What is a “pixel war” that burns the web with fire and blood?

Blank r/Places, a collaborative experience curated by Reddit, is back in action this year to present four days of all-out digital war.

Reddit is one of the most heterogeneous bush in the web ecosystem. It’s a massive platform where very serious discussions take place, but it’s also a veritable digital court of miracles that sometimes gives rise to communities and projects to say the least…surprise. And with r/places, one of the most important initiatives in the platform’s history is to return, to the enjoyment of the Reds but also of all Internet users.

It all started on April 1, 2017 in subreddit (a kind of sub-forum) called r/place. This is where Josh Wardle, famous inventor of Wordle puzzles, came up with a concept as simple as that of a pie; He created a large white digital canvas on which each user could paint a pixel every five minutes.

After a few hours of latency, r/place exploded; In two stages, three moves, a large portion of this enormous platformer rushed onto the canvas to color in a collaborative way. And this is where the concept gets interesting, especially thanks to the nature of Reddit.

In fact, the platform has been divided into different sections (“subreddits‘), each corresponding to a theme (video game, series, etc.). By extension, this subreddits Also and above all defining the communities associated with them. These are sometimes rather large groups numerically, and each of these clans has its own folklore based on a common passion, Memes And’jokes inside.

Some of these societies are even so tight-knit that their members wear this identity like a real coat of arms. Inevitably, these tribes very quickly realized that it was possible to coordinate to paint portraits based on the famous painting … From that moment all hell broke loose.

A quiet but cruel war between societies

Suddenly, time stopped on Reddit. all subreddits There’s only one goal left: to have a shop front on the canvas of contention, and with the largest and most impressive sketch possible! And what had to happen: With thousands of separate communities and somewhat limited space, they each started jostling for a corner of the page.

So there is a real war that has emerged. Every moment, the pictograms are trying to grab space from their neighbors to expand. On the other hand, members of the respective community coordinate to maintain the integrity of their “image” by repairing damaged pixels. The more members a subreddit has, the more “soldiers” they can coordinate to gain space.

So we end up with a kind of large-scale multiplayer strategy game, where each entity defines its own strategy. Some societies are particularly active and seek above all to occupy the land, even if this means sacrificing the visual aspect; We can, for example, cite the German and Turkish communities who, after continuous collective efforts, succeeded in securing a large part of the painting.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have smaller but tightly knit societies. Some drew a highly detailed little logo and heroically defended it against the blows of large communities seeking to annex their living space.

Great social experience

All this dynamism has led to the emergence of a veritable small “geopolitical” laboratory. We have witnessed an incredible number of battles that have spawned many tales in the service of an epic digital saga. We can, for example, cite the Long Way of the Cross of Canadians. The latter somehow attempted to paint the famous emblem of the country while the rest of society enjoyed the result, and was not always too loyal to the original maple leaf.

We can also cite “EmptyIt’s a kind of black spot that spreads from diagram to diagram and devours neighboring images like a tumor. This element, which has become iconic, made a big comeback for the 2022 fiscal year.

As always, the tone wasn’t always good. Apparently some of the troublemakers have enjoyed drawing illustrations that are offensive, or even simply inappropriate. But overall, this new “pixel war” continues to rage in a relaxed, but ruthless mood.

In the end, r/place is also a great social experience that demonstrates the strange dynamics of this very special area of ​​the Internet. Under her terrifying, not to mention useless air, she would have succeeded in showing that despite their differences, humans instinctively tend to cooperate, sometimes with very amazing results.

This April 4th will be the fourth and final day of the 2022 edition. Once the event is over, it will be enough to look at the final version of the image to decide who will be the big “winners” of the year. It would also be interesting to read a file subreddit r/place for a few days has been filled with stories and anecdotes reported by millions of users who have embarked on digital skirmishes that are as funny as they are entertaining.

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