Reddit co-founder: “We screwed up”

Moodle user /u/NyghtRavy posted this morning an email from Reddit Co-founder, Alexis Ohanion. Thankfully after possibly the worst week for Reddit since launch, an apology arrived. “So. Things were…...


Moodle user /u/NyghtRavy posted this morning an email from Reddit Co-founder, Alexis Ohanion. Thankfully after possibly the worst week for Reddit since launch, an apology arrived.

“So. Things were… eventful this week. To put it mildly.

It started on Thursday when we let go one of our employees, Victoria Taylor, who had helped coordinate AMAs for the last couple years.

I can’t publicly comment on why we made this decision, but I can talk about the way we handled it—we screwed up. Victoria worked extensively with the moderator teams in r/IAMA, r/books, r/science, and more to make sure AMAs went smoothly, and when she left, we didn’t have a great process in place to handle that transition and didn’t communicate it to those mods very well.

The mods of r/IAMA, concerned about how things would work moving forward, temporarily shut down the subreddit. Many more mods, also upset by our failure to provide proper tools and support, followed suit. As you may have noticed, Reddit looked pretty different from normal for a while.

There’s a much more in-depth overview of what happened in r/outoftheloop.

We’ve received the message, we’ve talked with a lot of moderators, and we’re going to get better. We know we’ve done a pretty terrible job at communicating. We know a lot of things on the site don’t work as well as you—and we—would like. We know there are a lot more issues and that the community as a whole is pretty unhappy with us right now.

I know apologies and promises feel empty right now, but that’s all I can give—with the additional promise that we really do mean it. We’ve recently hired a product manager for the community team who is working on new tools. We’re actively working on brigading. We’re figuring out solutions to improve modmail. But it takes time to make these changes, so they won’t be here tomorrow. But they will be here.

We’re sorry. And we’re going to do better. In the meantime, there were a lot of other really cool things that happened on Reddit this week, and we’d still like to share them with you below.

/u/kn0thing Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder”


The backstory of #RedditRevolt

Reddit receives a massive 150 million unique views a month, making it one of the largest sites on the internet. With a community that large, it’s awfully easy for things to go south and this week, they did, in a big way.

A movement known as #RedditRevolt started after a key moderator of the popular /r/iAMA subreddit was sacked. On July 2nd, Reddit began experiencing a series of blackouts as moderators of popular subreddits set them to private in support of administrator Victoria Taylor.

The whole sacking has been shrouded in secrecy, the lack of communication between Reddit and the community is turning every subreddit into a discussion about the problem, instead of their standard diverse, engaging and controversial conversations.

Perhaps the reason the problem is so great is that AMA has been a key part of Reddit.

Notable people that have done AMA’s include President Barack Obama, Dave Grohl, Madonna, Chris Hadfield (who answered questions from the International Space Station), Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Louis C.K., Roger Federer, Larry King, Stan Lee and our own Kevin Rudd.

With celebrities like this, it’s easy to see how the site and in particular this subreddit is so important. Each of these participants publicise the AMA through their social channels and bring their massive followings to the site. Naturally when a key player in AMAs is told to leave, people get angry.

Social networks

This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.