An online petition asking Reddit to oust interim CEO Ellen Pao has added more than 100,000 signatures since Friday, when news broke that a popular employee of the site was suddenly gone and volunteer moderators shut down hundreds of the site’s communities in protest.
On Friday, Reddit users speculated that the employee, talent director Victoria Taylor, was fired. Taylor posted a comment that seemed to support that viewpoint, saying she was “dazed” by the news.
Taylor helped run the popular “Ask Me Anything” or iAMA feature, which has featured guests such as Bill Gates and President Obama.
To protest her apparent dismissal, moderators set that subreddit community to “private,” blocking it from view. Although Reddit has paid employees, many of its communities are moderated by volunteers who aren’t part of the company.
Since Friday, the site has been thrown into utter chaos, as volunteers hid hundreds of other subreddits from view.
Cofounder Alexis Ohanian has taken “responsibility” for not communicating news of Taylor’s departure better, and begged for moderators to put the blacked out subreddits back online.
Pao also responded, promising better tools for moderators, but that wasn’t enough for the petition’s creators, who wrote in a post, “Along with their apologies were, again, empty promises to improve their communication with the community and provide tools for the moderators as they have promised to do so years ago. As of right now they have NOT issued an apology in a site-wide announcement or blog post….We will not stop until we see action taken.”
The petition was started earlier this year, but its signature count has skyrocketed over the weekend. It reads, in part:
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.
It now has more than 132,000 signatures total.