SAN FRANCISCO—Reddit, a site popular worldwide, has been experiencing blackouts since July 2. These blackouts are a form of protest by the moderators in light of recent events.

The firing of Victoria Taylor, AMA coordinator, set off these protests.

Reddit is a type of social news website; it aggregates content from all over the web. Its headquarters are located in San Francisco.

A Reddit account is not needed to browse through the material, but it is necessary in order to post material. People with accounts are known as Redditors. Redditors can post material in relevant “subreddits.” For example, if a Redditor has a picture of landscape, this material belongs in /r/Pics or /r/EarthPorn, depending on whether or not the Redditor’s post complies with the subreddit’s rules. Other Redditors can either up vote or down vote this post, and depending on this, the post can reach the front page of Reddit.

One of Reddit’s goal for free expression on the internet, and has even been thanked by President Obama for doing so. Their slogan is “the front page of the internet.”

President Obama's hand written message to reddit.
President Obama’s hand written message to Reddit, when he participated in Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything (AMA) series.

There are many popular subreddits: /r/funny, /r/GetMotivated, /r/Fitness, /r/WritingPrompts. There is even an annual secret santa that has participants worldwide.

Bill Gates sends a Loki crown to a fellow redditor as a secret santa present. Photo courtesy redditor TDFlynn
Bill Gates sends a Loki crown to a fellow redditor as a secret santa present. Photo courtesy redditor TDFlynn

Victoria Taylor was a coordinator of the subreddit /r/AMA, which features Reddit’s popular series Ask Me Anything. When celebrities take part in question-and-answer, Victoria would help transcribe to speed up the process and answer as many questions as possible.

Ms. Taylor was fired Thursday, July 2. Interim CEO, Ellen Pao, did not comment on this. There has been no confirmation as to whether or not CEO Ellen Pao was involved in the firing, but Redditors seem to think so. The front page has recently been full of references to Ms. Pao.

Following this announcement, many subreddit moderators (who are not official Reddit employees) turned “off” subreddits by putting them on private, which means they were not accessible to most Redditors. These blackouts took place from July 2 into July 3.

Ms. Pao recently fired David Croach, the Reddit community mangager. He recently wrote on Reddit that he had been treated for leukemia and was well enough to return to Reddit, but was still let go because he was not in good enough health to perform his job. He also stated that he is being given severance pay which includes 1 year of medical coverage.

Ms. Pao states that changes are being made to improve Reddit.

Ellen Pao's statement on reddit
CEO Ellen Pao’s statement on Reddit.

Ms. Pao, who joined Reddit in 2013, is also known for her publicized gender discrimination law suit against her employer Kleiner Perkins.

Redditors were angry because of the lack of communication between Reddit’s officials and the subreddit moderators.

On June 10, a couple of subreddits were shut down because they were controversial and lead to harassment issues. One of these subreddits was /r/FatePeopleHate. This caused the front page to blow up with copycats of the banned subreddits. Some people said that Reddit was banning too much, and some said it was not enough.

Reddit is currently functional, with 48 out of the 50 closed subreddits up and running.