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DokuWiki as private personal online wiki for reading notes

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Posted by nathanb
Jun 12, 2018 at 06:04 PM

 

>Chris Thompson wrote:
>Given your concerns, if you haven’t tried it, you should give Notion.so
>a shot as an alternative to Dokuwiki.

Thank you for mentioning this.  I’ve recently discovered notion and have been poking around with it.  It’s part of a new breed of cloud-based-apps that seem to be trying to replace the classic file/document/spreadsheet concept with hybrid databases that can act like wiki’s, web sites, share documents, to-do lists etc by mixing all those elements within pages.  Others of this ilk (I think) would be quip, etherpad, dropbox paper, and nuclino.  I think quip and nuclino look and act most like notion.  Of course they all pretend to be revolutionary, and I guess they sort of are, but it’s kind of funny to see how similar they appear and behave.  I think of airtable as part of this new generation, since they are all free-form blank slates powered by an accessible database.  Airtable obviously isn’t built to wiki but is a fantastic database.  I recently built a team project-management portal with airtable and was impressed at how easy it was to get even the most change-resistant coworkers to enjoy keeping it up to date and using it as our dashboard. 

Notion is my favorite candidate of these ‘next gen’ cloud wiki/database things but I have some reservations.  Unless I’m using it wrong, it’s only a wiki in the sense that you can link TO all its elements from within any element.  Like people say OneNote can be a personal wiki because you can link TO any particular paragraph.  I think it is important to have an incoming-links, what-links-to-here, two-way link, etc for REAL knowledge management wikis.  I really love how easy it is to shape a page with a visual grid layout (like OneNote) in notion, like you can make your own little kanban/trello boards and each item in a list/box can be just text or a whole page.  But embedding links within elements TO other elements seems to the end of the depth.  As far as I can tell, the elements themselves are lacking in a lot of metadata and associating them within other elements only seems to be useful within that particular page. 

Hmmm, maybe I’m mistaken.  Just played with my example of a ‘dumb’ kanban list, where you might have boxes for to-do, next, doing, done.  If you move one task via drag and drop (which notion handles really well), there is no metadata within the task item that indicates the change in status or even lists the status at all since that relationship is specific to what that page is showing.  Because I’d like the task to be also nested under a project element and be able to see what the status of all the tasks are per project, per day, whatever.  However, notion just introduced airtable-like tables…so maybe I CAN get it to treat the various element arrangements as metadata. 

Still, no ‘what links to here’.  ;-)  A true CRIMPer is NEVER satisfied right?


 


Posted by Chris Thompson
Jun 12, 2018 at 07:27 PM

 

You can link to sections in Notion (see here: https://www.notion.so/Link-directly-to-a-section-on-the-page-1bdf0ef9b8a04e9392cbce77184ec400 ) I don’t think you can link to individual paragraphs within a section yet, but IIRC you can’t do that in DokuWiki either. (For section links to be permanent/stable, you also need a plugin in DokuWiki.)

I’m not sure how often people other than very advanced/academic users want paragraph links, so I can understand why it’s probably a lower priority feature. Tinderbox dropped this feature for three versions (it’s back now, and more powerful) and there wasn’t a huge outcry.

Agreed on the backlinks. That needs to be there, and DokuWiki does have that by default. It’s a little bit less necessary in Notion because there is always a hierarchy where you could in theory find things, whereas a pure wiki can easily end up as a soup of orphan pages, but I’m sure this is on their radar. That team is very productive—they implemented a huge chunk of the Airtable feature set in what was a pretty minor update by their standards.

