Zettelkasten Forum


What are you working on this week? (2020-10-26 to 2020-11-01)

edited October 2020 in Your Current Projects

Several trial and error from my first Zettelkasten have led to a big mess which is why i am abandoning my main one. I'll have a fresh start, getting rid of all my structure notes. I changed the format how i create structure several times and am now striving for a uniform system.

my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

Comments

  • Do you mind to send me what you think is this mess? (Privat video would be an option if you don't want to make the content public)

    I am a Zettler

  • This week I'm processing my second reading of 'Quintessential Dzogchen'. I'm creating a second structure note in my new and improved style using the 'Idea Index' format. 138 notes and highlights grouped and reprocessed into ~26 zettel and cross-linked with the 39 created on the first reading. Interesting to think about a second reading and the options. I could have reprocessed the old notes by updating them but I've chosen to act as if I didn't already have this book processed into my zettelkasten. As I link the new thinking into the old thinking, I expect to find surprises. It will be interesting to compare and contrast.

    This a challenge and is taking all my surplus cognitive cycles.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

    • Writing: Editing the second edition (6/25 parts are done)
    • Zettelkasten: Expanding my work on rationality towards hypersanity or super sanity. Which is part of my work on theory of self.
    • zk.de: Finishing the videos for Q&A to finally start the series "Create a Zettel with me".

    I am a Zettler

    • zettelkasten.de -- Publishing the intro post and adjusting the webdesign a bit
    • The Archive -- a couple of small fixes to prepare a public (aka non-Cutting Edge/beta) release
    • Video Course -- last (?!) time correcting things. Hopefully I can get this done this week.
    • Writing -- mostly notes on emacs configurations and some programming stuff

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

  • edited October 2020

    @sfast I simply want to remove unnecessary friction that accumulated from the time i was introduced to the concepts.

    right now i have

    • inconsistent meta data in the file header and footer
    • inconsistent uid format
    • multiple slip-boxes that i started to test a few Software applications
    • literature notes mixed with own ideas
    • structure notes mixed with permanent notes
    • structure notes that are too big and need to be broken down
    • multiple tagging conventions
    • multiple linking conventions
    • a main slip-box, a slip-box for references, slip-boxes for experimenting

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @zk_1000 said:
    I simply want to remove unnecessary friction that accumulated from the time I was introduced to the concepts.

    People are probably tired of my soapbox oratory, but one more time.

    step_on_soapbox

    I say relax, don't worry. Move forward. Look back and smile at how far you've come.

    I wish someone had explained to me when I started that with each successive note, I will feel it to be superior in style to anything I've produced before - if I'm learning and growing. Many of my previous notes will look silly and pathetic in comparison. If they don't, it is a sure sign I'm fooling myself and am stuck in a rut. This will be true till I stop learning or die. Hopefully, I'll die shortly before I stop learning.

    I move onward, not bothering to do the work of integrating all my prior notes into some new and so-called improved system only to find in 6 months I have a new new and so-called improved system. When I see an old note, I sometimes update it to my current workflow style, usually not. I add a link from the new note then move onward. I don't keep track, but I can envision a note updated to a current style and then a year later updated again to my newest style. How knows? This is a great problem to have. It is a sign of growth but don't get too worked up by it as it hopefully will not go away and may increase with luck.

    step_off_soapbox

    Maybe I misunderstand your dilemma.

    I, too, look for ways to "remove unnecessary friction" and reduce the cognitive drain of clerical manipulations.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I second @Will .

    A bit of trash in the corner does not hurt anybody. :smile:

    I am a Zettler

  • And it is still "trash" you can rummage through.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • hmm, i am surprised by these concerns. For once, yes you are understanding my dilemma. I also agree that there is little benefit from doing this other than satisfying my ego. I compare this operation like deep-cleaning my room.

    I say relax, don't worry. Move forward. Look back and smile at how far you've come.

    I think i am struggling with this to a greater part of my life. I often find myself destroying my own work. I'll have to practice this more, someday...

    What @Will states is pretty much the same i'd recommend anyone in this situation. But i can't find myself listening to reason. Someday i'll be wiser.

    The value lies in my permanent notes and those wont be touched. Trashing my structure notes means loosing my capability to seek and find information. I could even archive my work and someday make a performance comparison. Reworking structure from scratch shouldn't be a big deal. My collection of Zettel is small enough to do this with a days worth of work. I could even apply the boy-scout rule and recreate structure on demand.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • If I had more time I'd have written a much shorter reply.

    My advice is not worth a dare. I've wasted spent countless hours scripting clerical formatting changes like the ones you are contemplating. And as you will see I didn't do the best job reformating all my notes. But I have found no end to wanting all my notes to meet my current idea of the right and proper zettel, so I've given up and embraced diversity. The problem of keeping up with making all the changes only gets worse the more notes you have, I promise.

    @zk_1000 said:
    hmm, i am surprised by these concerns. For once, yes you are understanding my dilemma. I also agree that there is little benefit from doing this other than satisfying my ego. I compare this operation like deep-cleaning my room.

    Yes, the ego is a frienemy.

    The value lies in my permanent notes, and those won't be touched.

    I don't treat my note as precious objects, fixed and unmalleable.

    Trashing my structure notes means losing my capability to seek and find information. I could even archive my work and someday make a performance comparison.

    Trash is an unfortunate metaphor. Deleting notes is not my suggestion at all. They contain values stuff as they are. No matter how poorly written or how poorly it conforms to my new note standards, each note is additive to my knowledge base. Trash/deleting is out of the question.

