Programing Language: Qi lisp, Mark Tarver, Marketing

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Why Qi Lisp Fails and Clojure Succeeds

Xah Lee, 2011-06-17, 2011-10-19

I was just putting my rant on lisp's cons on my website, and in the process, i made a link to the logo for Qi lisp the language, and tried to revisit Qi's home page, then i discovered, for the nth time, how bad is Mark Tarver's marketing of Qi lang.

Qi logo mid
Qi Lisp Language Logo

Mark Tarver, a great computer scientist, inventor of the award-winning functional language Qi, is really the world's worst marketer. Of the few announcements he occasionally posted here (on comp.lang.lisp) about his project, often, the links are broken, or the video file of his lecture not playable.

While i was visiting Qi's home page today at, first thing is that the first link, and most important link, “The Shen Project”, is a broken link 〔〕. C'mon, that's first link on the home page.

Here's some example how bad is Qi language's marketing. If you google “qilang”, you get this page at Google: 〔〕 that's some mirror site with dead activity! No explanation on current status neither. Second top result is 〔〕, it's another bad representation. It's not clear it's a mirror, or abandoned site, or whatnot. The rest links on the result page is unrelated. The Qi home page of 〔〕 is not on the first page of search results! (if you Google “qi lang” (2 separate words), the result is worse. The first page has nothing related to computer, except 1 old blog i wrote about qi.)

Compare, another new lisp derived lang Clojure. Check its home page at or try web search it. You can see the huge difference.

I understand that we are all busy, that a academic are not expert webmasters, and sometimes a few broken link or page with outdated info are inevitable, but Qi's broken links and home page not found by Google indicates the worst of the worst of marketing skills.

It's not about marketing per se, but a minimum care-taking of presentation.

Qi really should have a dedicated domain name. qi, qilang, sheng (.org or .com). I understand that Dr Mark Tarver leads a very simple life, practices Taoism to some extreme. A dedicated domain is just $10 bucks a year. Web hosting is about $5 a month. Even if you live below poverty, these should be doable. The site design is really bad too. it's like 1990s personal home page, which it really actually is. Am curious at the moment, so i took a look at the source code: <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage Express 2.0"> LOL! That's a laymen's product for writing html, and has been obsolete for like, 10 years?

PS am more than happy to be a webmaster of whatever help i can do. At least fix up broken links. There are lots tools to check for dead links … and lots of SEO stuff one can easily do. At least you want the page to come up when people search for Qi, qilang, or “qi lang”

For those curious, Dr Mark Tarver has here a page describing Sheng the language, a next generation of Qi. See: A personal appeal for the Shen project by Dr Mark Tarver. @ Source if you are a programer with a day job, a small donation i think is proper.


2011-10-19 Qi now has a new homepage, at

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