r/place Became a Phenomenon on Reddit, but Will the Page Ever Come Back?


Apr. 5 2022, Published 9:56 a.m. ET

By its very nature, the internet is a reflection of the people who spend their time on it, but rarely do we get such clear proof of that as we did on the r/place subreddit. The page was only active for five days, and now that it's closed, many are naturally wondering whether there will be another r/place at some point in the future. For now, though, those who loved r/place will have to wait.

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What was r/place on Reddit?

r/place was created by Wordle creator Josh Wardle, and it originally began in 2017. At that time, the project lasted for 72 hours, and was designed to be an evolving art piece. In collaboration with other Reddit users, you could change one pixel at a time on a massive canvas in order to create a work of art that was one piece of a massive collage. Each user could only change one pixel every five minutes.

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Once your artwork has been created, the job isn't over, though. You then have to defend your artwork from other communities who want to take over your space for their own creation. As a result, the canvas is constantly shifting, and thousands of users are required to defend even a small portion of the space from outside incursion. The r/place that recently wrapped up followed the same general principles, although this one lasted for five days instead of three.

On the canvas, you could see everything from various national flags to a tribute to Ukraine to QR codes that linked to strange corners of the internet. The effort required to create these works of art is painstaking, but the limited time commitment of r/place makes it feasible for a large community to create and hold a piece of the canvas to ensure that it makes it onto the finished piece.

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When will r/place be back?

There was a five year gap between the first version of r/place and the one that just finished, so it's unclear when another version of the subreddit may be active, but it could be quite some time. One of the joys of something like r/place is that it doesn't exist forever. The chief joy of it is the way it forces users to create a vested interest in something and then devote concentrated time to it.

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That's not to say that there weren't some shenanigans on r/place, but that's ultimately part of the appeal. r/place represented both the best and worst of the what the internet can be, and if it was a more common occurrence, it would stop feeling so special.

There hasn't been any firm announcement as to when another one may come together, but those who enjoyed the subreddit shouldn't expect another one too soon. Like all of the best things in life, r/place is ultimately a fleeting experience. The Redditors who participated, and even those who watched on from afar, should appreciate the time they had with it and understand that its value comes from how rare it is.

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