Reddit moderators in revolt, Reddit on lockdown

In today's open source roundup: Reddit moderators strike back against the site's management. Plus: slammed with traffic, asks for bitcoin donations. And redditors discuss the new onslaught of Reddit traffic

Reddit moderators revolt against management

Reddit has been in the news a lot in recent months, and not for any positive reasons. Now the site is again making headlines as its moderators go on a strike and put Reddit in a virtual state of lockdown.

Allum Bokhari reports for Breitbart:

The hugely popular link-sharing site is in a state of virtual lockdown after the volunteers who run some of the site’s biggest communities (known as “subreddits”) went on the digital equivalent of a general strike. This followed the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a popular site admin, after a Reddit Q and A with the Rev. Jesse Jackson went badly for the activist preacher.

High-traffic subreddits dedicated to movies, gaming, videos, history, science and art have been voluntarily locked by their moderators as an act of protest against the decision, which they saw as a symptom of an increasingly overbearing management that takes its users and volunteer moderators for granted.

The collective shutdown has rendered Reddit virtually unusable. In the space of a single evening, over 100 subreddits with tens of millions of subscribers have gone dark. Users are now flocking to Reddit’s competitors, such as Frizbee and Voat, the latter of which is struggling to accommodate its latest spike in traffic.

Although the last “Reddit Revolt” faded, it is increasingly clear that the relationship between Reddit’s leadership (in particular CEO Ellen Pao) and Reddit’s base of users and moderators is no longer sustainable. At the moment, it seems Reddit’s only salvation is Voat’s inability to handle high-volume traffic. That’s not a good situation to be in.

More at Breitbart

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao posted a message in response to the moderation crisis but the message was later deleted after angry responses from redditors:

Abravelittletoaster: "Do you guys understand that this isn't just the moderators? Many users are also in support of the blackout. You act like the users don't want this and that the mods need to stop holding the subs hostage but in reality this is far from just a moderator issue. A lot of users (such as myself) are very unhappy with the path this site is heading down and would actually like an answer from you for it. Do you actually care about the users of Reddit at all or do you just see them as replaceable pageviews you can use to make money?"

Endoflevelbaddy: "Ellens comment before it was deleted (remember Ellen, we're going for transparency here)

The bigger problem is that we haven't helped our moderators with better support after many years of promising to do so. We do value moderators; they allow reddit to function and they allow each subreddit to be unique and to appeal to different communities. This year, 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. We hired 5 more people for our community team in total to work with both the community and moderators. We are also making changes to, adding new features like better search and building mobile web, but our testing plan needs improvement. As a result, we are breaking some of the ways moderators moderate. We are going to figure this out and fix it.

Ellen, the core issue is your complete lack of transparency. More often than not, the admins stay quiet until damage control is needed.

You screwed up big this time, Ellen. Play the human, instead of the PR/CEO. Talk to us and action on what we say."

Punchinglines: "Hahaha, she actually deleted the post."

Tomy2TugsFapMaster69: "Wtf. You would have thought any comments or statements at this point would be well thought out and she would stand by it. This is actually a disaster haha."

Owhatuwant2: "Do you understand that the community hates you?"

Supmayte: "Ellen, we really really despise you. You don't need to do this job, all you brought is turmoil and instability. Nobody who is close to you is gonna say how awful you are, sometimes you need to see yourself."

Dowhatuwant2: "She doesn't even know how to separate paragraphs on a website that she is the CEO of. I don't think jack about reddit is obvious to this lady right now."

Lolthr0w: "Ellen was one of the first investors of reddit. Given her family's recent financial troubles (Which I place no blame on her for, by the way.) it would be in her financial interest to clean up reddit for a immediate buyout by M$ or Go0gle. Choosing between placating angry redditors and millions of dollars from google, well..."

Scarbane: "'re gonna stick to the same plan you had before, which was to maximize profits, even if it drives away the userbase and the mods who have volunteered for this site for years. Loyalty means nothing to you. You are a shameful example of online governance."

More at Reddit

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian attempted to address the situation and drew a barrage of responses from furious redditors:

Club-House: " many times can you guys that before something actually changes?"

5th_Law_of_Robotics: ""Ha look the peasants are mad, let's throw rocks at them... Oh wait, they're really mad. This could hurt me. Uh here goes: attention ignorant filth-people whom I despise, stop all this rioting and get back to work and I promise I won't crap on you again until the next time I do. Deal? Come on I'm deigning to speak as if we were equals, give me my due deference."

Alfonso238: "Translation: "We didn't take moderators and users seriously, and underestimated how much we could take the Reddit community for granted. We're scared now for our company and profits."

Michigan85: "If anything they're going to do what Digg did. They're panicking in a emergency meeting and forming a plan to remove power from the subreddit mods. They'll have some sort of martial law in place to where reddit will take over a subreddit if a mod does something they don't like. Save my comment, it'll happen."

Lunk: "It really is eerily reminiscent of Digg. :( Sad days."

TriggerRed: "...I don't care if I have nothing to read on reddit for a few days, heck, a few weeks. This is not punishment to me, I know why it was done, I understand the consequences and I'm behind every single sub and moderator that choses to support it, in whatever way they can/want."

Seized7x: "You don't get it, do you?

The community took the subreddits offline and you still don't get it. You give this extremely vague "We will work closely with you all going forward to ensure events like today don’t happen again". Of course you will, but you won't outline or promise anything. You want your money makers online ASAP, but you won't make any promises.

How will you guys specifically fix these issues? Do you even know what the community has taken issue with? We don't want a quickly written post, we want a plan and someone we can actually trust at the helm.

It's not just the communication between Conde Nast and the community, it's the censorship, lying and tampering with search results (e.g. KiA went missing). You're so vague you don't even mention specific issues! How can we expect you to make changes if you won't tell us what changed?

Side note: As a young entrepreneur/programmer, I used to look up to you man. What happened to the Alexis that went on the political crusade for Net Neutrality and anti-censorship? What happened to the entrepreneur who was going to change the world? Now you're just making popcorn jokes and cleaning up Conde Nast's BS. I really hope things change for the better, but I don't think the community really expects it at this point."

LWRellim: "It's relatively simple & obvious.

He sold the firm years back (too soon & too cheap, but what did he know?) ... and he did get a decent, if not exactly huge, amount of cash from that, sufficient enough to "whet" his proverbial appetite, and for him to get a glimpse how the really wealthy people live...

Now, recently he's been offered a chance to sort of get a "do over" on that... an opportunity to (at least ostensibly) really cash-in BIG TIME, with probably at least some minimal "guaranteed" payout (even if it all goes south).

All he has to do is agree to be a team player, and to "sell his soul" so to speak... so he did."

GreyFoxSolid: "Alex, you're obviously not getting it. Reddit is dying. You guys, whoever is capable, need to A.) Oust Pao. Get her...out of there because, even though we had our problems beforehand, her leadership is an EXTREMELY OBVIOUS detriment to this site to nearly everyone on the site and B.) stop with the censoring...because people see right through it and have you all figured out at this point and C.) stop not letting people submit their own OC just because you want them to buy ads instead (after all, this site is an aggregator site that is so huge that all of the...OC creators are already here and should be able to the relevant subs) and D.) stop with the say something while saying nothing nonsene. I am insurance salesman so I know it when I see it. These responses are empy, emotionally devoid husks. Just stop, dude. You know in your heart of hearts that you guys are steering reddit away from what brought reddit its massive success.

Everyone here is seeing through all of the BS so if you have nothing real to say then just admit it and say nothing. Or, grow a...pair and try to change this and actually contribute to helping. Don't ask that the dark subs please come back on because we know that really means 'we don't want to lose money over this'...We don't care about your money. We care about the user driven site being given back to the users..."

RollCakeTroll: "...What the hell. I understand SOMETIMES you have to let someone go instantly, but Victoria would have had to been murdering babies on company time or something serious for such a sudden and very poorly planned dismissal."

More at Reddit explains that the site is getting hammered, asks for donations

Since Voat is getting slammed with tons of Reddit traffic, the site posted an announcement explaining the situation and asking for donations:

Voat is currently getting hit with a huge amount of traffic as a direct result of recent changes happening over at that other place. Everyone, we’re sorry. We’re both sad to see what we once loved change in this manner, but we’re also excited about the future, but our future won't be traveling down this same path.

We won’t be getting any sleep tonight (again) and we are doing everything we can to handle the traffic. Our budget is limited but we’ll make sure to fight to the last penny in order to keep Voat alive for this community.

If you want to donate, well, now is the time. Our bitcoin address is 1C4Q1RvUb3bzk4aaLVgGccnSnaHYFdESzY

More at TwitLonger redditors discuss the latest exodus from reddit

The rush of Reddit traffic over to spawned a large thread in the subreddit. Here's a sampling of the comments from that thread:

GunsMcBadass: "Today was the first day I felt the need to go and check what Voat was about. I'm pleasantly surprised thus far."

Havelok: "I was actually shocked that it was a pure reddit clone. Like, down to the stylesheet. It's too bad they are too small to handle the traffic tsunami , they stand a chance of being a bonafide alternative after this shitstorm."

Xpopy: "From the past week of using Voat I can tell you that it's just made to look like reddit, though still feels different and misses a few features such as reporting. But you dont really need an app for it, since its responsive design is quite well made.

The loading times seem to be improving all the time (before this wave of redditors it was down to ~1s for me), and the devs are constantly working on impoving it.

It is of course still alpha, but I'd say it's worth making the jump as the community over there seems much better. I'm just waiting for a few gaming subs to move over.."

Thatrightwinger: "Ugh, every time Reddit does something to outrage more its users, Voat goes down again. I've been on for about 3 months, and it's gone down three times. I'm still using Reddit for my favorite subs, but I want my Voat."

Jhayes88: "Voat wouldn't be so bad if they accepted other payment methods other then bitcoin and got a faster more reliable server and launched a donation campaign. It doesn't seem like Voat is doing anything to combat that."

Fluffingtonthefifth: "The site's been really zippy since the FPH influx. It's just difficult to account for exoduses. I expect things to return to normal within a few days.

As for donating: PayPal have banned them from their service, and they're wary of using other similar services because they don't want to be abused like this again. So BitCoin is the only reliable option."

DerKatalog: "She worked out of New York. Sounds like Reddit has cash management problems, and needs to consolidate in one location. Just the kind of thing a dip shit CEO would do. It seems to me that as reddit tries to become more corp and PR friendly, they'll want agents and PR guys to run the AMAs."

VoatBetterThanReddit: "Doesn't Emperor Pao live in NYC (a few condos in the Dakota building to be exact)...?

CptObviousRemark: "I have tried to view Voat twice. Once after the whole /r/fatpeoplehate[1] thing to see if it was worth my time, and just now. Both times it has been down."

Sfmeup: "It's down because lots of people are realising that it is great. Honestly, keep at it for a week. Create an account now and then follow them on Twitter and they'll tweet when the site is back up. You've got to remember that their userbase grew tenfold at the time of the FPH exodus and that didn't piss off as many people as were subbed to ama.

I visit both sites, though my time spent on Reddit is minimal now. I usually pop in when Voat seems slow only to find that the content here is quite boring to me in comparison. Every post feels like a meme, every comment section an echo chamber. It's surprising how different the sites feel.

While they look the same once you get using Voat the whole vibe is different. I hope you join us over there :)"

More at Reddit

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