r/place the Collaborative Canvas
This past month Reddit unveiled their April Fools joke, r/place, the 1024 x 1024 pixel shared HTML 5 space that allowed users to place a pixel of color ( 16 colors total to choose from ) every 5 minutes. This time lapse between each placement created an environment that required users to band together if they wanted to create anything of substance. This subreddit boomed and after only a couple days had 220,000 subscribers.
At first it started out as color blocks, r/thebluecorner, r/greenlattice etc. but soon it evolved into much more, with flags of nations and logos of games such as OSU coming out of the muddled colors. It rapidly turned into a Turf war as different subreddits fought to keep their flag looking good while also trying to expand their territory and defend against color invaders. Meanwhile the rainbow road shot across the entire canvas soaking up a tremendous amount of space, kept up by the rabid reddit users who defended the rainbow road for the glory of their Lord Helix whom sat on a large piece of real estate right in the middle of the canvas.
Just as it seemed that the everyone had found their place, all territory was locked down for the most part, all users where mainly on defense or clean up when the “void” started. A black mass with the faintest outline of the pink floyd prism started to grow but what came out of those early forms was a territory hungry monster, users bent on taking over or ruining the images or flags other users had created. This is when the scripting really took hold, some users figured out they could just write scripts to look at a specific area and place down the correct pixel color for an area without the user being there. This still did not stop the void from trying to consume the entire canvas but it surely helped close down r/place.
On April 3rd, 2017 r/place closed down, the image was locked in forever and websites that offered similar experiences came forward that promised to stop the use of scripts on their website. Once it was all done and said Redditors began to analyze the experience and create visual representations of the events of the previous 3 days had went. This included Heat Maps, and 3d overviews of hot spots on the canvas. For an April Fools joke, r/place became incredibly popular this past month and won’t be forgotten soon.
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