Hey Everyone, I'm Steve, aka spez, the new CEO around here. For those of you who don't know me, I founded reddit ten years ago with my college roommate Alexis, aka kn0thing. Since then, reddit has grown far larger than my wildest dreams. I'm so proud of what it's become, and I'm very excited to be back.

I know we have a lot of work to do. One of my first priorities is to re-establish a relationship with the community. This is the first of what I expect will be many AMAs (I'm thinking I'll do these weekly).

My proof: it's me!

edit: I'm done for now. Time to get back to work. Thanks for all the questions!

Comments: 13461 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

tincler4813 karma

Will any of the policy changes under Ellen Pao actually be reverted or was she really just used as a scapegoat for these unpopular changes that would have happened anyway?

spez4211 karma

We will reconsider all our policies from first principles. I don't know all of the changes that were made under Ellen's tenure. I'm mostly still getting to know everyone here.

No, Ellen was not used as a scapegoat. She stepped up during a time of crisis for reddit, for which we were thankful. Things didn't go smoothly, for sure, but I will do my best to guide us forward.

Callum420Yolo3056 karma

She can't surely have been solely responsible for all the negatively perceived changes?

spez4412 karma

It's hard to imagine she was, but responsibility flows up. I'm sure there will be times I've got to take it on the chin as well. Part of the gig.

Obligatory-Username3873 karma

Do you plan on reviewing your policy on shadowbanning users? From my understanding this was first implemented as a measure to prevent spam bots from knowing they have been silenced, but has since been expanded to everyday users without there knowledge. Is there any new system in the works were a user being banned would be let know that they

1) have been banned

2)what the ban was for

spez5411 karma

Absolutely. Shadowbanning is for spammers. I created it ten years ago when we were in an arms race with automated spambots, which still attack us constantly. I want it to be as difficult as possible for the spammers to know when they've been caught so that they don't improve their tech.

Real users should never be shadowbanned. Ever. If we ban them, or specific content, it will be obvious that it's happened and there will be a mechanism for appealing the decision.

edit: Removed the word "moderators" because their tools are different from our tools.

IAmAnAnonymousCoward1986 karma

If we, or moderators, ban them, or specific content, it will be obvious that it's happened and there will be a mechanism for appealing the decision.

Would you agree that real users have a right to know when their post or comment has been removed?

spez5147 karma

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

<rant>Also, I hate seeing [deleted] all over the place. I don't care if it was deleted, I want to read it anyway.</rant>

RoneTone782 karma

What about subs like r/askhistorians where they have high standards? The deletions in that sub serve to get rid of unsourced, off-topic, and just plain wrong answers; and the mods there are really upfront about why posts are deleted and what rules they break.

spez1712 karma

I think mods should be able to moderate, but there should also be some mechanism to see what was removed. It doesn't have to be easy, but it shouldn't be impossible.

IranianGenius3194 karma

I'm the current owner of /r/SteveHuffman. Any ideas with what I should do with it? I'm lost right now.

spez4247 karma

Don't forget to crosspost with /r/cannibals. Similar audiences.

jrmxrf2994 karma

Is there any chance you are bringing back number of upvotes and downvotes displayed separately?

This really matters especially in smaller subs, comment can be just not interesting or very controversial.

spez3136 karma

Will definitely consider it. I want to hear the reasoning for why they were removed in the first place. Perhaps there is a better solution to that problem.

ComeForthLazarus2953 karma

So, you're my new boss. When are you planning to stop by "The Annex"?

In case you don't know, The Annex is the coolest, hippest, most jovial corner of the reddit offices. We have candied treats, art, pigeons, and even a sister city (flint, michigan)!

spez1492 karma

I was just over there, in fact! It's well decorated for sure.

I was born in Michigan. I ran the Crim race in Flight years ago.

eraof92738 karma

Is it okay if we use Reddit gold as our Greek Currency ?

spez3893 karma

Would be about as effective...

kbgames3602369 karma

Did....Did this just get removed?

