Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably heard about how Reddit is on the decline. It would seem that the removal of /r/fatpeoplehate was just the beginning. To add insult to injury, AMA coordinator Victoria Taylor was fired from Reddit. Currently, there has been a lot of speculation on why Taylor was removed from Reddit, with the popular theory being that there have been disagreements between Taylor and Reddit CEO Ellen Pao. These disagreements were regarding the commercial direction Reddit wants to go with their popular celebrity AMA series.
It didn’t take long for Reddit mods to respond, as a large number of subreddits went private last Thursday, an event referred to as the Darkening. The list of subs that went dark included popular subs such as /r/movies and /r/music as well as more specialized sites such as /r/pcmasterrace. While the Darrkening is no longer in effect, I believe the message is loud and clear: Reddit’s management needs to get its act together.
While it may seem that most of the subreddits have returned voluntarily, rumors have been circulating that many of the mods were forced into going public by Reddit admins. If that is indeed the case, then things are quite possibly in worse shape than expected. Reddit’s own management is to blame for the issue. Currently, an apology has been issued by Ellen Pao on /r/announcements:
We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes. We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven’t delivered on them. When you’ve had feedback or requests, we haven’t always been responsive. The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit.
Today, we acknowledge this long history of mistakes. We are grateful for all you do for reddit, and the buck stops with me. We are taking three concrete steps:
Tools: We will improve tools, not just promise improvements, building on work already underway. u/deimorz and u/weffey will be working as a team with the moderators on what tools to build and then delivering them.
Communication: u/krispykrackers is trying out the new role of Moderator Advocate. She will be the contact for moderators with reddit and will help figure out the best way to talk more often. We’re also going to figure out the best way for more administrators, including myself, to talk more often with the whole community.
Search: We are providing an option for moderators to default to the old version of search to support your existing moderation workflows. Instructions for setting this default are here.
I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us. I don’t have all the answers, and it will take time for us to deliver concrete results. I mean it when I say we screwed up, and we want to have a meaningful ongoing discussion. I know we’ve drifted out of touch with the community as we’ve grown and added more people, and we want to connect more. I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now.
Thank you for listening. Please share feedback here. Our team is ready to respond to comments.
The apology seems sincere enough, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. I’m not defending Pao, but it’s fairly common to see tensions rise within a business or organization when there is a shift in management. It’s new, it’s shocking, and some people can’t handle those kind of changes. Therefore, it’s hard to dismiss rumors of internal strife between Pao and other Reddit employees, and I would certainly welcome any employees willing to come forward to confirm internal issues.
Criticisms of Ellen Pao stem from a comment she made to NPR regarding free speech on Reddit. Naturally, this has many users fuming over comments made by Ellen Pao. Considering how we’ve seen subreddits disappear under Pao, this was clearly not a case of paranoia. Considering the 200,000+ signatures on a petition for Ellen Pao’s resignation, there is indeed a lot of bad blood between users and Ellen Pao.
If the Darkening wasn’t enough, some Reddit users are calling for July 10th to be No Reddit Day. Details have been listed on Kotaku In Action and read as follows:
Link for the lazy: /r/justsaynope
The idea is to not post or comment on reddit on Friday, July 10, preferably to not even browse the site. This is the minimum protest period. For an extra achievement, go through the entire three-day weekend period (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) without reddit if you can.
If every person that thought “This will never happen!” actually went along with it, it would happen.
If you need a reddit-like site to get you through the day or the weekend, Voat will probably be in service by then. Snapzu and Hubskiare also mentioned a lot as competent alternatives, though their UIs and feature sets are somewhat different. More alternatives are available for your consideration on /r/redditalternatives. And of course, 8chan, though it looks and works quite different, has bandwidth to spare and can accomodate all of you many times over.
As for what July 10 means on an international site like reddit, the two most popular proposals are:
- Everyone goes without reddit on the July 10 of their local time zone.
- Everyone goes without reddit from 00:00 July 10 UTC until 00:00 July 11 UTC, which is from 8 PM July 9 Eastern until 8 PM July 10 Eastern, or 5 PM July 9 Pacific until 5 PM July 10 Pacific.
Edit: I made a countdown to 00:00 July 10 2015 UTC:
Once the countdown hits that timestamp, it will continue to count up from it, so you can use it to count up 24/48/72 hours, however long you want to protest. I think the whole three-day weekend period (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) would be great if you can stick to it. That would mean starting the protest when the countdown hits 0, and continuing for 72 hours. But even if you can’t hold out for that long, do 24 hours at a minimum.
A good way to stick to the protest is to change the URL of your reddit browser bookmark (if you have one) with the countdown. That way, every time you click on it, you will be reminded of how much longer you have to go. Other ways to resist the temptation include using site-blocking extensions or programs. Here are some good options, but there are many more, feel free to do your own research.
Edit 2: We are being brigaded by SJWs even moreso than usual. Be especially critical of disruptive points, and do your best to not lose your composure against provocation attempts. Feel free to report such attempts if they cross the line of personal attacks (Rule 1) or bad faith (Rule 3).
Edit 3: The post has frontpaged on /r/all.
Edit 4: Feel free to get the word out through as many channels as you can. Your options include privately messaging mods that you are on good terms with (and asking them to get the word out), tweeting with #NoRedditDay (paired with one or more of #AMAgeddon, #TheDarkening, and #RedditRevolt), posting on Facebook GamerGate group(s) you might be a member of, as well as using any of the non-reddit channels listed here. Feel free to propose other #GamerGate/#RedditRevolt-friendly channels via private message.
This shouldn’t be too difficult for some people depending on how often you use Reddit. As for me, I will be in San Diego that weekend for Comic-Con, so staying off of Reddit won’t be a problem. If you are having trouble figuring out what to do with your time playing games, I believe KiA is trying to arrange for a community playdate over steam. It’s also a good time to get off the computer and get some fresh air, since it’s summertime, after all.
While No Reddit Day is a good start ,I think it’s time that we should consider abandoning Reddit all together. KiA has been prepared for quite some time should Reddit begin to censor, or worse, delete them. Subs like /r/TheRedPill and KiA both have backup plans should they be deleted. The best course of action would be to make the move to other websites like Voat, so the gradual move will help Voat make the necessary upgrades for when the inevitable happens and they are forced to become the new Reddit.