Zettelkasten Forum


UPDATE: My attempt to solve the Folgezettel debate

Should you use Folgezettel or not?

Short answer: It doesn't matter. Here's my attempt to put the authors into terms--directly from my Zettelkasten.

One article in the blog refers to the Folgezettel as a redundant feature, which was also defined as:

A Folgezettel is a child to his parent note.

But let me get this straight. The definition was too simplified--too simple that the real purpose got stripped off. If we get the wrong assumption in the first place, then we'll arrive at the wrong conclusion. So let's go back to the start: What's the point of the Folgezettel?

The point of Folgezettel isn't to connect "sub-topics" to its "parent note"—it is to make linking and retrieval easier. With that, I strongly agree that using the Folgezettel as "children" to parent notes completely defeats the purpose of the Zettelkasten. After all, if you're using the Zettelkasten as a second brain, then by definition, it should work like a brain. Brains don't learn by hierarchies alone—but rather, with neural connections that get continued over time as you develop your understanding. In other words, both can coexist.

In that sense, if someone were to use Folgezettel effectively, he should treat each note as a "thought" continued on branches. In other words, treat 11a, 11a1, 11a1a, and 11a1a1 as being on the same level (i.e. as a continuous train of thought) rather than as having a hierarchical relationship. I get that it's easy to think that the Folgezettel is hierarchical—that note "11a" is a parent to "11a1". But here's the deal: Sometimes that happens, but it's more of an exception than the rule. Daniel Ludecke, the creator of ZKN3, clarifies this (emphasis mine):

This impression may come from the fact that technically implementing such a feature with a so-called tree component requires a root element – with all following elements being "children“, thus it seems that the first element – the root – defines a specific category. But, all notes in a note sequence are on the same level. There are no categories.

In short, Folgezettel might create hierarchies, but they're not the main thing. Every sequence is on the same level.

Okay, we solved that, but we're not yet close to the big question: "Is it really needed?"

The Value of Folgezettel: Do Direct Links Make It Obsolete?

Yes, another issue of Folgezettel is whether or not it still has value in the advent of wiki-links and easy-to-access digital notes. The argument, written by zettelkasten.de co-founder Sascha, is that:

The possibility to create a direct reference, for example as a link, reduces the importance of the Zettel coming next in the sequence. The technique Folgezettel creates value from the position of a Zettel in the archive. But the technique of creating a link reduces the value of the position of a Zettel.

I get the logic behind it—"we have direct links anyway, why bother using Folgezettel to link notes?". (Please correct me if I'm wrong) Yes, direct links might have reduced the value of linking notes using a Folgezettel, but that is only true if the only purpose of the Folgezettel is to link notes—which is totally not the case.

The case is that:

Direct links allow connection.Folgezettel allows easy continuation. The primary purpose of Folgezettel is to allow following— and thus, continuing—thought trains at a glance, NOT just to link to other notes. The "linking" that happens through the position of the notes are merely a means to an end: to make connections between ideas visible.

Therefore, direct links don't make Folgezettel redundant—they rather complement the Folgezettel. Direct links allow you to connect multiple note sequences, and I believe that's what gives the element of surprise.

That's not to say continuation of thoughts is impossible with direct links. In fact, Sascha has already produced 3 books using direct linking only. Christian Tietze makes progress on 50+ projects at the same time without ever using the Folgezettel. But on the other hand, Luhmann made 90,000 notes work using the Folgezettel technique—that speaks volumes about its value that we can't easily discredit. I agree with Sascha that the Folgezettel "came as a consequence of him [referring to Luhmann] having to deal with a physical Zettelkasten." With 90,000 notecards, it sure is tedious to look at each note just to find connections; Folgezettel solves that problem for him.

But there are three takeaways you can get from that:

  • "Sascha, Christian and many others have done Zettelkasten without Folgezettel, so why use it?"
  • or... "If Luhmann was able to work with 90,000 notes using Folgezettel, then imagine how much better we can do it with digital tools."

I'm leaning toward the latter. But regardless of my stance, if both parties were able to produce great output using the Zettelkasten, then we can conclude that "using Folgezettel or not" is not the point. Following the principles of ZK organization IS the point.

It does NOT matter if you use structure notes nor Folgezettel if you're using the wrong principles. (That said, Sascha's and Christian's method prove to be more foolproof than Folgezettel technique.)

