Logo of the project
The final Place canvas (reduced size)
|Users||Over 1 million|
|Launched||1 April 2017|
Place was a collaborative project and social experiment hosted on the social networking site Reddit that began on April Fools' Day in 2017. The experiment involved an online canvas 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 about 72 hours after its creation, on April 3, 2017. Over 1 million users edited the canvas, placing a total of approximately 16 million tiles, and, at the time the experiment was ended, over 90,000 users were actively viewing or editing. The experiment was commended for its representation of the culture of Reddit’s online communities, and of Internet culture as a whole.
The experiment was based in a subreddit called /r/place, in which registered users could place a single coloured pixel (or "tile") on an empty canvas of one million (1000x1000) pixel squares, and wait a certain amount of time before placing another. The waiting time varied from 5 to 20 minutes throughout the experiment, and the user could choose their pixel’s colour from a palette of sixteen colours.
The early hours of the experiment 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 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 Mona Lisa and The Starry Night. Several "cults" also formed to create and maintain various emblematic features such as a black void, green lattice, the aforementioned blue corner and a multi-colored "rainbow road". At the time of the experiment’s end on April 3, 2017, over 90,000 users were viewing and editing the canvas, and over one million users had placed a total of approximately 16 million tiles.
The idea of 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". The Foundation for Economic Education described it as a "microcosm of the emergent, spontaneous order that characterize[s] society", with Gizmodo labelling it as a "testament to the internet's ability to collaborate". A number of commentators described the experiment as a broader 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", and a 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.
- Poietic Generator, a similar collaborative pixel art work
- The Button, Reddit’s April Fools' Day experiment in 2015
- The Million Dollar Homepage, a 1000×1000 pixel website where each pixel was sold for a dollar
- "How We Built r/Place". Upvoted. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Rappaz, Jérémie (2018). "Latent Structure in Collaboration: The Case of Reddit r/place". International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media.
- 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. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Cuthbertson, Anthony (11 April 2017). "From Van Gogh to a marriage proposal, Reddit Place was the internet's best experiment yet". Newsweek. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- Weinberger, Matt. "Reddit's new 'Place' is forcing millions of users to work together to make something great". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Tindale, James (4 April 2017). "Reddit Place: April Fool's experiment reveals how the internet sees Australia". The Australian. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- "Eagles, Flyers represented in final version of Reddit's 'Place' social experiment". PhillyVoice. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Oxford, Nadia. "Here's the Best Game Fan Art from Reddit's r/place Canvas". USgamer. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Voon, Claire (12 April 2017). "More Than a Million Strangers Collaborate, Pixel by Pixel, on a Digital Canvas". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Hathaway, Jay (3 April 2017). "A new phenomenon is taking over Reddit—here's what you should know about it". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Purdom, Clayton (3 April 2017). "Reddit gave its users something to fight over besides anime and cucks". A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Groenendal, Tyler (1 April 2017). "In Reddit's "Place" Project, Order Emerges One Pixel at a Time | Tyler Groenendal". fee.org. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Serrels, Mark. "Place Was The Internet, In All Its Glory". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Rhode, Jason. "Redditors Collaborate to Create the Iconic Picture of Our Time". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Machkovech, Sam. "Did Reddit's April Fool's gag solve the issue of online hate speech?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- "Reddit's April Fools' Joke Spawned a Surprisingly Awesome Social Experiment | Nerdist". Nerdist. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.