Two months into her reign as Reddit's chief engineer, Bethanye Blount quit the site today, the latest in what's starting to look like a corporate exodus. Blount cited multiple reasons for her departure: That former CEO Ellen Pao was unfairly set up to fail; that she didn't have confidence in the company's direction; and that she didn't think she "could deliver on promises being made to the community."
Those promises emerged two weeks ago, during a rebellion that saw a lockdown on some of the site's top forums as a protest against the firing of a well-liked admin and a lack of communication between mods and users.
The moderators of r/AskReddit, one of the site's core forums with a subscriber count of more than 9 million, claim they were promised the first of a wave of new moderation tools by the end of the third quarter, with the rest coming by the end of the year. They've even put up a countdown timer to September 30, with the threat of possibly shutting down again if the deadline is not upheld.
Blount's role in the creation of these tools is not known, but she was the chief engineer at the company. It's hard to imagine she would not have been involved, particularly since she specifically cites the promises as a reason for her departure.
New Reddit CEO and company co-founder Steve Huffman told Re/code he had confidence in the company's ability to improve moderation tools and that they were in progress. We sent an e-mail to Reddit asking whether they acknowledge r/AskReddit's deadline. We'll post their response, if we get one.
In the meantime, news of Blount's departure didn't seem to shock many Redditors, after all of the rest of the news from the last two weeks. As the top comment on her quitting in r/news said, "Reddit is really starting to sound like a terrible place to work."