Hi Jane! The article is interesting but it is merely an informed opinion by a person who has a lot of experience with Medium. I agree with some points (the incentive structure is a bit messed up) and disagree with others (I don’t think it’ll be the end of Medium). Since he doesn’t work at Medium (and I don’t either) we don’t know exactly how it all works, but I believe the drop in traffic (which I noticed too) has something to do with a shift in their strategy to elevate their in-house writers/publications more.
That being said, and to answer your question directly, no, publishing a non-metered story will not (technically) result in your story shown only to your followers. If you publish a story and choose to not put it behind the paywall, you are making your story ineligible for curation. I don’t know if you ever had a story selected by curators, but I have and got a LOT more views than I usually do. What ineligible for curation means is that your story could not be chosen to be shown to a wider group of people (if I’m still not making sense, see link above). If you publish in the Knob or any other publication, it will be shown to the followers of that publication, on top of your followers, but not to other people through the curators (of this I am sure) and I believe it won’t be shown as related reads or the tags you put on your story (this is a guess).
Hope any of this makes sense! I really like Medium but I am really not liking this new setup where you need to publish behind the paywall to be “taken seriously”.