Reddit going dark.
July 2, 2015 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Subreddit Moderators rebel against Admins Triggered by the surprise termination of Victoria Taylor, AKA /u/chooter, Director of Talent and sole official contact for /IAMA by the Reddit admins, and more generally in protest for what has been seen as a lack of communication with and appreciation for the unpaid volunteers that act as moderators of Reddit, many of the most popular subreddits have gone dark, setting their status to private and thereby hiding their content to the vast majority of users. /r/AskReddit, /r/Books, /r/science, /r/Music, /r/gaming, /r/history, /r/art, /r/videos, /r/gadgets, and /r/movies have followed /r/IAmA in making themselves private. Many other subreddits have also taken steps in solidarity.
posted by leotrotsky (595 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
Look at any recent post in https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements or https://www.reddit.com/r/blog.

Users and moderators have been increasingly unhappy with the lack of communication by Reddit's owners.
posted by arguenaut at 7:43 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


More subreddits are joining the protest as the evening goes on, including some larger and more popular, such as /r/todayilearned.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:45 PM on July 2, 2015


IAMA is arguably the best part of reddit, and Victoria was a huge part of that. No real details are out yet but it seems like a really strange move to fire her.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:45 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Rumor is Victoria Taylor was fired over the super weird and awful Jesse Jackson AMA yesterday. Some info here.
posted by palomar at 7:46 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I hope this is the nudge needed to tumble the jenga blocks, baling wire, and duct tape that is reddit dot com
posted by hellojed at 7:51 PM on July 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


Gizmodo companion article to what is apparently now being called "The Darkening"
posted by leotrotsky at 7:54 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


/r/kittengifs is now dark. Folks, this is getting serious.
posted by vozworth at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [83 favorites]


And the life of reddit went out with that of the last of the default subs. And the flames of the default subreddits expired. And /r/me_irl (the only good sub) and The Devil Tesla held illimitable dominion over all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was just looking at cute GIFs on /r/animalsbeingjerks and it went private as I was browsing. Another great subreddit gone.

You know, I've put up with enough of this. Reddit is doing exactly what Digg did back before The Great Exodus.
Hopefully other redditors decide to switch to MetaFilter like I just did.
posted by Future Nipples at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Reality check: a sane person does not listen to TheHat2
posted by Yowser at 7:58 PM on July 2, 2015


I honestly don't care about Internet drama. These websites (Metafilter included) are infotainment to me. That's it.

That's nice. I can't speak for reddit, but a motherfucking lot of Metafilter users rightfully consider this site to be a community.
posted by item at 7:59 PM on July 2, 2015 [210 favorites]


I find the idea of Redditors coming here en masse quite worrying. Let's hope it's only the sane ones.
posted by Yowser at 8:03 PM on July 2, 2015 [50 favorites]


i can't help but wonder how much of this is a protracted reaction to anger at the management stemming from the recent subreddit deletions
posted by p3on at 8:07 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, they could bring moderators. I'm sure cortex would love to be a supervisor of an army of volunteer moderators, mentoring on site culture and how fuzzy guidelines work.
(first teach them hamburger)
posted by ctmf at 8:08 PM on July 2, 2015


i can't help but wonder how much of this is a protracted reaction to anger at the management stemming from the recent subreddit deletions

And how much from being pouty about Ellen Pao simply existing.
posted by ctmf at 8:09 PM on July 2, 2015 [40 favorites]


Jeez, this couldn't happen to a nicer website. ;)
posted by Catblack at 8:10 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


i can't help but wonder how much of this is a protracted reaction to anger at the management stemming from the recent subreddit deletions

Yeah, I can't quite figure out who to believe. On the other hand, this situation does seem to be handled really poorly, on the other hand, a lot of the backlash seems to be driven by users yelling misogynist expletives about Ellen Pao, and I do get the feeling that there's a lot of pent-up anger stemming from that.
posted by water under the bridge at 8:11 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


i can't help but wonder how much of this is a protracted reaction to anger at the management stemming from the recent subreddit deletions

There's some of that going on in the background, but the moderators of the default subs are likely just losing patience. They are the backbone of the site and deserved to be paid, but all they ask for is better communication and better moderation tools and they can't seem to get them.

Apparently Victoria herself does not know why she was suddenly let go.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:12 PM on July 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


i can't help but wonder how much of this is a protracted reaction to anger at the management stemming from the recent subreddit deletions

I suspect that these things are a bit linked up. Reddit, for good or ill, is a big deal on the web right now, and it's one of the ways forward for managing large communities; I certainly have a lot more fondness for it than the site's that have sprung up to hold onto their scummier exiles (e.g. Voat). Given their increasing battles against the badness that has coexisted with the site, I hope that they solve this and move forward.

And how much from being pouty about Ellen Pao simply existing.

Was Pao a big deal before the recent crackdowns? My impression was that she was just another face in the management.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:13 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


HAY GUYZ DAE HATE REDDIT
posted by entropicamericana at 8:14 PM on July 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


From Business Insider:
One of Taylor's job duties was coordinating the site's popular AMAs. Two of the site's most popular posts ever are AMAs: the one with Barack Obama and a conversation with a man with two penises.
oh, reddit.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:14 PM on July 2, 2015 [36 favorites]




And as someone else already pointed out, one of the main times that we relied on the general admin team to set up and run an AMA, it was a clusterfuck: Morgan Freeman.
Because no one thought to get clear proof that it was really him.
Victoria wouldn’t make that mistake.

posted by Flashman at 8:15 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I definitely recall seeing Pao hatred before the crackdowns. Don't remember what the complaints were.

Live updates on the subs going private here.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:15 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good for them! I'm all for people coming together to voluntarily build community for nothing but mutual benefit... except when that conviviality is turned to profit publishing industry players.

Hard to be sure exactly what the motives are without digging through what're doubtless myriad rationales but it doesn't seem in the least inappropriate for the free labor to throw a monkey wrench in at some point -- particularly given the extent to which the site depends on them.

Ellen Pao and the extensive onsite misogyny and racism could be one motivator, another might be recent moves to unionize at Gawker and Salon.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:15 PM on July 2, 2015


Gawker: In addition to being one of the internet’s premier incubators for racism and bigotry of all sorts, Reddit is also perhaps best known for its “AmAs”—in which people with varying degrees of celebrity will come and answer questions for the masses to see.

Man, I hate that in our modern age Gawker is a reputable source for information.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:16 PM on July 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


They are the backbone of the site and deserved to be paid

I don't get why again? It was a volunteer position, not a trick.

Was Pao a big deal before the recent crackdowns?

Since attacking her over the Kleiner-Perkins thing, as far as I know. Which is gross.
posted by ctmf at 8:16 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


IIRC the penises one was totally an FPP here.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on July 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


Good for them! I'm all for people coming together to voluntarily build community for nothing but mutual benefit... except when that conviviality is turned to profit publishing industry players.

This reads to me like "I'm all for Web 2.0 except for pretty much everything about it".
posted by sylvanshine at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's actually not related to the recent subreddit deletions or the Pao situation at all.

That first link has avery thorough explanation, but if anyone wants the tl;dr:

Today an admin named Victoria Taylor was fired. There has been no explanation as to why, but as palomar says above there is speculation that it may have something to do with a disastrous Jesse Jackson AMA yesterday.

Taylor was apparently a key figure in the operation of the very popular IAMA subreddit, setting up and operating celebrity AMAs and other tasks. The mods of IAMA were furious that Taylor was let go without notice, and in protest took the subreddit private, essentially shutting it down to the general public. In solidarity, many other very popular default subreddits followed suit, and now a number of subreddits are private and thus effectively shut down.

While Taylor was beloved, the reaction was a symptom of a larger issue. Taylor was apparently the only admin, one of the small group of paid reddit employees who run the site, who would communicate regularly with the mods, the vast pool of unpaid volunteer who run the subreddits. Mods have long complained that the admins ignore them, don't communicate, and don't bother with things like updating the mod tools which are years out of date.

At heart, this appears to be a revolt by the people who do the day to day work at reddit against the reddit managers and owners who use that free work for their own profit.

It would be nice if MeFites could hold their knee-jerk reddit comments on this one. This is the kind of labor cause MeFites usually support. It seems to be about people tired of being exploited.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2015 [189 favorites]


Ellen Pao unsuccessfully sued a former employer for gender discrimination. Reddit has a large population of men who are very angry at women for daring to exist without their permission.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:21 PM on July 2, 2015 [40 favorites]


Hopefully other redditors decide to switch to MetaFilter like I just did.

NO THANK YOU
posted by photoslob at 8:21 PM on July 2, 2015 [43 favorites]


On the positive side, the subreddit dedicated to Taylor's cats, r/sosandthetiny, is still public.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


sylvanshine: you have a knack for concision!
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2015


IIRC the penises one was totally an FPP here.
posted by Artw at 11:17 PM on July 2


Shhh!!!! We're better, remember?!

But seriously there are some really great communities on Reddit, and not everyone is a 15 year-old moron there.

Interesting to see these massive online reactions again and again, for all sorts of issues. There's a research paper in that somewhere.
posted by glaucon at 8:23 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't get why again? It was a volunteer position, not a trick.

They deserve to be paid because the work they do is what made the site popular and keeps it going. I didn't say they asked to be paid. :P

The mods of IAMA were furious that Taylor was let go without notice, and in protest took the subreddit private, essentially shutting it down to the general public.

It is at base down because they simply can't do what they were doing without someone doing Victoria's job. It's practical before it's protest. She was that key a figure as you said.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I doubt very much that MeFi would be most Redditors destination of choice should Reddit fall, but I would welcome them here. I think the folks that cost to stay would be great additions to our community. Our moderators world be up to the task of addressing poor behavior of new members - just add they currently are.

Redditors welcome here.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


There has been no explanation as to why

And speculation is way premature. It could be something completely invisible to the users. Maybe she stole money, told the CEO to fuck off, or any number of business reasons. Reddit the company would not be able to comment on that, and Taylor would be stupid to other than to say generalities like "I'm dazed."
posted by ctmf at 8:25 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, Reddit's doing the thing again.
posted by brecc at 8:25 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Taylor was apparently a key figure in the operation of the very popular AMA subreddit,

Not just IAMA, but several others as well: /r/science, /r/music, /r/books all ran AMAs facilitated by this employee.

PLOS had been running a really successful "Ask our authors anything" in /r/science. They had/have quite the packed schedule for the remainder of the summer, with some top notch people on tap. With her gone and /r/science dark for now, it's unclear how or even if this series will continue.
posted by bonehead at 8:26 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Hopefully other redditors decide to switch to MetaFilter like I just did.

NO THANK YOU


Anybody who wants to come and genuinely participate in metafilter is welcome to. I trust cortex and the other mods and the flagging system to enact swift, merciless justice on anyone who comes over just to shit in our cornflakes. You should, too.
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 PM on July 2, 2015 [134 favorites]


Some of the small, niche subreddits I read that have gone private have never had so much as a mention of Pao or the larger site problems like racism and misogyny. From what I've seen, this is more about dissatisfaction with the site admins over non-communication, crap moderation tools, and generally ignoring the people that make reddit work as a site. Not gamergate-esque stuff.
posted by ryanrs at 8:27 PM on July 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


*They are the backbone of the site and deserved to be paid

I don't get why again? It was a volunteer position, not a trick.*

Just because it wasn't a trick doesn't mean that they don't deserve to be paid. They are the machines that turn Reddit into a consumable product.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:28 PM on July 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is this the death of reddit?

Man I hope so. The good communities can find another site, and hopefully dissociate themselves from the complete and total assholes.
posted by graventy at 8:28 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ellen Pao unsuccessfully sued a former employer for gender discrimination. Reddit has a large population of men who are very angry at women for daring to exist without their permission.

Which is connected to this situation how, exactly?

Reddit also seems to be angry that a woman who worked very hard at a job she was very good at was fired without just cause. Let's focus on that.
posted by themanwho at 8:28 PM on July 2, 2015 [70 favorites]


Which is connected to this situation how, exactly?

People were asking about Pao hate. Not every comment is a direct response to the OP.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:32 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


They deserve to be paid because the work they do is what made the site popular and keeps it going
They are the machines that turn Reddit into a consumable product.

This is the problem with giving your labour away for free to a corporate entity. They're going to expect it to always be free.
posted by Jimbob at 8:33 PM on July 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hopefully other redditors decide to switch to MetaFilter like I just did.

But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:34 PM on July 2, 2015 [66 favorites]


This'd be a great time for someone to start a Reddit clone and send out a bunch of invitations. If they coordinated, the subreddits could all reopen in synchrony with a single link to the new site.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:35 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just because it wasn't a trick doesn't mean that they don't deserve to be paid. They are the machines that turn Reddit into a consumable product.


Is reddit even profitable? Would it be profitable if they were to pay their volunteers? Are the volunteers themselves demanding to be paid, and if not, should others demand that they get paid? Should they make this demand if it's not feasible for the survival of the site?

Reddit also seems to be angry that a woman who worked very hard at a job she was very good at was fired without just cause.

I'm not sure we have enough information to make that determination. Companies generally do not discuss their HR decisions (for good reason; it could open them up to lawsuits or bad publicity). There might have been a really good reason they let her go (or, there might have been an awful non-reason to let her go). It's entirely possible we'll never know - they could very well have given her severance pay on the condition that she never speak publicly about her past employer (a very common occurrence).

Obviously they are handling this transition poorly (and have apparently handled relations with admins poorly in the past).
posted by el io at 8:35 PM on July 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

The Chive.
posted by phunniemee at 8:36 PM on July 2, 2015 [32 favorites]


Just because it wasn't a trick doesn't mean that they don't deserve to be paid. They are the machines that turn Reddit into a consumable product.

Well, to be clear, I fully agree the position should be paid. Just, in the individual cases, it seems off to be mad about the company doing exactly what they told you they would when you signed up, and when a hundred people would probably do it for free if you quit.
posted by ctmf at 8:36 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

Finding new and creative ways to turn our noses up has never been a problem here.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:37 PM on July 2, 2015 [67 favorites]


Finding new and creative ways to turn our noses up has never been a problem here.

Maybe we could let users buy each other Cabal Gold™
posted by Going To Maine at 8:39 PM on July 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


we are not all saints here guys, a certain recent thread about kim kardashian contained many comments with a vile misogynistic streak that i basically see verbatim over there when she's brought up. reddit has a lot of gross people on it, but so does this site, and the rest of the internet, and the city you live in.

also like, i love y'all but get over yourselves? mefi is never going to serve the purpose reddit does for most of its users, which is fine. they're not going to flock here in droves, if they did they would be unsatisfied, let alone the fact that reddit is free and you have to pay to sign up here...
posted by JimBennett at 8:39 PM on July 2, 2015 [106 favorites]


An odd decision, considering Victoria had widespread respect, and had built up that respect by hard work on her own part. Honestly I can't think of another official account with as much respect as her.
posted by nickggully at 8:40 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


They aren't complaining about a lack of pay. That was my own comment on the value of what they do compared to what they are asking for, which is just communication and better tools.

It's entirely possible we'll never know - they could very well have given her severance pay on the condition that she never speak publicly about her past employer (a very common occurrence).

So far what she said is that "We know as much as she does," about why this happened. Is is normal to let someone go without any explanation in the corporate world?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:40 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ilsa: "But what about us? If Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?"

Rick: "We'll always have 4chan."
posted by komara at 8:41 PM on July 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


This is such a bummer. Victoria is great and deservedly much-loved. Her ability to capture the speech patterns of Jeff Goldblum and Tommy Wiseau into text should itself earn her tenure. Also, while Reddit has its toxic awful parts, it has also created a space for a lot of great communities and is doing something very different from MeFi. The superiority complex is undeserved.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:43 PM on July 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


So this is one of those reddit things we use as an excuse to talk about ourselves again?
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:43 PM on July 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


It's worth digging back into the links a bit to see the real genesis of this mess. From palomar's link above, here's the Jesse Jackson AMA that was allegedly what Victoria Taylor was fired over. (At least, that's the web archive of the thread that Gawker posted.) And here's the top-rated "question" in that AMA:
[–]huhaskldasdpo 76 points 44 minutes ago x2
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?
The account is a throwaway account that has since been deleted; nevertheless, two people saw fit to reward "huhaskldasdpo" with reddit gold (the "x2"), a way of unlocking advanced features in reddit accounts, that is also a way to show approval of posts and comments, aside from upvoting. So, the focus shifts from "Jesse Jackson does a bad AMA, Victoria gets blamed for it and fired" to "Racist shitlords take over an AMA with a genuine civil rights legend, Victoria gets caught in the middle, same shitlords are shocked, shocked at the results." And I say this as someone who has a number of subreddits (none of them, except IAMA, shut down by this, at least so far) in his daily reading list. That is why they can't have nice things.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:44 PM on July 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


Someone who's just gotten disciplined isn't always the most reliable narrator. If she'd been told last week to Stop Fucking Calling In Sick or We Will Fire You, it might be embarrassing to mention that to a million people.
posted by ctmf at 8:44 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the mods of AskScience, one of the highly moderated, highly focussed Ask... subcluster:

Today in AskScience we wish to spotlight our solidarity with the subreddits that have closed today, whose operations depend critically on timely communication and input from the admins. This post is motivated by the events of today coupled with previous interactions AskScience moderators have had in the past with the reddit staff.

This is an issue that has been chronically inadequate for moderators of large subreddits reaching out to the admins over the years. Reddit is a great site with an even more amazing community, however it is frustrating to volunteer time to run a large subreddit and have questions go unacknowledged by the people running the site.


I take this bunch at their word. This isn't some ideological horseshit or hysterical misogyny, reddit's volunteer mods are going on strike because reddit corporate are douchebags at community engagement.
posted by bonehead at 8:45 PM on July 2, 2015 [62 favorites]


This fiasco is a big deal. IAmA is an important part of Reddit, IMHO the most important part of Reddit for outreach beyond existing Reddit users. I mean the fucking President of the United States did an IAmA, you know? As did Sir David Attenborough, and Chris Hadfield, and a lot of other very interesting people. It's a great feature of Reddit with popular appeal. Firing the woman in charge of making IAmA work in the larger sense without explanation to the volunteers who make IAmA function on a daily basis is a huge fucking mistake.

The other reason it's a big deal is Reddit moderators are unpaid volunteers. And true to Reddit's neolibertarian roots the moderators and site members feel a lot of ownership of the site. This boycott is them lashing back. I expect it will all die down in a couple of days, but it sure is bad for Reddit, Inc right now. I have a lot of respect for Ellen Pao and the difficulties of managing a business with a bunch of self-entitled pseudonymous contributors. But this thing happening right now is bad for Reddit.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 PM on July 2, 2015 [36 favorites]


But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

That's easy, anyone with a higher usernumber than you. Personally, I've always felt this place went completely downhill ever since the 16k rabble joined.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


it might be embarrassing to mention that to a million people.

And by that I don't mean that I don't necessarily believe her. I mean it's way early to take sides and the knee-jerk flaming protest could get embarrassing.
posted by ctmf at 8:46 PM on July 2, 2015


That's easy, anyone with a higher usernumber than you. Personally, I've always felt this place went completely downhill ever since the 16k rabble joined.

16k strong!
posted by item at 8:49 PM on July 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, you are definitely right on all that ctmf. My point was more that if the condition was not speaking publicly saying even anything as vague as, "I don't know why," might be considered fanning the flames in the current circumstances. Just cause to fire her or not, the sudden handling of it was undeniably a huge mistake and poorly thought out.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:50 PM on July 2, 2015


Is reddit even profitable? Would it be profitable if they were to pay their volunteers? Are the volunteers themselves demanding to be paid, and if not, should others demand that they get paid? Should they make this demand if it's not feasible for the survival of the site?

This is a really tricky thing! Because there's definitely more than one way to answer those questions. (Well, not the "are they profitable" one; that seems straightforward enough, whether the answer is actually publicly available or not.)

My perspective on the general question of "should they be paid" is: yes. Paying moderation staff is a good thing; it means that the people responsible for shepherding your site and your community are balancing the costs of doing so against tangible, meaningful compensation instead of against a sense of obligation or enthusiasm or social debt/opportunity/responsibility. "Do I get paid enough for this?" is a question people should be able to ask about their jobs, but you can only start asking that once you're even in a mode of thinking where you're being paid at all.

But the question of whether Reddit could afford to do that is reasonable. The same question applies to a lot of other large, hard-to-moderate sites. Because good moderation isn't cheap, when you're actually paying for it like a job. And large-scale moderation means a lot of payroll. And however profitable Reddit may be, the general impression I have gotten is that it's not "hire a thousand more people" profitable.

And if you can't afford it, you don't do it. But if you can't afford it and you should do it and so you don't do it, you're in a pickle. Because volunteer labor is a hard thing to manage, and if it is what you're going to manage then it's a lot of work, and specialized work. I'd be curious, as someone who's never looked very closely at it, to know more about what resources and strategies Reddit has developed and used on this front; it sounds like probably the answer there may be not nearly enough, considering how much they seem to have leveraged the site's day-to-day operation on volunteer labor that's currently outright revolting, but maybe it's a failed but earnest effort rather than outright lack of effort. Like I said, I'd be curious to know.

Anyway, this whole thing is weird and interesting. Maybe the situation with Taylor will seem sensible and defensible when the details come out; maybe it'll turn out to be a huge fuckup; but it's notable how unclear that is right out of the gate, and it underscores how important it is to try and be transparent with a large community when shit hits the fan. Reddit's size is a great strength but also a massive force-multiplier when shit goes sideways: you can't really do something as conspicuous as abruptly can someone notable and not have an explanation ready to go when this many people are likely to react.
posted by cortex at 8:51 PM on July 2, 2015 [60 favorites]


As for Metafilter vs. Reddit, it wasn't that long ago someone made an impotent plea to ban all Reddit links on Metafilter. I'm a fan of Reddit, despite all its problems. And even though I have a 12+ year history on Metafilter I'm finding Reddit more interesting these days, mostly because it's more diverse. Metafilter discussions have become too predictable to me; Reddit surprises me. Some of that diversity is awful and much of it is sophomoric but it's still interesting. I'd be sad if that got lost because Reddit manages itself so clumsily.

Ellen Pao is in an awkward position. She's interim CEO, not real CEO. And she's taking over for Yishan Wong who was a truly awful community manager. Reddit is important and vital and also broken in a lot of very hard to fix ways.
posted by Nelson at 8:51 PM on July 2, 2015 [52 favorites]


But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

Furtopia?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:52 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a shame. I suspect Ask Me Anything was one of the few good corners of Reddit that people actually respected.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:56 PM on July 2, 2015


Metafilter discussions have become too predictable to me

Yep, witness this very thread. Other than the occasional drive-by read, I'm pretty much checked out at this point, after being a more than daily visitor for around 7.5 years. So long, and thanks for all the wasted time (yes, yes, don't let the door hit me, etc.).
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:56 PM on July 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Reddit is important and vital and also broken in a lot of very hard to fix ways.

I spent about half of my fun active-user internet time on MeFi, and the other half on Reddit. And if the whole website was deleted tonight I would miss three or four subreddits, sure, but overall I would feel that the internet is better off. Good riddance. If another company came along and tried to be the next Reddit, like Voat, best of luck to them.
posted by nicodine at 8:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's a child-like sense of excitement here- I've just set r/alaska and my other subreddits private in solidarity. 5 years since I've joined, the community I've helped build community no longer resembles what it once was. The average r/alaskan is no longer the nerdy high-school senior who stayed sleepness nights drinking coffee at Village Inn- now it's the 35 or 40 year old bro who makes crass jokes and brings meetups to Buffalo Wild Wings. Burn the fuckers down, I'm chanting to myself in my head- burn the fuckers down. I'm so fucking tired of being called socially awkward and being backstabbed by my moderators that I elected, burn the fuckers down. No, going private won't bring the community back- nor is Metafilter or any other place really the answer. I just want to set a flame the work I've done for the past 5 years. No online community can really make me happy anymore. Burn the fuckers down.
posted by weewooweewoo at 8:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [41 favorites]


But the question of whether Reddit could afford to do that is reasonable. The same question applies to a lot of other large, hard-to-moderate sites. Because good moderation isn't cheap, when you're actually paying for it like a job. And large-scale moderation means a lot of payroll. And however profitable Reddit may be, the general impression I have gotten is that it's not "hire a thousand more people" profitable.

There must be some academic article out there spitballing about compensating folks with cash based on proportionate volume of traffic, voting activity, and othe handwavey metrics. But yeah, it's really tricky when it isn't just a job.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:59 PM on July 2, 2015


This is fascinating. But it's too much to absorb this late at night so I'm going to go to bed and read the summary tomorrow.

But yeah: reddit as a whole is unsavory*, but this is square on a whole bunch of interesting and important issues. I don't think anything significant will come of it, but I'm very curious to see how it plays out.

*I know because I spend hours there
posted by postcommunism at 9:00 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so torn over this. On the one hand, Reddit is a vile pit of scum and villainy and I'll hang out at r/ShitRedditSays making popcorn while Rome burns. But on the other hand, if r/marvelstudios goes down, poor MeFi will have to be my outlet for obsessive arguing over superhero movies. Like, more than it already is. It's dangerous!
posted by nicebookrack at 9:01 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: Burn the fuckers down.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:02 PM on July 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Are you allowed to tip moderators on Reddit?
posted by Drinky Die at 9:02 PM on July 2, 2015


There's a child-like sense of excitement here- I've just set r/alaska and my other subreddits private in solidarity. 5 years since I've joined, the community I've helped build community no longer resembles what it once was. The average r/alaskan is no longer the nerdy high-school senior who stayed sleepness nights drinking coffee at Village Inn- now it's the 35 or 40 year old bro who makes crass jokes and brings meetups to Buffalo Wild Wings. Burn the fuckers down, I'm chanting to myself in my head- burn the fuckers down. I'm so fucking tired of being called socially awkward and being backstabbed by my moderators that I elected, burn the fuckers down. No, going private won't bring the community back- nor is Metafilter or any other place really the answer. I just want to set a flame the work I've done for the past 5 years. No online community can really make me happy anymore. Burn the fuckers down.

Maybe… maybe you should just walk away? Using a larger screw up by Reddit, Inc. to declare war on a subreddit that you once had a stake in and now apparently really dislike doesn't, uh, read that well.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:02 PM on July 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


This is absolutely fascinating to watch, I said the same thing about them banning the fatpeoplehate subreddit and I still think it is so.

An internet community this large having this kind of sudden shift is amazing to see.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:04 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Maybe… maybe you should just walk away? Using a larger screw up by Reddit, Inc. to declare war on a subreddit that you once had a stake in and now apparently really dislike doesn't, uh, read that well.