And since we're talking about principles, Luhmann's principles of organizing the Zettelkasten are as follows:

  1. No categories
  2. Linking of related notes
  3. Tagging and register. When linking, you want to have "entry points" of existing topics you want to work on. Otherwise, you're going to look at the index over and over again. This is either your Index in the Folgezettel, or your Structure Notes for UID systems.
  4. Arbitrary "branching" of note sequences. Direct links do this without a problem. But later, you'll see that Folgezettel runs into branching problems sometimes.

As long as you follow these principles, using direct links exclusively or using the Folgezettel (with direct links, of course) does NOT matter.

A minor bug of the Folgezettel

That said, I've mentioned that UID systems are more foolproof than Folgezettel because it's "closer" to the main principles, so to speak. At this note Sascha referenced, apparently Luhmann had to put a note in more than one place:

“Anpassungsfähigkeit”, as you see there, was not only to be found in one place. You could find it in 21/3a7 and 54/14z/1.

But I find this trivial. The solution is simply to duplicate that note from 21/3a7 and just turn that into 54/14z/1. If you're afraid of losing potential connections on the other side, then just link them together. What's the big deal in duplicating it? If anything, this allows you to continue the thought trail from 54/14z/1. Daniel says:

A manual link or reference between two notes is, technically and regarding the context, something different than continuing an idea via Folgezettel (note sequences).

As I've said, direct links form connections. But Folgezettel is a technique you can use that allows you to easily continue your existing thought trains. Daniel continues:

Technically, links and Folgezettel may be similar, and you can emulate the principle* of Folgezettel using links. But the meaning between Folgezettel and "pure" links is very different.

*I disagree that it's a principle. It's a _technique_ to realize the principle of branching.

Direct links can do both branching of ideas and, obviously, linking at the same time. Folgezettel has a limited (1 use) capacity to link and a relatively finite capability for branching, but then it makes the branches visible at a glance.

Just compare this:

To this:

That said, I'm well aware of structure notes—they allow you to continue the trains of thought you see promising, as well as work on multiple projects at the same time, too. That's why they become more and more important as your collection gets bigger.

Summary

  • If Folgezettel is used exclusively for linking, then it has no value because there are direct links, anyway. As we've talked about, the primary purpose of Folgezettel is to allow following— and thus, continuing—thought trains at a glance, NOT just to link to other notes in a sequence. Therefore, there is still value in using Folgezettel: to make existing trains of thought more visible. This is especially helpful if, for some sadistic reason, you're using a Physical Zettelkasten.
  • Direct links allow connections, and Folgezettel allows for easier continuations. But that doesn't mean direct links don't allow for continuations--structure notes help you do that.
  • Many people here have used UID systems with success--producing high-quality content in the process. Luhmann also used Folgezettel with success. If different techniques produced equally great results, then "using Folgezettel or not" is not the point. Following the princples of ZK organization IS the point.
  • The main problem with Folgezettel technique is when you want to continue two disparate trains of thought that contains the same note in the sequence. It's a trivial matter; I proposed a solution to just duplicate the note and link them together "just in case."
  • Folgezettel is a technique to realize the _principle _of branching. Again, these branches become more visible from the index, so it's still valuable as a technique. However, as long as you follow the principles of branching, linking, and indexing your notes, it does NOT matter what technique you use.

Conclusion

So, should you use Folgezettel, Direct Links, or both? I use both, but to be honest: it doesn't matter as long as you realize the main principles of ZK organization:

  1. Bottom-up rather than top-down
  2. Connection of notes
  3. Having entry points
  4. Continuing existing thought trains

I know many prolific knowledge workers like Tiago Forte, Nat Eliason, Shu Omi, Khe Hy, and David Perell who neither use UID's nor Folgezettel but are still producing high-quality content and original insights at a high rate. Most of them use Roam Research; I think it's quite handy for automatic backlinking, but far from ideal for a Zettelkasten you'll use for 30, 40, or 50 years. I'm leaning towards basic tools that rely more on understanding of underlying principles. But that's a story for another day.

Sources:

1: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/luhmann-folgezettel-truth
2: https://strengejacke.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/you-underestimate-the-power-of-the-dark-folgezettel/
3: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/NfdHG6oHBJ8Qxc26s/the-zettelkasten-method-1

I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

Comments

  • Very nice post @improveism!

