TiddlyWiki is very powerful but gives too much freedom to new users. I lost myself: A story and an idea

Hi Talk Tiddlywiki, sorry you haven’t been very active lately. I stayed away from this site and Tiddlywiki for a long time because I found myself in a loop of perfectionism and “analysis paralysis” (I don’t like these words very much, but they actually give a good idea of ​​my situation)

I will give you a short personal story to illustrate a problem of mine, then I will tell you about an idea/something that could help users who have found themselves in a similar situation to mine.

I trusted that Tiddlywiki could be a great system to help me manage my personal projects. Unfortunately it was almost the opposite. Overwhelmed by the possibilities of this wonderful program, I wanted to do it all, and have it all.

An empty Tiddlywiki is lightweight, infinitely customizable and with tons of possibilities.

But for a new user with little knowledge of programming and tiddlywiki, this in my opinion can be a danger. It certainly was for me. I spent months using almost all of my free time to create the “perfect tool” for myself. I also built some nice systems that I was planning on sharing in the form of a “my empty tiddlywiki” but unfortunately I opened too many projects and completed very few.
For almost all my creations I have consulted the answers to past questions on this forum, and sometimes I have asked some myself (to which I have always received excellent answers for which I renew my thanks)

The point is that TiddlyWiki could really be the perfect tool for me and many other users. But I fear that in reality it is only for a select few.

For many it will be too complicated, and many others, once downloaded, will not dig deep enough and will not understand how much TiddlyWiki can really do and will abandon it without knowing what a wonderful tool it really is.
Others, like me, will get lost in this sea of ​​information and possibilities and after a long time they will reluctantly turn away. I came back because I trust TiddlyWiki is right for me. But I thought I’d share my concerns.

  • What I think many users would need is a “guide”.
    But I don’t mean better documentation, or new tutorials. The ones we already have I found to be quite good, if one really cares to learn.
    However, what would be most needed is, alongside the “empty” TiddlyWiki files, some “non-empty” TiddlyWiki, which provide some basic tools and an example of how it “should” be used, based on user needs.
    Unfortunately the empty TiddlyWiki, unless you build a lot upon it, is not a very interesting tool, especially when you start to have a lot of tiddlers.

I know there are many wonderful plugins, and many users have also been generous enough to share their projects. From those one can patch up the “dream TiddlyWiki” which would be perfect for one’s needs.
But discovering that those plugins and project exist, finding them, and making them coexist well in your TiddlyWiki is a big task. (And you quickly risk being overwhelmed by the enormous possibilities)
Not to mention that you often also need to think about how to manage the information you enter in your TiddlyWiki (for example, create a consistent notation or tag system that helps you manage your tiddlers without problems)

However, if there was a pre-packaged wiki, with plugins already on board or already in the core, this could be very convenient for many users.
In this “non-empty TiddlyWiki” there could already be the most useful plugins, well integrated with the rest of the wiki and a simple pre-built interface ready for use. (For interface I mean maybe a Sidebar tab can help you filter through your tiddlers, a bookmark section… Not necessarely, these are just the first ideas I came up with)

In my opinion, if we looked for the most requested functions, we could as a community build some simple example wikis, ready for use. Maybe with few but useful suggestions on how to use it (maybe reccomending a naming convention where needed etc.) It could be done by categories: one for taking notes, another to be used aa planner... So each new user can try and see what TiddlyWiki can really do right ahead - without having to first get lost in a sea of ​​information and then re-emerge only if tenacious enough. It is in my opinion better if many inexpirienced users don't start from scratch. (I know there are also example-wikis made by wonderful members of the community that could be used as a starting point but they are, often necessarily, niche applications.)
  • The tools already exist, in my opinion this could be done without much effort. Just some coordination.

I think we could collect which are the most convenient and most requested functions for a common use of Tiddlywiki and build an example wiki with those functions that one can then use as a “frame” for their own personal wiki, without having to start from nothing (that can be overwhelming)
It will not be perfect for everyone, but it would serve as a good starting point.

I’m not saying this out of laziness, I spent many months trying to build it on my own, and I will continue my efforts to build my “perfect tool”. And I’m willing to help as much as I can, to give back as much as I recived from the community. But in my opinion this could bring a lot of users in, I really think it could.

In any case, I don’t know if what I proposed can really be done or if it will be a good thing to have. (I’m quite convinced of it, but you never know :joy:)
But I wanted to at least let you know about some problems I encountered using TiddlyWiki.



Nice write up. Good ideas/thoughts.

