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2021-10-17 Notes on Nick Milo on Obsidian and Roam

Peter Kaminski posted this this year-old Nick Milo video about Obsidian being about writing really (and that Nick's piece) speaks to what/why/how we're trying to use Obsidian: Why Obsidian Will Overtake Roam (YouTube)

Nick's primary notion is that there are four types of information processing modes or behaviors: viz.:

  • collecting
  • connecting
  • metadata/tagging, and
  • writing long-form and connected pieces (essays, op-eds, etc.)

Nick also contrasts outlining (and nesting ideas under other ideas) versus writing, and making lists versus writing prose.

Nick presents a model he calls "Personal Knowledge Management Personality" (ugh!) that makes the following distinctions among PKM practices (he sometimes uses "behaviors"):

  • Collector: accumulate links, articles, notes, etc. Your own notes get lost.
  • Connector ("Databaser" (oof!)): add metadata and links. Yields a dataset that is hard to incorporate into writing.
  • Writer: create long-form content (Nick's adjective is "tonally consistent")
  • Connector-Writer (this is NM's goal): create long-form and linked content to share.

Nick describes Databasing (usage, gah!) as this:

It directs your attention toward the activity of adding metadata; because if you don't add attributes, then your advanced queries won't do you any good, so, good luck finding whatever it is you're looking for! This forces you to add metadata and over-link everything, absolutely all the time. And all this attention directed towards adding attributes and metadata]l, is attention stolen from writing ... along with making everything harder to read and share with others.

Pluses about Obsidian (that match positives about massive wikis)

  1. Local files
  2. File-based
  3. Plain text

The 7 takeaways of this video (with added Bill comments):

  1. Our apps shape us in profound ways (well-known fact; good to be reminded)
  2. Roam encourages connecting & databasing (seems accurate)
  3. Obsidian encourages connecting & writing (seems a reasonable claim)
  4. One is not better than the other (Tired)
  5. The world has more "Connector-writers" than "Connector-databasers" (claim; want evidence)
  6. Obsidian is the best tool to allow "Connector-writers" to flourish (Obsidian seems like a good tool for this "connecting-writing" activity)
  7. Obsidian will overtake Roam in total users (empirical question)

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