What a week it's been for reddit fans. We reported late last week that protests were being held in support of beloved admin Victoria Taylor who was fired seemingly out of nowhere. Over the weekend, protests became so severe that those who didn't know what was going on found out quick enough. In fact, these in-your-face protests resulted a in petition supporting the firing of CEO Ellen Pao being signed by well over 100,000 people just over the weekend.
Given the hoopla, and not to mention the fact that CEO Ellen Pao spoke to other media since July 2, you'd be correct in thinking that it's taken an awful long time for an official statement right inside of reddit to be made. While it was beginning to seem like it'd never happen, Pao came out from hiding today to issue a formal apology. As of the time of writing, she's been "gilded" six times, so she clearly isn't without some supporters.
reddit's Ellen Pao
Pao begins, "We screwed up." An understatement. But, she continues, "Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years." She admits that over the years, the company hasn't communicated well with the site's moderators, which is one of the biggest reasons for recent outbursts. The company has continued to make major changes without a heads-up, which is the main reason the collective lot freaked out about the out-of-nowhere firing of Victoria - an action made worse given the fact that it happened right in the middle of an AMA chat.
Ultimately, Pao says that things will get better - that the company is committed to it. It's going to be releasing new tools that will help moderators do their job, while at the same time communication should improve with a new "Moderator Advocate". She also added that moderators can revert to the old search tool in favor of one that was recently released (a great thing, but the old search had major flaws, too.)
It seems Pao isn't ignorant of the fact that many are going to believe she's just saying what she has to. So, she targets those people: "I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us. I don't have all the answers, and it will take time for us to deliver concrete results. I mean it when I say we screwed up, and we want to have a meaningful ongoing discussion. I know we've drifted out of touch with the community as we've grown and added more people, and we want to connect more. I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now."
For the sake of reddit's fans, we do hope that there is substance to these promises. It's been said that reddit could become the next Digg with how things are going, and that is likely to happen if things don't improve.