OpenGenus for Open Genuses
January 11, 2018 9:58 AM   Subscribe

The fastest growing civilization on the web, making the web safer, run by you, revolutionizing the way people interact with code, in the open-source wilderness. Open Genus is here.
posted by pashdown (26 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Forgive me, but I can't make out what this site is supposed to be for the life of me. Can you explain what this project is meant to be for? I see a lot of advertising claims and a lovely, slick interface, but I can't find an FAQ link or really a way to enter what I think is meant to be a portal.
posted by sciatrix at 10:02 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


Maybe that's the joke?
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:10 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


I think it’s supposed to be like 2018 zombo.com?
posted by Itaxpica at 10:10 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


It looks like a bunch of people talking about code and algorithms, or like a person trying to get other people to build a search engine for free. Seconding Johnny Assay's question.
posted by turkeybrain at 10:15 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Poe's Law for Silicon Valley. Impossible to tell if real or satire.
posted by clawsoon at 10:16 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


here's the github and discussion.

"We are building the next generation unbiased real-time privacy and user-focused code search engine for everyone. We have a full team dedicated to this and you can join us too. Cosmos is our knowledge base which is the World’s largest documentation of algorithms, online challenges and data structures in our World. This is one of the highest impact work done recently and we would love to have you make a mark on this. We aim to build an offline search engine based on our knowledge base."
posted by leotrotsky at 10:17 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


whats with all the XKCD and other stuff being used apparently without attribution?
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:20 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Looking at their github, there's a several ambitious works-in-progress, with an emphasis on offline search. Poking around their discourse forum and medium blog, I get the feeling that main focus of the project is access to compsci materials for people with limited Internet access. They're a little grandiose and ambitious, sure, but posting their project to MeFi is either premature or mean-spirited, and I'm uncomfortable with either option.
posted by zamboni at 10:21 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


> sciatrix:
"Forgive me, but I can't make out what this site is supposed to be for the life of me. Can you explain what this project is meant to be for? I see a lot of advertising claims and a lovely, slick interface, but I can't find an FAQ link or really a way to enter what I think is meant to be a portal."

That was EXACTLY my (non)take. I have ZERO idea what they are about, other than memes and XKCD.
posted by Samizdata at 10:37 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


In the source code of the top page there's a commented-out link to http://www.opengenus.org/whitepaper ; it's returning a 404 right now but the PDF is currently still in the Google cache:
OpenGenus Foundation is a decentralized open source non-profit organization. Our aim is to enable people to work offline for long stretch of time and make research more accessible. We have come a long way since we have started and we focused on keeping our work as simple as possible without compromising our mission. This enabled us to make our projects one of the most contributor friendly projects. At the same time, we, always, envisioned to touch human life. For this, we kept our organization structure as open as possible. Anyone can join us and start a new project or contribute to existing ones. Everyone has equal representation within our organization. Eventually, this resulted in our huge 1000+ member family. We consider this to be our home of the internet.

As we proceed, we envision to be able to reflect human life better than ever and be able to establish a collaboration network so productive that we can eliminate few human thoughts such as:

“I have nothing to do.” “How can I improve human life?” “I have an idea but cannot do it single-handedly.”

In short, we are a massive community with small vi llages (corresponding to projects) where some villages, eventually, becomes a city.
I don't think I want to be lifetouched or have my human thoughts eliminated.
posted by XMLicious at 10:44 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


The github page (which you can get to via a not-super-noticeable icon on the first page) makes much more sense. Maybe the post could be amended to include that?
posted by treepour at 10:45 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


For anyone who, like me, was confused at what seemed like a gaudy splash page with no active links - it's got that delightful* "scroll to change things" effect; you scroll and the next bit of content snaps into place, but there's no actual scrolling.

I find the page substantially less annoying and easier to read by opening it in a separate window which I shrink to about 1/4 of my monitor's area. I have a large monitor; YMMV.

Front page rotating hype includes:
  • The happiest corner on the web
  • The fastest growing decentralized open-source community in the World
  • Imagine a blockchain powered network where your daily activity turns into a social act.
  • We are revolutionize the way people interact with code.
  • Making the web safer
  • We are bringing the best of the web offline
  • A civilization on the web
Other claims include:
  • Everyone can make our World better. You are special believe us.
  • Over 100+ life-changing works in progress
  • This is our laboratory. Conduct your own experiments in the open-source wilderness.
  • (XKCD about creepy friendzone manipulation tactics)
  • Over 1000+ members worldwide. Sponsored by Civilized Discourse Construction Kit Inc.
  • Animated cartoon: We love you - Thank you - Yay
    BECOME A COMMUNITY LEADER TODAY!
  • For press enquiry, story tips and anything else, contact us at team@opengenus.org
    Stick figure sez: See you at OpenGenus
... I wish I were a techbro so I could get investors to throw money at me for slinging buzzwords around and claiming I'm going to "revolutionize the internet." (Well, no, not really. But I wish I could get the money without becoming a techbro.)

