The Button

As an April Fool’s joke, the Reddit team created a subreddit called /r/thebutton. At the top, there’s a timer counting down, along with a button. You can press the button to reset the timer back to 60 seconds.

Only accounts older than the 1st of April, 2015 can press the button and each account can only press the button once, after which, the button becomes a grey rectangle, and all you see is this:

If you look on the right, you can see different coloured dots. They’re the flairs you get after pressing the button, indicating how long you waited before pressing it. According to the wiki:

Grey = haven’t pressed

Purple = 60.00 – 51.01s

Blue = 51.00 – 41.01s

Green = 41.00 – 31.01s

Yellow = 31.00 – 21.01s

Orange = 21.01s – 11.01s

Red = 11.00s – 0.01s

White = account created after April 1st, 2015, and cannot press the button

When the subreddit was first released, lots of people pressed the button right away, not knowing what was going on. So a lot of them ended up getting purple flairs. I guess some of them are a bit sour about it. However, a “religion” of sorts has popped up, saying that purple is the true way of life, and that everyone should be pressing it as soon as possible – some see the user flair saying they hit it at 60s as a badge of pride. However, because of network delay, you might press the button at the same time as someone else, and their press goes through first, so they end up with the lower number, and you end up with 60s. Another thought is to try and keep it going for as long as possible. There’s obviously a limited number of accounts that can press the button now. so eventually the timer is going to go down to zero.

That’s the big question – what happens when the timer reaches zero? I assume it’ll mean that nobody can press the button anymore, but who knows, maybe it’ll spawn another button? There are a few theories going around about what’ll happen after the timer hits zero. Someone thinks that maybe it’ll lock the subreddit, and only those with flairs will be able to participate. Maybe the timer starts counting up and it becomes about how long Reddit as a whole can wait before pressing the new button (now that’ll be a short-lived experiment, as I imagine a lot of people are going to race to be the first ones to press the new button). Maybe everyone gets Rickrolled. Who knows?!

Then there’s the last group, the non-pressers. It’s hard to work out if they genuinely believe that not pressing the button will mean something special for them, or if they’re just holding out to be that one person who pressed the button when there was less than 1s left on the clock.

I have pressed the button, as you can see from my screenshot above, and now MrFodder is trying to beat my score, and getting mad at all the people who are pressing it earlier than he wants to press it. That’s kinda why I pressed it when I did. I saw it go quite low, and I was about to press it when someone else pressed it. Then all I was seeing after that was people pressing it after ten or fifteen seconds and I thought, it’s never going to get that low again! So as soon as it got as low as the last time I saw it, I pressed the button, got my flair, and moved on. It wasn’t until the subreddit was linked in another thread that I remembered to check back, and it looks like it’s still going. I wonder if it’ll have gone down by the time May hits.

It’s somewhat hypnotic watching the timer count down, but then I realise that I have a heap of more interesting things that I could be doing, and so the x gets pressed and life goes on. Although it is funny listening to MrFodder ranting about it.

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2 Responses to The Button

  1. GP says:

    Dear Fodder,

    I have followed your blog for many years, and been a friend for longer. It is with great sadness that I must terminate our relationship. For I cannot in good faith support the blog of a FILTHY GOOD FOR NOTHING PRESSER AND HER FILTHY GOOD FOR NOTHING PRESSER HUSBAND.

    I will never press. Long after the button has faded, no one shall remember the 10s. The 5s. Even the 1s will fade into oblivion. All that will be remembered…are those that didn’t press.

    I will be there when the button stops. I will have my mouse pointer on the lock, and when it counts to that final point, when the Redguard are scrambling for their mouses with their Cheeto-covered fingers, I will lean back and watch the end. And I will laugh.

    Fifteen 11s in alley this morning, gloating about their click. Reddit is afraid of me. I have seen it’s true face. The subreddits are extended gutters and the gutters are full of reposts and when the mods finally quit, all the spam will be upvoted. The accumulated filth of all their clicks and posts will foam up about their waists and all the reds and oranges will look up and shout “Save us!”…

    …and I’ll look down, and whisper “no.”


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