    Below is one of my earliest notes, and please don't laugh too loud. Since created, I've linked it a few weeks later, and I know I added the "Mind Training" comment much later, but who knows when. I don't do citations like the one at the top of the note anymore. I don't know if this is a quote or not. There is no title or self-referential link. Other than that, this is a prize note. I've come a long way. This note has become "permanently valuable" just as it is.

    Reworking structure from scratch shouldn't be a big deal. My collection of Zettel is small enough to do this with a day worth of work. I could even apply the boy-scout rule and recreate structure on demand.

    There are opportunity costs to spend a day worth of work clerically massaging old notes instead of feeding the zettelkasten with new ideas. A day turns into two, and then what about next month when a new and super cool workflow du jour begs to be adopted. Where will this madness end?

    Were linking to old notes happens, I decide then if the old note is healthy enough to pull its weight or needs reprocessing. Even a note created yesterday may need reprocessing where an old note may be sufficient. I decide at the moment when presented with the note rather than go looking for trouble.

    Here are my specific suggestions.

    • inconsistent metadata in the file header and footer

    Just start with the next note some new consistent header and footer format. I just changed my default footer format for the umpteenth time last week. It seems I'll be tweaking it forever.

    • inconsistent uid format

    This one needs immediate attention. All files in the zettelkasten folder must have the same UID format. A consistent UID format is imperative for future scripting and zettel migration. I'd work on this before I created my next zettel.

    • multiple slip-boxes that i started to test a few Software applications

    Once I've settled on an app, I"d export to the chosen app in whatever format the zettel ends up in when exported.

    • literature notes mixed with own ideas

    Move forward and promise not to do this anymore.

    • structure notes mixed with permanent notes

    Aren't structure notes permanently useful? I don't see any problem. If by permanent notes you mean atomic zettel. Well, don't your structure notes refer to your "permanent" notes?

    • structure notes that are too big and need to be broken down

    About 50% of my structure notes are between 700 and 1200 words. Some structure notes need a lot of detail. Oh well! If a structure note wants refactoring into two or three separate notes, I put them in my #inbox and work on them sporadically till refactored.

    • multiple tagging conventions

    If you have a preferred tagging convention go with it from here on out. After your zettelkasten has grown to 1000 notes, the few that don't follow some self-imposed convention won't matter. They will still be there for support and findable via a full-text search.

    • multiple linking conventions

    Settle on a linking convention and stick with it moving forward. Old links will still work. They'll be of an old convention. I have slowly added linking conventions, so now I use four different linking conventions.

    • a main slip-box, a slip-box for references, slip-boxes for experimenting

    I'd suggest using a reference manager like Bib-Desk or Zotero, easy peasy, and you'll look like a pro. For an experimental zettelkasten, clone your zettelkasten to a /test/ directory and hack away.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will said:
    If I had more time I'd have written a much shorter reply.

    Dang. To much koans here to avoid being a bit happier. :smiley:


    I will comment your points to clarify and tell what did work for me and most of the people I teached the method:

    @zk_1000 said:
    @sfast I simply want to remove unnecessary friction that accumulated from the time i was introduced to the concepts.

    right now i have

    • inconsistent meta data in the file header and footer

    Just correct it if you stumble over such a note.

    • inconsistent uid format

    Just correct it if you stumble over such a note.

    • multiple slip-boxes that i started to test a few Software applications

    Convert it into text if necessary and copypasta.

    • literature notes mixed with own ideas

    There is no difference between literature notes and own ideas. Ideas are just ideas that have different parents. Or: I mix what you call literature notes and my own notes with no problem at all. Quite the contrary.

    • structure notes mixed with permanent notes

    Normal. This should be.

    • structure notes that are too big and need to be broken down

    Work in progress. Structure notes always get to big if you work on them.

    • multiple tagging conventions

    Just correct it if you stumble over such a note.

    • multiple linking conventions

    Just correct it if you stumble over such a note.

    • a main slip-box, a slip-box for references, slip-boxes for experimenting

    Convert it into text if necessary and copypasta.

    This is my advice to you.

    I am a Zettler

  • I always think of the boy scout's rule.

    When you visit a place (note), leave it in a better state than you found it in ("Just correct it if you stumble over such a note").

    It works in programming, too, by the way.

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

  • wow, following the advice given here went really smooth. Looking at the results my initial plan now feels like a big facepalm to me.

    @zk_1000 said: The value lies in my permanent notes, and those won't be touched.

    @Will said: I don't treat my note as precious objects, fixed and unmalleable.

    I've been misunderstood :/ These were merely my reflections about the task of abandoning a slip-box, not about Zettel in general.

    @Will said: Aren't structure notes permanently useful? I don't see any problem.
    If by permanent notes you mean atomic Zettel. Well, don't your
    structure notes refer to your "permanent" notes?

    Do not confuse the way we name things with the way we define things. Structure notes and permanent notes are used as terminology. A structure note that is permanently understandable doesn't make it a permanent note. I'm not happy with the naming conventions. I have my own list of thoughts on how i'd name it but i safe us all from sharing these here :D

    A big thanks to all of you :)

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • edited November 2020

    Over the summer I created a zettelkasten only using a forum post. It ended up being around 255 notes. In my opinion, it fell short in two areas. I had too many what I'd describe as skeleton notes, which are basically a set of 3-5 bullet points, which I'd later delete and turn into a 100-500 word note. The second area it fell short was in interconnecting all of them. While I do have connections, I don't feel like I did a good enough job.

    Recently, I've slowly been copying all the notes from the forum post over to my own interactive notes website (using Obsidian Publish) and attempting to correct for the areas I fell short in above. So that is what I'll be working on for this upcoming and probably a few after that.

  • @Nick Let us know when it is public.

    I am a Zettler

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