Zonaryath2432 karma

yeah, because he didnt provide proof. LOL.

spez3082 karma

I'm not sure how I can provide more proof other than marking it as admin.

Ashiataka2126 karma

When were you asked if you wanted to be the new CEO?

spez3074 karma

The first time I was asked was way back when Yishan left. At the time I was too focused on Hipmunk to seriously consider it. Since then, Hipmunk has grown into a really nice, stable company-- we've hired very well-- and they can move forward without my complete attention (I will still be acting as CTO for the time being).

The past week was super hectic. A week ago, I didn't know I would be here!

Xephyron1802 karma

Please don't do them weekly. Maybe monthly or bi-monthly.

What's your plan on policing vote-brigading in the future? Do you have some way to automatically track vote brigades and people taking part in them?

spez2429 karma

Please don't do them weekly. Maybe monthly or bi-monthly.

Ok, you're the boss, Xephryon.

Do you have some way to automatically track vote brigades and people taking part in them?

Yeah, we do. It's existed for a long time. Maybe it broke after I left. We used to put a lot of effort into identifying large groups of people who were trying to undermine the community.

Infamously_Unknown399 karma

You said elsewhere you're against shadowbanning of real users. Given that brigading is currently mostly countered by shadowbans, how do you plan to punish them instead?

spez1151 karma

Undermine them with technology, of course.

Sanlear1690 karma

Are there any specific plans for the Alien Blue app that you can share?

spez2913 karma

I have lots of ideas! But, I'm sad to say, I don't want to publicize them here until I've got more support internally. It's shitty if you're on a product/dev team to come into work and find everything's been upended without any of your input.

C_Wags1479 karma

There's been a lot of talk recently about the need to further monetize reddit in order to ensure it's financial longevity - what kinds of steps do you think need to be taken? Do you have any ideas or goals about how to approach this?

spez1862 karma

reddit has a lot of cash. Monetization isn't a short-term concern of ours. Yes, we will continue to experiment with different efforts so that when time is right we know what works and what does not.

madchains1413 karma

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

spez1547 karma

My father was an engineer at GM for 30 years.

My step-father was a heavy hitter in the business world for a while, most publicly he was the CMO of Unisys, but that place is a cluster, so he left.

drgnfyr5521247 karma

Are /u/kickme444 and Reddit Gifts coming back? Please tell me Christmas isn't dead.

spez1436 karma

Is Reddit Gifts gone? I'm pretty sure it is not, and we have no plans to shut it down.

As for Dan, I didn't work with him, and really don't know much of that situation.

DoNotLickToaster1157 karma

Hey Steve! Weekly, or at least semi-regular, AMAs are an awesome idea. Maybe different admin teams at reddit could step up and do some too!

Any thoughts on how reddit should prioritize the needs of brand new users (who may find various aspects of reddit's design complicated and confusing) with the needs of core users and mods (who reddit relies on for its great content and dankest of memes)?

spez969 karma

Really good question, thank you.

I think the new user / core user dichotomy is the biggest product challenge we fact right now. Solve it, and we are unstoppable. A vague answer, I know, but this is one of the big things on my mind.

Chompchompers1098 karma

What do you plan on doing about censorship on reddit?

An example would be /r/News censoring topics on TPP

spez1729 karma

They can ban what they want, but I'd like to make it transparent what was actually banned. Some sort of "garbage can" or something.

citizen5746 karma

How would you define the current culture at Reddit? Is it in line with where you want it to be?

spez1196 karma

Too soon to tell. I've only got to meet the team for the first time late in the afternoon, and I still haven't had a chance to meet everyone, let alone have substantive discussions.

The vibe around the office is pretty fun, but the reddit team has been through a lot the past while. I hope I can bring some stability.

FromThatWebsite739 karma

Are you threatened by Voat? Do you see it as reddit alternative as reddit was Digg alternative?

spez2254 karma

reddit had better technology than Digg. I don't think Voat has better technology than reddit.

rabbidrabbid733 karma

Do you plan on bringing back the subreddits Pao got rid of? Like /r/fatpeoplehate

Edit: I'm not saying that I liked FPH. In fact, I hated it. I'm asking this question because of the controversy its deletion caused

Edit 2: I now understand why it was deleted. I had no idea that people from FPH were attacking fellow Redditors and people in other subreddits.

