Redditors want Ellen Pao out as CEO of Reddit, launching an online campaign to get her to step down after the controversial firing of one of the company's employees, Victoria Taylor.
As director of talent, Taylor manages the subreddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). She was let go last week for unknown reasons, prompting moderators to shut down around 300 subreddits on various topics they were handling as a form of protest. Most of the subreddits were back in business by Sunday but an online petition was also underway, now already reaching close to 200,000 supporters.
Moderators are up in arms that Taylor was fired unceremoniously because of the immense help she provides the community. A user called Billy Johnson started the campaign and he relayed how communication between Reddit's administration team and subreddit moderators has always been lacking. And with Taylor gone, there doesn't seem to be hope that the situation will improve.
According to the online campaign, a significant chunk of the Reddit community believes that the Reddit CEO is a "manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top." Pao is also believed to have overstepped her boundaries, with fears running rampant that she'll run the company to the ground.
"Alternative sites to Reddit.com have sprung up and have received vast amounts of traffic within the recent months," stated the online campaign.
Pao didn't skirt around the issue though, saying that "the bigger problem is that we haven't helped our moderators with better support after many years of promising to do so" in a statement released on Reddit.
She also apologized in interviews, saying sorry for letting the Reddit community down and admitting that community moderators should have been informed about the transition following Taylor leaving. The sudden turn of events through many moderators in a loop given how much they rely on Taylor, something, they claimed, that Reddit does not realize.
Reddit has not disclosed its revenues but it has been roughly valued at $250 million. Last year, it was able to raise $50 million with support from venture capitalists. The company said it was going to use the money to refine its advertising model and hire more employees. Advance Publications owns majority of Reddit.
While Pao and Reddit are still sorting out through this mess, Kristine Fasnacht has been appointed as liaison between Reddit and community moderators in the meantime.
Photo: Christopher Michel | Flickr