The Firing of Victoria — How reddit and r/IAmA Can Move Forward
First off, I want to acknowledge Victoria’s dedication to the reddit community and the hard work she did to introduce new audiences to the reddit platform. It was no surprise that a significant part of the reddit community was upset about her firing.
However, this transition provides reddit an opportunity to grow and improve the process for organizing AMAs.
As much as Victoria helped facilitate AMAs, there were a few fundamental problems with her role that go against the principles of the reddit community:
- Reddit is about the power of communities, not individuals. It is about the crowd making collective decisions and not giving any single user too much importance. Considering the r/IAmA subreddit was temporarily shut down when Victoria was let go, it is obvious that her role was far too important.
- New redditors need help with AMAs, but relying on a single reddit administrator to provide assistance is not sustainable. This type of handholding encourages celebrities to show up for a single AMA and then never return to the site. If celebrities were forced to learn the platform themselves (or hire their own help), they will be more likely to make a long-term commitment to the reddit community.
- There is an inherent conflict of interest in having a paid reddit employee perform moderation duties in a subreddit. There are a ton of ad dollars at stake in the /r/IAmA subreddit that reddit benefits from, but the moderators do not.
So I’ve identified a few problems with Victoria’s role facilitating AMAs, but what should reddit do now? Should they replace Victoria with a new hire? I don’t think so.
It is time for reddit to stop handholding brands and celebrities for their AMAs. The popularity of reddit is growing every day and it is currently the 10th most popular website in the US. The responsibility to understand and learn the rules of reddit AMAs should be put on the people holding the AMAs.
Here’s how reddit can move on without Victoria:
- Develop a more intuitive and user-friendly AMA experience. AMAs are a unique type of content and therefore deserve a unique submission form. A specialized AMA form could have multiple checkpoints and guidelines that give the user information and encourage them to submit a high-quality AMA.
- Provide specific AMA ‘how-to’ materials. Third parties have already written great content on this subject. Reddit could create their own official document for AMAs and show it to users multiple times before they submit their AMA.
- Encourage new AMA hosts to consult with a reddit-knowledgeable PR company or consultant. There are many public relations professionals that understand reddit and reddit AMAs. AMA hosts should incur the costs of receiving live, personal help during their AMA.
- Move more AMAs to niche subreddits. This will diffuse the responsibility of scheduling/planning AMAs to other communities besides /r/IAmA. It will also help promote more focused subreddits, capturing the attention of users who are visiting reddit for the first time.
Victoria was great at her job and she is beloved by the reddit community. Personally, I am sad to see her go. She was the only reddit admin that I ever had personal contact with and I she was truly dedicated to the reddit community. Now that she is gone, reddit should take a step forward by not replacing Victoria and instead give users the resources and customized interface that will increase the quality and accessibility of reddit AMAs.