r/place was a collaborative project and social experiment hosted on the r/place subreddit that began on April 1, 2017. It involved an online canvas of one million (1000x1000) pixel squares, where registered users could edit the canvas by changing the color of a single pixel from a 16-color palette.
Three days after its creation, the experiment was closed and the subreddit was archived. Over 1 million unique users had edited the canvas, and over 90,00 users viewing or editing concurrently, placing a total of approximately 16 million tiles during its lifespan.
It returned five years later on April 1, 2022, and closed on 4 April, 2022, four days after its reopening.
The user would be greeted by a screen displaying a section of the canvas with posts showing below. Registered users could place a pixel (or "tile") on the canvas, but had to wait around 5 to 20 minutes before placing another pixel. The user only had 16 colors to choose from, which were white, light gray, gray, black, pink, red, orange, brown, yellow, light green, green, aqua-blue, green-blue, blue, violet and purple.
The First Experiment
The early hours of the canvas were characterized by random pixel placement and chaotic attempts at image creation. Among the first distinct artworks of the canvas to emerge were a corner of entirely blue pixels (named "Blue Corner") and a homage to Pokémon. As the canvas progressed, some established subreddits; such as those for video games, sports teams, and individual countries, coordinated their efforts to claim and decorate particular sections. Other sections of the canvas were developed by specially created communities and coordination efforts, such as reproductions of the Mona Lisa and The Starry Night.
Many works of pixel art were created, varying from fictional characters, internet memes, patriotic flags, LGBT flags, and recreations of famous pieces of artwork. Several "cults" were formed to create and maintain various emblematic features such as a black void, green lattice, and a multi-colored "rainbow road".
The Second Experiment
This section is a stub.
As people already knew what to expect, many communities and cults from the first experiment were filling the canvas with coordinated artworks during the early hours.
On the second and third day, the canvas and the color palette were expanded twice.
The idea of "place" was commended for its representation of the Reddit online community. A number of commentators described Place as a representation of internet culture. Some also commented on the apparent relationship between the makeup of the final canvas and the individual communities within Reddit, which exist independently but cooperate as part of a larger community.
The A.V. Club called it "a benign, colorful way for Redditors to do what they do best: argue among each other about the things that they love".
ValueWalk.com described it as a "microcosm of the emergent, spontaneous order that characterize society"
Gizmodo labeled it as a "testament to the internet's ability to collaborate".
Newsweek called it "the internet's best experiment yet".
One writer at Ars Technica suggested that the cooperative spirit of Place represented a model for fighting extremism in internet communities. The experiment did receive some criticism for the lack of protection from bot usage and the automated placing of pixels.
There wasn't much argument that r/place was a huge success. It was met with positivity with many users thinking it was one of the best events that Reddit has ever made. People wanted more. They wanted to taste that sweet chaos of r/place again. This resulted to people creating clones of the site. Some of the most popular and well noted ones are:
- pxls.space - Very close to the original thing but with more color options and life-of-quality settings. This clone has incorporated templates into the actual website. Probably the best option of the bunch
- Mobile app - Completely separate from the pxls.space, it is limited to only mobile users. This app has many bugs and has many problems in it. This is not a recommended site to use but you can use if its the only option for you.
- Pixelplace.io - This site has multiple canvases and not just a single canvas everybody is in. This site has devolved into something that is not as close to what r/place is supposed to be but is still a viable option if you want someplace to put pixel art without the chaos of r/place. This site is also heavily pay-to-win with some colors and most canvas creation features behind a paywall and a place where only premium users of the site have access to.
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