    I think, in addition to your explanation, the Luhmann note-id scheme and the folgezettel idea are unnecessarily bound together. I've used automated 'originated from' links in almost all of my zettels and I'm pretty sure that serves all the same purposes as the note ids. It allows me, for example, to draw a hierarchical index of the entire collection or the note I'm currently looking at.

  • I‘be tried both methods. Creating structure notes and using the dual ID system. I didn’t like either of them. The structure notes is annoying and letter number ID system is also annoying. Too much noise.

    What I want is what Ludecke did in Zettelkasten 3 but just in a markdown way. Which is have hidden Date, time, etc ID then in the sidebar have a super easy to access tab for navigating, creating and manipulating note chains.

  • @discordian That's awesome, btw I saw a major fault in the Folgezettel technique that I wasn't able to cover here so I devised my own version of it.

    @Nick I believe Sascha found it getting slow after a couple thousand cards. Is that the case for you, too?

    Anyway, just an update:

    I've just devised my own version of the Folgezettel technique. Why? Because I noticed a fault even in the most authoritative posts about it. (in the main website)

    Based on reasoning from first principles, I've developed a method to make the technique the folgezettel:

    1. Non-hierarchical. This one I've discused already in two writeups. A post on the blog also supports the idea of non-hierarchy within first level notes, please check it out.
    2. Unlimited branching. As of now, if you follow the most authoritative method prescribed online at Niklas Luhmann archive, you'll stumble upon a problem: If what they're saying about the numbering were correct, then after having 1/1, 1/1a, and 1/2, branching would become impossible. That's f'ed up, man. Branching is supposed to be unlimited. I've developed a new topology of note sequences for that purpose.
    3. Easy digital workflow. I've developed a topology-friendly workflow for a digital version of the Folgezettel to make it easier to find "next connection" through search.

    Based on common sense and the principle of branching, #2 doesn't hold up. You see, how you use this technique matters a lot. So let me see how the modified Folgezettel holds up first before I share it. Looks promising so far.

    But again, like I said in this Discussion, as long as you follow the principles and can work conveniently, the technique doesn't matter.

    The techniques, whenever prescribed in the Zettelkasten.de blog, are in close proximity to the principles, and thus undeniably adheres to it. That's why there's no doubt it works.

    As for me, I really wanted to use Luhmann's technique because I find it more convenient for visualizing thought trains at a glance. It's my own preference, there's nothing magical about Folgezettel. But since I encountered a problem from my thought experiments, I'm taking responsibility to create a solution.

    Ciao!

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • Additional Information:

    Based on Luhmann researchers, here’s the “correct” way to implement the Folgezettel:

    • 1.1 Sticky note   

      • 1.1a Connection to a term at 1.1     

        • 1.1a1 Connection to a term at 1.1a     
        • 1.1a2 Continuation of the sticky note from 1.1a1       
          • 1.1a2a Connection to 1st term at 1.1a2       
          • 1.1a2b Connection to 2nd term on 1.1a2   
      • 1.1b Continuation of the note from 1.1a

    • 1.2 Continuation of the note from 1.1

    Okay what if I had 1.1, 1.1a, and 1.2… and then I had a connection to 1.1 that I want to continue? What Luhmann-ID should I assign to it? “1.1’s adopted dog”? This is a huge flaw in the technique I didn't see. As I've understood from Sascha's post, this creates a limited order for the note sequences. To visualize, here's what it looks like:

    According to the principle of branching, it shouldn’t be that way. Branching your ideas should be unlimited, not limited to just 1.1 → 1.2 and 1.1 → 1.1a.
    My working principle with the Zettelkasten is this: it should work like your damn brain.
    So by definition, it should work like this:

    "Hey Al, why are you so obsessed with Folgezettel like it solves all your problems and make you live happily ever after?"

    Because I want to see how my ideas flow at a glance. I'm not against the structure notes and all that, but I find Folgezettel fits my workflow really well. I want to show my progress here just in case someone also uses this method.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • (@improvism, please take this with a huge grain of salt and a :wink: - I just got an overdose of Tiago Forte and the digital self-help mob recently)

    THE SOLUTION TO ALL OF YOUR ZETTELKASTEN PROBLEMS

    We all want to be productive. And getting into the world of Zettelkasten masters taught me that I had a lot to learn about notetaking. Thankfully, after three months of intensive research I found that I have been able to distill decades of work into a simple system that solves all of my notetaking problem and can solve yours too!

    The first question is, when you're using a ZK, should you use Folgezzettel or not?

