some point made bad choices. It's shocking they weren't at least more transparent about this ahead of time.


Wow! I have posted tons of articles to their publication and had no idea they'd done this.


@ben if you decided to switch hosting providers for dev.to or to change the underlying platform (e.g switch to Wordpress), would you feel the need to ask authors’ permission?

From my perspective, that’s all that happened here. I wrote and published articles on the freeCodeCamp blog. I expect my articles to remain on the freeCodeCamp blog unless I ask for them to be removed.

When the freeCodeCamp blog changes platform, I don’t expect to be consulted on the decision and I’m not sure why any author would be.

If I wanted my work specifically on Medium, I would have published to Medium directly, or to a publication on Medium that I own.

The canonical URL change looks like an honest mistake, but that can be handled via a simple request to freeCodeCamp and I’m sure they’d be happy to fix it.

Everyone is entitled to their point of view, but the outrage here seems a little over the top to me.


Plus it did not seem like something done in bad faith. Ben could have easily shared his concerns privately and see where that goes instead of bringing it to a public forum for trial or sth.

They screwed up/made a mistake does not make them a villian.


I'm a bit concerned about the loss of canonical URLs. This can actually punish the sites that host the duplicate content. Search engines may not understand where the home actually is.


Yeah, some of my posts that got moved are the #1 for some keywords, and I'm pretty nervous about it to be totally honest


I got tired of many changes medium suffered in the past, but thankfully Dan Abramov twetted about dev.to in December of 2017 and here I am, enjoying many articles published by amazing writers.

Long live dev.to :D


I just found out that my leading blog post, the one that inspired my entire learn AWS course has been moved off of Medium is now on a new site: freecodecamp.org/news/how-to-host-....

Yet, I never gave permission to move this content off of Medium where I own the content. This is incredibly shady and definitely violates my rights as an author on Medium. I do not have the canonical url problem like others. But this is definitely an author attribution problem that must be resolved @ossia .


Hi @kylegalbraith , freeCodeCamp also moved my owned content off of Medium. Were you able to take successful steps to protect what is yours?


Hi Ben, see you mentioned Hacker Noon in this story about FreeCodeCamp changing their techstack, so I wanted to jump in :-) I’m the Founder/CEO of Hacker Noon and this is my first Dev.to post! Overall, no migration will be perfect, but I think Quincy made a tough decision that will benefit FCC's users. A few things ---

  • From the beginning, users have opted users into publishing on hackernoon.com. This gives us an explicit, non-exclusive license to republish the stories. We’ve been open about this, in posts and buttons on the Hacker Noon homepage and in our terms. Writers own the content (it's not 'their medium content,' it is simply 'their content') and should publish on many sites (Hacker Noon, Dev.to, Medium, and FreeCodeCamp - for example).

  • I think a number of your screenshots are misleading because FreeCodeCamp did type in “By Author Name” for every article, and I'd bet as they work out the transition bugs, they’ll get author thumbnails and links up there too. It’s important to remember that as FCC ran their Medium publication as a subdomain for their own site, their first obligation is to the contributing writer, ensuring all their past links work in a time of techstack transition. They executed this, and I hope we will too.

  • At Hacker Noon, we always give authors attribution on their stories. Since 2016, we’re only ever published on HackerNoon.com and in our migration have done the extra work to properly associate author bios in our upcoming infrastructure. It’s time consuming. There may be some hiccups in the move, but we are making author bios more prominent on the story page (private beta screenshot below) and giving the author page a more prominent call to action on the profile page.

Alt text of image

  • Currently, getting canonical links from our Medium backend is pretty difficult. Contributing writers have to use the ‘import story function’ (which has been broken for most ppl over the last month) or writers can email yourfriends@medium.com to negotiate for them. In Hacker Noon 2.0, we are making it so that anyone can put the canonical link in the story submission process, and as long as they have rights to the content on their site, we will put them in.

Hope that helps clarify. I’m around if you or team ever want source for a story, and am very open to working together in some capacity. @ben & team - Cool site you made.

And of course, congrats FreeCodeCamp! They continue to change the internet. Good to see FCC taking a step towards bettering the infrastructure of their own domain.


Interesting topic and i do agree that transparency is needed. Like HackerNoon asked for consent before moving.
Though all these recent moves made me think whether Medium is listening or not. These good platforms for bloggers are moving out from medium and are they taking any steps to preserve it?
Personally, i really do not like medium for code and gist point of view. They do not have code highlights and no single gist file usage.
Time will tell where these are going to lead us but best is to have our own blog and then post to any other place.
Medium, hope you are reading and listening...


Well, this explains my confusion yesterday when attempting to bookmark some FCC content on Medium and being unable to do so. And the new FCC interface seemingly has no way of saving or bookmarking content through my FCC account.


This is an opportunity to persuade Quincy to move/cross-post their articles to DEV😈😅


As of this comment, Free Code Camp news is down for maintenance, and it appears that all of the stories are accessible on Medium: medium.com/free-code-camp. Their custom URL, medium.freecodecamp.org/, does redirect to the "down for maintenance" page.


They probably just didn't think through all of the details.

This feedback might help them address some of the issues they should've prioritized.

Wonder why they're not just maintaining a presence on both platforms.


It seems like asking their contributors to consent should have been a major detail that came up immediately.