—Chris

nathanb wrote:
>Thank you for mentioning this.  I’ve recently discovered notion and have
>been poking around with it.  It’s part of a new breed of
>cloud-based-apps that seem to be trying to replace the classic
>file/document/spreadsheet concept with hybrid databases that can act
>like wiki’s, web sites, share documents, to-do lists etc by mixing all
>those elements within pages.  Others of this ilk (I think) would be
>quip, etherpad, dropbox paper, and nuclino.  I think quip and nuclino
>look and act most like notion.  Of course they all pretend to be
>revolutionary, and I guess they sort of are, but it’s kind of funny to
>see how similar they appear and behave.  I think of airtable as part of
>this new generation, since they are all free-form blank slates powered
>by an accessible database.  Airtable obviously isn’t built to wiki but
>is a fantastic database.  I recently built a team project-management
>portal with airtable and was impressed at how easy it was to get even
>the most change-resistant coworkers to enjoy keeping it up to date and
>using it as our dashboard. 
> >Notion is my favorite candidate of these ‘next gen’ cloud wiki/database
>things but I have some reservations.  Unless I’m using it wrong, it’s
>only a wiki in the sense that you can link TO all its elements from
>within any element.  Like people say OneNote can be a personal wiki
>because you can link TO any particular paragraph.  I think it is
>important to have an incoming-links, what-links-to-here, two-way link,
>etc for REAL knowledge management wikis.  I really love how easy it is
>to shape a page with a visual grid layout (like OneNote) in notion, like
>you can make your own little kanban/trello boards and each item in a
>list/box can be just text or a whole page.  But embedding links within
>elements TO other elements seems to the end of the depth.  As far as I
>can tell, the elements themselves are lacking in a lot of metadata and
>associating them within other elements only seems to be useful within
>that particular page. 
> >Hmmm, maybe I’m mistaken.  Just played with my example of a ‘dumb’
>kanban list, where you might have boxes for to-do, next, doing, done.
>If you move one task via drag and drop (which notion handles really
>well), there is no metadata within the task item that indicates the
>change in status or even lists the status at all since that relationship
>is specific to what that page is showing.  Because I’d like the task to
>be also nested under a project element and be able to see what the
>status of all the tasks are per project, per day, whatever.  However,
>notion just introduced airtable-like tables…so maybe I CAN get it to
>treat the various element arrangements as metadata. 
> >Still, no ‘what links to here’.  ;-)  A true CRIMPer is NEVER satisfied
>right?
> >
> >
>

 


Posted by nathanb
Jun 12, 2018 at 09:34 PM

 

Chris Thompson wrote:
You can link to sections in Notion (see here:
>https://www.notion.so/Link-directly-to-a-section-on-the-page-1bdf0ef9b8a04e9392cbce77184ec400
>) I don’t think you can link to individual paragraphs within a section
>yet, but IIRC you can’t do that in DokuWiki either. (For section links
>to be permanent/stable, you also need a plugin in DokuWiki.)
> >I’m not sure how often people other than very advanced/academic users
>want paragraph links, so I can understand why it’s probably a lower
>priority feature. Tinderbox dropped this feature for three versions
>(it’s back now, and more powerful) and there wasn’t a huge outcry.
> >Agreed on the backlinks. That needs to be there, and DokuWiki does have
>that by default. It’s a little bit less necessary in Notion because
>there is always a hierarchy where you could in theory find things,
>whereas a pure wiki can easily end up as a soup of orphan pages, but I’m
>sure this is on their radar.

Agreed that paragraph links aren’t much more useful than links to the whole note/page.  I was just playing around with it a bit more and it’s more capable than I thought.  I was able to ‘clone’ an item in a database, which in itself is a just a regular page (with all the rich editing and element-nesting capabilities of any ‘normal’ page) with the addition of the database metadata.  I then copied it under a completely different tree and saw that it was a true clone (any change is reflected everywhere it appears), not a forked copy.  One thing I was struggling with was trying to figure out where the real ‘parent’ of an element was after dropping it under trees and within other pages.  Found a ‘insert breadcrumb’ command that shows the actual path with it’s content.  Pretty impressive that it can do what airtable does and let any single database entries make all sorts of cameo appearances outside of that table ANYWHERE within the rest of your content.  They have a ‘mention’ command, which is just a in-text link to a page instead of embedding a page.  You are right, they probably aren’t far away from adding a ‘mentions’ element, which would be phenomenal.

Add to that a seemingly low ‘data lock-in’ risk, offline modes for all my screens (android finally!), and it’s simple enough to share a ‘workspace’ with non-nerds so we can have decent project dashboarding for a change…. My wife and I have shared a set of OneNote notebooks for about 6 years now.  At the very least, notion would be a major upgrade to that set of notes and lists. 

Heck, I was just able to insert a partial screenshot (that I captured with the OneNote snipper) and plopped it inline in a notion page seemlessly…and that was the WEB version.  The con list here is getting real short…

 


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