Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

My current Wiki approach

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I see a lot of people blogging about really clever knowledge base systems like Zettelkasten or a tool called Roam. But that isn’t something for me for a couple of reasons.

In 2017 I wrote a blog posts about how I used jingo as a wiki. After ditching jingo (because it’s a separate software you need to run), I used a repository on my private Gitea instance and wrote entries to plain Markdown files. I even tried Wiki.js and Notion.

All those tools or methods to take and keep notes are great. But they are only useful if you have the need as well as the motivation to store knowledge on paper or on disks. I sucked at taking basic notes during lectures and although that is getting better since I use OneNote and annotate slides during lectures, I still only try to remember most things. How should I keep a complex knowledge base if I already struggle with this most basic task?

And the most important reason, why I’m missing the motivation to think about a clever way to store my knowledge, is that I don’t really have a need to do so. I rarely really research things and when I do, those topics aren’t that complex for me to need a “second brain”. Most often when I’m searching stuff online, that are tutorials on how to do certain things, often in the field of programming. Like how to use mutexes in Go.

Often it happens that I don’t need that information again, but when I do, I research again and try to remember them by applying them on a project. When I know that I have used certain things already, I also just take a look at some older code I wrote to look how I did things there instead of searching again. I think I’m quite good at remembering where to search for things I have already read about or which I already used. That’s often much easier than writing them down.

Only if I need to search for information more then twice and the answer isn’t easy to find, I try to write them down or save a link to where I can find the answer. There needs to be a justification that it’s easier to write then to search another time and that is often given when I’m too annoyed by searching.

I have a few methods to do that: Either I create a new entry in the wiki on my homepage. Or I write a blog post about it. I like sharing thoughts and I think writing about them either in my wiki or on my blog can help others too, probably even when there are dozens of tutorials already out there. And, last but not least, by writing them down, there’s a higher chance that I remember that I have written about them and then have a place to search: my wiki or my blog.

Writing about private information on my blog or my wiki is not possible though. Whenever I come across a situation where I can’t write about it publicly, I create a note in my notes app. That is then synced across my devices and stored in “my private cloud” using Nextcloud Notes.

Do you store your information in a wiki or another notes system?

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Jan-Lukas Else
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