RSVPed: Attending Catch up over a cup of delicious coffee (or tea)

Catch up over a cup of delicious coffee (or tea)

Friday, May 1, 2020, 9:00 AM Lancaster, GB

2 Members Went

** moved to an online meetup until the 😷 situation gets better – see link under Venue ** Open to anyone working in digital who’s around on a Friday morning. A chance to share inspiration or frustration with a crowd of like minded people working on similar stuff. Subscribe to our (short and interesting) weekly newsletter:…

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Replied to On Wikis, Blogs and Note Taking by Ton Zijlstra

Yesterday I participated in, or more accurately listened in on, a IndieWeb conversation on wikis and their relationship to blogs (session notes).
I didn’t feel like saying much so kept quiet, other than at the start during a (too long) intro round where I described how I’ve looked at and used wi…

Really great to read your thoughts on this, Ton! 15+ years is a lot of experience. I also came across a post from Lilia Efimova related to the wiki/blog combo from a BlogWalk salon from 2004(!) – My dream wiki/weblog tool.

I feel both hemmed in by how my blog in its setup puts flow above stock, and how a wiki assumes stock more than flow.

I think you are right and that perhaps we are restricted by thinking about this in terms of wikis and blogs, because there is a lot of preconceptions associated with each of those. Perhaps thinking at the level of values/requirements, about something which can help us produce both stock and flow, can help us think about the process first, and then later comes the thinking about what tool or combo of tools can support us with that.

I often struggle with the assumed path of small elements to slightly more reworked content to articles.

I really like the ideas of patterns, constellations, Gestalts. Constellations is naturally quite close to the idea of connecting the dots! For my wikiblog to help me learn and grow my ideas, it definitely needs to help me see these constellations. I do sometimes wonder about the merits of making every concept as small as possible. Perhaps in the right context, yes, but I don’t feel that doing it dogmatically will always be helpful.

visualisations may point to novel constellations for me, emerging from the collection and jumble of stuff in the wiki. That I think is powerful.

I am hoping to explore a bit more how some of the mapping and bi-directional links in org-roam might help me with this.

Perhaps the ultimate requirement is for something that helps us see the constellations of our thoughts? I think for me this will be part stream (for sharing/receiving ideas from others), part note-taking tool, part garden, part visualisation.

Plus plenty of staring out of the window, away from tools!

Read Can Blogs and Wiki Be Merged? (Hapgood)

I’ve been thinking lately about the architecture underlying blogs and wiki, how different these architectural choices are (RSS, revision histories, title-as-slug, etc), and whether it’s…

Nice article from Mike Caulfield on blogs, wikis, and whether we could/should try to merge them into one thing.

Wiki and blogs have two different cultures, two different idioms, two different sets of values.

Interestingly, Mike thinks they should be kept distinct. However, it does feel like his analysis of wikis is not thinking of them as personal wikis. Some of the values Mike mentions for wikis (like minimization of personal voice) maybe applied to the original wiki concept, but do not apply to personal wikis.

Yesterday I attended a very fun pop-up IndieWebCamp session on streams, blogs and wikis.

The Garden and the Stream

Around 25 people joined online over the course of the session.


It was a wide-ranging discussion on lots of wiki-adjacent topics. One of the things I really liked was the plurality of both the reasons for having a wiki, and of the tools people use to do it. Very IndieWeb.

Some parts of it that stuck in my brain:

  • the link between the stream and the garden, and when you write in one or the other
  • what actually are personal wikis? What do people use them for?
  • mind maps, memory palaces
    • historical examples of externalising memories, like walkabouts
  • how do you structure your garden for yourself, and for others
    • is transclusion a good way to navigate ideas? Is the loss of narrative a problem?
  • bidirectional links or backlinks
    • renewed interest in this (is this thanks to Roam?), but mostly focused on internal backlinks in your own wiki
    • can we use webmentions as a mechanism for bidirectional links across sites?

There was way more discussed than that. I think given the interest and the breadth of topics, it would be fun to get together semi-regularly.

You can check out the notes and the recording for a lot more: The Garden and the Stream.

Bookmarked Getting started with TiddlyWiki: a beginner’s tutorial by an author (Ness Labs)

If you are looking for an open source alternative to Roam Research, TiddlyWiki is your best bet. Because it’s self-hosted—meaning you keep your data private—it may seem a bit more daunting to get started. So here is a guide which will take you from complete beginner to completely in love …

Using TiddlyWiki as an alternative to Roam.
Prompted by a conversation with Ellie yesterday…

I sometimes think probably some appreciation comes from listening to the music in computer games as a kid. (And, maybe, for the more experimental stuff, the screech of the tape loader on the Amstrad… And the dial-up modem later on…)

The first electronic songs that I can remember? I remember my brother had a tape called ‘The Ultimate Rave‘, from 92. So that would have been around when I was 10. I remember the Charly song from that, although the album version is way better. I listened to Experience a lot. He also had ‘Rave 92‘, I still remember a bunch of tracks from that fondly… On A Ragga Tip, The Bouncer, Ravin’ I’m Raving.

So then The Prodigy, The Shamen, a bit later the Chemical Brothers. I have a distinct memory at some point of watching No Limits by 2 Unlimited on some music programme when at my grandparents house.

My Mum liked Orbital, so we had a bunch of their early albums around – Snivilisation, Insides, the brown one.

At some point (around college time I guess?), I started getting into IDM. Warp (Autechre, Boards of Canada) and Skam (Jega) being the labels that kicked me off. Where did that come from? I think that was me going off into my own territory at that point, possibly with some assist from Michael. I distinctly remember teaching myself how to make websites while listening to Tri Repetae on repeat. College? Pre-uni?

It’s mostly been the more IDM side of things since then.

I started my wiki with pretty long pages, lots of thoughts bunched together. I didn’t think that much about structure, as I just wanted somewhere to chuck my ideas, and it worked great. After building up it up for about a month or so, though, I started feeling the need for something that makes it easier to link concepts together.

That tends to then lead you to towards things like zettelkasten and the philosophy of tiddlers. Breaking everything up into small chunks that can be linked together (‘collecting the dots‘).

I like the way that TiddlyWiki and FedWiki do it. Roam seems to be the latest hot new thing along those lines. And I found org-roam has helped with this for my own setup.

There is much to be said for the zettelkasten / tiddler approach. But – also I think the long player is vital too. The occassional connecting of the dots into longer-forms (AKA articles). It’s a type of path or a thread of your ideas, made sense of and hand-curated at a point in time by yourself, to share with others. Sitting somewhere between the garden and the stream? It’s kind of an entry point into your garden that your share into the stream.

Lately, I’ve been hitting a rich seam of classic articles out there, 5 years old or more, that would have been lost in time if just in a stream, and replanted or paved over by now if just part of the garden.

(And, side note, some of my wiki pages are still pretty long.)

In a way, in terms of audience, I currently think of my personal wiki as ‘me first’, although not ‘me only’. A personal wiki could be completely private, and that’s a totally legit use case. However for me having it public has a big benefit – sharing my ideas and learning from feedback is a motivator to writing for me. But I think of it as ‘me first’, in that if there was some pressure to make it really polished, I would probably hardly ever write in it.

I think the important thing is whatever motivates you to write, at the same time as removing the friction. That probably changes from person to person.