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Reddit interim chief executive Ellen Pao issued an official apology today on the forum site following outrage over the company’s handling over recent moves its made. She acknowledged that Reddit “screwed up” and hasn’t communicated well. This mea culpa certainly is intended to try and smooth over protestors who are calling for Pao’s removal.
As a recap, here’s the latest thing that led Reddit to no longer being as cheerful as it once was: Last week, more than a hundred subreddits shut down in protest over the dismissal of Reddit’s director of talent and communication, Victoria Taylor. She served as the go-between person between moderators and various communities as well as coordinating the Ask Me Anything (AMA) features. Reddit cofounder and chairman Alexis Ohanian quickly apologized for the lack of communication, as did Pao this weekend during an interview with NPR.
In her apology, Pao announced that Reddit would be taking three concrete steps that she hopes will cast management in a favorable light with the community, including an improvement on tools, better communication with the establishment of a Moderator Advocate, and a new search option for moderators (they will be able to have search default to an old version to support their existing workflow).
Here’s Pao’s entire apology:
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 andu/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.
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