    @improveism said:
    Short answer: It doesn't matter.

    NO NO WAIT! Don't stop reading. First you must read 3000 words on why it doesn't matter. Spoiler alert: "it doesn't matter" doesn't mean "it doesn't matter" - it means there are multiple ways to do ZK IDs and it TOTALLY matters that you do them exactly the right way! The Optimal Way (tm) for MAXIMUM NOTETAKING EFFICIENCY!

    And once you know the secret, it's so easy. The secret is: FOLLOW BASIC PRINCIPLES:

    1. Bottom-up rather than top-down
    2. Connection of notes
    3. Having entry points
    4. Continuing existing thought trains

    Now, I know what you're saying: "@cobblepot, those are just massively oversimplified general concepts that could be interpreted in a thousand specific ways that all contradict each other! And they don't actually help me figure out how to solve my specific writing problems, which is actually about something other than knowledge work because my job is [insert profession], not Zettelkasten developer or self-improvement coach!"

    You know what I say? STOP COMPLAINING AND JUST DO IT. I don't have time for this fancy-schmancy theory stuff from a bunch of academic philosophers! I'm just going to do what I know actually works while you debate about pointless stuff. I mean, I'm 25, and look at everything I've accomplished so far! It worked for me, it can work for you! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

    But wait - your question about implementing the theory in a practical way using real-world content has gotten us WAY off topic again.

    So let's go back to the start: What's the point of the Folgezettel?>
    The point of Folgezettel isn't to connect "sub-topics" to its "parent note"—it is to make linking and retrieval easier.

    OK, someone just tweeted me saying: "Wouldn't it be easier to just link each new note to the last note you created, rather than finding exactly the right place for it conceptually? And wouldn't retrieval be easier if a computer program automatically and randomly retreived notes for you? That would make linking and retrieval as easy as could be, but it seems like a terrible idea."

    WHAT!? Read what I wrote CLEARLY up above. When I say that the point of the Folgezettel is to make make linking and retrieval easier, I didn't mean that it should be TOO easy, I meant that it should be just the right amount of easy! After all, as Ahrens writes in How to Take Smart Notes, assigning Luhmann IDs provides essential feedback on your thinking that is central to the success of the ZK!

    But be careful - it is also crucial to avoid making the linking and retrieval too hard. Research on a mindblowing topic I'll call "Cognitive Friction" (tm) shows that if it is too hard to make links, that ruins everything!

    Never forget: you will succeed if you just remember what I said: follow first principles. Stop changing the subject and getting into the weeds. Just listen: you need a system where links are not too hard or too easy, but just right. Got that, Goldilocks?

    If you are feeling lost, just sign up in my members section for step-by-step instructions that are so easy a monkey could follow them and become more productive than someone who wasted 30 years writing peer-reviewed dusty old books that are sitting on some stupid shelf somewhere. THE WORLD IS DIGITAL, Grandpa!

    It is now time to share with you, my closest compatriots in the journey for productivity, the heart of the system.

    I've just devised my own version of the Folgezettel technique. Why? Because I noticed a fault even in the most authoritative posts about it. (in the main website)

    Now, it's true that @sfast and @ctietze have never claimed to be authorities on the Zettelkasten system. They have never ordered anyone to follow their suggestions and they welcome disagreement. But if you are like me, you assumed that the fact that they developed software that is now 2 years old (holy ancient history, Batman! Did they make it on a Commodore 64?) means that they are the most authoritative people in the world to tell you about the Zettelkasten method. You assumed that, right? You didn't? Well, pretend for a second that you did. Now let me BLOW your MIND: even these absolute authorities on the Zettelkasten method have made a mistake! Can you believe that they still claim that they are authorities?!

    DON'T BE FOOLED LIKE I WAS

    Let's talk for a minute about the purpose of a Zettelkasten: INSIGHT and KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION. Putting ideas together in ways that can change the world.

    I know many prolific knowledge workers like Tiago Forte, Nat Eliason, Shu Omi, Khe Hy, and David Perell who neither use UID's nor Folgezettel but are still producing high-quality content and original insights at a high rate.

