From my perspective, now, you would be shooting yourself in the foot, if you didn’t lock them. After becoming a member of Medium it took me quite a bit of effort and numerous emails to even be allowed to lock stories. I now find what little money I get from stories helps me to justify the subscription fee I am paying to Medium. I kind of look at the recent changes to Medium through the analogy of the history of cable TV; in the beginning, cable TV justified the subscription model by basically saying “Hey, we don’t have any commercials”; then, when they had suckered in enough people, they went to advertisers and said, “Hey, look at our huge subscription base”. Now, cable TV airs more commercials than what regular over-the-air broadcast channels (that are left), do.