Zettelkasten Forum


Folgezettel is More than Mechanism

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  • Ok.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • I have surrounding text also :smile: It provides the same function, but for some reason you need to keep denying this. There is no point in continuing this discussion.

    This quote is super strange to me. I don't deny that you provide a link context within your notes. I state that the position provided by the Folgezettel-ID doesn't provide this context.

    It's like I am saying riding running burns more calories than riding a bike and you are saying that you do both and deny that you run.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited March 30

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree. Their interpretation is contained in the index, which happens to be a structure note. One would have to maintain that the coordinates I've set up are in-principle uninterpretable strings of meaningless symbols—or something along those lines— to argue they have little or no relation to the notes they identify. I've sketched how this works in the Zettel wiki on github. There is a workflow that goes with it. The data structure might be hard to appreciate in isolation, without the intended interpretation of the IDs and the workflow.

    Timestamps and structure notes left a disordered mess in my system. It didn't work as well for me as the current design. I did not enjoy working this way. What can I say?

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    For Luhmann, the so-called Folgezettel (numeric-alpha addresses + tree structure) benefited him by turning him into a publication machine, as Johannes Schmidt would call it. ~70 books and ~550 published papers. This benefit is also a primary component that interests people in the Zettelkasten in the first place.

    Scott P. Scheper
    Website | Twitter | Reddit | YouTube

  • @scottscheper said:

    For Luhmann, the so-called Folgezettel (numeric-alpha addresses + tree structure) benefited him by turning him into a publication machine, as Johannes Schmidt would call it. ~70 books and ~550 published papers. This benefit is also a primary component that interests people in the Zettelkasten in the first place.

    I would say "some people". I believe (without having any backup statistics except for my own sample of one) that there is a group of people who get interested in ZK for other reasons, with no desire to publish a large number of books or articles.

  • edited April 1

    @sfast said:

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    It's difficult to describe the value of the ID scheme in isolation, since the payoff is the workflow that they facilitate and in the projects that come from the ZK. Because I don't have the time to distill this to the essence, I'll indicate what I'm doing, although I am close to divulging Pythagorean secrets (with a nod to @pseudoevagrius).

    1. The aim is to facilitate research. The value is inestimable. How valuable I can't say--I don't attach a dollar value to this and I am not motivated by market considerations.

    2. The system is designed for my workflow, which includes producing LaTeX documents and Jupyter notebooks.

    3. The software implementation is described at https://github.com/flengyel/Zettel/wiki/Zettelkasten-software-components. I chose Zettlr because it is compatible with other software systems (LaTeX and Zotero) that I am very familiar with and that are very desirable (or necessary) for my writing.

    4. Zettlr has an ID generation scheme which can be modified. The selectable Bielefeld display "personality" with its monospace font is a joy to read and work with.

    5. The ID scheme, documented at https://github.com/flengyel/Zettel/wiki/0.1.0.22.0305.1829-ID-Format, takes advantage of several Zettlr features. Zettlr can be configured to list the first level-one heading of each note in the "Files" pane on the left-hand side of the screen, and in the "Related files" pane on the right-hand side of the screen. (Obsidian only lists files by filename. This makes it useless for my application, since my filenames are IDs.)

    6. There are software trade-offs. In Zettlr, ID matching patterns should match IDs of around 14 characters (or more) to preclude matching many strings in files within Zettlkasten directories. IDs with more than 14 characters are permitted and sometimes needed. The minimum ID length turns out not to be a problem.

    7. Other features: Pandoc export from Markdown to LaTeX and pdflatex is configurable.
      My configurations are documented at https://github.com/flengyel/Zettel/wiki/Zettelkasten-software-components#zettlr-configuration-files

    8. The workflow includes some design decisions about how the ZK is implemented.

    9. The ZK is implemented based on
      A. a choice of editor/slip box (Zettlr).
      B. a choice of reference manager
      C. Standard format for notes (Zettels) https://github.com/flengyel/Zettel
      D. Standard format for literature references
      E. A specified format for IDs, possibly with a subset or subsets of IDs with an intended interpretation. The intended interpretation is documented in my ZK (that's so it isn't fugitive).
      F. Special notes, such as an index, a structure note containing links to top-level "category notes" and other entry points into the ZK. Category notes define certain subsets of the network of notes, namely the collection of notes that link back to a given category note. From each category note, the collection of notes assigned to that category is visible in the "Related files" pane of Zettlr. Such notes facilitate navigation and discovery. Recall that the Files and Related files panes in Zettlr display the title of the note (Zettlr supports this) and not only the ID. Also, the last place of the ID of each top-level category note occupies the first place of the ID of any note under that category. See 0.1.0.22.0305.1829 ID Format for the definition of "place."
      G. And a Workflow for
      i. adding new notes to the Slip Box;
      ii. Assigning an ID to a note;
      iii. Linking a note to IDs of other notes;
      iv. handling and resolving exceptions to the category scheme;
      v. and so on--not to mention certain habits with so-called fleeting notes, described elsewhere.
      As far as E and F are concerned, the IDs of the index and the category notes the index links to are chosen so that they are ordered by category number, and so that they are easily located within the Files pane in Zettlr.

