Discussion:
[tw5] How and Why Should I Use Tags in Tiddlywiki?
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h0p3
2018-09-11 04:00:49 UTC
Permalink
There are several vanilla mechanics in Tiddlywiki I've just not found a
good use for yet (I'm kinda slow sometimes), and I feel like I'm leaving
delicious computational dimensionality and automation just sitting there on
the table. Tagging is one of those obvious mechanics I'm not using at all.

Since my wiki primarily isn't a collaborative work (I'm the author), I
don't seem to benefit from controlled vocabulary or a folksonomy. Yet, I
believe I am ignorantly blind about the value of tagging in Tiddlywiki.
I've tried using them before, but they've never seemed to really do
anything for me.

Naively, I've been able to comfortably survive using search, marginally
taglike-equivalent tiddler title naming conventions, and effective
linking+transcluding. Sometimes it feels like the more structure I give to
my wiki through links, the less likely I am to benefit from tags. Further,
search is so fast and flexible, I'm having a hard time finding cases where
tagging (a non-trivial task) is worth the effort.

* What is an obvious example of tagging being the best and irreplaceable
tool for the job?
* When do tags outperform linking with advanced search?
* What do tags help me model that I can't already?
* What constitutes a good tag?
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?

I assume the vast majority of TW users abuse tags very hard. There appears
to be plenty of tooling devoted to tags. I feel like an idiot for finding
no good use for them, and I want to spellcast with whatever magical powers
they contain! I've been told by a couple people who use tags (including
someone with an MLIS) that they aren't sure how I would benefit from tags
in the long run. Perhaps tags aren't always useful, they are just one
method which might not suit my usecase. I have no idea, but I'm trying to
understand.

Help a fool out, please. I want to think smarter not harder with tags.
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PMario
2018-09-11 07:23:36 UTC
Permalink
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 6:00:49 AM UTC+2, h0p3 wrote:
...
Post by h0p3
* What is an obvious example of tagging being the best and irreplaceable
tool for the job?
In TW tags are mainly used to create dynamic lists. like the TOC
<https://tiddlywiki.com/#Table-of-Contents%20Macros%20(Examples)> or a list
of links <https://tiddlywiki.com/#list-links%20Macro>.
If the tag is also a tiddler, those lists can be sorted, using the
list-field <https://tiddlywiki.com/#ListField>

* When do tags outperform linking with advanced search?
less typing.
Post by h0p3
* What do tags help me model that I can't already?
As you pointed out, having a tiddler naming convention helps with
searching. ... But what if such a naming convention doesn't fit the
use-case ... Tags can be very handy here.
Post by h0p3
* What constitutes a good tag?
:) ... Like good tiddler names, finding a good name that fits, is hard. ...
Several iterations may be needed. ... The advantage here is, that
refactoring tags, most of the times also leads to refactoring the content.
Which imo is a good thing.
Post by h0p3
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?
In my wikis I use 1-2 tags. But not every tiddler needs a tag. If a tiddler
has more tags, they tend to cause too much "noise", because they show up in
too many different lists.
Post by h0p3
I assume the vast majority of TW users abuse tags very hard.
If you don't want to use the "tag-space" to create an outline or toc-like
structure, there are other possibilities. eg: my tocP plugin
<https://wikilabs.github.io/editions/tocP/>, which uses user-fields to
create the connection between different tiddlers.

have fun!
mario
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TonyM
2018-09-11 08:44:32 UTC
Permalink
To add to Marios response.

Every thing with the same tag can be said to belong in the same group. This
is a way to organise tiddlers, and you can quickly find everything else in
the same group.

Imagine Work and Personal tags

People often use tags to represent a particular kind of tiddler
task note booking journal

And they are often also used to represent status
new working completed cancelled archived

And then there is peoples names as tags, subjects or categories

Tags are a quick and easy way to add a great deal of organisation even
processes to your information without much fuss.

Tags can be a switch, if tagged or not?

In my most recent large wiki I keep tags for ad hoc categories or flagging
and have moved most into other fields some of which are tag like fields,
Just to cope with what would be to many tags.

their use and number is unlimited

Regards
Tony
Post by h0p3
There are several vanilla mechanics in Tiddlywiki I've just not found a
good use for yet (I'm kinda slow sometimes), and I feel like I'm leaving
delicious computational dimensionality and automation just sitting there on
the table. Tagging is one of those obvious mechanics I'm not using at all.
Since my wiki primarily isn't a collaborative work (I'm the author), I
don't seem to benefit from controlled vocabulary or a folksonomy. Yet, I
believe I am ignorantly blind about the value of tagging in Tiddlywiki.
I've tried using them before, but they've never seemed to really do
anything for me.
Naively, I've been able to comfortably survive using search, marginally
taglike-equivalent tiddler title naming conventions, and effective
linking+transcluding. Sometimes it feels like the more structure I give to
my wiki through links, the less likely I am to benefit from tags. Further,
search is so fast and flexible, I'm having a hard time finding cases where
tagging (a non-trivial task) is worth the effort.
* What is an obvious example of tagging being the best and irreplaceable
tool for the job?
* When do tags outperform linking with advanced search?
* What do tags help me model that I can't already?
* What constitutes a good tag?
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?
I assume the vast majority of TW users abuse tags very hard. There appears
to be plenty of tooling devoted to tags. I feel like an idiot for finding
no good use for them, and I want to spellcast with whatever magical powers
they contain! I've been told by a couple people who use tags (including
someone with an MLIS) that they aren't sure how I would benefit from tags
in the long run. Perhaps tags aren't always useful, they are just one
method which might not suit my usecase. I have no idea, but I'm trying to
understand.
Help a fool out, please. I want to think smarter not harder with tags.
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Jed Carty
2018-09-11 09:04:19 UTC
Permalink
I am very against prescriptive rules in something like tiddlywiki. If you
don't have a reason to use tags than you don't need to use them. There is
nothing magic about them that you can't do with tiddler namespaces or
fields. If you are comfortable with using fields than the tags field has
restrictions that can make it less useful than other fields.

