back to article 150,000 angry Redditors demand Chairman Pao's head on a spike

Ellen Pao, the increasingly reviled interim CEO of Reddit, is facing more than 150,000 signatures on a petition calling for her to quit. The gargantuan link aggregation site was home to a user-supported blackout last week, sparked by the apparent sacking of popular staffer Victoria Taylor, but is built upon increasing tensions …

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Mushroom

Getting the popcorn in...

If we are the PRODUCT - what happens when the product doesn't want to be sold any more.

BOOM market explosion ------------->

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting the popcorn in...

Explosion or Implosion?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting the popcorn in...

Transformation.

Reddit has become ... Facebook

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Devil

Re: Getting the popcorn in...

You are quite missing the transformational possibilities, e.g. TEDdit !

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Anonymous Coward

"Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

I don't have a dog in this race, but I read that and thought "Have you ever met a CEO who thought that they were less than perfect?". And then I remembered that yes I have - three exceptionally nice people who became managing directors by listening to, leading and motivating staff rather than by endless self promotion. But that was in engineering. What is it about media businesses that seems to attract executives who operate on transmit only? Perhaps I just answered my own question.

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Re: "Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

I don't have a dog in this race either but I do read Ars Technica and the name "Ellen Pao" struck me as familiar from their reportage. Then I remembered - she sued her former employer (a venture capital outfit) for sexual discrimination because they didn't promote her.

Sadly, the jury decided they didn't promote her because she was crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

"Sadly, the jury decided they didn't promote her because she was crap."

I think that's unfair - it was a majority verdict and basically said that she was one of the 80% of "junior partners" who did not become permanent - which doesn't make you crap.

She is obviously very bright but is a lawyer with an MBA and an EE degree. None of those suggest someone with experience in handling groups of cantankerous people who are not on the payroll so can't be fired. The question I would ask is, what was she doing at reddit? The logical explanation would be, given what MBAs do, preparing it to find a money tree so the investors profit.

The problem with all social media is whether they are a football economy - put football in, get great showers of money out - or a rugby economy - put money in, get rugby out. If the latter, you don't want an MBA, you want a fundraiser.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

If you look at Pao's comments, they are very corporate/sanitized. The problems weren't addressed on Friday and festered over the weekend. She still hasn't addressed the original problem of Victoria being fired. Instead we get the bullshit line about "we can't comment on an individual employee's situation." despite the community wanting her hired back, and most of it wanting Pao gone instead.

Pao's unpopularity is probably overstated, but there's no shitstorm like an Internet shitstorm. The demands seem pretty clear.

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Silver badge

Re: "Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

She is obviously very bright but is a lawyer with an MBA and an EE degree.

You say this as though these are good things. The world needs more engineers, more doctors... it does not need more lawyers or any more MBAs.

The logical explanation would be, given what MBAs do, preparing it to find a money tree so the investors profit.

Your experience of MBAs and mine seem to differ. What I see them do is evening study while being lower middle management, qualify with their MBA, then proceed to make an utter mess of whatever team, department, or division they were running, because they've forgotten the most important difference between theory and reality. Its like dealing with a box fresh graduate, with a machine gun.

In more than 20 years experience, I can't honestly recall a time where I've seen an MBA genuinely add value to anything they've done. Its a huge red flag for me.

Chairman Pao, as someone else refers to her, would have been better advised to keep her head down in her first senior role after her crashed and burned lawsuit. At the rate she's going, she'll be toxic long before her first grey hair.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Pao believes her unpopularity is overstated:"

"Your experience of MBAs and mine seem to differ."

You are writing about people doing MBAs by correspondence in the evenings; I'm writing about the sort of people who go to the business schools that advertise in the comic I get periodically (CAM), and in The Economist.

From others of your posts, however, I am astonished you don't see a need for more lawyers. If everybody had your attitude to money and business, we'd surely need a lot more of them.

I'm not even sure that we need more engineers. If we have enough of them to design more types of washing machine, vacuum cleaner, car, smartphones and computers that anybody could possibly need, we have more than enough engineers. What we don't have is a way of allocating their work efficiently to improve society. There is a lot of waste and duplication, in which I would include huge amounts of military research by people who would be more use fixing the causes of wars - food and water shortages. (Even WW2 was driven by Hitler's perception that Germany couldn't feed itself, while Britain could via its empire. Hence the focus on Eastern expansion.)

Our computers are pretty good, but our brains are still pretty crap at dealing with any human group much over 100 people. If we can fix that issue, the rest should be easy.

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Chairman Pao must go!

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Trollface

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Pao you aren't going to make it with anyone anyhow

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Anonymous Coward

Not being a reddit sort all I get from it was that, this Taylor lady was in charge of getting people in for questions, she got in some American civil rights person, something happened, she was then sacked.

All in all it sounded like she was sacked for doing her job.

