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Reddit lost an adult CEO and installed a child

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aaron swartz profile

Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is still a Reddit user, and she just took her successor down a couple notches with pretty much the sickest burn I have ever seen on the site. Reddit co-founder and current CEO Steve Huffman recently “fucked up” (his own words) by editing comments on the site that were critical of him. When a Reddit user called out an ArsTechnica piece comparing his behavior to Pao’s disciplined approach in the role, Huffman first responded by questioning her expertise:

It's fair. Ellen wasn't the first Reddit engineer, so she probably lacked the expertise to do it, and even if she did, she was smart enough to not.

Pao later saw the comment and responded directly to Huffman:

Yeah, there's no comparison. I would have immediately fired anyone who did that.

In another thread, she corrected a user who pointed out Huffman and Pao represented “the difference between an engineer that turned CEO and a lawyer turned CEO.”

The difference between an engineer that turned CEO and an engineer turned lawyer turned CEO. FTFY

Pao faced an insane amount of abuse as Reddit CEO for wanting to ban abusive trolls. Angry Reddit users called her tyrannical, lobbed vicious insults at her, and at one point even tried to associate her name with the Nazi swastika in Google search results. Nonetheless, she kept her head until eventually stepping down.

In the middle of apologizing and announcing a purge of “toxic users” yesterday, Huffman said “I spent my formative years as a young troll on the internet.” In a different world Pao probably would have fired and banned him from Reddit.