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Reddit is changing because it wants celebrities to visit more

Reddit is changing because it wants celebrities to visit more

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Reddit's removal of talent director Victoria Taylor sparked a community protest over the weekend, and now the site seems to be touching on some of the reasons why it let her go. In a comment, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian essentially writes that her dismissal is part of an overhaul to how Reddit will work with celebrities. Rather than occasionally helping celebrities conduct an hour-or-so question and answer session — which is what Taylor did in Reddit's AMA community — Ohanian says that Reddit now intends to help celebrities become "consistent posters ... rather than one off occurrences." Ohanian says that Reddit will still help bring big names to the AMA section, but it intends to let the section's moderators take it from there.

Reddit wants big names to drop by regularly

What Ohanian describes sounds wonderful — it's pretty great to have Arnold Schwarzenegger just show up in your Terminator thread — but it also sounds like a big challenge. Getting a busy movie star, writer, activist, scientist, or whoever to take questions for an hour is something Reddit has become quite good at given the huge audience it can provide them with; getting that same person to browse Reddit and write up a comment with any consistency will likely be more difficult. Ohanian points out that some big names, like Schwarzenegger and Snoop Dogg, already swing by to make occasional comments, but that's only a few compared to the number that have passed through /r/iama.

That doesn't entirely explain Taylor's dismissal ("We don’t talk about individual employees out of respect for their privacy," Ohanian writes), but it gives Reddit's community some context on where the site is going — and it's that context that the community says it's sorely been missing. Reddit still intends to hire someone dedicated to working with celebrities, but the position is unfilled for now.

Ohanian's comment follows Reddit CEO Ellen Pao's note apologizing to the site for the staff's lack of communication. Pao apologizes for the way Reddit handled Taylor's dismissal; Ohanian also addressed a dismissive comment he made after the AMA community was shut down, writing "I really regret this comment" and "I was a jackass." The site's administrators are very much trying to change their tone to get a fresh start this week, bringing the community back on their side with a refreshed attitude, additional communication, and promises to get better.