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Published 6 years ago by BlueOracle with 42 Comments
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Conversation 27 comments by 13 users
  • spaceghoti
    +17

    Wow. I've been pretty much ignoring the reddit drama regarding Pao and the blackout. The fact that it's the "semi-professional mods" who are throwing a tantrum now strikes me as poetic justice. Those same mods (I saw karmanaut's name in there) have been a huge problem for the reddit community who have found homes in various subreddits and have had them ruined by top-down policy changes by mods who aren't part of those communities and don't care about anything except wielding power.

    I have no sympathy for them.

    • neg8ivezero (edited 6 years ago)
      +17

      I understand your position and you may even be right in the specific case you mentioned. That said, however, I think the larger picture as a whole points blame at more than just the mods, and primarily at the CEO/management.

      Mods are volunteer labor. Some are good, some are not. Positions of authority attract those who want authority. This can be a bad thing and can enlist tyrannical people into positions with too much power. I think it is fair to say that some of the mods on Reddit fit this description but I think it is equally fair to say that their CEO does too. Ellen Pao is ignoring the complaints of the Reddit community entirely. She is pretending that nothing is happening, and won't even make a blog post or text post to her own website to address the concerns of the community. This is unprofessional and unfortunate.

      It is obvious that the company has been in flux since Ellen Pao took over and the results are seemingly disastrous. If I was a stakeholder in Reddit, I would demand her resignation, regardless of the mods and their actions. Obviously she has no idea what the community wants and how to competently communicate with them. She has shown how inept she is at dealing with sensitive issues multiple times- I think it is clear that her leadership is not what Reddit needs if it wants to survive.

      EDIT TotallyTrusty pointed out that Ellen Pao has just addressed the Reddit Community, I withdrawal my criticism on this issue.

      • spaceghoti
        +5

        I agree, Ellen Pao doesn't really care what the community wants. She cares what the community will buy. She's not a nanny, there to comfort the users and hand us lollipops. She's there to run a business and make it profitable. In the process she's identifying what she thinks are problems with the existing model and making changes. Reddit's model was dysfunctional long before she was put in charge. Now she's making changes and people who liked the old model are throwing tantrums.

        Now, does that mean I think she isn't making mistakes? No, it does not. I don't know enough about everything she's done or how she's doing them to make that kind of judgment. I do know that one of the earlier actions she took -- getting rid of /r/fatpeoplehate that started the prior "exodus" -- was one of the better decisions she could have made. I don't know what's going on with Victoria and I don't know that many people know the whole story either. Mostly people know what impact it made on a specific community and there was already significant hostility against her because she's painted as a "social justice warrior."

        She could probably handle this better, but again her focus is not on the users. Her focus is on the revenue being created by advertising and keeping that advertising money coming. Cleaning up the site to make it more appealing to advertisers is probably more important to her right now than the complaints of what I guarantee is a minority of users who ultimately won't have the power to make much of an impact on reddit's revenue stream.

        • neg8ivezero
          +5

          I think we agree, on the whole.

          She is a CEO of a company, not a mod of an internet community. She has financial goals that directly correlate with her professional success as CEO and she has to be accountable to those goals. I think the only point where I differ in opinion is on the blame of AMAgeddon. There is surely enough blame to go around but the situation was not handled well by Reddit (the company) as a whole and communication was horrific. I think the real criticism I have for Ellen Pao is her lack of communication with the Reddit community/Reddit Mods, not the direction she has taken the company in hopes to monetize the site. That being said, it is hard to blame her for her silence when you see the personal attacks and hatred that the Reddit community has relentlessly spewed at her.

      • LacquerCritic
        +4

        What are your thoughts on the idea that Ellen Pao is specifically being kept around to basically be the face of all the unpopular changes reddit pushes through? While the other admin involved, Alexis Ohanian, is certainly being downvoted, there's almost not vitriolic posts about him or petitions demanding his resignation - yet a lot of the truly dire issues with reddit started when he returned approximately nine months ago.

        Essentially, what if Ellen Pao is being used as a corporate red herring?

        • neg8ivezero
          +5

          Essentially, what if Ellen Pao is being used as a corporate red herring?

