Reddit is now operating normally, after a huge protest that took place over the weekend. The protest was led by subreddit Community Managers. It shut down many sections of the massively popular site. Included in the shutdown was the gaming subsection, r/gaming.

However, in the wake of the protests, a petition to remove Ellen Pao as CEO has gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures.

Christopher Michel - Flickr  Reddit protest

Ellen Pao (Credit: Christopher Michel – Flickr)

Reddit, known as the front page of the internet, is a social media site that consolidates forums on thousands of topics. It has 36 million users and has hosted some controversial content. Free speech advocates have cherished reddit’s historical openness. But others decry its lack of controls.

Reddit has been criticized for allowing too much objectionable content, including harassment and hate speech. As Adrian Chen wrote on Gawker:  “Reddit’s laissez-faire attitude towards offensive speech has led to a vast underbelly that rivals anything on the notorious cesspool 4chan.” (The site 4chan allows posters to be completely anonymous.)

The current trouble on reddit started July 2, when news broke about the dismissal of popular reddit employee Victoria Taylor. Taylor is known for her management of the Ask Me Anything feature. Ask Me Anything allows users to ask questions of celebrities. President Obama participated in Ask Me Anything in 2012.

After Taylor was dismissed, many of reddit’s most popular communities (known as subreddits) were set to “private.” Subreddits that shut down included r/gaming, with more than 8 million subscribers, and r/movies, with more than 7 million subscribers.

Many factors appear to have contributed to causing the reddit protests. One factor is that a few months ago a new standard was put in place to reduce harassment. Some of the more notorious subreddits, like r/FatPeopleHate, were banned. Another factor is that volunteer subredditors want more input into reddit policies. The push toward commercialization of reddit may also be a factor.

Linda Breneman

Linda Breneman

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.