Reddit AMA's (Ask Me Anything Q&As with public figures) were left in limbo Thursday after director of communication Victoria Taylor was apparently fired.
User "karmanaut" broke the news when another user tried to comment in a thread in the r/IAMA subreddit and discovered their comment had disappeared and they'd been redirected to a "private subreddit" page.
"Today, we learned that Victoria was unexpectedly let go from her position with Reddit. We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed.
"Before doing that, the admins really should have at least talked to us (and all the other subs that host AMAs, like /r/Books, /r/Science, /r/Music, etc.) We had a number of AMAs scheduled for today that Victoria was supposed to help with, and they are all left absolutely high and dry (hence taking IAMA private to figure out the situation) She was still willing to help them today (before the sub was shut down, of course) even without being paid or required to do so. Just a sign of how much she is committed to what she does."
Taylor signed on as Reddit's first director of communications in 2013. Among other things, she was the one who coordinated AMAs and helped celebrities through the process. Taylor was widely respected by Reddit's moderators and had a reputation as one of the few admins who took users' concerns seriously.
"The admins didn't realize how much we rely on Victoria," karmanaut says. "Part of it is proof, of course: we know it's legitimate when she's sitting right there next to the person and can make them provide proof. We've had situations where agents or others have tried to do an AMA as their client, and Victoria shut that shit down immediately. We can't do that anymore. [...] We have been really blindsided by all of this. As a result, we will need to go through our processes and see what can be done without her."
So far there's no word why Taylor was let go.
In protest – of both Victoria's firing and the lack of communication surrounding it – several other subreddits are "going dark." The linked post, from r/OutOfTheLoop, explains what's going on.
Many other subreddits were also reliant on /u/chooter's services as an official contact point for the organisation of AMAs on reddit, including /r/science, /r/books, and /r/Music. So, in order to express their dissatisfaction with the difficulties they have been placed in without /u/chooter, similar to /r/IAmA, they have made themselves private.
/u/chooter was Victoria Taylor.
In a thread on /r/pics, Taylor answered a few questions without specifying any details about the reasons for her dismissal.
The r/IAmA subreddit was back online Friday, but Reddit is still in uproar. The subreddit's moderators wrote:
"We have taken the day to try to understand how Reddit will seek to replace Victoria, and have unfortunately come to the conclusion that they do not have a plan that we can put our trust in. The admins have refused to provide essential information about arranging and scheduling AMAs with their new ‘team.’ This does not bode well for future communication between us, and we cannot be sure that everything is being arranged honestly and in accordance with our rules. The information we have requested is essential to ensure that money is not changing hands at any point in the procedure which is necessary for /r/IAmA to remain equal and egalitarian. As a result, we will no longer be working with the admins to put together AMAs. Anyone seeking to schedule an AMA can simply message the moderators or email us at [email protected], and we’d be happy to assist and help prepare them for the AMA in any way."