So, there are no examples of tags being the best and irreplaceable tool
because they are just an implementation of what you can do with fields
built into the core.
Tags outperform linking with advanced search when you don't have time or
don't have the experience with data systems and coding required to set up
another system
Tags don't really help you model anything that you can't with other fields,
they are just a shorthand method for the same thing
What makes a good tag is completely application specific and possible
specific to the person using it, there isn't a general answer to this
The number of tags in a wiki to make it effective is the same as above,
there isn't a general answer. I have wikis with no tags that do complex
things and I my bookmarks wiki has thousands of tags.
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Alexei R
2018-09-11 09:11:08 UTC
Permalink
IMHO the key disadvantage of TiddlyWiki's fields mechanism is that field
values dosn't show up in the search results...
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'Mark S.' via TiddlyWiki
2018-09-11 21:44:29 UTC
Permalink
Tags provide the equivalent of folders, and allow semantic context to be
affixed to tiddlers without despoiling the title. While it's true that much
of what you do with Tags could possibly be done with fields, tags have been
bestowed with special visibility and powers right out of the box. They're
automatically part of searches. If you change a title that is used as a tag
TW will offer to change it in tag and list fields. If you click on a tag,
it will show you all tiddlers tagged with that tag, and allow you to change
the list order.

A common searching style for me when I can't find a tiddler, is to search
for a related tiddler that I can remember. Then click on a tag that might
relate it to the one I can't find and see a list of tiddlers -- one of
which is likely to be the right tiddler.

The problem mechanically with using links is that there is no core
mechanism to update your links if you change your title. The only good work
around is to use PMario's unilinks, which allows you to make changes via
the subtitle field and never have to touch the title again.

-- Mark
Post by h0p3
There are several vanilla mechanics in Tiddlywiki I've just not found a
good use for yet (I'm kinda slow sometimes), and I feel like I'm leaving
delicious computational dimensionality and automation just sitting there on
the table. Tagging is one of those obvious mechanics I'm not using at all.
Since my wiki primarily isn't a collaborative work (I'm the author), I
don't seem to benefit from controlled vocabulary or a folksonomy. Yet, I
believe I am ignorantly blind about the value of tagging in Tiddlywiki.
I've tried using them before, but they've never seemed to really do
anything for me.
Naively, I've been able to comfortably survive using search, marginally
taglike-equivalent tiddler title naming conventions, and effective
linking+transcluding. Sometimes it feels like the more structure I give to
my wiki through links, the less likely I am to benefit from tags. Further,
search is so fast and flexible, I'm having a hard time finding cases where
tagging (a non-trivial task) is worth the effort.
* What is an obvious example of tagging being the best and irreplaceable
tool for the job?
* When do tags outperform linking with advanced search?
* What do tags help me model that I can't already?
* What constitutes a good tag?
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?
I assume the vast majority of TW users abuse tags very hard. There appears
to be plenty of tooling devoted to tags. I feel like an idiot for finding
no good use for them, and I want to spellcast with whatever magical powers
they contain! I've been told by a couple people who use tags (including
someone with an MLIS) that they aren't sure how I would benefit from tags
in the long run. Perhaps tags aren't always useful, they are just one
method which might not suit my usecase. I have no idea, but I'm trying to
understand.
Help a fool out, please. I want to think smarter not harder with tags.
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h0p3
2018-09-12 00:32:32 UTC
Permalink
You all are wonderful. Thank you all for the replies! I really appreciate
your taking the time out of your day to talk to me about this. You leave me
with a lot to think about. I will be looking for good ways to implement and
test your examples and advice in my wiki. I asked general questions, and I
got general answers. Maybe it would also be useful for me to be more
specific about my context.

My 19mb spaghetti wiki is ~6k tiddlers hardlinking to each other from their
bodies: https://philosopher.life/. Perhaps it's time for a massive
overhaul. I am fine with refactoring the entire thing by hand (although, I
think some of it could be automated), but I want to make sure I get the
most bang for my buck. I'm interesting to know, assuming you were in my
shoes/context, which low-hanging tagging or other mechanical improvements
you'd make.
In TW tags are mainly used to create dynamic lists. like the TOC or a
list of links.
If the tag is also a tiddler, those lists can be sorted, using the
list-field

With some valuable exceptions, I barely make use of dynamic lists. I create
lists by hand the majority of the time. Perhaps my link hardcoding is
wrong-headed. Part of my problem is that I don't always know how I want my
wiki to evolve, and maybe hard-coding has been a very flawed WYSIWYG coping
mechanism. Sometimes I'll bust something up into pieces and put the pieces
in different places. I feel like I'm building with lego with hardlinks.
less typing.
This seems especially true if you've automated tagging, although I think
automatically naming tiddlers is also possible (I've never figured that
out). For my logs, I often CnP an older link, edit the new one, and just
open the new link. I'm fairly quick on my keyboard with shortcuts, so this
hasn't seemed too painful to me. Tags seem like a good off-the-shelf answer
though. Perhaps it will save me a lot of time in the long run.

Once I have the hardlinks, it's easy to move them around them as sets,
manipulate the material, build other kinds of things with them. I often
have to lexically order my links by hand. Links feel concrete to me. I fear
I'm just rationalizing here or missing the point. Call me out on it.

If I had to assign most tiddlers to multiple groups most of the time, I
think tagging would awesome for me. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I
don't often find the need for one tiddler to be found in more than one
category. When I do, I link or transclude by hand. It can be a very special
event for me in my wiki when I see a tiddler belongs in multiple places;
sometimes it screams something important to me. Perhaps tagging would make
this event more common.
As you pointed out, having a tiddler naming convention helps with
searching. ... But what if such a naming convention doesn't fit the
use-case ... Tags can be very handy here.

The vast majority of the time, my searches don't even use my tiddler naming
convention at all. I generally either know part of the name of the tiddler
I'm reaching for, or I'm just narrowing piles down by keywords found in
their bodies. Search is where I am least convinced that tags do anything
for me, but maybe that is just specific to my usecase. All the exceptions I
can think of are handled by my title naming conventions. I'm trying to
think of examples where having two names and search of the body is
required. Of course, I may be reasoning all wrong about my data in the
first place too.
:) ... Like good tiddler names, finding a good name that fits, is
hard. ... Several iterations may be needed. ... The advantage here is, that
refactoring tags, most of the times also leads to refactoring the content.
Which imo is a good thing.