I want a configuration feature to define entities, forms, reports, charts etc for advanced users to build solutions. Those solutions would be used by users at any experience level.

If we had an entity, form and report configuration feature the solutions that used it could have consistent TW implementations.

If you want to manage recipes there would be one or more solutions for that. Want a personal knowledge base or a software bug tracking solution there would be solutions for that.

Currently I think plugins are written to be those solutions. They define entities and user interfaces that attempt to work with any theme. They attempt to minimize incompatibility with other plugins and maximize flexibility and configurability. I want this approach to continue. However I want another level above this. I have seen the term “Editions”. Not sure if this is that higher level I want or not. I don’t think so.

I created a genealogical researchers solution that is an attempt to build an out of the box solution. It utilizes a large number existing plugins and a single theme (ie not very supportive of other themes). I defined the entities for the solution (example person place event source etc) in a way to minimize the user knowledge of TW. Example, user does not need to know what tags or fields are to be used. The solution needs to drive the user. There are some plugins that also accomplish this. The problem with plugins is beginners do want to understand them. They do not want to manage them. Who ever is managing the “solution edition” should manage that for the users.

Aside: Give these solutions unique names that address specific solutions.

Just my rambling thoughts.

1 Like

This comes up from time to time. There is a page now for community editions, but it isn’t really promoted.


I guess this is one situation where it would be good to have community voting.


@SnapSam I fully understand your feelings about the inordinate power of TiddlyWiki in the hands of a new and/or inexperienced user. I am one of them and I know what it feels like. Like yourself, I spent a great deal of time trying to learn how to use TiddlyWiki in an efficient manner, suitable for my needs. It’s a huge, never-ending task. For me the answer was to reach a point where my customizations appear to be on the right track, if not better, and step back. I’ll wait for a while and later resume my effort.

If one insists on working continuously with the goal of having the ideal TiddlyWiki system, they’ll soon be frustrated. It’s not TiddlyWiki’s fault that it’s so powerful and potentially complex! It is in fact what makes it versatile and useful for a great number of people’s needs.

I’m at the stage where I’m taking it easy and use TiddlyWiki in a rather basic format. When I’ll be ready I’ll try to do something more ambitious with it. For example, reading this thread I found myself at TiddlyStudy and the information there reminded me a bit of LogSeq which I recently used for a while. I mention this as an illustration of how much TiddlyWiki can do.

In summary, I believe you should decide what you want to do with TiddlyWiki and then use TiddlyWiki to do it. Users’ needs are diverse. If one tries try to create ready-made solutions it’s unlikely that they will meet all users’ requirements.


Thanks @SnapSam for your sharing your expirence, frustrations and ideas. It is of great value to the community. Whilst I agree with everything you said I dont agree with this part of the title “TiddlyWiki is very powerful but gives too much freedom to new users”, although I understand where you are comming from.

  • This reminds me too much of people complaining about an excess of democracy, usualy spoken by authoritarians.

The problem in my view is both;

  • how we help people adopt tiddlywiki, in part through the documentation which is often too brief and technical only.
  • human tendencies to over complicate things
  • A lack of step by step guides, past initial learning
    • and within this fit for purpose editions.

As @clsturgeon pointed out editions are intended to fill this gap but have not yet managed.

What you have said needed to be said again, but yes others have raised similar issues before. I am not sure if that is reassuring or disappointing.

Some of us have discussed some introductory editions with more features than empty but still quite light, see this (now outdated) example of mine https://standard.tiddlyhost.com/ personaly I dont think new users should be given empty.html, that is a minimalist build on which expierenced users can build their custom solutions, not an appropriate introduction to tiddlywiki.


Thanks for the nice answers :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I agree about the plugins.

Great job, I remember it! And I believe the philosophy behind it is exactly what would be ideal for many users.

It’s true, it’s not very promoted, so much so that I wrote this topic forgetting that that page existed. :joy:
I read it again to see if there was something similar to what I’m hoping for, but I don’t think there is (yet).

  • I agree, in my opinion it could be useful to collect information from users.

For example, what would be the most sought-after functions? (Bookmarks, autocomplete, a collection of pre-made filters…?)

This is certainly true, however in my opinion it might be worth seeing what the best “base/frame” could be for an average user, which accompanies them in the early stages of using TiddlyWiki without them being overwhelmed.
Once the user gets used to the system and how it works, he will be free to personalize it and tailor it according to his needs.

That’s true :joy:, but I didn’t know how to write a more concise title

I agree with what @clsturgeon says, but I don’t agree with the documentation issues.
Of course, it’s true that it could be made better. But I think they’re good enough.

The real problem is the initial approach: if an inexperienced user is presented with the empty TiddlyWiki and the current documentation, chances are that he will get lost and abandon the project.
Even if the documentation was perfect, the new user would still have to build his own solution from scratch, even if accompanied by excellent documentation. Furthermore, it is possible that he will not know what solutions will really be useful to him. A great amount of work that could discourage many.

  • In my opinion the solution is precisely to provide a curated edition. Still keeping it simple and light, but giving enough to guide the user in the wonderful world of TiddlyWiki.

I believe that as a community we would be able to do this. We have solutions for almost everything, it’s just a matter of coordinating and deciding which could be the best, putting them together and presenting them in a sample edition.

While improving the documentation is always helpful, for new (or still inexperienced) users having a community-curated edition would be much better.
In my opinion it would be a more useful (and more fun) project than improving the documentation.

I’d be curious to see what the community thinks about this. :spiral_notepad:

Yeah, yeah, nah, we could include in the documentation choosing and using starter editions, perhaps even interactivly for new users.

  • Actualy I have just had an idea.

Self serve wikibuilds

  • On a tiddlyhost site install the inner wiki plugin.
  • Configure a configuration method to include various settings and plugins
    • However rather than in tiddlywiki speak, these collections are in user speak
  • From these settings open a complient inner wiki which you can review and decide if it is what you want. Then you can save that wiki localy or to tiddlyhost if you want to keep it, as configured.
  • You can go back and select additional “features” as desired to make a custom wiki.

In this case we encorage the community to nominate plugins, provide settings and additional content that if added to an existing edition will make a new one.

  • Each time we add an edition, we add any prerequisits to the self serve wiki build site to support all editions.
  • Perhaps we could even build a mechanisium where you generate an edition, save it modify it, extract the changes and submitt a new edition.
  • Idealy we add discussion threads, voting etc… on the avialable editions

Also see Tiddlyhost hub

I have started https://takeaway-wikis.tiddlyhost.com/ as a Proof of concept - still to be built

[Edited] the now is a draft “Near Empty Takeaway edition” to get an Idea of my proposal.

  • A basic projectify edition as well
1 Like

Nice demonstration, @TW_Tones! I tend to agree that the issue isn’t a lack of “starter” editions so much as an easy way to let new users (or even existing users embarking on a new project) explore all the curated editions we already have, ideally without leaving tiddlywiki.com. This would be a great way to do it, IMO.

Perhaps it could also include a drag-and-drop plugin library, so users could test plugins that aren’t part of a bespoke edition in their favorite “starter”?

@SnapSam, I’m not sure I agree that there is an “average” TW user—for one thing, people end up at TW for different reasons, and the person looking for a private digital journal probably isn’t looking for the same thing as the person looking for a project management application, or a public-facing blog, or a recipe collection, or a world-building aid, or a place to store their coursework, or even an online storefront. I think we’d probably even see quite a bit of debate over which plugins were “most useful”. I almost never see a public wiki with SideEditor installed, for instance, even though it’s the first thing I install any time I need to poke around in someone else’s wiki.

But I’m curious what you think the ideal “starter kit” would look like! Or, put another way, what were you expecting or looking for that was too onerous to find?

1 Like

Ok, thanks for the idea, I did a simple implementation. On the site now you can open an innerwiki in the story, then click on the plugins sidebar. You can drag any installed plugin and drop it on the innerwiki to install.

  • This will only work with plugins that do not require a reload.
  • It even works for disabled plugins
  • Due to local storage you can get more plugins, or drop a plugin on the parent then drop it on the edition.

A full solution would allow you to drop the plugin on the page used to generate bthe edition. Possibly adding a fieldname equal to the plugin tiddler. This way the plugin will load into the innerwiki and work.

S=ome technical design details

  • My idea is to add fields = tiddlernames, if empty install the tiddler as it exists in the parent wiki
  • If it has a value that is not also a tiddler use the value as the content of the text field
  • If it has a tiddler title and the value contains an existing title use the value as the source tiddler and fieldname as the destination tiddler. This allows multiple versions of the same tiddler to be store in the parent but set to its standard name when included in the edition.

Other ideas;

What if you could open an inner wiki with some designer supported additions, customise your edition then somehow export/drag all edits and additions out, to;

  • Install on a empty html
  • To create a new edition in the parent wiki?

If in answer to @etardiff question @SnapSam you gave me a list of mods I could generate an edition now.

In the “Near Empty Tiddlywiki Edition” I added the contents tab and a few small items, as an example.

[Edited] Notice how you can share the permalink to look strate at the innerwiki edition?

Thats cool.

It would be useful to expand this idea in the direction you’re suggesting, perhaps in a new top-level site, something like editions.tiddlywiki.org.

I could imagine an initial list (sorted by community upvotes) of edition types:

  • Personal journal
  • Public blog
  • Time-management system
  • Project planning tool
  • Documentation site
  • Link curation wiki
  • Recipe list

where on selection of one, the user gets another list of publicly available editions of that type, again sorted by community upvotes. Perhaps the editions could be hosted on that same site, or we could offer the option of doing so for those without reliable hosting.

Perhaps the GettingStarted tiddler could replace its “Click here to download an empty copy of TiddlyWiki.” with something like:

Choose a starter edition for a personal journal. a public blog, a time-management system, a project planning tool, a documentation site, a link curation wiki, a recipe manager, or one of 38 other categories. Or choose to start on your own by clicking here to download an empty copy of Tiddlywiki.
(note: all links are fake!)

I can imagine that we could insist that each edition include a dedicated tiddler giving an overview:

title: $:/edition/giving-paws/overview
caption: Giving Paws - pet care management tools
created: 20231204021127123
edition-category: Business management
edition-title: Giving Paws
edition-description: Tools for managing a pet-care business
edition-earliest-tested-tw-version: 5.2.2
edition-latest-tested-tw-version: 5.3.1
edition-authors: [[George Bird Grinnell]]
edition-contributors: [[Larry Andrews]] [[Marcia Glaser]] [[Helen Jones]] [[Fred Myers]]
edition-logo: $:/edition/giving-paws/logo.svg

!! About

Giving Paws is a tool to help those with personal pet-care businesses, including pet sitters, 
dog-walkers, animal groomers, and the like.

It helps you track clients: both the animals you care for and the humans who pay the bills.
It lets you....

Something like that should minimize the ongoing maintenance both for the owners of the editions and those running an editions site.


Hi Sam, Perhaps I had it easier than you. I had to gain experience in writing plugins and so on and I still depend heavily on more experienced people when I get stuck in filter notation. However after a couple of years of intensive use on my research project - pretty much a full working week every week I am only just beginning to understand what I actually need out of Tiddlywiki - we do not always understand what we actually need or want.

I wonder if sometimes (not always :slight_smile: )when people are saying that they find it all too complicated are they also to some extent aware in the face of all of that power and possibility that they don’t really have a complete vision of what they actually want? Is the complexity always in Tiddlywiki or is it in part also that once the restrictions are removed and we no longer have limited choices we realise we only have a vague idea of what it is we are trying to create?

In practise I think using existing plugins that partially achieve what you want are a great way of finding out what it is you really want.

I think when people get involved with Tiddlywiki it often becomes an evolutionary process, some people get more interested in the tool itself, other people get more involved in a particular application. The trick as you are finding out is to make sure that your efforts are in line with what you actually want to achieve.


To sum up the thread: with great power comes great responsibility :laughing:

This is a very important insight. I myself have many times struggled with how to do a thing in TW, only to realize later that I don’t actually need it to manage my notes, I just thought I did. This reminds me of the XY problem. A recent example thread, where the question of how to do a thing evolves into why even do a thing and what to do instead: Auto-appending a field - Discussion - Talk TW (tiddlywiki.org).

How to avoid this? A better presentation and focus on the not-too-overblown editions or examples for specific use-cases as discussed above would surely help.

My own three cents: I’m not a fan of directly using the heavily modified editions (like Memory Keeper, Stroll, or tzk), but I value them as an inspiration to develop my own, often similar approaches.
This is of course much more time consuming and many users will prefer to just grab a ready solution.

I think to make the general/beginner editions most useful, they should not be overloaded with features and ideally composed of removable plugins.


Yes. Edition is the name for such a “single purpose” wiki.

I subscribe, really interesting

Indeed you are right. I was thinking more of a “median” tiddlywiki, which would actually be better than empty, but rarely really good for anyone.

I said this because finding multiple editions for every need seemed like a big task to me and I preferred to propose something simple initially. But if these editions already exist/are easy to compile, that would be optimal. But yes, I agree, there is no “average” TiddlyWiki user. And that’s great.

I don’t know what would be the best way to present them, but if this could be done, this could really give direction to new users

Oh, that certainly is/was the case with me. This is certainly the case, because I often don’t know what I want from TiddlyWiki, but also because I often don’t even know what I might want. For example: I could do without the autocomplete plugin, I would still use TiddlyWiki even without it, but once I discovered it I found that it’s very convenient and I wanted to have it from the start and it’s something I want to keep using.

I certainly don’t have a perfectly clear idea of ​​what my “ideal” TiddlyWiki would be, I agree. But after more than a year I have now reached what is “pretty close to my ideal”.

  • But for this very reason, in my opinion, it is even more necessary to create a guide made by the community. Together with our collective experience, we have an idea (not perfect, it’s true, but still good and useful) of what a user may need.

    Leaving the user alone, who doesn’t even know what he would like, without clear knowledge of what he can get from TiddlyWiki is not good.
    He will have the opportunity to experiment on his own starting from the (so to speak) “guide-editions” of those who have known TiddlyWiki for a long time

In fact, I believe that for an inexperienced user it is even more difficult to recognize which functions are commonly useful and which, however ingenious, are only useful to some users/only for certain types of use of TiddlyWiki.

(e.g. A plugin that manages checkboxes can be essential for a planner, but almost completely useless for taking notes, and perhaps the inexperienced user doesn’t realize it.)

This is why I believe that “curated editions” could be realy useful; to guide the first stemps of the new or inexperienced user.

Me neither, I find them too structured (very well made - perhaps too much :joy:) but structured enough to leave the user with less freedom of customization.

Unfortunately I don’t have time to do it now, but I’ll be back as soon as I can

I use TiddlyWiki to take notes and to log information:
Lots of short tiddlers, where I fill out multiple fields.

My biggest need is speed: For tiddler creation, compilation, search and consultation.

Some of the main features I have implemented/plan to finish implementing in my TiddlyWiki:

  • The “+” button offers more templates to choose from (e.g. create a document tiddler, an idea tiddler, journal etc.)
  • In the tiddler, following the templates, I already have “chosen” fields ready to be filled in (I saw a similar thing in MemoryKeeper)
  • Once I have a lot of tiddlers, I can look at them using the TiddlyTables plugin to quickly compare and view them. (I’m still trying to make improvements to this plugin. Work in progress)
  • For other tiddlers I find it convenient to use the WizardNav plugin
  • Thing I’m struggling with a bit: finding tiddlers. I’m not at all an expert with filters but I’m trying to build a tiddler to keep in the sidebar similar to the one you can find in EberronTiddlywiki (Find Things) https://eberron.tiddlyhost.com/#Find%20Things

Some tools that I use and find very useful:

  • Bookmarks is a feature that I find really useful (The tiddlers that I always have open by default when I open tiddlywiki are the ones that I tagged with “bookmark”) For this I didn’t use plugins, I know they exist, but I did it myself.
  • Autocomplete plugin is also something that helps me do things faster
  • Link to tabs plugin, fundamental for me, but i rekon that for a user who doesn’t customize much or who isn’t interested in looking “behind the scenes” it is not very useful
  • Relink plugin. I don’t think there’s much to say, I think this should almost be part of the core
  • Tiddler commander plugin: maybe a new user won’t use it often, but it is a very powerful tool that I highly recommend

What I would still like to do: (projects that I have started but have only half done)

  • A template builder, and a tiddler constructor like this one: Demos — Q&A and tools for tiddlywiki (I made some templates for myself but they are not really good yet)
  • A filter helper/builder.
    (it doesn’t have to be perfect or cover every case, but especially for searching for tiddlers it would be very convenient. It would also be “educational”: by using it you get an idea of ​​what the main filter structures are)
    Or in any case a very flexible search system that does a bit like the “Find Things” I mentioned before
  • Some changes to TiddlyTables (especially column searches and ways to sort information)

I talk a lot about search and filters because I think that’s the biggest gap in the “empty” TiddlyWiki. Creating tiddlers is easy even for an illiterate, but finding them, creating tables or tables of content where you can easily collect them or search for them requires a bit of ingenuity.

This is only my particular case:
I say that some of these needs of mine are common (such as the use of “Relink”) while others I am sure are only my problem.

I’m tempted to say that these things would be useful to everyone :sweat_smile:, but I only know my particular case, so for the “average user” (assuming it exists) or in any case the average user of a particular TiddlyWiki, I think it would be useful to see what the community thinks.

(What is useful for a note-taking TiddlyWiki? What is useful for a personal journal TiddlyWiki? …)

  • Perhaps a poll could be useful in witch we ask what functions we feel are the most important to have when starting TiddlyWiki or anyway what functions or plugins you are most likeliy to reccomend.

I appreciate the thoughtful, in-depth response!

This is something I’ve fantasized about myself, though I haven’t put much work into it. I really like what @Mohammad did with the popup menu in this demo, though an ideal solution would be layout-agnostic. I imagine it would still have to depend on the user defining buttons and templates to be included.

You might be interested in @EricShulman’s filter generators, and perhaps particularly in his PowerSearch. Unfortunately I didn’t find this myself until after the point at which it would have been most useful to me; these days I’m generally using a wider range of filter operators than it supports, and it’s quicker just to write the filter myself. But I do really appreciate that it shows you the full filter, as you’ve constructed it, in addition to the search results it produces.

Personally, I use (a slightly modified version of) Command Palette for nearly all my search and navigation needs—though I’d hesitate to recommend it for inclusion in a starter edition as it hasn’t been updated in more than a year, and the official version can be difficult to customize. Even so, it’s game-changing to be able to pull up a search bar with a hotkey, and I find it much faster than opening the sidebar (and then probably opening Advanced Search anyway).

Ditto! I like Favorites, personally, for the ability to sort into “folders” and quickly populate a folder with a filter.

Autocomplete, Link to Tabs, Relink, and Commander are also excellent picks (and I’d also agree that Relink should be part of the core).

Eric’s Power Search may be a good starting point!

I think you’re absolutely right that filters are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) pain points for new and even experienced users, and having an interactive model for what a properly formatted filter should look like would be a huge boon. Ideally, it would include some options for working with variables or transcluded fields, too; that might clear up some of the inevitable confusion about when and how to use each type of bracket (certainly a major hurdle for me when I was getting started). But as you said, even a relatively basic builder would be educational—and perhaps worth including on the main site, as a companion to the filter documentation.

I haven’t used it myself (and the demo site may need a little Google Translate), but I wonder if @linonetwo’s Template List plugin would fill some of this need.


The separate filter generators file is obsolete and all the “filter generators” are now hosted directly on the main TiddlyTools.com page. See the “Search” tab in the “Welcome to TiddlyTools” tiddler.

In particular, PowerSearch (now simply called Search/Filters) is here: https://TiddlyTools.com/#TiddlyTools%2FSearch%2FFilters



Also, genealogy! (a common non-coder project that may bring people to TW’s power, and which we already have some great models of)

AND, surely a working bibliographic database (with quotes and notes) would be of broad interest too. The RefNotes plugin is amazing, and is well-documented. It even has some live example tiddlers. Still, it shows very little about how those tiddlers can be connected up for dynamic purposes, and the GUI for “taking it for a spin” is densely interwoven with explanatory text. I’m close to being able to share a version of my biblio-research tool that uses Mohammad’s plugins and also some original templating, css tricks, and virtual nodes (what shows at a tag even if it’s “missing” as a tiddler). It might have a tutorial “layer” available (including notes about the various plugins and other moving pieces of the solution), but will mostly be a ground-level demo: “surf around and see the end-product power”.

I wonder if there’s a way that plugins such as RefNotes (or a recipe database, etc.) could have TWO tiers of shadow tiddlers: one is the ordinary shadows that always exist but can be overridden; the other is a set of meaningful sample content that can be sent underground once someone understands how things work. (And maybe it can be easily “resurfaced” to poke into a feature that’s newly interesting.) Alternately, a plugin developer could try to host a demo site that is not just a minimal proof-of-concept with documentation, but a “watch it in action” application.

To some degree, the Shiraz demo is already like this, since it uses Shiraz affordances to offer a tour through Shiraz.

Still, sometimes newcomers to TW can get dizzy when the quine-factor (“Now look at this very code performing surgery on itself!”) is too daunting. Having a non-technical domain for the “topic” of the demo, so it’s easier to separate target-domain from the specific tool-affordances to explore, can help here.

Proposed guideline for sample content of such editions (with apologies if these ideas have been hashed out elsewhere!): Content should include enough real-world substance to allow a decently-powerful tour through the core set of affordances related to the project. It should not have any lorem ipsum, let alone “foo” and “bar” values in fields. It should be the kind of stuff whose familiar-feeling content can help to make the interface feel more intuitive. AND all of that real-world content ought to be easily deleted or hidden (in someone’s cloned copy) so that users can easily feel like they’re moving into an AirBnB that has all the appliances and furniture, but nobody else’s clothes in the closet. :wink: