Help with Obisidian workflow design in a collaborative Nextcloud environment

What I’m trying to do

In our company we operate in several fields, which are not necessarily connected with each other. Let’s say there are Hot dog stands, Gardening and 007 Villainery. As a unified solution for organising files and data among the teams we use Nextcloud. Thus, local folders correspond with shared folders in Nextcloud. Likewise “projects” in local editors keep everything separate and users work on different projects from within one software. Generally speaking, we make use of Atom (sadly dead) and Sublime a lot, yet for the non-tech stuff Obsidian is now our weapon of choice.

The features of Obsidian are outstanding, yet Vaults and sync add more complexity than expected. I need to be able to handle my personal data while also operating within a collaborative realm. I also need to be able to handle different business areas in Obsidian without having all the different folders listed in my Obsidian sidebar. Both with Sublime and Atom I could switch projects easily, each coming with their own folder structure and open tabs. I had assumed that would be the same with Obsidian, just by using different vaults.

We had used QOwnNotes before, and it does a great job concerning Nextcloud as I simply could add several folders as “projects”, but we definitely want to fully migrate to Obsidian.

Folder structure looks like this:

Nextcloud
|__ Notes (vault)
     |__ Hot dog notes
     |__ Gardening notes
     |__ Villainery notes     
Documents
|__ Hot dogs (shared data and files)
|__ Gardening (shared)
|__ Villainery (shared)

Summary

  • I want to avoid redundant data
  • I want only one .obsidian folder with my plugins and config
  • shared data should be accessible to teams
  • shared data should be synchronised
  • my private data should only be accessible to me
  • my private data should be synchronised
  • I want to switch between projects/vaults to keep my different business fields tidy and clean
  • I want to edit and tag my notes in the Nextcloud Notes webUI app
  • I want to edit and tag my notes in the Nextcloud Notes companion phone app

Things I have tried

So far it is very easy for me to handle my own Obsidian notes with Nextcloud sync, since I just opened the Nextcloud notes folder as a vault. Sync works like a charm, I have not yet verified if the tags are also read by Nextcloud or vice versa by Obsidian.

When handling data in collaborative folders, things become rocky. The main problem is that the .obsidian directory is being in sync as well when I define this folder as a dedicated vault. Yes, I could manually configure Nextcloud to exclude .obsidian folders from sync, but that on the other hand robs me of the convenience to have my Obsidian settings replicated among different computers.

Then I would also need to tell all my fellow co-villains to separately configure their own Nextcloud sync client to do the same. Otherwise we’d constantly break each other’s Obsidian configuration.

Keeping the data and the configuration within one realm is a design flaw in my humble opinion. I do not understand why my plugins live in a certain vault instead of a basic .config folder.

If I only use one vault instead and symlink from my folder Nextcloud/Notes/Gardening to Documents/Gardening/GardningNotes, I can handle all my various data with one single configuration in Obsidian and have my data well organised in my files manager. Yet then the Obsidian UI is overloaded with different folders (which can be collapsed, okay), but Nextcloud ignores symlinks. (no solution)

If I use separate vaults for Notes, Gardening, Villainery my Obsidian “projects” are organised better, I can change between the vaults, the files get synchronised by Nextcloud and thus are accessible by others as intended. But now the Nextcloud Notes app has no access to the files in Documents/Gardning/GardeningNotes, so no editing from the webUI and my phone. Also, the .obsidian folder to be distributed to others problem is a deal breaker. (no solution)

If I use one vault only (Nextcloud notes) and symlink from Documents/Gardening/Notes to Nextcloud/Notes/Gardening, Obsidian recognises this, no .obsidian folder in the Documents folder, file sync via Nextcloud sync client so the files are accessible by the team. But again, no webUI or phone app editing. (partly a solution)

I need some input from the community, probably I am either too stupid or … maybe I am holding it wrong? (in reference to the magnificient Steve Jobs)
I was browsing the community plugins, but I could not find what might be of help for our use case.