Yes, that is definitely a fair statement. What some people might not understand is what statement they are making. Others are VERY aware of it.
You see, when Medium changed the pay model so that writers get paid by reads (not claps) they assigned a new purpose to claps. The number of claps are a measure of whether we think the piece should be promoted.
So, whether a reader knows it or not, when they give a story 1 clap or 5 claps, they are saying to Medium “yes, I read it — don’t promote this, it’s not worthy”
They may not KNOW that’s what they’re saying, but the rules never care what we think of them. Gravity works whether we believe in it or not. Likewise, the measure of claps we give tells Medium whether we think that piece is worthy of additional promotion. Or not.
Some people are unaware. Others use that as an intentional dig.