## Why Obsidian is a poor choice (yet)

Obsidian might be good, and I have paid for it but it is too clumsy of an app to be a daily driver for personal knowledge management Zettelkasten style. Basically, despite all its high faluting name, Zettelkasten is basically a simple system of notes:

- Each note has an ID (a timestamp is useless in digital age, you should have other more intuitive ways of fixing IDs to your notes)

- Each note should have backlinks and forward links (at least one each, otherwise plenty of them)

- Each note must have a reference

- Each note must be atomic (this is what Christian Tietze started talking about and this is a good idea)

- Each note must be free-standing

- Each note must have some form of a category (a bin, a tag, whatever)

Now if you put everything together, all you basically need is a note network or a ring: minimally, you need some form of tagging, and link insertions. Obsidian has double square brackets and good linking system, but a horrible interface, so clunky that it turns me away every time I try to use it. I cannot post anything via mobile, so that's useless. If I have a fleeting thought that I want to register, there is no way I can use obsidian to work on it. The more features they add, with every version, the worse they get in terms of aesthetics.

We need a minimalistic, simple writing app that can serve the purpose of information trove that we can call at will. There are at present a couple that I find useful, and you have mentioned Notion. Notion is really good if you use it as a database and push _everything_ into your database. Otherwise, it is equally non-intuitive and clunky, trying to be everything for everyone. Evernote is disgusting and horrible: poor design, greedy for your money!

That leaves another one, that's quite good, by the name of "mem.ai". Promising, and at present free, but it has a long way to go. But linking and hashtagging are VERY intuitive, and you do get an index zettel on the fly on their timeline view. You can even take out stuff from mem.ai using a CSV export and then work from there. But it does not have an API and biased towards Mac. But on the Mac, it is a powerhouse in terms of how easily you can push and pull informaiton out of it. A perfect solution for PARA method.

Roam, is useless for the price they are asking for. All hype and no substance!

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in: https://refind.com/arinbasu

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store