Reddit Chief Executive Officer and bringer of pain Yishan Wong
Reddit Chief Executive Officer and bringer of pain Yishan Wong

Man loses Reddit job, whines publicly. CEO brings the pain

IT IS a bold move for a man who has just lost his job to publicly complain about being hard done by.

It is especially brave to do a question-and-answer session with Reddit's now famous 'Ask Me Anything' community after the very same website fired you.

For a former Reddit employee using the nickname 'Dehrmann', we're thinking he didn't expect the sites CEO to turn up and take him down a peg.

Describing himself as a "Reddit admin" working for the site in late 2013 to early 2014, he told the AMA community -- with its 6.4 million members -- that there was "officially no reason" for him to be laid off.

He elaborated by saying he thought he was sacked after he raised questions about how Reddit donates 10% of its revenue to non-profit organisations.

"The best theory I have is that, two weeks earlier, I raised concerns about donating 10% of ad revenue to charity," he wrote. "Some management likes getting feedback, some doesn't."

Cue another user named "yishan" whose name appears in red with a small 'A' beside it.

That's Reddit CEO Yishan Wong. And he isn't happy.

He accuses 'Dehrmann' of spreading "fear, uncertainty and doubt" or FUD about Reddit then itemises the reason why the company let him go.

You were fired for the following reasons:

  1. Incompetence and not getting much work done.
     
  2. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments/questions when interviewing candidates
     
  3. Making incorrect comments in public about reddit's systems that you had very little knowledge of, even after having these errors pointed out by your peers and manager.
     
  4. Not taking feedback from your manager or other engineers about any of these when given to you, continuing to do #2 until we removed you from interviewing, and never improving at #1.

If that wasn't painful enough, Mr Wong then reminds the former worker that the company's policy is to treat ex-staffers with respect, even if they have been fired.

This is because Reddit has "no desire to ruin somone's future employment prospects by broadcasting to the world that they were fired".

Because he decided to speak out on his own, Mr Wong tells the surely sheepish staffer "you have just forfeited this arrangement".

That is a TKO.

 

Check out how it happened below:

Dehrmann is a former employee with Reddit, and in yellow is the response by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong. Ouch.
Dehrmann is a former employee with Reddit, and in yellow is the response by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong. Ouch.

 

TRANSCRIPT

kevindqc

What was the reason? Also, what do you think about the forced relocation of the New York/Salt Lake City employees?

dehrmann 
Officially: no reason. And I get this; I vaguely know how CA employment law works and that you limit your liability by not stating a reason. It's also really hard to work through in your mind.

The best theory I have is that, two weeks earlier, I raised concerns about donating 10% of ad revenue to charity.

Some management likes getting feedback, some doesn't.

The reason I had concerns was that this was revenue, not income.

That means you need ~10% margins to break even. This can be hard to do; Yahoo and Twitter don't. Salesforce does something similar, but it's more all-around, and in a way that promotes the product without risking the company's financials.


yishan[A] 
Ok, there's been quite a bit of FUD in here, so I think it's time to clear things up.

You were fired for the following reasons:

1. Incompetence and not getting much work done.

2. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments/questions when interviewing candidates

3. Making incorrect comments in public about reddit's systems that you had very little knowledge of, even after having these errors pointed out by your peers and manager.

4. Not taking feedback from your manager or other engineers about any of these when given to you, continuing to do #2 until we removed you from interviewing, and never improving at #1.

Criticizing any decision about this program (link provided for people who aren't familiar with the program and its reasons) had nothing to do with it.

Feedback and criticism, even troublemaking, are things that we actively tolerate (encourage, even) - but above all you need to get your work done, and you did not even come close to doing that.

Lastly, you seem to be under the impression that the non-disparagement we asked you to sign was some sort of "violation of free speech" attempt to muzzle you.

Rather, the situation is thus:
When an employee is dismissed from employment at a company, the policy of almost every company (including reddit) is not to comment, either publicly or internally.

This is because companies have no desire to ruin someone's future employment prospects by broadcasting to the world that they were fired.

In return, the polite expectation is that the employee will not go shooting their mouth off about the company especially (as in your case) through irresponsibly unfounded speculation.

Signing a non-disparagement indicates that you have no intention to do this, so the company can then say "Ok, if anyone comes asking for a reference on this guy, we needn't say he was fired, just give a mildly positive reference."

Even if you don't sign the non-disparagement, the company will give you the benefit of the doubt and not disparage you or make any negative statements first.

Unfortunately, you have just forfeited this arrangement.



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