Reddit is in Meltdown
Allum Bokhara writes: The hugely popular link-sharing site is in a state of virtual lockdown after the volunteers who run some of the site’s biggest communities (known as “subreddits”) went on the digital equivalent of a general strike. This followed the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a popular site admin, after a Reddit Q&A with the Rev. Jesse Jackson went badly for the activist preacher.
“The collective shutdown has rendered Reddit virtually unusable. In the space of a single evening, over 100 subreddits with tens of millions of subscribers have gone dark.”
High-traffic subreddits dedicated to movies, gaming, videos, history, science and art have been voluntarily locked by their moderators as an act of protest against the decision, which they saw as a symptom of an increasingly overbearing management that takes its users and volunteer moderators for granted.
“It’s another blow for interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, with users dubbing her ‘Chairman Pao’ ever since the June crackdown.”
The collective shutdown has rendered Reddit virtually unusable. In the space of a single evening, over 100 subreddits with tens of millions of subscribers have gone dark. Users are now flocking to Reddit’s competitors, such as Frizbee and Voat, the latter of which is struggling to accommodate its latest spike in traffic.
This is not the first time Reddit has seen a revolt against its management. Around mid-June, users waged a week-long rebellion against the site management after Reddit shut down a number of “politically incorrect” subreddits. But this is the first time that so many big moderators have simultaneously shut down their subreddits.
It’s another blow for interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, with users dubbing her “Chairman Pao” ever since the June crackdown.
The current revolt was triggered by the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a veteran administrator on the site who specialized in arranging high-profile Reddit Q&As, known as “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA” sessions. Ask Me Anythings are probably Reddit’s best-known feature and are known for featuring world-famous guests including Barack Obama, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Julian Assange. Read the rest of this entry »
In a Web posting, Gawker Media writers said they voted 75 percent to 25 percent to join the Guild. The union said 90 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
Gawker first said it was planning to unionize in April. The employees said in the post Thursday that the next step will be determining what they want to bargain for and forming a bargaining committee.
In the world of sci-fi movie geekdom, Aug. 29, 1997, was a turning point for humanity: On that day, according to the Terminator films, the network of U.S. defense computers known as Skynet became self-aware—and soon launched an all-out genocidal war against Homo sapiens.
Fortunately, that date came and went with no such robo-apocalypse. But the 1990s did bring us the World Wide Web, which is now far larger and more “connected” than any nation’s defense network. Could the Internet “wake up”? And if so, what sorts of thoughts would it think? And would it be friend or foe?
Neuroscientist Christof Koch believes we may soon find out—indeed, the complexity of the Web may have already surpassed that of the human brain. In his book Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, published earlier this year, he makes a rough calculation: Take the number of computers on the planet—several billion—and multiply by the number of transistors in each machine—hundreds of millions—and you get about a billion billion, written more elegantly as 1018. That’s a thousand times larger than the number of synapses in the human brain about 1015.
Koch, who taught for more than 25 years at Caltech and is now chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, is known for his work on the “neural correlates” of consciousness—studying the brain to see what’s going on when we have specific conscious experiences. Of course, our brains happen to be soft, wet, and made of living tissue, while the Internet is made up of metal chips and wires—but that’s no obstacle to consciousness, he says, so long as the level of complexity is great enough…
More >> via >> Christof Koch, Robert Sawyer – Slate Magazine.