Just dropping a note here since I came across this discussion, to say I am experimenting with Luhmann-style IDs (after initially thinking they were rubbish) and have found some very interesting things emerging in my note taking. When I was first setting up my note system using the LYT-ish approach I was building a variety of notes, some short and some long, and trying to use the Andy Matuschak style of note taking but not having much luck. Much of what I was doing started to feel like replicating wikipedia entries – it was a “code smell” - an indicator of an anti pattern to be avoided.
I’ve since revisited Luhmann’s approach and done some reading including translating and reviewing article about his process from German. I’ve come to think the hierarchical branches of his ID system – which was probably a hack he developed to deal with the constraint of his box filing system – has a profound shaping effect on the notes that are taken. At least for myself, so far, the notes I’m writing are far more tightly focused, and a note that elaborates on a previous note is right there next to the original idea.
As a side effect it encourages me to write more in the Andy Matuschak style, which I was already sold on as it has had a powerful effect on my thinking even in the short time I’ve been using this tool. This method makes that style of writing easier to me. Contrast that with the other methods which to me were too free form. Constraints shape our behavior and encourage creativity, and this seems to be an example.
And to make it easier to see the hierarchical branching of concepts I added this custom CSS snippet which converts the filenames (not folder names) into monospace and underlines the folder names. So now there is a clear visual distinction between folders and files at a glance and the file names with the Luhmann ID prefixes are in monospaced format so the hierarchy is actually easily observed when scanning the file explorer.
font-family: 'droid sans mono for powerline';
The above styles look good to me on dark mode with the Atom theme. Others’ mileage may vary.
I disregarded this hierarchical ID at first, but after reading about how his system actually worked I believe he was onto something and that attempts to replace his numbering system with timestamps or to just use links misses something subtle but powerful.
One other benefit: since one of the main benefits of his system is that you can build sequences/subtrees of thought throughout the ZK filing system, and since the “root” of every one of these sequences anywhere in the system are also notes, then any note can become a “root note” or “hub note” and the distinction between “is this a note or a collection of links to other notes” starts to blur. Which creates a surprising effect that the idea of a “MOC” or “hub note” basically becomes any note you want anywhere in the hierarchy, and by creating it you are effectively declaring a new hub that has additional context and semantic meaning due to its proximity to other (presumably related, at least roughly) notes e.g. siblings. It’s not perfect (he eschewed formal taxonomy, which is something many miss and get lost trying to create up front, which is flawed) but it worked extremely well for him. I’m still early in my exploration of this but it feels shockingly powerful and flexible.
Maybe that helps someone else considering this approach. Take care.