Surely this is where tagging is most useful to me? This isn't ad hoc like
search; it's more about automatically constructing and reconstructing. I
love the idea that changing names actually changes the content; boy does
that sound powerful. I must be using and thinking about my TW all wrong.

So, I think of tags in TW (perhaps incorrectly) as assigning a tiddler
multiple names, categories, or properties. I've somehow avoided the need,
done something by hand that should have been automated, or completely been
blind to the need for such a thing. Naming is hard. I spend a non-trivial
amount of my time asking myself where things belong in my TW and why.
Sometimes this is exactly what helps me map into new territory!

When I don't have a very specific title in mind, my naming conventions go
something like this:

`YYYY.MM.DD -- FooTag: BarTitle`

It's been pretty useful to me. I get a decent timeline, I kind of always
have one tag, and I can reuse BarTitles freely (a fairly common problem for
me) because I know the other information is unique. Sometimes I just think
of each tiddler has a flat textfile, and I'm trying to pack as much
necessary metadata in the name as I can; that may be the wrong approach.

Generally, I do not seem to need to factor the names of my tiddlers. The
evolution of my naming conventions is actually something I aim to highlight
and preserve in my work (maybe tags will help me do that better). Sometimes
I build trees of linked tiddlers. In a sense, the names don't matter
because the treelink structures have done the major hierarchical grouping
work. Tags could eliminate the need to crawl that tree in some cases.
Alright, practical tagging possibility for my context number one! Thank you.
In my wikis I use 1-2 tags. But not every tiddler needs a tag. If a
tiddler has more tags, they tend to cause too much "noise", because they
show up in too many different lists.

Alright, so I think this suggests I shouldn't be tagging willy-nilly ever
(good, since I don't want to endure that chaos). If I don't have a clear
systematic reason and direct purpose already in mind, then don't tag.
If you don't want to use the "tag-space" to create an outline or
toc-like structure, there are other possibilities. eg: my tocP plugin,
which uses user-fields to create the connection between different tiddlers.


That plugin is very pretty. For how I normally use my wiki, I wish I could
click a button and it would add a formatted link in the body of the parent
and created the new tiddler. Unfortunately, I'd usually have to edit the
BarTitle in both the parent and child. Your system avoids that work. It may
just be a better way to go about doing this in the end.

When is it better to use tocP over the tag-space?
Every thing with the same tag can be said to belong in the same group.
This is a way to organise tiddlers, and you can quickly find everything
else in the same group.

I appreciate that. So far, I've not bumped into a problem without it. But,
perhaps there are possibilities here I'm missing out on that would I use if
I realized it.
Imagine Work and Personal tags
I feel like I accomplish this with my linking structures. However, tagging
might just be a better approach. I'm failing to come up with an example in
my own wiki, but that may just be my blindness here.
People often use tags to represent a particular kind of tiddler
task note booking journal
I can see that, although probably not well enough. This too is something I
feel comfortable doing by hardlinking tiddlers. Maybe I shouldn't. I'm
trying to see where tags are silverbullets here. They might just be another
good way of doing things in this case.
And they are often also used to represent status
new working completed cancelled archived
I will need to think more about this. Temporary flagging is usage I had not
considered, but surely I should! I usually just put such a thing in the
body of the tiddler, but maybe I shouldn't. Thank you!
And then there is peoples names as tags, subjects or categories
I've tried this (perhaps incorrectly?). This is actually where I stopped
using tags. Links and search seemed to solve it faster for me.
Tags are a quick and easy way to add a great deal of organisation even
processes to your information without much fuss.

I am excited to try it. Perhaps that's my problem here. Maybe I've been
fussing over tiddler naming conventions to the point that I've missed to
obvious answer in tags. What do you think?
Tags can be a switch, if tagged or not?
Reminds me of representing status. I'm trying to come up with a case where
I'd want this particular one though. It's interesting.
In my most recent large wiki I keep tags for ad hoc categories or
flagging and have moved most into other fields some of which are tag like
fields, Just to cope with what would be to many tags.

Neat. So, tags act as stand-in placeholders until you figure out how to
want to refactor into other metadata structures. That sounds awesome; I
feel stupid for now seeing how I would make use of it. I've been using my
TW for quite a while now, and you'd think that kind of thing would be
obvious to me.
their use and number is unlimited
I see that. In a sense, I'm looking to see how to cut salient sculptures
out of the unlimited marble slab. Ideally, I'd like to find ways to
cost-efficiently use tags while maintaining most of my current conventions
(or modifying those conventions in virtue of a useful emergence from adding
tags to the mix). Practically, I may be in for a complete refactor.
I am very against prescriptive rules in something like tiddlywiki. If you
don't have a reason to use tags than you don't need to use them. There is
nothing magic about them that you can't do with tiddler namespaces or
fields. If you are comfortable with using fields than the tags field has
restrictions that can make it less useful than other fields.

I hear that. Look, I want you to be right. I also realize a ton of very
intelligent people use this feature of TW, and I don't. That doesn't make
me wrong, but I have to bet against myself here. I think I'm obligated to
try and find a way to see how to use their reasoning in my own.

What are examples of restrictions on tags that might be worth avoiding?
So, there are no examples of tags being the best and irreplaceable tool
because they are just an implementation of what you can do with fields
built into the core.

That's a good point.

My assumption has been that that field invisibility while reading is useful
for hiding information/clutter, while tagging gives you some visible and
clickable interface to navigate and reason about tiddlers without opening
them. This seems kind of related to why I try to make my titles do as much
reasonable metadata work for me as possible. I also worry tags have a
tendency to hide the very metadata I want to see while reading through
lists of tiddlers.
Tags outperform linking with advanced search when you don't have time or
don't have the experience with data systems and coding required to set up
another system

Oh. Hmm. Well, I feel pretty incompetent here. I interpret you to be
straight up telling me I need to start using tags because I have no idea
what I'm doing (which is a very fair thing to tell me!).

I'm quite worried I'm using my TW all wrong. I'm not trying to assume the
grass is greener on the other side, but I know how fallible I am (I'm
straight up stupid too often, dude). Yes, it works great for the way in
which I use it, but maybe the way in which I use it could be radically
improved if I were thinking in terms of tags. I have "Just a bunch of
tiddlers" carefully linked to each other in their bodies. It's been
profoundly flexible for me, but my gut says I'm missing something (which is
why I'm looking).
Tags don't really help you model anything that you can't with other
fields, they are just a shorthand method for the same thing

Fair enough. I do hope to make use of the shorthand and the tooling
ecosystem so I don't have to reinvent too many wheels.
What makes a good tag is completely application specific and possible
specific to the person using it, there isn't a general answer to this

I appreciate your contextualism here. If you happen to look at my wiki, do
you have any gut instincts about what would make a good tag for me?
The number of tags in a wiki to make it effective is the same as above,
there isn't a general answer. I have wikis with no tags that do complex
things and I my bookmarks wiki has thousands of tags.

One of my goals is to keep a unified wiki (with the exception of an
encrypted wiki because individual tiddlers do not appear to automatically
lock themselves [for good reasons, I take it]). What are some obstacles one
would face into trying to keep all of their TWs unified into one? Are there
good ways to combat those problems while maintaining a unified wiki?
IMHO the key disadvantage of TiddlyWiki's fields mechanism is that field
values dosn't show up in the search results...

Interesting. Is there no way around this?
Tags provide the equivalent of folders, and allow semantic context to be
affixed to tiddlers without despoiling the title. While it's true that much
of what you do with Tags could possibly be done with fields, tags have been
bestowed with special visibility and powers right out of the box. They're
automatically part of searches. If you change a title that is used as a tag
TW will offer to change it in tag and list fields. If you click on a tag,
it will show you all tiddlers tagged with that tag, and allow you to change
the list order.

I've yet to find a good way to use the Update "in the tags and list fields
of other tiddlers" so far. When I modify a tiddler title, I may need to
modify all the links to it as well, which is usually trivial. Are tags
meant to bypass that kind of problem?

I might be weird, but I want my titles to be pack a lot of metadata into
them. Do you think I need to start offloading some of my title work into
tags? Should I duplicate some of it tags instead (I'm not sure how that
helps me)?
A common searching style for me when I can't find a tiddler, is to search
for a related tiddler that I can remember. Then click on a tag that might
relate it to the one I can't find and see a list of tiddlers -- one of
which is likely to be the right tiddler.

This is where my link tree structures really shine, imho. I spend a lot of
time thinking about the hierarchy of my links. I've basically forced a
virtual file structure on myself. My "Root" directory really does contain
links to everything else on the wiki, and there are reasons for why every
link is placed there.
The problem mechanically with using links is that there is no core
mechanism to update your links if you change your title. The only good work
around is to use PMario's unilinks, which allows you to make changes via
the subtitle field and never have to touch the title again.

This is the best argument in the thread by far!

Short-term, it's usually in the creation of the tiddler that I made a
mistake in the name and have to go change it in both places.

The lack of a core mechanism here isn't too frustrating for me. When I
must, I search and replace the .html file with a text editor. But, and this
may just be a quirk of my project, I usually leave the breadcrumbs of such
changes to give myself evidence of the evolution of my wiki. Transclusions
appear to solve my problems so far (but, it's possible that I'm missing
something that will eventually bite me in the butt). Still, it may be
better to go another route and build that evidence differently. I could,
for example, attach the new tags to everything with the old, and continue
on just using the new. What do you think?

I've been thinking about PMario's unilinks as well, although not for what
you suggested. I may end up moving to it just to handle: Gator, gators,
Alligators, alligators, alligator, etc. pointing to the same tiddler.
Perhaps I should use it for the purpose you point out. TW does seem to
favor using non-link mechanics for directories.

What is the reason TW's core doesn't offer chance to update links in the
bodies of all tiddlers?
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Greg Davis
2018-09-12 02:49:28 UTC
Permalink
A small example might be the "bible" for the series I am trying to write.

Characters are tagged for things like species, occupation, citizenship,
book(s), story

So some characters might be:

title: North, Wil
tag: human, trader, terran, repairs, daughter, recall
caption: Wil North

title: Gregory, Mariko
tag: biosynth, pilot, s-union, recall
caption: Mariko

Then for say all the characters in the book "Recall to Duty"

I could use:

<$list filter="[tag[recall]]">

<$link><$view field="caption"/></$link>
</$list>

to give me a list, of links, of all the characters:

Mariko
Wil North

As characters are added or removed the list automatically updates.

Also it seems like their are too many tags causing untidy confusion their
are ways to hide the tags from view but still enjoy their use.

Hope that sparks some ideas.
Greg
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TonyM
2018-09-12 03:20:30 UTC
Permalink
h0p3,

You can use tiddlywiki what every way you want. It sounds like you do and
have to think deeply about tiddler naming standards metadata and links. I
do to but I try an generalise them as much as possible, why?,
because I have dozens of TiddlyWikis and jump between them and the last
thing I need is having to recap on my structure every time I look at the
wiki.

With all due respect your current wiki is solving a small world problem
(even if its big in itself), it is fragile and possibly hard to link or
integrate with the future.
I expect you also find little value and reduced ability to make use of
others tools and plugins on top of your somewhat bespoke design.

I suggest get an empty tiddlywiki and just play with it, exploring
alternative structures and organisation methods, in time you will discover
what to refactor, and what to keep the same.

Tomorrow you may want to build a house and you could start a wiki for that,
will or should your current wiki accommodate that?

I have decades off knowledge and Information management experience to draw
on but what ever data organisation I want to do I work hard to keep
generalising it and making it as reusable as I can.

Please consider that "sage advice" and adopt it even before you learn that
lesson the hard way.

It is clear you know how to organise, think, manage relationships in your
data, not its time to "think outside the box/single tiddlywiki".

We will all be here tomorrow to help.

