Reddit's former CEO isn't going away and has a lot on his mind

It's not often you see former CEOs heckling the current administration of a company, but Yishan Wong (the ex-ex- CEO of Reddit) appears to be active on a few subreddits and is advocating for more scrutiny aimed at Reddit's founders.

As a bit of a crash course, the past few months have been loaded with drama surrounding how Reddit manages its subreddits (the individual forums created and managed by users). One particularly odious subreddit, /r/fatpeoplehate was closed by Reddit's administrators which caused a small but very vocal uprising of people (who, in this author's opinions are idiot babies) who believed that their hateful thoughts were being censored.

There is a bit more to that story, but there a bazillion articles already written about that. Here's a good one.

Much of this criticism was aimed at Wong's successor, then-CEO Ellen Pao. In addition to being the worst person ever (according to her idiot baby critics) her gender and race also seemed to rub this rabble the wrong way.

That reign of terror, however, came to an end with founderAlexis Ohanian, (aka "kn0thing") apparently stepping in on behalf of the board and got Pao to resign.

As the dust has cleared over the weekend, it seems as though some Redditors are realizing that something doesn't add up here and that all of the vitriol aimed at one person may have been a little unfair.

While Pao has been rather quiet, Yishan Wong has taken this moment to start shining a light right back at the board and the founders who are being paraded around as the "saviors" Reddit needs.

In his recent "tour" of various subreddits, Wong paints a different picture of the protests and firings. Over on /r/askreddit, in response to a rather innocuous question "What's the best long con you ever pulled?" Yishan establishes a slightly longer narrative as to why Pao (and Wong) were ousted.

Here’s one.
In 2006, reddit was sold to Conde Nast. It was soon obvious to many that the sale had been premature, the site was unmanaged and under-resourced under the old-media giant who simply didn’t understand it and could never realize its full potential, so the founders and their allies in Y-Combinator (where reddit had been born) hatched an audacious plan to re-extract reddit from the clutches of the 100-year-old media conglomerate.
Together with Sam Altman, they recruited a young up-and-coming technology manager with social media credentials. Alexis, who was on the interview panel for the new reddit CEO, would reject all other candidates except this one. The manager was to insist as a condition of taking the job that Conde Nast would have to give up significant ownership of the company, first to employees by justifying the need for equity to be able to hire top talent, bringing in Silicon Valley insiders to help run the company. After continuing to grow the company, he would then further dilute Conde Nast’s ownership by raising money from a syndicate of Silicon Valley investors led by Sam Altman, now the President of Y-Combinator itself, who in the process would take a seat on the board.
Once this was done, he and his team would manufacture a series of otherwise-improbable leadership crises, forcing the new board to scramble to find a new CEO, allowing Altman to use his position on the board to advocate for the re-introduction of the old founders, installing them on the board and as CEO, thus returning the company to their control and relegating Conde Nast to a position as minority shareholder.
JUST KIDDING. There’s no way that could happen.
— Yishan Wong


What started as revolt was really a coup, according to Wong.

Ohanian has spoken up and responded only with the coolest concern.

It saddens me to hear you say this, Yishan.
I did report to her, we didn’t handle it well, and again, I apologize.
edit: I can’t comment on the specifics.
— Alexis Ohanian (/u/kn0thing)


Your humble blogger has no idea what this all actually means for the rest of the site but it certainly brings things into perspective a little. All of these people getting riled up and hateful in the interest of serving a rather limited backdoor deal to re-establish the founding Reddit team at the helm of their flailing "state."

I feel like I may have seen that before...