Neil's Noodlemaps

The blog and wiki combo

At a very high-level, blogs and wikis are just both ways of helping me get my thoughts in some kind of order, one way or another. They both happen to be forms hypertexting.

The lines between the two are blurry, but generally I think the blog is for streams of thoughts and discussion, and the wiki is (supposedly) the distillation and crystalisation of those. We'll see - I'm not sure that is exactly the relationship.

I tend to use commonplace book, personal wiki, and knowledge base fairly interchangebly - are they all the same thing?

Blogs as thinking out loud and conversations (also with oneself). Wiki as its accumulated residue.

---Ton Zylstra (The Blog and Wiki Combo)

1 The Garden and the Stream

These are quite nice metaphors for the wiki and the blog. From Mike Caulfield's article: The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral.

  • the Garden

    building out a network of often conflicting information into a web that can generate insights, iterating it, allowing that to grow into something bigger than a single event, a single narrative, or single meaning. – The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral

  • the Stream

    the Stream replaces topology with serialization. Rather than imagine a timeless world of connection and multiple paths, the Stream presents us with a single, time ordered path with our experience (and only our experience) at the center.

    The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral

2 Stock and flow

Another metaphor for the wiki and the blog.

3 How do they interlink?

And the real magic trick is to put them both together. To keep the ball bouncing with your flow—to maintain that open channel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the background. Sacrifice neither. The hybrid strategy.

Stock and flow / Snarkmarket

The actuality of what I post where and when (and why) is still a bit fluid.

At first I saw the blog as being the more ephemeral of the two, the stream of consciousness, and the wiki being where thoughts go when they are fully baked. But that has not been entirely the case so far. Some things I will actually write first in my wiki, completely undercooked, and shortly afterwards post to my blog timeline once I’ve thought it through a bit more in (almost) privacy.

At the moment I think I see the wiki as being ‘the bits that I want to keep’ long-term, and the blog as being ‘the thoughts that I want to share’ in the here and now. I might piece some thoughts together on the wiki, then share them via the blog for interaction, and then polish up the thoughts on the wiki based on what I’ve learned. For me (at the moment) the blog is social and interactive, the wiki is (publicly…) private and introspective.

The main technical distinction at the moment is that I expect to edit the text on the wiki, whereas I generally never go back and edit things I’ve posted to my blog timeline. (And in fact, I’m thinking about also automatically making timeline posts older than X months become private).

Maybe I should think of them both as my commonplace book, taken together.

3.1 My process

  • completely random thoughts are usually captured into org-mode first
    • my org-mode todos are never published anywhere (and never will be), so the most half-bake fluff can go here
    • occassionally some stuff I might just write directly to the blog or wiki, e.g. if I'm doing some wiki gardening, or I'm just happy to post whatever it is I'm posting
  • the random thoughts, with a little bit of rounding off of the edges, will then be either put onto the blog or the wiki
    • in theory, my process could/should be:
      • post everything to the stream first, for discussion and feedback
      • maybe once a week do a weekly review and put stuff back into the wiki, either new notes, or refinements of existing ones
    • it isn't exactly this at the moment though
      • I tend to write quite a lot in the wiki first
    • the final output would be I'd say 'articles', would be the culmination of building something up in the wiki over time to the point it has become fleshed out enough for a long-form piece.
      • It's the part of your garden that you might actively show people when they come round to visit, that you're most proud of.
      • If they want to wander around and look at other stuff too, or see what's in your toolshed, then cool also.

Recently, I've enjoyed writing things in to the stream, with links from some of the things in the notes going to their page on the wiki. Kind of like - these is very latest thoughts on these topics (that I've thought about before), what do others think? And those thoughts will get integrated in to the wiki fairly quickly. I noticed Ton doing that quite often - the most recent post links back to many other posts for some context. It shows a nice evolution of thoughts.

3.2 Process issues

  • I have been wikifying past stream posts on things
    • duplication of effort
    • how would I avoid that duplication of effort going forwards?
    • so that things from the stream end up in the wiki with minimal effort
    • possibly using the org-roam timeline feature as the place to do stream posts would work for that
      • one day… I'd want the stream to be all be indiewebified
  • With the wiki gardening, as I update my thoughts… I'm losing some of their history!!
    • I can either write that history into the wiki post, or maybe if stream posts link to the wiki post and appear as backlinks, that'd work (although it would assume the wiki post already exists to be linked to)
  • I have one system for the stream, and one for the garden. It's a bit 'manual til it hurts' at the moment combining the two - but not a big deal. If I had a choice, I'd go for moving the stream to org-mode too. But WordPress is so full featured for now with IndieWeb stuff, it'd take a long time to recreate all that in org-mode (there is Arcology though if only could get the source…)

3.3 Linking some things to months in the wiki

  • the stream is sometime referred to as the timeline, but I also quite like the idea of having a timeline in my wik, too - so I'll link certain things to dates when they happened (e.g. when I finished a particular book)
  • so it's not a stream, it's a timeline I can come back to and look at key events

4 Backlinks

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