Also it sounds like the kind of sacking silly start ups and online companies are pretty famous for. Ergo stupid ones that are probably illegal.

Note as said, not a reddit sort.

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My understanding, she was heavily involved in the AMA (the site couldn't do it without her, she had all the contacts etc. so when she got booted, no one could do anything), Reddit wanted to commercialise it, and do lots of stuff which was removed from the "spirit" of the AMA. She disagreed with that direction, Reddit fired her so they could find someone who would do what they wanted with the AMA.

It's actually pretty fair of Reddit to do that, they want their AMA to go a certain way, the person they have for it is "no", so they fire her and get someone who does, their issue was just firing her without first having someone in place who could take over the role, hence, massive cluster.......

Big question is though, how long can Reddit go without making massive profits? If they can't monetise their user base, eventually they will run out of money (or investors) and will be forced to close, then where will all the reddit people go for their gone wild pics n vidz?

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"so they could find someone who would do what they wanted with the AMA"

Half the issue is whether the mods will cooperate with that. It's not just about the vital organisational aspect, she was what stopped AMA degenerating into a pure PR and/or advertising opportunity. Simple things like making sure the celeb being questioned was the one actually answering the questions.

Redditors are crusty folk not likely to put up with that, readers or mods.

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The peasants are revolting

Reddit is a crappy forum at best and like all such things success is fleeting. Seems it has had its time and the users will move on to another site soon.

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Pint

Re: The peasants are revolting

"Yes, they are, aren't they?"

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Anonymous Coward

Chairman Pao...

Does she have a little reddit book?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chairman Pao...

Of course, I've already reddit.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Sorry...

Had to join in...

Never downvoted before...it felt cathartic

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Facepalm

"Baaa! Baaa! Sign here! Baaa! Baaa"

*tch*

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Silver badge

And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

Once some people get their Righteous Cause on, nothing but absolute submission will appease. And often not even then. A great many people get their superiority from being able to point out the faults of others.

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Re: And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

While I don't disagree with your comment, in this instance it would seem to apply more to Ellen Pao than the redditors who are calling for her to step down. Mrs. Pao was previously hired as an assistant to a man named John Doerr at a California venture capital firm called Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In spite of being hired as an executive assistant, she was advanced through the company and offered the opportunity to accept operating roles in some of the companies which the firm had invested in. Throughout her tenure with that company, she received numerous negative performance reports, all pointing out her frequent clashes with other employees. But that firm did not simply terminate her employment, instead they offered her several chances to correct this behavior by seeking outside mentors to aide her progress. How did Mrs. Pao react to this incredibly tolerant firm's attempts to correct her poor performance? She sued them for discrimination. The "Righteous Cause" in this case was Mrs. Pao's, even though there was more malice than righteousness. The court, having reviewed all of the evidence, agreed with the venture capital firm that there had been no discrimination, and that every effort had been made to remedy Mrs. Pao's performance issues without terminating her. In addition, the court recently ordered Mrs. Pao to reimburse the venture capital firm for their expenses in having to defend themselves against her fraudulent discrimination claim. So, as I hope you can see, this woman wielded the cause of feminism in a malicious attempt to castigate a company which had been nothing but supportive of her endeavors, even in the face of her numerous failures. And yet, still she continues to exert her own "superiority" by attempting to expose what she mistakenly believes to be "the fault of others". Apologies for the length of this reply, however I felt it necessary in order to properly address your interests in this article. I encourage you to read the PDF files which outline the court's ruling in this matter, as they clearly demonstrate Mrs. Pao's maliciousness and extreme incompetence.

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Coat

Re: And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

All that.....and as CEO of Reddit tried to censor those who complained as if it was her own personal noticeboard.

In effect a Streisland selfie...?

P.

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Re: And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

Have an upvote for writing one of the best observations I've seen in a while...this is what discussion is all about!

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I encourage you to read the PDF files which outline the court's ruling

May I encourage you to use paragraph spaces in Return?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

don't forget the part where she is married to a guy currently being indicted for running a Ponzi scheme, and she threatened to the venture capitalist firm that she would appeal the sexual discrimination case unless they settled for 2.7 Million. which just happens to be the amount needed for her husbands legal defence.

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Joke

Re: And the Internet Hate Machine rolls on.

" ...and that every effort had been made to remedy Mrs. Pao's performance issues without terminating her".

A little extreme, don't you think?

Maybe they could have just sacked her.

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Shirley..........

Its just a storm in a bone China tea cup

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Stop

Re: Shirley..........

God!, I.m so tempted......

No,.....NO.....

Just press Return and step away from the keyboard.

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Point. Missed.

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.

Of course. That's totally true. Reddit has millions of users and probably 99% of them are simple consumers who have never posted anything, and probably never will.

This is totally beside the point because without the 1% who do post things - and given how vocal they've gotten, it really does look like they DO care about what has happened in the last 48 hours - then there's no content posted for that 99% to consume, at which point they will leave and it'll all be over.

