Here's why your favorite subreddits are unavailable (update: AMA is back)

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Mariella Moon
July 3, 2015 11:15 AM
In this article: reddit, socialmedia
Here's why your favorite subreddits are unavailable (update: AMA is back)

Sad to say your Fourth of July weekend Redditing might not be as smooth as you'd hoped. A number of major subreddit mods have set their domains to private after news broke out that one of the website's employees, Victoria Taylor, has abruptly been let go. If you're wondering why people would be up in arms over one employee, then you likely haven't read any big celebrity Ask Me Anything (AMA) posts for a while. Officially, she's the company's Director of Communications, but within the community, she's known as "chooter" -- the woman with fingers as quick as lightning who made most AMAs enjoyable.

The first sub to go dark was /r/IAMA. One of its mods, a user called "karmanaut," explained that they had no choice, because they have to rethink how AMAs are conducted now that Victoria is gone:

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 shit down immediately. We can't do that anymore.

Part of it is also that Victoria is an essential lifeline of communication. When something goes wrong in an AMA, we can call and get it fixed immediately. Otherwise, we have to resort to desperately try messaging the person via Reddit...Part of it is also organization. The vast majority of scheduling requests go through her and she ensures that we have all of the standard information that we need ahead of time (date, time, proof, description, etc.) and makes it easier for the teams that set up AMAs on both ends. She ensures that things will go well and that the person understands what /r/IAMA is and what is expected of them. Without her filling this role, we will be utterly overwhelmed.

Other subreddits followed in solidarity, as you can see in this list. The biggest ones there are /r/askreddit, /r/gaming, /r/pics and /r/science, though some entries in the list have already lifted the restrictions they placed earlier.

Neither Miss Taylor nor Reddit has offered any clarification on what happened behind the scenes, but some people speculate that she took the fall for that disastrous Rev. Jesse Jackson AMA. Others think she might have been the victim of a budget cut, while there are those who think she was fired because she lives in New York. Former CEO Yishan Wong admitted last year that the company wanted all its employees to relocate to San Francisco. During her time as the AMA section's czar, she helped set up sessions with and/or transcribed for Elijah Wood, Marilyn Manson, Chris Pratt, Robin Williams, Bill Gates and even the POTUS, just to name a few.

[Image credit: Veronica Belmont/Flickr]

Update: It appears /r/IAMA is now back online.

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Here's why your favorite subreddits are unavailable (update: AMA is back)