Yes, something is clearly broken with read times. I hope it’s a technical problem that’s going to get fixed. I have noticed specifically only because the day before yesterday, two Medium members read a chapter of a novella I published a long time ago on Medium. I’m getting very little native engagement anymore so I was able to examine the stats pretty meaningfully.
Both readers commented to me about elements of the plot and character. They had each clearly read the chapter, which takes according to Medium’s estimates about nine minutes.
Their comments indicated that they had paid attention. They didn’t just say hey this was a nice read and move on, they talked about the story. One even asked a question about a plot line that she could only have noticed if she had read the chapter with attention.
Yesterday out of curiosity I went back to look at my stats for that chapter. On the day that each reader read and commented, I was credited with a grand total of two seconds of reading time.
That has to be wrong. There is no way those readers spent only two seconds on that chapter and made the comments they made.
Something is broken, and something is broken pretty badly.