Be warned: if you try to become a FreeCodeCamp author, you're required in Q4 of their application to give them the right post and edit the content of any article previously submitted to their Medium publication. It's unclear whether you'd be gaining enough access to delete your prior content or revoke permission in the future. The only 'option' for this question is 'yes.'

FreeCodeCamp's application to publish on their Medium clone includes this doozy of a required question, which can only be answered with a 'yes': 'Do we have your permission to edit and publish your posts - both any old ones published in the freeCodeCamp Medium publication and any new ones you submit to freeCodeCamp News going forward?'

In the meantime, to ensure no confusion over implicit permission to copy content, I've removed my publications individually from their Medium publication, which is still accessible directly through Medium (medium.com/free-code-camp). I've also sent Quincy a DM about this and will report back if he responds.


I remember signing up for medium a few years back and it was good. I was really into typography and design do it was a breath of fresh air. Then after a few months I left because I wanted to focus more on studying.
Fast forward to a few weeks back I found a couple of good articles and started reading again there. Even installed the app! And then I started getting the dreadful “3 articles” limit and thought it was absurd nonsense. If their business is about people reading, why the heck would they limit that... anyway, I don’t like medium anymore.

I was thrilled to read that FCC is leaving medium on the title of this post, I think it’s great. I still have high hopes for it, even with the concerns shared. I’m sure they will fix that soon, I see it as a hiccup or an issue they just didn’t think about in time.
I am looking forward to seeing this new platform open and functioning fully (though it won’t replace DEV, ever!)


Ohh no, the horror.


Thanks for posting this, this provides a lot of insight for me and I'm sure for others too.


I can understand about the concerns of authors.

As a reader of development topics, medium was useless for me. Sites like dev.to, freecodecamp and hashnode provide development concentrated articles. So it will be a plus point.

For authors, freecodecamp is moving articles to their site with added advantage of more visibility which medium cannot provide under its other craps.

I hate medium for its crap and stopped using it also because of its integration with Facebook.

Finally now that they have decided, they will hopefully take some time to listen to authors' problems and figure out a solution. So need to be patient.


I think there is some crypto currency platform where you write content and when people like it you get some of it and then you can exchange. Don't remember the name of the platform though.


I saw it, but I can't remember the name either...


Medium is BS unfortunately. Not saying they don't have anything great, but they kinda suck now. Because the front page right now is not the content I want to read, it's the content the medium wants me to read.


I can't speak to how effective this would be, necessarily but authors of syndicated content with an improper canonical attribution like this could always report the syndicated post (in this case, the FreeCodeCamp article) to Google as plagiarism. This might result in Google de-indexing of the plagiarized copy, especially if a lot of original authors do it in concert about a lot of posts.

It only takes a minute, so it might be worth a shot.



I'm surprised they were able to edit the canonical URLs. To my knowledge (as a publication owner) there is no way to change canonical URLs without contacting medium support.


To be clear, the canonical url on Medium has stayed the same, but the canonical URL on their own site does follow back to the original source the way it did originally on Medium.


To clarify, did you mean "does not follow"?


Interesting. I've posted several of my articles on FCC and didn't know about this at all!


Quincy responded, “Don't worry about the waver - just set up a time to meet with me that's convenient and I can fill you in on everything.” This definitely isn’t a carefully considered process.


Glad to hear that y'all are leaving Medium too!


Blog posts and articles are protected by the DMCA in the United States. If anyone feels inclined to exercise their copyright in this situation, here are some relevant links:

Why and how to file a DMCA takedown notice

Who.is registrar info for FreeCodeCamp

NameCheap's DMCA form - scroll to the bottom, choose "Abuse Reports", then "Copyright / DMCA".

Make sure to include all the necessary information in your request (Sara Hawkins provides a template in the first link above).

I know there are differing opinions on the DMCA and I usually wouldn't bring it up, but I have yet to see any indication that FreeCodeCamp has noticed or cares about this massive copyright infringement and this may be the last recourse for some people.


Hey Ben, did this ever get resolved, or is it still in "weird" territory?


They have not taken everyone's medium content with them as you asserted. They only moved articles that they had control over. The rest of the articles are still available on medium as they stated in their release at freecodecamp.org/forum/t/we-just-m...


Medium has a very strict TOS and FCC technically has no control over it.


Which is why they did not move it as the article claims. I may be wrong in my interpretation of what the article says though.

The title of the free code camp link literally says "We just moved off of Medium and onto freeCodeCamp News. Here’s how you can use it"

So they did move off it. Regardless, there are huge intellectual property issues with it. In this case, the original post was on dev. They are no longer using the proper canonical URL to link to the original source.

They moved but did not take peoples articles with them as Ben seemed to state in this article. Those are still on medium which was my point. They only moved their own articles and not those people published under their banner. Those are still available on medium.

That's not true at all - this article is by Ali and on FreeCodeCamp. They took that content from Medium and posted it there with them as the author. Even if they are fixing it, that doesn't make it chill to just take that content.


Did not notice that. My bad.

That changes everything then. Especially since the authors name was not stated clearly.

Thanks for that clarification and pointing out that oversight on my part.

That's what Lindsey was saying.

Interpreted what she wrote incorrectly as I was unaware of all that was involved in their move. I thought they only moved their own stuff. I was wrong about that clearly. Thanks

Code of Conduct Report abuse