          That is a definite possibility but frankly, there is no way for us to know. This is the point of having a CEO, they get to be the punching bag when things go poorly and they get championed when their company looks good. If Ohanian is directly responsible for anything, it still has to fly through Pao and ultimately, she is responsible. Still, to me, it doesn't really matter WHO it is, just that the decision makers are making bad decisions and those decision makers work for Reddit, the company. I don't have anything personal against Ellen Pao or Alexis Ohanian, I just want Reddit to be happy, non-toxic, interesting, and successful- I don't think it can be with the current trajectory.

      • theykilledkenni
        +4

        She did finally write a post on r/annoucements today. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out.

        • RedditExodus
          +5

          I feel like it was to little too late.

          I think this comment on her post covered it fairly well.

          • theykilledkenni
            +3

            That comment does make a good point about shadowbanning. And I'm sure it's hard to get a hold of the admins when something like that happens and you want some answers. It would suck to be one of the paying customers on Reddit and get treated like that.

            I found this comment very interesting.

            • TheDylantula
              +3

              That is scarily true. People tend to care about the content, not the site.

            • RedditExodus
              +2
              @TheDylantula -

              I don't think that's scary, just the way it is for him. Maybe he would care more if had more option to be involved in the community (instead of the emotionally distant place that was/is Reddit).

              In the end this is a nice thing for them the community gets toxic like Reddit was. The toxicity both keeps you from becoming attached to the community as well as pushes people away. If people go, there is less content (especially if it was someone like /u/sooperdavid from /r/reallifedoodles who is a major content creator) and without content there is no reason to stay in this place you have no attachment to.

              I like to think of this as the ultimate check and balance for sites like this.

    • feyes
      +9

      You should see some of the modtalk leaked threads in /r/undelete. It's unbelievable how condescending some of these mods are. Some of them are straight off their rockers.

      • Stoic
        +6

        Does Snapzu have any measures in place to prevent power-hungry mods from ruining communities?

        • spaceghoti
          +6

          Excellent question. There have been discussions with the admins, and while nothing concrete has been decided yet some of the suggestions included the creation of a mediation tribe where people can post their complaints and seek redress.

          • picklefingers
            +2

            Yup. Something I wan't everybody to keep in mind is that this is still a younger site, actively adding on new features. Some questions will be answered with "We don't know yet", and that is okay. Some questions aren't going to be quickly answered because a better answer is being sought out. And that, in turn, is also part of the reason for the reddit revolt, at least the moderator side of it. The revolt wasn't because of the lack of mod-tools. Most of the (in my opinion, justified) blackouts were because the admins had promised for years that there would be improved mod tools. However, the mod tools never came. If snapzu promised for solutions to problems for years and never made a visible effort, snapzites would be justified in being angry. Though, if we were to revolt, I'd hope we'd do it in a more mature and organized fashion than the reddit community has.

    • CoalAndCobalt (edited 6 years ago)
      +8

      The fact that it's the "semi-professional mods" who are throwing a tantrum now strikes me as poetic justice

      Why is it so common for members of the Snapzu community to dismiss dissatisfaction with reddit's administration as a "tantrum"? This is the third time I've seen this rude infantalization in as many days despite the rather small userbase. I'm starting to think that this community is no better than reddit or voat when it comes to self-serving arrogance, no matter how much it pats itself on the back for being all about an enlightened community.

      These people are unpaid volunteers who are vital to reddit's function. They've been denied even basic moderation tools despite the promise of improvement in this area for years. Instead, reddit administration spends all its resources on gimmicks like side-wide cryptocurrency or snoovatars. For Christ's sake, AutoModeratorBot was a user-made hack! Reddit's administration promises transparency and a greater communuty outreach but fires Victoria and doesn't even tell the moderators who are dependent on her.

      These mods are people who manage communities of millions with tools developed for a site of 20,000. The least reddit administration can do is give them a heads up when they're going to throw a wrench into the cobbled together patchwork of systems that keeps the site chugging along day-to-day.

      How can you be so dismissive of these issues? It comes across as so entitled and ignorant. Do you expect them to work as unpaid full-time volunteers and be as obedient and docile as a well paid worker? It's just inane.

      As the saying goes, shit rolls downhill. Why so sneeringly condescending toward volunteers who just want a heads-up when they're about to get shat on?

      • spaceghoti (edited 6 years ago)
        +4

        Why is it so common for members of the Snapzu community to dismiss dissatisfaction with reddit's administration as a "tantrum"?

