Zettelkasten Attracts People Overly Concerned With Their Tools and Process Rather Than Practicing

I’ve noticed that discussions on Zettelkasten forums and comment threads in HackerNews when a new Zettelkasten-like tool is shared are overly fixated on the tools and correctness of the process. Because there is an original source implementation (Niklas Luhmann), people judge the ‘purity’ of an implementation rather than focusing on the activity itself. This makes some intuitive sense, it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of a tool because note taking has compounding effects and most compounding benefits occur at the end so instead people judge in a more near-term way.

This tendency makes practitioners more administrative than creative. When all your time is focused on tending to your tools, workflows, and management of notes, there is less time to actually produce valuable work.