Um, did you not see the part about Buffalo Wild Wings?
posted by phunniemee at 9:04 PM on July 2, 2015 [38 favorites]


Are you allowed to tip moderators on Reddit?

IIRC Reddit mods are explicitly banned from receiving anything for their efforts, which has led to drama with companies wanting to do nice things for the people who mod the subreddits for their IP or whatever and the mods being unable to accept.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:05 PM on July 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


There should be an award for upsetting your user base in ways like this:

The golden hornet's nest.
posted by nickggully at 9:05 PM on July 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


They should re-organize and reconsitute the site around new principles of community and management. They have several notable models to follow.
posted by clockzero at 9:06 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


As another example of an important subreddit that could go away: /r/leagueoflegends is the English language community site for LoL. That's a game with 67 million players and has over $1B in yearly revenue. In the gamer world League of Legends is enormous, and if you speak English and want to talk about LoL you do it on Reddit. Just one example of Reddit's reach, but a big one.

Fun fact: Reddit has a really shitty online ad program. All they have is a weak $1 CPM display ad product, which compared to what Google, Facebook, or Twitter are doing is laughable. The company has a huge number of valuable users and no idea how to make money off them.
posted by Nelson at 9:07 PM on July 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


compensating folks with cash based on proportionate volume of traffic, voting activity, and othe handwavey metrics

Ohhhhh man, if there is one thing that could make subreddit infighting drama even more cutthroat and incestuous than it already is, it would have to be the incentive of rewarding mods with extra money to those who can best manipulate traffic stats, work through sockpuppet accounts, and ruthlessly crush all parasite splinter subs.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:08 PM on July 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'll be okay as long as r/random doesn't go down. That sub always seems to have so much diverse new content and they are always updating the design.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:10 PM on July 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


wow the level of vitriol directed at Jesse Jackson in that iama was nuts.
posted by humanfont at 9:10 PM on July 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


/r/me_irl is my favourite too!
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:13 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


If she was indeed let go because the JJ AMA went badly, that would seem to be like a "one strike" action enough that I can't imagine it's the whole story. If it is, it bodes ill. ILL.
posted by rhizome at 9:13 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Are you allowed to tip moderators on Reddit?"

Are you allowed to tip moderators on MetaFilter? I'm asking for a friend ...
posted by komara at 9:16 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Reddit mods are explicitly banned from receiving anything for their efforts, which has led to drama with companies wanting to do nice things for the people who mod the subreddits for their IP or whatever and the mods being unable to accept

Earlier this year there was some delicious drama around the very useful sub r/SkincareAddiction when it was discovered that the top sub mods had been taking payments to promote products and were trying to monetize the sub users to build a beauty website empire. Mods got banned, the sub went dark, screaming users were all like "I don't know what to believe anymore, is lemon juice really bad for your skin after all, WAS EVERYTHING A LIE."
posted by nicebookrack at 9:17 PM on July 2, 2015 [47 favorites]


Are you allowed to tip moderators on MetaFilter? I'm asking for a friend ...

Sort of!
posted by Drinky Die at 9:20 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, Metafilter. How could I have neglected you in favor of that flashy young site? Baby, take me back!
posted by wowbobwow at 9:25 PM on July 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


humanfront: wow the level of vitriol directed at Jesse Jackson in that iama was nuts.

Growing up in a pretty conservative family, I've heard many of those same comments for years leveled at Jesse Jackson and/or Al Sharpton. Nothing new under the sun. I'm curious if there is a grain of truth to any of those allegations or if its all a smear to distract from their civil rights work.
posted by dr_dank at 9:26 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe… maybe you should just walk away? Using a larger screw up by Reddit, Inc. to declare war on a subreddit that you once had a stake in and now apparently really dislike doesn't, uh, read that well.

Uh, I guess it's more that I get to make the subreddit private and get my hatred out a bit. The solidarity is nice too.
posted by weewooweewoo at 9:31 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm curious if there is a grain of truth to any of those allegations or if its all a smear to distract from their civil rights work.

And that would be why you ask 'em in an AmA. (At least, that's the platonic ideal, anyway.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:31 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


If she was indeed let go because the JJ AMA went badly, that would seem to be like a "one strike" action enough that I can't imagine it's the whole story.

If she was let go because of the JJ AMA, it would be because someone from JJ's office called and demanded blood. I doubt that Jackson's senior staff really understand how a Reddit AMA is fundamentally different from, say, a live interview on camera; or how demanding Victoria's head is actually a really weird and ineffectual response to a media trainwreck. But in the media environment that Jackson and his circle know from yesteryear, that's what you do in a situation like this: demand blood.

I'm curious if there is a grain of truth to any of those allegations or if its all a smear to distract from their civil rights work.

I think the grain of truth is that the generation of black leaders who came up with Dr. King know what a real fight is like and they fight to win, because they've literally seen death be part of their fight. That doesn't breed restraint in an activist.

Stories about Jackson in Chicago tend along lines of a movie production showing up in a poor neighbourhood, and Jackson showing up, organizing the residents, and demanding that the production do something for the community, like donate $100k to the community center as the price of using the locals for scenery in their latest gritty cop drama; and if they don't, the locals will ruin the production with noise or spectacle. That doesn't seem bad to me, but you can see how it could be spun into stories about Jackson requiring bribes or tribute or just generally participating in corrupt practices.
posted by fatbird at 9:35 PM on July 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


*f she was indeed let go because the JJ AMA went badly, that would seem to be like a "one strike" action enough that I can't imagine it's the whole story.

If she was let go because of the JJ AMA, it would be because someone from JJ's office called and demanded blood.*

If Jesse Jackson has the power to make Reddit do something this dumb, I'm doubly depressed.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:41 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ugh, repeating apparently evidence-less rumors about Jesse Jackson seems like a pretty problematic thing to do in this thread..
posted by latkes at 9:41 PM on July 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Ugh, repeating apparently evidence-less rumors about Jesse Jackson seems like a pretty problematic thing to do in this thread..

Jumping to conclusions and blaming the wrong person seems like a perfect tribute to Reddit...
posted by 445supermag at 9:46 PM on July 2, 2015 [47 favorites]


Reddit can be obnoxious. I got shadowbanned last year - this is a creepy way of banning people where you still see your own posts but no one else does.

Once I figured it out, it was entirely unclear what could have triggered it in my posting history, which was very vanilla. I sent messages to the admins every week or so for a couple of months, and then suddenly they turned it on with no explanation at all.

I am rather against AdBlock - I do block Flash, but only because I can't afford crashes, but in general I believe I owe it to people to see their ads if I see their free content.

I now have AdBlock, with only reddit ads banned.

Like someone above pointed out, their massive ineptness with ads always baffled me - there they have hundreds of thousands of categorized groups, why aren't I seeing ads for computers on the computer subreddit and for musical instruments on the musician subreddits? I'm sure I'd click and even buy some of them... Reddit is written in Python, a nice slick language - it's open source - why didn't they hire someone to do that years ago?

It has to cost a lot of money to run all those servers and hire those people. How can they keep it up without ads revenue?

All in all, there's a lot of negativity hovering around Reddit. Poor Aaron Swartz and his awful ending; all the weird censorship, so intermittent; now this. I don't see this working out well, honestly. I see Condé Nast deciding to cut their losses and suddenly shutting it off, because I don't see any development path to "proper ads" happening.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:47 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


From the Gawker article tracking the subreddits to go private:

Update 12:10am:
To the three subscribers of /r/sexwithbears, we are so sorry for your loss.


Heh.
posted by ZaphodB at 9:49 PM on July 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


I am rather against AdBlock - I do block Flash, but only because I can't afford crashes, but in general I believe I owe it to people to see their ads if I see their free content.

Until drive-by downloading via compromised ads stops being a popular vector of malware infection, AdBlock should be on every computer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:50 PM on July 2, 2015 [45 favorites]


It's hard to express how this makes me feel; I have no stake in reddit, but the whole experience of reading about this makes me believe very strongly that I am living in a William Gibson story.
posted by nubs at 9:53 PM on July 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


Uh, I guess it's more that I get to make the subreddit private and get my hatred out a bit. The solidarity is nice too.
posted by weewooweewoo
having open disdain for a community you manage and taking pleasure in shutting it down for unrelated purposes seems like a pretty clear signal that youre not in the best position to moderate it dude
posted by p3on at 9:53 PM on July 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


If Jesse Jackson has the power to make Reddit do something this dumb, I'm doubly depressed.

I don't think Jackson does, but I do think Reddit's management was already dumb enough to do something like this in response to an angry phone call. As has been observed elsewhere, just grabbing someone and saying "I need you to jump into Victoria's shoes immediately and handle the AMA crowd. I know it'll be hard, but this is an emergency, do your best" is all it would have taken. All they had to do was assign someone, and they didn't even do that. There's just no reasonable excuse for this to go this badly.
posted by fatbird at 9:59 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Jesse Jackson rumour was propagated by THEHAT2 , one of the pre-eminent moderators of cesspool KotakuInAction (aka Reddit's GamerGate Public Relations office)

Plz wait until a legitimate source comes forward.
posted by Yowser at 10:00 PM on July 2, 2015 [51 favorites]


Maybe… maybe you should just walk away? Using a larger screw up by Reddit, Inc. to declare war on a subreddit that you once had a stake in and now apparently really dislike doesn't, uh, read that well.

As a fan of Seething Fury, I'm actually rather digging this dude's comments, and hope to hear more about r/alaska's travails, a request I honestly never thought I'd be making.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:03 PM on July 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


I don't have much of a stake in this fight, but I will say that this feels like a Big Deal. Maybe I am wrong, but I remember Reddit before Digg (and specifically I remember the different identities both sites seemed to take on in their respective loyal userbases), and I remember Digg going down, and I remember Digg-ers flocking to Reddit. It will be interesting to see what happens, but I do hope people find an online home somewhere if this is the end of Reddit, and if it is not, I hope for transparency, fairness, and perhaps a slightly more heavy-handed approach to moderation.
posted by likeatoaster at 10:07 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mark Bodnick of Quora says he spoke to "someone close to Reddit" who says the Jackson thing was not the cause. Instead, he suggests it was a difference of opinion on how to evolve AMA going forward.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:07 PM on July 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Just don't let r/cfb go away. It's a great place for those of us who are so inclined to talk college football, with the perfect mix of knowledge, community, smack talk, trash talk (TRASH TALK THREAD Thursdays are hilarious) and respect. There are a lot of parts of Reddit that wouldn't be mourned, but there's some great communities as well.
posted by azpenguin at 10:08 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dammit! I've been spending time procrastinating on Reddit more and more often in the last few months. It's so huge, you can stumble across both horrible and wonderful things just by browsing randomly, like the old fashioned Internet of days gone by. It's so much cooler than the slick, produced content that predominates nearly everywhere else. (Present company excepted, of course.) I've been on the verge of signing up for an account for quite awhile, and now this happens.

But it sounds like a necessary protest, if the admins are as out of touch as they seem to be over there. Maybe this will wake them up.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:08 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Jesse Jackson rumour was propagated by THEHAT2

Stories about Jesse Jackson have been around for decades. He's been villified since he became a public figure. Like Al Sharpton, he's been unafraid to get into a fight and unapologetic for not being perfect. That's his legacy, and it's a pretty damn good one. Yes, KotakuInAction is a cesspool, but they're very late to this particular game, and discussing this history as context for that horrific AMA (that was almost certainly a setup by THEHAT2's ilk) isn't doing any disservice to Jackson.
posted by fatbird at 10:11 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just don't let r/cfb go away.

Not gonna lie, after that Gawker update I immediately assumed that the "b" stood for bears (and the "cf" was better left undecoded).
posted by No-sword at 10:12 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Victoria was the best part of the best part of Reddit. It can be, and I might say usually is, a cesspool, but she is a delight. I stand by her even if it means I can't complete my nightly ritual of reading horrifying scary experience Ask Reddit threads until I finally pass out at 4 am for the next little while.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't have an account there, but I visit it at times. Sometimes in incognito mode. But Reddit dying tomorrow wouldn't improve the internet one bit. Good users would scatter to better or worse communities and a lot would be lost. The assholes would just go someplace else and spread their nuggets of wisdom on decent communities, or create a new libertarian paradise where the worst of the site (rampant misogyny, revenge porn, gamergaters, racists, pedophiles) would not only be tolerated but even welcome. Pretty much like the "4chan is the cesspit of the internet", and then 8chan appearing once their mods thought the assholes were going to far.

Every internet community craps on each other. Sometimes, they throw their own shit up in the air, it falls on top of their heads and don't even realize they have a (turd emoji) on their head.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Just came over from Reddit - found metafilter through a Hacker News post (how's that for social Inception). The site has been disappointing for two disjoint reasons lately - first, Ellen Pao seems to have a poor understanding of the function of reddit (and internet communities in general), and second, racist/asshole redditors have been freaking out over things like r/fatpeoplehate being banned. I'm really curious to see how this all plays out.
posted by schneidmaster at 10:15 PM on July 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


discussing this history as context for that horrific AMA (that was almost certainly a setup by THEHAT2's ilk) isn't doing any disservice to Jackson.

I don't think it's about doing any disservice to Jackson - it's more that THEHAT2 is not a trustworthy source, so claims by him about anything should be viewed with skepticism. And it's true. We really know nothing.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:16 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Drinky Die: I came to post that Quora screenshot and, seeing you already had, I upvoted you. Then I realized I hadn't upvoted you, I'd favorited you. So I suppose Reddit really does have its hooks in me.

I really do love the niche Reddits. /r/wicked_edge taught me to shave comfortably, on the cheap. /r/hiphopheads (currently shuttered) turned me on to a crap ton of amazing music. /r/bikewrench taught me to fix my bikes, and gave me the invaluable advice that, should you ever drop a screw or bearing, don't try to catch it — watch it come to rest and then pick it up.

Reddit is like Usenet was in its heyday. Sure, the nasty alt.binaries newsgroups make the news, but I learned to brew beer and debug C++ on Usenet... I'll miss Reddit if it does burn to the ground, I really will.
posted by mindsound at 10:17 PM on July 2, 2015 [44 favorites]


Just came over from Reddit - found metafilter through a Hacker News post (how's that for social Inception).

Well, that's a fast five dollars. I hope you enjoy this new spot; don't get too tee'd off by having comments occasionally deleted.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:18 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Just came over from Reddit

Well, hello, and welcome! And welcome to any other redditors who wend their way over here! I hope y'all find interesting stuff on mefi, too! Feel free to grab a snack or something, we might have some tofutti cuties still in the freezer
posted by Greg Nog at 10:18 PM on July 2, 2015 [41 favorites]


Also, this thread is disgusting. I have no loyalty to reddit personally, but lots of people I love and admire do, and I can understand that Metafilter and Reddit serve different parts/interests on the internet. And frankly, I can imagine some people going to Reddit and being all "oh hay, my favorite sites are down, but oh I've heard about Metafilter maybe I'll look there" and taking one look at this thread, and noping the fuck out. Because honestly, it's feeling really smug and gross in here.
posted by likeatoaster at 10:18 PM on July 2, 2015 [52 favorites]


But Reddit dying tomorrow wouldn't improve the internet one bit. Good users would scatter to better or worse communities and a lot would be lost. The assholes would just go someplace else and spread their nuggets of wisdom on decent communities, or create a new libertarian paradise where the worst of the site (rampant misogyny, revenge porn, gamergaters, racists, pedophiles) would not only be tolerated but even welcome. Pretty much like the "4chan is the cesspit of the internet", and then 8chan appearing once their mods thought the assholes were going to far.

Websites are not towns or bars or prisons or whatever where people being in one place keeps them there. Online gathering places for terrible people give them a space to reinforce each other and coordinate lashing out at other places.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:21 PM on July 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Because honestly, it's feeling really smug and gross in here.

You're not wrong; this is kind of how threads about Reddit always end up going down around here. It's a shame, but it is what it is. At my most charitable, I read a lot of the zealous smugness as coming from folks whose unwillingness to compromise or forgive on other issues make Metafilter a better place for discussions of race issues, trans issues, and the like. But it does get gross.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:25 PM on July 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


oh hi i am new from reddit and i am looking for the fpv sub what do you mean there is no fpv sub ok i will settle for the fpvracing sub what do you mean no fpvracing either just what kind of place is this
posted by um at 10:26 PM on July 2, 2015 [27 favorites]


I've spent a lot of time on r/science lately (hey, looks like r/science is open again), and the various sciency subreddits like r/Futurology and r/space. And subreddits like r/LI5 and r/trueaskhistorians are always fun. Then there's the pure crack like r/pics and r/aww and the r/DaystromInstitute. I've wasted entire days on that Star Trek subreddit, caught in a hypnotic trance reading comment after comment instead of going outside or talking to humans. And now most of them are private...
posted by Kevin Street at 10:41 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Make a FPV racing post!
posted by Jacqueline at 10:41 PM on July 2, 2015


Reddit is like Usenet was in its heyday.

Usenet wasn't run by a single ostensibly for-profit company like reddit is. Moreover, Usenet didn't have a unified culture like reddit does.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:45 PM on July 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


first, Ellen Pao seems to have a poor understanding of the function of reddit (and internet communities in general)

So real question, not a Reddit bash: Do you really think that's true? What if she understands quite well what Reddit IS CURRENTLY, but has a different vision for what she wants to see vs. the incredibly common "cesspool" sentiment for her company?

A big backlash against that is totally expected in that case; I would expect the same in any company attempting to fight inertia with a drastic course change. Not to mention the misogynist crowd who don't need much excuse to begin with.
posted by ctmf at 10:47 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


No response from /r/ASMR mods about going dark

They're having an intense debate, held only in whispers.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:48 PM on July 2, 2015 [46 favorites]


Because honestly, it's feeling really smug and gross in here.

Some qualified Reddit love, then:

When I sit down to play Dragon Age Origins, I do so with something on the order of 18 Chrome tabs open on my laptop, all of them various reference posts from Dragon Age subreddits.

/r/finalfantasytactics? You'd be an idiot not to. Banished? Of course. Motherfucking Cookie Clicker? At least five tabs at all times. The Prison Architect sub was nothing short of best of the web, particularly the various posts on design metrics for optimum pathing, power usage, room structure/layout...just incredibly useful, painstakingly researched information.

You don't see a lot of the social woes of the larger site in the hundreds and hundreds of game-specific subreddits, just thousands of users with varying degrees of OCD-like behavior teaching other users with same how to min/max the fuck out of anything and everything.

As you wander out toward the more mega-popular titles, this changes. Diablo 3's community was sporadically awful (surprise! Over the witch doctor character, because of course it had to be), making it painful to browse despite the almost worryingly detailed gearing/character build spreadsheets. I was never a big LoL player, but given the community of that game, I'd bet some serious money on the reddit counterpart being pretty goddamn shitty on a regular basis.

The thing is: people lambaste Reddit as if it was a singular coherent identity, which is about the largest possible misread of the site. There is no unified community with shared values, just thousands of communities that happen to be using a common and relatively battle-tested interface. Painting the whole thing as one way or another smells like grabbing at low-hanging fruit for self-righteousness points, and not an especially accurate reflection of the multitude within.
posted by Ryvar at 10:48 PM on July 2, 2015 [33 favorites]


But Usenet did have self-organzing hives of extreme assholery, so there's that.
posted by fatbird at 10:48 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Great. Now /r/kerbalspaceprogram is down. Now what am I going to do? Actually play the game?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:50 PM on July 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


I've been watching this with much interest as well. A part of me really hopes that this will Mean Something and Things Will Be Different but I won't be holding my breath.

The smugness generally comes from seeing Reddit's (lack of) moderation, anti-harassment, or any sort of general please-don't-be-shitty-to-people rules. I've browsed through a lot of amazing little subs and had a lot of fun discovering neat and weird things, but I will happily sacrifice all the neat and weird if it means Reddit turning away from its "everything is so SACRED and FREE SPEECH" foundation. Because honestly, fuck that noise. Drive those fuckers elsewhere. And then drive them out of that new space, too. Quit tolerating shitty things because somewhere out there someone will always be shitty so oh well.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:54 PM on July 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


dirigibleman: "Great. Now /r/kerbalspaceprogram is down. Now what am I going to do? Actually play the game?"

... are you ... are you me?!?
posted by barnacles at 10:55 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm a (quite recent) mod of /r/tipofmytongue and we're pretty much staying out of the whole mess. We don't have any direct interactions with the admins, so stepping into the middle of the fight just seems awkward. And if we did take down the sub, what cue would we be waiting for to bring it back?

That said, yeah, this was handled pretty badly. It seems like interactions between the Reddit admins and the rest of the site invariably end up looking kind of icky, regardless of which side the ickiness is primarily coming from at any given moment.
posted by teraflop at 10:56 PM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Dittos on the KSP anguish/relief. But I also realize I have my own Turner Classic Movie Library worth of Kerbal content on youtube to wade into at some point. Modern problems.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 10:58 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I sit down to play Dragon Age Origins, I do so with something on the order of 18 Chrome tabs open on my laptop, all of them various reference posts from Dragon Age subreddits.

This is relevant to my interests. Linkys plz?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:00 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


dirigibleman, chainlinkspiral, are you two on MeFightClub?

also, share some vids, chainlinkspiral, I've basically exhausted Manley's stuff and I'm looking for some more good ones!
posted by barnacles at 11:00 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel about r/elitedangerous the way you folks do about r/kerbalspaceprogram
posted by unknownmosquito at 11:00 PM on July 2, 2015


""Moreover, Usenet didn't have a unified culture like reddit does."

That is simply not true. Reddit does not have a "unified culture".

https://www.reddit.com/about/ says:

stats at a glance (as of Jul 02, 2015)

last month, reddit had
163,966,958 unique visitors

hailing from over
212 different countries

viewing a total of
7,086,828,967 pages

yesterday, reddit powered
9,656 active communities

consisting of over
3,569,536 logged in redditors


A single "unified culture"?
posted by I-baLL at 11:04 PM on July 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


teraflop: "I'm a (quite recent) mod of /r/tipofmytongue and we're pretty much staying out of the whole mess. We don't have any direct interactions with the admins, so stepping into the middle of the fight just seems awkward. And if we did take down the sub, what cue would we be waiting for to bring it back?"

Wait, you're THAT teraflop? Small world! (I'm the TOMT mod who started that discussion).
posted by Rhaomi at 11:05 PM on July 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Honestly, if there were no "default subreddits" and you had to select what you wanted to read - even as an anonymous user - i doubt most people would encounter this "unified culture." I don't read any of the defaults, I'm subscribed to multiple subreddits, and I rarely see any of the shit that people here tend to associate with reddit unless it's linked to from here or elsewhere...
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:09 PM on July 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Can mefi just harbor r/science?

I kinda liked that place...
posted by Bwentman at 11:10 PM on July 2, 2015


Wait, you're THAT teraflop?

I'm pretty sure I never expected to read those words in my entire life, but yup.
posted by teraflop at 11:10 PM on July 2, 2015 [27 favorites]


Reddit is okay if you only subscribe to the good subs. Like /r/RedditIsOkayIfYouOnlySubscribeToTheGoodSubs, for example. Aside from the Mass-Doxing of 2013, that one's been relatively civil.
posted by naju at 11:11 PM on July 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


oh god I hope r/ClickerHeroes stays open, I'm only more than halfway to level 3000 and I've been at it for 270+ days!
posted by numaner at 11:11 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


So real question, not a Reddit bash: Do you really think that's true? What if she understands quite well what Reddit IS CURRENTLY, but has a different vision for what she wants to see vs. the incredibly common "cesspool" sentiment for her company?

That's entirely possible. I guess I'm really just irritated by the way it's happening. Whatever is wrong with reddit (and believe me, I am happy to acknowledge plenty of problems), Victoria coordinating AMAs was not one of them. I have a really hard time believing she was fired for anything other than office politics. I also feel a bit between a rock and a hard place because I support Ellen's ideals (anti-harassment, banning /r/fatpeoplehate) but I think reddit has gone about the task of implementing them quite poorly under her leadership.
posted by schneidmaster at 11:18 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is relevant to my interests. Linkys plz?
posted by Jacqueline at 2:00 AM


Oh God, where to even begin? Here are some highlights:

First off for my one true love, rogues: Dual Dagger Assassin Rogue Guide. Scroll down the thread for essential info about AOE daggers, the inefficacy of armor penetration, and how to maximize the animation-duration advantages of dominant-hand dagger selection.
Or just hit any of the other posts accompanying KineticGTR's video guides such as Best target behavior settings for your NPCs, and a fantastic Vivenne Support Knight-Enchanter build.

Speaking of Knight-Enchanters, everyone's favorite ridiculously overpowered specialization: Knight-Enchanter Min/Maxing Guide.

Grinding gold quickly is of particular relevance with the recently released Black Emporium DLC's gear prices.

Want to break the game? Check out this Tempest Rogue build.
posted by Ryvar at 11:27 PM on July 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


i <3 u
posted by Jacqueline at 11:29 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


item: "I honestly don't care about Internet drama. These websites (Metafilter included) are infotainment to me. That's it.

That's nice. I can't speak for reddit, but a motherfucking lot of Metafilter users rightfully consider this site to be a community.
"

It is. Look here for proof of why you are wrong if you continue that train of thought.
posted by Samizdata at 11:31 PM on July 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Abstractly, this is not so complicated. It is about control of the medium. IAMA despite being very popular has only thus far benefited users of reddit, and the invited guests who get to come and essentially market themselves. This community practice doesn't benefit the owners of reddit (because it leaves them out of the loop); and the fact that the agent instrumental to all the IAMA's could be so simply and directly fired is evidence of control being exerted in a certain away by the owners towards certain ends, namely, to exploit the platform to reflect their corporate values and interests. The subreddit mods can complain and protest all they want, but until they start to understand this, I predict they will not see progress of much substance.
posted by polymodus at 11:36 PM on July 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


leotrotsky: "But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

That's easy, anyone with a higher usernumber than you. Personally, I've always felt this place went completely downhill ever since the 16k rabble joined.
"

But of course, says 12985.
posted by Samizdata at 11:41 PM on July 2, 2015


wowbobwow: "Oh, Metafilter. How could I have neglected you in favor of that flashy young site? Baby, take me back!"

No,. you cheating bastard, and I am keeping custody of the kids!
posted by Samizdata at 11:48 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I support Ellen's ideals (anti-harassment, banning /r/fatpeoplehate) but I think reddit has gone about the task of implementing them quite poorly under her leadership.

It's entirely possible that some of the pushback is coming from the very people responsible for implementing them. And that that could be the tie-in with this situation. Getting pretty conspiracy-theory-crazy here, but an ill-considered "fuck that, not doing it" email to the CEO could result in the contents of your desk on the sidewalk unexpectedly.

