Reddit Acted Like a Jerk During FCC Commissioner’s AMA

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn did an AMA on Friday and the Reddit community let her have it. Her answers were down-voted into the deep, deep negative.

Should we feel bad for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn? I do. She took to Reddit to do an AMA on Friday, and it went very, very badly.

It’s almost a shame, because she sounds so cheerful in her introduction. She had no idea she was going to be received with a collective “boo.” The Internet wanted to talk about net neutrality and cable companies. She was letting us into her morning routine:

And speaking of tv, I am a huge fan of vintage shows, love to add pecans to my morning yogurt, and if I could get away with it on a regular basis, would consume large scoops of Butterfinger ice cream every night. While I am a bit partial to the colors purple and blue, I remain loyal to Garnet and Black, aka The University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!). I’m Ready for Reddit, so ask me anything!

Poor Mignon. She later edited that intro to say: “Thank you all for participating in my first AMA. I enjoyed answering your questions and wish I could have answered more,” she wrote, despite the fact that Reddit behaved pretty badly. Sure, the FCC is at the center of most people’s gripes. But instead of letting her speak, she wasn’t even given a chance to spout talking points (though she was accused of doing so).

Did you know Clyburn is actually on the good side of the net neutrality debate? You’ll never get to hear about that now, since all of her answers were down-voted. Usually you don’t need the table of answers created by a bot, but in this case, it’s pretty useful. I dare you to find an answer. Which is sort of a shame.

Sure, AMAs can be publicity stunts, or something (politicians especially) do to make it seem like they actually know what’s going in the world. But the whole point is a chance at some kind of dialogue. By aggressively down-voting her answers, it ruins all the fun. She was bullied, and it makes the platform and its users look bad. Instead of harnessing the collective knowledge and passion for all things Internet (because Reddit has that, too) and hosting a forum, everyone commenting and down-voting just looks like a big jerk. Why should any professional, celeb or politician care what you think if you heckle them?