Over 1 million Reddit users waged a virtual war to create this bizarre work of art with 16 million pixels

On Friday, Reddit unveiled “Place”  — the latest in its streak of annual social experiments celebrating April Fools’ Day. On Monday morning, “Place” came to an end. Here’s how it went.

Basically, Reddit Place was a huge, collaborative canvas accessible on Reddit for desktop, iOS, and Android. It’s almost like a massively multiplayer Microsoft Paint, where every Reddit user gets to paint one “tile” on the canvas every five minutes. That time limit means that users are forced to work together to do anything more meaningful than a random scribble.

Reddit rose to the challenge: At the time of its grand finale, Reddit tells Business Insider, over one million Reddit users had painted more than sixteen million tiles on the Place canvas. Immediately before the end, over 90,000 users were simultaneously viewing the canvas and placing tiles. 

And what they have come up with was actually pretty amazing. Here’s the final state of the Place canvas:

Reddit place high resRedditNote the Mona Lisa, the bizarre ‘Star Wars’ monologue, all the flags, and a bunch of little details besides.

Like Reddit’s previous social experiments, “The Button” and “Robin,” Reddit Place has caused the link-sharing site’s users to turn against each other. Individual “subreddit” communities are staking claims to different areas of the canvas, resulting in turf wars as each group looks to expand the size of their own project.

For instance, check out this user-made animation of a key battle over the American flag, as other users tried to paint over it:

And drama erupted as the players of popular online game “Osu!” took over a chunk of key real estate, near the bottom of the screen, briefly turning the canvas into an Osu-versus-everybody-else war. That battle was visualized by a Reddit user as a 3D map of where tiles were getting placed:

The war of the osu sign, shown in 3d by stacking changes from place

All in all, it looks like Reddit had another successful April Fools’ experiment. And this time, there’s actually a finished product to stand back and admire.


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