But like I said before, we can't know at this point.
posted by ctmf at 11:50 PM on July 2, 2015


If MetaFilter has a characteristic that meets or exceeds its smugness in comparing itself to other sites, it's its reflexive self-criticism. Heaven forfend that anyone should express happiness or even mere relief that we're not like ShitbirdMagnet.com; break out the hair shirts and gimme a mea maxima culpa, y'all!
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 PM on July 2, 2015 [28 favorites]


likeatoaster: "Also, this thread is disgusting. I have no loyalty to reddit personally, but lots of people I love and admire do, and I can understand that Metafilter and Reddit serve different parts/interests on the internet. And frankly, I can imagine some people going to Reddit and being all "oh hay, my favorite sites are down, but oh I've heard about Metafilter maybe I'll look there" and taking one look at this thread, and noping the fuck out. Because honestly, it's feeling really smug and gross in here."

Welp, MeFi's never had sections dedicated to media questionably pedophilic, nor revenge porn, nor MRAs, among others, so, yeah, I'm feeling smug. Went there once, found nothing redeeming, moved on.
posted by Samizdata at 11:53 PM on July 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


Of course, my comment is part of that self criticism. It's shame all the way down, folks.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:53 PM on July 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Welp, MeFi's never had sections dedicated to media questionably pedophilic, nor revenge porn, nor MRAs, among others, so, yeah, I'm feeling smug. Went there once, found nothing redeeming, moved on.

way to ignore most of the thread
posted by JimBennett at 11:54 PM on July 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Every time someone compares Reddit to Usenet god kills a kitten.
posted by Justinian at 12:07 AM on July 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Also, an aside, no group with an agenda can suppress information on MeFi that I know of. (cf brigading).

Also, I know from bad communities. Just look at my Steam profile and you will see I am also a Goon. Yup, could find something redeeming (mostly LPs) there without hours of work.
posted by Samizdata at 12:19 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every time someone compares Reddit to Usenet god kills a kitten.

It's a good comparison as far as describing the diversity of content/culture and free for all atmosphere. It's a bad comparison as far as offering excuses for why the admins shouldn't do anything about the shit free for all usenet style discussion generates. They have the power!
posted by Drinky Die at 12:38 AM on July 3, 2015


I've been yelling about reddit mods not being allowed to get paid for their work and having to work with shitty tools for a while now. I'm still mad about it. I'm also mad about it being a virulently racist and (trans)misogynistic shitpile, so I'm basically sitting here cackling about this. I'd be thrilled if they actually got some better tools and some staff to work on fixing the problems with the site, but I'd also be 100% okay with its users scattering to the four internet winds.

There's some talk about the moderation tools thing, and some other background, over on r/OutOfTheLoop.

(All this was really weirdly timed for me personally; I was tweeting about the moderation thing yesterday, and I came back to 57 notifications on Twitter. I nearly had a heart attack before I realized it was just some people jumping in on that conversation.)
posted by NoraReed at 12:42 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


oh my god I just realized I linked to the actual thing in the FPP; for some reason I had the Gawker link open at the same time and thought that was what the original link was
posted by NoraReed at 12:48 AM on July 3, 2015


If MetaFilter has a characteristic that meets or exceeds its smugness in comparing itself to other sites, it's its reflexive self-criticism.

Some people call this "introspection."

Heaven forfend that anyone should express happiness or even mere relief that we're not like ShitbirdMagnet.com

No, here we exercise our human follies *differently* than *those* sites.
posted by weston at 12:50 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


i also want to note that Neopets descended into anarchy after its filters went down. it seems the rumor that they fired all the moderators is untrue, though, so my brilliant idea of telling reddit to just hire all of them will not go through :(

overall, this is gonna be an interesting holiday weekend for the social web
posted by NoraReed at 1:05 AM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


On /r/CitiesSkylines they just posted this bit of background information. Apparently Victoria is part of a pattern:
A few months ago a Reddit employee messaged every gaming Subreddit he could get, created a private Subreddit and invited us to it - for the purpose of gaining feedback on what he could do to help make gaming related Subreddits better for the Moderators and Redditors. I can tell you that there was a lot of great discussion on how to improve Subreddits across the board. For the sake of brevity I won't list them but suffice to say there was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm as Moderators came together from across Reddit to help explore the possibilities. Tools. We long for tools to make the Subreddit experience better for everyone.

Then one day that Reddit employee was no longer an employee. Discussion ceased. Nobody stepped in and picked up where he left off and there was no explanation as to what had been going on. It left a bad taste in many of our mouths - I am not the only one.
Given that bit of behind the scenes info, I can understand the major subreddits' frustration. Also, /r/pics is back online, but being spammed with blank, black images.
posted by sbutler at 1:06 AM on July 3, 2015 [25 favorites]


Also, /r/pics is back online, but being spammed with blank, black images.

I like this one.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:14 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Having discovered gifting this week, it seems like it'd be nice to sponsor some good redditors, assuming you can view comments through a user's history even on private subs, and that deleted comments still show up (as deleted). Invite them over, see if they become addicted to lurking and reading, then gift.

I wouldn't mind reddit shutting down, although that appears to be the primary community for one of my 10+year old MMOs that recently came back to the US. The amount of poison and slow opinion shifting is pretty terrible. Golden Eternity linked an article about this. No one is going to immediately visit white supremacy websites, but it's pretty easy for people to view the various racist subreddits and chans and agree with some short remarks there without thinking about it.
posted by halifix at 1:20 AM on July 3, 2015


Here is an admin response to the situation.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:24 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ha! I was just reading that thread on SRD :)
posted by sbutler at 1:26 AM on July 3, 2015


IAMA is arguably the best part of reddit, and Victoria was a huge part of that.

Lol were we reading the same AMA? I've seen some of the most vile racism and abusive shit imaginable in there, especially directed at anyone who was a minority or a woman. All she did was shield celebrities from realizing how goddamn awful reddit was by reading the inoffensive questions to them or editing the questions instead of just having those people browse/reply directly.

Apparently Victoria herself does not know why she was suddenly let go.

Honestly i bet the admins and management were having an emergency meeting over how to react to how bad the Jesse Jackson AMA was, and how to gracefully shut down AMA without causing some massive public backlash.

The timing is too coincidency to be a real coincidence, IMO.
posted by emptythought at 1:27 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, /r/pics is back online, but being spammed with blank, black images.

Looks like the mod who made the choice is getting the Reddit "free speech" treatment and justifiably freaking out a bit.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:35 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


we are not all saints here guys, a certain recent thread about kim kardashian contained many comments with a vile misogynistic streak that i basically see verbatim over there when she's brought up. reddit has a lot of gross people on it, but so does this site, and the rest of the internet, and the city you live in.


Can we not pull this freaking routine again? Reddit is measurably worse than your average place at times and that badness is widely supported over there. Do we really need to rehash stuff like this FPP?
posted by emptythought at 1:37 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


What the Internet DESPERATELY needs is a few THOUSAND separate sites, under separate ownership and management doing what "subreddits" are doing now, with some interaction among them (you know, like a 'web'). And if some of the sites don't want to connect to other certain sites, they don't have to. THAT's the way you do it on an Internet. I LOATHE the "default monopoly" status that Reddit and Facebook and others have. That's why I made my very bad suggestion 6 months ago that MetaFilter do something like AMAs. When there is a "Front Page of the Internet" (especially one owned by a dead-tree publishing corporation), then the Internet is no better than a city with one daily newspaper, and the "Promise of the Internet" is DEAD and BURIED.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:38 AM on July 3, 2015 [49 favorites]


The top comment on the matter at r/blackladies sums it all up for me:

I think reddit picks the dumbest hills to die on.

For those that don't know, that sub launched a petition to the admins to take action regarding the racism and hate groups invading and poisoning other subreddits. It gained a lot of traction among moderators of the site, but the admin response was crickets.
posted by peppermind at 1:39 AM on July 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Paying the moderators who make Reddit what it is, for better or for worse, would be a major step in the right direction, but there are other ways for the site to make an effort toward their communities. Looking at this from the outside, I've seen the same pattern with more corporate-controlled open source projects, especially back in the day. Treat your contributors like dirt or mere indifference, and nothing good will come of it.

There are certainly ways to recognize and support Reddit's army of moderators whether or not you're actually paying them. Reddit is too big and has been around too long not to have at least a small community team on staff both to engage with the mods of major subs and to throw them some bones from time to time. I assure you that flying out the core /r/IAmA team for a booze-powered meetup at Reddit HQ every now and then would cost a small fraction of what that sub is worth. Better mod tools wouldn't hurt either. Perhaps some actual transparency from Reddit HQ could make people feel like part of a community rather than tools. Building community online isn't easy, but not totally sucking at it isn't really that hard if you can remember how to act like a human being.

Because when you don't bother to maintain a relationship with your community, you get insane situations like this one where everyone is freaking out for various reasons over rumors about an incident nobody really knows anything about. Usually we call that a riot, of which this is essentially an online version.

Reddit is nothing without its community, for better or for worse. It's irresponsible to take that resource for granted.
posted by zachlipton at 1:46 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good news, everyone!
posted by Drinky Die at 1:48 AM on July 3, 2015 [48 favorites]


I honestly at this point think reddit as an organization is terrified that the racist assholes would be good enough at organizing to basically shut down the site or ruin it in some meaningful ways if they pissed them off enough.
posted by emptythought at 1:48 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I too would like to see more smaller communities than the current agglomeration under a handful of domains. I heard the Reddit software is open-source? Or Discourse is supposed to be the new wave of forum software. Hosting is pretty cheap these days.

Fly, be free, run your own group centered on obsessive detail of obscure/popular games or other hyper-specific interests. It's what the internet is for.
posted by harriet vane at 1:55 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


A lot of the benefit for me is that it puts all the forums I want to read on one page. If you splinter it the utility drops way down.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:56 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


If Jesse Jackson does AMA on Reddit, doesn't he have some motivation to at least check the site out? The questions may have been nasty (you choose your epithet) but shouldn't he have been at least ready for them? No one that I have seen (and I am not a regular) on AskMeAnything has been such an evasive, inarticulate, non-responsive subject. If this particular episode was responsible for the dismissal of anyone -- well, it wasn't their fault.
posted by CCBC at 1:59 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


The large userbase means there's always someone who has intimate knowledge of any given topic. "I'm a nuclear engineer, and..." Or "I wrote a paper on this question, and..." Or even "I was convicted of this crime, and..." You can't get that when sites have very small readerships.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:02 AM on July 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


way to ignore most of the thread

Nah, sorry, no. Those are legitimate points. "Mefi can be misogynistic sometimes too" is like saying that some guy who smacked his dog on the butt once for peeing on his bed is remotely as bad as, or even on the same spectrum as the guy who runs a dogfighting ring.

It's a lazy smirk-delivered canard that comes out in every thread like this. Can we maybe just skip the whole glass houses routine for once? The correct response to "you guys did a bad thing" is not "well YOU'VE done some bad stuff too!" and anyone who falls for that is getting played.
posted by emptythought at 2:09 AM on July 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


A lot of the benefit for me is that it puts all the forums I want to read on one page. If you splinter it the utility drops way down.

I remember back in the day, there was this thing called Google Reader...
posted by teraflop at 2:13 AM on July 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


yes but that's why you need your own homepage. and Yahoo's Cool Site Of The Day. i'm only half joking.
posted by harriet vane at 2:13 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ah, web rings... Where are you now?
posted by Kevin Street at 2:15 AM on July 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


I remember back in the day, there was this thing called Google Reader...

A lot of the benefit for me is that it puts all the forums I want to read on one page...with one login.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:19 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


This isn't some ideological horseshit or hysterical misogyny, reddit's volunteer mods are going on strike because reddit corporate are douchebags at community engagement.

That times a MILLION.

To clarify: the problem isn't that mods at Reddit are not paid; it's that the tools they're provided with and the support they are given to do that job for free absolutely suck a dick.

Also it occurs to me that Reddit should fire their interim CEO and hire Jessamyn to run the company.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:31 AM on July 3, 2015 [31 favorites]


Well, as a result of this thread, I created a reddit account with subscriptions only to a few subreddits that are of relevance to me. So far so good!
posted by persona au gratin at 2:31 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Jessamyn gazes off towards Lake Champlain while idly thumbing through a Conde Nast Traveler and sipping a crisp apple cider.
posted by boo_radley at 2:33 AM on July 3, 2015 [37 favorites]


Ellen Pao has denied the explanation for the firing I linked here. I think I'll just give up trying to figure this out for now and wait for the chips to fall where they may.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:48 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the reddit admin team is doing a poor job communicating about this. They should know better and this is disappointing.

I enjoy several subreddits, especially about particular fandoms or games - and while I agree reddit has a hate problem, I was looking forward to see the team trying to solve it more efficiently than before*

I think another way to approach paid moderation on reddit is thinking not in terms of users to moderate (which is effectively too vast) but in terms of mods: there are roughly 3000 mods on reddit - that's a fairly small community to moderate, and maybe an active mefi like "moderate the mods" architecture would be scalable (including $5 to become a mod ?) - But doing so transparently, and in earnest is really key. Stories about admins not following up on private conversation with mods are really disheartening in that regard (and highlight by contrast how wonderful of a place MeFi is)

Regarding aggregation, I don't think a google reader approach would work either - and I prefer reddit to usenet, in that I don't have to go through every thread and every comment, and it is fairly scannable - sometimes I want to ready a full conversation, sometimes I just want a link, etc - I don't think RSS works well for that - for one, at what point would things get posted to your feed: when they reach a certain number of upvotes ? how about comments ?

The reddit team has many challenges to face - I liked their new newsletter and podcast, which served to highlight the good parts of reddit - but it looks from their reaction to this whole thing that they aren't as in tune with their community as they should be.

* I saw somewhere (maybe here) someone make a valid point about the confederate flag that I think applies to hate on reddit too: it's not because you ignore it with a carefully curated list of subreddits that it's not an issue - and the more you ignore it, the more the disconnect between redditors and the outside world grows, because, while you get good at ignoring it and tuning it out, for every new comer it's going to stick out more. I would welcome a more radical purge of hate subreddits and hateful users.
posted by motdiem2 at 2:54 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


also, I would welcome Jessamyn as the new head of reddit, but if I were to bet, I think Dick Costolo is going to run reddit next. (I have no knowledge of this at all, just speculating)
posted by motdiem2 at 2:56 AM on July 3, 2015


Somehow, I can't see there being any possible way that Jessamyn might want that, so suggesting that she could fix things there feels strange to me.
posted by frimble at 3:03 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


frimble: I think we're just having fun with a hypothetical what if scenario, something along the lines of Jessamyn being "the CEO reddit needs, not the one reddit wants".

We all know jessamyn wouldn't take it, but I like thinking about where the narrative of having Cortex running Mefi and Jessamyn running reddit would go.
posted by motdiem2 at 3:14 AM on July 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Somehow, I can't see there being any possible way that Jessamyn might want that, so suggesting that she could fix things there feels strange to me.

I dunno, I kind of like the mental image of someone suggesting that to her in person, and her just laughing...

Like, for days.
posted by Ryvar at 3:15 AM on July 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


Until drive-by downloading via compromised ads stops being a popular vector of malware infection, AdBlock should be on every computer.

I think disabling Java completely and setting Flash to play-on-demand does more to prevent malware, but doing both that AND using an ad blocker is probably best.
posted by ymgve at 3:34 AM on July 3, 2015


who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?

The Chive.


I was going to say "we'll always have Something Awful," but this is the correct answer. The Chive is like a swarming dude-bro locust invasion destroying everything in their path. I have yet to despise an online entity more in my life, from the owners on down through middle management, to the users, it's a detestable sexist, smug, self-entitled blob of the worst of humanity. I've been circumspect about them before because of former business ties, but they are the most awful presence on the Internet. Reddit were at least decent customers, current issues notwithstanding.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:35 AM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


But if Redditors came here, who could MetaFilter users with an unearned sense of superiority turn our noses up at, then?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:34 PM on July 2


Exactly. Reminds me of high school when I started doing theater. I hung out with people from all interest points: studious types, nerds, the supposed "popular" kids, some athletes - a whole mix. But the theater group was THE most exclusive, despite feeling more strongly that other groups were more exclusive. I loved them dearly, and sweated over shows and stayed late for endless rehearsals and partied with them, but damn they could be insanely hypocritical about inclusiveness. At my university it was lessened to a degree with that theater crowd but still existed strongly. Not all, mind you, but on the whole there was this weirdly stronger clique-ness to them that just always threw me for a loop.

My point is sometimes that vibe comes through here and it's kind of frustrating and makes me kind of sad.
posted by glaucon at 3:47 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Looks like the mod who made the choice is getting the Reddit "free speech" treatment and justifiably freaking out a bit.

Wow, jesus. A prominent moderator is getting hit with endless "kill yourself" private messages and he's the one apologizing. This is one of the many reasons why that community will never, ever be my thing.
posted by naju at 3:56 AM on July 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


The thing is, Metafilter is a tiny site with a handful of people discussing a couple topics a day. So I find myself going elsewhere most of the time. There's a big, big world out there.
posted by ryanrs at 3:57 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Metafilter is still pretty neat though.)
posted by ryanrs at 3:57 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, jesus. A prominent moderator is getting hit with endless "kill yourself" private messages and he's the one apologizing. This is one of the many reasons why that community will never, ever be my thing.

As a followup on that, as far as I can tell he wasn't even the one who made the decision and it's a giant drama clusterfuck I can't figure out. But yeah, as soon as he was in the crosshairs the harassment started.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:59 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess this was pretty abrupt, I heard about it because it happened in the middle of Edward Frankel's AMA. Evidently independently of it, although evidently there was some talk about criticisms of Kurtweil and of thinking on AI in general, there was commentary to the contrary.

So, plenty of random collateral damage, I suppose..
posted by nat at 4:07 AM on July 3, 2015


I have been on reddit for 8 years. And /r/IAmA/ used to be awesome when it was Burger King employees and Plumbers. Now it is just shills promoting products. So no real loss.
posted by johnpowell at 4:13 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


One of these days I'm going to buy myself an SA forums account because they have an AMA thread by a traffic engineer that's been going on for years and has provided me with hours of entertainment (don't ask, it's relevant to my interests).
posted by daniel_charms at 4:18 AM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


* I saw somewhere (maybe here) someone make a valid point about the confederate flag that I think applies to hate on reddit too

This rang a bell so I had to track it down. It's an anecdote about Charleston but it works so well as an analogy for Reddit that it's worth sharing here. "Well, everybody wants to have some excellent barbecue, of course."

A friendly (older, white) man from Charleston who used to work sales in the South for my company told me a story a few years ago about showing co-workers visiting from other parts of the country around town. "Well, everybody wants to have some excellent barbecue, of course," he said matter-of-factly, "but I have to be careful which places I take folks to because, you know, a lot of the best barbeque places have Klan pamphlets and flyers out on the tables, and while us locals are used to it and just ignore that nonsense, you Yankees do get upset when they see that kind of thing." I was stunned and then, on second thought, disappointed in myself that I was so surprised both at the fact of it and his blase attitude.
posted by aught at 6:46 AM on June 18 [73 favorites +] [!]

posted by naju at 4:34 AM on July 3, 2015 [28 favorites]


i also want to note that Neopets descended into anarchy

best sentence?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:40 AM on July 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


We don't talk about what... happened to Neopets.

What it became.

...the horror...
posted by Drexen at 4:44 AM on July 3, 2015


Another of Reddit's claims to positive fame was their Gift exchange program. They've set several Guinness World Records for their size and scope. The main moderator behind it, kickme444, was fired from Reddit a couple weeks ago and is no longer involved in the exchange. Having two of the most popular outward-facing personalities let go within a couple weeks looks more like a corporate change of direction, wanting Reddit to be a brand rather than a collection of individual contributors.
posted by persona at 4:51 AM on July 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


The sad thing is, volunteer mods will be easy to replace. There's always one keen little rodent waiting in the background. They're not easy to replace like-with-like, but as long as the new mods have a contract that says ‘though shalt not interfere with the ad revenue’, reddit will shamble along, golem-like, forever.

I wonder what the existing mod contracts say? There has to be non-disclosure and non-disparagement in there, which might be triggered by going dark.
posted by scruss at 5:00 AM on July 3, 2015


a detestable sexist, smug, self-entitled blob of the worst of humanity

And if you google for them right now, this is at #2, just below the site itself:

"The Chive helps the family of an 8 year-old girl who's facing a terminal illness. [...] They bought the family a new van to accommodate a new wheelchair that's on the way. They've also helped to raise more than $37,000 to help with her medical bills."

which I'm sure the local chivers would point to if there were any here, just like redditors like to point to good things done elsewhere on the site by others when people bring up the shittiness that permeates the place, and mefites have their own classics to point when people bring up those endless metatalk threads...
posted by effbot at 5:01 AM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Reddit has a really shitty online ad program. All they have is a weak $1 CPM display ad product

If you click through to the help center, there are more alternatives. But does anyone buy ads on reddit? I don't think I've ever seen one, other than the occasional sponsored link at the top and of course the endless supply of ads for the site itself. Maybe it's just that their non-US inventory sucks?
posted by effbot at 5:06 AM on July 3, 2015


We all know jessamyn wouldn't take it, but I like thinking about where the narrative of having Cortex running Mefi and Jessamyn running reddit would go.

When this is over, someone should set up /r/MeFiFanFic.
posted by bluefly at 5:45 AM on July 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


I wonder what the existing mod contracts say? There has to be non-disclosure and non-disparagement in there, which might be triggered by going dark.

Uhh, aside from the general TOS, there's not, like, a specific "mod contract". There's a forum that's invite-only for mods of frontpage subs (which apparently leaks like a sieve, I saw some screenshots of the admins' posts there), but it's not, you know, a job. Anybody can just set up a sub for a topic that's not taken and mod it.

It's possible the mod/admin thing is causing some confusion? Admins are the people who get paid to run the site; mods run individual subreddits (r/thisiswherethenameofthesubredditgoes). Mods don't have a whole lot of power or information; they use a really outdated toolset (as the link in the FPP talks about) and don't have the ability to do stuff like IP bans, banning posts from new users, etc, and so they end up having to do a lot more of the grunt work associated with that bad toolset and problem users (for whom creating new accounts is trivial).
posted by NoraReed at 5:49 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


This comment from the estimable r/subredditdrama made me LOL:

It's a coup, people. We couping up in here. Oh, sweet Jesus, yes. First they came for FPH, and I said nothing cause who gives a fuck. Then they came for chooter and I said HELL NO, SON. You want my Victoria? You can pry her from my cold, dead GOD DAMN REDDITOR HANDS.
It's happening. My first coup. My first coup ever and I'm right here for it. I'm excited. Should I been excited? I'm also nervous, like a sexual kind of nervous. Anything can happen in a coup and often does and I'm in the middle of it. How fast do I start flipping cars? Right away? Do I have to ease into it? Someone let me know when I can start flipping cars, okay?

posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


leotrotsky: "This'd be a great time for someone to start a Reddit clone and send out a bunch of invitations. If they coordinated, the subreddits could all reopen in synchrony with a single link to the new site."

There already is a clone, Voat. With the selling point "no censorship", which probably means all of the worst racist libertarian young white male etc. finally can have their say! But I don't really know.

cortex: "Maybe the situation with Taylor will seem sensible and defensible when the details come out; maybe it'll turn out to be a huge fuckup; but it's notable how unclear that is right out of the gate, and it underscores how important it is to try and be transparent with a large community when shit hits the fan."

I think there's no way this can be seen as anything but a huge fuckup, no matter what the reason.
posted by Red Loop at 5:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There already is a clone, Voat. With the selling point "no censorship"

...which lasted until their hosting company forced them to shut down some questionable boards.
posted by PenDevil at 5:55 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


there's the fempire, where the selling point is lots of censorship
posted by NoraReed at 5:58 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure that I'd miss reddit if it went dark permanently. I read a few specific subs but I've never found the discourse to be all that impressive and the threaded commenting is close to impossible to read. And even the most innocuous subs still seem to have a more than zero number of sexist/racist/homophobic assholes.
posted by octothorpe at 6:06 AM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think there's no way this can be seen as anything but a huge fuckup, no matter what the reason.

Oh for sure. I was noting the possibility (though not at all betting on it) that there was some sort of really actionable behind-the-scenes situation motivating the decision; the handling of the decision is unambiguously terrible regardless and would be so even in the unlikely scenario where the explanation turned out to be reasonable.

There's the "is this justified" question, and then there's the "have we actually justified it" question. Once you screw the pooch on the second one, people aren't going to wait politely for the answer to the first one.
posted by cortex at 6:07 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think The Gif Oracle has it here.

Kid you just swung at a pitch that hit you right in the jimmy

Everybody's just laughin at you

and eeeeeverybody just laughin
posted by East14thTaco at 6:10 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Too bad. I like her shake it off song.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:13 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This rang a bell so I had to track it down. It's an anecdote about Charleston but it works so well as an analogy for Reddit that it's worth sharing here. "Well, everybody wants to have some excellent barbecue, of course."

That anecdote is deceptively compelling; it's literally the opposite of the standard endorsement of Reddit on MetaFilter, and not a very good example of how the site actually runs. The good, niche barbecue places are the ones without clan literature, the r/awwnverts and the r/tipofmytongues of the world. (And all those other, major subreddits where the moderators work the hardest to keep the Klan literature off the tables - a point that we could extend to MetaFilter, except that here the moderators are paid to do the cleaning and have much greater control.)

It's true that Reddit exists in tension with the popularity of its worst subreddits, and that there are plenty of users hunting down Klan literature. There's a reason the staff were glad to have violentacrez around as a way of passing the buck. But by that token those redditors aren't interested in the “quality of the barbecue”, just the literature on the tables. (“Some people come to Carolina looking for the barbecue. Then they get mad when they drive to a Klan rally and can't find anything to eat.”)

The pernicious notion that redditors universally regard the worst subreddits as the site's pinnacle hinders practical thinking about Reddit and what makes it go. While there are redditors who would have taken you to r/creepshots before r/AskHistorians when asked to show you the best of reddit, but there are also mefites who would take you to that body disposal AskMe when asked to show you the best of MetaFilter. Painting all redditors with this brush is gross and goes against the intellectual and kind that I'd like to think MetaFilter strives for.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:13 AM on July 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


To Metafilters credit I am aware of zero hate groups that use it as a rallying point.
posted by Artw at 6:17 AM on July 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


only because people who put peas in guacamole aren't a protected class yet. i blame SJWs
posted by NoraReed at 6:18 AM on July 3, 2015 [28 favorites]


I've heard of vikings using Meta as their staging point.
posted by daniel_charms at 6:21 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think Metafilter is the staging ground for the mass genocide of sit vs stand, ask vs guess, and dark theme vs light theme, once we finally get a consensus.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:30 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't forget shoes on in the house/shoes off in the house.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:31 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Apparently the admins have taken control of /r/pics and locked out most of the original mods.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:34 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


/r/Blackout2015 appears to be the subreddit posting updates.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:38 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


To Metafilters credit I am aware of zero hate groups that use it as a rallying point.

