With Reddit entering a full-scale revolt following the firing of a popular employee, attention has turned to the fledgling alternatives that so far have been unable to handle the influx of members leaving Reddit.
The tension within Reddit, which had been building for weeks, exploded on Thursday when the site fired employee Victoria Taylor, who was responsible for setting up and running the popular Ask Me Anything series. It was these IAMA sessions that brought Reddit some of the most headline-grabbing moments, including President Obama stopping by to chat with members.
Taylor’s job was to schedule and oversee these sessions, including making sure it was actually the person answering questions and not a PR lackey.
Taylor’s firing led IAMA to go private while volunteer moderators figured out how to continue. One of the moderators of IAMA, /u/karmanaut, explained that the team was completely in the dark about Taylor’s firing.
“We had a number of AMAs scheduled for today that Victoria was supposed to help with, and they are all left absolutely high and dry. She was still willing to help them today (before the sub was shut down, of course) even without being paid or required to do so. Just a sign of how much she is committed to what she does.”
Dozens of other subreddits followed suit with IAMA, turning to private to protest the site’s apparent lack of cooperation with the scores of volunteer moderators who keep the boards running.
The revolt came after weeks of tension within Reddit, dating back to the decision in June to ban a handful of subreddits that violated the site’s rules on harassment. One of those — a board for mocking overweight people, aptly titled FatPeopleHate — had hundreds of thousands of subscribers, many of whom filled Reddit’s front page with protests for weeks.
But Thursday’s incident has led many people to abandon the site entirely, seeking refuge at the Reddit alternatives that have popped up in the last few months. But so far these sites have been unable to take the influx. Voat.co, which the Independent noted has an uncanny resemblance to Reddit and has already taken in waves of members after the FatPeopleHate banning, was down for most of Thursday and Friday.
The site Snapzu, an alternative that takes after Reddit’s link-sharing and subreddit style, was also down for much of Thursday. But the time it was back up on Friday, many of the discussions centered on the crisis in Reddit.
But unlike the FatPeopleHate kerfuffle, which largely faded among the site’s regular users, it appears that Thursday’s revolt could have more long-lasting effects. Dozens of subreddits remained dark, and the search term “Reddit alternative” was trending on Google on Friday afternoon.
[Image via voat.co]