Is there a benefit to Luhmann IDs vs. Date/Time IDs?
My thread about the 3 layers of evidence started drifting away from the intended topic, but with great comments. I am going to start a new thread to hopefully match the discussion with the thread subject title. I hope people don't mind me quoting them selectively from other threads.
Here, I hope to discuss just the potential benefits of Luhmann-style note IDs as compared to more arbitrary unique identifiers (UIDs), such as a date/time stamp. Several people said they found they using a Luhmann ID system made their ZK process more useful. My hunch is that it is more useful, but before moving to it, I am trying to figure out why it might be.
@pseudoevagrius , in the other thread, you talked about assigning Luhmann IDs to new notes. You wrote:
I would also note that the decision to give a Luhmann number is more akin to a paper zkn. In a paper zkn you ask: does this note x go before or after note y. This is the question you ask with digital Luhmann numbers in practice.
You say that when you create a new note and add an ID you ask yourself "whether this note x relates to note y." I take it that another way of stating this is simply to say that you ask yourself "which existing note does this new note most closely relate to?" If that is right, then what do you mean by "relates"? It's not chronological. So is it by content? Context? Writing project? Or just whatever strikes your intuition at that time? If it is by similarity of content, thing isn't this de facto a type of hierarchical system (or at least a category/subcategory/sub subcategory system)? If it can be any number of things, then what does that relationship capture that wouldn't be captured equally well with a direct link between notes?
You are right that with an analog ZK you have to figure out where to physically place the card. So I guess another way to think about this problem is: what would the implications be for a paper ZK in which card IDs were simply sequential numbers and all new cards were added at the end? Whatever you would lose in such a system is what you would thus gain by using Luhmann IDs to structure your card placement.
@argonsnorts , I understand that you are just describing your current practice rather than advocating based on a particular theory. I'm hoping the discussion can allow all of us to uncover what lies behind the pros and cons of systems that users discover only while implementing the system.
Have you tried using Luhmann IDs vs. time-date IDs?
I haven't. I started my ZK about three months ago after running into some bottlenecks with my previous notetaking practice. I'm currently using Roam and letting it take care of the unique identifiers, but the IDs are hidden from the user most of the time. I expect to leave for a (Win 10) plain text solution at some point which is why I'm trying to figure out the ID system now.
You also suggested that I was falsely assuming that only hierarchical structures were informative. It's not that I'm assuming that, it's more that it's hard for me to understand how nonhierarchical structures are informative, which is why I am asking about it.
Let me challenge one of your statements. You wrote:
By assigning a Luhmann ID to a new note, all you are doing is establishing a relationship---some relationship, any kind of relationship---between that note and another note, which has itself, in turn, an established relationship (of some kind) with another note. So when adding a new note, you are simply extending a web of relations.
Those relations are not necessarily hierarchical in nature (general-to-specific, or even specific-to-general, as the case may be). They certainly can be hierarchical, one way or the other. But all the system demands is for some relationship to be established between a new note and an existing note. The relationship does not have to be defined or articulated. It can be, but it does not have to be. They are simply relations, and that's it.
I still think there is a gap in the explanation of why Luhmann IDs are useful, which can be shown by substituting "Luhmann ID" with "direct note-to-note link" in your paragraph above. Everything you write can also be said about direct note links, which can be used with sequential numbering. So if Luhmann IDs are different in practice than date/time UIDs + direct links, it must be because they establish a particular kind of relationship between the new note and an existing one that you don't get in other systems. And the question is, what is the nature of that relationship, and how is it different than just a direct link relationship?
It may be the case that assigning a Luhmann ID to a note does not logically, necessarily have to entail a particular relationship between that note and existing note. But if the Luhmann ID system is actually useful, I suspect that figuring out the aspects of this relationship will be what explains why this system is useful and what kind of structure it reveals that is different from a different UID system.
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