Several of the most popular subforums on Reddit have shut down in solidarity with a recently fired employee. After the abrupt dismissal Thursday of Victoria Taylor, who was a communications director and the main facilitator of Reddit's popular Ask Me Anything (AMA) section, volunteer moderators switched off forums for gaming, history, movies and science.
The AMA forum IAmA, featuring celebrities answering questions submitted by users of the site, was the first to shut down in the protest, the Guardian in the U.K. reported. The AMA forum is one of the most popular threads on Reddit, attracting attention beyond the site's general user base.
Taylor arranged for many of the online interviews, as well as many in the subreddits that shut down in protest.
Reddit serves as a social news platform, allowing users to comment and engage at a broad level. While AMAs, and many of the other forums that shut down, had a wide appeal to a variety of users, the site is particularly known for connecting the members of smaller niche communities, some of which have come into conflict with adminstrators on the site. June 10, Reddit banned five forums for violating its anti-harassment policy, including two fat-shaming forums -- Fat People Hate and Ham Planet Hatred -- which sparked users to flood the main page with photographs mocking obese people, as the Washington Post reported. The conflict derived from Reddit's niche origins has clashed at times with broadening its mainstream appeal.
Nallen, a moderator of the science forum, wrote that "I'm going to have meaningful problems in the r/Science AMAs; Victoria was the only line of communication with the admins," according to the Independent in the U.K.
It also reported that Reddit's adminstration responded on the site, saying: "We get that losing Victoria has had a significant impact on the way you manage your community. I'd really like to understand how we can help solve these problems, because I know r/IAMA thrived before her, and will thrive after."
While nothing has been confirmed, rumors have circulated Taylor was fired because of a poorly run question-and-answer session with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Independent said.