The clapping thing is still very odd for most. I just clap at least 20x, and yes that is a bit excessive but ehh. I know people use their own ideas. It maxes out at 50 claps.
I try to use the home page for what it’s worth. I have a few people I try to check regularly, but that does not always happen.
Good to see you bad and writing. I do good to get on post a month.
My advice is, read on, write on and clap on. Medium has it’s issues, but it’s better than most.