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Will You Press the Button? is a single serving site which presents a hypothetical scenario with a potentially undesirable stipulation to each visitor, who must then decide whether to accept or reject the given offer.
While big red buttons used to activate a powerful force have been a trope in pop culture for decades, the idea of using one of them to make a decision with both positive and negative effects dates back to a 1970s short story by Richard Matheson titled “Button, Button.” In the story, a couple receive a locked box with a button that, when pressed, will give them $50,000 but also cause someone that they didn’t know to die. The story has since been readapted twice, first in a March 1986 epsiode of The Twilight Zone (shown below, left) and second for the 2009 film The Box (shown below, right)
Threads dedicated to hypothetical situations being solved by pushing a red button have appeared on 4chan since as early as June 2010 (shown below, left). This type of activity is also reminiscent of “Would You Rather?” threads, which became popular on 4chan in 2011 in discussions of the Fairview Fairview Goat Tower.
As early as June 23rd, screenshots from Will You Press the Button have been shared on 4chan, specifically on /vg/ (Video Game Generals) and /vp/ (Pokemon). By July 25th, additional screenshots also began to surface on FunnyJunk, with another posted to Reddit two days later. On September 8th, the subreddits /r/WillYouPressTheButton and /r/WYPTB were created. Throughout September, additional screenshots from the site were posted on DamnLOL, WeKnowMemes and Tumblr under the tags #Will You Press The Button?, #Will You Press The Button, #Press The Button and #WYPTB, as well as discussions about the user-submitted scenarios on several message boards, including Multiplayer Game Hacking, the Drum and Bass Forum and Jiggmin.
On June 28th, 2013, 12 days after the site had launched, the site reached its first milestone of one million interactions, and by September 11th, that number had grown to 10 million. As of October 2013, out of more than 26 million answers provided by the visitors, the button has been pressed nearly 11 million times and avoided more than 15 million times, while nearly 30,000 questions have been submitted by visitors with roughly 1/6 of them in active rotation. The site has an Alexa rank of 18,626 in the United States and 116,307 globally.