Best wishes
Tony
Post by h0p3
You all are wonderful. Thank you all for the replies! I really appreciate
your taking the time out of your day to talk to me about this. You leave me
with a lot to think about. I will be looking for good ways to implement and
test your examples and advice in my wiki. I asked general questions, and I
got general answers. Maybe it would also be useful for me to be more
specific about my context.
My spaghetti wiki is ~6k tiddlers hardlinking to each other from their
bodies: https://philosopher.life/. Perhaps it's time for a massive
overhaul. I am fine with refactoring the entire thing by hand (although, I
think some of it could be automated), but I want to make sure I get the
most bang for my buck. Say you were in my shoes/context, what are the
low-hanging tagging or other mechanical improvements to be made?
@PMario
In TW tags are mainly used to create dynamic lists. like the TOC or a list
Post by h0p3
of links.
If the tag is also a tiddler, those lists can be sorted, using the
list-field
With some valuable exceptions, I barely make use of dynamic lists. I
create lists by hand the majority of the time. Perhaps my link hardcoding
is wrong-headed. Part of my problem is that I don't always know how I want
my wiki to evolve, and maybe hard-coding has been a very flawed WYSIWYG
coping mechanism. Sometimes I'll bust something up into pieces and put the
pieces in different places. I feel like I'm building with lego with
hardlinks.
less typing.
This seems especially true if you've automated tagging, although I think
automatically naming tiddlers is also possible (I've never figured that
out). For my logs, I often CnP an older link, edit the new one, and just
open the new link. I'm fairly quick on my keyboard with shortcuts, so this
hasn't seemed too painful to me. Tags seem like a good off-the-shelf answer
though. Perhaps it will save me a lot of time in the long run.
Once I have the hardlinks, it's easy to move them around them as sets,
manipulate the material, build other kinds of things with them. I often
have to lexically order my links by hand. Links feel concrete to me. I fear
I'm just rationalizing here or missing the point. Call me out on it.
If I had to assign most tiddlers to multiple groups most of the time, I
think tagging would awesome for me. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I
don't often find the need for one tiddler to be found in more than one
category. When I do, I link or transclude by hand. It can be a very special
event for me in my wiki when I see a tiddler belongs in multiple places;
sometimes it screams something important to me. Perhaps tagging would make
this event more common.
As you pointed out, having a tiddler naming convention helps with
Post by h0p3
searching. ... But what if such a naming convention doesn't fit the
use-case ... Tags can be very handy here.
The vast majority of the time, my searches don't even use my tiddler
naming convention at all. I generally either know part of the name of the
tiddler I'm reaching for, or I'm just narrowing piles down by keywords
found in their bodies. Search is where I am least convinced that tags do
anything for me, but maybe that is just specific to my usecase. All the
exceptions I can think of are handled by my title naming conventions. I'm
trying to think of examples where having two names and search of the body
is required. Of course, I may be reasoning all wrong about my data in the
first place too.
:) ... Like good tiddler names, finding a good name that fits, is hard.
Post by h0p3
... Several iterations may be needed. ... The advantage here is, that
refactoring tags, most of the times also leads to refactoring the content.
Which imo is a good thing.
Surely this is where tagging is most useful to me? This isn't ad hoc like
search; it's more about automatically constructing and reconstructing. I
love the idea that changing names actually changes the content; boy does
that sound powerful. I must be using and thinking about my TW all wrong.
So, I think of tags in TW (perhaps incorrectly) as assigning a tiddler
multiple names, categories, or properties. I've somehow avoided the need,
done something by hand that should have been automated, or completely been
blind to the need for such a thing. Naming is hard. I spend a non-trivial
amount of my time asking myself where things belong in my TW and why.
Sometimes this is exactly what helps me map into new territory!
When I don't have a very specific title in mind, my naming conventions go
YYYY.MM.DD -- FooTag: BarTitle
It's been pretty useful to me. I get a decent timeline, I kind of always
have one tag, and I can reuse BarTitles freely (a fairly common problem for
me) because I know the other information is unique. Sometimes I just think
of each tiddler has a flat textfile, and I'm trying to pack as much
necessary metadata in the name as I can; that may be the wrong approach.
Generally, I do not seem to need to factor the names of my tiddlers. The
evolution of my naming conventions is actually something I aim to highlight
and preserve in my work (maybe tags will help me do that better). Sometimes
I build trees of linked tiddlers. In a sense, the names don't matter
because the treelink structures have done the major hierarchical grouping
work. Tags could eliminate the need to crawl that tree in some cases.
Alright, practical tagging possibility for my context number one! Thank you.
In my wikis I use 1-2 tags. But not every tiddler needs a tag. If a
Post by h0p3
tiddler has more tags, they tend to cause too much "noise", because they
show up in too many different lists.
Alright, so I think this suggests I shouldn't be tagging willy-nilly ever
(good, since I don't want to endure that chaos). If I don't have a clear
systematic reason and direct purpose already in mind, then don't tag.
If you don't want to use the "tag-space" to create an outline or toc-like
Post by h0p3
structure, there are other possibilities. eg: my tocP plugin, which uses
user-fields to create the connection between different tiddlers.
That plugin is very pretty. For how I normally use my wiki, I wish I could
click a button and it would add a formatted link in the body of the parent
and created the new tiddler. Unfortunately, I'd usually have to edit the
BarTitle in both the parent and child. Your system avoids that work. It may
just be a better way to go about doing this in the end.
When is it better to use tocP over the tag-space?
@TonyM
Every thing with the same tag can be said to belong in the same group.
Post by h0p3
This is a way to organise tiddlers, and you can quickly find everything
else in the same group.
I appreciate that. So far, I've not bumped into a problem without it. But,
perhaps there are possibilities here I'm missing out on that would I use if
I realized it.
Imagine Work and Personal tags
I feel like I accomplish this with my linking structures. However, tagging
might just be a better approach. I'm failing to come up with an example in
my own wiki, but that may just be my blindness here.
People often use tags to represent a particular kind of tiddler
Post by h0p3
task note booking journal
I can see that, although probably not well enough. This too is something I
feel comfortable doing by hardlinking tiddlers. Maybe I shouldn't. I'm
trying to see where tags are silverbullets here. They might just be another
good way of doing things in this case.
And they are often also used to represent status
Post by h0p3
new working completed cancelled archived
I will need to think more about this. Temporary flagging is usage I had
not considered, but surely I should! I usually just put such a thing in the
body of the tiddler, but maybe I shouldn't. Thank you!
And then there is peoples names as tags, subjects or categories
I've tried this (perhaps incorrectly?). This is actually where I stopped
using tags. Links and search seemed to solve it faster for me.
Tags are a quick and easy way to add a great deal of organisation even
Post by h0p3
processes to your information without much fuss.
I am excited to try it. Perhaps that's my problem here. Maybe I've been
fussing over tiddler naming conventions to the point that I've missed to
obvious answer in tags. What do you think?
Tags can be a switch, if tagged or not?
Reminds me of representing status. I'm trying to come up with a case where
I'd want this particular one though. It's interesting.
In my most recent large wiki I keep tags for ad hoc categories or flagging
Post by h0p3
and have moved most into other fields some of which are tag like fields,
Just to cope with what would be to many tags.
Neat. So, tags act as stand-in placeholders until you figure out how to
want to refactor into other metadata structures. That sounds awesome; I
