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Why Is Reddit Revolting?

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“This subreddit is private.”

If you go to one of your favorite Reddit subreddits today, you might just land on that message instead of the usual feed of voted-up-or-down discussion posts you’re used to seeing on the site.

Why? A group of subreddit mods have organized what is being called a Reddit Revolt on Friday (Jul. 3), setting over 100 popular subreddits to private as a form of protest over the recent firing of Reddit Director of Talent Victoria Taylor on Thursday.

Reddit Movies, for example, has shut its proverbial doors today, with a message for its usual visitors that reads, “Due to an unexpected Reddit administrative personnel change /r/movies joins a group of default subreddits going dark temporarily in an effort to resolve the situation. Our apologies for any disruption this may cause.”

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Among the other most popular subreddits participating in the shutdown are /r/askreddit, /r/books, /r/gaming, /r/iama, and /r/pics.

A full list of the subs that have gone dark can be found at this link, the creator of which claims that “all mods will not rest until [they] are banned” and that the protesters believe Taylor was “fired abruptly and without explanation.”

Among the comments on the strand are calls for Taylor’s return to her post, such as “GIVE ME VICTORIA OR GIVE ME DEATH.

One of Taylor’s central contributions to the site was co-coordination of the ever popular AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) sessions with celebrities, politicians and other persons of interest to the Web world.

“The admins didn’t realize how much we rely on Victoria,” wrote one user, explaining the shutdown. “Victoria is an essential lifeline of communication. When something goes wrong in an AMA, we can call and get it fixed immediately .. for /r/IAMA to work the way it currently does, we need Victoria. Without her, we need to figure out a different way for it to work.”

A spokesperson for Reddit said the site could not comment on the individual dismissal of Taylor from the company, explaining “we don’t comment on individual employee matters,” but in response to the subreddit dark-out, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian did write a post to moderators apologizing for the communication issues that surrounded the decision.

“I’m sorry for how we handled communicating change to the AMA team this morning,” said Ohanian. “I take responsibility for that. We should have made a post to r/DefaultMods announcing the transition and contacted the affected mods teams right after it happened and clearly articulated how there would not be a disruption with scheduled AMAs.”

Ohanian asked that the moderators ceasefire immediately.

“Your message was received loud and clear,” he wrote. “The communication between Reddit and the moderators needs to improve dramatically. We will work closely with you all going forward to ensure events like today don’t happen again. At this point, however, the blackout has served its purpose, and now it’s time to get Reddit functioning again. I know many of you are still upset. We will continue to work through these issues with you all, but redditors don’t deserve to be punished any further over an issue that is ultimately between Reddit and the moderators.”

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