If my comment can be boiled down to drawing an equivalence between Reddit and MetaFilter, then I screwed up when writing it.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:39 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


When this is over, someone should set up /r/MeFiFanFic.

There's already a MetaFilter tag on AO3.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah but The Whelk is the only one who has used it thus far. Clearly the rest of us have some writing to do.
posted by sciatrix at 6:57 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


A/N: Finally, the wedding chapter!! I know you've all been waiting to see the BIG REVEAL for this one. Usual disclaimers apply, Goku is owned by Akira Toriyama, Ganandorf is owned by Nintendo, Sasuke is owned by me because i love him lol, jessamyn and cortex own themselves lmao
posted by NoraReed at 7:08 AM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Reddit, that's that indexing tool for Imgur, right?
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:10 AM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


First off, welcome to Redditors who are looking to Metafilter for a new online community, and sorry to hear that your community's owners are treating their volunteer mods this way.

As far as Redditors joining Metafilter goes -- there are what, around 4K active Mefi users each month right now (based on the stats linked over in MetaTalk the other day)? If Reddit's AboutReddit page is accurate, they had 3.5 million logged in users last month. Completely different order of magnitude. One percent of active Reddit users joining Mefi would be a HUGE number relative to our current active userbase. Even one tenth of one percent, or 3,500 users, would be comparable to our current active userbase.

I'll be surprised if Mefi sees anything like that, though, because the two sites are completely different experiences. Even something as basic as the difference between threaded and non-threaded discussion threads can be a bone-deep preference.

On a personal side, my boyfriend was a Redditor and I was a Mefite when we got together. We're both primarily Mefites now, but still read Reddit from time to time. There's good stuff there. It's one of the best places to look for patient experiences with obscure medical conditions, for one thing.
posted by pie ninja at 7:14 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


> But does anyone buy ads on reddit?

Sure, I've seen quite a few ads on reddit. I imagine they get terrible clickthroughs, though, because they are completely untargeted - they seem to target your average internet dude, so lots of tiny helicopters and the like.

The whole thing baffles me, frankly. How hard would it be to add some keywords to the top 100 most popular subreddits and set up AdWords with those? The programming would be minimal - give me a reasonably smart intern and I could do it in a month (with probably three weeks of that month spent by me reading the reddit code, something they could bypass if they used their own programmers). It's not like there would be any "dynamic" anything, just fixed keywords attached to some small but popular subset of the subreddits.

Yes, Google would take a significant chunk of their revenues, but Google can provide huge numbers of ads, and it'd seriously help their revenue while they worked on a homegrown ads product.

But they aren't doing this, and I don't see any significant effort in their source code towards a real targeted ad system (though I didn't give it much time, I could have missed absolutely everything...)

As I said - baffled.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:16 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Apparently the admins have taken control of /r/pics and locked out most of the original mods.

So the top-voted incontrovertible proof is some screenshots of an exchange that doesn't say much about anything, and in the background of one of them someone is talking about slaughtering jews. Can it be more reddit?
posted by effbot at 7:19 AM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


So the top-voted incontrovertible proof is some screenshots of an exchange that doesn't say much about anything, and in the background of one of them someone is talking about slaughtering jews. Can it be more reddit?

Fog of Flame war, man.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:21 AM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is a blow for the Internet.
posted by Auz at 7:25 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


So the top-voted incontrovertible proof is some screenshots of an exchange that doesn't say much about anything, and in the background of one of them someone is talking about slaughtering jews. Can it be more reddit?

Fog of Flame war, man.


Speaking of which, it's already being disputed.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:27 AM on July 3, 2015


Painting all redditors with this brush is gross and goes against the intellectual and kind that I'd like to think MetaFilter strives for.

#notallredditors
posted by Karaage at 7:30 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Reddit has bungled PR in the past, but this takes the cake. If the rumors of Google and Microsoft bidding to acquire reddit are true I wouldn't be surprised if either or both withdraw their bids. Why would you hitch your horse to this clearly inept wagon?
posted by East14thTaco at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure none of the "Manosphere" subreddits are involved in this. It was the first place I checked and they are not dark and I saw one post where they said they had a policy of not causing issues with managment. They don't get the banning policy and are paranoid. They act like its censorship but its simply anti brigading.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:51 AM on July 3, 2015


That admin response posted up above is just terrible. He basically goes in and explains nothing, offers a perfunctory apology, then demands everyone stop blacking out their subreddits. He doesn't even say "please". Reddit entirely lives on the volunteer efforts of its moderators; treating them like shit is not going to go well.

Ellen Pao's non-explanation on Victoria's termination is also unsatisfying. But at least it's professional; compare the previous CEO's way of firing people, including saying publically "You were fired for ... incompetence".

does anyone buy ads on reddit?

Last year I bought $10 worth of ads on /r/leagueoflegends to promote a project I built. I got 14030 impressions and 132 clicks, or a 0.94% CTR. I didn't have any sort of conversion tracking. I also ran ads on other sites and the Reddit ads did best. But that's because Reddit owns the audience I was trying to reach. I was delighted their ad product is underused and so cheap, but it bodes poorly for the success of their business. It's been this way for years. My assumption is the ads make them enough money to operate and they are not interested in growing ad revenue. Because boy howdy, could they.

Since I'm still talking about the LoL sub, they decided not to join the blackout. They've had a lot of moderator drama too in the past few months. First it came out the mods are cozy with Riot, the LoL publisher including being under NDA. I think that's OK but it surprised a lot of the community. More recently the mods got fed up and took a vacation for a week leaving the subreddit unmoderated. That turned out better than expected and led to a big change in moderation policy, mostly for the better. My conclusion from all this is being a moderator of a big subreddit like /r/leagueoflegends is a lot of shitty thankless work. The fact that Reddit Corporate doesn't respect them (much less pay them) is very bad for the future of the company.
posted by Nelson at 7:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Is there really another general site that could handle the traffic? It's what, several million uniques a day and what tens? hundreds? of thousands of comments? It's at least 100 times bigger than metafilter, for instance.

The Digg migration only worked because Reddit was already in place. Is there another platform that could manage that in a few weeks/months? I can't think of one.
posted by bonehead at 7:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


daniel_charms: "One of these days I'm going to buy myself an SA forums account because they have an AMA thread by a traffic engineer that's been going on for years and has provided me with hours of entertainment (don't ask, it's relevant to my interests)."

Oh, c'mon, you can't tease us like that and not share a link!
posted by barnacles at 7:56 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've had a MeFi account for much longer than I've had a reddit account, and I visit MeFi more than reddit (I rarely log in to either, 'cause I'm lazy)... so I'm biased here, but...

MeFi and reddit have always filled different roles for me. Metafilter is like the world's most interesting coffee and cigar shop. Any day you can drop by you'll find a bunch of people with a lot of time, usually quite well educated, discussing whatever random things are going on that day, asking each other random questions ranging from the practical to the obscure. The cigar smoke and the fact that their idea of coffee doesn't include whipped cream means that there's not nearly as much traffic in that shop, but the people that do come in tend to be real stand up folks.

reddit is like a busy Starbucks on a college campus. Sometimes, it's got some great folks just typing away on a laptop trying to do some cool stuff (/r/programming, /r/linux, etc.). And sometimes a mass of dumbass frat bros show up and start hitting on anything female and insult the staff. And then summer roles around, and the students leave but the summer camps descend upon the place and bring in legions of young teenagers who think it's cool to say "fuck" with every other sentence. But sometimes you wind up in that Starbucks anyways, 'cause you need your coffee fix and you're hoping the laptop crowd are the ones inside.

When I think about it I guess I only need one of those in my life, and whipped cream "coffee" drinks just aren't that good.
posted by -1 at 7:57 AM on July 3, 2015 [33 favorites]


The founder of Reddit's highly successful Secret Santa program, /u/kickme444, has also been let go.
posted by bonehead at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


To Metafilters credit I am aware of zero hate groups that use it as a rallying point.

Other than, ironically, reddit haters.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:06 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


did I miss redditors becoming a protected class?
posted by ominous_paws at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


If predictably grumping about a website you've got a dislike-on for is going to be elevated to hate group status, a whole lot of folks are gonna be in trouble. There's a lot of folks on mefi who are pretty actively down on reddit and vice versa, but it's probably the least interesting thing we could discuss in this situation.
posted by cortex at 8:18 AM on July 3, 2015 [42 favorites]


did I miss redditors becoming a protected class?
fa·ce·tious (fəˈsēSHəs)
adjective
treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.
posted by Talez at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Did I miss redditors becoming a protected class?

There does seem to be a move towards extinction.


On a more serious note, the existence of a protected class is not what makes something a hate group.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Instead, he suggests it was a difference of opinion on how to evolve AMA going forward.

Surely the most likely scenario is some jackass executive saying, "Wait, the President of the United States was on IAMA? I should be taking charge of that personally."
posted by straight at 8:31 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


CCBC: If Jesse Jackson does AMA on Reddit, doesn't he have some motivation to at least check the site out? The questions may have been nasty (you choose your epithet) but shouldn't he have been at least ready for them? No one that I have seen (and I am not a regular) on AskMeAnything has been such an evasive, inarticulate, non-responsive subject.

Jesse Jackson has had experience and skill in handling the press for longer than most redditors (or, for that matter, most MeFites, probably) have been alive. Similarly, Woody Harrelson and Rachel Maddow, two other AMA subjects whose AMAs went notoriously sour, aren't exactly strangers to different types of interaction with the media and the general public. (Harrelson seemed to be genuinely puzzled that he was getting questions on subject not having to do with the project that he was there to promote, and Maddow was hit with questions that essentially demanded that she defend specific policies of the Obama administration, as if she were their spokesperson (something that the questioners seemed to believe).) I don't believe that they were to blame for getting hooked up with a promotional venue that is extremely different from what they were used to. As noted above, part of Victoria's job was to act as a buffer between the subject and assorted trolls and jackasses that might show up, and probably also explain what the subreddit was like, and what it could be like. I think that she may not have had that function at the time that Harrelson and Maddow did their AMAs; I'm not sure why she or someone else wasn't around for Jackson's.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:36 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Digg migration only worked because Reddit was already in place. Is there another platform that could manage that in a few weeks/months? I can't think of one.

Myspace?
posted by Fizz at 8:40 AM on July 3, 2015


Friendster!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2015


Or we could all just go back to Usenet.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Popcorn tastes good.
-kn0thing (The Executive Chairman of Reddit)
posted by MrVisible at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Painting all redditors with this brush is gross and goes against the intellectual and kind that I'd like to think MetaFilter strives for.

#notallredditors

Yeah, that's fair. Referring to MetaFilter as being “gross” in this particular instance was unnecessary. It legitimately appearing to exonerate bad and/or passive behavior by redditors, and I should have left it out. (I should also perhaps have left out that MetaFilter in general strives to be “kind”. But I snark.)

What I was hoping to stress was that that analogy of redditors to barbecue lovers who are okay with being exposed to Klan literature is intellectually lazy and does a bad job of describing the site. We should try to keep our analyses smarter.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2015


Do you think Al Capone would be jealous of your business model if he were still alive?

Well, he did say "ask me ANYTHING."
posted by ShutterBun at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a blow for the Internet

Are you saying this is a blow for the Internet or against the Internet? I'm curious. Because I don't see it as a blow against the Internet. The Internet is a big, big place and whatever happens to Reddit, the Net isn't going anywhere.

What it does look like to me right now is a very interesting chapter in the Internet figuring out models of community, moderation, content aggregation, business models, and so forth. Reddit has relied on volunteer community mods to this point, with both benefits and problems. From the sounds of it, they also ran on the assumption that those mods were invested to a point that they could pretty much ignore them - and so you wind up with (a) communities you don't understand/are undesireable because you aren't paying attention to what's being created and (b) volunteers who are invested in their communities, but feel neglected and not invested in the broader ecosystem that their community is built in. Both of these are significant problems and while the second one looks to be the main issue at play right now, the efforts to deal with the first problem could well be a compounding/contributing factor.

Anyways, my point is that right now appears to be that Reddit's model of online community building appears to have reached a crisis point. And having been around non-profits and volunteers my whole career, it isn't too surprising. You can't be disengaged with your volunteers to the extent it appears Reddit has been; they need to feel connected, part of the larger vision, taken seriously, and have their ideas and needs addressed in constructive ways - even if the answer is "no", you can still have a good conversation around why the answer is "no". If you aren't engaged with them, they leave or maybe do something like what is happening right now. Reddit may learn from this; they may modify their model and approach. They may not, but other sites might. It might indicate that there is a limit to the size of an online community you can build using this model; it might provide some interesting guidelines and rules for how to manage online community growth going forward. And there might be some learnings about sustainability in terms of making a profit while still providing a good community experience for your user base. Because at the end of the day, I think that's what the product of places like Reddit and Metafilter and similar things are - a sense of community, a place to go and talk about and learn and discuss topics we care about. How you make that work and make money off it is the problem - the users aren't just eyeballs, but people invested (to greater and lesser degrees) in the place they are interacting with because they find value in it - and that value comes from both having the place (the infrastructure and administration), being able to contribute, and the other members; scratch all of this hard enough and it comes down to the relationships between the users, the moderators, and the administration IMO. It's a struggle to balance that relationship basis with the need for ongoing funds for the infrastructure, and I don't think anywhere has really figured out the model yet.

Even if - and I think it's a big if - Reddit somehow goes down over this, well, that's not a blow to the Internet either. Other communities might gain some members; new communities will start; the total energy in the system won't go down, just get reinvested elsewhere. And we learn and iterate and everything keeps going.

I have no special insights, and am by no means any kind of person who understands the infrastructure side of this process. This is just me blathering a bit on what I'm thinking and seeing and how it relates to my experience and doing some noodling on it. But I think the big thing that needs to be thought about is that the users aren't just eyeballs that you serve ads to; they are going to interact and engage (and disengage) and create in these spaces on the Web, and that needs to be taken into consideration and respected. And lots of other people who have done this for years and decades probably understand and have said that better.

Blah. Back to my real life.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


A single "unified culture"?

reddit
163,966,958 unique visitors
3,569,536 logged in redditors
= 2.17% of visitors are members

Metafilter
10,000,000 unique visitors /month
37,078 members visited /year.
= 0.37% of visitors are members

So 100% of metafilter visitors view the same home page
and 98% of reddit users view the same set of default reddits.
posted by Lanark at 8:52 AM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


That admin response posted up above is just terrible. He basically goes in and explains nothing, offers a perfunctory apology, then demands everyone stop blacking out their subreddits.

Wow. That was laughably bad.
posted by Nevin at 8:57 AM on July 3, 2015


and 98% of reddit users view the same set of default reddits.

Are you supposing that 98% of reddit users use the front page? That seems most unlikely.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:59 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a Reddit account. I almost never go to the front page, but instead to a couple of subreddits. One of the subreddits is for my home town, and one is a media aggregator for a subject I report on regularly for a news organization.

I only use those two subreddits to keep on top of what's happening. The tone of the comments is usually abrasive, and the commenters are uneducated.

I don't think that is a Reddit problem, though. It's just a problem with all Internet commenting.
posted by Nevin at 9:04 AM on July 3, 2015


Yeah, I wouldn't assume that the non-logged-in users are all going to reddit.com and thus just reading the defaults.

If you're only interested in one or two subreddits, the URLs of those will autocomplete in your browser.

For example, when I type "re" it autocompletes to reddit.com/r/AlistairMancers/ with second and third options as reddit.com/r/cullenMancers/ and www.reddit.com/r/dragonage, respectively.

i have a thing for blond ferelden ex-templars
posted by Jacqueline at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Its a general rule that all non-heavily moderated subreddits are cesspools. For example, in r/seinfeld I was told that it was totally ok for the then 39-year old seinfeld to fuck a minor in high school. Not by one user mind you, but by a whole bunch of them. This is par for the course on all non-moderated subreddits.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:11 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Its a general rule that all non-heavily moderated subreddits are cesspools.

This too is my experience, with the happy exception of /r/TrollXChromosomes (which I would genuinely miss if Reddit shut down). The community there are pretty self-moderating. And it's not perfect, but it's leagues better than weakly-modded default subreddits.


One moderator of /r/science and /r/fountainpens posted this. A snippet:
For years the admins have promised better mod tools. Except for integrating a user-written, user-run bot into Reddit itself (ie, not something that the admins even created on their own; see below), they have not substantially improved mod tools during my entire time as a mod.
It seems like many frustrations are simply coming to a head at once -- mod tools have been unsupported by admins, and recently the mods have been severely overloaded by user drama after the banning of /r/fatpeoplehate, and now the firing of two admins, both who provided genuinely well-liked services. Regardless of the actual cause of the firings (maybe just end-of-fiscal-year stuff), if I were a mod, I could see this as the straw that broke the camel's back. Moderating a large subreddit seems downright impossible due the interaction of crappy mod tools and users who have been throwing a site-wide shitfit in multiple subreddits.
posted by nicodine at 9:31 AM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


heh /r/pics is really having fun now
posted by Jacqueline at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


A small, insular tech company that is sitting on a goldmine that it can't figure out how to monetize is having communication issues? Whaaaaaaa~?
posted by johnnydummkopf at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I confess to lurking and sometimes participating in r/KingstonOntario because it is actually pretty informative about my town, but I have also encountered a few assholes who are pretty sexist (esp. about the sexual assault allegations at RMC here and a prominent feminist speaker who was treated horribly when she came to talk about consent at same school). It sucks because I would rather meet and talk with MeFites here, but I think aside from me and Shepherd, there might be one other person here who is on Metafilter.
posted by Kitteh at 9:37 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

I don't know who is making firing decisions at Reddit right now, but I count three recent firings and ALL THREE were community-facing and there were no replacements. I don't know what monetization they have planned, but apparently up until two days ago those plans did not involve the community.
posted by Phyltre at 9:40 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Drumroll for this, please...

It really does seem like in this case Reddit users are right to be upset about something.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

I don't get this. As noted in the article you link, her job was to monetize the site while not alienating the user base. By that metric, I think I'd get on the redditor bandwagon of firing her right now.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:51 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Ellen Pao hate over the past few months has pretty much solidified in my mind how the site has been allowed to be given over to misogynists and other brigading trolls who will push every button they can, whether attacking her gender, her race, her sexual history, etc. Entire subreddits now are dedicated to hatred towards her, and it's unavoidable in most of the discussions in other subreddits. I don't think it has much to do with the decisions she's made and everything to do with the fact that she's a female minority.

Reddit has made plenty of poor decisions in the past that incited user outrage, but as far as I can remember people didn't complain about Yishan Wong, Reddit's previous CEO, in the same tantrum throwing and viciousness the Anti-Pao campaign is taking on now. Or at least, the linking of unpopular decisions on reddit governance was never directly made to the CEO like it is now.

Perhaps it's what it is now because of the previous hands off nature of the admin and their bent towards appeasing the parade of the horribles pushing the worst of the internet in the name of "free speech".
posted by Karaage at 9:52 AM on July 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


(Also, dare I say that calling Reddit's dislike of Pao "problematic" in this particular case is actually a tone argument?)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


No I agree with you, Going To Maine. I'm just saying that the earlier criticisms with their kind of sexist undertones are making it much harder to vocalize the real situation without getting lumped in with them.
posted by Phyltre at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


"So 100% of metafilter visitors view the same home page
and 98% of reddit users view the same set of default reddits.
"

I have no idea how you came to those conclusions. I even quoted the part that says:

viewing a total of
7,086,828,967 pages

posted by I-baLL at 9:54 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a Reddit Live for those interested in following the latest developments. There are also more than 20K signatures on a petition calling for Ellen Pao to resign, though I suspect that could have happened just by the hate group crowd before any of this even happened.
posted by zachlipton at 10:02 AM on July 3, 2015


(Also, dare I say that calling Reddit's dislike of Pao "problematic" in this particular case is actually a tone argument?)

I would call the endless posts on r/pics and comments of other subreddits calling her a whore and other gendered and racist insults, as well as the subreddits dedicated to hatred of "chairman pao" much worse than simply "problematic."

That's not a tone argument, because there's not even a semblance of civility, or a coherent argument outside of "the chinky bitch must go." I don't get what you're trying to do here, but it reads as if you're co-opting feminist language to deflect criticism of some low class behavior.
posted by Karaage at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


Keywords are: "in this particular case"

Just because there's a lot of misogynistic and racist criticisms of her doesn't mean that all criticism of her should be considered "problematic".
posted by I-baLL at 10:11 AM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've never said that, nor do I believe Phyltre is making that argument.
posted by Karaage at 10:16 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


We are all just Blue Ditors.
posted by srboisvert at 10:17 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Also, dare I say that calling Reddit's dislike of Pao "problematic" in this particular case is actually a tone argument?)

I mean, the majority of the comments I've seen about Ellen Pao can be summarized as:

- She wants to turn Reddit into a SJW haven
- She's a false-flag-waving temptress golddigger
- She deserves to be raped and murdered

so I don't know if objecting to those counts as "tone argument".

I find it difficult to have any serious discussion of Pao in an online context because it gives me the same uncomfortable feeling I get when talking about Israel's policies towards Palestine and the rest of the Middle East. On the one hand, the topic deserves examination. On the other hand, many of the people doing the examination are raging hatemonsters. So without deep confidence in the online community you're in, you never know when the conversation is going to go from "Here are rational objections" to "You know, Hitler had some good ideas."
posted by schroedinger at 10:19 AM on July 3, 2015 [42 favorites]


One of the least nonsensical theories I've seen about the firing is that publicists want to do AMAs for their clients, reddit wants to accept the money for turning AMAs into ads for moves, and Victoria's job mostly revolved around making sure the actual celebrity was doing the AMA and not some intern who'd never met them. I find this just tone-deaf enough on the admins' part to be plausible.
posted by sandswipe at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

I don't know who is making firing decisions at Reddit right now, but I count three recent firings and ALL THREE were community-facing and there were no replacements. I don't know what monetization they have planned, but apparently up until two days ago those plans did not involve the community.


This. The two that I know of are easy to monetize (redditgifts and iama). If my hunch is correct, Reddit corporate wants to turn those into money funnels, while key moderators disagreed and were shown the door.
posted by ryoshu at 10:32 AM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't think it has much to do with the decisions she's made and everything to do with the fact that she's a female minority.

I think the Pao-backlash is legitimate and has to do with the job she was hired to do (rather rancid monetisation) and the way Reddit has been run since her hiring (with a lot of key firings and no support of the mods who make Reddit possible.) I also think that because Reddit is Reddit, the howls of outrage are often expressed using misogynist bile because it's the easiest tool to reach for, it's the internet, and Reddit isn't famed for nuanced analysis from the masses. There is a large contingent of trollbros but I can honestly say I almost never see them in my chosen sub-reddits.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:34 AM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


asavage on Reddit.
posted by zachlipton at 10:34 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


And /r/IamA/ is back up with a message.
posted by zachlipton at 10:37 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

Ah, thanks for that link, Phyltre. This is a tangent, but in reading more about Ellen Pao as a result of this thread, I was wondering why they'd hire someone with her skill set, which is...finance, I guess? I suppose her experience working for a venture capital firm also gives her some insight into technology as a market sector, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a knack for running a consumer brand, which Reddit also is.

(I only occasionally visit a couple of very specific subReddits, which don't have much, if any, problematic content. I kind of hope those don't go down, but otherwise I have no dog in this fight, beyond my baseline dislike of hate speech, trolling, and other forms of assholishness.)
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2015


If Reddit goes where will I obsess over Harry Potter and ASoIaF? How will I let other fans know they're doing fandom wrong?
posted by bgal81 at 10:51 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


… doesn't necessarily translate into a knack for running a consumer brand, which Reddit also is.

At my day job we're currently going through a bottom-up rebuild of a core product after the last bottom-up rebuild didn't turn out particularly well. One of the things that's been really complicated with that process is that we have essentially four markets (or four archetypical user stories, depending on how you approach UX) that have to be served with the same product. Part of the reason the last rebuild didn't work so well was that we were trying to optimize for two of the four that hadn't been very well addressed with the previous version of the product. It's not that the four markets are completely incompatible, but being able to optimize one aspect of the product for its target market without making things worse on another market turns out to be a pretty terrible challenge.

Add any amount of corporate disfunction to that mix and it's somewhat inevitable that shit is going to go wrong and piss somebody off.
posted by fedward at 10:52 AM on July 3, 2015


And /r/IamA/ is back up with a message.
The admins have refused to provide essential information about arranging and scheduling AMAs with their new 'team.' ... The information we have requested is essential to ensure that money is not changing hands at any point in the procedure which is necessary for /r/IAmA to remain equal and egalitarian.
Yep. They are trying to monetize popular subreddits and are eliminating any mods who disagree.

Good luck with the shitstorm.
posted by ryoshu at 10:54 AM on July 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


Also it's somewhat useless to speculate on why they fired Victoria Taylor. If they fired her for performance they can't say and if they fired her for politics they won't say and either way they're not going to end up telling. But between the fact they did it without any sort of obvious succession plan and the fact it came on the heels of a couple other firings that left similar (if less consequential) holes, events sure don't reflect well on management over there.
posted by fedward at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Welp, there you have it. Reddit Corporate wants Pay To AMA.
posted by Phyltre at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


"asavage on Reddit"

Heh, I just noticed that he's doing an IAmA on the 7th.
posted by I-baLL at 11:01 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


DarlingBri nails it:

I think the Pao-backlash is legitimate and has to do with the job she was hired to do (rather rancid monetisation) and the way Reddit has been run since her hiring (with a lot of key firings and no support of the mods who make Reddit possible.) I also think that because Reddit is Reddit, the howls of outrage are often expressed using misogynist bile because it's the easiest tool to reach for, it's the internet, and Reddit isn't famed for nuanced analysis from the masses. There is a large contingent of trollbros but I can honestly say I almost never see them in my chosen sub-reddits.

Imagine if Metafilter brought in a lady venture capitalist to replace Matthowie and fired Cortex.
That's essentially what happened at Reddit.

I have no doubt there would be some comments exhibiting some misogyny, but that would be the least of it. She's a VENTURE CAPITALIST. Period. The only resumes less compatible with running a discussion site would M&A attorney, Conservative Christian Lobbyist, or being Donald Trump.
posted by msalt at 11:11 AM on July 3, 2015 [28 favorites]


Also it's somewhat useless to speculate on why they fired Victoria Taylor.

I disagree that speculation is useless. I do agree that we'll never get a real answer from reddit, but it's pretty important that the full story come out, as an example of how not to do it and why, as much as anything else.

