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Moderator Mutiny! - Large Sections of Reddit Locked After AMA Sacking

ibtimes.co.uk
This is the kind of thing that's going to be really frustrating for regular Reddit users, but terrific fun for anyone who isn't. Earlier this week Victoria Taylor, director of communications and chief liaison for the site's wildly popular AMA sessions, was fired. No statement has been given by Taylor or Reddit with regards to why this has happened, but in the wake of it a large contingent of Reddit's moderator community have revolted.

Reddit's AMAs are one of its biggest draws, allowing well known or interesting people from all walks of life to answer questions put to them by users for a short space of time. In firing Taylor, Reddit have burned the bridge between interviewees and mods. Taylor would read the questions to the interviewees over the phone and transcribe the answers. Without her presence, communication between the two has become nigh-on impossible, placing many of the already-scheduled AMAs in serious jeopardy. For whatever reason, whether this was the direct cause or just a final straw, the mods have clearly had enough, and have started marking some of the most popular subreddits on the site as private, locking them out.

Among the locked pages are r/videos, r/gaming and r/AskReddit, all of which, while still visible on the home screen, will just lead you headfirst into a brick wall. On the r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit, which tries to make sense of trending topics for the uninitiated, a moderator statement reads:  "There is a feeling among many of the moderators of reddit that 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, which they feel is expressed by, among other things, the lack of communication between them and the admins, and their disregard of the thousands of mods who keep reddit's communities going."

Judging from that, it seems like this was almost inevitable. Reddit's infrastructure is built up of a head office in San Francisco with 71 employees, numerous remotely working admin staff and then a massive compliment of voluntary moderators. Clearly, the lines of communication between the last two are imperfect. This morning co-founder Alex Ohanian released a statement attempting to open a dialogue with the moderators, as well as apologising to the user-base for the blackout.

"We will use this forum to discuss how we will improve being a moderator on reddit. I’ll personally be in here asking and listening." He said, addressing the mods directly. "We are building tools to help you all do your jobs more effectively (anti-brigading and better modmail/tools are already in progress). We will build these with your input and incorporate more transparency."

The AMA issue is addressed in the statement, with Ohanian largely just saying it's a mess and it'll take time to untangle it, so don't expect anything to change for the better any time soon. Even in general terms, getting rid of Taylor is going to put a massive dent in Reddit's already flimsy publicity, she was one of the most visible and popular people on staff. Rumors suggest that she was let go because of the recent, disastrous AMA with Reverend Jesse Jackson, but honestly if that's the only reason, they'd better either clam up or invent a very convincing lie, otherwise this internal struggle is only going to intensify.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Moderator Mutiny! - Large Sections of Reddit Locked After AMA Sacking Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, July 03, 2015 Rating: 5

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