    Now, THESE GUYS produce high-quality content! Blog post after blog post, YouTube videos, online courses with hundreds of high-powered paying members have given thousands of people the tools they need to demonstrably improve performance at ordinary jobs ... I mean, to form the self-deceptive belief that they are massively more organized and productive then they were before forking over hundreds of dollars ... I mean, they have given thousands of people the knowledge and inspiration they need to start a self-improvement coaching business! These gurus walk you through a foolproof system for improving your mind and being the BEST LEARNER YOU CAN BE. What could be more a worthwile contribution?

    This is no get-rich-quick scheme! It will take hard work, I promise you! But WITH MY HELP YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    Now let's really get to the heart of the matter. This ONE principle is so fundamental to achieving your goals that I can't believe it's not written in permanent black marker at the top of your monitor:

    My working principle with the Zettelkasten is this: it should work like your damn brain.

    You got that, Poindexter? It should work like your GOD DAMN BRAIN. Is that clear enough for you? EVERYONE knows how your DAMN BRAIN works. Nothing is simpler! And just in case there are 2 or 3 of you out there who don't know (are you not visiting Tiago Forte's blog daily?) here is the definition of how your brain works:

    So by definition, it should work like this:

    It's that simple! 5 nodes, 3 links, and don't ask for an explanation because if you don't get it by now you're obviously not paying attention. (HINT: improve your attention span with my new course PAY ATTENTION TO PAY YOURSELF (tm), 20% discount with code 2COOL4SCHOOL).

    Did your 90 year old psychology professor say that the brain is a complex network of billions of neurons connected in impossibly complex ways that we are just beginning to understand? He probably uses only 10% of his brain! Listen, I have lived with my brain for my entire life and I know how it works. So ignore that professor and listen to me if you care about actual results.

    That's all for this week! Stay humble! Remember, all of us learn new things everyday - just remember to focus on productivity blogs rather than wasting time reading research by actual psychologists! And if you do, just read the abstract and skip that stupid "limitations" section!

  • edited April 16

    @cobblepot By "main website" I mean https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/. My mistake.

    But yeah, straw man arguments like that can't be called contribution to this discussion.

    Also, I know you've researched on this method. Instead of satirizing my post, guide people who enter this discussion about what you learned about it, since apparently you know more about me. (Serious)

    That'd be more helpful.

    P.S. While I've written about hackneyed self-help stuff before, I don't advocate it now. None of your business, though.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • @improvism, I'm sorry if I upset you. I didn't mean to imply that you sincerely held any of the beliefs of my satirical character above. I was really trying to mock Tiago Forte and the huge number of people I've read online who pitch themselves as knowledge work & notetaking coaches. I actually think many of them have good things to say and I subscribe to many of their newsletters. I just think that the style of discourse is so promotional that prevents any real progress from being made. And WOW, I just don't understand how people can post so CONFIDENTLY about how they've really solved these difficult problems. Hopefully, at least some others found the satire funny, as I did. (I crack myself up frequently.)

    But I do apologize honestly if I hurt your feelings. I have no idea about anything you have previously written or really anything about you (age, gender, background) so if my post seemed strangely personal because it hit your demographic, it was wholly by accident. Maybe you are that 90 year old psychology professor!

    If you would like my feedback, I'll put it in neutral terms: You make many general claims that are not adequately supported.

    1. You say that "it doesn't matter" whether people use LIDs or DTIDs because 1) people have succeeded with either, both, or neither and 2) because what matters is following Luhmann's principles, which can be implemented with both.

    The argument simply doesn't follow. Just because people have succeeded with both and that the ZK system can be implemented using either or both does not mean that it does not matter which you choose. Maybe people that used LIDs would have been much more successful with DTIDs, or vice-versa. And maybe Luhmann's principles can be much more successfully implemented with one rather than the other. The claim that "what matters is following the principles" is empty because the principles can be understood in many different ways and implemented in many different ways, and not all of the ways they can be understood or implemented are going to work equally well.

    1. You make the point that:

    Folgezettel is a technique to realize the _principle _of branching. Again, these branches become more visible from the index, so it's still valuable as a technique.

    And earlier you say:

    Direct links can do both branching of ideas and, obviously, linking at the same time. Folgezettel has a limited (1 use) capacity to link and a relatively finite capability for branching, but then it makes the branches visible at a glance.

    I agree, as I said two weeks ago:

    I think this is the answer. Date/time UIDs + direct links within notes do not allow you to see the existence of note-to-note relationships in the note title (or filename title). Luhmann IDs do.

    You conclude:

    However, as long as you follow the principles of branching, linking, and indexing your notes, it does NOT matter what technique you use.