Don't. Provoke. The. OPs.

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Anonymous Coward

that vocal minority

doubt in a top level leader will stick and will be her undoing. Arrogance to ignore their customers and volunteers is also an automatic fail. When does even a major brand get to say all their consumers and staff (even volunteers) are wrong...!

What happens to an MP that "has the full confidence of the prime minister"...

Quit and get another job before it turns to poison - once that happens you will be stacking shelves...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: that vocal minority

"[...] once that happens you will be stacking shelves."

Once you reach a certain level in the management world it does not matter what your failure. There is always another company willing to offer you a similar position. Not only that - they are eager for you to put into effect your "innovative management solution" - irrespective of the fact that it has already failed with you at several other companies.

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Re: that vocal minority

Wouldn't count on it. She has already sued one set of employers, so comes with a built-in risk factor which you'd be taking into account if you were thinking of hiring her yourself.

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Re: that vocal minority

AC wrote: "once that happens you will be stacking shelves..."

Hahahahaha ! Consequences for their actions ? Clearly you must live in a different silicon valley than I do.

Lookup "Rick Belluzzo" for the perfect example of a Silicon Valley CEO. They make the banksters look honest :-).

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Joke

Re: that vocal minority

"When does even a major brand get to say all their consumers and staff (even volunteers) are wrong...!"

Apple?

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Headline not literal

Given all the stories I've read recently about rape & death threats on the Internet, I had to wonder if the headline was literal. It's sad that it's completely within the realm of possibility that some Internet users would actually call for someone's head on a spike. Misleading headline is misleading.

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FAIL

Re: Headline not literal

Oh do be quiet FFS.....

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Re: Headline not literal

I bet you're the kind of person that calls PETA whenever it's raining cats and dogs...

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Re: Headline not literal

> Given all the stories I've read recently about rape & death threats on the Internet, I had to wonder if the headline was literal. It's sad that it's completely within the realm of possibility that some Internet users would actually call for someone's head on a spike. Misleading headline is misleading.

Well, it's a bit of a "boy who cried wolf" effect. Reddit and imgur host a loud population of angry angry neckbeards who are perennially frustrated about the "friendzone" and "feminazis". We're so used to their sputtering sexism that when a woman comes along who may actually be reasonably criticized for poor performance at her job then the criticism from them becomes more suspicious than it would otherwise.

Lesson for up-and-coming master-debators: sometimes "poisoning the well" is a gift you give to yourself.

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Mushroom

Ooh - Sociologists! Scramble!

Social Transition phase detected! Amorphous uncoordinated soup to directed coordinated swarm! Get us a full feed and tactical display, stat!

Alert! Control signal is being rejected! Cascade failure! It's going feral! Get the pilot out of there!! SHINJI!!!

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Headmaster

Re: Ooh - Sociologists! Scramble!

You misspelled "Alart".

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Re: Ooh - Sociologists! Scramble!

Who is getting larted?

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change the world with a click!

if 150,000 slacktavists scream and sign a petition on an internet forum, does anyone give a shit?

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Another company with hubris?

Scrape down through all the screaming and protests and it appears that management "knows better"... I suspect that given the fickleness of users and moderators, that Reddit is doomed just as any other company that ignores customers. The old saying about "the customer might be wrong but they are always right" applies. Piss off the users (customers) and Reddit will become just another Myspace... a shell of it's former self.

On the other hand.... with hubris like that, who cares... let 'em fail and rot.

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This post has been deleted by its author

150k signers?

Always amusing when small numbers are thrown around as big numbers because they sound big to uneducated people.

150k users is not even in the top 200 subs on Reddit (currently 219). All the top subs have 5M-8M subs. So, if this petition gets to 3M, let us know. Might be a relevant section of the population.

Meanwhile, these mods caused irreparable harm to the site (and ergo its chance at profit, thus, existence) by diverting the unregistered lurkers to other pages. Every mod for every sub that went dark should be banned permanently, just like any of us would be if we tried to harm a business for which we work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 150k signers?

" just like any of us would be if we tried to harm a business for which we work."

Let me perhaps be the first to point out that they are volunteers and, as my wife observes of the charities she's involved with, "You can't treat volunteers like employees".

Shooting messengers may be a popular boardroom sport but it rarely ends well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 150k signers?

you have to think about this in terms of active participants in the site.

Sure there are subs with 8Million subscribers, but only a few thousand of them are ever active at once. (27K on /r/funny as at the time of this post compared to 8Million subscribers and it's a default)

and of the percent that's active only a small percentage of that even post things, it's like twitch TV, there might be 10K people in the channel watching, but only 500-1K are actually participating.

Lets look at the real world. there are protests with 5000 people showing up. sure it doesn't sound like many, but there might be 70% of the nation sitting at home going "yeah, totally agree but damn this lounge is comfy, maybe I'll change my Facebook photo to support them at some point".

This is no different.

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