Why not just let the reader decide? Instead of trying to pick what the reader sees and doesn’t see.
Why don’t you use a feedback system from each reader to determine what they want to see more of and what they want to see less of? If I see an article I don’t like, I remove it from my feed. If I don’t like the publication, I mute it. And I can choose to mute the author too. And of course, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean everybody else doesn’t.
If Medium is really going “reader-focused”, why don’t readers the chance to rank their favorite writers (that they follow) and use that to curate new articles for each reader? (Of course, articles from other writers will still be recommended to them).
Anyway, my point is this: I might want to read what you call clickbait. Personally, I don’t like lifeless titles (both for reading and writing). So, let the reader judge. Let each reader judge. Give each reader the ability to punish a clickbait article by barring the writer from the TL of that reader (for maybe a week). And readers who pick “clickbait” will not contribute to the earnings of the writer.
Another idea is to have readers choose after every article: clap or clickbait. And the writer will see the results of those who chose clickbait as opposed to claps. Then, the writer can use that to improve.
Summary: Let the READER decide