Kate Findley, we are a lot alike in this regard. When I approach a thread it usually takes me days to knock it out because I read every piece, just like you.
I get the spirit of supporting writers. And, I’ll suggest that the metric isn’t only in claps. It’s in engagement and sharing, and highlighting and comments, And ……
Yes, it’s about a lot and I know that you have been intuned with this too. If I’m saying what you’ve already been thinking/suspecting, it’s further confirmation to the evidence stated herein because I know you study the stats and performance of your pieces.
With so many well-informed people about the evidence behind this evaluation, we’ve got to remove the emotion and perhaps fear others are presenting. We’ve got to keep our heads down and keep doing the work based on the evidence. All else will fall away.