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Re: [emacs-humanities] Paper Zettelkasten safety [was: Why Emacs-humanit

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: [emacs-humanities] Paper Zettelkasten safety [was: Why Emacs-humanities?]
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 09:13:17 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0.7+183 (3d24855) (2021-05-28)

* Ihor Radchenko <yantar92@gmail.com> [2021-07-18 17:51]:
> Jean Louis <bugs@gnu.support> writes:
> > How do I display the list of tags in Org mode?
> There is nothing like dashboard of tags in Org mode. However, you can
> get a list of all the tags using (org-global-tags-completion-table).

I see, though it limits only to agenda files. There is fundamental
conflict of the meanings as the "tag" is not related to "agenda" by
its meaning. By using tags one should be able to find any kind of Org
file heading including those in agenda or outside of agenda. Because
Org has to scan all the files somebody shortened search to Org agenda
files only.

> It depends on what you mean by "everything". For GTD, "everything" is
> literally everything:
>  - something you need to do
>  - random ideas (like "why Japanese cat's tails are short? Who is going
>    to cut cat's tail and not being a madman?!")
>  - bookmarks to be read later
>  - email (including spam)
>  - bills you get from grocery shop
>  - advertisement flyers
>  - funny items you noticed in a supermarket
>  - strange smell you noticed while walking
>  - etc

Sounds like not getting things done. I have life, you know? 😅 

> > - don't capture in first place what is Trash;
> If you really capture everything, some things can really go to
> trash.

Of course I will not procrastinate and "capture everything",
never. That is why I have shown you CODIAK process by Engelbart, and
descriptions of the Dynamic Knowledge Repository. Thus I am not
putting something that cannot be sorted or any piece of information
that will not be useful.

GTD is not Dynamic Knowledge Repository and has quite different
concept oriented towards single person which has much time to
procrastinate with everything. I have life and enjoy the life and wish
to be outside rather than inside. Thus only useful things may be

The real concept of "getting things done" outside of the scope of GTD
by David Allen is to focus on priorities only, not on capture
everything, or capture and put in trash, it should be very obvious
that it does not make sense. But it is not obvious, people don't have
any concepts and like hype. Having any method is better than none
method. But I have seen people accomplishing so much in life without
any papers or notes. That works too.

> The easiest example is spam, which you anyway need to process as it is
> "captured" for you in your email inbox. Or think of an advertisement
> flyer you found at your home entrance - it is most likely trash, but you
> may still look at it quickly to determine if it may have some actually
> useful discounts.

You may look, I don't. I use automated system such as Zen Spamhaus and
most of it is deleted before it comes to my eyes. For the HTML form
spam I am myself entering some key words and deterring that spam.

The email system I do not consider due to its similarity a "GTD"
system. I also delete some not longer wanted files and they go to
Trash. Because of the similarity I do not consider that GTD system.

> > - sort notes and tasks where they belong; in my opinion any object can
> >   be a reference, thus there is no need to think of "references"; 
> I agree with you. However, GTD mostly says that reference is anything
> that's not a task. Think of a utility bill you want to save in case you
> need it. It is not a task, but you need to put it somewhere you can find
> if you need to.

It is just matter of habbit and use. Since years I use database
based table ID numbers. That is my habbit and I cannot without
it. It is very much similar to Zettelkasten ID, and it has to be
unique. In Org mode it is not automated to get unique number and
not many are used to it.

When you have a unique number you automatically have got a possible
reference. My unique numbers are rather readable, like up to 6-7
digits maximum with larger number of objects. Like 1234567. Not like
md5 hash or similar. It is possible to refer such numbers on paper
too. Any object that is saved, like person's information,
organization's information, note, task, etc. regardless, it gets its
unique number. 

When you have unique number all such objects are possible
references. In fact I use them so, for example I may write an
assignment to somebody that says:

Please call:
⟦ (cf-people-basic-contacts 320482) ⟧ and ask him about Org mode.

This assignment would interpolate to following:

Please call:
Ihor Radchenko
☎ 123456890

and ask him about Org mode.

Because I know that sometimes calling people requires adjusting
their phone numbers and new contact information, contact title,
name of company or some other part may later come in the
place. By using the reference to the ID and function, then I need
not edit separately both documents as when contact information is
edited (table "people" ID 320482) it is automatically updated in
the task assignment (table "hyobjects" ID 12345).

