The last few days have seen Reddit, the internet’s Fort Knox of cat GIFs, tearing itself apart over the dismissal of Reddit’s unofficial liason between staff and the community. The disagreement caused some subreddits to go offline, turning the site’s front page into a barren wasteland — but according to CEO Ellen Pao, the ‘vast majority’ of users are uninterested.
In an interview with the New York Times, Pao recognised that the site’s management had failed to communicate effectively, but also downplayed the seriousness of the partial blackout instituted by volunteer moderators:
Ms. Pao says that the most virulent detractors on the site are a vocal minority, and that the vast majority of Reddit users are uninterested in what unfolded over the past 48 hours.
“Most of the community is made up of thoughtful people, and they can appreciate what we all do, even if we don’t always agree,” Ms. Pao said.
Pao might have a point: after all, the site rakes in around 140 million visitors per month, the vast majority of whom don’t comment on posts, and who probably don’t understand why Ellen Pao is meant to go die in a hole.
But on the other hand, Alexa’s estimated site metrics have the site’s traffic down by a significant margin in the last few days, losing nine places in the overall ranking of the world’s biggest sites. 140,000 people have also signed a petition calling for the removal of Pao as CEO; given that it only takes 100,000 signatures on a petition to get a response from the White House, that’s quite a strong signal.
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