Warning: Spoilers for “Avengers: Infinity War” ahead.
- The Thanos subreddit r/ThanosDidNothingWrong banned half of its members on Monday – a tribute to Thanos wiping out half of all life in the universe in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
- That meant hundreds of thousands of Reddit accounts banned, all in one moment, as a tribute to the villainous Thanos himself.
- Members of the community loved it.
- The “Infinity War” directors tweeted about it, and Thanos actor Josh Brolin made a video of himself snapping for the occasion.
Like the “Avengers: Infinity War” villain himself, the Thanos subreddit r/ThanosDidNothingWrong sought perfect balance among its more than 700,000 members, up from the 200,000 subscribers it had last week.
The online community began banning over 300,000 of its members at 5:00 PM PDT sharp on Monday, in a purge that was actually planned weeks in advance – a purge that was, indeed, instigated by its own members, who cheered the culling as honoring their hero, Thanos.
The joke among members was that if r/ThanosDidNothingWrong truly embraced what Thanos was all about, it would seek balance by banning half of their own number. To that end, group moderator The-Jedi-Apprentice said that Reddit's own administrators approved a ban on a random selection of half of the community's subscribers.
Members of the group spent the next several weeks eagerly anticipating the so-called "Snappening," so named because of the finger-snap with which Thanos ends half of all life in the universe at the movie's conclusion.
The actual "snap" itself was livestreamed on Amazon's Twitch, with Reddit engineers broadcasting to over 50,000 viewers as they activated a custom tool that would ultimately ban hundreds of thousands of r/ThanosDidNothingWrong members, one by one. It took hours to complete, but users were getting "snapped" by the hundreds.
People aren't mad about it. In fact, most members of r/ThanosDidNothingWrong wanted to make Thanos proud by getting banned in the name of balance: "༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ GIVE BAN ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ" has been a common refrain on Reddit, in the weeks leading up to the event.
If they were turned to figurative dust, users were directed to subscribe to the subreddit "r/inthesoulstone." That already had over 29,000 subscribers Monday afternoon prior to the "Thanos snap." It's a reference to a common fan theory that everyone who died at the end of "Infinity War" actually now resides in Thanos' Soul Gem.
The good news is, Thanos did seem proud - or at least, the actor who played him in "Infinity War" did. Joe Russo, co-director of the video, posted a video on Sunday of actor Josh Brolin saying "here we go, Reddit users" and snapping his fingers. The Russo brothers themselves tweeted, too, that they "have both submitted to the culling."
While the July 9th date for the "Snappening" was set two weeks ago, users didn't know exactly when it would occur. And The-Jedi-Apprentice warned users that it would take a lot of work from the Reddit side, as nobody had ever asked for a tool to ban so many people all at once, and at random.
Members of the group were very excited, but also very impatient - especially as the day went on without even a tiny snap.
"If the snap doesn't happen in 15min the I am legally allowed to report r/thanosdidnothingwrong for messing with my emotions for 24hrs," said one user earlier on the big day.
"Let's manually balance this sh-- by unsubscribing ourselves! This is taking forever!" said another.
Users even went straight to The-Jedi-Apprentice with their distress.
"You built up the hype for the last 9 days and now you have been teasing the ban ALL DAY and people are starting to lose interest and you say you didn't know it would be a huge deal?" said one user. Another said, "Petition for u/The-Jedi-Apprentice to lose half his karma if he bamboozled us on the ban."
Luckily, the ban finally happened, and all was right in the universe. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were still nearly 600,000 subscribers, as users have to unsubscribe themselves if they are banned.
The-Jedi-Apprentice posted on Tuesday that he would "resign" and follow "in the footsteps of Thanos."
"The mission is complete, and balance has been restored," the mod wrote. "I am going to return to the life I had before this whole thing began, so that, just as Thanos said in Infinity War, I may 'watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.'"
What did it cost? Everything.