It smells more and more like Reddit is attempting to indulge in payola for their AmAs, or, at least, bend over backwards to their celebrity guests, like letting the celebrities publicists directly run the AMA. It's worth noting that that's been tried before and was a huge disaster---there's a picture of Morgan Freeman napping during "his" AmA while his publicist typed away. Ms. Taylor was hired specifically to counter that problem of authenticity that IAMA's success is built on. That she was fired implies that there's a real ethical issue here, one the IAMA subreddit cares deeply about as their core value.

That's why this is important. If Ms. Taylor is gone, the canary is dead, that means this mineshaft needs to be evacuated.
posted by bonehead at 11:16 AM on July 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


IAmA opened back up, with a post from a former admin (Dacvak). In it, he alleges that he was fired by CEO Ellen Pao after being diagnosed with leukemia:

Less than a month later, in February of 2015, I received a call from Ellen stating that I was to be terminated in less than a week. When I asked what the specific reason was, she had roughly stated that “because of our discussion, you are too sick to properly fulfill your duties as Community Manager.” (At no point during our meeting was this stated - I had raised concerns about the stress levels of Community Management, but had ultimately decided that it was something I could easily manage.)

I pleaded with Ellen to let me stay, as I had been sick for over a full year now and the only thing that was on my mind was coming back to work - work I loved so very, very much. She finally stated that if I were to get permission from my doctor stating that it was okay for me to move to SF and begin work, that I would be able to come back. I stated this wouldn’t be a problem, and proceeded to contact my doctor to arrange this. Unfortunately, a day later, she had called and once again stated that I was fired, stating that work would be too demanding for my health (something that I still, personally, should have been decided by me and my doctor - not someone who I had effectively never worked with while she was CEO).


If true (no reason to doubt his account got hacked, and he was indeed diagnosed with leukemia prior to all this), my opinion of Pao just took a 180.
posted by smooshie at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2015 [39 favorites]


Ellen Pao's non-explanation on Victoria's termination is also unsatisfying.

I read the thread until six c-words and two requests to ejaculate/punch her in the face reminded me why I don't venture beyond the dragonage and witcher subreddits (and why I visit those less frequently every day).
posted by bibliowench at 11:20 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Exactly bibiowench, I hate that the community response is so slur-laden it is covering up that Pao appears to genuinely be a (or perhaps even the) bad actor in this whole mess.
posted by Phyltre at 11:24 AM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


In 2008 (right around the same time of year, too) BoingBoing were the ones who vastly misread their community. And boy oh boy did that one have some popcorn moments.

Like reddit, hate reddit? Either way, this is great popcorn.
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 11:27 AM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bonehead: how does speculation help, though? I agree that knowing (eventually) and analyzing What The Hell Went Wrong At Reddit will be the fount of a thousand thinkpieces, but does speculation right now do anything other than fritter away the time until leaks or public actions make obvious what the intent was all along? And we all know that if the intent is to monetize AMA and let publicists do it and whatever else is speculated, it will be really, really obvious once that starts happening.
posted by fedward at 11:34 AM on July 3, 2015


The only possible upside at the end of this is that Sam Altman loses a boatload of money.
posted by PenDevil at 11:41 AM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yup. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of pao but they're certainly not coming through on reddit given the sea of misogyny. Squelching that noise would do a lot to let the legitimate complaints come through but that would be antithetical to everything reddit supposedly believes in.
posted by Karaage at 11:43 AM on July 3, 2015




Goddammit, now I want popcorn.
posted by I-baLL at 11:47 AM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I appreciate people who are familiar with the culture over there giving some play-by-play on this. I shudder to think what it would look like to monetize a Secret Santa program, ugh.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:47 AM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


Squelching that noise would do a lot to let the legitimate complaints come through but that would be antithetical to everything reddit supposedly believes in.

Now, this is that tone argument I was mentioning about. It sounds very much like we're focusing on the redditors & their (unfortunate) ways of putting things. But the story here is Pao. And, fortunately, I rather suspect that Pao will remain the story in the business pages.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:49 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I appreciate people who are familiar with the culture over there giving some play-by-play on this. I shudder to think what it would look like to monetize a Secret Santa program, ugh.

Sort of like Woot, but for other people? Exchanges of gifts mediated by a single retailer? Ick.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:50 AM on July 3, 2015






Not to overdramatize, but this is probably going to end up being bigger news than the Digg collapse. If this goes poorly for Reddit, investors all over the place might get more skeptical of the profitability of community-driven sites in general. The death of large-format open forums going forward is not something I want to see, but if the money walks away, it could happen.
posted by Phyltre at 11:59 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Realistically speaking, I'm not sure this (as in this specific current spectacle and PR clusterfuck) really suggests any kind of collapse or mass exodus. It's a mess but it's a kind of mess that's mostly only going to immediately matter to really heavily engaged redditors; casual users/readers will notice weirdness if they visit right now, but in a week if things settle down (which seems reasonably likely, though obviously not certain) it'll mostly be back to normal casual business.

The long-term effects could be more significant even if the immediate case is as flash-in-the-pan as that, but I would guess that'd be more of a reflection of ongoing reaction to whatever develops out of whatever the hell is going on in Reddit HQ than a reflection just of this specific moment in time. In practice, the vast majority of folks visiting Reddit are probably not going to move to Canada, as it were, over a badly botched firing, even if the most heavily engaged users are up in arms about it.

That's one of the weird outcomes of Reddit being so large—massive clusterfucks in terms of raw numbers of upset users don't represent the same kind of proportionally seismic event as you might think if everything was scaled to a smaller enterprise. Because even with a ton of people angry, you've got a kiloton of people sort of just shrugging and going about business as usual a few days later. And a kiloton minus a ton is still most of a kiloton.
posted by cortex at 12:08 PM on July 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Part of the reason Digg collapsed was that Reddit was already an existing and thriving space doing the same place, and neither had anywhere near the penetration Reddit does today.

Where are all the angry redditors going to go? Voat?
posted by absalom at 12:10 PM on July 3, 2015


Seems like the right thing to do is to eat some crow and hire Victoria Taylor back.

This might sound like a shocking suggestion, but that's only because most people/corporations have too much ego to do the obvious, so it ends up being a novel suggestion.

When Meg Whitman was CEO of eBay, she said the one hardest lesson to learn is that when you have a community based site, sometimes they will want to go in a different direction than the one you planned, but that the way to be most successful is to actually listen to them and follow their suggestions.

Given the admin's response, it doesn't sound like there's any chance of this happening. It's a shame.
posted by eye of newt at 12:12 PM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Given the admin's response, it doesn't sound like there's any chance of this happening. It's a shame.

It's just day two, remember. And it's a Friday. So, Iunno, but I'd say give 'em until Monday to get it together. (Meanwhile, we can note that the change.org petition is very reddity.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:15 PM on July 3, 2015


Oh, c'mon, you can't tease us like that and not share a link!


Sorry, I have a strict policy of not reading SA at work. Here it is: Ask me about being a traffic engineer.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:16 PM on July 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


I've noticed that the site voat.co has shut down from being overloaded. I wonder if other reddit type sites are seeing similar tsunamis of traffic.
posted by eye of newt at 12:20 PM on July 3, 2015


I think Reddit is more vulnerable than that cortex because of the power law distribution inherent in any online (or offline for that matter) community. The really heavily engaged users matter far more compared to their numbers because they are the reason everybody else comes to the site. Lose the top 1% of participants, and you're losing a huge proportion of the content.

Now, I'm far from convinced the apocalypse will happen because people don't really have anywhere else to go at the moment, but the risk is real.

Reddit only has two assets worth any appreciable value: the domain/trademark and its community. Losing the community cost Digg $199,500,000. You don't want to mess with that.
posted by zachlipton at 12:21 PM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


The issue has moved past Victoria; it's now about monetizing popular subreddits. The mods of IAmA have all but confirmed that there's a pay-to-play corporate directive, and bringing Victoria back now won't change that. They could mend fences with IAmA just by appointing a new co-ordinator with promises of better support than before. Instead, IAmA has basically declared independence from Reddit, implicitly daring the admins to either compete with them or perform a hostile takeover.
posted by fatbird at 12:22 PM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


You're probably right, cortex. I'm only feeling concern with the "big picture" of Reddit leadership concerning monetization because I read those articles in 2013 and 2014 about new leadership and made a mental note to keep an eye out for Digg-like behaviors. Digg V2 to Digg V4 was a steady erosion of specific community dynamics that all ended up contributing to a snowball of failure. I wish I could link to the comments I had made at the time, but with Digg comments from that era permanently offline, I don't have a way to.

What I was really afraid of was "safe spaces" for brands and advertisers. As all the articles mentioned at the time, advertisers were squeamish about lots of Reddit's content and unpredictable nature. When the FPH stuff started happening, I told some co-Redditors of mine that the counter had started--undesirables were being removed. (The fact that some of them were genuinely undesirable was a confounding factor I felt sure Reddit was taking advantage of.) And here we are just a few weeks later with an even larger conflict. Of course, two points make a line, not a curve.

I wish I could point to the landmark posts made by others on Digg that showed clear numbers movement and changes in traffic behavior at several points during the discontent there, along with the carefully notated changes (almost solely driven by monetization) that drove them. Hopefully the Reddit Admins figure out their mistakes in a meaningful way, rather than just in a PR way which is what it sounds like now.
posted by Phyltre at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2015


Instead, IAmA has basically declared independence from Reddit

Yes, but Reddit is a community driven website. Every subreddit is almost by definition independent from the corporate Reddit. If the admins don't realize this, then they don't even understand their own site. If they want to monetize IAmA, they can make a commercial version of IAmA, leaving the community based one alone. If they make them interesting, people will go read them. There are probably lots of subreddits they could create to add monetization this way. On the other hand, if they try to do this by controlling the community based subreddits, they are basically killing off Reddit. The subreddit and public reaction should be a fire alarm that they are doing something wrong.
posted by eye of newt at 12:30 PM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


And now Dacvak's AMA (former admin, leukemia, mentioned above) has been deleted (archive) for unknown reasons. It just keeps going downhill.
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Reddit, that's that indexing tool for Imgur, right?

As a nine-year member of reddit, I thinkt this is one of the better summaries of the site.

It's the good subreddit that's the exception, and there is so much callow 20 year old entitled white dude spew over there, that I think that's why while I view both this site and reddit daily, this is the one that feels like I can actually have a conversation with people who may think differently than me, and not have to read hateful things. Especially hateful things about women.
posted by zippy at 12:32 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


If they want to monetize IAmA, they can make a commercial version of IAmA, leaving the community based one alone.

I suspect this is exactly what they can't do. Worse than a hostile crowd would be no crowd, and a paid in-site competitor would probably do as well as their ads: a pathetic monetization scheme ignored by everyone. And as long as IAmA functioned, it would look better by comparison, drawing the big names.
posted by fatbird at 12:39 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


zachlipton: "It just keeps going downhill."

On the contrary, it just keeps opening the door to the future. The bigger a deal the users make of this, the bigger the change they can impose. Catastrophizing cuts both ways: if people are going to build this up into a major thing, then that means Reddit management can impose major changes to fit the expectations. Users, who are apparently going to stay anyway, can only get so outraged. And really, Reddit management can un-private all of these subreddits if and at any time they want to.
posted by rhizome at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


And now Dacvak's AMA (former admin, leukemia, mentioned above) has been deleted (archive) for unknown reasons.

Well, I'd idylly speculate that it was due to the chorus of commentators advising that he sue his former employer for alleged violations of the ADA.
posted by el io at 12:50 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


other reddit type sites

… such as? Are there any besides voat?
posted by Going To Maine at 12:53 PM on July 3, 2015


Where are all the angry redditors going to go? Voat?
posted by absalom at 12:10 PM on July 3 [+] [!]


Is there a reason "the chans" isn't a valid answer to this question?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:55 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh, you're implying the angry redditors ever left the chans. Much like Reddit, they receive flak for the worst of their content and little recognition of their best.
posted by Phyltre at 12:56 PM on July 3, 2015


Is there a reason "the chans" isn't a valid answer to this question?

The lack of a professional white background, for one.
posted by clearly at 1:01 PM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reddit is like what would happen if a major publisher acquired one of the chans, isn't it?

Of course, I have to suspect that PART of the response to the current crisis would be different if the VC in the CEO position were named Fred Finch. Some of the most Evil parts of Reddit would be totally coming to HIS defense in ways that are too scary for me to imagine.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:05 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]




Reddit is like what would happen if a major publisher acquired one of the chans, isn't it?

I don't think so - or rather, I think that you'd need to flesh that out more. The voting system affords different sort of content and community structures than are provided by the chans, and the membership is much more invested in their pseudonyms.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:08 PM on July 3, 2015


How /r/Cardinalscirclejerk supported the protest

The top post on the page is "THIS SUBREDDIT IS NOW PUBIC AGAIN" which is very dumb. But I confess I lolled.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:11 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


If reddit is supposed to be such a community-driven site, why don't they just put it out there? Hey, redditors. Reddit needs to make money. Tell us how you want to do that. Hell, it's what I do at work, and reddit seems to treat the moderator cadre as de facto employees without pay. Ask them.

They'd get a lot of dumb ideas and a lot of knee-jerk bitching and moaning, but I'd be willing to bet there are redditors who have some business knowledge out there. Plus, after open discussion even if the answer ends up being something people don't like, it can't really be said to be a surprise. Motivations are right there on the table, not secret.

Sometimes the community can surprise you with a plan you didn't think was workable. See: Metafilter.
posted by ctmf at 1:11 PM on July 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


Also: "hey redditors, reddit needs to lose the cesspool image." Same drill. Goal not optional, methods open to suggestion.
posted by ctmf at 1:14 PM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


If reddit is supposed to be such a community-driven site, why don't they just put it out there? Hey, redditors. Reddit needs to make money. Tell us how you want to do that. Hell, it's what I do at work, and reddit seems to treat the moderator cadre as de facto employees without pay. Ask them.

I point out that it is fairly ironic you are asking this question on a site that failed to do exactly that, and not until staff members were let go were TPTB basically forced to accept money people were literally throwing at them.

Community consultation around money seems to not be a thing.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on July 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Same drill. Goal not optional, methods open to suggestion.

I think the risk here is that if you don't get workable suggestions, you're put in the position of not just making breaking changes in the community, but doing so after rejecting the community's attempts to resolve the issue.

And let's be blunt: Pao goes into /r/fatpeoplehate and says "We need to lose the cesspool image so that the community can continue to exist and grow and VCs will keep funding us or we become profitable. How can we make this happen?" I wouldn't volunteer for that mission.
posted by fatbird at 1:49 PM on July 3, 2015


I wouldn't volunteer for that mission.

I'm not one of those big picture VC types, but here I am with my work email shut down and enough free time to read through a 350+ comment thread thinking wow, their weekend is going to suck.

[and they say the internet makes us less empathetic]
posted by clearly at 1:58 PM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


cortex: Realistically speaking, I'm not sure this (as in this specific current spectacle and PR clusterfuck) really suggests any kind of collapse or mass exodus. It's a mess but it's a kind of mess that's mostly only going to immediately matter to really heavily engaged redditors; casual users/readers will notice weirdness if they visit right now, but in a week if things settle down (which seems reasonably likely, though obviously not certain) it'll mostly be back to normal casual business.
This is pretty much the bottom line, so far as I can see. The turmoil and rage is a big deal now, but the Reddit admins can just wait for things to return to normal. No one thinks the "blackening" is a permanent change, so the owners will always have the upper hand when they deal with user anger.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:03 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know how secure Reddit really is. I remember when they were the scrappy underdog to the colossus that was Digg. That change came almost overnight and it utterly *destroyed* Digg. I'm sure they can limp along as a shadow of their former self for some time no matter what happens, but I can easily see this dealing a mortal wound if the stars align right.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 2:08 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


How will I let other fans know they're doing fandom wrong?

Tumblr. (But please tag your hate!)
posted by Jacqueline at 2:12 PM on July 3, 2015


Proofs and Refutations: "That change came almost overnight and it utterly *destroyed* Digg."

It happened the other way around: Digg destroyed itself and Reddit was there to fill the vacuum.
posted by rhizome at 2:14 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mod of r/iama karmanaut says Dacvak deleted his post himself, but seemingly under coercion. Commenters speculate Ellen Pao may have threatened the year of COBRA health coverage he received in lieu of severance.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 2:21 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


/r/AskReddit (Reddit's version of AskMe but the crappy version) is back, with a statement on the Chooting:

In order to operate to the best of our abilities, we need support from the admins. We need to count on getting reasonably timed responses; we need clarification on the site rules; we need communication, and we don't think that's too much to ask.

This response has led to the admins issuing a statement and agreeing to make some changes... they have agreed to give us better tools with which to work... We have been given a timeline and we hope they keep that timeline. We understand delays happen, but we're not willing to go back to the way things had been; our situation was getting worse and the help we were getting from the admins was not sufficient.

posted by DarlingBri at 2:30 PM on July 3, 2015


Me explaining what's going on to my out-of-the-loop husband: "Reddit is having a full-out revolt... mostly because none of these dweebs have anything better to do on a holiday weekend."
posted by Jacqueline at 2:32 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


through a 350+ comment thread thinking wow, their weekend is going to suck.


Yeah, it suddenly occurs to me that they knew this would be toxic and thought they could get away with it by burying it on a holiday weekend.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:39 PM on July 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


It's a very popular technique in politics when dumping a whole bunch of someones in the shit. The majority aren't paying attention and by the time they're back a few news cycles have passed.
posted by bonehead at 2:43 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Users, who are apparently going to stay anyway, can only get so outraged

Is that a given? Things explode all the time man, Reddit won't be here forever.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:46 PM on July 3, 2015


> mostly because none of these dweebs have anything better to do on a holiday weekend

As opposed to, say, reading/commenting about it here? C'mon...

Anyways, I think that's a bit disingenuous, especially when its in reaction to much loved admins of the site being terminated suddenly as well as concern over the direction of the site.

I'd feel differently if this was in reaction to their earlier banning of subreddits that should have never existed - While there are some really shitty comments on reddit, it's worth noting that the banning of subreddits didn't have anywhere near the solidarity and community response that this does - where very civil subreddits that haven't been overrun by asses have joined in protest.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:47 PM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


There have been at least three major migrations of folks over the years. One of them:

Usenet -> /. -> Digg -> Reddit.

There were many, many other stops along and starting points for others, but that's a journey many techie Gen-Xers have made. Reddit is just the latest in a chain, and very likely not the last.
posted by bonehead at 2:49 PM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


As opposed to, say, reading/commenting about it here? C'mon...

Ha, my husband's response was actually, "YOU'RE the one who is just sitting here READING about it but THEY'RE the dweebs?!"
posted by Jacqueline at 2:53 PM on July 3, 2015 [26 favorites]


casual users/readers will notice weirdness if they visit right now, but in a week if things settle down (which seems reasonably likely, though obviously not certain) it'll mostly be back to normal casual business.

I'm sure the main subreddits will toodle along, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the site pared back drastically due to general redditor apathy. As much as you might like the people, it's hard to stay engaged when you've lost faith in an overall organization.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:55 PM on July 3, 2015


The problem isn't the response from the userbase, the problem is the response from the volunteer mods. If they drastically scale back their involvement/commitment, it will rapidly turn into an even bigger cesspool than it already is and THEN the general userbase interest will decline.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:58 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I will be interested to see how they (think they) could effectively monetize a secret santa because I do not believe it possible in any significant way. The obvious hooks - fix the advertising to target participants, e-commerce hooks/cuts for preferred vendors, extra features for participants for a price - don't get you that far. It's essentially a 1:1 interaction (however facilitated) unlike a 1:many interaction where the advertising benefits are easier to identify and services are easier to package to folks with a product to sell to the masses.

They've already built the software to facilitate the swap (I envy it), and the processes are in place. I'm not sure it's a software that is that resellable with Elfster already out there. There aren't a lot of secret santa swaps that outgrew basic swap mechanisms and Elfster. I can think of 1 other than our secret quonsar program, and I've researched the concept more than most folks out there.
posted by julen at 3:13 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


DarlingBri: "We have been given a timeline and we hope they keep that timeline."

And if they don't, well...there's going to be hell to pay!

Lemons to lemonade, I'd think maybe it's a strategy to figure out which mods to start paying. If Reddit is going to go down the money path, they're going to have to figure out a way to avoid the AOL Moderator precedent, and perhaps those mods who are closing their subs will sink to the bottom of the hirelist.
posted by rhizome at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


We are all just Blue Ditors.

Heh. One of the many Internet Things that I've considered doing (but not gotten around to because I have, at best, occasional spasms of productivity) is building a MeFi-ethos reddit clone (maybe using their own open source codebase) at bludit.com (which is already taken, anyway), and just seeing what happened.

Just the notional red vs blu aspect would be enough to amuse me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


If reddit is supposed to be such a community-driven site, why don't they just put it out there? Hey, redditors. Reddit needs to make money. Tell us how you want to do that. Hell, it's what I do at work, and reddit seems to treat the moderator cadre as de facto employees without pay. Ask them.

Because most of the time none of the busineses built around "community" trusts their "community"? Etsy doesn't. Flickr used to, but doesn't any more. I'm sure there are many more examples. MetaFilter does, but it's an exception. The "community" part of "online community" is given short shrift especially when people what to implement their ideas for monetization without any sort of obstruction of those plans. Let's face it, people getting paid to do a job often view users as annoying complainers. And tech companies stopped thinking about community building when they started disrupting.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:10 PM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Voat is the alternative for racists, pedophiles, and reactionaries. If Stavros builds a blue themed reddit clone. I think it should be called Bloat.

I think BRD would approve.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:16 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Voat is the 8chan of reddit. It's not going to replace anything. Shit, i bet there's significant overlap in the user base.
posted by emptythought at 4:18 PM on July 3, 2015


This story was so big it was on the giant news billboard that stands in London Victoria station. I can't quite believe that ... where was the press during the September that never ended, huh? We could have avoided all this and still be happy on Usenet.
posted by bonaldi at 4:23 PM on July 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


I just love the idea of "The Reddit Brand"

The thing has no brand. The moment you try to monetize it, everybody will bail and that's it, and that's what's happening now. Actually, if you're lucky, everyone will bail and that's it. If you're unlucky, they'll burn the place to the ground first. But the people who own it don't think that way. They're VCs, and they have a simple mindset -- they are either going to get money out of Reddit, or they are going to shut it down because they're not going to waste any more money on it. The people who own it want to cash out. So, yeah, mark this as the day everybody realized Reddit is dying. The actual day Reddit started to die was really some time in past, but in the future, everyone will point to 02-Jul-2015 as The Day That Reddit Went Wrong.

It's the Challenger Accident of Reddit, really.
posted by eriko at 5:10 PM on July 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Well that's the thing, though. Reddit could end up like MySpace or Digg, and just disappear in a fortnight, or it could end up like Facebook. Facebook does UI and UX stuff that pisses people off all the time, but they don't go anywhere. Corporate could just replace the mods with people more into monetization, and the diehards might object, but the 98% of users who don't even log in probably won't care as long as r/whatever is back up.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:14 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter does, but it's an exception.

Compared to the other sites you mentioned, MetaFilter is tiny. Like, really really tiny. Once things start getting bigger, there is no such thing as "one community". Reddit has a ton of them. One click away from Reddit's homepage, there's loads of people laughing their asses off at the freakout and the crazy theories people have come up with (some of which are leaking into this thread as well, though luckily the ones involving Bernie Sanders haven't gotten here yet what I can see :-). One click away from there, people haven't even noticed, and couldn't care less.
posted by effbot at 5:24 PM on July 3, 2015


Have the cofounders said anything about this direction that reddit is taking? Or are they disallowed from publicly voicing their thoughts on it?
posted by polymodus at 5:27 PM on July 3, 2015


Have the cofounders said anything about this direction that reddit is taking?

kn0thing, who wrote the admin response everyone was complaining about earlier, is Alexis Ohanian, cofounder and current chairman. He's currently mostly apologizing for earlier comments and collecting downvotes.
posted by effbot at 5:38 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not a cofounder, but Ellen Pao spoke to the Times earlier today and wasn't quite getting it:
In a telephone interview Friday, Reddit’s interim chief executive, Ellen Pao, said, “I’m sorry we let our community down yesterday.” She added, “We should have informed our community moderators about the transition and worked through it with them.”
...
But Ms. Pao says that the most virulent detractors on the site are a vocal minority, and that the vast majority of Reddit users are uninterested in what unfolded over the past 48 hours.

“Most of the community is made up of thoughtful people, and they can appreciate what we all do, even if we don’t always agree,” Ms. Pao said.

Ms. Pao also said that the calls for her to resign — of which there have been tens of thousands from irate users — did not faze her.

“It’s an exciting job,” Ms. Pao said. “We’re doing a lot behind the scenes that people have not seen yet.”
The fact that a lot is happening behind the scenes that people haven't seen is precisely the problem here. Communities do things together; corporations do things to you.
posted by zachlipton at 5:46 PM on July 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


To quote Mr. Selfridge, "A boss says, 'Go.' A leader says, 'Let's go.'"
posted by Going To Maine at 5:59 PM on July 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


“We’re doing a lot behind the scenes that people have not seen yet.”

Like the CIA? Or the KGB?

<rimshot>
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:07 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


the crazy theories people have come up with (some of which are leaking into this thread as well, though luckily the ones involving Bernie Sanders haven't gotten here yet what I can see :-).

linkies plz

i luvs me some crazy bernie sanders conspiracy theories
posted by Jacqueline at 6:38 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

I don't know who is making firing decisions at Reddit right now, but I count three recent firings and ALL THREE were community-facing and there were no replacements. I don't know what monetization they have planned, but apparently up until two days ago those plans did not involve the community.


I knew, and realized this. I also think that this is the beginning of a move towards some spectacular flameout of a digg 2.0 type respin of the site. Like, all the major subs being run by paid staffers(with the admins locking people out of /r/pics and reopening it) and maybe even a change to the interface.

I have no good guess at what else will happen, but i have a feeling they're digging down and not climbing out of this hole and they're going to alienate the majority of the userbase exact as digg has.

Digg wasn't even the first site i used to flameout like that in a spectacular way that made everyone leave really abruptly. No one ever seems to learn anything from that shit.
posted by emptythought at 6:41 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


zachlipton: "Ellen Pao spoke to the Times earlier today and wasn't quite getting it: "

Yeah, you can read between the lines similarly to Iraq War-type PR: she speaks from the standpoint that "the community" is on their side. Whether it is or not, or whether "it" is anything that can have lines drawn amidst, "the community" is the battleground, and monetization will be spoken of as the necessary fuel it (the community, not Reddit, whose principals will always land on their feet) needs to survive.
posted by rhizome at 6:41 PM on July 3, 2015


Even though it isn't a community site in any sense of the word anymore, I just wanted to pop in here that the new Digg is actually a superb what's-happening-on-the-internet today site these days. It's a daily visit for me, far more so than the original Digg was, and a significant portion of what's there on a daily basis ends up getting posted here, so that's got the conversation aspect covered.

