Reddit moderators revolt over sacking of popular admin


#1

[Read the post]


#2

most of the original subreddits taken down appear to be back up. (IAmA, pics, askreddit)

The rest of the folks seem to be complaining about a shortage of “moderation tools” for their fiefdoms.

Best new reddit I found /r/outoftheloop


#3

Kind of an interesting situation. Given that the people making noise are unpaid volunteers, there’s virtually no degree of complaining, whining, boycotting, fussing, organizing, or otherwise contributing to disquietude I’d say they weren’t entitled to. They don’t owe Reddit a damn thing.

And yet, it’s kind of hard to understand how their complaints (which are kind of all over the place, although maybe that’s just because there are a lot of problems) tie in specifically to the catalyst of this employee’s firing. Not that it’s such a bad thing–I bet Ms. Taylor already has a few better offers on her desk, given the outpouring of internet love–but I spent a lot of last night trying to figure out how this all coalesced, and nobody seemed to know. Just one of those things, I guess.

All that being said, I’m glad it happened just so I could learn this:

She managed the site’s wildly popular “Ask Me Anything”’ interviews that have included celebrities ranging from President Obama to a guy with two penises.

“Mr. President, if you’ll do an AMA, we can promise you a great deal of positive media exposure.”
“I don’t know… how big a deal is this?”
“Sir, we can make you the next Guy With Two Penises.”
“Hot damn! Sign me up!”


#4

Enough exposure to the problems in a way to highlight that the current system is flawed? Key figure in AMA was fired with zero notice to anyone that would have to pick up her slack.This highlights communications problems between admins and volenteer Mods in addition to the problem of tools, which supposedly haven’t allowed any updates to push through even though people have been working on patches.

I dunno though.


#5

But FTA, IAmA seems to be back up with no intention of working with Reddit directly, anymore:


#6

She handled the AMA stuff?

Her linkedin is probably being inundated like no other today.


#7

If reddit goes down, where will BoingBoing look for content???


#8

#9

As I understand it, it was partly an accident. At least initially IAmA was not actually closed down in protest, but in order to regroup and deal with the practical consequences of the sacking.

Because there had been simmering discontent among moderators for a while and now this was a severely unpopular move, it was perceived as a protest and people saw that it worked on that level, whether intentional or not, because it received a lot of attention.

That’s when the other subreddits followed, only now explicitly in protest.


#10

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you intend to start the protest or not. If the tensions are there, an intentional action that looks like the first spark will be the first spark.

Conversely, if the situation is not ready, you can go head over heels and try starting something and it will fizzle out quickly.


#11

Don’t worry, the part of it that was ‘yesterday’s Kottke today’ shall continue.


#13

People keep saying that the firing had nothing to do with the preceding, horrible Jesse Jackson AMA that was ever so celebrated by conservatives. However, I’m really not so sure.

Either way, I say let the AMA mods and admins BURN…

Yeah, this was the top-voted AMA question for Jesse Jackson the day before: (emphasis mine)

Mr. Jackson,
You are an immoral, hate-filled race baiter that has figured out how to manipulate the political system for your own gain. You’ve personally set back race relations year after year and continue to do more harm than good. Extorting money from companies to line your pockets and threatening to bus in protestors and create a fake racial controversy if they don’t agree to pay you off is NOT civil rights activism. My question is simple; how is your relationship with the illegitimate child you fathered in 1998 while cheating on your wife? Bonus question: How much money have you extorted from various people and companies over the years of practicing your shakedown scheme? Do you think Al Capone would be jealous of your business model if he were still alive?

That Jesse Jackson AMA didn’t surprise me and it’s very telling who is doing the brigading and who is not on Reddit. It’s obvious that, for the most part, conservatives and/or racists are brigading the shit out of AMAs while progressives are mostly trying to play fair. Reminds me of all the scummy Republican gerrymandering that’s going on in voting districts around this nation.

Anyway, as soon as I saw Jackson’s AMA pop up, I figured Stormfront and all the other racist scumbags of the Internet would upvote brigade the hell out of attacks (in the form of questions) like they’ve obviously done with so many other racially charged topics, comments and AMA “questions” in the past on Reddit.

I think it’s fair to say that the AMAs on Reddit are very broken and incredibly susceptible to inequitable brigading — and I think it’s a damn shame nothing had been done to mitigate it. Or, if there has been anything done, it sure as hell was a miserable effort that resulted in failure.

The powerful (and/or perhaps the conniving and corrupt) have a hefty advantage over those who may attempt to play fair and/or are powerless to drum up social media support for their own AMAs.

Mike Rowe’s last AMA received nothing but fawning, softball questions floated to the top despite his very public and controversial conservative/libertarian viewpoints. I expected at least a few challenging questions, but nope. Fortunately for Rowe, there aren’t a bunch of progressives that organize at off-site forums to brigade attacks against him.

Meanwhile, anyone who didn’t pander to Rowe had their questions downvoted into oblivion and went unanswered (of course). It was a great public relations vehicle for Mike Rowe and not much more.

It was probably very helpful that Mike Rowe (and/or his handlers) knew to stir up his base by letting all his fans on Facebook, Twitter, etc. know well in advance that he was going to be on the AMA beforehand — and he specifically asked his fans to come and ask questions via his social media accounts.

If anyone else did that for their little posts on Reddit, they’d be banned for brigading. Why is that practice OK for AMAs, then?

Granted, people of all political stripes have done what Mike Rowe did and promote their AMA beforehand, but I find it interesting how often those with a conservative viewpoint get a pass while those with a progressive slant get slaughtered with massively upvoted attacks in the form of questions.