    10. Some of this is sketched at https://github.com/flengyel/Zettel/wiki, but it is documented within the ZK itself.

    After some experimentation (about a year) I hit on a scheme that I enjoy working with.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • edited April 1

    @scottscheper said:

    @sfast said:

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    For Luhmann, the so-called Folgezettel (numeric-alpha addresses + tree structure) benefited him by turning him into a publication machine, as Johannes Schmidt would call it. ~70 books and ~550 published papers. This benefit is also a primary component that interests people in the Zettelkasten in the first place.

    Non secitur. The reason for his productivity is non only dependent on multiple factors. It is perfectly possible that the overall writing practice that comes with the Zettelkasten Method turned him into a publication machine while the FZ-technique was detrimental and even hindered his productivity.


    @ZettelDistraction said:
    After some experimentation (about a year) I hit a scheme that I enjoy working with.

    First things first. This is in practice a very underrated aspect of the implementation of the ZKM. I am not only happy for you but also think that albeit a difficult thing to tackle with some rigor it should be part of the overall method: The reward loops within the different steps of the workflow, the overall system feel etc.

    • As a trainer, I often program workout schedules that are not optimal from the perspective of training science. Sometimes, I program schedules that are less or more rewarding depending on the needs of the person on the cost scientific soundness. (I, myself, trained non-optimally for a couple of years because I trained with spiritual growth in mind which was my priority and not the flesh on my bones)
    • Regarding the Zettelkasten Method, I regularly recommend going analog despite my position that digital is more efficient and powerful (especially, when you integrate thinking on paper into your overall workflow). For some people efficiency is less important than the reward that comes with the work. I treat it as a value judgement with subjective and objective criteria.

    So, if you happy you already won.

    @ZettelDistraction said:

    @sfast said:

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    It's difficult to describe the value of the ID scheme in isolation, since the payoff is the workflow that they facilitate and in the projects that come from the ZK.

    1. The aim is to facilitate research. The value is inestimable. How valuable I can't say--I don't attach a dollar value to this and I am not motivated by market considerations.

    I am not asking for a quantitative value measure. :)

    Examples:

    • The value of measuring the weight of the food, for example, is not only control. Part of the value lies in the deliberateness and the development of intuition.
    • One value created by structure notes for example is to create a thinking canvas. Another would be as an entry point (which makes the index obsolete).

    F. Special notes, such as an index, a structure note containing links to top-level "category notes" and other entry points into the ZK. Category notes define certain subsets of the network of notes, namely the collection of notes that link back to a given category note. From each category note, the collection of notes assigned to that category is visible in the "Related files" pane of Zettlr. Such notes facilitate navigation and discovery. Recall that the Files and Related files panes in Zettlr display the title of the note (Zettlr supports this) and not only the ID. Also, the last place of the ID of each top-level category note occupies the first place of the ID of any note under that category. See 0.1.0.22.0305.1829 ID Format for the definition of "place."

    I asked with this in mind. The sad part is that to truly answer this question we need empirical information that we don't have and won't get: How good of value provider are the various techniques and are they complemental or perhaps somehow clashing.

    I am a Zettler

  • @ZettelDistraction said:

    @sfast said:

    What do the FZ give you? An initial classification and a spanning tree.

    So, how do you feel translates it into a benefit for you and your work? I mean: What is the value produced by that?

    I asked with this in mind. The sad part is that to truly answer this question we need empirical information that we don't have and won't get: How good of value provider are the various techniques and are they complemental or perhaps somehow clashing.

    Answering empirical questions like this is one reason I listed A--G above. It's hard to evaluate one implementation versus another unless each are specified in sufficient detail to allow comparison.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • Answering empirical questions like this is one reason I listed A--G above. It's hard to evaluate one implementation versus another unless each are specified in sufficient detail to allow comparison.

    I am not sure about that.

    I think the research field (or the community) is not even yet at the first stage of normal science. Meaning, while there is a lot of imitation and improvement going on, the actual coming on screen of knowledge ("what actually happens if you do X"), the phenomenology of each technique ("tags search presents you a list on the left side of your monitor") etc. is fairly underdeveloped.

