Reddit CEO Pao admits ‘we screwed up’ — promises new tools for users

7 Jul 2015

Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao apologises over AMAgeddon, promises new tools and Moderator Advocate for administrators.

Following the AMAgeddon drama last week over the sacking of Reddit’s director of talent, and moderator, Victoria Taylor, interim CEO Ellen Pao has admitted the company has made a catalogue of mistakes.

Reddit went dark last week as moderators switched major subreddits to private in protest at Taylor’s sacking. They also complained that the tools they were using to moderate the so-called ‘front page of the internet’ were inadequate and that promises made by Conde Nast owned Reddit were not honoured.

“We screwed up,” Pao said last night on Reddit.

“Not just on 2 July, 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 apologised 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.”

Reddit promises new tools and better communications

Pao has promised improvements in three areas – tools, communication and search.

She said that Reddit will improve tools for moderators and will work as a team with moderators to decide what tools to build and deliver them.

Pao has created a new role of Moderator Advocate, who will work with Reddit moderators to ensure two-way communication between the management and moderators.

She also promised a new option for moderators to default to the old version of search to support existing moderation workflows.

Moderators had warned of tools that were dangerously inadequate for managing boards at a time when the top Reddit brass were making policy changes that governed harassment, revenge porn and bullying issues.

“I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us,” Pao told moderators. “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,” Pao promised.

Ellen Pao photo via Christopher Michel, Flickr /Creative Commons


Updated 11.19am, 7 July 2015: The headline of this article was updated from ‘Reddit CEO Pao admits ‘we screwed up’ — promises new tools for admins’ to ‘Reddit CEO Pao admits ‘we screwed up’ — promises new tools for users’, as ‘Reddit admins’ is a term used to describe members of the paid Reddit staff

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years