“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,” Pao said in a post on Reddit.
On Friday, news broke that Victoria Taylor, a popular employee of the site, was no longer working at Reddit. Reddit users speculated Taylor was fired. To protest her removal, volunteer moderators shut down hundreds of the site’s communities.
Taylor helped run the popular “Ask Me Anything” or iAMA feature, which lets users ask questions to and interact with featured guests like Bill Gates and President Obama.
In her apology to Reddit’s users, Pao said the company would take three steps to improve the website: improving tools, communicating with the moderators of subreddits, and restoring access to an older search function for moderators.
“I don’t have all the answers, and it will take time for us to deliver concrete results,” Pao said. “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.”
Over the weekend, Reddit was thrown into chaos as the moderators of hundreds of subreddits set their subreddits to “private,” blocking them from view in protest of Taylor’s removal from Reddit.
Although Reddit has paid employees, many of its communities are moderated by volunteers who aren’t part of the company.
The petition to fire Pao started earlier this year, but picked up steam over the weekend. In part it says:
After Pao lost her gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins she was appointed CEO of Reddit Inc and Reddit entered into a new age of censorship. A vast majority of the Reddit community believes that Pao, “a manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top”, has overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground. … Action must be taken to prevent Reddit from being further run into the ground.
You can read Pao’s full apology here.