Why Use A Wiki For Your Notebook?

for Hack Your Life With A Private Wiki Notebook, Getting Things Done, And Other Systems

What are some other tools people use for their NoteBook?

Why do I consider a Private Wiki to be superior to all these?

Some facts and factors to consider:

  • you never get to stop thinking about your life
  • your old ideas are worth re-discovering
  • ideas that start out separate might have a connection that you discover/infer
  • those connections can be messy - Intertwingularity
  • you uncover those connections over time - Pattern Recognition, Sense Making
  • you can test/refine your ideas through action: Thinking in Bets

The standard term associated with connecting messy thoughts is: HyperText.

But the "manual" way of creating links among chunks of HyperText is too annoying to bother with.

Wiki provides a way of Automatic Linking by using Double-Brackets (or Smashed Together Words).

  • You just take a "key phrase" that you think about, capitalize the words and Smash them together (remove spaces and punctuation), and you automatically define a WikiWord.
  • If you don't already have a page named with that WikiWord, there's a link right there to start one!
  • If you don't create that new page for now, and later using the same WikiWord in other pages, then finally get around to making the page with that name, all those various pages using that WikiWord automatically link to the new page from now on!
  • Every Wiki also has a BackLinks feature where, by clicking on the linked page-name near the upper-left of the page, it gives you a list of all the pages that link to the current page. So you can review your past related thoughts. This something like using "tags" in some NoteBook apps, except that you can make as many of them as you want, and you're embedding them within your sentences, rather than just attaching them to the overall note (WikiWordAsTag).

As a general rule, it's a good idea to have at least 1 WikiWord in any page, to relate it to other pages.

Some people think having a Search Engine for your notes is good enough. But anchoring your writing to specific words and phrases helps you think more deeply (esp over time) about what you mean. You can make specific variation-pages around an idea to think/write about it in different ways, but having them in separately named pages helps you push the idea in different directions.

Over time this gives you a FeedBack loop of creating a Shared Language with your Future Self. I think this is the essence of Sense Making and future-StoryTelling. I'll hash that out more later in explaining how to Notice Patterns And Garden Your Private Wiki Notebook. But first you have to deal with Picking A Wiki For Your Private Notebook.

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