Tinderbox Forum

Tinderbox vs Obsidian - Use case: non-specific notes

I purchased Tinderbox a while ago but have been putting off getting started with it not only because of the steep learning curve but also because it felt like I needed to have a specific objective or project in mind for a new Tinderbox file.

Would it be correct to say that Tinderbox is not ideally suited for collecting hodgepodge of notes without any specific end goal in mind?

For this use case, Obsidian seems particularly well suited since each note is a plain text file that can be easily moved around as more notes are added and a structure begins to emerge.

I use Tinderbox almost exclusively in the way you describe, although I wouldn’t quite call my notes a ‘hodgepodge’ :grinning:. I have a Tinderbox document that contains nearly 1,000 notes grouped into three containers: Reading Notes, Methods and Concepts. These cover my areas of interest, which are broadly complexity and aspects of learning. I use links to connect notes, and a prototype note to create some common structure and content, but otherwise my notes represent an emerging body of knowledge that changes as I review the notes and find new ways to connect them. In many ways the fact that these notes are not heavily structured is what I want, because that allows me to look for new ways of interacting with them e.g. by looking for new connections or by finding occurrences of terms throughout the notes. This latter way can produce some interesting insights, where I find terms appearing in different contexts, for example. I appreciate that other Tinderbox users may have more highly structured ways of setting up Tinderbox files, but what I do works for me.

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This has me confused. You can move notes around easily in Tinderbox. What have you tried—what did you expect vs. what happened. Also, Tinderbox is peerless in supporting very rich incremental formalisation.

I think the issue here is that general software use teaches us to ‘colour inside the lines’, i.e. do what the software says—or rather, think like the app’s creator. You can argue the same is true of Tinderbox, except is issn’t so constrained. It’s a tool set, not a processor. Your reference to “a specific objective or project in mind” sounds like an echo of advice given here: what are you trying to do?

If you collect a hodgepodge of notes (good description!) what do you expect? You clearly aren’t ‘just’ writing down notes. What sort of emergent structure are you expecting?

IIRC, in Obsidian, it’s actually more structured as you can only create the links using note names. Can you have standalone notes? Also playing into this question is issues is your (unstated) exceptions. Implied is that by creating the hodgepodge, magically something emerges. What is that something.

In summary, I think your confusion stems from an expectation of an (un-described) outcome. This sounds akin to the Underpants Gnomes business plan:

Phase 1: Write Notes.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit

I recall you’ve been at some of the Tinderbox meet-ups. Today is on tagging and that might be a good place to bring this up, as in part tagging is about addressability and the ability to find things in different ways contexts. Thus structure emerges. (I do realise the meet-up are late for you - getting a mutually (in)convenient timing for a global meet-up is hard.

I don’t see Tinderbox and Obsidian as either/or, they just do things differently. Find what fits your style.

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Hi Gordon. Thanks for your response. By ‘hodgepodge of notes,’ I mean notes that fall into completely different domains. It’s not fully clear, but it appears that the notes you mention seem to fall into a single domain.

Hi Mark. Your reply made me realize that I need to:

(1) Play around with Tinderbox more to be able to properly compare it to other apps.

(2) Better articulate my requirements, expectations and goals.

I will take some time to do this before I respond to your comments here or create a new post if that seems more fitting.

I actually haven’t been to any Tinderbox meet-ups yet. It’s possible you might be thinking of another person sharing my name and is similarly confused. :slightly_smiling_face:

I would definitely love to join today’s meet-up if it’s not too late. A quick search in the forum showed results about previous meetings, but no info on how to join an upcoming one. Please let me know how I can do this. Thank you.

No rebuke form here, and no hurry. Do keep asking questions :slight_smile:

Today’s (tonight’s meeting details are here: TAGGING: Meetup SATURDAY August 7

As I write we start in 20 minutes. All are welcome.

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I think my notes are probably less diverse than yours, although they aren’t in any single domain of knowledge that I’m aware of. However thinking about what you are doing it occurs to me that there must be some reason why you want to have a ‘hodgepodge’ of notes in a single Tinderbox document. That suggests your notes may all have something in common, even if they are from many domains. I’ve found that one of the useful features of Tinderbox is its ability to connect notes that you may not have thought to be connected. You can do that e.g. by searching for notes with particular words and reviewing the notes that contain those words. That might surprise you, by suggesting topics (notes) that are connected through using specific words and terminology. I regularly do that and am almost always surprised and pleased with the results, because it lets me see connections that I might otherwise have missed.

To hold onto that insight, especially if searching just on $Text is to save the topic/relationship/whatever in an attribute. The basic built-in method is $Tags. But, if you’ve different discrete stands of connection within the document, it can be useful to make a user attribute (a Set-type avoids duplicate values) for each strand. That way the tags for strand A aren’t mixed with Strand B, etc. As the tags are in attributes they are easily queried.