If the Internet had a soap opera, it would be hosted on reddit.
On Wednesday, Victoria Taylor, the dismissed reddit employee whose firing prompted a petition for reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s resignation, finally broke her silence (by posting on reddit, of course). Meanwhile, reddit moderators Brian Lynch and Courtnie Swearingen published an editorial in The New York Times detailing why they “shut down reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything Forum.'”
Screenwriters can’t write drama this gripping.
The commentary from both parties comes just days after Pao posted a public apology for the mishandling of numerous reddit situations, in which she admitted, “We screwed up.” But now, reddit users are hearing yet another side of the story, with both Taylor and the enraged reddit moderators chiming in on their feelings on the situation.
In explaining the temporary AMA hiatus, Lynch and Swearingen wrote “our primary concern, and reason for taking the site down temporarily, is that reddit’s management made critical changes to a very popular website without any apparent care for how those changes might affect their biggest resource: the community and the moderators that help tend the subreddits that constitute the site. Moderators commit their time to the site to foster engaging communities. Ms. Taylor’s sudden termination is just the most recent example of management’s making changes without thinking through what those changes might mean for the people who use the site on a daily basis.”
While Taylor does not shed much more light on the circumstances that led to her departure, she notes, “I’ll never forget my time at reddit. You allowed me to be a part of some of the greatest conversations of our time, and it was an honor to be your ambassador.”
She continues to thank her devoted fans, who raised pitchforks after she left the company, saying “I am deeply moved and grateful beyond words, and your encouragement has meant more than you’ll ever know. I’ve been incredibly humbled and honored to serve this community, and I truly believe all voices matter.”
Referencing the petition regarding Pao’s position, Taylor added that “your voices matter. You proved that this weekend. And really, this weekend wasn’t about me. It was about you. And if I know one thing about this community, it’s that you’ll continue making your voices heard. And that’s an inspiration.”
Though she remains unclear on where her next professional move will be, she “assures” readers, “I will live up to the faith you’ve had in me. You can take the woman out of reddit, but you can’t take the reddit out of the woman. I believe in you. And that’s a promise.”
As for what’s next for reddit, that fate remains unclear as well. In their op-ed, the moderators say “we feel strongly that this incident is more part of a reckless disregard for the company’s own business and for the work the moderators and users put into the site. Dismissing Victoria Taylor was part of a long pattern of insisting the community and the moderators do more with less.”
As a platform dedicated to the democratic display of content, reddit promises to continue to put the users first.
“The community on the whole has spoken quite loudly: Pay attention to the user base,” Lynch and Swearingen said. “Users are not simply a screaming mob. They are actually asking for reasonable support, and as moderators, we are trying very hard to do what we can to make those changes happen.”
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