I also dislike the self-marketing that Medium forces writers to do. It's a huge distraction from writing. Part of Medium's value prop is they have a huge audience and the ability to market on behalf of its writers. ~~"Bring us your writing, we'll bring you the eyeballs"
I'm tempted to agree with Ted Rivers that this is a desperate attempt to increase their paid membership numbers. I disagree with many of the changes Medium has been making -- last year, switching from a topics-based approach to a followers-based approach (basically, Ev giving a massive middle finger to new writers), then earlier this year these "competitions" that pissed off thousands of writers, and now the "referred members" as a way to justify lower pay-per-view returns....
It's clear they're scrambling for profitability
I feel it's still the best place to write, though, only because of the network of other writers who are seriously so damn good & have so many interesting things to say