        I'm not describing reddit's administration as throwing a tantrum. I'm describing the "semi-professional" moderators, the one who seek moderator positions not because they're interested in promoting strong communities but in grinding ideological axes or simply the prestige of being in charge. The power-trippers.

        These mods are people who manage communities of millions with tools developed for a site of 20,000. The least reddit administration can do is give them a heads up when they're going to throw a wrench into the cobbled together patchwork of systems that keeps the site chugging along day-to-day.

        Yes, these are volunteers. If they're doing work that should earn them compensation then they should be held to certain standards. And yes, it would be polite of reddit's administration to give them a heads up on change that will impact what they're doing but I got the impression from this whole affair that the termination came to a head very quickly and there was no opportunity to do so. Either that or it's one of the things that slipped through the cracks. I don't know, I'm not privy to reddit's corporate dialogue. Either way, it could have been handled better and it wasn't. I'm not disputing this.

        How can you be so dismissive of these issues? It comes across as so entitled and ignorant. Do you expect them to work as unpaid full-time volunteers and be as obedient and docile as a well paid worker? It's just inane.

        Because I've been a moderator, there and here. I know who many of these people are and the ones I'm referring to -- not the ones who are genuinely trying to build community but the powermongers -- don't deserve my pity. They lost that long ago when they decided to use reddit as a platform to build empires. Not all of them fall under this category, and those that don't aren't included in my ire.

        • CoalAndCobalt
          +3

          I'm not describing reddit's administration as throwing a tantrum.

          You misread my statement. I was speaking about the infantilization of moderators who are frustrated with the lack of effort on the admin side of things. Waving that away as a "tantrum" is rude and counterproductive to discussion.

          I'm describing the "semi-professional" moderators, the one who seek moderator positions not because they're interested in promoting strong communities but in grinding ideological axes or simply the prestige of being in charge. The power-trippers.

          You were referring to the Blackout, no? Do you mean to imply that AMA is an ideological platform, or that /r/science is full of "power-trippers"? These are the subs who have had the biggest bone to pick because they are the most heavily moderated. We're not talking about awful places like FPH here, although they have ignorantly claimed that this is the same thing as happened to them.

          And yes, it would be polite of reddit's administration to give them a heads up on change that will impact what they're doing but I got the impression from this whole affair that the termination came to a head very quickly and there was no opportunity to do so.

          I'm sorry but this is a little absurd, and IMO not concrete enough to warrant such a rude reaction. It's not as if reddit fired her and then seconds later everything fell apart. What are reddit admins doing that is so critically important that they cannot stop to PM the moderators about a firing which severely impacts the immediate function of the website, such as AMAs to be held that day, or the exchange between Stephen Hawking to organize an AMA?

          Either that or it's one of the things that slipped through the cracks.

          I believe that this is far more likely, but it's precisely because it's something which can so easily slip through the cracks which is the problem. Communication between admins and mods is abysmal and it's far, far too easy for massive changes like this to slide by.

          Either way, it could have been handled better and it wasn't. I'm not disputing this.

          Sorry if I came off as hostile, but by dismissing the Blackout as a "tantrum" it seemed that you were disputing whether their frustration at the way things were handled was valid.

          I know who many of these people are and the ones I'm referring to -- not the ones who are genuinely trying to build community but the powermongers -- don't deserve my pity.

          Look, I really don't like Karmanut either. He's the sort of influential "power user" that I feel causes tremendous harm to communities like this because of the clout he wields and seeks to wield. On that issue I agree with you. That being said, I believe it's of critical importance to be able to admit someone is right even if you don't like them. No matter how much I may personally dislike Karmanut, or how much I may dislike the FPH people who have bandwagoned onto this Blackout, there are legitimate issues here. Dismissing these issues, especially in such a rude way, because you take issue with who is saying things rather than what they are saying is to embrace the sort of unprincipled toxicity that the "power user" mentality perpetuates. When who matters more than what you are creating an environment where people must become "power users" and gain social/political clout in order to have a voice on a discussion forum.

    • Lyzern
      +6

      Do you have a source as to where Redditors had their home subreddits ruined because of the mods?

      • spaceghoti
        +6

        A source? Me. I watched multiple subreddits split over moderation practices, lived through a couple and I'm struggling with the moderators in /r/politics who have chosen to reign from on high and disallow any discussion about what rules they enforce and how.

