If you have internet access, then you're either aware of reddit or you've at least heard that name in the past. Reddit is a massive online community who post and share links with each other across different message boards called "subreddits." These groups are moderated and run by thousands of unpaid volunteers who spends hours of their own time ensuring everything runs smoothly. Some of the bigger subreddits such as /r/IAMA often involve members of the Reddit administration.
On Thursday July 2nd, the moderators of /r/IAMA (the most popular subreddit on the whole site) decided to set their group to private, meaning only the moderators would have access to its content. This group has over 8 million subscribers and shutting it down, even for a day causes a massive drop in traffic on reddit, which is bad for their pocket books. But why would the moderators do that?
/r/IAMA is a group where celebrities and organisations hold Q & A sessions with the public. These are very complicated to schedule and organize. The person who ensured that everything ran smoothly was /u/chooter who was the director of talent for reddit. She was let go from her position and no one informed the moderators of /r/IAMA even though it would cause huge problems for them because there was no one to manage the scheduled Q&A sessions.
This made the moderators of /r/IAMA realize that the reddit administrators aren't treating their community with respect. They do not seem to understand how fragile reddit is and how heavily it needs community members to keep the website alive. So the moderators of /r/IAMA contacted the moderators of all the other large subreddits (including myself) to ask us to set our subreddits to private to demonstrate our collective dissatisfaction with the administrators and drastically reduce the traffic on reddit. This is being done to force the administrators to treat the community better. Another example of reddit's disconnect with their audience happened earlier in June when the website banned several popular subreddits because they claimed users were getting harassed. Despite a massive uproar, reddit did not reinstate the subreddits and the community did not forgive the administrators.
So far most of top subreddits on the site have been set to private which means a massive section of reddit is essentially shut down. No word yet on when things will get back to normal. But hopefully we can just sit back and wait for this whole thing to blow over.