Obsidian Gems of the Year 2021 nomination - Achievements

The deadline to nominate is end of day on December 15, Anywhere on Earth. Reply in this thread to nominate.

Share your own or someone else’s achievement with the help of Obsidian during this year.

Please provide the following information:

  1. Name of the person;
  2. Short title (for voting purposes);
  3. Short write-up of what happened (500 words max);
  4. If the person is not you, how do we contact them for their reward (website, blog, etc).
  • Name of the person; Eleanor Konik
  • Short title (for voting purposes); Had articles published in paying markets for the first time
  • Short write-up of what happened (500 words max);

Thanks to my incredible Obsidian notes, I was able to pitch and put together 3 nonfiction articles for paying markets: Unusual Governments to Take Inspiration From - SFWA, Five SFF Stories That Shed Light on Obscure History | Tor.com, and Five Unconventional Economic Systems as Imagined in SFF | Tor.com. I gained the confidence to submit to pro short fiction markets for the first time, and the credentials to conquer my imposter syndrome and launch a premium edition of my newsletter, in which I sell short fiction and non-fiction “afterwords” directly to subscribers instead of being forced to deal with the brutal grind of Amazon or New York publishing. It has literally been a dream come true and while yes, it was the culmination of years of work, I never could have accomplished this without Obsidian.

  1. Name: mnvwvnm mnvwvnm
  2. Short title: Super-helper mnvwvnm has helped build a strong community of practice with the help of Obsidian.
  3. 237 words
  4. Contact: @mnvwvnm

Within the thriving Obsidian community are the special few who always show up with a helpful suggestion or a new way to think about Obsidian. They always deliver when they hear a desperate plea: “How do I attach a picture to my note??” or “I want to switch from Roam to Obsidian!” or “My vault has disappeared!!!” This nomination honors all these super-helpers, and one in particular: mnvwvnm. You may recognize them as the help behind the tragedy theater mask profile. But the help they’ve given aint no Greek tragedy. Since arriving on the forum, mnvwvnm has shared 69 official solutions. Yes, sixty-nine. That’s 1.5 solutions every week for the entire year. Can you imagine if each of us had a solutions rate of 1.5/week in our own work sphere? We could end hunger and have world peace within the decade! Plus, it’s more than 69 unofficially because not everyone, leave alone newbies, knows how to mark a post as “solved”. Super-helpers like mnvwvnm have built with Obsidian what is called a community of practice. That is, they welcome new members, invite them to share their concerns, guide them to a solution, emphasizing what’s important and steering them away from what’s not. This is crucial community-building because it draws in newbies with their fresh perspectives from the edge and into the heart of the community where all the experts are, and where they too can become experts. That’s also one way that innovation happens. It’s why we all get so much value out of Obsidian, even if we never post to the forum. And that’s why I call mnvwvnm a super-helper. I’ll close this nomination by linking to a handful of examples that show just how well they build community with Obsidian. They listen first, then ask questions, with patience. They respond with precision, modesty, encourage cooperation, sometimes succinctly, sometimes meticulously, always thoroughly, and occasionally like a dog with a bone. They respond to both the ordinary and the esoteric; give the big picture or dig deep; share personal expertise but knows the limits of that expertise, in which case they refer to another expert. Incidentally, they offer all this in four languages (Portuguese, Italian, French, English) and maybe more.


Self nomination: Me, Seraaron.

Title: I’m making a free tabletop roleplaying game, from scratch, in Obsidian.


At the beginning of 2021 I decided to finally start writing a TTRPG, called Agora, after years of putting it off. I had the opportunity, in part thanks to the pandemic, and now thanks to Obsidian I had the means. I instantly fell in love with the way you can link everything together, and it seemed like a perfect match for writing a wiki-style rulebook for a game with many layers and interlocking systems.