    If the branches are visible at a glance, how can you conclude that it doesn't matter whether you use LIDs? Do you think there is no value to being able to see branches at a glance? If your answer is going to be that it is valuable but that there are other ways to do it that will also work, then you have simply pushed the problem back one step. The question is not whether different people can succeed using different methods. That is obvious. You can follow these principles in a million ways, some of which will be useful and some of which will be terrible. The question is: can you actually describe in specific and concrete terms what it means to follow these principles or to not follow them, and can you do so in a way that allows actual people to implement a system that works for them? What do you lose by not being able to see branches at a glance, and what do you gain? What is an alternate technique to get the same benefit if you don't want to use LIDs, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of that technique?

    To say "it doesn't matter" what ID system you use means that any person can implement the ZK system with any ID system and will get the same results. If that's not the case, then it does matter. And I think it's not the case.

    1. As you said,

    I've just devised my own version of the Folgezettel technique. Why? Because I noticed a fault even in the most authoritative posts about it. (in the main website)... If what they're saying about the numbering were correct, then after having 1/1, 1/1a, and 1/2, branching would become impossible. That's f'ed up, man. Branching is supposed to be unlimited.

    You noticed a fault that @ctietze mentioned in a thread 2 weeks ago:

    My point is: all Folgezettel stories sound like very happy stories as long as they contain no more than 2 instances where one wants to branch off. They become mundane and less happy when you want to branch off 3 or more times.

    But my question is: why is branching "supposed to be" unlimited? According to who? What are the benefits and drawbacks of limiting branching? It is not at all obvious to me that we should have unlimited branches. Maybe limits are essential to keeping thoughts organized in a way that can be articulated usefully in arguments. Does it just feel to you, intuitively, that we should be able to have unlimited branches? Or do you have good reasons for thinking that unlimited branches are beneficial and we should hesitate to adpot systems that do not offer them?

    1. Part of the satire was responding to your comment in the thread about Luhman IDs. You wrote that people should use Luhmann IDs to make "direct, obvious links". When I pointed out that this doesn't help others because direct and obvious mean different things to different people, you wrote:

    I give up on this discussion, though. I prefer to learn by doing. Whether I make a mistake or not, I'd still learn a lesson.

    You sort of have to make a choice if you want to be credible on this. You can say, "I will describe what works for me, and I can't really articulate why it works for me." Or, you can engage in the conversation and try to figure out what makes links direct and obvious, and how others might implement those concepts in a system that works for them. But you cannot (should not?) punt the conversation by claiming that what you care about is speed and putting things into action (and are not interested in actually identifying the details of what works and why) while at the same time telling other people that you have solved a tricky problem and they should listen to your analysis which will prove your method works.

    1. In that thread you also wrote:

    After all, if you're using the Zettelkasten as a second brain, then by definition, it should work like a brain.

    This does not logically follow, "by definition" or otherwise. In my workshop, I use a vice as a "third hand" but that does not mean it should work like a hand. In fact, its main benefit comes from it pinching not by muscle power but by a long threaded screw. Maybe a Zettelkasten should not work like a brain at all, in order to compensate for the weaknesses of a brain.

    Continuing the brain theme:

    My most fundamental assumption is that my Zettelkasten replicates how I think.

    This is pretty similar to your claim that you want the ZK to work like your brain works. Here's the problem with that metaphor. Metaphors help us understand X by comparison to Y. These metaphors are useful when we understand Y very well and don't understand X very well. For example, when people are first learning about electricity, often metaphors are made to water flowing through pipes (which is much simpler and which we understand very well).

    Here, we are trying to understand how to best implement a ZK system. You attempt to justify a particular implementation of the ZK system by saying it matches how our brain works. The obvious problem is that you (and me, and top researchers) have no idea how our brain "works" in a general sense, and our knowledge about specific aspects of mental processing is highly limited - hence the joke about overgeneralizing research findings without attention to their limitations. These very general statements are the kind of statements I often see in knowledge coaching forums that are so broad as to honestly confuse me. What do you mean that the brain "works" in a certain way? Are you trying to talk about some specific element of the brain? Do you think that you have a good understanding of how your brain works just by introspecting on the very small percentage of your current mental processes that you are consciously aware of?

    I made a joke about "no explanation needed" because I quit simply did not understand with the second diagram meant or what it means to say that this is how the brain works "by definition".

