It's been quite a month for reddit, and not in a way that paints a pretty picture for the site's future. For months now, many vocal users of reddit have discussed their distaste with the site, especially following the arrival of new CEO Ellen Pao. From the outside, it appears that she knows little about running this kind of business, and recent legal matters have made people wonder how reddit hired her in the first place.
And then, the banning of the Fat People Hate sub-reddit happened, just under a month ago. Under new rules, reddit promised to close down sub-reddits that were, in effect, houses of hate. While I don't feel bad that people who live their days hating on other people lost a sub-reddit they loved oh so much, it does raise the question of whether sub-reddits like Fat People Hate should be classified as free speech.
The banning of that sub-reddit, among others, made reddit explode at the seams with angst. For days that followed, the front page was littered with copycat sub-reddits of those that were banned, and a ton of new ones sprung up that were dedicated to the ousting of Ellen Pao. Alas, those affected by the sub-reddit bans are in the minority, so it could be that reddit wasn't too concerned.
Victoria Taylor; Credit: /u/beernerd
Well, if that's the case, it might want to be a little more concerned about its most recent action: the firing of well-respected reddit admin Victoria Taylor.
One of the most popular sub-reddits is called IAMA, "ask me anything", an outlet where many people go to answer questions. While it's best-known for hosting celebrity chats, anyone is free to go there and start a thread. For the higher profile AMA's, Victoria worked with those hosting them, and sometimes even transcribed what was being said, so as to get as many questions answered as possible, and make the entire process relatively easy for the person answering the questions.
And now, as of yesterday, Victoria is no longer with reddit, without any explanation from the management. As Victoria was so well-liked, and integral to making the AMA process work, people immediately took up arms. For some, the reason for an outburst is deserved: the out-of-nowhere firing of Victoria has left some sub-reddits without a proxy between themselves and the people set to host AMA's soon. Yet again, reddit pulled the trigger on something, and is facing a ton of backlash for it.
reddit's Ellen Pao
It's hard to claim that CEO Ellen Pao had anything directly do to with the firing, but reddit is a site of jumping-to-conclusioners, so as we saw from the banning of Fat People Hate, Pao is on many people's radars. It's also caused admins of many default sub-reddits to transition their subs to private mode. These include IAMA, AskReddit, science, gaming, history, art, and movies.
Rumor has it that Victoria was being pushed to make AMAs more commercial, and thus was met with resistance when she disagreed. We don't know for sure, and we won't until a legitimate source speaks up. All we are sure of, is, reddit seems to be on the verge of implosion, with things continually getting worse, not better.