A. I don’t read too much into claps. I know some writers who rarely give more than 15 claps and some who always give 50. I am guessing that it is more “what I feel at the moment” than anything for most people. I am guilty of that. It is hard to know what a person’s intent was.
A mathematical system would be easier to understand if everyone adhered to it. But I don’t see that happening. And you would need to clap low for stories you don’t like just to give it a bad grade. Then they will KNOW that you don’t like it.
I would rather just not clap for stories I don’t like. The old “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” method. It seems nicer to me. Zero like, zero clap.
I also think sometimes stories just get overlooked or don’t resonate for who knows why.
I had one sci-fi story tank. It got 2 reads and 22 claps. But one of those clappers gave it a glowing review/response. So go figure.