        • theykilledkenni
          +5

          A lot of people were trying to post new TPP stuff in r/politics and r/news last week but neither of them would let it be posted because it didn't apply to their subreddits. I ended up finding the article on r/technology of all places.

        • Lyzern
          +3

          So based on your personal experiences, you decide to crucify the Mods, blaming them for the blackout? And how are subreddits any different from tribes? Tribes are also moderated by people, this is a problem in certain communities, but if the people are dissatisfied with it, they will leave and create a new, fair community. Which is exactly what happened in the blackout. People are dissatisfied with the admins, they leave reddit and make a new home. But you can't go around blaming the mods, which are a VERY small percentage of the people who are dissatisfied with the events, it just doesn't make sense and it's not relevant. A lot of people agreed with the blackout caused by the mods and a lot more think they should've extended the blackout further. So I don't understand your point in saying that it's the Mods that are "throwing a tantrum" and I don't understand how you call them "semi-professional" when some of them are volunteers who made reddit what it is today.

          • neg8ivezero
            +4

            So based on your personal experiences, you decide to crucify the Mods, blaming them for the blackout?

            I understand your position on this issue and I even agree with you on many points but this kind of tone doesn't encourage people to agree with you or change their opinions. I think /spaceghoti was clear that he/she wasn't blaming all mods or even saying that all of them were bad.

            Anywho I agree with you that the mods do thankless work and are a HUGE part of making Reddit successful. I also agree that a large percentage of the users supported the mods and their blackout. However, I have to respect that Ellen Pao and the Admins have now directly addressed the community and are clearly defining concrete goals to improve communication. I can't say that I am completely on board with the direction they are going and I definitely don't agree with how they handled this whole ordeal but I am optimistic that they have a chance of working things out now.

            • Goronmon
              +2

              However, I have to respect that Ellen Pao and the Admins have now directly addressed the community and are clearly defining concrete goals to improve communication

              I'm not totally convinced. I've only seen platitudes so far. The same platitudes that have been made in the past with little change to show for it. "We'll do better." "We are going to communicate more effectively." "We are working on tools." All are things that have been "in the works" for years at this point. It remains to be seen whether Reddit, as a company, is actually able to follow through on the implementation of new tools, or whether this new surge of communication will be more than temporary.

            • neg8ivezero
              +2
              @Goronmon -

              I suppose time will tell. I remain optimistic, only because I prefer to think that everyone is good until they prove otherwise. At this point, Ellen Pao has not sufficiently proven to me that she is malicious or even apathetic toward the Reddit community. I think there is supporting evidence for those that claim she is but it isn't enough for me to assume what others have about her and the Reddit administration team. Either way, I like Snapzu a hell of a lot more than I liked Reddit- I see this community growing to fill in the gaps that currently keep me checking back on a few of my favorite niche subs and eventually I won't need Reddit at all.

          • spaceghoti
            +3

            So based on your personal experiences, you decide to crucify the Mods, blaming them for the blackout?

            Please don't mistake my comment as being a blanket condemnation of all of the moderators in reddit. I very explicitly defined which ones I'm talking about.

      • 314 (edited 6 years ago)
        +4

        While the default subs are slightly more in control now, smaller subreddits are where you really see the undesirable effects of reddit's moderator system. /r/xkcd was a great example, purporting to be about the XKCD comic, but also being used to promote the top mod's bigoted ideas, something that the comic's creator disliked but could do nothing about. The community also disliked it, but was not only powerless, but had any dissent deleted.

        /r/horses was another example. To my understanding, it was originally a normal equestrian subreddit about horses. Then, owing to reddit's request policy and an inactive moderator, it was taken over by a bizarre and seemingly psychologically unstable mod who primarily modded various fetish subreddits, and seemed to see /r/horses as a subreddit for a fetish for equestrian girls. He made a number of bizarre and pointless rules, and angrily banned people for not following them, or for actually discussing horses, or disagreeing with him elsewhere on reddit, and so on. Thousands of users who had subscribed to talk about riding and caring for horses were now subscribed to a subreddit that had rules about how much nudity could be in photos. But they couldn't do anything, because one guy had noticed the mods were inactive, and took over. This went on for years, until the mod got himself shadowbanned and someone sane took over.

