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Logo of the original 2017 experiment
Logo of the 2022 experiment
The canvas in 2022 on the last day of the event
Created byJosh Wardle
RegistrationReddit account required
Users2017: Over 1 million
2022: 10.38 million
LaunchedOriginal launch: April 1, 2017; 6 years ago (2017-04-01).
Rebooted: April 1, 2022; 14 months ago (2022-04-01).
Current statusEnded

r/place was a collaborative project and social experiment hosted on the social networking site Reddit on April Fools' Day 2017 and repeated again on April Fools' Day 2022.

The 2017 experiment involved an online canvas located at a subreddit called r/place. Registered users could edit the canvas by changing the color of a single pixel with a replacement from a 16-color palette. After each pixel was placed, a timer prevented the user from placing any more pixels for a period of time varying from 5 to 20 minutes (depending on whether the user had verified their email address).[1][2] The idea of the experiment was conceived by Josh Wardle.[3][4] It was ended by Reddit administrators about 72 hours after its creation, on 3 April 2017. Over 1 million users edited the canvas, placing a total of approximately 16 million pixels, and, at the time the experiment was ended, over 90,000 users were actively viewing or editing the canvas. The experiment was commended for its representation of the culture of Reddit's online communities, and of Internet culture as a whole.[5]

On the 1st of April 2022, Reddit began a reboot of the experiment that lasted for four days.[6]


The experiment, on both occasions, was based in a subreddit called r/place, in which individual registered users could place a single colored pixel (or "tile") on an online canvas of one million (1000 x 1000) pixel squares, and wait a certain amount of time before placing another.[7] In 2017, the waiting time varied from 5 to 20 minutes throughout the experiment, and the user could choose their pixel's color from a palette of sixteen colors.[8][9] In the 2022 edition, the canvas was eventually expanded to four million (2000 x 2000) pixel squares, and the palette gradually gained sixteen more colors for a total of 32.[10]

2017 experiment[edit]

The final product of the original 2017 r/place experiment.

The early hours of the experiment were characterized by random pixel placement and chaotic attempts at image creation.[8] Among the first distinct sections of the canvas to emerge was a corner of entirely blue pixels (named "Blue Corner") and an homage to Pokémon.[11] 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.[8][12] This frequently caused conflict between communities competing for space on the canvas.[13] Overall, thousands of subreddit communities were involved.[9]

Other sections of the canvas were developed by communities and coordination efforts created specifically for the event. Several works of pixel art sprouted from the collaboration of these communities, varying from fictional characters and internet memes to patriotic flags, LGBT flags, and recreations of famous pieces of artwork such as the Mona Lisa[14] and The Starry Night.[15][16][3] Several self-declared "cults" also formed to create and maintain various emblematic features such as the (black) void, the green lattice, the aforementioned blue corner, and a multi-colored "rainbow road".[17] At the time of the experiment's end on 3 April 2017, over 90,000 users were viewing and editing the canvas,[7] and over one million users had placed a total of approximately 16 million pixels.[5][13] An analysis found that the final version of the 2017 experiment consisted of art from over 800 communities.[18]

Place was commended for its colorful 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".[19] Gizmodo labelled it as a "testament to the internet's ability to collaborate".[20] A number of commentators described the experiment as a broader representation of Internet culture.[21] 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.[19] Newsweek called it "the internet's best experiment yet",[8] and a writer at Ars Technica suggested that the cooperative spirit of Place represented a model for fighting extremism in internet communities.[22] The experiment did receive some criticism for the lack of protection from bot usage and the automated placing of pixels.[23] A website called The r/place Atlas was created after the experiment finished, dedicated to identifying the various components of the final piece.[24][25]

Color palette of the 2017 event[26]

2022 experiment[edit]

On 28 March 2022, a reboot of r/Place was announced. It began on 1 April 2022, and lasted for four days, including two expansions of the canvas to allow for more space. The color palette was also expanded on the second and third days.[27][28] Unlike in 2017, individual subreddits immediately began to coordinate in designing pixel art, and large communities were formed on Discord and Twitch in attempts to expand existing art, replace defaced pixels, and superimpose new images over existing ones.[28][29] By the end of the 3.5-day experiment, 160 million pixel changes were operated by over 10.5 million users, at an average pace of about 2 million pixels placed per hour. Of these pixel changes, about 26 million were redundant (same color than previously on the same pixel, but by a different user). Note that these numbers, extracted from the raw data, are not was is mentioned in these erroneous articles.[5][30] During the final few hours before the 2022 Place event ended, users became restricted to placing only white pixels. The entire canvas was gradually filled with white space, returning it to its original blank state.[31][32]

