Reddit users revolt after Ask Me Anything co-ordinator fired
Many popular pages on Reddit have been closed to the public as a sign of protest.
Published Friday, July 3, 2015 2:05PM EDT
Turmoil has engulfed the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet,” with a number of Reddit moderators blacking out their popular link-sharing pages to protest the firing of a well-liked employee at the company.
Approximately 100 category-driven chat pages, called subreddits, have been closed to the public following the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, who is credited with the wild success of Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) chat series.
Reddit's AMA moderator said Taylor was “unexpectedly let go from her position” in a post on Tuesday. The moderator, who goes by the online name Karmanaut, went on to say that he and other moderators are hiding their pages from the public as a sign of protest against the company.
“We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed,” he said.
Reddit employs paid website overseers called admins, who work in concert with volunteer moderators like Karmanaut.
As a Reddit employee, Taylor was responsible for booking many celebrities, politicians and experts for live question-and-answer sessions on Reddit, including U.S. President Barack Obama, shock rocker Marilyn Manson, reclusive actor Bill Murray and a whole host of other big names.
Karmanaut described Taylor as “an essential lifeline of communication” between volunteer moderators and Reddit’s paid staff. “For (Reddit’s AMA feature) to work the way it currently does, we need Victoria,” he said. “Without her, we need to figure out a different way for it to work.”
The shutdown affected many popular subreddits, including r/Science, r/History, r/Videos, r/Gaming and r/Movies. Some pages had already re-opened to the public by Friday afternoon, while others remain closed.
Reddit has not directly addressed Taylor’s dismissal. However, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, a.k.a. Kn0thing, admitted that his paid staff failed to properly communicate with the site’s moderators.
“I’m sorry for how we handled communicating change to the AMA team this morning,” he said in a post on Friday.
Ohanian called for the protesting moderators to bring their subreddits back online. “Your message was received loud and clear,” he said. “We will work closely with you all going forward to ensure events like today don’t happen again.”
Taylor thanked her supporters in a tweet on Thursday.
Thank you to everyone for their good wishes and support. Love you guys.— happysquid (@happysquid) July 2, 2015
Reddit is a popular hub for Internet news and viral content.