Chairman Pao is gone. Ellen Pao is no longer in charge of Reddit. One of Gawker’s writers believes it is because of a “misogynistic tantrum.” I believe the author of that article needs to learn how to read a dictionary, put on a pair of glasses, and put away the progressive ideology to see what this really is, a win against censorship and a win for better leadership.
The author doesn’t like that redditors’ blame Pao for all the changes, thus creating a belief that a leader shouldn’t be held accountable for those under them. When a ship sinks is the crew blamed? Nope, the first person put on the chopping block is the captain. Sorry, Picard, you’re Ahab.
What we have witnessed is online activism being successful. People banded together against censorship and won. Yes, I am especially hard on the author because if this was a misogynistic tantrum, why would redditors have cared about Victoria, a woman who they staged a mass protest in support of? Why is criticizing a woman in leadership anti-woman? Is Pao the type of woman who is going to cry over some pictures, or seeing a shirt? Would we want a person in charge of a major website, or anything, who has paper thin skin that is going to be bothered by parodies? Last time I checked Bush and Obama get a ton of hate. Even 30 years later Margaret Thatcher is the target of insults and hatred. Currently here in South Korea, Park Geun-Hye is not a popular woman with South Korean youth. If Royal Canadian Air Farce and Jon Stewart can get a pass to make jokes, why can’t commenters on a message board?
So no, Ashley, this has nothing to do with gender. This is life in the real world, outside a bubble, where men and women have equality. With equality comes the equality of consequence. When people want to be put into a position of leadership there is an expectation of BS to be flung their way, rightly or wrongly. The average redditor does not care who sits in the captain’s chair as long as they are a good captain. When that captain steers the ship into a storm then it should be expected part of the crew will develop mutinous feelings.
Trust is important between the person in charge and the people commanded. Without it, the gears grind to a halt and the machine stops. Nothing gets done effectively. Reddit has the opportunity to win back those hurt through this situation by instilling a new leader. Conversely, redditors need to be willing to give that person the opportunity to show their ability before bringing out the pitchforks again. Just like Captain Janeway in the cover picture, people will follow a leader through hell and back if they believe in their ability.
There are many similar situations in the gaming world this situation can be juxtaposed with. Sega, supposedly, is beginning to learn this hard lesson as President and CEO Hajime Satomi revealed he believes the company betrayed the trust of the fans and is seeking to rebuild it. A fractured relationship between a company and its fans can be repaired, as long as the person in charge understands what went wrong and takes steps to fix it. But Ashley believes it is much better to insult the fan base, the customer base, rather than try to bridge the gap and cut to the heart of the matter. Even Microsoft has learned to listen to the fans after the debacle that was E3 2013. Trust was lost with Mattrick and now two years later, whether or not you like Microsoft, Phil Spencer is doing his best to gain back the goodwill of the fan base.
At the end of the day Reddit is a business. This situation can be used as a template for others to learn that when you have a rabid, vocal, passionate user base, that it can be a blessing or a curse. People will go where they feel wanted, valued, and fight for what they care about. If anything, this situation has shown how much people genuinely care about Reddit and it running properly.
What do you think? Is this a case of sexism? Or is this a case of poor leadership? Do you think gaming companies can look at this as a case study on how to treat fans properly?