It's not what it was, and people are right that the community implosion that happened there was spectacular, but it's not a terrible thing today for all that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on July 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


There is a large contingent of trollbros but I can honestly say I almost never see them in my chosen sub-reddits.

I've had the opposite experience. Barring a few really smaller subreddits, it always seems to leak in. Especially in response to the blackout or other super recent stuff. I can't go almost ANYWHERE on there without at least seeing it referenced, even if it's something about how gross people are being. It's pretty much gone metastatic on the site at this point.

I've been in totally unrelated and not default subs and seen some gross misogynistic pao joke or link to one of the hate subs multiple times recently. I mean, yea, i read a few of the non-main gaming/nerdy subs where i could see those type of trollbros hanging out, but it's almost everywhere.

I think it's really a good example of reddit having a "culture" how thoroughly it spread.
posted by emptythought at 6:46 PM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


> Ellen Pao spoke to the Times earlier today and wasn't quite getting it

Ask Richard Nixon how well that silent majority worked for him.
posted by ardgedee at 6:55 PM on July 3, 2015


But the people who own it don't think that way. They're VCs, and they have a simple mindset

The idea of ownership in the case of Reddit isn't so clear cut. Sure, the entire site relies on running servers, but the idea that you can't own contributions from millions of people is a hurdle that doesn't seem to have been grasped by those in charge of any social network to this point. Reddit is straddling a thin line of thinking where sheer numbers are what constitutes a valuation or a commoditizeable community. If you're talking about click-through rates, sure. If the entire reason droves of people spend time on your site is content created by a tiny percentage of content producers for niche audiences, yea, not so much.

The value of Reddit isn't that the site runs on some technologically irreplaceable infrastructure, it's that somehow somewhere along the way the site attracted users who decided to invest their time and energy into their ideal of an online community - "cesspool" or not. Basing a valuation on what amounts to hosting text and links on a server is great until you realize that at the end of the day, users care about the conversation much more than the alien or the f or the /. in the upper left hand corner. There is a good chance that July 02, 2015 marks the first day that Reddit exists as yet another abandoned amusement park in the corner of the internet.
posted by clearly at 7:05 PM on July 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ugh. MetaFilter does reddit badly. A few things:

reddit is not a community. It's a platform. r/redpill and r/shitredditsays coexist. There are literally more subreddits than you can think of. They don't have a shared mindset.

Mods are volunteers and don't expect to get paid (nor could they, realistically. If you think otherwise you have no idea of the scale here.) What they DO want is access to decent tools, good communication from reddit admins (who are paid,) and to just be kept in the loop in general.

In the absence of decent tools, there has been some seriously impressive CSS hacks. There is still no proper spoiler tag, so SFW subs have hijacked the NSFW tag to be a Spoiler tag. Which works great in a specific subreddit, but causes much confusion when an r/MyLittlePony post with the "spoiler" tag gets upvoted to the front page and it shows the NSFW tag.

Similarly, the Nepalese domain tag has been converted into a "no vote brigading" tag (I can't remember the backronym there.) This was a mod-level solution to the problem that led to the banning of r/fatpeoplehate and the like, but at a more preemptive level.

Pao is an idiot. See above. There were low hanging fixes if the mods/subs were at all a concern.

In 2008 (right around the same time of year, too) BoingBoing were the ones who vastly misread their community

Heh. I forgot that I was (passingly) mentioned on the Blue when I was just a lurker.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:14 PM on July 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Commenters speculate Ellen Pao may have threatened the year of COBRA health coverage he received in lieu of severance.

It's hard to not read this as more irrational made up Pao hate without some serious independent confirmation. It's sooo outrageous and actionable.
posted by emptythought at 7:21 PM on July 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


(I can't remember the backronym there.)

I believe it was not participating.
posted by Talez at 7:21 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I knew, and realized this. I also think that this is the beginning of a move towards some spectacular flameout of a digg 2.0 type respin of the site. Like, all the major subs being run by paid staffers(with the admins locking people out of /r/pics and reopening it) and maybe even a change to the interface.

A few years ago, just after he'd stepped away from the helm at Reddit, I saw Alexis Ohanian give a talk of the rah-rah-entrepeneurship type; many members of the audience were redditors. At the time, he talked about being amazed at Digg's flame out, and how it was the very notion of subreddits that had led Reddit to success. If Digg had only introduced a similar idea, everything would be fine. The site's design also came up, but both Ohanian and the audience seemed to think the interface was generally hacked together and needed improving.

reddit is not a community. It's a platform. r/redpill and r/shitredditsays coexist. There are literally more subreddits than you can think of. They don't have a shared mindset.

Reddit is both a platform and a community; the mass blackout across numerous subreddit is a pretty good indicator of that. It's not like the community that you'd ideally have with your friends and neighbors, but in a way that's more similar to how everyone in the United States is a community. A very big, very ephemeral, very divided community, but a community nonetheless. (Future FPP: "The United States is a platform")

Similarly, the Nepalese domain tag has been converted into a "no vote brigading" tag (I can't remember the backronym there.) This was a mod-level solution to the problem that led to the banning of r/fatpeoplehate and the like, but at a more preemptive level.

np.reddit.com != www.reddit.np
posted by Going To Maine at 7:24 PM on July 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


I will be interested to see how they (think they) could effectively monetize a secret santa because I do not believe it possible in any significant way. The obvious hooks - fix the advertising to target participants, e-commerce hooks/cuts for preferred vendors, extra features for participants for a price - don't get you that far. It's essentially a 1:1 interaction (however facilitated) unlike a 1:many interaction where the advertising benefits are easier to identify and services are easier to package to folks with a product to sell to the masses.

Really? this seems painfully obvious to me. Ebay is a 1:1 interaction, essentially, and ebay and paypal monetized the fuck out of that.

Requiring it to go through a site that's free to sign up with but even just sucks a fee out of the shipping(and require a specific partner shipping company(ies) that adds tracking info in automatically).

With as huge as the gift exchange thing was, even just dipping in to the shipping would be a significant amount of money.

reddit is not a community. It's a platform. r/redpill and r/shitredditsays coexist. There are literally more subreddits than you can think of. They don't have a shared mindset.

It's been retreaded a bajillion times on here... But there's this repeating meme wherein reddit does something positive like buys poor people pizzas or donates a ton of money to a charity or something "OMG reddit is such a great community look at what we can do!"

Reddit does something shitty "Reddit is not a monolithic entity! omg that's not fair look at these subreddits at odds with eachother that coexist on this same platform!"

It either is, or it isn't. But redditors themselves seem pretty invested in the idea of a unified community both with this blackout and whenever they do something good. You can't have it both ways, and the evidence and willing involvement in the idea seem to point to it being a monolithic entity.

Just because there's fringe or shitposting parts doesn't really counter that. SA has parts of it most users don't participate in and no one argues that's not a community. Fuck, plenty of people on here don't post in ask at all or pretty much only post on the green. Does that make mefi multiple separate spaces instead of a unified community? Never seen that argument.

That point exists only in service to the idea that the shitposting racists/misogynists/etc are some "other" from the userbase. Don't give it time of day.
posted by emptythought at 7:29 PM on July 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


It either is, or it isn't.

Waving an American flag and wishing South Carolina to fall into the ocean aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by clearly at 7:34 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Or Florida!
posted by Jacen at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2015


I have dug up the most wildly optimistic part of myself in order to hope that all of this results in IAMA entirely divorcing itself from Reddit.
posted by wintersweet at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


That will never happen. At most it'll be a silly /r/bestof vs /r/defaultgems(which was SO STUPID, even now) type split where everyone continues to use the official reddit version run by whoever the company chooses to manage it. The primary large audience will not care about some splinter site, and it will never attract the celebrities the main site will continue too.

It will either be destroyed as it stands or not change all that much after a few weeks/a month or two of hubub. There's no way in hell anyone but some KiA types and hardcore frothing redditors will move to any new separate ama site.
posted by emptythought at 7:42 PM on July 3, 2015


emptythought: "Fuck, plenty of people on here don't post in ask at all or pretty much only post on the green. Does that make mefi multiple separate spaces instead of a unified community? Never seen that argument."

Whoa, seriously? I've always thought of the green as a totally different community hosted on the same site. Like, sure, there's some crossover with other parts of the site, but there's some crossover between, say, BoingBoing and Slashdot, but I don't think of them as a single community. Same thing with The Green and The Rest of Mefi.

(I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. If you think of the Green and the Blue as a unified community, that's fine. I might even be the only person on MeFi who thinks of them as different communities. I'm just purely responding to the "Never seen that argument" part of your comment, so, well, now you have)
posted by Bugbread at 7:43 PM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Or Florida!
Bugs Bunny's handling it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:47 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


There are literally more subreddits than you can think of.

Just under 10,000, I read somewhere recently (but can't remember where, so grain of salt, I guess). Which is a lot, but not actually more than I can think of.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wish Ellen Pao could read clearly's comment, for her sake.

I mean for Pao's sake, I don't know if "her" is applicable to clearly
posted by seyirci at 7:54 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bugs Bunny continues to be my patron saint.


The number of active subreddits being tossed around frequently was 9654 or something close. I was surprised.
posted by Jacen at 7:57 PM on July 3, 2015


Just under 10,000, I read somewhere recently (but can't remember where, so grain of salt, I guess). Which is a lot, but not actually more than I can think of.

OK, go.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:03 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


A user in the since deleted Ama asked if his severance included any kind of nda or non-disparagement conditions and if he was worried that Reddit lawyers might come after his severance. 15 minutes later that post and the whole ama was gone. I don't think Pao or Reddit's lawyers had anything to do with it just based on the ploddingly slow response Reddit has had to everything. They might have wanted to do something, but it would of taken them at least a week.
posted by humanfont at 8:06 PM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Which is a lot, but not actually more than I can think of.

I think you just invented Rule 35.
posted by clearly at 8:06 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or Florida!
Bugs Bunny's handling it.


Three comments for that GIF to appear.

Nicely done, folks. Nicely done.
posted by eriko at 8:06 PM on July 3, 2015 [3 favorites]




A Quora post of unverified rumors about Reddit personnel decisions, reposted here on Metafilter. Could we get a Vox hot take while we're at it?
posted by Nelson at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


r/aaa locksmiths
r/aardvarks
...
posted by thelonius at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


The Blackout subreddit has a new, stickied thread: What do we want? You decide? This makes them officially more organized than KiA.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:30 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Before anyone else pontificates about the VCs who own Reddit or the motives of the interim CEO Ellen Pao or the co-founder Alexis Ohanian, please familiarize yourself with the convoluted ownership history of Reddit. It stopped being a normal VC-backed startup in 2006 when Condé Nast bought it. It stopped being a Condé Nast company in 2011 when Advance Publications bought it. It stopped being an Advance Publications satellite in 2012 when it was spun out independently, albeit with Advance as majority shareholder. Another big change was October 2014 when it raised another $50M ($500M valuation) in a bizarre Series B funded by a laundry list of individuals rather than any specific VC firm. (Including a novel strategy of investors assigning voting rights to the company.) Alexis only came back in November 2014. Ellen Pao is only accidentally the CEO after one too many disasters got Yishan Wong ousted.

In the end, yes, investors own Reddit and want a return on their investment. But the history and current leadership is very convoluted. Charitably, I think it's amazing that Reddit has persisted through all this upheaval and I put most of its consistency to the volunteer moderation staff. Uncharitably, the amateur-hour ownership and leadership of Reddit since its founding is part of why the company is such a mess today.
posted by Nelson at 8:35 PM on July 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


reddit is not a community. It's a platform.

QFT

Everyone is actually really nice* in the /r/AlistairMancers and /r/CullenMancers communities, which are the two I follow most closely.

(*Probably because we're most likely ~95% women.)
posted by Jacqueline at 9:02 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


All the Dragon Age related subreddits are all pretty much awesome and chill places to talk about the games. Certainly much nicer and more welcoming than the official BioWare forums. I'd be sad if they went away.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:22 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, this 2010 open letter from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian to Digg founder Kevin Rose is grimly hilarious in hindsight -- it manages to call out the same behavior undermining Reddit now while also foreshadowing why Ohanian would nevertheless make the same mistakes:
You chose to grow with venture capital and you've no doubt (I hope) taken some money off the table in your Series C round.

I say this because this new version of digg reeks of VC meddling. It's cobbling together features from more popular sites and departing from the core of digg, which was to "give the power back to the people."

Those are your words from that aforementioned 2004 video segment.

Now what matters is how many followers & influence a user has and how many followers & influence they've got.

Where have we heard this before: Twitter? Facebook? GoogleBuzz?

Kevin, you absolutely deserve all the credit for starting the movement -- fascinating things happen when online communities can efficiently share content. Whales get silly names and we can expose the tragedies our fellow man endures faster than ever before.

It's a damned shame to see digg just re-implementing features from other websites.

But I've got a strong feeling it's not you making these decisions anymore; and to see your baby abused like this must be awful.

This really should've been called "an open letter to digg's VCs" (but what kind of linkbait would that be?) because they really ought to give the power back to the founder.
So, the site is being screwed by VC interference (yes!), but this interference is identified as cribbing features and taking power from the founder rather than from the users (d'oh!).
posted by Rhaomi at 9:42 PM on July 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, lets not lapse into "I'm not saying you're sealioning/mansplaining but..." type stuff if we can help it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:45 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling that reddit's management is far too invested in the notion that their upvote/downvote system is the best way to moderate online discussions. Any suggestion that it has inherent flaws which require some users to have more power than clicking an orange or blue arrow is seditious. Their ideal reddit has one user class.
posted by clorox at 10:42 PM on July 3, 2015


Phyltre: "Digg V2 to Digg V4 was a steady erosion of specific community dynamics that all ended up contributing to a snowball of failure. I wish I could link to the comments I had made at the time, but with Digg comments from that era permanently offline, I don't have a way to. [...]

I wish I could point to the landmark posts made by others on Digg that showed clear numbers movement and changes in traffic behavior at several points during the discontent there, along with the carefully notated changes (almost solely driven by monetization) that drove them.
"

I compiled a laundry list of crappy changes (towards the bottom) that went viral enough to get a direct response from Kevin Rose (most of which ended up being bullshit).

As for the traffic, Alexa stats from the time showed their metrics (global pageview share, pageviews per user, time on site, etc.) falling by up to 50% overnight and never recovering. Reddit picked up most of the slack.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:06 PM on July 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


daniel_charms: "Sorry, I have a strict policy of not reading SA at work. Here it is: Ask me about being a traffic engineer."

This is completely congruent with some of my interests (I'm a real hoot at parties ...). Thanks so much for pointing us at it!
posted by barnacles at 1:11 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks, cortex and mods, for talking with the community.
posted by halifix at 1:12 AM on July 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


admins locking people out of /r/pics and reopening it

Maybe someone has a better handle on this, but it seems like this didn't exactly happen? Here's a (not at all detailed) post from the mod at /r/pics who lost some privileges after reopening (and then trying to re-close) /r/pics: "No, admins did not do anything to our subreddit."

Warning: this is my understanding only, and there's so much FUD and crazy hijinks, it's all incredibly murky, but...

From what I can piece together from various posts on various subreddits, it *seems* like the tl/dr is that at some point not long after /r/pics went private, moderator allthefoxes reopened it after discussion with other /r/pics moderators who all apparently agreed it should reopen after speaking with Reddit admin (because admin promised to address the specific issues they had). It's not clear to me if the /r/pics mod team said "go ahead and re-open it, allthefoxes," or if allthefoxes jumped the gun.

THEN things go mad, allthefoxes is getting torrents of hate messages for re-opening, and decides to re-close, but their permissions had been reduced (by another moderator or moderators on /r/pics, they say) so they can't do that. [Post]

IN THE MEANTIME, just to make everything exponentially crazier, *apparently* a member, KnotKnox, faked a "leak" that made it seem like Ellen Pao was directly controlling /r/pics via KnotKnox... which KnotKnox says was a joke and/or an effort draw fire away from /r/pics mods. Somehow.

So. Who knows – but at least concerning this incident, apparently moderators are saying that admins did not lock people out of /r/pics or take control of it.
posted by taz at 1:40 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is all so much more exciting than metatalk.
posted by ryanrs at 1:54 AM on July 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Just under 10,000, I read somewhere recently (but can't remember where, so grain of salt, I guess).

The 10th birthday blog post (previously) says 853,824 subreddits (called communities in the video), 9,601 of which are one-day actives. 36,136,190 user accounts (iirc 10% of those are 30-day actives, but don't recall where I saw that). 172,710,261 unique visitors / month.

The company has ~70 employees and is in SFO so I'm pretty sure they have a least a few analysts who know how to crunch their stats and look at what's actually driving traffic and user behaviour. Odds are that things look very different from that perspective, compared to the small heap of screaming monkeys view you get from the outrage posts.

np.reddit.com != www.reddit.np

I was about to say they're using ccTLD.reddit.com domains, but a quick look at the "no participation" CSS shows that the prefix is treated as a language code (and e.g. fr.reddit.com gives you a French user interface). "np" isn't a valid language code afaik (nepali is "ne"), but I guess browsers don't do validation.

i luvs me some crazy bernie sanders conspiracy theories

Cannot find the long one I saw yesterday, but there's this expert who claims Hillary and the RNC is in cahoots with admins, to make sure reddit doesn't talk too much about Sanders. There's also some in the conspiracy reddit, but they immediately derail into antisemitism so much less entertaining.
posted by effbot at 2:29 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the Pao-backlash is legitimate and has to do with the job she was hired to do (rather rancid monetisation) and the way Reddit has been run since her hiring (with a lot of key firings and no support of the mods who make Reddit possible.) I also think that because Reddit is Reddit, the howls of outrage are often expressed using misogynist bile because it's the easiest tool to reach for
The cynical side of me wonders how much the decision to give her particularly the job (and frex also the female Yahoo CEO who ran into the same sort of misogyny) was due to the inevitability of her becoming a target of this hate, that she would make a good scapegoat for the changes the owners want to push through and that she herself would've little sympathy for a community that harasses her so.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:39 AM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Plus, since there would be so much sexist, racist harassment, it would delegitimize the valid complaints others had by association, making the whole thing seem like less of a big deal to the great masses of reddit users not invested in the community.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:42 AM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The reddit community as a whole is just SO AWFUL that it is impossible to take them seriously. I only know about the shit they put moderators through because I'm friends with moderators (and because those issues have so much overlap with the general reddit site issues). They're so good at yelling sexist and racist shit that I had no idea that there was anything Pao was legitimately doing wrong; it mostly seemed like everyone was still mad about their precious fat-hating subs getting taken away.
posted by NoraReed at 2:47 AM on July 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


There should be a name for this. Like, the Boy Who Cried Wolf but about other stuff. The Boys Who Cried [Slur]?
posted by NoraReed at 2:48 AM on July 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wired's headline writers have some fun: "REDDIT IS REVOLTING."
posted by taz at 4:27 AM on July 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


There is a good chance that July 02, 2015 marks the first day that Reddit exists as yet another abandoned amusement park in the corner of the internet.

If it was not for this thread here I would have been clueless. I subscribe to 10 subreddits and I spent 45-60 minutes on the site the past two days and I did not see any darkening, any posts about darkening, any outrage towards the management of the company. None.

Then I went back and looked close and there was one post in one of the subreddits which was ~ "should we darken in solidarity?" and there were three replies which all were ~ shrugs.
posted by bukvich at 5:53 AM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm betting we will see a reshuffling of the defaults over this...
posted by disclaimer at 6:09 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Folks, I know the comparison is tough to avoid, but please try not to make this the "How Metafilter works compared to Reddit" thread. That's really not a good fit on the Blue. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:33 AM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Folks, I know the comparison is tough to avoid, but please try not to make this the "How Metafilter works compared to Reddit" thread. That's really not a good fit on the Blue. Thanks. ]

You see? Active Beneficent Moderation. It's how Metafilter works compared to Reddit.

What?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:42 AM on July 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


*facepalm*
posted by restless_nomad at 9:57 AM on July 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


I've been a hardcore lurker here for many years, decided to finally make an account.

I concur with most of the criticism regarding hatespeech and harassment mentioned above. My other main issue with reddit, what killed my engagement with it early on, is that the spamfilter is so sensitive that almost everything I post doesn't appear in the queue. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how it works. Therefore I rely on the mods to mark my links as not spam. This happens even in the smaller subs, but at least there the mods are not so overwhelmed that they have time to deal with it. Often when your post is finally fished out, it is well away from the new page and doesn't get any attention. But if you delete it and repost, its back in the spam filter again. This has been an issue for years. No serious attempt has been made to fix it, as far as I know.
posted by Pong74LS at 10:00 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


If it was not for this thread here I would have been clueless. I subscribe to 10 subreddits and I spent 45-60 minutes on the site the past two days and I did not see any darkening, any posts about darkening, any outrage towards the management of the company. None.

Me too. Nobody seems super jacked up in /r/gardening/ for example. I stayed away from reddit for years after the headache that was the Ron Paul era but now that I can just look at flowers and landscaping advice it's perfectly nice, unless I click on /r/all and then I just close the door in horror. A highly curated reddit experience is a perfectly nice internet go-to, in my experience.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:02 AM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is anybody else here listening to the Revolutions podcast? It's currently covering the French Revolution, and host/researcher Mike Duncan is of the opinion that had Louis XVI either fully committed to or crushed the third estate at the outset, things would have gone very differently; France would have gone through some big changes because the country was unsustainable as it was, but they would have been very different. I realize that this reddit kerfuffle is different, but I find myself thinking that Pao needs to stay super hard and then use number to prove the unhappy users are wrong or really give them a lot more power in the process.

Paul Tassi at Forbes makes the point that the community has always hated the introduction of for-profit initiatives, including Reddit Gold, but also thinks that Pao won't be long for the company because of all the acrimony.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:17 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nobody seems super jacked up in /r/gardening/ for example

Some numbers:
  • r/gardening has a big number of readers: 114,945; there are 194 users on the subreddit right now.
  • r/iama has a a BIG number of readers: 8,541,431; there are 8,081 users on the subreddit right now.
  • r/blackout2015 has a smallish number of readers: 38,077; there are 8,179 users on the subreddit right now. It was the fastest growing subreddit yesterday.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:28 AM on July 4, 2015


You see? Active Beneficent Moderation. It's how Metafilter works compared to Reddit.

ಠ_ಠ
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:34 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


> The reddit community as a whole is just SO AWFUL that it is impossible to take them seriously.

People keep coming in to say things like Everyone is actually really nice* in the /r/AlistairMancers and /r/CullenMancers communities and make requests to take in /r/science, but wholesale dismissals of ALL of reddit are still common. And I get the hatred for any association with assholes. But that's millions of users you're writing off. Some with communities of 95% women. A lot of whom might agree with you on many, many, many things.
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 11:34 AM on July 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Going To Maine:
Mike Duncan is of the opinion that had Louis XVI either fully committed to or crushed the third estate at the outset, things would have gone very differently; France would have gone through some big changes because the country was unsustainable as it was, but they would have been very different.
FWIW there's a theory that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was targeted because the Austro-Hungarian Empire was doing too much, not too little, to accommodate change, and thus the revolutionaries who wanted complete independence for Serbia thought they'd be closer to getting it if hard-liners were in power again. It's easier to drum up opposition against tyrants than it is against people who are actually, kinda, sorta, trying to do the right thing without letting the world fall apart in the process.
posted by fedward at 12:16 PM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I actually don't enjoy r/science. It's run by up-startish (you can tell from reading their posts) grad students or post-docs who claim neutrality and yet do things like:

1) Create a flair system where if you have a doctorate your comment gets highest visibility (of course that's not how they explained it would work, the "intent" is to help users identify posters' relevant expertise or something inane like that).

2) Invite Monsanto VP to do an AMA about science. The ensuing argument about whether he "is" a "real" "scientist" was just intellectually crude: for instance one of the mods actually employed a sunk-cost argument saying this had to go ahead because it took them months to build this contact. The ensuing AMA was incredibly dull, which from an Orwellian perspective could be argued should be a horrifying sign of things.

3) Shut down the sub in protest of this current AMA, without a priori discussion with community members. In other social organizations, this is called power-tripping. In r/science, there is apparently nothing ironic about doing it in face of reddit admins making a decision about their AMA liason without consulting the mods.

4) Have zero space for meta-discussion about how things are going in the sub (if you are going to take on the emblem of representing Science! in online media). This dispersal of dissenting views prevents members from formulating complaints into a coherent issue. Individual comments tend to be ignored or argued against by individual mods, and this lack of a deliberate feedback mechanism just serves to protect their confirmation bias.

In the distant past, reddit was populated primarily by programmers, computer scientists, and the like, and the demographic enabled a greater emphasis on egalitarian interaction between users. I'd say the core social values have somewhat shifted with this generation of STEM-oriented subreddits, so even if the technical chops are still there, the heavier, top-down moderation and big-media emphasis makes me wary.
posted by polymodus at 12:34 PM on July 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think a lot of the problematic hate directed at Pao is missing the finer point that she was hired to monetize the site.

Ah, thanks for that link, Phyltre. This is a tangent, but in reading more about Ellen Pao as a result of this thread, I was wondering why they'd hire someone with her skill set, which is...finance, I guess?


I have always thought part of the reason for selecting her specifically was that cleaning up the misogyny and bigotry was already on the schedule. I was surprised when reddit was allowed to be the staging area for "the fappening" and a major contributor for the gamergate coordination. Then the new reddit policies started trickling out. I still think I'm right.

I would have been tempted to go all "new sheriff in town" drastic, and if you don't like it then tough shit, close your account, but I'm sure advertisers would not be keen on that experiment. It's got to be a tricky tightrope act.
posted by ctmf at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2015


hardcore lurker

what is this
posted by sidereal at 12:59 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


KnotKnox, faked a "leak" that made it seem like Ellen Pao was directly controlling /r/pics via KnotKnox... which KnotKnox says was a joke and/or an effort draw fire away from /r/pics mods. Somehow.

This is so KiA falseflag woman-hate-baiting i can't even. It's total gator behavior and like, the kind of thing i would have pulled when i was 15.

Redditors are so dedicated to hating her, and it's too bad that the shitty handling of this situation has essentially turned this in to an "ethics in reddit operation" situation. Even though she may be fucking shit up, that isn't why a lot of people hate her and they hated her way before this happened.

