Links that do not affect graph

Problem

So I use Obsidian all the time and I like to make notes not only about ideas, but also some technical notes like definitions of words, personalities, countries. I usually mark them with a specific tag (e.g. for definitions I use tag #word) so I’ll be able to hide them while surfing the graph. But the more I work with the base, the more #word-s become true permanent notes on their own. So, in one hand, I still want to use them as a hint for myself (like wikipedia does with most of it’s links), but, on the other hand, I do not want to see them on the graph as connections. Similar problems appear with many other types of notes.

Case

I made a note about speed of light and wanted to mention Einstein in the note since he used invariance of c as one of the postulates of special relativity. But I also didn’t want to create a connection on the graph.

Current workaround (optional)

So I came up with a temporary solution: instead of making [[Einstein]] link, I make fictitious {{Einstein}} link to remind myself that I actually have a note about Einstein and can search for it, if I’d like to, but also to avoid creating a connection between «Speed of light» and «Einstein» on the graph.

Proposed solution

I’d propose creating some sort of “fictious” links that can be used to easily navigate the base, but also would not affect logical connections and hierarchy of notes on the graph

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I was thinking about how you might do this semantically with HTML (since that’s where Markdown, in theory, rolls up to).

Couple questions:

  1. When you click the highlighted item, do you want Obsidian to run a search for that term? (Find any note with “Einstein” in it?)
  2. Would you rather Obsidian search for notes with that term in the name? (Find any note with “Einstein” in the title?)
  3. Nah… Obsidian would do nothing.

In HTML you would do this with either MARK or CITE.

MARK is like highlighting. It marks text, but without any semantic emphasis. (Bold/strong and italic/emphasis give a word or phrase extra semantic oomph). Obsidian uses double equal signs to ==highlight something==.

That won’t show on the graph, and without a new feature, you’d have to make that a standard convention that you use in your vault.

CITE is specifically for referring to an author or text, not a concept. I could imagine cite being expanded a little to allow any kind of reference that is not a link or a tag.

You can use the <cite> tag in your Markdown now, but there’s no cool way to select some text and hit a hotkey to make it a cite.

CITE can have a visual style. (It usually shows as italicized.) And javascript can trigger off a click event to post a search. Kind of like how tags work, but not showing in the graph.

If there was a feature like this, it would provide a new, important kind of way to associate things:

  • links give us explicit references
  • tags give us general references
  • folders give us spatial references
  • backlinks give us inferred references
  • cite provides optional, implied references… not inferred, like a backlink, but implied

As a BONUS, the Discord Knowledge Management channel would now get to expand the debate to links versus tags versus folder versus CITEs. :slight_smile:

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I like that!

As another current workaround, you can use Obsidian URLs to link to documents, and those links don’t show up in the graph. But they are still workable, jumpable links. Hide specific links in graph

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Yeah, that topic covers pretty much the same problem I have. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find it earlier, since Obsidian URL really does work as a workaround. And yet I’d love to have a more elegant solution for a few reasons:

  1. Creating a URL every time is relatively time-consuming. Best case scenario, you’ll have to go to the note, that you want the URL of, use hotkey to copy obsidian url, go back to previuos note, find the place in the text and only then make a link. Compare this to just putting [[brackets]]
  2. URL-link looks worse in both Edit and Preview modes compared to [[the link]]. You could say that the appearance in the Preview mode is subjective and I would agree. But I doubt anyone would say that links with urls similar to the folowing look good in edit mode: obsidian://open?vault=Vault&file=%D0%91%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B0%2F%D0%A1%D0%BA%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C%20%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B0. My guess is that it looks so bad because I’m russian, so my notes are titled using russian letters, that need to be converted to that nightmare before they can be used as a link. Btw, this is the URL to the Speed of light note («Скорость света» in russian). Imagine what it does to notes with longer titles.
  3. URL-link lacks of many great features [[the link]] has, such as being able to see the content of the note by hovering it, opening the note in the new pane and so on.
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Few months passed and I still have the same problem. Suggested solution with URLs did work for a while, but over time it became even worse than I predicted: links not only look ugly, but also make text unreadable if there is more than 1 or 2 of them in the text, especially if they are close to each other.

So I came back to using my workaround with {{curly brackets}}. Sadly it does not allow me to make beautiful text in the preview mode and quickly navigate through base, but at least now the text is readable. It’d be really great if we could have some form of “weak” connections that does not affect graph — I find it super useful for notes containing definitions or another reference information