References to popular culture, Internet memes and politics were commonly visible.[33] Fandom communities participated by creating illustrations that were representative of their respective subcultures.[30] Similar to 2017, much of the artwork was nationalistic.[5] This included support for Ukraine in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War,[28] where Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was depicted with sunglasses.[5]

Popular streamers on Twitch intervened in the event by instructing their viewers to quickly draw logos and symbols, often over existing images.[5][34] The streamer Félix Lengyel peaked with 233,000 concurrent viewers on his stream because of the event, a personal record.[35][29] Lengyel's viewers would often get banned by Reddit admins,[35] and Lengyel said that he had received more death threats in a single hour than he had received in six years of streaming.[36][34]

Color palette of 2022 (Day 1)[37]
Color palette of 2022 (Day 2)[38]
Color palette of 2022 (Day 3 and 4)[39]

Media response[edit]

The first experiment was praised for creating a sense of collectivism at a time when the Internet was to a great extent fractured and polarized.[5] The Washington Post compared Place to The Million Dollar Homepage, a one-million-pixel website where each pixel was sold for a dollar in 2005.[5] The Conversation observed that, while the experiment demonstrated the ability of cooperation in the internet to express people's passions, Place also showed the toxicity and exclusion of some communities.[32] The 2022 edition of the experiment caused Reddit's daily active users to reach an all-time peak.[30] Kotaku welcomed the return of the experiment, saying: "In an era where so much of the modern internet is trash, r/Place has returned and it's still really cool."[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simpson, Brian; Lee, Matt; Ellis, Daniel (13 April 2017). "How We Built r/Place". Upvoted. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  2. ^ Rappaz, Jérémie (2018). "Latent Structure in Collaboration: The Case of Reddit r/place". International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. 12. arXiv:1804.05962. doi:10.1609/icwsm.v12i1.15013. S2CID 4941892. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Voon, Claire (12 April 2017). "More Than a Million Strangers Collaborate, Pixel by Pixel, on a Digital Canvas". Hyperallergic. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ Rauwerda, Annie (1 April 2022). "Reddit's r/Place art experiment has already devolved into beautiful chaos". Input. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Lorenz, Taylor (4 April 2022). "Internet communities are battling over pixels". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  6. ^ Lyons, Kim (28 March 2022). "Reddit is bringing back r/Place, its April Fools' Day art experiment". The Verge. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b Weinberger, Matt (4 April 2017). "Over 1 million Reddit users waged a virtual war to create this bizarre work of art with 16 million pixels". Business Insider Australia. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Cuthbertson, Anthony (11 April 2017). "From Van Gogh to a marriage proposal, Reddit Place was the internet's best experiment yet". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b Chen, Bodong; Håklev, Stian; Rosé, Carolyn Penstein (2021), Cress, Ulrike; Rosé, Carolyn; Wise, Alyssa Friend; Oshima, Jun (eds.), "Collaborative Learning at Scale", International Handbook of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 163–181, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-65291-3_9, ISBN 978-3-030-65291-3, retrieved 5 April 2022
  10. ^ Muckensturm, Baptiste (5 April 2022). "La mosaïque sur Reddit qui entraina une guerre mondiales à coup de pixels" [The mosaic on Reddit that led to a world war with pixels]. France Culture (in French). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  11. ^ Weinberger, Matt. "Reddit's new 'Place' is forcing millions of users to work together to make something great". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  12. ^ Tindale, James (4 April 2017). "Reddit Place: April Fool's experiment reveals how the internet sees Australia". The Australian. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  13. ^ a b Vachher, Prateek; Levonian, Zachary; Cheng, Hao-Fei; Yarosh, Svetlana (17 October 2020), "Understanding Community-Level Conflicts Through Reddit r/place" (PDF), Conference Companion Publication of the 2020 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 401–405, doi:10.1145/3406865.3418311, ISBN 978-1-4503-8059-1, S2CID 222838256, retrieved 5 April 2022
  14. ^ Litherland, Kristina T. (29 March 2022). "Instruction vs. emergence on r/place: Understanding the growth and control of evolving artifacts in mass collaboration". Computers in Human Behavior. 122: 106845. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2021.106845.
  15. ^ "Eagles, Flyers represented in final version of Reddit's 'Place' social experiment". PhillyVoice. 3 April 2017. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  16. ^ Oxford, Nadia (3 April 2017). "Here's the Best Game Fan Art from Reddit's r/place Canvas". USgamer. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  17. ^ Hathaway, Jay (3 April 2017). "A new phenomenon is taking over Reddit—here's what you should know about it". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 11 August 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  18. ^ Israeli, Abraham; Kremiansky, Alexander; Tsur, Oren (25 April 2022). "This Must Be the Place: Predicting Engagement of Online Communities in a Large-scale Distributed Campaign". Proceedings of the ACM Web Conference 2022. WWW '22. Association for Computing Machinery: 1673–1684. arXiv:2201.05334. doi:10.1145/3485447.3512238. ISBN 978-1-4503-9096-5. S2CID 245986682.
  19. ^ a b Purdom, Clayton (3 April 2017). "Reddit gave its users something to fight over besides anime and cucks". A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  20. ^ Serrels, Mark. "Place Was The Internet, In All Its Glory". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  21. ^ Rhode, Jason (3 April 2017). "Redditors Collaborate to Create the Iconic Picture of Our Time". pastemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  22. ^ Machkovech, Sam (4 April 2017). "Did Reddit's April Fool's gag solve the issue of online hate speech?". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Reddit's April Fools' Joke Spawned a Surprisingly Awesome Social Experiment". Nerdist. 4 April 2017. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  24. ^ Litherland, Kristina Torine (2018). "Together you can create something more: Social Structures and Practice of 21st Century Skills in Mass Collaboration." Master thesis, University of Oslo. p. 8. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  25. ^ Duarte, Emanuel Felipe; Baranauskas, M. Cecília C. (22 October 2018). "Revisiting Interactive Art from an Interaction Design Perspective: Opening a Research Agenda". Proceedings of the 17th Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems. IHC 2018. Association for Computing Machinery: 1–10. doi:10.1145/3274192.3274227. ISBN 978-1-4503-6601-4. S2CID 53503370.
  26. ^ "/r/Place Palette". lospec.com. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  27. ^ Rauwerda, Annie (28 March 2022). "Reddit is bringing back beloved digital art experiment, r/Place". Input. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  28. ^ a b c d Gach, Ethan (5 April 2022). "Reddit Is Hosting What May Be The Internet's Most Wholesome Fan War". Kotaku. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  29. ^ a b Clairouin, Olivier (4 April 2022). "Sur le forum " r/place " de Reddit, l'incroyable bataille de pixels entre internautes du monde entier" [On Reddit's "r/place" forum, the incredible battle of pixels between Internet users from all over the world]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  30. ^ a b c Lin, Connie (6 April 2022). "r/Place comes together as a big win for Reddit on its road to IPO". Fast Company. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  31. ^ Santana, Steven (4 April 2022). "Texas symbolism is embarrassingly absent in Reddit's big art project r/Place". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 5 April 2022. UPDATE: It seems it's too late for Texas to add anything to r/Place. Around 5:50 p.m. Reddit users could only place white pixels on the mural. People who were trying to maintain their pieces started to erase them unintentionally.
  32. ^ a b Childs, Andrew (4 April 2022). "How r/place – a massive and chaotic collaborative art project on Reddit – showcased the best and worst of online spaces". The Conversation. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  33. ^ Baldacchino, Julien (5 April 2022). "Pourquoi des internautes du monde entier bataillent pour des pixels sur le site Reddit" [Why people around the world are fighting for pixels on Reddit]. France Inter (in French). Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  34. ^ a b Williams, Demi (4 April 2022). "xQc reports getting numerous death threats over Reddit's 'Place' canvas". NME. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  35. ^ a b Patterson, Calum (4 April 2022). "xQc breaks his Twitch viewership record as viral r/Place art stream censored by Reddit". Dexerto.
  36. ^ Datuin, Sage (4 April 2022). "xQc says he's received more death threats in April than past 6 years combined thanks to viral r/Place art streams". Dot Esports. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  37. ^ "2022 r/place Palette". lospec.com. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  38. ^ "r/place 2022 DAY2 Palette". lospec.com. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  39. ^ "r/place 2022 DAY3 Palette". lospec.com. Retrieved 7 April 2022.

External links[edit]