        I seem to recall there was a huge skincare subreddit scandal too, where it came out that the mods were deleting posts and manipulating the subreddit to push products and websites that would make them money.

        Oh, and /r/worldnews had some major problems, if I recall, though I don't remember the details.

  • eruditojones
    +12

    You could solve two massive problems with one solution: Make Ellen Pao Greek Finance minister. Greece stops imploding, Reddit can go back to fapping at cats.

    • BlueOracle
      +5

      That might be just crazy enough to work! Haha! :)

      • TotallyTrusty
        +3
        • neg8ivezero
          +2

          Wow. Talk about eating my words. I just replied to this thread with my astonishment that Ellen Pao had still not addressed the community. I am glad she made the announcement, there will still be hurt feelings and resentment but this should calm things down significantly. Honestly, I am quite surprised she did that, it had to be difficult to make that post with all of the hatred being spewed at her and the personal attacks.

          • blue2501
            +5

            Don't be fooled. This is just a pathetic attempt at damage control:

            1. She was several days too late.

            2. She replied to everybody in the media before addressing Reddit themselves, which was an extreme disservice.

            3. Her excuse for being so late was so paper thin that it clearly exposed how little she understands Reddit. Or just shows how bad she is at lying.

            4. She calls for technological solutions, while ignoring the real problems of a better rapport and lines of communication.

            5. These are all words. History has shown that nothing will come of this.

            (No idea why I can't do standard markdown bullet points...)

            • neg8ivezero
              +4

              You may be right- I think a lot of people will still harbor resentment and distrust but I think this is the first step to repairing the relationship between the company and the user-base. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

              However, the personal attacks on Ellen Pao are terrible. I don't think she is the right person to run Reddit either, but damn, everyone made her out to be the rebirth of Hitler and it was really sad. If I had to wake up everyday and face the comments about me similar to the ones bade about Ellen Pao on Reddit... I don't know that I could have ever written that apology post, to say the least.

            • TenNineteenOne
              +3
              @neg8ivezero -

              I'm probably going to have some resentment and distrust for a long while. That apology reminded me too much a politician's. There wasn't enough substance. I hope I eat those words one day, but I'm not that optimistic at the moment.

              I can't speak to the comments though, I just saw the memes and stuff.

          • FivesandSevens
            +4

            The attacks people aimed at her over there were truly sickening - and I'm among those who think she is a bad fit for reddit. She gets points from me for facing up to that. But reddit's response (mostly entitlement, presumptuousness, smugness, and more attacks) and her replies, which are mostly damage-control PR jargon and vague promises of improvement, just underscore what I think is the real problem: Reddit will never be what its users thinks it is/should be, and it will never be what Ellen Pao and its stakeholders want it to be either. I don't envy anyone that tries to find a balance between those things - but making your users feel left out of that fraught conversation is a big step in the wrong direction. I'm not sure she's corrected that feeling with her post today.

  • Nacnud
    +8

    This discussion was just bizarre to me: http://www.imgur.com/ICSz7Xp. It seems like the admin was trying to act as a PR spokesman rather than actually being helpful and supporting the mods. Before I saw this, I didn't really think either side was right, but I have to sympathize with the mods after seeing the situation that they were thrown into.

    • PrismDragon
      +6

      Yeah. The admins are still not communicating satisfactorily with the mods. After all that is happened, I am still siding with the mods in this matter. Communication is crucial for sites like these.

      • verdacomb
        +4

        Yeah, the admins are acting like Comcast customer service.

        • PrismDragon
          +1

          Ha ha ha! Nice comparison there. They really are acting up.

  • PrismDragon
    +5

    Yeah. This whole situation was a build up of many grievances over the years, which went passed the tipping point after Victoria Taylor was fired. The mods need better tools for moderating their subs, and they have been getting the cold shoulder and empty promises from the admins for a long time now. If the admins can't fulfill their promises of new features and better communication, I expect more members to leave Reddit for sites like Voat, Empeopled, and Snapzu.

  • Aphrodite
    +2

    I think many current mods can see the writing is on the wall as to how Reddit is changing in terms of their position and power on the site itself. In the not too distant future, I am sure admins will make sure that subreddit moderators have a lot less power, to the point where any hint of making a subreddit private will have them removed.

  • AinBaya
    +1

    Really i just got bored of Reddit and needed something new

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