Saturday, July 11, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Done Paoting

"Ellen Pao resigns as Reddit’s interim CEO after user revolt" New York Times   July 10, 2015

Ellen Pao, the interim chief executive of Reddit, resigned from the online message board Friday after a week of ceaseless criticism from scores of angry users over the handling of an employee departure.

You happy now?

Pao will be replaced by Steve Huffman, who, along with Alexis Ohanian, started Reddit a decade ago. Pao said she would remain as an adviser to Reddit’s board for the remainder of the year.

Her exit, which the company described as a mutual agreement between her and Reddit’s board, follows a week of unrest in the Reddit community, which is made up of more than 160 million people who use the site to talk about anything from current events to cat photos.

Pao characterized her departure as a result of a disagreement with Reddit’s board on the future of the company. “It became clear that the board and I had a different view on the ability of Reddit to grow this year,” Pao said in an interview. “Because of that, it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view.”

I never have.

Reddit, based in San Francisco, is composed of topic-based forums, known as subreddits. The company has 70 to 80 employees and relies largely upon its thousands of dedicated power users to govern the site.

You don't say?

That tight-knit community erupted when the news broke that Victoria Taylor, a prominent and well-liked Reddit employee, had been dismissed with no public explanation. Many Reddit users blamed Pao, calling for her ouster. Pao apologized for the episode this week.

Pao has long been a figure of controversy in Silicon Valley. In March, she lost a gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where she had previously worked.


Related: Slow Saturday Special: Pao Wow

"Reddit’s chief apologizes after employee’s dismissal; But online forums site faces unrest after firing" by Mike Isaac New York Times  July 06, 2015

NEW YORK — After widespread user outrage over an abrupt employee dismissal at Reddit last week, Ellen Pao, chief executive of the online message board, apologized to the site’s members for what she characterized as a history of broken promises and poor communication.

Reddit’s management made errors, “not just on July 2, but also over the past several years,” Pao said in a post to one of the site’s forums Monday. “The mods” — moderators — “and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of Reddit.”

Large sections of the site were temporarily taken offline by users last week. The action was a protest by users after they discovered Thursday that Victoria Taylor, a well-liked and publicly visible Reddit employee, was dismissed with no warning to the community at large.

Reddit, a 10-year-old company in San Francisco, is composed of topic-based forums, known as subreddits, where discussions take place on subjects like news and technology. Subreddits also host impromptu question-and-answer sessions with public figures like Bill Gates and President Obama.

The company has 70 to 80 employees and relies largely on its thousands of dedicated power users to govern the site. Reddit has grown over the past few years, regularly having more than 160 million visitors every month.

After Taylor’s departure from Reddit, hundreds of messages supporting her appeared.

“The admins didn’t realize how much we rely on Victoria,” wrote one user, who goes by the user name Karmanaut. “We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed.”

Like the Greeks?

In an interview last week, Pao and Alexis Ohanian, cofounder and executive chairman of Reddit, did not give a reason for Taylor’s dismissal. But the two apologized profusely for the way the company had handled what it called “a transition.”

That did not placate many Reddit power users and so-called moderators of the site, who have repeatedly stated that Reddit management has shown poor communication for years. Pao, in particular, has been a target for personal attacks, many of them racist and misogynistic in nature. As of Monday, an online petition asking for Pao to step down had gained more than 190,000 signatures.

When asked about her most vitriolic detractors, Pao said that those people represented a vocal minority of the site’s members and that she appreciated most users, even if they sometimes disagreed on policies.

In the days after Taylor’s departure, Reddit users complained that the dismissal was the last straw in a long line of frustrations that community members had with the company’s leadership.

“Management appears to be focused on Reddit’s image, and not devoting any resources to actually running the site,” one prominent moderator, who asked to go by his Reddit handle Beernerd, said in an e-mail. “It’s as if they’re trying to decide what color to paint the walls while completely overlooking a crack in the foundation.”

Same thing when you get to the bottom of the hill (what's one more lie for the road, huh?).

Pao wrote that better moderator software tools for running the site were coming soon and pledged to communicate better with members via a new liaison, who goes by the handle “KrispyKrackers.” She also promised to more frequently respond directly to the community herself.

“I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us,” Pao wrote Monday. “I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now.”

Pao joined Reddit in 2013 and became interim CEO in 2014 after her predecessor, Yishan Wong, resigned. Pao, a former junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, sued the venture capital firm in 2012, alleging sex discrimination. She lost the high-profile case in March.



"More than 130,000 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of Ellen Pao, Reddit Inc.’s interim chief executive officer, after she dismissed an executive and was accused of censoring online message boards. Pao fired Victoria Taylor, the director of talent for the San Francisco-based company, which operates an online message forum. Most of Reddit’s message boards experienced blackouts on July 3 as moderators protested the July 2 dismissal. Even as Pao apologized for the handling of Taylor’s removal, the petition posted on had crossed the 100,000-signature barrier by Saturday and added more than 30,000 by midday Sunday. The petition, posted four weeks ago, said Pao should be removed because a majority of Reddit users believe she ‘‘overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground.’’ The petition and other online posts refer to a gender-bias suit Pao filed against venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where she used to work. Pao, who was appointed Reddit CEO in November, gained national prominence with the Kleiner suit. She lost in a jury verdict in March and has said she may appeal."

And then she was gone.

Think I'm done posting for the day. Sorry.

UPDATE: Ellen Pao, loser in Silicon Valley bias suit, ends appeal