I cannot take nearly the GTD book as some sort of a bible for
everything rather I make my own conclusions on how to work easier
through time. 

Instead of taking the GTD concept that reference is anything but
not a task, I am thus using "everything is a reference too"
concept. And you use it too, how I got impression.

If there is a task, that task may branch to other tasks. Former
becomes a reference and one may need to look into it too or jump
to it.

One may need to jump to tasks 1, 2 and 5 in project A, from
project B and task 8. That is natural as if those tasks in other
project have relations to project B they become a reference.

> For me, done tasks can also be references. Or any other objects.
> Basically, anything I may need to find later and may want to add tags.


> Note that many done tasks don't really worth an effort adding tags.
> Those can be trashed once done.

I do not find the concept of "trashing" good for information
knowledge system. Instead I find that concept of "views" is
better where certain items need not be shown if they are not
longer of greater use. Items, objects or notes from past still
represent possible use, but to trash them would mean to remove
the part of time track. Keeping time track is one of useful

> In my system, tasks can be references and non-tasks can be references.
> The difference is only that a task, once done, has to be moved away into
> archive or left within closer reach as it might still be useful in
> future.

That is right, that also shows how you naturally do what you
think it should be done. I am glad to see it. 

The concept from Org mode to move something in archive does not
not correspond to me as if there is let us say small project of
improvement then those tasks completed should be there as to know
what was completed, completed project should remain somewhere. I
need not ever enter there if I don't need it or I should use some
kind of "views" to separate that what I now need.

> One example is book/article tasks. If an article is noteworthy, I always
> add tags to it (as I read). Then, such article is saved within my
> notes.org under appropriate topic. Otherwise, the article is archived
> away into other file. The archived articles are not searchable by
> default to avoid cluttering search results. I have many thousands of
> articles discarded into archive and only several times less noteworthy
> articles that I actually want to find from time to time.

That is right. Though separation of classified object into some
other file removes relations. Practicall using filtered views is
better then separating what is already classified. Normally I
would use multiples of C-u to reach to unfiltered view, something
like hypothetical function "search":

M-x search -- would find what I mostly need, but:
C-u M-x search -- would find tasks iuncluding those completed
C-u C-u M-x search -- would find tasks including those completed and archived
C-u C-u C-u M-x search -- you name it

> >   Sorting into "Someday" is procrastination. I see nothing to praise
> >   there. If there is procrastination, don't even put it in any kind of
> >   system, it is waste of time;
> I do not agree that someday is useless. 5 years ago I stumbled upon
> lecture series about human behaviour, but had no time to watch (it is a
> full university course). 2 years ago, I decided to learn something I did
> not know well and simply found this lecture series in my someday list.

I still find it redundant as all the "todo" items without
specific dates are automatically "someday", there is no need to
sort it into "someday" and all the notes ever automatically
are "someday" as some day I can get access to them. I need not
have category "someday" as then anything is some day. 

> Someday list is something I do not have to do. It is a list of ideas
> that are better than "default" leisure that is most commonly occupied by
> social media or other "time killing" activities.

In that case it is better tagging it and classifying it more
specifically, rather than "some day".

> >   Project writing is about setting goals, purposes, resources,
> >   conditional targets, operational targets, production targets,
> >   etc. And all that is written in such blazing manner that I don't
> >   need even to stop. As when you start with purposes then you start
> >   breaking down what has to be done to achieve that purpose.
> >
> >   Let us say you wish to defend from elephants when you are sleeping
> >   50 meters from elephants' forest. If I don't know nothing about
> >   elephans I have to start researching and asking people who know
> >   <...>
> >   ... Tasks do not come randomly to
> >   form a project.
> This is true if you know about elephants in advance.

Of course I did not know. I have used research and it was
possible to find more data on field later. Because I was well
prepared the rangers were thankful for my tips and considered me
immediately an elephant expert, which I was not. I was supposed
to learn from them, not they from me.

> Then, you can indeed plan for the defence when you are creating
> the project plan.  However, consider that you got to know that
> elephants often attack people during certain season while
> talking to one of the contractors on site. Then, you can
> note "research elephant aggression" and go back to the
> talk. Later in the evening, you may look through your daily
> notes (inbox) and think about this problem deeply, consult
> literature, create a plan about what should be done, etc.

Right.New data related to some long term project has to be added
to such project.

> > So up to 35th year he had 35 professions? 
> I did not know this. However, I do not judge information _only_ by it's
> original source. The method got popular for a reason.

