The r/Place To Be

Every year reddit takes part in April Fool’s Day by changing the site in some small way or adding a new temporary feature. Some of the site’s big pranks in the past were Robin in 2016 and The Button in 2015. They were released without much explanation and led to users separating into groups rather quickly. The pranks tend to take on a social experiment vibe rather quickly.

What if you could create a piece of art with an entire website?

That is the question that led to this year’s April Fool’s prank on reddit.

The announcement of r/place was like that of years before. No real explanation or detail given, just a brief announcement. Most people clicked it and didn’t really understand what they had done as a 5 minute timer popped up and they could no longer pick a color.

However, the mechanics were simple to figure out, even if the first time interacting with it resulted in a random pixel somewhere on the canvas.

Anyone on reddit could place one pixel anywhere. They would then have to wait 5 minutes before they could place another one.

The result is something amazing.

People quickly broke into different factions defending their territory or trying to expand. The limiting power being how many people you could rally around your artistic idea in a short amount of time — or how many bots you could get set up as sometimes was the case.

Every pixel painted.

War and peace were negotiated with pixels. Many factions actually agreed not to cover other work, with the notable exception of The Void.

The Void was a faction of r/place that tried its hardest to paint the entire canvas in black pixels. It was a chaotic faction that would pop up and disappear as people’s whims drew them to one part of the board or another.

There was a lot of hate for the vote and its wanton destruction, but in the end The Void added an interesting villain to the whole experience and made the time-lapse of the 72 hour event a bit more interesting.

Seeing how strangers can come together to create something is amazing.

The fact that the worst villain on the canvas was chaotic black pixels and not something more sinister is a testament to how much fun everyone had with it without being overly mean.

The internet can seem angry and annoyed at everyone and everything, but it’s nice to remember that we can also have fun and be creative if we work together.

Written by John Bauer of Comatose.

Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.

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