30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 21 Jul 2022 07:53
Open in Logseq
    • Roam the product is pretty great, but unfortunately Roam as an organization appears to be run by insane cultists and I can no longer recommend using the product. I'm switching to Athens which is an open-source clone.
    • The specifics are kind of silly: they annouced with great fanfare that they would be imposing new rules on their social media platforms that banned "negativity". I was apparently too negative (I wasn't really) and got kicked off, which is not a big deal except that I don't feel like paying people who treat their customers that way, and as it happens I have other options, so toodle-oo.
    • And it isn't just me being treated imperiously, it's also other people who had put much more of themselves into supporting the Roam community. Which basically torpedoed all the good will they had been building for years. It's not so much that such conduct is offensive (although it is) as it is a sign of utter ineptitude, and breaks the trust required to use their product.
    • Pre-shitshow appreciation

    • Roam is a relatively new tool for hypertext note-taking. It's pretty cool, and I'm enjoying doing this experimental project in it.
    • I was resistant at first, because my brain has been hardwired to Emacs for many decades, and initially Roam just seemed like a hosted version of org-mode. For awhile I was trying to use one of the Emacs-based Roam clones, but turns out it is not the same! The underlying abstraction might be the same, but the feel is entirely different. Linking in Roam seems natural in a way I never quite got to in org-mode, for instance.
    • So I decided to make a second attempt to use Roam and this time it took, I'm a convert now. It really feels like a great tool that is almost perfectly shaped to my brain, that is good enough to actually be be an extension of my thought processes rather than a barrier to them.
    • I wonder what Ted Nelson thinks of Roam. My take (as a long-ago disciple of his) is that while it's not nearly everything he dreamed of, it is a small step in the right direction at last, after the web and almost everything built on it led us astray. That is to say that it deploys technology to capture and enhance the difficult and subtle processes of real thinking, rather than trampling over them.
    • Good points

      • Very responsive UI, key features like backlinks and outlining feel ultra-natural. This turns out to be really important in a writing tool
      • A growing community of users and customizers and add-on tools.
      • Enough like Emacs and org-mode that there is no real learning barrier to doing basic stuff.
      • Written in Clojure, which shouldn't matter but indicates the developers have good aesthetics. This analogy holds in various interesting ways:
        • Roam : Emacs :: Clojure : Common Lisp
    • Bad points

      • See NextPKM
      • No real system for publishing or separating out personal notes from more finished text intended for the public (I had to make my own Goddinpotty)
      • It feels weird to put personal stuff in online document. Or at least, different from writing on a local file. The fact that Roam doesn't seem to take security very seriously adds to that.
      • Closed source, although highly customizable.
      • A certain cultish aura. This may be deserved! And hell, I'm joining the cult it looks like. But something about it bugs me.
      • BUG: if you browse local files with images, and try to copy-paste an image, it should copy the image to a server, instead it makes a nonworking link to local file
      • SORELY MISSING FEATURE: search gives you a bunch of chunks, but no context for them, you have to make wild guesses about what to click on. Should include the page title. (I posted this request on Roam Slack)