Jeez, you failed buttonology 101! The coloured flair awarded to the presser changes several times during the course of 60 seconds, not after 60 seconds has elapsed. If the counter ever reaches zero, no one knows what will happen. (And the button itself never changes colour.)
On subreddit /r/thebutton, a large, tempting colored button looms beside a 60-second countdown. If 60 seconds pass and no one touches the button, it changes to a different color, counting backward from the rainbow (purple, then blue, then green, and so on). Simple, right?
Errr… not true at all, I’m afraid.
As @avunculoid says, the button is just one blue button. If you press the button, it resets to 60. If it ever counts all the way down to zero, the game is over. No one yet knows what happens then.
The colors relate to the flair that is given to users when they press the button. If the timer was reading 50-60s, the user has a purple flair. If the timer was reading 40-50s, the user has a blue flair, etc.
So far, that’s all that the game is. No official word made users with blue flair better or worse than those with purple, nothing explicitly makes pressers better or worse than non-pressers. In that regard, this has been a very fun experiment in self-organization.
I’m saving myself for the right moment.
The worst part is that if I find myself watching the clock hit 1 second, I’m still not sure what I would do. I am pretty sure that says a lot about me as a person which is slightly scary.
When we first heard of The Button, half a million people were playing it…
The imperfect verb tense. Actually a half million had played it. Maybe a few hundred were playing. Pressing the button changes you from somebody who can play into one who can’t. (Unless you reset the cookie or something, but we’re not that kind of people.)
I don’t know how you really qualify “playing” in this game. I mean, you could say someone is playing who is watching the button and hasn’t yet pressed, but you could just as easily say that play continues after you’ve pressed the button if you’re still paying attention in one way or another, by contributing to lore, performing calculations, etc.
Regardless, you’re probably right that she’s exaggerated the number of active players.
This whole article is pretty marginal on explaining a 2-week old phenomena, especially when Mark did a much better job of explaining it almost a week and a half ago: http://boingboing.net/2015/04/05/realtime-chart-of-the-button.html. Not a lot has changed since then, except we’ve seen the dawn of the yellows, who got branded the Lemon Party by non-yellows.
I’m definitely still saving myself. I’d like to get a red flair, but I’d probably settle for orange. Just so long as I don’t accidentally get a 60s trying for it.
Makes me think of this old sketch:
I’m about to go on vacation for a week and I’m not sure if I should press the button before I leave, or wait until I get back.
Wait until you get back, it will still be there even at its present decay rate. If the hoard of people who are waiting until it gets in the red (11 to 1 sec) show up towards the end, that will prolong it even further.
A script that will press the button at the correct moment for your desired color:
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