There should be a name for this. Like, the Boy Who Cried Wolf but about other stuff. The Boys Who Cried [Slur]?

Yea, pretty much exactly this. My favorite thing for that so far is the whole "ethics in *whatever they say the situation is supposedly about*", but there's gotta be something better than that.

2) Invite Monsanto VP to do an AMA about science.

Honestly i loved this. I saw it as really deft trolling, in the vein of something an SA goon would do a decade ago.
posted by emptythought at 1:27 PM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]




People keep coming in to say things like Everyone is actually really nice* in the /r/AlistairMancers and /r/CullenMancers communities and make requests to take in /r/science, but wholesale dismissals of ALL of reddit are still common. And I get the hatred for any association with assholes. But that's millions of users you're writing off. Some with communities of 95% women. A lot of whom might agree with you on many, many, many things.

I used to think this way about reddit, but at the end of the day, they're all financially supporting a corporation that hosts /r/coontown and other hate sites. So while I'm not dismissing the communities as human beings, they really should find some place else to talk. Until and unless reddit cleans up their cesspool, everyone should stop going there, and maybe should write letters to advertisers that they shouldn't be advertising there.
posted by red alert at 1:37 PM on July 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


DIGG: STILL EXISTING
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 1:39 PM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


it's too bad that the shitty handling of this situation has essentially turned this in to an "ethics in reddit operation

That's another comparison that sounds compelling but isn't really appropriate (yet).
  • We're talking about a situation where there really are legit beefs, and those legit beefs spurred the blackouts. We're definitely also talking about a situation with a bunch of ugly, gator-style misogyny is jumping up to the surface, but there's a real beef here. An "ethics in reddit" operation would be a fake beef.
  • We're talking about the mishandling of a situation that is literally two days old. The Quinnspiracy went on under the radar for ages before becoming the Gamergate we all know & hate). One or two redditors doing weird false flag things and getting called on them is pretty good by Reddit standards. Which isn't great, I might add, but is hardly like creating a wiki of disinformation intended to explain the "real" reason why r/iama went dark.
While, again, it's really too soon to tell, in some ways I think that has more potential to be a kind of "Occupy Reddit" movement that's unfortunately stuffed with a lot of racist & misogynist comments.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:45 PM on July 4, 2015


ctmf: "if you don't like it then tough shit, close your account, but I'm sure advertisers would not be keen on that experiment. It's got to be a tricky tightrope act."

I doubt it. Reddit is pretty much a 30MM user greenfield for advertising, and I wouldn't be surprised if daily usage is much heavier per user than many-if-not-most household-name news and content sites.
posted by rhizome at 3:13 PM on July 4, 2015


Going To Maine: " I think that has more potential to be a kind of "Occupy Reddit" movement that's unfortunately stuffed with a lot of racist & misogynist comments."

The thing is, you can't occupy a space that is not confined. There's nothing stopping apolitical people from creating /r/science2 /r/pics2 /r/aww2 and so on, with the protestors left to rot on the vine without nary a whit of effect on the rest of the site and subreddits.
posted by rhizome at 3:16 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the same way that it's not impossible for me to build a car.
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing is, you can't occupy a space that is not confined. There's nothing stopping apolitical people from creating /r/science2 /r/pics2 /r/aww2 and so on, with the protestors left to rot on the vine without nary a whit of effect on the rest of the site and subreddits.

Well, sort of; it's obviously not a one-to-one comparison. But I'm not certain how many redditors are out there who a) don't care about reddit's weak support of moderators and b) want to take responsibility for a spinoff subreddit. That requires a heck of a lot of motivation. Meanwhile, the mods of r/iama's current response is "We no longer trust reddit admins, so we're going to keep on doing AMAs and just ignore everything they say." It's waaaay easier to move the iama community to voat than it is to split iama in half.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2015


I used to think this way about reddit, but at the end of the day, they're all financially supporting a corporation that hosts /r/coontown and other hate sites

I would be very happy to see all the hate subs deleted. But, let's face it, if everybody did their due diligence in making sure they didn't support corporations who allow reprehensible behaviour to exist right under their noses we'd be down thousands/millions of consumer products and the ones that did exist would be ridiculously expensive.

Almost everyone is making the same trade off Reddit users are with something.
posted by Maugrim at 3:55 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I deleted my reddit account after someone gave me reddit gold for defending immigrants in a thread full of hateful racism. I didn't want to even indirectly be responsible for another dime going towards publishing that noxious trash. There were a few comments like mine and dozens just calling for immigrants to be killed or calling them animals that each had hundreds of upvotes. I'd rather it just go unanswered as the site goes into a death spiral.
posted by red alert at 4:21 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I deleted my reddit account after someone gave me reddit gold for defending immigrants in a thread full of hateful racism. I didn't want to even indirectly be responsible for another dime going towards publishing that noxious trash. There were a few comments like mine and dozens just calling for immigrants to be killed or calling them animals that each had hundreds of upvotes. I'd rather it just go unanswered as the site goes into a death spiral.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
-- Luke 23:34
posted by Talez at 4:30 PM on July 4, 2015


But, let's face it, if everybody did their due diligence in making sure they didn't support corporations who allow reprehensible behaviour to exist right under their noses we'd be down thousands/millions of consumer products and the ones that did exist would be ridiculously expensive.

If you don't know that there's a lot of toxic shit on Reddit, you probably think "due diligence" is a dessert topping. There's a huge gap between "There's racism on Reddit?!?" and "Whole Foods doesn't support its workforce unionizing?!?"
posted by Etrigan at 4:35 PM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, there's some evil crap on Reddit.

Good riddance.
posted by signal at 4:38 PM on July 4, 2015


So do you guys feel the same way about craigslist forums? There's some toxic shit there.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:47 PM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


My point being that I expect people generally overlook the forums or aren't aware of them, while happily using the other sections.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:50 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I look at some Reddit subs that are keyed to my hobbies, and they are very friendly and orderly. I haven't had any reason to browse Reddit in general.

Saying that Reddit is bad because it has some awful sub-Reddits is almost like saying "I avoid the Internet. There's some really nasty stuff on there." Well, yes there is, but....
posted by eye of newt at 4:54 PM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


OK, I'm out. This is getting unnecessarily hostile.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:07 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


eye of newt: "Saying that Reddit is bad because it has some awful sub-Reddits is almost like saying "I avoid the Internet. There's some really nasty stuff on there." Well, yes there is, but...."

No, it's more like refusing to stay in the nice, clean floors of one hotel because you know that other floors in the same hotel hold sweatshops, forced prostitution and torture chambers. And choosing to instead stay in other rape-, slavery- and torture-free hotels right around the corner.

Reddit, regardless of its posturing and self-branding, is not the entire Internet: it's a discreet, private company, with a specific group of administrators who have chosen to provide a safe harbor for racism, sexism, gay bashing, on and offline harassment, etc., etc., etc. It's not some organic, unavoidable phenomenon.

Again, good riddance.
posted by signal at 5:09 PM on July 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Huh, I happily buy Reddit Gold and give it away to people. I bought Reddit ads once too. I've contributed something like $50 to Reddit in its lifetime and am not in any way troubled or ashamed of it. (And yes, I'm in one of the groups of people that parts of Reddit act shitty to sometimes.)

Reddit Gold is a neat thing btw, the ability to reward some random other community member with a little star when they do something particularly good or useful. Last Reddit Gold I gave was to someone who was posting summaries of Mac-specific gaming sales on Steam. It has just enough value to be a meaningful public thank you without being too big a deal.
posted by Nelson at 5:16 PM on July 4, 2015


If you don't know that there's a lot of toxic shit on Reddit, you probably think "due diligence" is a dessert topping. There's a huge gap between "There's racism on Reddit?!?" and "Whole Foods doesn't support its workforce unionizing?!?".

I disagree. A lot of people actually don't know about the toxic stuff on Reddit, at least not its extent. I regularly visit Reddit, and even before I began to target subs, I didn't see anything more toxic than what you get in the comments section of any major newspaper. Or even on air at some major news channels, now that I think about it. In the subs that relate to my interests, I see almost nothing that could be considered bigoted, and when I do the community typically rallies in response. And that includes a sports community and a gaming community that a lot of people here might not immediately think of when they think "constructive community."

I think a lot of people here, as savvy and attuned to the net as they tend to be, significantly over estimate how aware other people are of what's going on.
posted by Maugrim at 5:21 PM on July 4, 2015


So many MeFites argue against staying at Reddit, yet so few MeFites move out of the US...
posted by Bugbread at 5:22 PM on July 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


No, it's more like refusing to stay in the nice, clean floors of one hotel because you know that other floors in the same hotel hold sweatshops, forced prostitution and torture chambers.

Then, as I mentioned above, surely you vet your consumer products very carefully. Because, as hateful and awful as the racists on Reddit are, they have far less real life impact on actual people than any of the things you mentioned above and less impact than a lot of things that corporations do every day.
posted by Maugrim at 5:25 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


someone gave me reddit gold once after i rewrote a christmas song to be about mansplaining feminism and then the comment got deleted and i think that's when i got banned from 2X

i guess i appreciated the gesture but i would've rather they just gave me the few bucks or donated it to RAINN or something
posted by NoraReed at 5:41 PM on July 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


A lot of people actually don't know about the toxic stuff on Reddit, at least not its extent.

There's always that caveat when someone claims blissful ignorance of Reddit's dark side. "I didn't know it was that bad..."
posted by Etrigan at 5:43 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, it's more like refusing to stay in the nice, clean floors of one hotel because you know that other floors in the same hotel hold sweatshops, forced prostitution and torture chambers. And choosing to instead stay in other rape-, slavery- and torture-free hotels right around the corner.

Yeah, but you can't avoid the awful shit on reddit. It's all over the site. Even relatively anodyne subreddits will get overrun by rape apologists and racists. The gamer gate stuff has basically ruined every game subreddit.
posted by red alert at 5:45 PM on July 4, 2015


Most people can live without Reddit. Most people can't afford to buy food/clothing/goods whose production didn't exploit someone or the environment.

Most people could significantly alter their pattern of purchases, particularly with regard to luxury goods, but accept the moral trade off because they value certain products/experiences they can't get anywhere else. Reddit has communities that do not exist anywhere else.

Yeah, but you can't avoid the awful shit on reddit. It's all over the site. Even relatively anodyne subreddits will get overrun by rape apologists and racists.

This is not my experience and I frequent at least one gaming subreddit semi-regularly.
posted by Maugrim at 5:50 PM on July 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


The GamerGate stuff had ruined pretty much every gaming-focused subreddit long before it was even called GamerGate. Gaming has been a toxic, misogynist shithole for years. There's a The Boys Who Called [Slur] problem with pretty much every feminist in gaming where it's impossible to actually have a discussion about, say, problematic aspects of Anita Sarkeesian's treatment of sex workers, because then you get simultaneous "LOOK AT THE SJWS ATTACKING THEIR OWN" and drowning out of actual relevant criticism with people who are just mad that women have opinions.
posted by NoraReed at 5:53 PM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


red alert: "Yeah, but you can't avoid the awful shit on reddit. "

My point was, I don't care if you can avoid it. I'd be embarrassed to have a Reddit account, or ever post there. The hypothetical 99% nice, sweet non-racist, all puppies and rainbows stuff is irreparably tainted by being on the same site, same admins, etc., as the whatever percent globawful absolute shit.
I looked up one of the subs and the first few lines were about "coons" and "kikes". That was just a random sample.
posted by signal at 5:53 PM on July 4, 2015


So many MeFites argue against staying at Reddit, yet so few MeFites move out of the US...

Hush, you. We're discussing providing advertising clicks to a socially irresponsible company, not dedicating a third of our working life to paying for the torture and killing of innocent people.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:12 PM on July 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The hypothetical 99% nice, sweet non-racist, all puppies and rainbows stuff is irreparably tainted by being on the same site, same admins, etc., as the whatever percent globawful absolute shit.

So I assume you eschew Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, most web hosting companies, etc. as well?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:22 PM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


No, it's more like refusing to stay in the nice, clean floors of one hotel because you know that other floors in the same hotel hold sweatshops, forced prostitution and torture chambers. And choosing to instead stay in other rape-, slavery- and torture-free hotels right around the corner.

Holy damn! forced prostitution and torture chambers are literally criminal acts. (Sweatshops, if only.) Comparing anything on Reddit is gross. There are points of commonality - just how accountable is KiA for the worst excesses of GG? Are creepshots illegal?- but they are absolutely nowhere near enslaving people, and we really need to dial this comparison back.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:31 PM on July 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


My point was, I don't care if you can avoid it. I'd be embarrassed to have a Reddit account, or ever post there. The hypothetical 99% nice, sweet non-racist, all puppies and rainbows stuff is irreparably tainted by being on the same site, same admins, etc., as the whatever percent globawful absolute shit.

I usually mentally replace "Reddit" with "The Internet" when reading stuff like this, but in this case I'm going to go with "America."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:31 PM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Says me who has been arguing that redditors getting short shrift in the current affair is a tone argument.)
posted by Going To Maine at 6:31 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


yes, please compare it to something more accurate, like the hotel hosting pedophile conventions in ballroom A and then, when people complain about the pedophile conventions, holding conventions in ballroom B that have the same people attending them and are called "totally not pedophile conventions, wink wink"

Yes, please do. r/jailbait (pus any ongoing problems reddit has with jailbait-related content) are serious, potententially criminal issues, and should be shouted about. Racism on reddit is a serious issue, and should be shouted about. But to handwave away the distinction between literal prostitution and the much more nebulous goings-on on Reddit is wrong; it is literally the difference between something that is illegal and legal, and it devalues things the acts that are worse.

Maybe I'm getting too het up about this, but all we've got are the words printed in text boxes here. We should strive to get them right.

(I say this. Me! Who am chronically typo-ridden.)
posted by Going To Maine at 6:57 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


In any thread about reddit the odds of discussion reverting to REDDITSUXvsREDDITDUNTOTALLYSUCK approaches 1 pretty quickly. Can we accept this and move on, to where this is an interesting story about a massive media company losing control of its community?
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 6:57 PM on July 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


[Guys, the Analogy Escalation Game has no winners. Please try to talk about the thing you're talking about, not debate the policies of the Hotel In Hell. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:58 PM on July 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


Reddit is less "free speech absolutist" and more "allow crappy speech as long as it doesn't get too much attention". Which sort of puts paid to their philosophical argument. You aren't taking a stand on free speech when you retreat any time you get enough bad publicity. More trying to milk scuzzy speech for as much cash as possible before a light gets shone on it.
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

“Unless it makes the VCs fidgety.”
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:20 PM on July 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can we accept this and move on, to where this is an interesting story about a massive media company losing control of its community?

Can we? In my view the revolt was sparked by a legitimate complaint the mods had against the admins, but then taken over by people still incensed that their hate communities were deleted for bad behaviour a few weeks ago.

There were plenty of subs that stayed open. There was actually a debate thread in r/hockey about what to do. It boiled down to the mods of that particular sub saying "this doesn't affect us in any way" and most of the active community members saying "we agree" (and, honestly, that it's the off season was brought up more than once. If the NHL had been in session, the course of action would never have been in doubt).

Still, we saw a few people advocating solidarity but for the most part they'd just popped in and when you took a look at their accounts, they had clear political overtones.
posted by Maugrim at 7:25 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


In any thread about reddit the odds of discussion reverting to REDDITSUXvsREDDITDUNTOTALLYSUCK approaches 1 pretty quickly. Can we accept this and move on, to where this is an interesting story about a massive media company losing control of its community?

Not... really? The intense misogynistic hatred of Pao and general shitty behavior of redditors is an integral part of this story. I'm not even going to bother to try and come up with an analogy, it's just like, a core bit of it.

Whether or not reddit sucks might be kind of a derail, but redditors being shitty is absolutely part of the story.

The main problem is that talking about redditors acting like shit often just turns in to talking about reddit itself being shit. It's sort of a "call a persons actions racist, don't call them a racist" dilemma but more complex.
posted by emptythought at 8:51 PM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've kind of assumed all along that this was going to be just more sound and fury with no long-term ground gained for the protestors, and the vague, wishy-washy admin response (shared earlier in this thread as well) made me doubly sure this would be the case - but I just saw a post from the mods of r/AskReddit about a timer they've put on their subreddit, with the intent of holding the admin accountable for their promises.

Supposedly Reddit admin claimed they'd be offering better mod tools, to be released by end of September and end of December (their Q3 and Q4, respectively), and AskReddit will consider shutting down again if either of these milestones aren't met - hence the timer. The whole thing still seems rather wishy-washy to me, but now I'm curious as to whether or not this could actually help hold the admins' feet to the fire? Given the power differential between the admin and mods, and given the (apparent?) importance of AskReddit to the site as a whole, would AskReddit even be allowed to go dark again?

I'm not particularly invested in Reddit, but it is nice to think there's a possibility of its moderators having some power to force the admins' hand if those admin had previously been more or less ignoring some legitimate-sounding complaints and requests ... I'd be curious to know if anybody more familiar with the inner workings of Reddit thought there was real potential for any positive (for some value of the word) change to come of this potential threat on the part of AskReddit.
posted by DingoMutt at 11:36 PM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Let's please not do a #notallmen sort of thing here. Go ahead and assume if anyone talks about redditors acting shitty that they are referring to those redditors who act shitty and not every single reddit member.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:42 AM on July 5, 2015


would AskReddit even be allowed to go dark again?

No fucking way Ellen Pao lets a handful of volunteer mods shut down the site's biggest subreddit. The mod response seems really tepid. If they wanted to actually do some good, they'd shut down AskReddit *until* they got at least some of the mod tools they need. That would be useful pressure. This? It just gives Pao plenty of time to set up a plan B.
posted by mediareport at 3:44 AM on July 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


No fucking way Ellen Pao lets a handful of volunteer mods shut down the site's biggest subreddit. The mod response seems really tepid. If they wanted to actually do some good, they'd shut down AskReddit *until* they got at least some of the mod tools they need. That would be useful pressure. This? It just gives Pao plenty of time to set up a plan B.

Right, but that'd mean the admins would actually need to push updates out to the website, and given that they've demonstrated that isn't exactly their core competency (the mod tools are still basically bubble gum and baling wire) what are the odds they'll ever get around to it?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:45 AM on July 5, 2015


So this is the paradox of the moderators. They don't want to burn down Reddit, because they love Reddit. They love it so much they act as volunteer moderators. That's generally a shitty, thankless job where the rank and file users hate what they see you do and don't appreciate the things they can't see you doing. On top of that now the moderators feel the site administrators and owners don't care about them either, what with the firing of helpful staff and the lack of features long promised. Despite all this misery the moderators are still there doing their job, making things like AskReddit and IAmA the amazing resources they are. If they shut stuff down in protest they lose the only thing they love, the only reason they are doing the shitty moderator job. It's miserable.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on July 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even deeper is the risk that they'll be removed from their mod positions by Pao. I get the love they must have for the site, and the painfulness of the thought of being kicked off the mod jobs they love. But that risk isn't going away anytime soon, and the specific demands the AskReddit mods are making - "better anti-brigading tools" by September 30th and "better modtools and a better modmail function" by the end of December - are 1) extremely vague and 2) don't address *at all* the deeper issues of the structure of the relationship between the administrative monetizers like Pao and the people who actually make the site interesting on a daily basis.

Think about it: The AskReddit mods didn't even include a demand about the one thing that most pissed off the IAMA mods and started this mess - the surprise termination of a valued mod with no explanation to the community and no plan ready for replacing her.
posted by mediareport at 8:01 AM on July 5, 2015


the surprise termination of a valued mod

Because this was the match, not the kindling. The heart of the issue from the mod's perspective is that they're doing an unbelievable volume of free work that is the foundation of Reddit, and they're not being supported by the admin even with sufficient tools to continue doing what they do--and now we (likely) know that the admins are actively undermining the mods while pursuing their strategies for monetizing that foundation that was freely built.

I hope the incremental outcome of this is that people do less volunteer work for rent-seeking middlemen because they recognize that they're the product, not the customers. I hope enough situations like this happen that people instinctively recognize that it's a quid pro quo, not a community, and the admin has to keep up their end of their bargain.
posted by fatbird at 8:51 AM on July 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Victoria Taylor was not a mod; she was Director of Communicaitons at Reddit. I understand that was a full time paid job.

It's certainly true that Reddit could remove any volunteer moderators. Their problem is who they could replace them with.
posted by Nelson at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, Victoria functioned like a mod and was clearly essential to the other mods, but you're right that firing her was different from "firing" a volunteer mod would be. That's kind of the issue, though: removing volunteer mods would be even easier, which is surely why the mods at AskReddit are treading so carefully (and to my mind, too conservatively). Until the mods are willing to demand structural changes to the way Pao et al communicate with them, which the mods at AskReddit so far have not, it's hard to see lasting significant change happening here, and easy to see superficial changes that do just enough to appease and take advantage of the volunteer mods' emotional stake in the company.
posted by mediareport at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's kind of the issue, though: removing volunteer mods would be even easier, which is surely why the mods at AskReddit are treading so carefully (and to my mind, too conservatively).

Mechanically easier, yes. But that skill set and commitment? I'm not so sure. I agree that the volunteers should figure out if they have more precise demands and then push for 'em. This is a critical time, and the site could be different.

Think about it: The AskReddit mods didn't even include a demand about the one thing that most pissed off the IAMA mods and started this mess - the surprise termination of a valued mod with no explanation to the community and no plan ready for replacing her.

/u/KallistiGAD has made an interesting find: Of the 38 admins who have left reddit since 2005, 23 have been within the last 9 months.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:17 AM on July 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Seriously, we have gone around the "there's terrible stuff at reddit" vs. "there's great stuff at reddit" tree plenty of times now. Please drop it so we can talk about the actual situation the post is about, rather than the same repetitive points (re: toxic stuff at reddit) being made over and over.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:14 AM on July 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


bluefly: "We all know jessamyn wouldn't take it, but I like thinking about where the narrative of having Cortex running Mefi and Jessamyn running reddit would go.

When this is over, someone should set up /r/MeFiFanFic.
"

fires up The TheWhelk Signal...

Because he's the fan fic writer Metafilter deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
posted by Samizdata at 12:01 PM on July 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Of the 38 admins who have left reddit since 2005, 23 have been within the last 9 months.

Seems to me that list includes all employee roles, not just "admins" (= community managers).
posted by effbot at 1:55 PM on July 5, 2015


ardgedee: "sk Richard Nixon how well that silent majority worked for him."

Won him re-election by a 23 point margin?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:41 AM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ellen Pao: "We apologize" (slreddit)
posted by persona at 10:48 AM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Metafilter has what 3 or 4 full-time mods now, with a couple part-time ones? Call it 5 full-timers?

Reddit is at least 100 times bigger, in terms of user traffic/comments, and would need, therefore 500 to 1000 Jessamyns (1 kJmyn) for the same level of service. They currently employ 71, according to wikipaedia. Thus one can appreciate the scale and effort level of the gaps filled by the volunteer mods.

I wouldn't expect mefi moderation to necessarily work there either. The BB melt-down, mentioned above, was made much worse by the importation of poor Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who had a... whimsical approach to moderation she had been using on her personal blog (Making Light). Her sarcastic approach worked fine at Making Light, where all were assumed to be in on the joke. Disemvoweling and heavy-handed moderating went over like a seven-day old road kill casserole at Boing Boing. The real lesson being, site culture matters enormously to moderation.
posted by bonehead at 10:54 AM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


This comment form kn0thing in the apology thread also offers some insight on the future of IAmA. "we're phasing out our role being in-between interesting people and the reddit audience so that we can focus on helping remarkable people become redditors, not just stop by on a press tour."
posted by Nelson at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2015


Another choice comment from the "We apologize" post: "The way redditors have been treating Ellen [Pao, reddit's CEO] is eerily similar to how Republicans blamed Obama in his first years of the presidency for the problems he was working on fixing that were caused by the Bush administration."
posted by exogenous at 11:12 AM on July 6, 2015


So what you're saying is that Victoria and the guy who did the Secret Santa thing and the guy who was allegedly fired due to Leukemia were all fired during a previous CEO's run?
posted by I-baLL at 11:31 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, "what yishan is saying". Didn't realize you were quoting a comment. Sorry.
posted by I-baLL at 11:32 AM on July 6, 2015


This comment form kn0thing in the apology thread also offers some insight on the future of IAmA.

Did that decision come before or after the AMA mods said they wouldn't work with the admins to schedule AMA's anymore?
posted by smackfu at 12:16 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the answer really is that Reddit wants to be more like Twitter, I guess that really does mean more publicists doing AMAs.

It's surprising to see how little a founder misunderstands how important the immediacy of access and the authenticity of replies are to the popularity of the process. The Reddit AMA is all bout unfiltered access (and Victoria having been, essentially, a true and faithful reporter both ways). If they're compromising or even seen to be compromising that, they're killing their goose.
posted by bonehead at 1:00 PM on July 6, 2015


Reddit is at least 100 times bigger, in terms of user traffic/comments, and would need, therefore 500 to 1000 Jessamyns (1 kJmyn) for the same level of service. They currently employ 71

The team page has 65 employees, about ten of which work with community and support. Reddit appears to be a normal internet media company, not a scaled up metafilter inc with one guy on IT and support, and the rest mods. It helps a quite a bit if you look at this freakout from that perspective.

(e.g., if titles mean anything at that place, someone titled "director" is pretty high up in the organization, and not in any way a mod, and if you're actually executing at the "director" level, it would take a rather fundamental disagreement with leadership and company direction to get kicked out.)
posted by effbot at 1:31 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, they're not at 95-90% leverage on volunteer labour, but 98-99% instead?
posted by bonehead at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2015


I would guess, "at least."
posted by rhizome at 2:16 PM on July 6, 2015


The team page has 65 employees, about ten of which work with community and support.

And only one or two of whom are accessible to the 7,000 volunteer moderators. That's one of the two core issues here.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:10 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


hey @reddit if you need any help or advice running a failing forum, I'm always here to help
-@lowtax
posted by NoraReed at 10:21 PM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Pao: We have started building better tools for moderators and for admins to help keep subreddits and reddit awesome, but our infrastructure is monolithic, and it is going to take some time. We hired someone to product manage it, and we moved an engineer to help work on it.

"An" engineer? Wow, you can just feel the strength of Reddit's newfound devotion to its moderators. Not just a PM, but also an engineer!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:02 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


*Pao: We have started building better tools for moderators and for admins to help keep subreddits and reddit awesome, but our infrastructure is monolithic, and it is going to take some time. We hired someone to product manage it, and we moved an engineer to help work on it.

"An" engineer? Wow, you can just feel the strength of Reddit's newfound devotion to its moderators. Not just a PM, but also an engineer!*

Those weekly two-person standup meetings are going to be hellish.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:26 PM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


And only one or two of whom are accessible to the 7,000 volunteer moderators. That's one of the two core issues here.

