You'd mention a
[[concept]] in different contexts:
Later, when you go to the concept page - it will have a lot of usages examples with rich context around it. Even though you haven't deliberately written about it.
You can use this assortment of context-rich backlinks as a direct thinking aid. Or if you decide to engage with the note deeper - you can hone your understanding by synthesizing the assortment of references into a text summary.
As a consequence, linking to things in my knowledge base is a very ingrained motion for me, when I write anything. And I miss an ability to do that in the contexts when I write outside my notes.
One context in which I have this itch particularly often is texting. For me - writing a message in a chat has a flavor that feels very similar to creating a fleeting note.
I want to be able to refer to concepts that I have in my knowledge base as I talk to people & have that note-usage reflected in my notes.
This seems particularly relevant in the context of team knowledge bases and a group conversation
you should be able to reference things from your collective external brain to make the conversation more informative
and, as a side effect - solve the perennial problem of "team wisdom is spread in small bits through many channels in Slack" at the same time
Reflecting on this itch - it occurred to me that the mix of knowledge management and chat can be a source of a variety of fruitful interactions.
you should be able to reference the pages from within the knowledge base in the course of the conversation
when you talk about a concept in a chat - that should be reflected back into the knowledge base
Have different lenses on the same conversation (document focus vs chat focus)
Currently, the comments in collaboration tools (Google Docs, Figma, etc) are disconnected from your standard communication medium (e.g. Slack)
That causes a fragmentation of your conversation
you need to follow it in several places
you never sure where have you talked about that particular topic
and when you try to search for it - you need to cover several places
At the same time it's valuable to have conversations in-context.
We can make this situation better by having one messaging medium and presenting different lenses on a given conversation, based on your context.
This solves the fragmentation issues mentioned above and allows you to present the most appropriate conversation UX, depending on the situation.
Channels are a great way to organize your conversation and allow you to follow the specific things you really care about.
As with other hierarchical system - having many channels tends to add friction at the point of information entry - you have to decide which point in the hierarchy you need to place the message/note at. And many people find it quite frustrating.
As an alternative - one can follow a model similar to Roam's daily pages:
Most messages should originate in the few "core" channels (like
When you mention a concept in your message - that message will also automatically be reflected in the "concept stream"
Which is basically a channel that receives all the messages containing a reference to that concept
As well as any new mentions of the concept from the knowledge base.
When you read the message in one of the streams - it marked as read everywhere.
With this approach you gain an ability to very granularly subscribe to the things you care about, while minimizing friction at the time of sending the message.
Messaging as a fast ingestion layer
append information to specific page
My hope for this post is to highlight this potential for interaction and to hopefully make it more likely it materializes in one of the products out there.
Of course, as an engineer one way of changing things I'm unhappy about in the world is building new things.
It didn't seem wise to build a new product around this and competing with both Slack and Roam, though. While I think implementing these ideas would make both note-taking and messaging better, it's by no means 10x improvement over the incumbents 🙂.
I've recently arrived at a way to conceptualize this as a facet of a broader problem - messaging is a cross-functional concern that many projects need to re-implement and it'd probably be good to have something like "Stripe for messaging"
this is of-course a part of a broader issue of lack of interoperability
the notion of "virality" for ideas or mode of conversation
when used in the mode of you sharing things with "unitiated" people