Reddit, the site that bills itself as the front page of the Internet, is in a state of rebellion.
Major sections of the popular social networking site are dark as unpaid moderators are revolting by turning key communities private to protest the reported firing of Victoria Taylor, director of talent and a key administrator at Reddit.
The much loved staffer, known by the user handle /u/chooter, was responsible for supervising Reddit’s most important feature “Ask Me Anything” (/r/IAmA) – a forum that allows website’s users to engage in a real-time Q&A with famous personalities, such as Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julian Assange and scores of others.
Apparently, Taylor was dismissed without any notice, and to make the matters worse, moderators of the r/iAmA subreddit took the forum private (probably to figure out how to handle the upcoming AMAs without Taylor’s help), thereby effectively shutting out other users from the subreddit entirely.
So far, Reddit doesn’t seem to have any plans for sorting this matter out.
“Today, we learned that Victoria was unexpectedly let go from her position with Reddit. We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed,” commented key user and senior moderator karmanaut. “The admins didn't realize how much we rely on Victoria. Part of it is proof, of course: we know it's a legitimate [AMA] when she's sitting right there next to the person and can make them provide proof [of identity]. We've had situations where agents or others have tried to do an AMA as their client, and Victoria shut that shit down immediately. We can't do that anymore.”
While many consider Taylor’s recent AMA with Jesse Jackson as the impetus behind her sudden departure, some believe that the entire controversy goes way deeper and has a lot to do with the site’s administration and its ever-changing policies.
Marc Bodnick, who leads Quora’s business and community teams, was apparently told by “someone close to Reddit,” that the site’s management was pushing Taylor to take the AMAs in a more commercial direction, and she wasn’t comfortable with the idea because she felt it wouldn’t do the Reddit community any good.
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Meanwhile, Taylor herself was quite “dazed” by the news and plans to go on a vacation with her husband before looking for a new job.
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian made an attempt to calm the angry masses using the r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit to say that as r/IAMA thrived before Taylor's arrival, it will thrive after her departure as well.
However, it looks like the damage has already been done as Taylor’s departure has left the site in a chaotic state. Not to mention, there’s already vast amounts of tension between the site’s users/moderators and its management, particularly CEO Ellen Pao.
Reddit’s meltdown has also set Twitter on fire:
#RedditRevolt The Internet Never Forgets— Grant (@WolfSaviorZX) July 3, 2015
Had the chance to spend an hour with Victoria during my AMA. Couldn't be a better woman to stick up for. #RedditRevolt— Ethan Embry (@EmbryEthan) July 3, 2015
Welp, there you go. /r/Technology has gone dark. Good job, Chairman Pao. #RedditRevolt— James Dabbagian (@JTDabbagian) July 3, 2015
Honestly? I don't think a truce is even possible at this point. Admins will always resent mods and users for this. #RedditRevolt— Alberto De Lucca (@adeluccar) July 3, 2015