Victoria Taylor is back on Reddit, and many believe she is fueling the site’s ongoing rebellion against management.
Taylor was fired last week from her post at Reddit, an influential position in which she coordinated the site’s Ask Me Anything series that attracted celebrities and politicians — even President Obama — to talk directly with users.
Her firing spawned a site-wide protest against Reddit management and CEO Ellen Pao in particular, and on Wednesday, the fired Taylor returned with her first public message since the firing.
While Taylor thanked the fans, many believe she also sent a message of encouragement to those protesting against management.
“I’ve been incredibly humbled and honored to serve this community, and I truly believe all voices matter.”
“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.”
What happened this weekend was a three-day protest against Ellen Pao and Reddit management. In the wake of Taylor’s firing, the IAMA board was taken down as moderators tried to figure out how to continue in her absence. Dozens of other boards (known as subreddits) went private in solidarity, with volunteer moderators complaining about the lack of communication and cooperation from administrators.
The rebellion was seen site-wide. A new subreddit called Blackout 2015 was created to spread news of the uprising of users against the site’s management, and it quickly shot up to more than 40,000 members.
The protest has crossed over to the mainstream media as well. Though Reddit is consistently in the top 15 sites in the United States and bills itself as “The Front Page of the Internet,” many users still see it as something of a well-kept secret, so it was a surprise to many to see the inter-site squabble make national news.
It even spawned an op-ed in the New York Times, written by the moderators of IAMA who took the board private after Taylor’s firing. In the editorial they wrote in support of Taylor.
“We are disheartened by the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, who was one of the most high-profile women at the company — and in the technology field. We hope Reddit recruits someone with the talent and necessary background to fill her position in a similar capacity. The community on the whole has also spoken quite loudly: Pay attention to the user base. 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.”
After the firing of Victoria Taylor and the ensuing chaos, Reddit’s management team, led by Ellen Pao, have apologized and vowed to take steps to better communicate with moderators. But as the site’s ongoing protest shows, there is still a lot of work to be done.
[Image via Reddit.com]