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r/place was a collaborative project and social experiment hosted on the social networking site Reddit that began on April Fools' Day 2017. The experiment involved an online canvas of one million (1000x1000) pixel squares, located at a subreddit called /r/place, which registered users could edit by changing the color of a single pixel from a 16-colour palette. After each pixel was placed, a timer prevented the user from placing any pixels for a period of time varying from 5 to 20 minutes.

The experiment was ended by Reddit administrators around 72 hours after its creation, on 3 April 2017. Over 1 million unique users edited the canvas, placing a total of approximately 16 million tiles, and, at the time the experiment was ended, had over 90,000 users viewing or editing it. The Place subreddit was archived on 19 April 2017.

Overview[]

The experiment was based in a subreddit, called /r/place, in which 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 an empty canvas, but had to wait before placing another. The waiting time varied from 5 to 20 minutes throughout the experiment. The choice of color for a user's pixel was between white, light gray, gray, black, pink, red, orange, brown, yellow, light green, green, aqua-blue, green-blue, blue, violet and purple.

The early hours of the canvas were characterized by random pixel placement and chaotic attempts at image creation. Among the first distinct sections of the canvas to emerge were a corner of entirely blue pixels (named "Blue Corner") and a homage to Pokémon. As the canvas developed, some established subreddit communities, such as those for video games, sports teams and individual countries, coordinated user 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.

Several works of pixel art were created as a result of the experiment, varying from fictional characters and internet memes to patriotic flags, LGBT flags, and recreations of famous pieces of artwork. Several "cults" also formed to create and maintain various emblematic features such as a black void, green lattice, and a multi-colored "rainbow road".

Reception[]

The idea of "place" was commended for its representation of the Reddit online 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", with Gizmodo labelling it as a "testament to the internet's ability to collaborate". 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. 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. After its ending, many clones of /r/place were created.

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