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reddit’s The Button Experiment Ended Friday, Still Have No Idea What The Hell Happened

What was the point of all this?


reddit’s “The Button” experiment/long troll/Lost homage/April Fool’s joke has finally ended. The button was taken offline and the subreddit was archived Friday afternoon. Still have no idea what’s going on.

Way back in April, reddit unleashed /r/TheButton onto the world. The premise was simple: a timer counting down one minute was displayed at the top of the subreddit. If you clicked the button next to the timer, it would reset itself, counting down from 60 seconds all over again. The trick was that you’d only be able to click the button once.


The witch hunts, endless analysis, think pieces and hot takes that followed can only be described as Community-like in that everyone went absolutely freaking bonkers. Rival factions formed between “pressers” and “non-pressers,” with clearly delineated rankings within each faction. For example, it was more desirable to be a presser with a lower press time, as exhibited by your flair in the subreddit that would show when you clicked the button.


There are quite a few people who clicked the button right at 0s, dooming everyone to the ensuing two months of suspense.

reddit has stayed curiously mum on details about what The Button was all about, aside from simply calling it an experiment. If they were testing how crazy the denizens of the Internet can get over one tiny little button, then the experiment was a smashing success. Well played, reddit. Well played. Can’t wait to read all the think pieces on this one.


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