First of all, I’d like to thank the adventurous team at Logseq for committing to the endless and sometimes thankless work of building a new software platform from scratch. I really appreciate what this tool is, and am excited for what it may yet become.
I’d also like to thank the company and key influencers in the Logseq community for not being entirely hostile to the idea of hierarchy in information organization. For many of us, hierarchy is a natural way to construct access paths into our graph.
I appreciate hierarchy as a way of clarifying thought. I don’t mind if it breaks down or goes stale from time to time. Cleaning it up, when I feel the need to, restores clarity in an important way.
I especially don’t mind if hierarchy is partial, in connected-thought environments like Logseq. I view hierarchies as lists of saved queries that provide me with a clean way into my graph. I appreciate them as a tool, alongside chronology (Journals), favourites, search, query, hyperlink traversal, graph examination, scanning the linked and unlinked references, and looking at tag clusters.
Hierarchies are filters over some of the graph that help me get close to 100% signal and 0% noise, at the cost of excluding interesting adjacent ideas. However, with a bunch of other access pathways in the mix, you can use hierarchy to find your starting point for a work session, then shift to other strategies of traversal. The Journals page is used the same way in many people’s workflows.
I wonder if other people in the community feel the same way about the value of hierarchy as one way into the graph?
If so, that would support the case for Logseq, and the culture surrounding Logseq, to differentiate itself from other tools in this space by validating hierarchy as a useful tool and an area for ongoing development. Not necessarily enforced, exhaustive hierarchy like a foldering system, but something between that and Nick Milo’s MOC concept. The distinction with MOCs would be in the level of core software support for hierarchy construction.
I personally would like to see a Hierarchies link in the left sidebar, right under the “Graph View” link. I created a sanitized little Hierarchies mockup. In this mockup, all namespaces start with the Hierarchies page reference. Then I used the self-referential embedding trick to grab all the child page links, and favourited the Hierarchies page so it lives in the sidebar.
This opens to show the following page:
If this looks suspiciously like a foldering system, it’s in part because it’s not an editable outline like any other Logseq page. If this was more like a typical page, and you could add bullets/content to it at each level, it would become more like an auto-generated master Map of Content for any pages pulled into namespace schemes. If you could add links to other related pages at will, it would be even more like an MOC hub, rather than a foldering system.
There are some interesting constraints on such a hierarchy page, including preserving outline level relationships more deeply into the graph, rather than just on the page. Cascading outline numbers down though the graph is also incredibly tedious right now - but that’s part of a whole other conversation on applying classifications over parts of your graph. I won’t poke that bear right now.
There are other conversations in this forum related to my hierarchies idea. There are feature requests for different ways of presenting hierarchies, showing breadcrumb trails in different ways, smoothing out how headers are opened or collapsed, or displaying a TOC tree for the current page in a sidebar, where twirling arrows down never opens up bullets that aren’t marked as headers, for cleaner structured access to parts of long pages.
It seems to me that there’s a single hierarchy-like function here that unifies these feature requests at some level of abstraction.
I could have made this topic into a feature request, but I wanted a more fullsome idea of what other people think first. Perhaps all this can be achieved with a plugin or something similar I have yet to discover.
- Is hierarchy a valuable enough filtered view over part of the graph that it merits deep and careful development over a long period of time?
- Is acceptance of hierarchy as an approach to knowledge organization a potential point of distinction from both the software and cultures surround similar TfT platforms (where hostility to hierarchy is widespread)?
- Do you like and use hierarchies to keep your thoughts organized?
- Would you like a system-generated-yet-editable Hierarchies view (of pages you’ve organized using namespaces) in the left panel?
- I am missing absurdly obvious things in Logseq that allow me to achieve everything I want without needing to request a new feature?
After a long period of living in 'tool-choice hell", I am finding my home here with this tool, but I’m still really very new with it, so I don’t want to throw requests at the Logseq developers blindly.