    I think the way to go is to build a knowledge base on how the mechanisms of knowledge work and connect it to the method. That is the reason try to explore what you want to actually do ("Get an overview"), how to achieve this with as few clicks and mouse interactions as possible, etc.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited April 2

    @sfast said:

    Answering empirical questions like this is one reason I listed A--G above. It's hard to evaluate one implementation versus another unless each are specified in sufficient detail to allow comparison.

    I am not sure about that.

    I think the research field (or the community) is not even yet at the first stage of normal science.

    Oh I agree. I'm not assuming the field is anywhere near this. I thought it might advance whatever discussion there is to be more specific about the features being compared. But it probably wouldn't advance the discussion that much: verbal descriptions of systems tend admit interpretations compatible with almost any observation. A self-quotation from a year ago:

    I doubt there ever will be a satisfactory verbal theory of Zettlekasten that can [classify] "good" versus "bad" implementations of them, based on some remarks of Gobet, F., Lane, P. C., & Lloyd-Kelly, M. (2015). Chunks, Schemata, and Retrieval Structures: Past and Current Computational Models. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1785. Gobet et al write, "...not enough constraints are provided by verbal theories, and thus too much freedom is left in the way they can be interpreted."

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • I thought it might advance whatever discussion there is to be more specific about the features being compared. But it probably wouldn't advance the discussion that much: verbal descriptions of systems tend admit interpretations compatible with almost any observation.

    I agree on the following experience: One simple essay on communication with Zettelkästen sparked a lot of development. :)

    My experience in coaching is that there a lot of low hanging fruits to collect already:

    • The good note
    • The good thinking canvas
    • The ability to directly go to the appropriate entry point
    • etc.

    Example: There should be no browsing the archive and no traversing links to go directly to the entry point. There might be some because we humans are fallable. But the system itself should not be built on link traversing or browsing to find an entry point.

    A simple verbal test for the quality of ones implementation is:

    How is the ratio of labor invested in maintenance vs actual knowledge based value creation?

    Labor invested in maintenance = Anything you do just to maintain the functionality of your ZK (e.g. creating a link to allow for traversing the ZK)

    Knowledge based value creation = Anything you do which results in knowledge creation (increasing truth, relevancy, beauty, usefulness and/or simpleness of thought, information etc.)

    I am a Zettler

  • edited April 3

    @sfast said:

    I thought it might advance whatever discussion there is to be more specific about the features being compared. But it probably wouldn't advance the discussion that much: verbal descriptions of systems tend admit interpretations compatible with almost any observation.

    I agree on the following experience: One simple essay on communication with Zettelkästen sparked a lot of development. :)

    That's a very good point. Communicating with Slip Boxes: an Empirical Account by Niklas Luhmann isn't exactly a model of replicability.

    Correction: verbal system theories tend not to constrain their possible interpretations enough to be useful.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • a) Luhmann formulated a verbal system theory in Communication with Zettelkästen
    b) Communcation with Zettelkästen is useful.
    c1) Therefore, verbal system theories can be useful.

    If c1 is correct

    verbal system theories tend not to constrain their possible interpretations enough to be useful.

    is not not correct.

    I am a Zettler

  • I agree that the quoted statement is "not not" correct. :trollface:
    Also, "tend not to be useful" and "can be useful" are not inconsistent.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • @ZettelDistraction said:
    I agree that the quoted statement is "not not" correct. :trollface:
    Also, "tend not to be useful" and "can be useful" are not inconsistent.

    Dang. You got me.

    But is it a trait of verbal theories or the trait of verbal theoriticians?

    I am a Zettler

  • edited April 3

    @sfast said:

    But is it a trait of verbal theories or the trait of verbal theoreticians?

    Verbal theories. To be fair, "useful" is vague. It's more accurate to refer to measurable and replicable predictions and findings. Communicating with Slip Boxes is still useful, depending on how it's interpreted. Verbal descriptions can only control the space of possible interpretations so much. It's worth reading this methodological paper: Gobet, F., Lane, P. C., & Lloyd-Kelly, M. (2015). Chunks, Schemata, and Retrieval Structures: Past and Current Computational Models. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1785. for its discussion on the limitations of verbal theories.

    Disclaimer: I'm not an expert, though I've had to keep methodological considerations in mind when I was working in scientific and high-performance computing, etc.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • edited April 4

    Ah, perhaps we come from a different angle. I am 95% interested in theories that are embedded in verbal/visual instructions for behavioral change. :)

    The usefulness is easily measured as the shortened distance between the person and his/her goals (or the accelerated shortening).

