Clearly you don't understand how the site works. The moderators, the ones with the legitimate complaints, are not employees - they are users who "donate" their time to help run the site. The issue that caused all this was the firing of a Reddit employee who was a vital part of many of the subreddits. The main subreddit affected was AMA (Ask Me Anything). Victoria, the employee that was fired, was the key part in making sure that if an AMA thread is set up for person X, that person X can figure out how to use the site, that it is actually person X answering and not a proxy, and that everything goes smooth. Firing Victoria led to many of these prescheduled AMAs to have no way of happening. The Reddit admin should have either had someone already in place to take over her work and provide a seamless transition, or to at least finish the existing AMAs and only have her leave after the queue was cleared (or enough prior notice to cancel the ones scheduled later in the future). The moderators (again, not employees) revolted because it made their (volunteer) job difficult, and left them in a shitty position. They realized the best way to get things to change is to do something substantial. As a result, they shut down the subreddits they moderate (which already wouldn't be running without them), and got the attention of the CEO by rallying their users. If all they did was file a private complaint, then from the perspective of an outside, this story would look different. Instead, the moderators would be getting blamed for the failure to run the subreddits, and nothing would change.