Reddit, one of the internet’s most popular forums, is experiencing its own type of a people’s revolution these days; while the company’s bosses are seeking to de-tension the situation which causes it millions of dollars in losses.
The whole debacle started on Friday, after the company announced that they’ve parted ways with Victoria Taylor, also known as /u/ chooter, a very popular employee who was overseeing the Ask Me Anything (/r/IAmA), a special board which hosts high profile community driven interviews with famous personalities – with even President Obama having a session at one point.
In response to that and other problems, moderators of major subreddits(different forums within the meta-site) have decided to list them as private – effectively blocking any users from seeing or posting in them. This included /r/AskReddit, /r/funny, /r/books, /r/science, /r/music, /r/gaming, /r/Art and numerous other reddits who had hundreds of thousands of subscribers to them.
Also, moderators of subreddits who have decided not to list themselves as private have almost unanimously voiced their support for the protest action, some even encouraging its users to use AdBlocker so that surfing the boards would not result in any revenue towards the company.
Reddit has not given any official causes for its sacking of Taylor, but the spark which really fueled the mass protest was when the company asked /r/IAmA moderators to take over Taylor’s responsibilities, which among others consisted in planning AMA sessions, verifying the identity of those due to participate in the Q&A. Subreddit moderators are non-paid volunteers who, at times, need to manage communities of hundreds of thousands of users in the spare time.
According to Out of the Loop, a special board which gives a detailed recount of the Reddit protest, mods are not only protesting towards Taylor’s unaccounted dismissal, but because of what they feel as lack of respect from the company towards their unpaid efforts. The board cites a lack of communication between site admins and moderators on a large host of issues, including a lack of any effort in improving the site’s moderation tools to make their work easier.
With over 7.5 billion views per month on their over 9.000 subreddits, it’s clear to see that Reddit stands to lose millions in online ad revenue should the protest carry on. CEO Ellen Pao, who was one of the main targets of user ironies and protests, came out with a statement in which she apologized on behalf of the company of how they handled the problem.