Open Tribes is a platform that allows anyone intelectually curious - no matter who and where they are - to participate in interesting, meaningful projects.


It all starts with project proposals which consist of a specific goal, a rough plan and a description that motivates why the project is interesting. Anyone can propose new projects and browse through a list of all project proposals.

Once a sufficient number of users has expressed interest in a project (typically 3-5), a starting date is announced by the project leader. At the starting date, the participants meet online to discuss the project plan. They discussion continues afterwards asynchronously through chat discussions and shared notes. Moreover, there are weekly online live meetings to discuss the everyone's progress and the next steps.

Each project ends with a deliverable. This could be a paper that summarizes the project's results, but also an improved Wikipedia entry or something completely different.
graph TB; id1(project proposal); id2(project starts); id31(discussions); id32(note sharing); id33(live meetings); id4(deliverable); id1-->|once there is sufficient interest|id2; id2-->id31; id2-->id32; id2-->id33; id31---id32; id32---id33; id31-->id4; id32-->id4; id33-->id4;
graph LR proposalA(Noether's theorem); proposalB(stochastic quantization); projectA(Noether's theorem); projectB(stochastic quantization); deliverableA(arXiv paper); deliverableB(Wiki entry); John-->|participates|projectA John-->|publishes|proposalA proposalA-->projectA proposalB-->projectB Sarah-->|participates|projectB Sarah-->|publishes|proposalB Sarah-->|participates|projectA Mike-->|participates|projectB projectA-->deliverableA projectB-->deliverableB subgraph deliverables deliverableA deliverableB end subgraph proposals proposalA proposalB end subgraph projects projectA projectB end subgraph users John; Sarah; Mike; end


In the current academic system an incredibly large talent pool is locked out from participating. The only way to learn intellectually challenging topics seems to be to enroll for years as a full time student at a university. The only way to contribute to the solutions of open questions seems to be to hold an academic position. But how many people have time and money for full time studies? How many academic positions are there and who has a realistic chance of getting one of them?
Academic System

To make matters even worse, interesting projects never get picked up because they are not the kind of thing you can get funding for. The current funding structures favor monocultures since in order to rake up citations you must publish papers on topics that attract many papers by other researchers.

Important contributes like the reduction of research debt are not valued at all and even considered a waste of time. As a result, a lot of implicit knowledge in the world is still not readily available. In addition, there is no funding for risky research and thus most researchers only carry out incremental, planable research. As much as this may sound like bad news, it’s also a reason to be optimistic because the neglect by professional researchers means that outsiders have a real chance of contributing something meaningful.

Another root cause for the diminishing returns in science is that “traditionally taught science and mathematics teach little except obedience”. Since no one is trying to reduce research debt and the teaching methods are so antiquated, most disciplines have failed to “build a portal for most people to even understand what the issues are, what are the objects, what is the game?

Motivated by these observations, we want to provide an alternative framework that allows anyone to participate, to learn, and to discover previously-unknown truths.


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