Reddit Has Brought Back r/Place, And It Is Backfiring Spectacularly

Reddit plans to revive r/Place, a project where users collaborate to edit pixels on a large canvas. However, this comes at a time when users are upset with Reddit for various reasons, such as changes to the API pricing that led to the shutdown of beloved third-party apps, removal of chat history before 2023 without proper notice, and the decision to sunset the current system to introduce Reddit Gold. The 2023 version of r/Place is set to start on Thursday, July 20th.

Users have already started expressing their grievances in response to the announcement. Some are criticizing Reddit’s CEO, while others are mentioning API as a major concern. It appears that the timing of the project’s return is not ideal, and even Reddit seems aware of this as they call it the “right place, wrong time” in their announcement video.

The history of previous r/Place events is interesting, with canvases from 2017 and 2022 featuring a mix of art, country flags, memes, and video game symbols. For the 2023 edition, Reddit is allowing subreddit moderators to “pin” coordinates on the canvas, which could be used by communities to organize protests. Some users have already planned protest art on a dedicated subreddit (r/PlaceAPI) and Discord.

The duration for contributions to this year’s r/Place is uncertain, as the 2017 event lasted 72 hours, and the 2022 edition took four days.

A Reddit admin (employee) shared a series of pushed dates for when r/Place would kick off — it was supposed to go live at the beginning of April but kept getting delayed:

  1. April 1st: The previous two r/Place events were held on April Fools’ Day, so there was a plan to start the 2023 edition on April 1st.
  2. April 20th: Two days after Reddit first announced the API changes (but didn’t announce pricing), Reddit considered starting the r/Place on April 20th.
  3. May 4th: Another potential date for the r/Place event, but it was pushed back from the earlier mentioned dates.
  4. June 15th: Initially planned as the starting date for r/Place, but it coincided with subreddit blackouts and a contentious interview with Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman.
  5. June 23rd: This date was one week before certain apps were set to shut down, so Reddit decided against starting r/Place at that time.
  6. July 20th: Finally, the chosen date for the 2023 version of r/Place, when the collaborative pixel-editing project officially kicks off.

The announcement video also revealed the source of the pixelated Reddit app logo and puzzling images of a fire in a garbage can.

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