Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao has responded directly to her critics, many of whom have signed a petition for her removal as chief executive.
“We screwed up,” she wrote in a post on the site. “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.”
Last week, the discontented rumblings among Reddit’s fiercely vocal core user base came to a head when news broke that Victoria Taylor, the company’s communications director in charge of the site’s popular ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) series, had been let go.
Some moderators reacted by taking their subreddits offline, while users – so far, more than 180,000 – expressed their disapproval by signing a Change.org petition requesting Pao’s removal as Reddit CEO.
Reddit has yet to comment on the reasons for Taylor’s dismissal (although some users speculate it stems from Rev. Jesse Jackson’s trainwreck of an AMA, held earlier this month) but Pao’s apology is an attempt to quell festering ill-will directly. “Today, we acknowledge this long history of mistakes. We are grateful for all you do for reddit, and the buck stops with me,” she wrote, before outlining three steps to build back trust, i.e. improving Reddit’s tools, communication strategies and search capabilities for moderators.
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.