Reddit users want the head of CEO Ellen Pao over unfair labor practice and allegations that she unceremoniously terminated Victoria Taylor, who happened to be one of the firm’s most popular employees.
Taylor reportedly got fired on Thursday. She used to manage Ask Me Anything, the site’s popular subreddit. She is also Reddit’s communications director.
The company probably didn’t expect the deluge of support Taylor received when social news site Reddit moderators got wind of her seemingly disgraced exit. On Thursday, over 100 subreddits on gaming, movies and science, among others, went dark for a few hours for the “Reddit Revolt,” in what was described as the moderators’ way to express their disgust over how Taylor was fired and its effective consequences to them will be.
Karmanaut, one of the moderators of /r/IAmA, in a blog post on a subreddit called /r/OutOfTheLoop, didn’t hide the dismay.
“Today, we learned that Victoria was unexpectedly let go from her position with Reddt,” they wrote. “We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed.”
“The admins do not respect the work that is put in by the thousands of unpaid volunteers who maintain the communities of the 9,656 active subreddits,” a moderator argued in a post about the shutdowns.
By Friday, Reddit was on lockdown.
Pao has apologized for “letting down” the company’s users. She also pledged to conduct better dialogue with the social news site’s moderators. She explained the company is undergoing some changes. “This year, we have started building better tools for moderators and for admins to help keep subreddits and Reddit awesome, but our infrastructure is monolithic, and it is going to take some time.”
But she did admit the error the Reddit management did, and said personnel changes should have been informed to moderators earlier to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
However, the apology, it seemed, wasn’t enough. A petition lodged at Change.org wants Lao to step down from her role as the company’s chief executive. It has generated over 125,000 signatures.
“My paranoid side thinks that they want total control over iAMA, in order to put forward only the questions that they want and delete anything that goes against their interests,” portal dnaindia.com quoted a top comment by a Reddit user who pointed a potential link between how Lao wants to run the company and Taylor’s termination.