Rather than do something big and elaborate for April Fools Day, Reddit has done something altogether more insidious for their annual prank: The Button, a social experiment that calls for every single one of the millions of Reddit users worldwide to work together.
It’s going about as well as you’d expect.
The way The Button works is super simple. There’s a countdown timer for 60 seconds, and a button. Anybody on Reddit who has an account made before April 1st, 2015 can push the button once and once only. If the button gets pushed even once, the countdown timer goes back to 60 seconds. For everybody. Globally.
Nobody knows what happens when it hits zero, either good or bad (or nothing at all).
The deadlock is not least because of a dedicated cadre of users (read: monsters) who purposely go back to click it when it starts to get anywhere, exemplified by my Facebook friend here:
Push? Don’t push? It’s stressing people out, as evidenced by the action in the associated subreddit, /r/thebutton.
The purple blobs show whether or not they have used up their one press. As you can see, some people think pushing is the right thing to do, while others don’t. Consensus has yet to be reached, and Reddit users are getting nowhere fast.
At press time, around 320,000 Redditors have participated. Given that the site gets billions of views per month, and Reddit accounts are free, there are potentially millions of people waiting in the wings for their opportunity to push the button.