Edit 3: My most upvoted post is about fatpeoplehate. Thanks Reddit.

spez1167 karma

Unlikely. Creating a clear content policy is another of my immediate priorities. We will make it very clear what is and is not acceptable behavior on reddit. This is still a work in progress, but our thinking is along these lines:

  • Nothing illegal
  • Nothing that undermines the integrity of reddit
  • Nothing that causes other individuals harm or to fear for their well-being.

In my opinion, FPH crossed a line in that it was specifically hostile towards other redditors. Harassment and bullying effect people dramatically in the real world, and we want reddit to be a place where our users feel safe, or at least don't feel threatened.

Disclaimer: this is still a work in progress, but I think you can see where my thinking is heading.

Update: I mention this below, but it's worth repeating. We want to keep reddit as open as possible, and when we have to ban something, I want it to be very transparent that it was done and what our reasoning was.

not-a-pretzel656 karma

Finally caught one of these right when it started!

What are your plans for an official Reddit Android app?

spez1224 karma

I think we need more official Reddit Android Developers.

Orangutan559 karma

What's your viewpoint on the life, death, and legacy of Aaron Swartz? Any of his philosophy going to be present in Reddit going forward?

spez1157 karma

Aaron and I were very close for about five months. During that time we ported reddit from Lisp to Python and collaborated on a lot of ideas that are still important to reddit today.

We had a falling out around the time reddit sold, and I regret to say I didn't really know him when he passed. That whole situation was ugly, and the world is worse for it.

zeggy_557530 karma

Hi Steve!

So, AFAIK you'll remain the CTO of Hipmunk. Do you think that you can realistically manage two jobs of this caliber at the same time? How will you arrange that?

spez827 karma

It's going to take a little time to find the right balance. Hipmunk is in a stable place, and most of my value is provided in a few key meetings every week, which I will still be attending. Also, they're five blocks away, so I can go over there whenever I need.

Alejo_47519 karma

Heard about the incident with the /r/AMD subreddit? If so, what do you think about it?

iBleeedorange852 karma

For those not aware, /r/AMD was closed down by the top mod abruptly without any warning. This forced users of that subreddit to move to /r/AdvancedMicroDevices.

As for a potential answer if spez doesn't reply....reddit hasn't intervened in subreddit's closing down and such when a mod does it on their own. If the AMD mod had done something fishy then it could be opened (like /r/wow was).

spez926 karma

Thinking in realtime: we probably don't want to undo a mod's decision, but if they leave forever, we can re-claim it.

GiveMeYourShekels219 karma

Steve, I'm a huge fan and I'd like to ask what your thoughts are about reddit being a potential game changer in politics and pop culture. Do you believe that the reddit community has an ability to sway public opinion and policy? Did you intend this when you created reddit?

spez420 karma

Yes, we have an amazing opportunity to change the world.

No, I just didn't want to look stupid in front of my parents.

ikilledtupac63 karma

Hi Steve nice to meet you. Would you rather fight 1000 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck? Thank you.

spez156 karma

1000 duck sized horses. Since they can't climb stairs, you can easily get away from them long enough to figure out how to drown them.

FHayek20 karma

So, do you plan on to walk in the path set by Pao, or will you try to revert her plans and go to the old - "we support the freedom of speech" which was the reddit's stance few years ago and is one of the reasons why people signed the petition?

I mean FPH was one sad shit of a place, but shadowbanning and mass deleting of comments by admins is not nice.

spez36 karma

We want to support as free and open a discussion is possible. reddit is a platform for having some of the most authentic conversations online, if not in the world, and I don't want to undermine that.

Shadowbanning sucks. Moderators lack tools right now to effectively moderator. Sometimes people do need to be banned, but it shouldn't be a secret, and there should be an appeals process to undo it.