Reddit CEO Steve Huffman recently told NBC News he plans to update the company's moderator removal policy.
Huffman explained the new changes would allow ordinary Redditors to easily vote out moderators if they make unpopular decisions in a subreddit. Under Reddit's current policy, there are four ways for a moderator to be removed: self-removal, removal due to inactivity (sitewide or within the community you're a mod for), removal by another moderator, or by Reddit itself if you violate Reddit's rules.
"If you're a politician or a business owner, you are accountable to your constituents. So a politician needs to be elected, and a business owner can be fired by its shareholders," Huffman told NBC News. "And I think, on Reddit, the analogy is closer to the landed gentry: the people who get there first get to stay there and pass it down to their descendants, and that is not democratic."
"On Reddit, the analogy is closer to the landed gentry."
This announcement comes as Reddit communities go dark in protest at Reddit's new API pricing changes. Over 8,000 communities went dark at one point, though that number is down to over 4,000 now, with Huffman telling NBC News about 80 percent of Reddit's top 5,000 communities have returned. Huffman sent a memo to employees earlier this week addressing the protests, explaining it has not been "a significant revenue impact for the company" and insisting the protests "will pass".
Reddit announced the new API policy back in April, and it has negatively impacted third-party apps, with Apollo for Reddit developer Christian Selig announcing he would shut down the app at the end of the month because of the new API updates, noting it would cost upwards of $20 million a year for the app to run.
Reddit previously said it would not force these subreddits to open back up. However, with the new moderator policy change, whether or not the company will do it is a bit blurred. Huffman explained to NBC News that the change is "really important" and that the company is "making sure that, for example, the protests, now or in the future, are actually representative of their communities. And I think that may have been the case for many at the beginning of this week, but that's less and less the case as time goes on".
Taylor is a Reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.