So, it appears that Ellen Pao, has mutually agreed with Reddit to step down from her position. I’m certain that this evening and over the weekend this will be among the umpteen-gazillion blogs and articles written about what happened today. Across the intertubes, the cheering began early this afternoon as the report came out in the media. Redditors have won!
It was only a short time later though that the attacks on the Reddit user cmmunity began. The New York Times described her as “…a hero to many when she took on the entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley.” in the very first sentence of their report.
Of course The Washington Post isn’t much better when they of course had to report, seven paragraphs in, saying “She also had some words for those who harassed, insulted and even leveled death threats at her.” The usual SJW tactic. Of course, the article highlights a supporter of hers and never bothers to reach out to anyone that opposed her.
And then Mother Jones had to weigh in, with a click bait headline describing a “faction of racist trolls”, but then, what else would anyone expect from them as they were one of the loudest anti-GamerGate voices on the net.
And there’s dozens more. Yes, this is a huge story. For some reason and of course they’re all blaming this event on the recent firing of Victoria Taylor and the subsequent revolt by many subreddit moderators to basically shut down access to over a hundred (by intial report, some today however are using hundreds) subreddits. Yes, I believe that this was the straw that broke the camels back, but as everyone recalls, #RedditRevolt began when Pao and her management began shutting down a few subreddits due to this policy change:
After this is when Reddit users started looking for an alternative and actually rushed out the door so fast, it had to start drawing some attention from Reddit management. No, instead of putting down the shovel, they ignored the complaints from the user community and dug deeper. It also seemd that they were going to make Reddit a safe space for the special snowflakes that felt (there’s that word again!) oppressed by some of the language used.
Let’s be clear here: Pao’s resignation was a business decision by the board of directors as they saw their business losing customers in droves and with that, their ad revenue taking a hit. It’s strictly dollars and cents folks and the board viewed her, especially after the firing of Taylor, as a liability.
Let’s not all jump up, cheer and run back to Reddit though; If you noticed, nowhere in the statement I read from Steve Huffman, the new CEO and co-founder, was there a mention of reversing any of the policies that Pao and her management team had implemented.
The damage of Reddit’s reputation has been done, and yes, Ellen Pao, you’re the one that accomplished that feat in your short eight month tenure.