feel stupid for now seeing how I would make use of it. I've been using my
TW for quite a while now, and you'd think that kind of thing would be
obvious to me.
their use and number is unlimited
I see that. In a sense, I'm looking to see how to cut salient sculptures
out of the unlimited marble slab. Ideally, I'd like to find ways to
cost-efficiently use tags while maintaining most of my current conventions
(or modifying those conventions in virtue of a useful emergence from adding
tags to the mix). Practically, I may be in for a complete refactor.
@Jed Carty
I am very against prescriptive rules in something like tiddlywiki. If you
Post by h0p3
don't have a reason to use tags than you don't need to use them. There is
nothing magic about them that you can't do with tiddler namespaces or
fields. If you are comfortable with using fields than the tags field has
restrictions that can make it less useful than other fields.
I hear that. Look, I want you to be right. I also realize a ton of very
intelligent people use this feature of TW, and I don't. That doesn't make
me wrong, but I have to bet against myself here. I think I'm obligated to
try and find a way to see how to use their reasoning in my own.
What are examples of restrictions on tags that might be worth avoiding?
So, there are no examples of tags being the best and irreplaceable tool
Post by h0p3
because they are just an implementation of what you can do with fields
built into the core.
That's a good point.
My assumption has been that that field invisibility while reading is
useful for hiding information/clutter, while tagging gives you some visible
and clickable interface to navigate and reason about tiddlers without
opening them. This seems kind of related to why I try to make my titles do
as much reasonable metadata work for me as possible. I also worry tags have
a tendency to hide the very metadata I want to see while reading through
lists of tiddlers.
Tags outperform linking with advanced search when you don't have time or
Post by h0p3
don't have the experience with data systems and coding required to set up
another system
Oh. Hmm. Well, I feel pretty incompetent here. I interpret you to be
straight up telling me I need to start using tags because I have no idea
what I'm doing (which is a very fair thing to tell me!).
I'm quite worried I'm using my TW all wrong. I'm not trying to assume the
grass is greener on the other side, but I know how fallible I am (I'm
straight up stupid too often, dude). Yes, it works great for the way in
which I use it, but maybe the way in which I use it could be radically
improved if I were thinking in terms of tags. I have "Just a bunch of
tiddlers" carefully linked to each other in their bodies. It's been
profoundly flexible for me, but my gut says I'm missing something (which is
why I'm looking).
Tags don't really help you model anything that you can't with other
Post by h0p3
fields, they are just a shorthand method for the same thing
Fair enough. I do hope to make use of the shorthand and the tooling
ecosystem so I don't have to reinvent too many wheels.
What makes a good tag is completely application specific and possible
Post by h0p3
specific to the person using it, there isn't a general answer to this
I appreciate your contextualism here. If you happen to look at my wiki, do
you have any gut instincts about what would make a good tag for me?
The number of tags in a wiki to make it effective is the same as above,
Post by h0p3
there isn't a general answer. I have wikis with no tags that do complex
things and I my bookmarks wiki has thousands of tags.
One of my goals is to keep a unified wiki (with the exception of an
encrypted wiki because individual tiddlers do not appear to automatically
lock themselves [for good reasons, I take it]). What are some obstacles one
would face into trying to keep all of their TWs unified into one? Are there
good ways to combat those problems while maintaining a unified wiki?
@Alexei R
IMHO the key disadvantage of TiddlyWiki's fields mechanism is that field
Post by h0p3
values dosn't show up in the search results...
Interesting. Is there no way around this?
@Mark S.
Tags provide the equivalent of folders, and allow semantic context to be
Post by h0p3
affixed to tiddlers without despoiling the title. While it's true that much
of what you do with Tags could possibly be done with fields, tags have been
bestowed with special visibility and powers right out of the box. They're
automatically part of searches. If you change a title that is used as a tag
TW will offer to change it in tag and list fields. If you click on a tag,
it will show you all tiddlers tagged with that tag, and allow you to change
the list order.
I've yet to find a good way to use the Update "in the tags and list fields
of other tiddlers" mechanic so far. When I modify a tiddler title, I may
need to modify all the links to it as well, which is usually trivial. Are
tags meant to bypass that kind of problem?
I might be weird, but I've enjoyed using titles packed with a lot of
metadata (that may just be in virtue of failing to use tags appropriately).
Do you think I need to start offloading some of my title work into tags?
Should I duplicate some of it tags instead (I'm not sure how that helps me)?
A common searching style for me when I can't find a tiddler, is to search
Post by h0p3
for a related tiddler that I can remember. Then click on a tag that might
relate it to the one I can't find and see a list of tiddlers – one of which
is likely to be the right tiddler.
This is where my link tree structures really shine, imho. I spend a lot of
time thinking about the hierarchy of my links. I've basically forced a
virtual file structure on myself. My "Root" directory really does contain
links to everything else on the wiki, and there are reasons for why every
link is placed there.
The problem mechanically with using links is that there is no core
Post by h0p3
mechanism to update your links if you change your title. The only good work
around is to use PMario's unilinks, which allows you to make changes via
the subtitle field and never have to touch the title again.
This is the best argument in the thread by far!
Short-term, it's usually in the creation of the tiddler that I made a
mistake in the name and have to go change it in both places.
The lack of a core mechanism here isn't too frustrating for me. I am
curious as to why this isn't a core mechanism in TW. This seems like it
would be fairly common. I assume it does something too dangerous or is too
expensive?
When I must, I search and replace the .html file with a text editor. But,
and this may just be a quirk of my project, I usually leave the breadcrumbs
of such changes to give myself evidence of the evolution of my wiki.
Transclusions appear to solve my problems so far (but, it's possible that
I'm missing something that will eventually bite me in the butt). Still, it
may be better to go another route and build that evidence differently. What
do you think?
I've been thinking about PMario's unilinks as well, although for what
suggested. I may end up moving to it just to handle: Gator, gators,
Alligators, alligators, alligator, etc. pointing to the same tiddler. I
will need to give it more thought.
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'Mark S.' via TiddlyWiki
2018-09-12 13:34:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by h0p3
@Mark S.
Tags provide the equivalent of folders, and allow semantic context to be
Post by 'Mark S.' via TiddlyWiki
affixed to tiddlers without despoiling the title. While it's true that much
of what you do with Tags could possibly be done with fields, tags have been
bestowed with special visibility and powers right out of the box. They're
automatically part of searches. If you change a title that is used as a tag
TW will offer to change it in tag and list fields. If you click on a tag,
it will show you all tiddlers tagged with that tag, and allow you to change
the list order.
I've yet to find a good way to use the Update "in the tags and list fields
of other tiddlers" mechanic so far. When I modify a tiddler title, I may
need to modify all the links to it as well, which is usually trivial. Are
tags meant to bypass that kind of problem?
I might be weird, but I've enjoyed using titles packed with a lot of
metadata (that may just be in virtue of failing to use tags appropriately).
Do you think I need to start offloading some of my title work into tags?
Should I duplicate some of it tags instead (I'm not sure how that helps me)?
The first rule of data normalization is to atomize all data. That is, each
field should contain only one type of data. TW out of the box violates this
principle with the title already serving 4 different functions.

Why does this matter? Maybe it doesn't. But if you have aspirations of
creating detailed reports or lists, then it will matter. The first thing
you will want to do is to prise the information out of that single title
field. This is difficult and messy under the best circumstances. But TW
doesn't have the tools for breaking apart text strings, so it's even harder.

So, if all you're doing is Ad Hoc searches, then your way is fine. But if
you ever want more, it will be easier and less error-prone to structure
your data. You can do this fields, but it's quicker out of the box to just
use tags until you nail down exactly what data is important for what
purposes.

Good luck!
-- Mark
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@TiddlyTweeter
2018-09-12 14:42:10 UTC
Permalink
Mark S. wrote ...

... but it's quicker out of the box to just use tags until you nail down
exactly what data is important for what purposes.
FWIW I think that is great practical advice. Tags as a step towards
preciser refinement sounds spot-on to me.
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@TiddlyTweeter
2018-09-12 14:56:38 UTC
Permalink
h0p3 wrote ...

* What is an obvious example of tagging being the best and irreplaceable
Post by h0p3
tool for the job?
That Beatrice Grum was your mother? :-)

title: Beatrice Grum tag: mother
Beatrice Grum was my mother.

I assume the vast majority of TW users abuse tags very hard.
There can be a tendency towards "tagitis". I think in practice you realise
pretty quickly that run-away tagitis doesn't work.

I think often its an iterative process of expansion and contraction to
optimise a wiki reference structure. Rather than get into too much of that
I think it would be interesting to SEE more well-designed TiddlyWiki. I
don't think there is one solution. It depends on use cases what is
appropriate. We just lack enough good public examples IMO.

Best wishes
Josiah
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@TiddlyTweeter
2018-09-12 15:20:54 UTC
Permalink
h0p3 asked ...
Post by h0p3
* What constitutes a good tag?
Its worth noting that tags in TiddlyWiki are quite promiscuous.

Meaning you can use them to (1) activate architecture (e.g.
"$:/tag/MakeThisThingActive"), (2) to provide simple dropdown menus (e.g.
"MyRecipies" on a dozen Tiddlers only menued via a tag dropdown), and, (3)
specific references to Mother (i.e. "Mother"). Only item 3 accords, in
simple form, to conventional tagging that is usually constrained by a
context (e.g. on Twitter the hashtag always and only relates to categories
the CONTENT of a post can be classified in. It constructs nothing.)

The flexibility of Tags in TW is very useful. And also open to going a bit
peculiar :-).

Just thoughts
Josiah
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@TiddlyTweeter
2018-09-12 16:16:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by @TiddlyTweeter
h0p3 asked ...
Post by h0p3
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?
I can't answer that precisely because it would depend on the overall
complexity. But, note, the more complexity you have on *render* the more
likely your TW slows down. Its not just ADDING tags, its as much about
calling on them via filters, I think.

Anyway, there seem two issues in your question ...

-- implied interest in performance

-- concrete wondering about numbers of tags. I don't think there is a
simple answer. Mainly because "optimisation" is currently a very inexact
science even in computing. FWIW I used to live with a genius of
"Operational Research" (a branch of applied maths concerned with trying to
solve complex problems like the "Travelling Salesman Problem"
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem> of optimal
outcomes in uncertain contexts) and even she would have difficulty with
that one.

I think, myself, "never add a tag that is not essential." *Quite what that
means you might be able to tell me :-)*.

I thoroughly enjoyed this thread. It stimulated my brain.

Best wishes
Josiah
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S H Chang
2018-09-14 10:55:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by @TiddlyTweeter
-- implied interest in performance
-- concrete wondering about numbers of tags
I'm interested to know more about this. Right now, I have my to-do lists
function around a couple of fields I created, instead of using something
like a "Done" tag. Would there be a difference if I organise my wiki by
say, 100 tags as compared to 100 field values? I mean, a tag is a tiddler,
right?

Personally, I'm using fields only because I like being able to assign
different values to one field and organise from there.

