Medium and the Battle of Thermopylae

A hundred followers to hold off the empire

Rob Furey
2 min readApr 4, 2022


Some 24 centuries ago, over the course of three days, the Spartan King Leonidas I held off the army of the Persian Empire of Xerxes I at the Battle of Thermopylae. The actual numbers of soldiers on either side of the conflict have been in debate for millennia, although the relative sizes of each army are not. The Greeks had hundreds of soldiers while the Persians had many hundreds of thousands of troops.

Scene of the Battle of the Thermopylae
John Steeple Davis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Similarly, some three days ago I was informed by Medium that I would be removed from the Medium Partner Program for a low number of followers. Even though I have been a contributing member of the partner program for years, suddenly they came for me with the overwhelming force of a million Achaemenid warriors.

But, like an angry Spartan, I fought back. I retaliated with the tools given to me by Medium itself. I wrote a short piece about my discontent with Medium’s rule changes. Once I’d posted that article, I contacted outside groups that shared their own Medium articles, tips, and writer camaraderie. There I found others in the same situation as myself. They had been producers getting paid a few dollars a month — a number that had mysteriously been dropping over time — and now suddenly not even getting that token. All for the lack of followers.

For three days I rallied and recruited followers. For three days they came to my aid, one by one, until my forces seemed bolstered enough to reverse my expulsion from the Partner Program. I set out my troops with all the confidence of a Greek general and reapplied to the program.

Marching confidently through the series of questions, I pushed forward. When we fought the Battle of Sufficient Followers, I won, or so it first appeared.

It seemed that some sneaky SOB Ephialtes had warned the Medium troops that I was coming and outmaneuvered me. They accepted my answers to their questions and acknowledged that the numbers were now copesetic. Then they said they would get back to me in a few days. Boom. They were gone and I am still left adrift.

It took three days for Xerxes to overrun Leonidas’ position in the Thermopylae Pass. And three days for my followers to come attempt putting a stop to Medium’s actions. After three days of fighting, the Spartans were finally overrun. I know exactly how they felt.

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Rob Furey

Rob is a professor of integrated science in Pennsylvania where he teaches biology and forensics courses. He writes both fiction and non-fiction.