I worked in publishing company as a sales manager, and caused the
increase for 500,000 currency points within 6 months. I do know
about selling books, sales and marketing. 

And I repeat to you, the method did not get popular for some
special reason. It is not better from other well established
productivity methods. 

Would a pyramid constructor use GTD method, capture everything,
put in trash, some day, etc. such would be probably tortured
before punished by death.

Imagine a city administrator, instead to handle the particular
case, but city administrator is excusing his procrastination to
mayor how he has first to capture everything, but then when he
capture piece of information that comes to his mind, he put it in
trash, or some day. 

Or imagine actual capturing of everything on paper and putting
papers in the office and sorting them. That does not
work. Collecting items obviously not useful will not work for
city administration.

If method like GTD cannot be scaled, it is not a method, it is
rather mind principle to help some people in specific context,
but not more than that. Even those people could learn from city
administrators. Even in those under developed countries city
administrators still have more efficient productivity then
average people without any method. And they do work by having
purposes for each project.

There is no city administration, no university administration,
military, or any other serious administration that profited from
GTD method ever. It is a personal self-help book for specific
context. It is made for people without method to have some method.

My life, work, business is not to be sacrifised for David Allan's
capricious and rather religious marketing of his only method.

Read also alternatives and negative reviews:

> If the ideas are meaningful, unreputable source does not matter
> [*].

Of course.

> In fact, I did not really start my project planning efforts
> from GTD. I started from todo lists without reading any
> literature on the topic. Then, I looked into org mode articles
> and later other project planning references. GTD popped up
> often, so I decided to look into the actual book only 2 years
> ago - long after I started using (many) elements of GTD de
> facto:

That is exactly what I am trying to say! My history is similar, I
was making lists and could do projects by using simple
lists. Then I encountered objective based planning, learned it
and now I would not go to some GTD system that would so obviously
make me less productive for reasons already explained.

> Hmm. I agree that tasks taking less than 2 minutes may still
> need to be delegated (even if delegation itself takes more than
> 2 minutes).  However, I find this example as an edge-case. More
> broadly, the idea is to not postpone quick tasks for later. 2
> minutes is just a rule of thumb, not a rigid timescale.

I just keep saying it is nonsensical. If task is personal it is
personal, even if 2 minutes or less or 10 minutes or 100
minutes. Short tasks of 2 or more minutes I do not write down at
all, I do it. And I am not going to sit down and think how long
do I need for the task, most probably I need more than 2 minutes,
not less. I cannot even pee in 2 minutes. 

Delegation as principle is not related intrinsically to time
required for the task. 

For example, how would I delegate this email to you to somebody
else? It does not work. It does take longer time to visit a
toilet, it is personal, it cannot be delegated. Think in extremes
to find if method is good or not.

> If you can do a task during review without spending much time,
> do it.

Just do it. Yes. No need even to write it.

If something is really so short, do it, why write it?

I have already said that our note keeping is always tasks of less priority:

- buying food, I do not write as a task, but that has highest priority, we 
simply do it;

- cooking as well, I do not write it, but we do cook, it has priority;

- all basic important business tasks, I do not write, I do it;

- basically majority of human activities need no writing down,
  they have to be done, and about 99.9999999% people will simply
  do those really prioritized tasks rather then ever write it down. 

We write notes and tasks of ideas and things that are not of
immediate importance.

> Otherwise, plan when to do it, how to do it, and who is going
> to do it (i.e. delegate for other person, plan it for certain
> time/date, or plan in for future when there is available time).

Organizations has its organizing board which is used to
understand who has which responsibilities in organization. It is
used for delegation. Managers may delegate but also any other
organizational position may delegated tasks to right place to
right person with specific responsibility. Only managers or
seniors will supervise it, others will give it away to right
person, not supervise it (depends of organization).

> > It is also good to know there is plethora of knowledge beyond one book
> > of a man who has never got things really done in his life.
> Sure. But do you know anything textbook-like describing project
> planning? I know many web-articles describing various ideas, but not a
> coherent text describing many aspects of project planning. Probably,
> military planning guide you shared earlier may serve as such, but the
> examples there are a too military-specific to be implemented in civilian
> life without much efforts.

There are no efforts when you learn it, it goes smooth and
ordered. I see there are many references
https://html.duckduckgo.com/html/?q=military+planning+method that
are very confusing as do not give clear concept, I will send you
one book that gives clear concept of planning.


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