For weeks, a subreddit dedicated to the villain of Avengers: Infinity War has been obsessed with obliterating half its community. This random, historic Reddit ban, executed yesterday, successfully slammed the door on more than 300,000 accounts. In the words of r/ThanosDidNothingWrong, balance has been achieved.
In the days leading up to the ban — which many users are assuming will be a one-time Reddit event — hundreds of thousands of people have subscribed to the subreddit for the chance to get kicked out. A thread called the “official ban bet thread” listed members pledging to get tattoos, slip topics into conversations for a day, write fan-fic, and more depending on whether or not they survived the purge. Even Thanos actor Josh Brolin and Infinity War co-director Joe Russo have taken notice. “Here we go, Reddit users,” says Brolin before snapping in a video Russo posted to the subreddit.
Last night, the ban kicked off with a Twitch stream as members were unceremoniously removed in real-time. Many users headed over to r/InTheSoulStone, their new home. (Among those banned was Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo. Joe survived, however, proving that balance has indeed been achieved.)
Following a successful purge, moderator The-Jedi-Apprentice, who spearheaded the project, posted that they’ll now be stepping down. “I am following in the footsteps of Thanos,” The-Jedi-Apprentice wrote. “The mission is complete, and balance has been restored. 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.’”
For now, more than 599K members remain subbed, as banned users are expected to honor the deal and unsubscribe themselves. InTheSoulStone, meanwhile, has already accrued more than 200K members. Regardless of whether or not approximately 300,000 people dutifully report to their new subreddit, it can’t tarnish the wave of enthusiasm for this silly, one-off event. It’s a celebration of fandom that joyfully invokes the best qualities of online communities. “It really embodies the spirit of the Internet,” one user succinctly explained on the subreddit. “Banding together, en masse, around something relatively meaningless but somehow decidedly awesome and hilarious.”