Chaos At Reddit As Protests Erupt Over Reported Firing Of Beloved Moderator

Popular sections of Reddit went dark Thursday as confusion and protests swept the site. Interim CEO Ellen Pao apologized Friday for "how we handled the transition."

Huge sections of Reddit were set to private on Thursday night following reports that Reddit employee Victoria Taylor, who went by the screenname /u/chooter, was fired.

Taylor's most important role was as a key moderator of r/IAMA, the question-and-answer board home to interviews with people like Julian Assange and Barack Obama.

Another very popular moderator, Karmanaut, posted his thoughts about Taylor's removal, writing, "Today, we learned that Victoria was unexpectedly let go from her position with Reddt. We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed."

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Other huge subreddits are setting themselves to private out of protest, as well, including r/science, r/AskReddit, and r/gaming.

The result is complete chaos and confusion, with casual users unable to follow what's happening as power users vote pro-Taylor messages of support to the front page of the site.

Taylor was hired in 2013 as Reddit's director of communications.

Reddit has yet to post a statement about Tayor's firing or the protests breaking out across the site.

Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian is currently being heavily criticized by users for his initial handling of Victoria Taylor's departure and the ensuing blackout.

Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian last night in response to the drama surrounding r/IAmA: "Popcorn tastes good."

"I made two dumb joke comments in SRD, which I admit were dumb," Ohanian wrote this morning about his popcorn post

Ohanian in apparently private post on r/modtalk: "Get the blacked out subreddits back online"

Reddit's interim CEO Ellen Pao apologized for the chaos Friday in a statement issued to BuzzFeed News:

I want to apologize for how we handled the transition yesterday. We should have informed the moderators earlier and provided more detail on the transition plan. We are working to make improvements and create the best experience for our users and we aren't always perfect. Our community is what makes reddit, reddit and we let you down yesterday.

Pao also posted in r/sysadmin.

"We do value moderators," Pao wrote Friday. "They allow reddit to function and they allow each subreddit to be unique and to appeal to different communities." The comment was later deleted.

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