The Story Of R/place

Where it began and where it is now.

By, Fair use,

By, Fair use,

By: Oliver Tabbal, Journalist

R/place is a huge event on the social media site reddit, that has taking over the internet around April 2022. For those who don’t know, Reddit is a site with hundreds of thousands of smaller pages called “subreddits”, where you can interact with people with anything at all in common with you. This can range from your country to your personal interests. You can also look at discussions between other people on a wide variety of topics.

One of the subreddits on Reddit is called r/place. It has a very simple concept: there is a large canvas, and y0u can place a pixel on it every 5-20 minutes. It was created by Josh Wardle, the same person who made the very popular game “Wordle”. The thing is though, it was only active for less than 10 days total, a few in 2017 and a few in 2022. They both started on April fools day as a joke, but turned into something much bigger and better.

R/place in 2017 was not as big, but it started the whole thing. There was a 1000 by 1000 pixel canvas, and 16 total colors to choose from. The first couple of hours in this experiment were mostly chaos, with there being random pixels everywhere and some small attempts to make images. Later, tons of subreddits from a wide selection of topics bean creating images and defending them from other people. This can range from video games to countries to sports team fans all wanting to be represented on the canvas. In the end product, some of the main features were flags from so many different countries all over the place, A giant picture of the mona lisa, a corner completely colored blue, and video game logos all over. When it was over, r/place was recognized as a way to show how cooperation between people from all over the world, and it was even called, “The internet’s best experiment yet,” by Newsweek. No one thought it would ever come back, but it eventually did.

A reboot of r/place was announced for april fools day 2022. This time, it was bigger, better, and had a larger following. On the third day, it had twice the color palate, and a 2000 by 2000 pixel canvas. The project opened up with country flags being the dominant thing on the canvas. The rest of the canvas was attempts to make an image by small communities on reddit. As the days progressed, the canvas got bigger and more complete with images and memes fully formed and country flags still dominating. There were more large pieces of art and coordinated projects, because of one thing 2022 r/place had over 2017. Streamers. They can tell a small army of thousands of people to make whatever they want, and it usually works. Some big streamers were creating art, and some were destroying it. Overall, this was a positive for r/place, as it looks even better at the end. This also spawned many memes, like canada not being able to figure out how to make a maple leaf or france’s flag taking over the entire bottom left corner. At the end of the experiment, the entire canvas was whited out, and it was officially over.






This project has stopped, but here is where it used to be: