At this point, I don’t think anyone wants another apology from Reddit’s top management. The company has issued plenty of them in the last several weeks and it only seems to make its user base more angry.
Today, Reddit’s new CEO (and co-founder) Steve Huffman decided to try a new tactic: scheduling an AMA so that there can be a “dialogue” about what the policies are surrounding Reddit now. Taking place tomorrow (July 16) at 1pm PST, the AMA is already set up to be a nightmare of epic Reddit proportions.
Just in the announcement for this all-hands-on-deck AMA, Steve decided to enforce a little hard-line policy by announcing “Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen.”
Of course this is Reddit, where the world’s snarkiest people dwell, so immediately they tracked down links to numerous instances where the other co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, used EXACTLY THAT TERM to describe Reddit.
For instance, the link above leads to a Forbes interview where Ohanian said of Reddit in 2012, “A bastion of free speech on the World Wide Web? I bet they would like it. It’s the digital form of political pamplets.”
Look, at this point, if I were running Reddit, I would just restore Fat People Hate, rehire Victoria Taylor and accept that all manner of agenda for turning Reddit into a cash cow for conservative advertisers has been lost. Huffman is already off to a bad re-start after taking up the CEO mantle in Ellen Pao’s absence and seems to only be digging himself a worse hole by thinking that an AMA about policy will be any kind of civil.
Yeah, this ship is upside down and the rats are ready to start abandoning it. Steve, Alexis, your “baby” is no longer yours. While you were off spending your Condé Nast money on other ventures, the site grew into something that people love and communicate with. For some, it’s their chief source of human interaction. For most, Reddit is the place where they can escape the policing and forced positivity of other social media sites. The appeal of that is why people gave you the ability to have a lot of money in the first place. Probably it’s best that you accept Reddit belongs to the people now, for better or worse, and move on.