With all that in mind…

What about those who have an AMA that may not think it’s ethical to promote softball questions by stirring up a social media fan brigade beforehand? Is it fair that they get bombarded with vile attacks rocketed to the top of their AMA?

How about people who aren’t social media savvy enough to know how to stir up a fan brigade before their AMA? Why should they get subjected to attacks while someone like Mike Rowe, for example, gets a pass?

Or, more importantly, how about people that aren’t powerful or popular enough (or unethical enough) to brigade their own AMA, but have powerful adversaries that do?

A civil rights activist that’s not well-known will get bombarded by top-voted attacks (in the form of questions) by a hostile brigade, for example. The activist just says screw it and leaves the AMA disheartened. I’ve seen similar to this happen multiple times. This Jackson AMA was just a lot more high profile.

I’ve seen Reddit AMAs go bad for good people. Meanwhile, I’ve seen AMAs act as fantastic public relations for those that know how to game the system.

I don’t pretend to know whose fault at Reddit the shitty AMA situation is, but I have to say I’m happy to see attention being brought to the problem.

I’ve despised that sub for a long time now and I resent the people who’ve worked at that sub who enabled (or sat complacently) while obvious brigading made it a great place for scumbags to pretend to represent all of Reddit and shout down good people that simply asked the public to field them some questions.

How to fix AMAs?

I think the AMAs should be restructured to have new and single-purpose accounts to have less voting power than older, established accounts. Or, even better… no voting allowed at all from single-purpose accounts, etc.

I would also love to see AMAs have transparent voting so we can all see who is voting up questions attacks like “You are an immoral, hate-filled race baiter…” to Jesse Jackson, etc. — Let’s see how truly “grassroots” that kind of upvoting really is.

Let everyone (new accounts and old) ask questions in AMAs, but don’t allow an influx of new and single-purpose accounts with very few comments to skew the voting on Reddit AMAs and artificially promote questions attacks that are meant to cause nothing but harm and push ulterior motives instead of enlightenment.

Kind of strange that progressives organically upvote a lot of content on Reddit yet they don’t seem to be able to stop the massive tide of upvotes for attack questions on Reddit AMAs against Jesse Jackson, for example.

Seems strange that we keep seeing time and time again where racially charged topics that attempt to put minorities in a bad light get a sudden, massive inflow of votes on Reddit.

Perhaps the people who brigade like this have played their hand too many times now and people are starting to notice?

It’s just a bit of history repeating…

They helped to kill discourse on Digg and made it a vile place. Digg responded by changing their format in stupid ways instead of getting to the source of the problem …and the rest was history.


TIL that CEO Ellen Pao is out at Reddit, and co-founder Steve Huffman is taking over
#14

My point was that her rolodex is chock full of potent contacts across a wide spectrum of industrial/political/publicity spheres.

Job performance isn’t actually much of a hinderance when that is the case, unfortunately.


#15

Jesus H. Christ dude, Decaf! It’s just a web site!


#16

I have no real opinion on the proximal cause of the revolt, the sacking. It does sound like someone allowed an ambush, and JJ faces that from time to time.

Re: reddit - I found the nature and tactics of the protest, and the very quick reversals, and especially the foot-stomping rhetoric of volunteers threatening to take their balls home and not do things, enlightening. I do have some opinions on reddit itself; they’re mostly on reddit, itself.


#17

“Reddit is revolting!”

“Yeah, yeah, tell me something I don’t know…”


#18

[quote=“endotoxin, post:15, topic:61035”]
It’s just a web site!
[/quote]Welcome to 2015! In this day and age, websites have become as influential (or more so) than most major newspapers. Nowadays websites challenge traditional television networks and most all traditional media – and even government in many ways.

Reddit is widely considered as one of the most influential of the entire bunch.

http://www.ericrettberg.com/datacultg2/longer-essays/reddit-com-and-its-influence-on-the-world/

http://itresearchonreddit.blogspot.com

I think it matters.


#19

I guess it was similar to an offline strike, except very lame in comparison. It was a strike by lot of people that don’t get paid except for their beloved, fancy badges. I honestly think it was all blown wildly out of proportion by a relatively small group of people that are already looking for any excuse to freak out over CEO Ellen Pao and piled on the votes like petulant children to get attention.

It appears the AMA subreddit went dark (private) because the mods or whatever went into a panic after Reddit hastily fired someone who was an integral part of their AMA processes. I think most everyone agrees Reddit handled that poorly. It then appears the other subs saw AMA go dark and thought it was a protest and went dark in solemn solidarity. That sparked users who were already looking for an excuse to overreact as well and upvote and downvote brigade all over the place. Which is, ironically, one of the reasons Reddit is having trouble with its AMAs in the first place.

When it comes down to it, we have a relatively small group of people (look at the vote numbers compared to the millions that visit Reddit) overreacting to a corporate decision and anger over the fact that some assholes are finally being restricted (to some extent) from practicing online harassment of obese people, etc. via Reddit. I’m sure the GamerGate and Mens Rights assholes are piling on as well.

On the plus side, it’s nice to see a grassroots group force a corporation to bend to their will even if a lot of those participating are doing so in ignorance of wider issues surrounding the situation – or in just plain ignorance, in general.


#20

There is some attempt to turn Reddit into a decentralized, uncensorable platform. Hope it takes off, could be interesting.


#21

“Interesting” here translates to “filled with hateful shitbags”, yes?