Reddit's Chief Engineer Quits After Losing Faith in Site's Direction

Reddit's Chief Engineer Quits After Losing Faith in Site's Direction

Reddit's VP of Engineering Bethanye Blount.

Image credit: O'Reilly | Youtube

Reddit's VP of Engineering Bethanye Blount has quit after just two months on the job, telling Re/Code that she lost confidence in its new direction. "There are some very aggressive implied promises being made to the community -- in comments to mods, quotes from board members -- and they're going have some pretty big challenges in meeting (them)," she said. She didn't feel she could deliver on those promises, which include new subreddit mod tools and a content policy aimed at reducing harassment.

Blount is the third female employee to leave Reddit in less than two weeks following the departure of CEO Ellen Pao and AMA coordinator Victoria Taylor. The site is now in the hands of former CEO and Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman.

Blount also had a few parting shots about Ellen Pao's firing. She felt that Pao had been set up to take a fall over a "glass cliff," implying that gender discrimination may have been involved. However, she added, "I wouldn't say my decision to leave was directly related to my gender," and didn't feel that Taylor's firing was either.

Huffman also said that "Bethanye's departure had nothing to do with gender, and I was looking forward to working with her." He replaced her in the interim with former team leader George Pang, a move that Blount endorsed. "I have full confidence in (Pang)," she said on Twitter.

Huffman also addressed Blount's criticism about aggressive promises. "I returned because of my confidence in the company to accomplish (these) goals, and I've committed publicly to two things: creating a new content policy, which we are hard at work on, and improving tools for moderation. I don't foresee any difficulty in accomplishing either of these things in the near future."

Meanwhile, Blount said, "it's just time for me to take on something new. Start another company, write some code, all my favorite things."