    1. You wrote:

    The point of Folgezettel isn't to connect "sub-topics" to its "parent note"—it is to make linking and retrieval easier.

    As I mentioned in the satire, the point of Folgezettel is not simply to make linking and retrieval easier. Or perhaps more accurately, I should ask: what you mean by easier? Easier in what respect? Is easier always better, or is there a happy medium? How can we determine how easy linking and retrieval should be? Is it the same for everyone or does it depend on how people think or what their mental tendencies are? Is ease really the "point" of Folgezettel, or is it a side-effect? What if we find a system that makes linking even easier? Would that be a better system?

    1. If I respond to what you wrote, even if what you wrote was not what you intended to write, that's not a straw man argument. Straw man is when I misrepresent what you actually wrote.

    2. Wow, I am super-grumpy today, so again, my apologies. I'm sure the above reads like a personal attack, but it is not intended to. I just think these problems are much, much harder than people realize and it does irk me a bit when people fail to recognize it.

  • Update: I continued the discussion on chat with @ctietze , the most suitable conversation partner on this matter.

    I'm yet to hear from him about potential holes in my proposed method, but so far it looks promising.

    Other than the hierarchy, which was solved already, we've encountered two problems:

    1. The binary tree problem
    2. The proximity problem

    Both of which were solved by the proposed method which I'll call Note Sequence 2.0.

    P.S. @cobblepot two things you can learn before you speak:

    1. Respect
    2. Logic

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • @improveism , let's take a step back for a second. I posted a satire intended to be funny. I said before the satire that it was intended as satire. After I hurt your feelings, I apologized sincerely 3 times and explained my points in a clear and neutral manner.

    You don't have to forgive me, but I am not being disrespectful.

    I would love for you to help me learn where I have been illogical. Please respond to any of the many clearly and respectfully articulated points I made and let me know what is illogical about them.

  • So. Perhaps, I pretend to be the adult here.

    @cobblepot wrote:
    You don't have to forgive me, but I am not being disrespectful.

    Yes, you were. That is the whole point of satire.


    @improveism

    If someone apologized right after he messed up. Accept it. I don't mean it as private advice. This is how it needs to go to have peace in public space and build trust.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast he continued satirizing after 'apologizing', though.

    But at the very least, I have to agree with you; these matters are small compared to maintaining peace in here. Keep your cool next time, man. @cobblepot but yeah I'll answer your questions in a more comprehensive discussion.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • @improveism said:
    3. Tagging and register. When linking, you want to have "entry points" of existing topics you want to work on. Otherwise, you're going to look at the index over and over again. This is either your Index in the Folgezettel, or your Structure Notes for UID systems.

    Are you making a distinction between 'index' and 'register' here? If so, would you mind elaborating?

  • @Eurobubba said:

    @improveism said:
    3. Tagging and register. When linking, you want to have "entry points" of existing topics you want to work on. Otherwise, you're going to look at the index over and over again. This is either your Index in the Folgezettel, or your Structure Notes for UID systems.

    Are you making a distinction between 'index' and 'register' here? If so, would you mind elaborating?

    Aww shit I messed up again. By Index I mean the actual list of all your notes.

    Register—it's where you organize the ideas you've formed. In my eyes, registers are like "Add Thought Trail to Shortcuts" so you can add to them later with ease.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • Do you actually maintain a list of all notes, other than just the listing in your filesystem (or The Archive sidebar)? I think what you're calling a register is what I think of as an index. The index of a book normally doesn't contain a reference for every occurrence of a word, just the relevant ones. It seems to me that the whole topic of entry points to ZK content could use some more attention.

  • @Eurobabba Nope, the "Index" I'm talking about is the listing in the filesystem, thanks for clarifying that. The "register" is more like a structure note, imo. My purpose of using note sequences, though, is to eliminate much of the dependence on structure notes and make the notation actually useful.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • Latest update is here.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • @improveism , I am still hoping that you will address the points I made in my earlier comment on this thread. Are there any points you agree with? Do you think the criticisms are all self-evidently false? I'm honestly not trying to start anything; I just think that we will make progress faster by facing these problems (or non-problems) head-on.

  • @cobblepot Sorry, it's not that they're self-evidently false--it's that I want to take a closer look at it, but my plates are full at the moment. When I finish my tasks early, I'll reply on your arguments.

    I write about unconventional self-improvement advice at improveism.com

  • @improveism , thanks, look forward to it!

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