I finished the pre-alpha version in the summer, and published the public alpha in September. Which you can check out and play right now — if you like — though there’s still a few things missing. Playtesting has gone exceedingly well, and I’m hoping to begin the beta phase by the end of this year, along with a demo scenario, and have a viable product a few months after that. It’s all very exciting, and it wouldn’t have been so easily possible without Obsidian.

Agora’s unique features, aside from being written entirely in Obsidian, are:

  • Agenda driven gameplay, where your intentions and actions are always the most important thing to consider before making any roll.
  • Use-based leveling, and a JRPG-inspired job system.
  • Special powers and capabilities, to make every new character feel personalized and different from one another.
  • Two main resolution mechanics, one for quick checks and simple actions, and one for performing more complicated tasks.
  • Clean and accessible design, using natural language, bold and italic text to emphasize key points, and a slightly more casual tone than most other rulebooks. All in the spirit of making the game easier to learn without the need to rely on too many variables or numbers.
  • Agnostic design. A generic system that can be suited to almost any setting or situation with just a little tweaking (and the tools provided to help you make those tweaks) to suit your game’s tone.
  • A small but growing Discord community of other passionate designers who are already showing interest in adapting the system to their settings or game ideas.

The game is also free and open-source (CC BY 4.0), so you can download the SRD vault from my github and hack it all you want. The custom theme I made for it is also available in the Obsidian community themes.

All in all, I’m really proud of how much I’ve managed to accomplish in this short time span (approximately 100k words written in 9 months — which is definitely a new record for me), and I’ve already started making a little bit of money from the project thanks to some Patreon donors, which helps keep the site running. I’m looking forward to making even greater strides next year!


I agree: @mnvwvnm should be acknowledged for the depth and breadth of the help they give to others.


1 Like
  • Name: Verma Vivek
  • Short title: Ph.D. unlocked
  • Write Up:

I am Verma Vivek, just finished PhD in Nanyang Technological University Singapore. I started using Obsidian in my 4th year of PhD since June 2020 just for fun. I have been continuously taking notes for the Journal articles I have been reading Since the end of last year. Only after I read the book how to take smart notes and Andy Matushak’s works I started to take zettels which was around Nov-Dec 2020.

This note taking obsession gave a nitro boost to the speed of my work. I had submitted a journal article in middle of 2020 and received some comments around Dec 2020. Since searching through the literature notes was so easy, I could find all the answers in less than a month and I could successfully publish it Chelating Ligands as Electrolyte Solvent for Rechargeable Zinc-Ion Batteries | Chemistry of Materials (acs.org).

By mid Jan, I had nearly 80 zettels. I decided to arrange them and then a smooth and unexpected story emerged. In less than 1.5 months, I could finish the first draft of the paper and by April 2021, the paper was published Undesired Reactions in Aqueous Rechargeable Zinc Ion Batteries | ACS Energy Letters This whole manuscript publication process took less than 5 months which is the fastest record from my research group.

Finally, I could write the first draft of my whole PhD thesis in obsidian in less than 3 months and submitted it in August 2021. On 12-Nov-2021, I defended my PhD (thesis link: Advanced cathodes and electrolytes for rechargeable zinc-ion batteries | NTU Singapore). All of this was only possible because with Obsidian note taking became a play and was not a burden anymore.

In short, I owe my PhD to Obsidian. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

  1. Name: Curio Heart
  2. Title: Completed my first NaNoWriMo
  3. Write-up:

When I opened up Obsidian for the first time in February this year, it was almost like a dream come true. Its core features alone, which I’d long craved in a writing app, almost immediately made it my primary writer; the community and plugins quickly rooted it in place. Within months, I was finally able to start making sense of the chaotic mess of creations I’ve built up over the years and began publishing stories through the app. This has proven to be an absolute game-changer for my process—I’ve been dreaming of writing like this since I was a kid, and Obsidian makes it easy! Looking back on the year now, I can say with certainty that I’ve never had a more productive year with my storytelling.

