/r/place: Reddit’s Social Experiment
April 20, 2017
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This year on April 1st instead of trying to fool its users with yet another mindless prank, Reddit instead decided to launch a social experiment. A team of 17 different users created a canvas of 1000 x 1000 pixels that anybody could paint on. The catch was that you could only place one pixel at a time, and you had to wait 10 minutes between each pixel. The canvas was open to everybody who had owned a Reddit account, and at times reached a population of over 100,000 people at once. The canvas started blank but quickly filled up with random pixels. As we can see in this time-lapse, courtesy of Reddit user /u/Gurken2108, that order started to form when legions of people flooded the corners with color. Red populated the top right corner, purple populated the top left, and green populated the bottom left. The bottom right was where the notorious blue corner arose, at one point taking up almost an eighth of the entire canvas. Slowly, people started organizing into groups. The rainbow was built, followed by He-Man and Skeletor, followed soon after by the Mona Lisa. Many subreddits, or Reddit communities, banded together to leave their mark on the canvas. Soon, the canvas was covered top to bottom with memes and in-jokes. In the end, what can only be described as a work of art came out from the mayhem that was /r/place. On April 3rd, /r/place was shut down. Instead of a senseless gag on April Fools day, the Reddit community built a masterpiece.