Forgive me if I'm confusing. I just started using Tiddlywiki and I actually
am confused...
Post by @TiddlyTweeter
h0p3 asked ...
Post by h0p3
* How many tags in a wiki and/or per tiddler are optimal?
I can't answer that precisely because it would depend on the overall
complexity. But, note, the more complexity you have on *render* the more
likely your TW slows down. Its not just ADDING tags, its as much about
calling on them via filters, I think.
Anyway, there seem two issues in your question ...
-- implied interest in performance
-- concrete wondering about numbers of tags. I don't think there is a
simple answer. Mainly because "optimisation" is currently a very inexact
science even in computing. FWIW I used to live with a genius of
"Operational Research" (a branch of applied maths concerned with trying to
solve complex problems like the "Travelling Salesman Problem"
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem> of optimal
outcomes in uncertain contexts) and even she would have difficulty with
that one.
I think, myself, "never add a tag that is not essential." *Quite what
that means you might be able to tell me :-)*.
I thoroughly enjoyed this thread. It stimulated my brain.
Best wishes
Josiah
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bimlas
2018-09-14 08:46:26 UTC
Permalink
This plugin tries to make tags more useful - I hope you will benefit from
this:

FilteredTags
Filter by multiple tags: Use the checkboxes to filter the list of tags;
clicking on the tag lists only those tiddlers that are assigned to each of
the selected tags. The list can be filtered using the global search box.

https://bimlas.gitlab.io/#Filter%20by%20multiple%20tags%20easily%3A%20FilteredTag%20example
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'Mark S.' via TiddlyWiki
2018-09-14 13:53:20 UTC
Permalink
The rainy day project I've considered is to make a search field similar to
most other wiki projects and information managers. e.g.

tag:"HelloThere" -tag:Learning search:caption:"Jack"

Currently, the only way to do something like this is by using filters in
the advanced search tiddler. Annoyingly, if you subsequently do a regular
search, the hard work of your filter gets wiped out. And why would you need
to go back and forth two different queries? Because you're using the filter
to look-up how to use the filter options!


-- Mark
Post by bimlas
This plugin tries to make tags more useful - I hope you will benefit from
FilteredTags
Filter by multiple tags: Use the checkboxes to filter the list of tags;
clicking on the tag lists only those tiddlers that are assigned to each of
the selected tags. The list can be filtered using the global search box.
https://bimlas.gitlab.io/#Filter%20by%20multiple%20tags%20easily%3A%20FilteredTag%20example
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HansWobbe
2018-09-14 14:41:21 UTC
Permalink
bimlas

This is very nice and quite useful to me since I use tags a lot.

Thansfor sharing!

Regards,
Hans
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Mohammad
2018-09-14 14:49:49 UTC
Permalink
Hans,

It is a pity these great stuff are never documented for future use. I am very interested to have a wikibook on TW, this amazing tool. But this is not a job to be done by someone alone.

Mohammad
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bimlas
2018-09-14 15:49:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mohammad
these great stuff are never documented for future use
Do you mean the plugin...? If yes, then what should I document: behavior,
tiddlers, or what? Or am I misunderstood something and you talk about
something else?
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Mohammad
2018-09-14 18:31:45 UTC
Permalink
Hello Bimlas,
No, I mean in this forum topics are discussed and experiences are shared,
but they are buried in this Google forum! I said it would be great to have
a wiki book and document them!

Cheers
Mohammad
Post by Mohammad
these great stuff are never documented for future use
Do you mean the plugin...? If yes, then what should I document: behavior,
tiddlers, or what? Or am I misunderstood something and you talk about
something else?
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HansWobbe
2018-09-14 19:10:50 UTC
Permalink
Mohammad:

You are certainly correct that creating a wikiBookfor TW is "not a job to
be done by someone alone".

There have been many attempts at creating documentation since many people
share the view that a book would be very useful. Unfortunately, so far,
few have progressed to the point that they are a comprehensive reference.

In fact, even the recent talk about just updating the wikipedia TiddlyWiki
page did not catch on.

I remain interested and will be a contribute when I can add value, but this
is not a time at which I can "lead" such a project.

Regards,
Hans
Post by Mohammad
Hans,
It is a pity these great stuff are never documented for future use. I am
very interested to have a wikibook on TW, this amazing tool. But this is
not a job to be done by someone alone.
Mohammad
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TonyM
2018-09-14 23:05:19 UTC
Permalink
Hans,

I started the wikipedia thread and intend to finish it. I called for input so I did not have to do it all.

It is importiant in a volenteer community not to confuse apparent inaction with no action. Volenteers need to find time in the day to act and things will take longer. I have more to say but its too off topic OT

Tony
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HansWobbe
2018-09-15 15:22:51 UTC
Permalink
Tony:

My response to Mohammed was intended as nothing more than to express
agreement with his observation that a wikibook would be useful, but also
entail a large amount of work. That being said, I expressed a willingness
to contribute, and cautioned that I cannot "lead" at this time.

In no way did I intend to critisize any other docustionation efforts, and
especially not because of confusing apparent inaction with no action.
After all, I have been a patient, net beneficiary of many of the
contributions the members of this community have made.

Hans
Post by TonyM
Hans,
I started the wikipedia thread and intend to finish it. I called for input
so I did not have to do it all.
It is importiant in a volenteer community not to confuse apparent inaction
with no action. Volenteers need to find time in the day to act and things
will take longer. I have more to say but its too off topic OT
Tony
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'Mark S.' via TiddlyWiki
2018-09-15 16:18:14 UTC
Permalink
The question I've asked several times. If I (or someone) started a Wiki
about TW, would be able to import topics from TiddlyWiki.com ? The way I
read it, it should be open source. Any other interpretations?

Not having to start from scratch would be a big boost to any such project.

-- Mark
Post by HansWobbe
My response to Mohammed was intended as nothing more than to express
agreement with his observation that a wikibook would be useful, but also
entail a large amount of work. That being said, I expressed a willingness
to contribute, and cautioned that I cannot "lead" at this time.
In no way did I intend to critisize any other docustionation efforts, and
especially not because of confusing apparent inaction with no action.
After all, I have been a patient, net beneficiary of many of the
contributions the members of this community have made.
Hans
Post by TonyM
Hans,
I started the wikipedia thread and intend to finish it. I called for
input so I did not have to do it all.
It is importiant in a volenteer community not to confuse apparent
inaction with no action. Volenteers need to find time in the day to act and
things will take longer. I have more to say but its too off topic OT
Tony
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TonyM
2018-09-15 23:08:25 UTC
Permalink
Mark,

I expect you are free to reuse the documentation the issue may be it all uses some additional documentation tools plugings so may not be easily transfered.

Well thats how I interpret thr community.

Regards
Tony
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TonyM
2018-09-15 22:37:51 UTC
Permalink
Hans,

Nor did I mean to criticize.

Just expressing the state of play.

Thanks
Tony
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