Reddit’s 2022 Reddit Place experiment is over – here’s the final image…
Reddit’s r/place started up again in April, after a four-year hiatus. Launched on April 1, 2022, r/place was a huge deal for the social network, seeing millions of users contribute to the canvas over the course of a few days.
The original r/place first launched in 2017, again, only running for several days. During this time, hundreds of thousands of Reddit users made their mark on r/place. But 2022’s r/place was an even larger, more impressive event.
Final r/place Picture
If you weren’t aware, Reddit’s r/place is a massive social experimentwhere by the platform’s users are given free rein over a million pixel (1000 x 1000) canvas that is hosted over at the r/place subreddit.
Each user – or contributor – to r/place, once joined, can add a single pixel to the canvas. Once you’ve added your pixel, you’re locked out from making any changes for 20 minutes or so. And if that sounds weird, wait until you see what happens next.
Reddit’s r/place Rules
- The board must be 1000 tiles by 1000 tiles so it feels very large.
- All clients must be kept in sync with the same view of the current board state, otherwise, users with different versions of the board will have difficulty collaborating.
- We should support at least 100,000 simultaneous users.
- Users can place one tile every 5 minutes, so we must support an average update rate of 100,000 tiles per 5 minutes (333 updates/s).
- The project must be designed in such a way that it’s unlikely to affect the rest of the site’s normal function even with very high traffic to r/place.
- The configuration must be flexible in case there are unexpected bottlenecks or failures. This means that board size and tile cooldown should be adjustable on the fly in case data sizes are too large or update rates are too high.
- The API should be generally open and transparent so the Reddit community can build on it (bots, extensions, data collection, external visualizations, etc) if they choose to do so.
As with the first iteration of r/place, teams of Reddit users worked together to create digital pieces of art on r/place’s canvas. This task, the process of building something pixel by pixel, requires a huge amount of coordination.
In the end, we had flags, people’s faces, and memorials all featured in surprising detail on the final r/place image. I left a single pixel when r/place relaunched but I have no idea how you’d go about organizing tens of thousands of pixels to form a picture? This alone demonstrates the inventiveness and power of Reddit when it is used collaboratively.
Here’s what Reddit had to say about what it learned from its r/place project:
We learned from the original experiment that people online are naturally collaborative, that redditors are more creative than we are, and that Reddit is a place where great things blossom,” said Alex Le, EVP Strategy and Special Projects at Reddit. “April Fools’ Day on Reddit has a history of inspiring how we build new features on the platform. From Robin inspiring our real-time chat product to Circle of Trust inspiring real-time comment and upvote counts, April Fools’ Day provides Reddit a period to test infrastructure at a large scale and try things that are new and off the wall. We look forward to seeing what collaboration happens on r/place this year and learning how we can better our platform
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the publisher and owner of KnowYourMobile.