Hey, there is a really easy way to not get sucked into this.
Don't get sucked in.
Just keep on doing what you were doing before. Forget about earnings and prize interactions instead. I long ago figured out that I'm not going to make any real money this way because what I write just doesn't "fit the brand."
I've been on Medium for nearly 4 years and part of the Partner Program for three. The most I've ever made in a single month was less than $5,99,. Not that I don't get readers. They just don't happen to be Medium members.
Ultimately, if you follow your original impulse to simply interact with others, you may or may not build a sufficient readership among Medium members to make some money.
Chances are, however, that you won't.
Deal with it.