“We are not shutting down discussions or unilaterally reopening communities,” reads a line from a “Reddit API Fact Sheet” that the company shared with The Verge.
In our interview, Huffman told us that he sees Reddit as a “democratic living organism created by its users.”
“Every once in a while in cities, there’s a protest. And I think that’s what we’re seeing exactly right now. We, even in disagreement, we appreciate that users can care enough to protest on Reddit can protest on Reddit and then our platform is really resilient enough to survive these things,” he told my colleague Jay Peters.
“Dissent, debate, and discussions are foundational parts of Reddit. We respect our communities’ ability to protest as long as mods follow our Moderator Code of Conduct,” reads another part of the fact sheet.
Paging through various subreddit threads ahead of the blackout, it was pretty common to find Redditors suggesting Huffman would simply purge the moderators from its most popular subreddits and force them back open. There were even allegations that it had already happened to r/AdviceAnimals and r/tumblr, but it isn’t clear to me whether that’s just the typical moderator drama that happens on Reddit from time to time.
Reddit does say, however, that it can eject moderators who are inactive and that “we step in to rearrange mod teams, so active mods are empowered to make decisions for their community.” The pro-blackout r/AdviceAnimals moderator who was ejected was accused by their fellow mod of being inactive for a year.
While many subreddits are still dark, Reddit writes that over 80 percent of its top 5,000 communities (by daily active users) are open, “and we expect this to continue.”
We’ll have more from our interview with Huffman soon.