* A euphemism. You can probably figure out for what.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:51 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


First thing that regstered on these old fuzzy eyeballs was "imagine a blockchain powered network" and I was relieved to find I couldn't.
posted by parki at 10:57 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


Any other olds remember how, back during the dream time of the web, if you explained the concept of "user-generated content" to a business person their eyes would literally turn into dollar signs and bulge out of their head and there would be a "cha-ching!" sound effect
posted by XMLicious at 11:06 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


XMLicious: Any other olds remember how, back during the dream time of the web, if you explained the concept of "user-generated content" to a business person their eyes would literally turn into dollar signs and bulge out of their head and there would be a "cha-ching!" sound effect

"We forgot to mention one thing - the users will be Nazis."
posted by clawsoon at 11:10 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


> clawsoon:
"XMLicious: Any other olds remember how, back during the dream time of the web, if you explained the concept of "user-generated content" to a business person their eyes would literally turn into dollar signs and bulge out of their head and there would be a "cha-ching!" sound effect

"We forgot to mention one thing - the users will be Nazis.""


So their eyes became a Deutchemark symbol.
posted by Samizdata at 11:14 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


From that whitepaper: Key people include
Aditya Chatterjee (founder), Arnav Borborah, Ernest Chang, David Wu, Vaibhav Shelke, Sidharth Mishra, Hung-Wei Chiu,Vítor Gomes Chagas, Abdous Kamel, Frank Kair, Daipei Hust, Vaibhav Singh, Larry Gray, Jay Turner, İlim Uğur

Paper shows signs of being written by someone whose native language was not English. ("It came into existence during the month of July of 2016 and have been in development ever since....") It's not bad, but there are some odd preposition choices, and combining the phrasing quirks with the hype/propaganda means some parts are confusing and some are near-incomprehensible. For example, one of the key features of team structure is, "Members at a particular level are dynamic."

Chopping through the hype with questions and comments:

OpenGenus Foundation is a decentralized open source non-profit organization.

They don't seem to say that they're actually registered as a non-profit; this seems to be casual geekspeak for "we're not getting paid for this."

We have come a long way since we have started

Aaaand when was that, exactly? Also, this is a null statement, applicable to absolutely any group. "Come a long way" since the zero-point is meaningless; any progress at all is "a lot" for a new project. For it to be meaningful, they'd have to say what they've accomplished so far.

At the same time, we, always, envisioned to touch human life.

This phrasing probably made more sense in its original language. It almost certainly wasn't intended to sound as creepy as it does.

Anyone can join us and start a new project or contribute to existing ones.

Even Nazis? Because for tech/internet projects in 2018, this is actually one of my serious important questions.

Everyone has equal representation within our organization.

Even Nazis?

No, wait; backup. What does "equal representation" mean? Does it mean "we vote on what happens next and majority vote rules?" If I can get 1200 friends to join, can we take over?

... Can Nazis?

We consider this to be our home of the internet.

Assuming that "home on the internet" was intended here... wtf? Your home is... a Discourse channel? A github URL? A website with no social activity? Your facebook page? A club whose members' activities are scattered across all of those?

Setting aside all the hype about "we're the next amazing thing on the internet!" and "microtransactions dude we will end poverty with our clickpay gimmick!," my current main question for any "ALL ARE WELCOME JOIN US IN TECHNO-UTOPIA" plan is: How are you going to keep the Nazis out?

I'll be interested in Club Super Genus when it explains how it's not going to continue the marginalization of women and other vulnerable groups that almost every other code/tech group participates in.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:29 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


Sounds like a student project that got a little traction and probably well meaning but is entering the not well directed fuzz zone and will be enshrined in un maintained repositories until a sysadmin gets around to rm'ing. (which in the age of devops (no actual sysadmins) automated bots may let it sit in cheap storage for a long time)
posted by sammyo at 11:49 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Even if serious and our gawking is just premature, discovering that your project is indiscernible from satire is an important discovery.
posted by deadwax at 12:17 PM on January 11 [10 favorites]


"Can you explain what this project is meant to be for? I see a lot of advertising claims and a lovely, slick interface, but I can't find an FAQ link or really a way to enter what I think is meant to be a portal."

That's been my reaction to Facebook from day one, until it reported its first billion-dollar profit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:32 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Even if serious and our gawking is just premature, discovering that your project is indiscernible from satire is an important discovery.

That's been my reaction to Facebook from day one, until it reported its first billion-dollar profit.
posted by sylvanshine at 12:39 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I think I liked it more when it was 2018 zombo com
posted by Itaxpica at 1:32 PM on January 11


This may be "The Room" of tech startups. A bold statement, I know.

Also, clawsoon just summed up the last 10 years of web history with poetic brevity.
posted by lon_star at 7:39 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


It kind of reminds me when I found ThatGuy.com and was confused until I realized why it existed.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:54 PM on January 11


Imagine a blockchain powered network where your daily activity turns into a social act.
It's no "Have you ever sent a fax from the beach?"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:19 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


This is looking very Time Cube to me.

I took a look at "Quark: the world's first offline search engine." First, I browsed the sources and then I installed it as a Chrome extension (so you don't have to.) It's just a bunch of programming examples with a (bad) search added to it.

Which is a useful thing by itself, sure, but the call it The World's First Offline Search Engine. None of those words are true. If they'd called it "Offline programming reference", I'd be fine with it, but it's not a search engine.

(It's also a terrible reference program. Examples are displayed as raw files so there's no formatting or highlighting at all and the browser will sometimes try to interpret or download them instead of showing the code. There's also no browsing; just a straight word search.)

This looks to me like the work of someone with grand ambitions and a poor understanding of how difficult this stuff really is and who's trying to attract better-skilled contributors by presenting the appearance of an organization.
posted by suetanvil at 10:12 AM on January 12


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