Roaman's Shortform 2019-10-12T03:26:44.327Z


Comment by roaman on Implementing an Idea-Management System · 2019-10-28T08:21:37.948Z · LW · GW

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.

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-22T21:40:21.129Z · LW · GW

Great feedback

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-22T21:39:39.303Z · LW · GW

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

Comment by roaman on Implementing an Idea-Management System · 2019-10-22T04:40:23.383Z · LW · GW
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 outlining tools in my experience can accept a paste of plain text lines, indented with tabs.

Wow. You're totally right, completely missed that, and now understand your complaint. We had only been testing paste from google docs, workflowy, etc

fwiw you can import text files (.txt or .md) directly -- it'll interpret tabs, or spacing differences and convert that to the indentation structure. You can also import multiple files at once - it will also respect markdown and convert them into headings appropriately.

We'll definitely add the paste from plain text, until we get that built you could get around this either with import or by pasting into workflowy from text, and then pasting from there into Roam. We'll have paste in from plain text soon.

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.)

Solid point

Comment by roaman on Implementing an Idea-Management System · 2019-10-21T19:05:02.293Z · LW · GW
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 your transclusion feature, I'd have to be able to export usable markdown versions of the documents where said transclusion was occurring.

Totally agree -- we plan for export to be html links of the text of block to the original block. Probably will be done in next few weeks, but had some technical pre-reqs

I'm not sure if you're speaking to me or someone else here

Replying to you, but also largely speaking for the reader of your comment who may not be sure whether to try a new tool -- and may be discouraged to do so by your comment (I also wouldn't have found your comment except that another user of ours pointed me to it, so it didn't feel like you were writing for our team)

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.

The main thing you objected to with pasting content in is a feature we support - so I expect you've found a bug specific to your browser, OS, or the system you were coming from. Paste out also works, but is hard to get right for all tools people use as different apps respond differently to the clipboard, so we do appreciate when users tell us about places where things aren't quite right. Very happy to help you sort that out -- included our emails in an earlier reply.

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.

Comment by roaman on The Zettelkasten Method · 2019-10-12T03:38:07.858Z · LW · GW

We're working on it with Roam.

Agree it's a big deal

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-12T03:35:26.357Z · LW · GW

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.

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-12T03:32:29.666Z · LW · GW

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.

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-12T03:30:15.808Z · LW · GW

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

and the section most relevant to that discussion here

Comment by roaman on Roaman's Shortform · 2019-10-12T03:26:44.458Z · LW · GW

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).

Comment by roaman on The Zettelkasten Method · 2019-10-12T02:43:58.460Z · LW · GW

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" 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

Comment by roaman on The Zettelkasten Method · 2019-10-12T02:32:08.669Z · LW · GW

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 happening because you're explicitly thinking about relationships between ideas, and you're then able to explore linked ideas when you come back to them in the future. We try to make that process really seamless, but still have a long way to go if we're going to nudge users who don't have a Zettelkasten process already in that direction.

Hell, we have a long way to go in helping people who do have a ZKT process discover the features in Roam that support it.

Comment by roaman on How to Understand and Mitigate Risk · 2019-03-27T16:31:43.208Z · LW · GW

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.