On Friday, a popular Reddit moderator was fired causing other loyal Reddit moderators to temporarily make some of the page’s most widely read pages private. Some of the affected pages included Subreddits for movies, books, gaming and science.
The popular moderator – Victoria Taylor – was let go under mysterious circumstances. As a result, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian apologized for the situation, and pleaded with the moderators responsible for the act of solidarity to put an end to it. The protest resulted in over 100 subreddits, each with tens of millions of subscribers being rendered unusable on the evening of July 2nd.
Victoria Taylor was in charge of the incredibly wide read “Ask me anything” or AMA series which invited public figures to come online and be asked anything by Reddit users. Subreddit pages that also host AMA sessions are left in limbo being unable to contact the participants.
There is speculation that Taylor’s dismissal was a result of the catastrophic AMA with Revered Jesse Jackson that took place on July 2nd, the day before Taylor was let go. Reverend Jesse Jackson is an activist preacher, who was hit with some fairly hard questions during his disastrous AMA.
For example, when asked “What are somethings that the average African-American can do to help reduce racial tensions in his area” he responded by saying: “Well, the source of those tensions often come from denial of an even playing field. You know, we are very good at athletics.” This evasive answer seemed to fuel the fire.
During an AMA, it is the job of the moderator to filter through the questions and direct the appropriate ones to the guest. Perhaps, Taylor was believed to not have lived up to the task at hand, and she was let go following a complaint from Jackson.
Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao’s decision to ban five extremely racist subreddits in the last month was a controversial move. Furthermore, she recently lost a court case against that accused her former employer of gender based discrimination. Add to the list the swift and silent dismissal of Victoria Taylor, and it would appear that Pao needs to work on her image.
While there is nothing wrong with a little executive decision making, the entire Reddit community is up in arms over her most recent move. According to both volunteer and paid moderators, Victoria Taylor was a vital team member at Reddit. Without her the AMAs are going to look drastically different.