    I am a Zettler

  • edited June 13

    This is substantially revised update to a portion of a previous comment. Not to belabor the points, I thought I might say something more about how my system works.

    0.0.22.0306.1900 Cross-cutting categories in Zettelkasten

    CONTEXT [[0000.0000.00.0]] Workflow
    [[0000.0000.0000]] TOC

    #index #folgezettel #zkmethod

    For the inner life of the card index, for the arrangement of notes or its mental history, it is most important that we decide against the systematic ordering in accordance with topics and sub-topics and choose instead a firm fixed place (Stellordnung). A system based on content, like the outline of a book) would mean that we make a decision that would bind us to a certain order for decades in advance! This necessarily leads very quickly to problems of placement, if we consider the system of communication and ourselves as capable of development.
    -- Niklas Luhmann, Communicating with slip boxes: an empirical account.

    Niklas Luhmann designed his analog Zettelkasten to allow for multiple orderings of topics and related notes. Digital Zettelkasten address the problems inherent in a fixed hierarchical ordering of topics in various ways. Three such approaches are considered here.

    Assumption: an ID definition and a procedure for generating and assigning these IDs to Zetteln have been given in advance. See [[0.1.0.22.0305.1829]] ID format.

    My Zettelkasten includes a table of contents, which is a structure note. Each of the links of this structure note points to a so-called top-level category note. (Other category notes can appear underneath these.) The top-level category notes of the TOC define the initial set of topics of the Zettekasten. The TOC also includes a few entry points into the Zettelkasten.  The TOC is useful at the beginning when deciding what Zettels are worth writing, however, this is subject to change. The expectation is that the top-level categories of the TOC will fail to properly classify new notes sooner or later. When this occurs, I can think of three alternatives to pursue—there may be others.

    A. Give up.
    B. Add structure notes.
    C. Internal ramification. Embed new categories within the directed graph of notes. Niklas Luhmann referred to this as "internal ramification". This is the altenative I chose.

    In more detail, the alternatives are as follows.

    A. Give up. This can happen with systems such as Evernote, with a delay of months to a year. Sascha Fast pointed this out.

    B. Add structure notes.  Add structure notes with annotated links. This is the approach of Sacha Fast, Christian Tietze, Will Simpson etc. This method distributes localized indexes of related Zettels around the Zettelkasten, which postpones but does not completely eliminate the possibility that the localized indexes will fail to accommodate new Zettels, even if existing Zettels (and structure notes) are revised. Will Simpson speaks of refactoring Zettels. In that case, new structure notes are added to the system, or existing structure notes and Zettels undergo refactoring, or both.

    C. Internal ramification. This is my approach, derived from what I understand about Luhmann's workflow. At the place where the new Zettel is to be added, attempt to recover by attaching a new category note before that Zettel as follows.

    1. Add the new category note at the place (as a child or sibling of a related Zettel) where the new Zettel will be added.

    2. The new category note should contain a link to one or more "containing" category notes (some, all or none of which may be top-level category notes). The new Zettel is added after the new category note.

    3. A link to the new category note is added to the new Zettel.

    4. The TOC may be updated with a new entry point to the new category under an existing top-level category, but this is not required.

    Remarks on Alternative B.

    (i). A TOC may not be present in this approach, though one or more top-level structure notes with entry points into the Zettelkasten may be present.

    (ii). Folgezettel generally aren't used in conjunction with this approach, although they can be.

    Remarks on Alternative C.

    (iii). Steps 2 and 3 add backlinks to containing category notes. This is done so that the new category note (added in step 2) and the new Zettel (added in step 3) will be listed in the "Related files" pane of Zettlr when any of the backlinked category notes are selected. This includes the newly added category note.

    (iv). The original set of top-level categories of the index is never augmented.

    (v) So far the initial top-level categories I started with have remained useful.

    Some illustrations would be helpful.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

  • Some illustrations would be helpful.

    How would you think about your approach visually?

    I am a Zettler

  • edited June 15

    @sfast said:

    Some illustrations would be helpful.

    How would you think about your approach visually?

    A few ways: screenshots (if these aren't too distracting) and a sequence of diagrams with directed links of the TOC, top-level category notes and category notes below this, as well as Zettels. The diagrams would show how the graph develops over time.

    The linking and numbering is something to figure out and get out of the way so that the real work can begin. I've tried to simplify the process, but there's no getting around hard work. The fleeting note discipline has to be adhered to, with references captured up front. Capturing references up front is standard research practice anyway.

    Anyway @sfast you ask a good question. I'll try to find some time to draw some pictures.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies delayed, sometimes indefinitely since Life is short.

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