Just a day after a massive revolt tore down parts of Reddit, the site now appears to be mostly back to normal. Most all major subreddits are back online after volunteer moderators (who run subreddits without direct control from the company) began setting hundreds of popular subreddits to private mode on Thursday and Friday, shutting out nearly all visitors.
The protests accomplished its goal — the uprising at Reddit gained international media attention, including articles from The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, and the BBC — and it appears moderators decided there was little benefit in continuing to keep their subreddits offline.
All 50 default subreddits are back
The protests affected huge subreddits like r/IAmA, r/videos, r/gaming, r/AskReddit, r/science, r/history, and r/movies, in addition to hundreds of smaller portions of the site. But all 50 default subreddits — the subforums that show on the front page of the site to unregistered users — were back online as of Saturday morning. The r/IAmA subreddit, which was the first to go private, returned on Friday. A few other subreddits with large followings, like r/WTF and r/lifehacks, remain in private mode, however.
Let the healing begin
The protests were sparked by Reddit's abrupt dismissal of popular employee Victoria Taylor. In addition to being one of the site's most public figures, she helped facilitate popular "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) question-and-answer sessions with celebrities. She also served as a liaison between the volunteer moderators and Reddit's full-time employees. While the firing came as a shock, many moderators said that the move was just the latest in a long line of complaints that the company did not respect its moderators or communicate effectively with them.
In response to the protests, CEO Ellen Pao said the problem was that "we haven't helped our moderators with better support after many years of promising to do so." She added, "We are going to figure this out and fix it." Co-founder and chairman Alexis Ohanian apologized to the community, but he focused on bringing subreddits back online. "Redditors don’t deserve to be punished any further over an issue that is ultimately between Reddit and the moderators," he said. It appears moderators agreed with that sentiment. What's left now is to see if Reddit can heal wounds and manage its community as it seeks to grow into a major profit-generating business.