Giving how much of the standard reddit narrative that comes via histrionic drama artists, shitflinging monkeys, misogynistic trolls, conspiracy theorists, stupid pranksters, or just people who don't have the slightest idea how a company works and therefore misinterprets everything they see, I strongly suspect that the real story here is very different. Probably quite simple, even.
posted by effbot at 12:02 AM on July 7, 2015


Did you read this thread? That was one of the major causes of this whole thing.
posted by I-baLL at 12:12 AM on July 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Giving how much of the standard reddit narrative that comes via histrionic drama artists, shitflinging monkeys, misogynistic trolls, conspiracy theorists, stupid pranksters, or just people who don't have the slightest idea how a company works and therefore misinterprets everything they see, I strongly suspect that the real story here is very different. Probably quite simple, even.

I don't understand what you're implying here. The issues are 1) lack of access to administrators, specifically for moderators running Asks but generally for all mods; 2) lack of support for the tools needed by moderators to do their jobs for free. Even the reddits that did not go dark have explained that their beef. That's really as simple as can be, no shitflinging or misogyny required.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:13 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this seems like if they got their shit together on advertising that they would have plenty of cash to throw at engineers for moderator support...
posted by kaibutsu at 12:22 AM on July 7, 2015


*throws shield of invisibility over pb*

No one can has our Preciousssssss.
posted by taz at 12:34 AM on July 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


: "*throws shield of invisibility over pb*

No one can has our Preciousssssss.
"

Because pb REALLY stands for "Pony Bringer"...
posted by Samizdata at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Redditors perceive themselves as members of a community, or perhaps as customers of the site. In many instances they even see themselves as workers generating content for the site to the benefit of the admins. But redditors are not customers, nor are they simply workers—they are the product. To complicate this further, the Reddit Revolt requires all of us to grapple with digital and affective labor, and its tendency to blur the categories of workers, products, and consumers. Ellen Pao’s job is not to make Reddit a happy community, it is to sell the attention of redditors to advertisers. And even as users begin to understand that Reddit is less like a community and more like a factory, they seem less clear on their position within this factory. Redditors are not so much customers engaged in a boycott or even laborers on strike, they are products.
posted by latkes at 9:03 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


But redditors are not customers, nor are they simply workers—they are the product.

Not unless reddit is manufacturing people.

Reddit's business model is offering a platform to users, and then selling the attention of the users to advertisers. They apparently think that the first part is a solved problem, when they should be continually trying to make it more attractive. They have been able to coast on inertia for a while--and may for a while yet--but if users decide there is a better platform elsewhere they could become the next digg very quickly.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:08 PM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't forget that Reddit is actually a very small company. Their full time staff is somewhere between 75-100 people according to most reports. Putting two people on a project and pulling them off whatever it was they were doing is a big commitment when a company is that size.
posted by humanfont at 12:30 PM on July 7, 2015


Those weekly two-person standup meetings are going to be hellish.

Heh. And what do you want to bet they still devolve into two hour BS sessions that waste both of their time?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Putting two people on a project and pulling them off whatever it was they were doing is a big commitment when a company is that size.

Be that as it may, "have assigned a PM and engineering resources" would have been a much more politic phrase.

However, politic phrases do not seem to be a major strength of the management team over there right now.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:54 PM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Putting two people on a project and pulling them off whatever it was they were doing is a big commitment when a company is that size.

I don't know about that. They appear to have had one--then zero--soon to be two!--people actually managing what it is they're trying to sell.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:50 PM on July 7, 2015


I think that's a misread, despite my cracks about two person meetings; they might have had another engineer or two on the mod tools before adding the new one.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:52 PM on July 7, 2015


The AMA reddit mods have a piece in the NYTimes opinion section today.

(That's not a sentence I thought would ever be written.)
posted by smackfu at 9:16 AM on July 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


That is a hell of an op/ed. It is remarkable to me that the NYTimes ran it.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]






From this thread posted today: a graph of Ellen Pao's comment karma over time. Looks like the "we apologize" post had a significant positive effect.
posted by Potsy at 1:59 PM on July 8, 2015


I wouldn't assign too much credibility to comment karma, though people Reddit Mgmt cares about might be buffaloable.
posted by rhizome at 2:22 PM on July 8, 2015


It's striking how universal th sentiment is in the comments section of the NYT Opinion piece, that moderators should not be working for free for a for-profit company. It emphaisizes how the average person may not get, at all, the idea of an online community and how deeply steeped they are in an internalized market valuation mindset. Which is sobering I suppose.
posted by Rumple at 3:31 PM on July 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hell, *I* think it's a terrible idea, but that's why I work here and not there.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:31 PM on July 8, 2015


Reddit mods should consider to setting up a union or guild like actors and writers.
posted by humanfont at 5:34 PM on July 8, 2015


It's striking how universal th sentiment is in the comments section of the NYT Opinion piece, that moderators should not be working for free for a for-profit company. It emphaisizes how the average person may not get, at all, the idea of an online community and how deeply steeped they are in an internalized market valuation mindset. Which is sobering I suppose.

*blink-blink* Why, in God's name, would you work for free so others can get filthy rich? Volunteering I understand: I volunteer for several non-profits. Volunteering for a for-profit organization or company? All I see is this. YOU ARE BEING USED. And you're harming others.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:36 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Presumably they volunteer because they enjoy it, not simply out of selflessness.
posted by brundlefly at 5:50 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, the alternative is watching a community you built get taken over completely by white supremacists (and other assholes)
posted by NoraReed at 5:51 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reddit mods should consider to setting up a union or guild like actors and writers.

I love thinking that this might happen to /r/libertarianism. In fact, I'd love to know how the moderators of /r/objectivism reconcile their ideology with their volunteerism in light of recent events.
posted by um at 6:17 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


the average person may not get, at all, the idea of an online community

No, they get it. It's the people invested in sweating for free for the sake of a corporation who are not understanding the degree to which they're at risk of exploitation.

It's not that volunteer labour can't build great things. But at this point, we should all be deeply cynical and suspicious of entrepeneurs and VCs offering platforms on which to volunteer, because their ultimate, very self-interested goal, is what we're seeing now: monetization. "you're not the customer, you're the product" means just this. Notice that it basically took a general strike by the moderators to get a mere promise of improved technology and tools that everyone agrees is 1) clearly feasible, since others have hacked such things into place, and 2) long overdue. What if they hadn't? Would Reddit have made those promises? Of course not. Their business is getting the most users to stick around at the lowest cost. As said above, their protection of /r/jailbait wasn't about principles, it was about not unnecessarily excluding eyeballs.

At a minimum, anyone putting serious time into a community for free should be requiring the supporting organization to be a non-profit and actually demonstrably facilitating volunteer efforts; or you should accept that at some point, you're going to need to stand up for your value in just the way that Reddit moderators did.
posted by fatbird at 6:38 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


> a graph of Ellen Pao's comment karma over time. Looks like the "we apologize" post had a significant positive effect.

More interesting is how her comments were regularly and consistently downvoted well before the /r/fatpeoplehate ban.
posted by postcommunism at 6:40 PM on July 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why, in God's name, would you work for free so others can get filthy rich?

Yeah! You should code up your own forums. And pay to host it yourself. And associate it with other forums to attract new users. And…

But yeah! No more working for free! Stick it to the Man! Or Woman in this case!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:44 PM on July 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Or download the free software for it, pay $5/month to Digital Ocean, and have your own community for your own sake. Lots do.

Of course, as you note, you don't get to participate in the larger community with its members of subreddits like jailbait, fatpeoplehate, and picsofdeadkids. But leaving that benefit aside, just because you can't as easily have a community on your own as a subreddit can have, doesn't mean you can't be aware of the quid pro quo you're buying into, and be prepared to vote with your feet to keep the quo coming for your quid. The alternatives aren't 1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader. Reddit is exploiting its moderators pretty much by definition: they're a means to an end. So make that bargain with your eyes wide open.
posted by fatbird at 6:50 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The alternatives aren't 1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader.

Have you forgotten what TFA was about?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:57 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have you forgotten what TFA was about?

Nobody knows for sure, it doesn't come out until this December.
(Sorry, I only have room for one definition of a TLA at a time.)
posted by entropicamericana at 7:19 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


On THIS site, TFA means but one thing.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:35 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The Fucker Already"?
posted by NoraReed at 7:42 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The Fucker Already"?

Actually, that works.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:43 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Reddit will be fined by the state of California for using volunteer labor for a for-profit company, as with this winery, now that they have moved their operations to San Francisco.
posted by jamaro at 7:49 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Have you forgotten what TFA was about?

You're sneering at the idea of having a real community outside of Reddit, in order to have full editorial and financial control, despite some almost-too-obvious counterexamples of people doing exactly this and succeeding?
posted by fatbird at 7:50 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


At a minimum, anyone putting serious time into a community for free should be requiring the supporting organization to be a non-profit and actually demonstrably facilitating volunteer efforts; or you should accept that at some point, you're going to need to stand up for your value in just the way that Reddit moderators did.

That and should really be an or. I put a significant amount of time into MetaFilter for free, and am pretty cool with it being a for-profit because it provides the community I need. FOlks who play WoW hardcore effectively pay form the privilege of having their time sucked up by their raiding community, but Blizzard affords them community organizing tools; I've heard no complaints about Blizzard taking folks' money.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:12 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


entropicamericana: "*blink-blink* Why, in God's name, would you work for free so others can get filthy rich? Volunteering I understand: I volunteer for several non-profits. Volunteering for a for-profit organization or company?"

...says the person who is generating content for free for MetaFilter LLC, a for-profit company.

fatbird: "You're sneering at the idea of having a real community outside of Reddit?"

From what I can tell, he's sneering at the fact that you posit that the only two choices are "1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader" while ignoring the existence of 3) shutting down subreddits in protest, which is what this 548 comment thread is about.
posted by Bugbread at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


you posit that the only two choices are

The three words I put before "1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader" are "The alternatives aren't " (emphasis mine).

That and should really be an or.

Fair point, and no one has observed that the largest part of Metafilter's revenue comes from (still, I believe) ad impressions on AskMes, which is monetization of (already paid) customers. The basic difference, I'd say, is that we feel like Mathowie et al. are adding a light layer of useful monetization that goes directly back into the community in the form of paying moderators and continued development. It's not impossible for the unpaid contributions of users to be transparently worth it to everyone.
posted by fatbird at 8:50 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


fatbird: "The three words I put before "1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader" are "The alternatives aren't" (emphasis mine). "

Sorry, my comment was a bit short. I did notice the "The alternatives aren't" part, but I took that to mean that you were saying "the choices aren't 1) become a devops, or 2) become an unpaid Reddit cheerleader, because there's another choice: 3) set up an inexpensive, off-the-shelf alternative", while ignoring the existence of The Darkening. If you meant "there are a whole bunch of choices, including what's happening here", I misinterpreted you (and, while I won't speak for ChurchHatesTucker, I wouldn't be surprised if he misinterpreted it in the same way).
posted by Bugbread at 9:29 PM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Reddit will be fined by the state of California for using volunteer labor for a for-profit company, as with this winery, now that they have moved their operations to San Francisco.

SF doesn't matter, there have been federal cases that are just as on-point.
posted by rhizome at 10:11 PM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


*blink-blink* Why, in God's name, would you work for free so others can get filthy rich? Volunteering I understand: I volunteer for several non-profits. Volunteering for a for-profit organization or company?

For fun? As a hobby? Because you value what you get from a community built around a specific niche interest more than you value money? Because nobody made you start that sub-Reddit or requires you to maintain it?

All I see is this. YOU ARE BEING USED. And you're harming others.

There is zero chance that Reddit or anyone else is going to pay over 7,000 sub-Redditors so I don't know who is being harmed here.

Anyway, loads of communities depend on volunteer moderators and volunteer content builders and the profitability of the parent org isn't really a consideration for most contributors. I'm sorry it frustrates you that the world doesn't work according to your preferred model.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:32 AM on July 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


rhizone: From your link:

"and particularly creating and managing forum content. "

So basically we can be getting paid for making FPPs? Why didn't anybody tell me?
posted by I-baLL at 5:39 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]




Here's Victoria's post on Reddit, with replies.
posted by Nelson at 9:41 AM on July 9, 2015


I think it's weird that in the reddit thread (as much as I scanned, I gave up) nobody actually asked if she could summarize what Reddit's reason for termination was.
posted by ctmf at 10:38 AM on July 9, 2015


So this is fun* - apparently non-internet companies do the wage-free employee volunteer thing, too. I found out that a giant slip and slide is coming to my city later this year, and they are looking for volunteers for 4-5 hour shifts. This might get you a free ride, but it's not explained consistently, so I'm not certain.

It's vaguely community building, I guess, and the event is being advertised by a few organizations that are trying to help the city's image, but it's kind of weird. It's not like the volunteers are working for those organizations (which, come to think of it, might not be non-profit, either).


*not fun
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:44 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know about reddit (it's not my cup of tea) and redditors, but there are a number of us here on metafilter who volunteer variable chunks of our time for the benefit of the community without payment or expectation thereof from the business that is Metafilter.

While I can't speak for other swapmongers and event organizers, I know that I do secret quonsar because I value the community of folks and I largely see a positive impact upon people and the community after secret quonsar or a music swap or one of those cool music challenges or meetup-enjoying folks getting together to meet up and do stuff.

I don't feel used, and I don't feel like I am harming the community by my actions, and I find it hard to see how the unpaid Redditor mods are harming their community by virtue of volunteering to manage their subreddits.I do recognize the disparity here - MeFi could sail gaily on without our swaps and events and meetups, but Reddit would struggle without their army of unpaid moderators managing the subreddits that attract folks to their site, and certainly the time commitments, responsibilities, and roles vary dramatically.

It is a testament to the power of community that so many are so willing to dedicate themselves to maintaining that community in an environment that often barely cares about prioritizing their work, whether we're talking about Reddit or a shipper board for some pop cultural pairing/fandom or genealogical enthusiasts in the face of a senseless functional and feature redesign of a core resources so many of them use.
posted by julen at 2:16 PM on July 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's also worth bearing in mind that, while the moderators are doing a significant amount of work, they didn't get into it as work. I'm not at all clear on the history of iAMA (there's a good episode of reply all for you), but I can't imagine it would have done nearly as well as a for-profit thing. And spinning up a new subreddit takes seconds and is free. That low barrier allows for a heck of a lot of community experimentation. While at this point iAMA is big enough that it could spin off and be its own thing, back at the start it was just a few community members trying out a crazy thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:25 PM on July 9, 2015


apparently non-internet companies do the wage-free employee volunteer thing, too. I found out that a giant slip and slide is coming to my city later this year, and they are looking for volunteers for 4-5 hour shifts.

That particular company seems to be kind of a shitshow, if it's the same one that was here in Pittsburgh a month ago. I wasn't there, but from what I heard, there were poorly-supported volunteers responsible for significant portions of managing this fairly complex undertaking, and surprisingly enough, there were 2-3 hour long lines, people who didn't get all the rides they'd paid for, crashes, and other assorted clusterfuckery ... so yeah, comparisons with Reddit may hold ...
posted by DingoMutt at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yup, same one. One sentence in particular caught my attention from your link:

The couple says at one point, the slide was shut down for about a half hour on Saturday, while volunteers tried to figure out how to make it safer.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:23 PM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


AOL treated its community leaders like employees complete with time sheets and a training program. Reddit has consistently treated its mods as users. It wouldMe much harder to show that these users are employees.
posted by humanfont at 8:17 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another precedent for volunteer moderators is the Ultima Online lawsuit which was ultimately settled. End result of that is you seldom see volunteer labor acting as game community moderators / helpers, it's now a paid employee position.

I have nothing but admiration for the volunteer moderators at Reddit, and don't judge anyone's motives for choosing to be a mod without pay. I am astonished at how poorly Reddit Corp seems to be treating those moderators though, the site heavily depends on them. In discussions of this event I've seen there's a funny anti-mod backlash, that moderators are all jerks on power trips and deserve no love or respect. That seems crazy to me.
posted by Nelson at 8:48 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for others, but I don't think mods are bad people generally for voluntarily building communities out of subreddits. But I do think it's an investment by volunteers that's naturally exploited by the same business community that spawned Taskrabbit and a hundred other startups aspiring to be rent-seeking middlemen on natural human desires to socialize, or feed yourself.

I think there's been a credulousness about Reddit on the part of moderators that Reddit-the-corporation feels the same way they do about the community, while Reddit-the-corporation has happily let them believe that as they try different monetization schemes, until the moderators finally, literally, revolt in frustration.
posted by fatbird at 9:15 PM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think there's been a credulousness about Reddit on the part of moderators that Reddit-the-corporation feels the same way they do about the community, while Reddit-the-corporation has happily let them believe that as they try different monetization schemes, until the moderators finally, literally, revolt in frustration.

I don't think the revolt had much to do with frustration over monetization. Frustration with the treatment of the community, yes, but not over the actual monetization of the site.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:21 PM on July 9, 2015




Here's the Reddit announcement.

"Ellen Pao resigned from reddit today by mutual agreement. I'm delighted to announce that Steve Huffman, founder and the original reddit CEO, is returning as CEO..."
posted by Kevin Street at 2:30 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find it quite difficult to untangle the many different influences on my feelings about Pao resigning.
posted by fatbird at 2:33 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's a goofy situation, to be sure.
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on July 10, 2015


You can bet that the trolls are celebrating their win now. This absolutely sets the stage for more bad behavior.
posted by Karaage at 2:40 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


So why am I leaving? Ultimately, the board asked me to demonstrate higher user growth in the next six months than I believe I can deliver while maintaining reddit’s core principles.

Wow. If the people in charge think growing the userbase should be their priority right now the site might be in for more rough rides.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:45 PM on July 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


From Reddit's announcement:

"As a closing note, it was sickening to see some of the things redditors wrote about Ellen. The reduction in compassion that happens when we’re all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you.

"If the reddit community cannot learn to balance authenticity and compassion, it may be a great website but it will never be a truly great community. Steve’s great challenge as [original founder and returning] CEO will be continuing the work Ellen started to drive this forward."

top comment -- "Friday afternoon, eh? Someone took a PR class in college!"
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 2:59 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Prediction:
* Reddit will remain a predictable source of awfulness
* Reddit users will remain constantly upset
* Outside of possibly some damage to what we think of the "nice" bits of Reddit losing some moderators not much will change
* not all that many moderators
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It sounds like Pao served her role as the interim CEO perfectly. People were supposed to hate her so she could make changes the board of directors wanted that they knew some users would hate. Then the white knight new CEO sweeps in to save the day and everyone is happy. They also promise to continuo Pao's mission to make this a safe place so that should be fun.
- user TitsAlmighty
Not to get too "I meant to do that" wrt the hate, spez' announcement is encouraging that he does want to continue to clean up the place a bit, not return to the free-for-all.
posted by ctmf at 3:20 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The abuse Pao gets is unforgivable but the Victoria firing/mod breakdown was an absolute clusterfsck of mismanagement.
posted by PenDevil at 3:25 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eh, we know jack about it, we will continue to know jack about it, further things that we know jack about will continue to happen.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I put together a Storify of comments from people smarter than me talking about Pao's resignation. (Katherine Cross is a precious gift.)
posted by NoraReed at 3:34 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


new resignation thread
posted by twist my arm at 3:45 PM on July 10, 2015


In the strangest twist of all, Yishan Wong has chimed in on the matter of Victoria's firing.
posted by Catblack at 9:36 AM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Whoah, this is getting interesting. The top response to that comment is by kickme444 (the admin who started the Secret Santa program and was also fired recently) who says:

"The interesting thing here Yishan that you may not know is that Alexis DID report to Ellen. I remember the negotiations at the time to make it so. Granted, this creates all sorts of problems due to his position on the board and I can't speak at all to what happened in the board after I left. But ... Yeah, there's a lot of dirt on a lot of people in the last (maybe forever) year of reddits life. "

This is getting weirder.
posted by I-baLL at 9:48 AM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Going To Maine: "I think there's been a credulousness about Reddit on the part of moderators that Reddit-the-corporation feels the same way they do about the community, while Reddit-the-corporation has happily let them believe that as they try different monetization schemes, until the moderators finally, literally, revolt in frustration.

I don't think the revolt had much to do with frustration over monetization. Frustration with the treatment of the community, yes, but not over the actual monetization of the site.
"

Well, I do believe in the stories of bad mod tools. And, I can only see not hiring coders to fix bad mod tools in order to ignore a critical section of your userbase as being cash related. So, yeah, frustration over monetization.
posted by Samizdata at 10:18 PM on July 14, 2015


Former Reddit CEO /u/yishan weighs in on recent changes:
AYYYYYY LMAO

How's everyone doing? This is AWESOME!

There's something I neglected to tell you all this time ("executive privilege", but hey I'm declassifying a lot of things these days). Back around the time of the /r/creepshots debacle, I wrote to /u/spez for advice. I had met him shortly after I had taken the job, and found him to be a great guy. Back in the day when reddit was small, the areas he oversaw were engineering, product, and the business aspects - those are the same things I tend to focus on in a company (each CEO has certain areas of natural focus, and hires others to oversee the rest). As a result, we were able to connect really well and have a lot of great conversations - talking to him was really valuable.

Well, when things were heating around the /r/creepshots thing and people were calling for its banning, I wrote to him to ask for advice. The very interesting thing he wrote back was "back when I was running things, if there was anything racist, sexist, or homophobic I'd ban it right away. I don't think there's a place for such things on reddit. Of course, now that reddit is much bigger, I understand if maybe things are different."

I've always remembered that email when I read the occasional posting here where people say "the founders of reddit intended this to be a place for free speech." Human minds love originalism, e.g. "we're in trouble, so surely if we go back to the original intentions, we can make things good again." Sorry to tell you guys but NO, that wasn't their intention at all ever. Sucks to be you, /r/coontown - I hope you enjoy voat!

The free speech policy was something I formalized because it seemed like the wiser course at the time. It's worth stating that in that era, we were talking about whether it was ok for people to post creepy pictures of women taken legally in public. That's shitty, but it's a far cry from the extremes of hate that some parts of the site host today. It seemed that allowing creepers to post (anonymized) pictures of women taken in public, in a relatively small subreddit that never showed up on the front page, was a small price to pay for making it clear that we were a place welcoming of all opinions and discourse.

Having made that decision - much of reddit's current condition is on me. I didn't anticipate what (some) redditors would decide to do with freedom. reddit has become a lot bigger - yes, a lot better - AND a lot worse. I have to take responsibility.

But... the most delicious part of this is that on at least two separate occasions, the board pressed /u/ekjp to outright ban ALL the hate subreddits in a sweeping purge. She resisted, knowing the community, claiming it would be a shitshow. Ellen isn't some "evil, manipulative, out-of-touch incompetent she-devil" as was often depicted. She was approved by the board and recommended by me because when I left, she was the only technology executive anywhere who had the chops and experience to manage a startup of this size, AND who understood what reddit was all about. As we can see from her post-resignation activity, she knows perfectly well how to fit in with the reddit community and is a normal, funny person - just like in real life - she simply didn't sit on reddit all day because she was busy with her day job.

Ellen was more or less inclined to continue upholding my free-speech policies. /r/fatpeoplehate was banned for inciting off-site harassment, not discussing fat-shaming. What all the white-power racist-sexist neckbeards don't understand is that with her at the head of the company, the company would be immune to accusations of promoting sexism and racism: she is literally Silicon Valley's #1 Feminist Hero, so any "SJWs" would have a hard time attacking the company for intentionally creating a bastion (heh) of sexist/racist content. She probably would have tolerated your existence so long as you didn't cause any problems - I know that her long-term strategies were to find ways to surface and publicize reddit's good parts - allowing the bad parts to exist but keeping them out of the spotlight. It would have been very principled - the CEO of reddit, who once sued her previous employer for sexual discrimination, upholds free speech and tolerates the ugly side of humanity because it is so important to maintaining a platform for open discourse. It would have been unassailable.

Well, now she's gone (you did it reddit!), and /u/spez has the moral authority as a co-founder to move ahead with the purge. We tried to let you govern yourselves and you failed, so now The Man is going to set some Rules. Admittedly, I can't say I'm terribly upset.

http://i.imgur.com/BBvdWuv.gif
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:45 PM on July 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


Steve Huffman, a.k.a. spez, will be doing an AMA tomorrow to roll-out new guidelines. It sounds like it will be on the lines articulated by Yishan Wong above.
posted by Kattullus at 1:26 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh my god i'm so excited for the shitmess this is going to be.
posted by emptythought at 4:41 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, now she's gone (you did it reddit!), and /u/spez has the moral authority as a co-founder to move ahead with the purge. We tried to let you govern yourselves and you failed, so now The Man is going to set some Rules. Admittedly, I can't say I'm terribly upset.

Holy hell. Oh wow. I thought the shitshow was about to die down.

Yeah, no.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:45 AM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hah, Pope Guilty. That's pretty spicy, I love it!
posted by Drexen at 5:05 AM on July 15, 2015


Popcorn is delicious.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:18 AM on July 15, 2015




I'm kinda concerned that we might run out of popcorn.
Gonna do a quick resupply run through 4 or 5 supermarkets, just to be on the safe side..
posted by signal at 6:06 AM on July 15, 2015


This is now in the top ten of the most hilarious things I have ever seen on the internet. It is kind of sad that there are real people and real jobs at stake; do the people who work at Reddit make serious dough or do they get "paid" largely in stock options that now look like they are very unlikely to be worth more than pennies?
posted by bukvich at 7:55 AM on July 15, 2015


in that era, we were talking about whether it was ok for people to post creepy pictures of women taken legally in public. That's shitty, but it's a far cry from the extremes of hate that some parts of the site host today.

This is such a shitty justification. Personally, I'd rather people said shitty things about me than posted photos of me (or my tween daughter!) with creepy implications.
posted by latkes at 8:19 AM on July 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


The AMA on the new policy.
posted by Bugbread at 5:55 PM on July 16, 2015


I'm kinda concerned that we might run out of popcorn.

Anita Sarkeesian looks like she has plenty of popcorn and might be willing to share.
posted by straight at 7:09 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]




From the AMA, this q&a:
How much of the push toward removing "ugly" elements of Reddit comes from the motivation to monetize Reddit?
Zero.


Oh, please. They clearly state that the opt-in/NSFW subreddits will generate no revenue for Reddit in their policy, and later Huffman answers that he wants to make clear they will not profit from them. Why make that distinction, if you're not motivated to monetize the site?
posted by bluefly at 1:16 PM on July 17, 2015


« Older Bitcoin is unsustainable   |   31 Things Cut In Half To Reveal Their Complicated... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments