Bootstrapping (inter)personal / community editions

Hi all,

Regarding How to stimulate User Growth of TW? - #98 by TW_Tones, Make TiddlyWiki your own - discussion - #20 by TiddlyTweeter and Essential Editions: Personal Notebook edition - development and feedback, I would like to propose some alternative approaches.

  1. Which kind of growth we want to get?
  2. How can we bootstrap the kind of experiences/tools we want as part of being a part of this community as TW users?

Regarding growth, for me is kind of strange the obsession with scale, particularly as I see it in US American culture (from food combos, to the size personal cars for everyone and so on). Vertical growth as in more and users, is usually related with more funding, as shown with Logseq comment. But I think that the main value of TW is regarding horizontal growth as in more diverse users and I think that the “architectural choices” embedded in TW made this kind of growth an already present value (but not as visible as we could made).

I think that the discussion about user growth is pretty useful in the sense that is about having more fluent experiences with TW (which help in growth in both axes: horizontal and vertical). And regarding such fluency in our local experiences, introducing malleable systems, in particular TW, with diverse people (teachers, librarians, students, activists, designers, artist, etc) what we have done is this:

  • I started with a personal (re)exploration of TW after a 10 years long hiatus, particularly guided by questions in our malleable systems workshops regarding apprentice notebooks. Then I searched for a mobile friendlier TiddlyWiki interface. My search “stabilized” so far with the customized version of Nicolas Petton’s Projectify TW variant.

  • Then I developed a workshop curriculum hosted in TW, extending my personal usage with a curricular teaching TW variant and I taught it to different groups: grassroots communities, master students on childhood and culture and undergrad students in library and information sciences. I implemented a project based learning approach, to leverage on Projectify projects support. Learning TW was to develop a set of projects with granular and recombinable activities and we tried to use the more general lessons in dialogue with personalized projects (but we need to improve integration between both in the future). I didn’t use spaced repetition and I think that @sobjornstad Groking TW is a pretty good example of a well developed book/curriculum with exercises and Take Aways.

  • Our teaching materials are online for self learning, but they also happen in events: workshops, short curses and seminars in formal and informal settings. So the learners have periodical events where they can learn together, instead of something that is there for “someday”.

  • Our projects are pretty concrete and usually with resonances in the local contexts. For example, with our Cuban hacker/maker space friends. After introducing them to TiddlyWiki and participating in several of our workshops and the longer course they’re using TW as their main web site, their hacker/makers space wiki (similar to our community wiki) their plastic recycling site. We made a prototype to introduce TW to El Paquete Semanal (the Weekly Package, think in offline Hulu/Netflix with Island wide distribution) and with the possibility to reach millions of cubans. Combining TW with leaflet Cubans are able to map themselves in social cartographies build by local communities and to overcome US Cuban embargo (because Google Maps don’t work there and connectivity is pretty expensive).

  • Several of our workshop participants use TW as their main desktop taking notes app.

  • We recently make a research proposal that uses TW (and GTookit) as bridges between a hacktivist community in Bogotá, several tribes in Amazonas and a economic solidarity and food sovereignty group in the Colombian Coffee region. (It’s under review, but I will share more details as soon as I can).

As you can see, these are pretty interesting TW use cases that showcase hopefully broad compelling reasons for TW: as they account for its flexibility and its generative nature. But they’re hardly going to get 1.5 million investment (particularly if they’re grassroots innovation happening in the Global South). So my approach would be: what we can learn about such experiences, how we can make them more fluent and visible and how they inform the bootstrapping of (inter)personal and community editions?

The key for me is that we bridge (inter)personal with community editions via educational processes that start informal but formalize overtime while keeping personal and contextual relevance. For example the same TW edition that an individual use to keep track of his/her projects (Projectify) is the same that we use for project based learning and for many community wikis that involve projects. Once a collective has learn about TW they customize even further their editions via plugins or go back to more bare editions to create future customized versions.

This educational process deals with the onboarding process and the distilled experience you need to go from the TW page (in English) to your particular combination of TW plugins, contents and storage methods (BTW our best combination so far, as tested in these educational settings, is starting with Tiddlyhost and then with Timimi).

What I try to convey here is that:

  1. we can, as a community, to choose a different kind of growth that is more about diversity (horizontal) instead of the so praised scale (vertical) and, consequently, to improve on how we communicate that this is already a present value in TW. My proposal is to show more complete pictures of use cases connecting personal editions with communities and learning/onboarding processes and making this easier to find in the main page.

  2. community growth and personal editions are complex socio-technical processes and usually we tend to focus in the technical part, disregarding the social part, particularly concerning formal and informal educational processes inside/between communities. Making this invisible part more prominent would help us to address a multi-dimensional problem in a more assertive way. This also would help us to visualize some tensions about how (TW) cultures and infrastructures co-evolve together (for example, what happens when your base edition stopped to be supported/developed, as happen with us and Projectify).


Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

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@Offray thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I am excited to hear the kind applications of tiddlywiki you are involved with. I especially like it that it is a lot about empowerment. This maps to my own interest in tiddlywiki as a vehicle towards “digital democracy” which is about empowering people especially non-developers to make use of software, apps and websites for themselves, becoming makers not only “users”.

I value your points about horizontal growth, which is perhaps TiddlyWiki’s first strength, spreading out to a diverse audience rather than a large one. You help me realise I may take this horizontal growth for granted but it possibly the most important, and I will not take it for granted, perhaps even focusing on its diversity.

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Thanks for taking the time to type this very well structured thought out. :slight_smile:

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Just wow.
Really interesting and exciting to hear how you have been using TW!

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I think that we should more visible community editions which means:

  1. A use case, which means:

    • a “non-empty” variant of TW (we use the term seeds for those as empty is confusing and it has already a prepackaged experience in the form of a selection of themes, plugins and contents).
    • a workflow toolkit: We use this TW seed/variant, combined with this storage option, in this social setting or practice. For example, we use Wikilexias with TiddlyHost for web storage, combined with Timimi, as a basic setup in a curricular teaching/learning about TW
  2. A community that is using this edition. It could be like our modified Projectify with learning projects, The Copincha Hackerspace mapping recycling places and workflows, the Grooking TW readers making and sharing reading notes.

  3. A set of community events about learning and sharing TW editions, use cases and questions. This gives a certain sense of rhythm, companionship, celebration and deadline, helping to circulate and evolve community editions, as has been shown in several of our workshops. TW learnig/sharing/evolving is not something private that happens “someday”, but a community act.

  4. Community places like this very forum, or chat channels, or mailing lists. For me this forum has become my main connection with the international community, as it has not the FOMO inducing and attention demanding design of the popular “instant” messaging apps (which I try to keep to a minimum) and instead provides this sense of serendipity, of finding something when you need it, and re-engagement following your own peace. (I would like something similar for my own communities, maybe using Fossil Forum or Nim Forum, just for the sake of infrastructure simplicity, but that is another topic).

The current onboarding experience in TW is kind of constructionist and you need to discover/choose your own TW variant, storage method, community events and sharing places. My idea with community editions it to bring some of those pre-assembbled in use cases and more prominent for newcomers.