All of Roaman's Comments + Replies

Implementing an Idea-Management System

New version pushed up

Paste out now handles block-references well (they just appear as the text that appears in the references)

Should also paste out pretty nice into most apps

Pasting in from plain text (and from scrivener) keeps formatting

OneNote provides some very strange formatting when you try to paste it into our app (or most other apps) -- but it'll give you the right outline structure if you use Command-Shift-V for paste as plain text.

Roaman's Shortform

We do plan to eventually switch to wysiwyg -- it's much faster for our feature development to not for now, but when we're out of beta that'll be one of first changes we make

3hamnox2yYou could benefit greatly by putting in a stop-gap: add css transitions, so the change doesn't feel so abrupt.
Implementing an Idea-Management System
I did reply to that email, with a link to the comment.

Found the email. And in that light the feedback does come across as much more well intentioned.

I said (emphasis added):
So, if you have trouble reading tiny text or weird alignments drive you nuts, or if you need to be able to use your writing outside the note tool itself, I wouldn't recommend signing up for this thing right now. If you intend to use it as a standalone tool and the above-mentioned quirks wouldn't bother you, then go for it.

Thank you for the clarification.

The majority of out
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3pjeby2yThat's nice, but importing (or exporting) files is a huge pain compared to copy and paste, since most of the tools I use don't really have files as such, or if they do there's a multi-step process on both sides of finding the file, opening an import function, answering stuff, dragging the file (or worse, having to browse if the import-ee doesn't support drag/drop). Compare that to 1) select, 2) Ctrl-C, 3) Alt-Tab, 4) Ctrl-V. No mousing unless it's for the initial select, if that. Plus, apart from Typora and Notebooks, most of the tools I use don't even have "files" that would be meaningful to import, so I'd instead be copy-pasting into something else to then create the export file... Anyway, I'm going to stop here, because my use cases aren't necessarily what's best for your project. I'm a CRIMPer (Compulsive Researcher of Information Management Programs), which means I can miss the forest for the trees at times... especially since I have an awful lot of trees, in different software, in which I have a lot of data, notes, ideas, and half-written books. (I haven't even mentioned Scrivener before this point... or ConnectedText, whose calendar your date-based pages reminded me of. I actually used CT for quite a while and then realized that I couldn't really use the text anywhere else; that was before I caught the markdown religion.)
Implementing an Idea-Management System
It reminds me of some of Ted Nelson's innovative hypertext designs, like ZigZag

That's a really high complement. Appreciate it.

I must be able to not only bring in text I already have, but bring out text I produce.

Completely agree. We've had to prioritize the getting things in part, but getting things out is essential. The site was restricted access / invite only until a week ago, and we're still in beta (that's why it is free). We won't be charging for use until the export features are done.

in order to take real advantage of
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I consider even negative feedback from potential users or customers to be very helpful, especially if it lets me see their first impressions.

As do I—but I did notice it felt quite different for you to do this in a public forum (and that it was followed by you encouraging others to not try the tool), rather than by responding to our onboarding email as every other user has so far.

We’ve got about 50 users in our slack channel discussing bugs, feature requests and updates. Very happy to send you an invite if you’re interested.

I consider it very valua

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7pjeby2yThe majority of outlining tools in my experience can accept a paste of plain text lines, indented with tabs. Certainly Workflowy, Ecco Pro, TkOutline, and Dynalist all do, and even OneNote handles it semi-reasonably. Roam (in Chrome) did not appear to accept or output tab-indented text as structured input. (Space-indentation is also produced by some outliners, but even the ones that output spaces will still accept tab-indentation as input.) Most will also let you select an item and its children and hit ^C to copy, without needing an explicit export step unless you need a specialized format. Whatever format(s) Dynalist and Workflowy put on the clipboard as output, one of the formats is readable by OneNote and Typora as bulleted lists, which is also handy. The other format they produce on copy is four-space indented text, but since they accept tab-indented text as input, as do most other outliners, that should be one of the formats put on the clipboard when a copy operation is done in Roam. tl;dr: I would suggest investigating what clipboard formats Dynalist and Workflowy use, and accepting either 4-space or tab-indented text on paste, and producing tab-indented text (plus whatever Dl/Wf do) on copy. Huh? Then what's the point of transclusion in that case? If I were using it for writing, it'd be so that I could have single sources of certain type of information transparently included in the markdown output as if it were written there. That way I could have blurbs that I'd share between various newsletters, ebooks, lesson materials, etc. that I could edit once and update across multiple documents as of their next production. (Or maybe you're just saying you would wrap the included text in a link? That wouldn't obviate the point of transclusion, but it'd be an irritant for my use case if I couldn't turn it off. I just want to be able to transparently include stuff, and find other documents that include those things.) I did reply to that email, with a link to the co
The Zettelkasten Method

We're working on it with Roam.

