Thoughts on the Graph’s Inconsistent Layout

I’m looking for some thoughts on the Graph. For context, I am also a user of TheBrain, so I’m coming from that environment and their Plex view with their nodal relationships.

TheBrain’s nodal relationships provide a consistent experience when accessing any particular node in my knowledge base. Every time I go to my node about (ex.) Does Technology Belong in the Classroom, associated nodes arrange themselves predictably… every time.

Turn to Obsidian’s graph and it’s a different experience. Each time I load the graph, my nodes are randomly dispersed across the graph space. At that point I’m looking across randomly placed dots for expected (or not) associations. Part of me says this is okay, since traveling across an unpredictable layout may lead to new ideas and associations. What bothers me is the lack of a durable, predictable graphical experience. (And that may be the point - Obsidian is a text-first KB while TheBrain is more a graphical-first KB.)

I guess I’m wondering how those of you that utilize the graph feel about this. I’ll admit I’m a bit OCD which is probably why the format of TheBrain appeals to me. Does it bother you that no two nodes are in the same spot from one session to the next. How does this help or hurt your time in the Graph? What experiences have you had that might help me see this from a different point of view?

Thanks for any and all thoughts - I look forward to reading them!


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I have a very flat organizational structure – zero folders, connections are only formed by links (or tags to keep track of common themes).

Therefore, finding a note via the file explorer is practically impossible. Finding a note via search is great, but only if I remember what the title included.

Finding a note via the graph view is a decent alternative if I have forgotten the note’s name, given that I have a general understanding of what it’s going to be connected to. But it takes me like… 30 seconds to find a note in the graph view because nothing is where I expect it to be.

Why not use the local graph for this?

I don’t find the graph view very useful for the exact reason you describe. It is just a graph of connections where the distance, X (East/West), and Y (North/South) directions don’t mean anything. It can show you links you might not otherwise see but that’s about it.

IMO, it would be much more helpful in finding information if it were more of a map where location and distance are consistent.