Is there a way to get email updates when people I follow on Medium write new posts, but not get any other email spam? This seems like such a basic feature and yet the closest option in subscription settings seems to be We’ll email you with new stories written and applauded for by people you follow on Medium. which would mix posts from the people I follow with anything they click the like button on.
Currently you can't set up email or Medium notifications for new posts published by a user or publication. They do send however push notifications (iOS and Android) when a user you're following publishes a story.
What you can do instead is to create email alerts based on publication's or user's RSS feed. To do that, grab the user's RSS using this link: https://medium.com/feed/@USER or this https://medium.com/feed/PUBLICATION-NAME for publications.
Using RSS and a 3rd party service, you can create RSS to email alerts.