Reddit users want CEO Ellen Pao removed
Reddit has been on a very rocky road lately, and now some of the site's users are demanding that CEO Ellen Pao be replaced. The petition to remove Pao follows the CEO's decision to remove popular Reddit employee Victoria Taylor.
Naureen Malik and Tim Jones report for Bloomberg:
More than 130,000 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of Ellen Pao, Reddit Inc.’s interim chief executive officer, after she dismissed an executive and was accused of censoring online message boards.
Pao fired Victoria Taylor, the director of talent for the San Francisco-based company that operates an online message forum. Most of Reddit’s message boards experienced blackouts on July 3 as moderators protested the July 2 dismissal.
Even as Pao apologized for the handling of Taylor’s removal, the petition posted on Change.org had crossed the 100,000-signature barrier by Saturday and added more than 30,000 by midday Sunday.
The petition, posted four weeks ago, said Pao should be removed because a majority of Reddit users believe she “overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground.” The petition and other online posts refer to a gender-bias suit Pao filed against venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where she used to work.
Technology redditors shared their thoughts about the attempt to remove Pao as CEO of Reddit:
Slabby: "I think this movement would have a lot more success if people were clearer that they're unhappy with reddit as an entire company, no matter who's the CEO. Because that strikes me as the real problem: the entire company doesn't give a shit about redditors, and it might well be policy. It's not like Pao did this by herself. People are confusing the fact that they don't like her for the fact that she's the one to blame. Pao is a symptom, not the cause.
We should be calling for a culture change, not just a CEO change. You put a different person at the top and things are going to run very much the same way. And if you frame the discussion as a culture change, they can't shut you down by saying you're sexist or anything like that (and believe me, that response is already coming). If you guys care about the issue, you need to go beyond Pao.
Edit: I should make it clear that I'm not saying Eric the Intern hates redditors, or even your average employee. I'm just saying if you want to change the way Reddit operates, you have to make it clear that this goes further than Pao; it extends to how the company conducts its business with users in virtually any case. That means the message has to be heard and understood by all of the higher-ups, and not just Pao. Because I'm sure those folks are kicking back and saying "Man, I'm glad I'm not Pao! Those redditors are vicious!" while changing exactly nothing. They need to feel it too if this thing is to be taken seriously."
Mr Yup: "That's how a lot of people see companies though. The CEO is the face of the company and receives all the blame when things as a whole go wrong."
Xanthanum: "Why don't they just pay the mods then treat them like shit, like most other middle class positions?"
Lolthrow: "They're too cheap. We all know what's coming. Reddit took $50 million from venture capitalists, and now they want a return on their investment.
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Lol an askreddit mod said the admins gave him a six month timeline. Six months!!! They managed to shut them up and get them back to working for free for six months with some words!!!
I bet in six months reddit's under new ownership. Microsoft perhaps. Or Google.
Mark my words, mods. You are effectively reddit employees that work for free. And when a company learns you wanted to quit one day, they will look to replace you as soon as possible. You are now a liability."
Hyperdrunk: "VCs and Ad Companies do not care if Reddit dies so long as they pump it dry for money first.
Ellen Pao and Co. are right there along with them. Pump it until it's dry, let it die, move on to the next website and "monetize" that "untapped revenue stream". Rinse, Repeat.
Internet users don't stop using the internet, they just move on to the next website. So killing the websites themselves doesn't matter to Ad Companies or VCs so long as they see a solid return on investment before the website is killed."
Aerosplat: "...the biggest reason why Victoria was so effective at her job was because she had no other responsibilities. She was exclusively the AMA coordinator.
Victoria is obviously a lovely person and all that, and she was very enthusiastic about what she did. Her great social skills and her dedication made her really great at her job. So I'm not saying this as a slight to her. But it wouldn't be hugely difficult to replace her if reddit really wanted to. They could put someone new into her exact job, with no other responsibilities, and that person could provide some continuity in the way the AMA moderators are used to working.
Except reddit isn't doing that. They're being very mum about how the AMA situation will be addressed. They're funneling all this shit through a catch-all email. They're not assigning anyone specific to interface with the moderators.
All of that leads me to believe that firing Victoria was not about firing Victoria. It was about eliminating her position in the company entirely. There will be no replacements, because reddit has something new in mind for AMAs."
Lolthrow: "They got rid of the IAMA and RedditGifts admins in the same week and announced a major expansion. They're telling you exactly what's coming: Marketing AMA videos and RedditGifts product placement."
Uurcnr: "I love the way she tries to dismiss all that shit going on as an honest mistake.She's like "I may have angered a small portion of userbase. Happens all the time, I'm working on it." None of her statements are apologetic and she has no sympathy for the mods or users.
Milapoonis: "I'm pretty sure she's basically trolling to bring out the worst in reddit. There's a popular conspiracy theory that she's being used as a scapegoat but I have another one that I posted in another thread:
I think Pao is deliberately antagonizing the reddit userbase to bring out the worst in the community (the people posting swastikas and shit) so outsiders neutral/not educated on the issue think reddit looks like a bunch of idiot extremists that hate fat people and women, then she has ammunition to make changes to the rules to cleanse the "vile community" that is reddit, and it will finally become the money-making safe-space that her associates desire."
Teamlittlefinger: "Or she's just incompetent. Occam's Razor and all that."