MOCs and Tree Depth

I’m currently reorganizing and building out a structure for my notes in obsidian. I have watched and read content by Nick Milo and have been loosely following LYT and MOC. A question or concern I have is how to avoid over-structuring or just how y’all have been going about structuring in general.

On one hand I’d really Love if I could do something like:

Home>Interests MOC>Philosophy>Queer Theory>Gender Performativity

but that already seems like a lot of clicks. Have any of you found a way to allow for this structure while also providing quick access to notes? I feel that the link paths in and of themselves convey useful information that it would be good for me to remember. Do you, for example, set goals for getting to all of the lowest level notes in at most 3 clicks?

Another question I have is in naming something “MOC”. Are all parent notes that have child notes MOCs? When does a note become a MOC and vice versa? I generally dislike seeing MOC all over the place, but it also seems like a useful way to flag something visually.

You’ll probably get a variety of answers here, from “No tree! That’s what links are for!”, to “Johnny Decimal: each layer should have at most ten leaves”, to “No rules! Let it evolve naturally.” I’ve tended to go with a combination of limiting leaves and letting things evolve.

But I think the most important consideration is to think about whether the structure makes sense to you today, and more importantly, will it make sense to future you? Sometime down the road, you’re going to want to find your note on Gender Performativity, either to refresh yourself on the key ideas in the note or to link it to something else. I see a good PKM structure as one that maps to your brain and the way you would try to recall it:

  • Just hit the search box?
  • Start with Philosophy and poke through the layers below until you find it?
  • Go to a Queer Theory MOC and read through the index you’ve created?

When you don’t have a ton of notes, these differences seem trivial, but over time you may find that you’ve actually got dozens of notes that all dance around the same topic, and you’re looking for that one particular thought, and you know it’s in there somewhere among all the rest. I see a MOC as a place where you create pointers to highlight your favorite notes, and in particular to leave a breadcrumb trail to your future self.

When I first started creating a tree a year ago, I struggled with getting it just right. Now that it has some structure, I see the structure itself as part of the magic of helping me know where everything is. I’m building and using the network, and if I can trust that it will be with me 10 or 20 years from now, the paths through the network will be easy for me to navigate.

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