Ellen Pao has endured a tough year so far.
Pao, who became the subject of vitriol on Reddit, stepped down last Friday as interim CEO of the popular online message board. Her resignation took place after months of criticism for her push to end harassment on the website.
In her efforts to end trolling, Pao committed to shutting down revenge porn, as well as several threads of hateful commentary. Most recently, her dismissal of a popular Reddit employee Victoria Taylor led to a petition for her ouster. The protest gathered 200,000 signatures.
This all arrived on the heels of Pao's high-profile court loss to her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, over gender discrimination allegations.
"I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history," Pao wrote yesterday in an opinion piece published by the Washington Post. In the fight against hatred, she made a strong point when she declared, "The trolls are winning."
A staggering 40 percent of online users have experiencing bullying, harassment, and intimidation online, according to Pew Research. On top of that, 70 percent of users between the ages of 18 to 24 have been subjects of harassment.
Still, Pao remains optimistic about her circumstances. She even considers herself "blessed" after reading the hundreds of supportive messages from that poured into her inbox from strangers. Many shared their own experiences of harassment, others apologized for standing by idly as she suffered, and some communicated that they "could not imagine the hate" that Pao was receiving.
In the grand scheme of things, she conceded that "expecting Internet platforms to eliminate hate and harassment is likely to disappoint." She's just as skeptical that distinguishing between overt criticism (the "bad" of the Internet) and simple hatred (the "ugly") can ever really make for a workable business model at Reddit.
Even so, it seems that Pao won't be deterred. "In the battle for the Internet, the power of humanity to overcome hate gives me hope. I'm rooting for the humans over the trolls," she wrote. "I know we can win."