Agree it's a big deal

Roaman's Shortform

A few months back, I remember hearing Oli talk about an idea for essentially rebasing comment threads into summaries, with links back to the comments that were summarized. Is this happening on LW now? Sounded wicked exciting, and like actually novel UI in the collective intelligence space.

3habryka2yWe ended up focusing on some other things in the past quarter, but we are about to plan the coming quarter, so we might end up prioritizing this again.
Roaman's Shortform

Some testimonials for Roam

**Roam is the productivity too that I didn't know I needed**

**I see it as a productivity map of my brain, showing to me how I organize thoughts in my mind.**

it helps me organize thoughts and **reduce the clutter in my head**. This is something that no productivity or organization tool, including Google Drive and Microsoft Office, **has ever offered to me before.**


The most exciting piece of software I've yet tried...
A replacement for the essay... has the potential to be as profound a mental prosthetic as hypertext.

3habryka2yNon-meta level feedback: On the daily-notes page, if I click on a date it suddenly moves me to a different URL and page, even though my cursor is the text-selection cursor when I hover over the title. The cursor should likely be changed to be pointer thingy.
8habryka2yMeta-level user-feedback: I think Roam should really have a feedback form right on the side, ideally with something like Intercom. I have a lot of pieces of small feedback, but the trivial inconvenience of telling you about them is far too high, and if you weren't hanging out on LessWrong such that I can leave feedback here, it's very unlikely you would get any feedback from me.
5habryka2yRandom user feedback for Roam: I've been trying it out more extensively for the last few hours, and I already noticed that I've developed an aversion to clicking on individual notes and editing them because the layout changes so drastically between the markup and the rendered version. As a concrete example, I have a to-do list item that looks like this: As soon as I click on it, it suddenly becomes For some reason this shift feels really jarring to me, and I've started to actively avoid selecting notes that have any kind of fancy markup in them. The same problem occurs with references to other pages, and a lot of other parts of Roam's fancy markup. Not really sure what the best way of dealing with this is. Maybe switch towards a full WYSIWYG editor, though that obviously comes with its own costs.
Roaman's Shortform

I spent a long time at the Double Crux workshop last year talking with folks about why the EA and x-risk community should care about developing better tools for thought.

Recently Andy Matsushak and Michael Nielsen wrote up some notes on the space, and why it is such a big deal. The first and last sections of the essay are most relevant to the claims I was making

I took some structured notes on the essay in our public Roam instance here

You can read the full essay here

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Roaman's Shortform

We've launched for a wider audience

It's similar to Workflowy or GoogleDocs -- but with many more flexible ways of building structure between ideas and projects.

biggest deal is bi-directional linking (every page or bulletpoint collects all the links that point to it).

The Zettelkasten Method

A couple things I'd suggest

Use the "block-references" feature, which you can discover in the / command, or when you type ((

In Roam, every workflowy type bullet point is a card -- and you can embed them elsewhere -- or like to them with an alias (that's a sort of hidden workflow that mostly power users use rn, probably need to improve)

In the original location, you see the number of other places you've referenced that card (back links), and clicking that button shows you all those locations

This makes it easy to build "trails&quo... (read more)

The Zettelkasten Method

Most of the folks who sign up for Roam right now don't discover the workflows in it that let you actually implement a Zettelkasten practice.

This is one reason why we send a link to every new user and try to schedule an onboarding call.

Unfortunately only a small % take us up on that - they try the tool, figure they have the hang of it, then go about using it like they've used other notes tools.

I will say most of the real great stuff that happens with Zettelkasten is not happening because of the tool you're using -- it is happe... (read more)

2Roaman2yA couple things I'd suggest Use the "block-references" feature, which you can discover in the / command, or when you type (( In Roam, every workflowy type bullet point is a card -- and you can embed them elsewhere -- or like to them with an alias (that's a sort of hidden workflow that mostly power users use rn, probably need to improve) In the original location, you see the number of other places you've referenced that card (back links), and clicking that button shows you all those locations This makes it easy to build "trails" of ideas across documents In the Zettelkasten process, when you have an idea, you first write it down, then think about where to place it, then think about what other ideas it connects to and link those up. In Roam, you'd probably just start writing the idea down on the day that you wrote it -- maybe nested under a some links/tags that relate to the general idea (or use links inline) so you can find it again later. If you're using Roam for Zettelkasting, next step is to look through your notes and find other ideas that you might want to link to those blocks. It's still not super seamless, but a hell of a lot faster than paper index cards, especially as your zettelkasten grows
How to Understand and Mitigate Risk

Regarding Transparent Risks and "Do the Math", reminded of this tweet

Something I wish existed: a mobile app that dynamically calculates the probability you're about to crash your car, based on your speed, the history of the piece of road you're on, the weather, the time of day, accelerometer data, etc.

The math isn't that easy to do when you're in the bar -- and the sort of person who on the margin might take the bet-- exactly the sort of thing that should be automated.