Earlier today on Reddit, users have alerted all over the site that the immensely popular subreddit r/IAmA went private, along with many other default subreddits that are currently unable to be viewed by non-admins and anyone who isn't an approved submitter. Reddit user Diotic currently has posted a running list of "darkened" subreddits that is being actively updated as this situation unfolds. This appears to be the latest issue Reddit has had since new CEO Ellen Pao took the reigns of the site and banned some popular subreddits.
Explanations on the site include a post on subreddit r/OutOfTheLoop from user karmanaut explaining that well-liked admin "chooter", aka Victoria Taylor, has been fired from the site. According to karmanaut, Victoria was the go-to admin for the higher profile IAmA participants, ensuring verification that they were who they said they were and actively administering the ongoing IAmA sessions. User karmanaut had this to say in his comment informing of Victoria's untimely firing:
"..Before doing that, the admins really should have at least talked to us (and all the other subs that host AMAs, like/r/Books, /r/Science, /r/Music, etc.) (Edit: not to suggest that we expect to know about Reddit's inner workings. Just that there should have been a transition in place or something worked out to ensure that Victoria's duties would be adequately handled, which they are not) We had a number of AMAs scheduled for today that Victoria was supposed to help with, and they are all left absolutely high and dry (hence taking IAMA private to figure out the situation) She was still willing to help them today (before the sub was shut down, of course) even without being paid or required to do so. Just a sign of how much she is committed to what she does.
The admins didn't realize how much we rely on Victoria. Part of it is proof, of course: we know it's legitimate when she's sitting right there next to the person and can make them provide proof. We've had situations where agents or others have tried to do an AMA as their client, and Victoria shut that sh*t down immediately. We can't do that anymore.."
Twitter has been trending with the hashtag #TheDarkening, with users expressing their displeasure at the unceremonious dismissal of a popular admin. This is a developing story, and we will update it with more information as soon as possible
[UPDATE] - Reddit staff admin u/kn0thing has posted a response to karmanaut's statement regarding Victoria's dismissal:
"We don't talk about specific employees, but I do want you to know that I'm here to triage AMA requests in the interim. All AMA inquiries go to AMA@reddit.com where we have a team in place.
I posted this on [a mod sub] but I'm reposting here:
We get that losing Victoria has 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.
We're prepared to help coordinate and schedule AMAs. I've got the inbound coming through my inbox right now and many of the people who come on to do AMAs are excited to do them without assistance (most recently, the noteworthy Channing Tatum AMA)."
[UPDATE 2] - Victoria, under her Reddit handle, u/chooter, has answered to a question from a CC Weekly Herald reporter that "You guys know what I know" regarding her dismissal from Reddit. In the meantime, we have reached out to her for comment.
[UPDATE 3] - The count is over 200 subreddits (over 200 subreddits with at least 5000 subscribers) so far on Reddit that have decided to go "dark." This doesn't seem to be from just a specific type of subreddit (i.e. those regarding gaming, default subreddits, tech subreddits, etc.) but widespread from a wide variety of different subreddits.
It is also worth noting that an image is floating around alleging Victoria was fired due to disagreeing on certain commercial matters surrounding AMAs. We have not seen or heard any further evidence that this is the case. It is also worth noting the image that is going around includes a post that has now been deleted.
[UPDATE 4] Regarding the previously discussed image's allegations about Victoria's disagreement regarding commercial matters and AMAs, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has denied them.
Admin kn0thing posted a response to the major subreddits, saying that their message was heard loud and clear and that the subreddit should come back online to not further punish redditors.
Further, kn0thing claims that Reddit will put more resources into helping mods, particularly with AMAs, in addition to being more communicative.
There are also unconfirmed reports that admins are pressuring default subreddits to come out of the dark.
[UPDATE 5] Some of the subreddits that went dark have come back online today, citing the admin response as well as explicit promises to fix things at this time. Of the major subreddits, those that have come back online include r/History, r/Books, and r/Gadgets.
Additionally there has been confusion over r/Punchablefaces caused by that Reddit's going private page. It has come back up since, but the reports that it was banned were erroneous due to the fact that the moderators intentionally made the private page message look like it had been banned.