OK, lots of news on the Reddit front, some of it you may have already heard. We’ll go over that, and some info about Alex Ohanian and his Patreon activities. It’s been a busy couple of days for my Ohanian. As it turns out, he might be the one that actually fired beloved employee Victoria Taylor, not Ellen Pao. That’s according to the CEO before Pao, Yishan Wong. I don’t know what true and what isn’t, but it appears that in reality Ohanian had more power than Pao, and that he continues to wield enormous influence along with the newly appointed CEO, co-founder Steve Huffman. If Wong has been accurately describing things, that is.
Speaking of his description, here’s what he said about Ellen Pao:
But… the most delicious part of this is that on at least two separate occasions, the board pressed /u/ekjp (note: Ellen Pao) to outright ban ALL the hate subreddits in a sweeping purge. She resisted, knowing the community, claiming it would be a shitshow. Ellen isn’t some “evil, manipulative, out-of-touch incompetent she-devil” as was often depicted. She was approved by the board and recommended by me because when I left, she was the only technology executive anywhere who had the chops and experience to manage a startup of this size, AND who understood what reddit was all about. As we can see from her post-resignation activity, she knows perfectly well how to fit in with the reddit community and is a normal, funny person – just like in real life – she simply didn’t sit on Reddit all day because she was busy with her day job.
Ellen was more or less inclined to continue upholding my free-speech policies./r/fatpeoplehate was banned for inciting off-site harassment, not discussing fat-shaming. What all the white-power racist-sexist neckbeards don’t understand is that with her at the head of the company, the company would be immune to accusations of promoting sexism and racism: she is literally Silicon Valley’s #1 Feminist Hero, so any “SJWs” would have a hard time attacking the company for intentionally creating a bastion (heh) of sexist/racist content. She probably would have tolerated your existence so long as you didn’t cause any problems – I know that her long-term strategies were to find ways to surface and publicize Reddit’s good parts – allowing the bad parts to exist but keeping them out of the spotlight.
We should keep in mind that Wong is friends with Pao, so he could be spinning things to her advantage. Still, it doesn’t make me think the new leadership will be any better, especially given what his post was in response to. Here’s the new CEO, Steve Huffman:
There has been a lot of discussion lately —on Reddit, in the news, and here internally— about Reddit’s policy on the more offensive and obscene content on our platform. Our top priority at reddit is to develop a comprehensive Content Policy and the tools to enforce it.
The overwhelming majority of content on reddit comes from wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly communities. That is what makes reddit great. There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them. And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all.
Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.
We as a community need to decide together what our values are. To that end, I’ll be hosting an AMA on Thursday 1pm pst to present our current thinking to you, the community, and solicit your feedback.
The we also have rumors of a crackdown coming even before this AMA.
Rumor has it sometime today or later in the week a great purge of dozens of "offensive" subreddits will happen.
Prepare your anus.
— boogie2988 posting bis L’s (@Boogie2988) July 15, 2015
I’m not liking what I’m hearing from Reddit, and am beginning to think that Pao was used as a way to usher in these changes and blame it on an “out-of-control mob” of users, say they ran her off because she was a women, etc. You can even see it in the announcement of her departure, when board member Sam Altman wrote this:
As a closing note, it was sickening to see some of the things redditors wrote about Ellen. The reduction in compassion that happens when we’re all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you.
Here’s more from Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari:
Furthermore, Wong alleged that Huffman was far more willing to ban controversial Reddit communities than either himself or Pao. According to Wong, Huffman once told him that when he was CEO, he would ban offensive content “right away.”
There’s a possibility that Wong is just causing trouble — he describes himself as a personal friend of Ellen Pao, and he is clearly angry with the way she has been treated by the Reddit board of directors. He recently described the failure to explain Pao was not responsible for the sacking of Victoria Taylor — the incident that sparked the second ‘Reddit Revolt’ — as an “incredibly shitty thing to do.”
But enterprising Reddit users have unearthed evidence that points to the truth of Wong’s assessment of Steve Huffman. Posts from 2008 and 2010 show him banning users that engage in “hate speech” on the spot and editing offensive usernames.
He wraps up by saying that Voat should get ready for the mass exodus of users that is sure to come their way. I would advise them to do the same thing, because it looks as if the crackdown is about to happen. Now they have all their ducks in a row, and the original team is in place. It will be impossible to stop them now. Maybe they won’t go too far, but I wouldn’t bank on that outcome as of now. Only time will tell the full tale, of course.
Oh, I almost forgot, here’s a little more on Alex Ohanian. I wouldn’t put much faith in this clown, let’s put it that way. Take a look at who he sponsors on Patreon:
Reddit is likely headed completely down the shitter. Get your Voat accounts ready.