We're not sure this guy knows what "democracy" means.


The CEO of Reddit is big mad that his moderators are protesting, and he might just do something about it.

As moderators take their subreddits dark in protest of the social network's plan to charge for access to its API, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has gone on a media blitz in an apparent effort to save face before the company's upcoming IPO — and, it seems, send a warning to those who've dared defy him.

In one such interview with NBC News, Huffman bizarrely compared mods to, uh, "landed gentry" before threatening their power.

"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," the CEO said. "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."

Democracy Now?

The "democratic" solution Huffman is proposing for mods — who, we must remind you, are not paid — would entail, it seems, putting moderator seats up to a vote within subreddits.

Given that there are, per We Got This Covered, an estimated 140,000 subreddits currently active and that there were, as of Ars Technica's reporting yesterday, more than 5,000 still dark, doing so would be a Herculean effort. Unsurprisingly, Huffman has not offered much in the way of logistical planning.

"What I’m suggesting as a pathway out is actually more democracy," the CEO told NBC. "We’ve got some old, legacy decisions on how communities are run that we need to kind of work our way out of."

In an interview with The Verge, Huffman reiterated his drive towards quote-unquote democracy — while also indicating that the company will be holding firm on its much-criticized API changes.

"That’s our business decision," he said. "And we’re not undoing that business decision."

If you're confused about how that jibes with talks of democracy, you're not alone — but in the world of tech CEOs, things don't have to exactly make sense for them to be sold.

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