Zettelkasten Forum

Naming conventions on wikis

Here's just a curious thing I noticed on the internet that got me thinking a wee bit.

Browsing the Emacs Wiki today, I went to a page about buffer (aka file) switching, like this one: ListBuffers

At the bottom I noticed a link that I had seen in the corner of my eye on another page, too -- it's CategoryBufferSwitching.

On Wikipedia, the naming convention is a bit different, but the effect the same, see Category:Algebraic_structures.

The Emacs Wiki's naming convention is very, very bare bones. No spaces in page names, no special characters, only CamelCaseWords and that's it.

Still, they found a way to distinguish content pages from meta pages, aka "Category" pages.

The simplicity strikes me as very, very similar to what we get from a plain text Zettelkasten once we embrace its low-tech-ness. Sascha uses Ü2 in note names to denote structure Zettel; I experimented with special character combos like §o for overviews, etc.

But it boils down to convention over everything else. You pick a naming scheme, and it just works, because you don't need a tool to do something clever. You just agree with the community of collaborators on a wiki to adhere to a convention and help everyone make sense of stuff. (With the Zettelkasten, you're in a team of 1.)

Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/


  • There is something beautiful and elegant about this kind of simplicity. And, best of all, simple conventions and tools get out of the way and actually help to focus on what really matters.

    I tend to over-engineer my systems, so every single productivity tool I've tried actually slowed me down more than helped me. I find that I am most productive with the basics: pen, paper, and plain-text/markdown for both task management and ideas.

    I think that at the core of the Zettelkasten method resides elegant simplicity. I appreciate that on this website the authors advocate for a simple, straight-forward approach.

    There is no method to my madness. My madness is my method.

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