Then NaNoWriMo happened: @EleanorKonik started a thread for the event in the Discord server, and everything else changed. Not all of us wanted the 50,000 word challenge, so we chose our own as it suited us; mine was to write one short story a day from start to finish, with no going back to previous days. As it turns out, spending 30 days writing one story a day gave me a great deal of insight into my process, passions, and priorities—and even an unexpected lesson that’s been reverberating throughout my life ever since.

Thanks to Obsidian, I consider the event my biggest success as a writer to date—and my motivation to continue pushing onward and upward to see where this journey takes me!

  1. Name of the person: Leah
  2. Short title (for voting purposes): Apple Loves Leah
  3. Short write-up of what happened (500 words max);

Apple AirPods Pros are incredible products when they work. Unfortunately this summer I have had my set replaced twice due to hardware defects. Between that and an ageing laptop battery, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to connect with Apple Support and the Genius Bar.

That’s where Obsidian comes in. In Obsidian, I keep a detailed technical log per item (case ID, location, issue summary… even the friendly Apple person who helped me!). I include the model name, serial number, and warranty dates in a format that’s Dataview ready. It’s also an opportunity to keep relevant Knowledge Base articles at hand for quick reference. It also means I can let support know what I’ve already tested, using Apple’s own documentation. I have links to my Apple Support logs in DevonThink, and even quick links to my service emails from Apple, all within in my Obsidian note. In short: thanks to Obsidian, I come prepared.

With the Obsidian mobile app, all my information was easily accessible in-store. Using the iOS 15 feature allowing you to copy text from a photo, the in-store Apple Geniuses could copy and paste my serial number. One Genius exclaimed, “Oh my god, I love you. Wait. Not like that!” (Think Maeby Fünke from Arrested Development.) Another Genius offered me a job at the store on the spot. (I was very flattered!) A third was able to speed up the repair time on my laptop because I was so prepared. (Okay, it may have been because we talked D&D. It turns out that Leah’s Law is a thing in real life too.)

  • Name of the person: Joschua
  • Short title (for voting purposes): Obsidian instilled a love of coding in me.

Since opening Obsidian for the first time in May 2020, I was drawn to customization. I never had any experience with writing code. I am interested in tech but would never dare open a Terminal. Through the uniquely supportive and creative environment around Obsidian, that changed quickly. Templater and Dataview introduced me to JavaScript and suddenly I could make my computer dance to the rythm of my code.

I created a script to use the Bible in Obsidian. I experienced the joy of my device bowing to the text I wrote, and others finding it helpful too. This experience changed my habits: instead of drifting into YouTube when in front of my laptop, I would write in VS Code. The first time I opened an Obsidian plugin I was hit by the wall of code. Now I can see the logic and language behind it. I started creating a few small plugins and have a theme in Obsidians store.

And this is just the small beginning: I decided to study Computer Science at university, a passion I would have never discovered without Obsidian and the community around it.


Name of the person;
Myself! Adrius on Discord, Battle_beaver on the forum.

Short title (for voting purposes);
Finally developed an inner motivation for academic work!

Short write-up of what happened (500 words max);
For as long as I can remember, there has been a big gap between my vision and actual achievement in academic work. I have worked with teaching and research for over five years, but the academic aspect of work has felt like a burden. This year, however, I’ve turned this around, and academia is now some of the most rewarding aspects of my work. I’ve started to enjoy reading scientific papers and internalizing the knowledge, getting ideas for new manuscrips and projects, and often find myself doing this in even my spare time. It’s almost a mystery how quick and significant this transformation was, but Obsidian, Zettelkasten and you guys are very important factors here. This new drive has resulted in a design for a PhD project, which was well received, where I finished a successful interview for that yesterday.
Now I’m excited to see what the future holds.

(The process for the PhD is still ongoing, but my chances are high).


Thanks for all your nominations! We’ll compile all the results into a voting post soon :heart: