Thanks for the response. I’ll try to answer in turn..
As far as I can tell, no payment for comment claps.
If it’s just you publishing, the only real advantage for building a publication is ease of navigation if someone wants to go through your older material. If you can get multiple authors in the same pub, though, I think there are some synergies. See: Marjorie Steele’s “Cosgrrl" pub for an example, which is kind of feminist-adjacent nerd culture stuff. (I have 2 articles there)
The Medium tribal bias has gotten very bad of late, especially with regard to things like gun policy. I carry near near rockstar status on the “liberal gun owners” subreddit, but because my writing here challenges the party line, it’s never curated. Its actually kind of funny at this point. And it makes me think positively towards conservative claims of “deplatforming.”