In a recent class project, I invited the public to comment on “God’s” universe source code. Here’s what happened.
For the past couple of weeks, someone has maintained a code repo on GitHub under the pseudonym “YHWH-333.” The code in this repository doesn’t actually do anything, and likely wouldn’t even compile. However, anyone stumbling the repo might find it a bit unusual, as the owner claims that it contains the source code to the universe itself. And who else could the owner be but God Almighty Himself‽
As a means of subverting GitHub to fulfill a narrative, I played God for a couple weeks and reached out in class and on Reddit for people to comment, give bug reports, and even submit pull requests (suggestions for additions/changes to the code itself). While the response was not quite as expansive as I had hoped, I’m very happy with the responses that I got.
Some of my favorite responses to this repo include mention of hypnic jerks…
…questions on human creativity…
…and the disproportionate power that insects have relative to their size.
The inspiration for this project was a combination of my love of code, and the multiple problems humans face every day, from the inconvenient (forgetting what you walked into a room for) to the immensely troubling (why do we naturally elect/promote narcissists to positions of power?). With GitHub being such a “formal” platform, using it to tell a story through pseudocode was, in my own view, a new take on the platform and on digital storytelling as a whole.
I wanted to represent the idea of God as a “holy developer” who ended up in over His head. The trope of a universe’s deit(y/ies) being completely different from what people imagine is a relatively common trope in satire, so taking cues from those types of stories was relatively easy.
The most entertaining part of the project by far was responding to bug reports (under the Issues tab). The idea of God responding to people’s “prayers” in such a direct way is a concept I find incredibly entertaining, and having the opportunity to play that part is something I enjoyed immensely.
I walk away from this project with two takeaways:
- I’m really glad no one got offended.
- On future projects for which I need “crowdsourced” help, Reddit may not be quite as interactive as I’d like.
Overall it was an enjoyable pastime project, and I look forward to future endeavors in unorthodox storytelling.