Blogchains Generalist's Toolbox In English Not Defteri | Notebook

How I’m Using Obsidian – The Setup

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Generalist's Toolbox


If you know me online or offline, you’ll also know that I have an obsession with productivity and knowledge management stuff. This includes note taking apps, task management apps, different methods and everything related to that. This is partly because of my ADHD and needing a support system for myself but also because how I work in general.

This is why when the new generation of note taking softwares started to appear, I had to test pretty much all of them. For a long time, I was using Roam Research and was generally happy with it. But couple of things pushed me to look for an alternative. These were mainly about security and usability issues, such as Roam being mainly an online service, not having enough security capabilities, the potential of my notes getting stuck in their servers and more. I might’ve not cared about those too much but the atmosphere created around the tool and people gathering around to built a “cult” also made me quite skeptical about the future of Roam.

At this point, I’ve decided to give Obsidian a serious chance and I’m glad that I did. Even though it still has some limitations compared to Roam, those limitations are there because of the things I care about more. Mainly Obsidian making sure that all my notes are available to me in an open format (Markdown) which can be used with any other software that can read Markdown files.

For example, right now I’m writing this post inside Obsidian. When I’m done, I’ll open the file inside iA Writer for final checks and then push it to my blog, which is where you’re reading this right now. This is the kind of usability and interoperability I care more than whether I can move my bullet points more quickly or not.

I can talk about Obsidian for hours but instead, I’ll add couple of recommended reads below and move on to how I’m using it right now.

My Obsidian Setup (as of March 2022)

Theme and Design Settings

This is how my Obsidian looks right now:

Screenshot of my Obsidian setup.

I’m using Minimal Theme with Nord color scheme. There are lots of beautifully designed themes out there but I’m all for clean and minimal design when it comes to tools I’m using for writing and reading. If this sounds like your thing, Minimal is the way to go. Plus Minimal Theme Settings and Style Settings plugins provide lots of options to adjust the theme for your taste.

If you’re looking for something different, you can check Shimmering Focus, Primary, Yin and Yang, California Coast, Sanctum or ITS to start discovering.

In addition to the theme, I also have couple snippets to enhance my Obsidian setup. One of those snippets are for different types of checkboxes. With that snippet, I can add checklists which looks like this:

Screenshot of different bullet points with bullets like bulb, bookmark, question mark.

Another one is a small snippet which lets me change sidebar tabs to different styles. The ones you see on the screenshot is called wide tabs.

I have also couple of different plugins focused on design and visual usability:

  • Sliding Panes: Instead of having single window divided into different panes, this one lets me create multiple panes I can slide left and right to see. After trying it for a while it worked great for me.
  • Indentation Guides: To create relationship lines between bullet points.
  • Hider: To hide some of Obsidian UI to create even more minimal look.

On the right sidebar I have two set of menus. Bottom one is only for the backlinks and outgoing links. Since links are quite important for me, I wanted to keep this part clean. Top one usually has Calendar open but Advanced Tables and Breadcrumbs also has menus there.

On the left, top part is the file manager/search part but I also added two tabs underneath. One is to show me all my tags and the other one always shows the outline of the active note. I also used Hider to change how menus above (Notes, Search, Starred) looks.

Enhancement Focused Plugins

Another thing I like about Obsidian is how much you can enhance the Obsidian itself to do even more inside it. There are lots of different plugins I test regularly and there are always new ones coming. (This is why I’m a big fan of Obsidian Roundup.)

There are some plugins I can highly recommend for anyone who wants to get more out of Obsidian. All of these are available at the community plugins list, which you can find it in Settings. (Same goes for the plugins and themes I’ve mentioned above.)

  • Advanced Tables: You can create basic tables on Markdown but with this plugin you can enhance it even more to use spreadsheet formulas or export to CSV.
  • Calendar: It’s a simple plugin which creates a calendar on the sidebar. Through this calendar you can easily access to your daily notes and see how much you’ve written based on the dots under the dates.
  • Breadcrumbs: It’s a plugin that lets you add relationship data to your notes. It’s useful for organizing notes or creating new relationships in your notes. It takes a little time to learn in the beginning.
  • Dataview: This is a really powerful plugin. With this plugin you can use data in your notes to create lists or tables. And if you use frontmatter (YAML) in your notes, you can also use information on that part too.
  • Auto Link Title: It’s one of those small plugins which makes my notes look much better. Whenever I paste only a link into a note, this plugin gets the title of the page and adds the link with that text.
  • Kanban: If you’re fan of Kanban boards, this is the best option to create Kanban board notes.
  • Charts View: If you need charts in your notes, this will let you create all of the most used types of charts easily.
  • Readwise Official: Thanks to this plugin, I can have all of my Readwise highlights available in my vault. Which is a must for me.
  • Natural Language Dates: If you’re actively using daily notes and want to link dates in other notes to your daily notes, this will help you do this easily.

There are also other plugins for specific purposes such as Advanced Mobile Toolbar for an easier mobile usage, Citations for importing and using BibTex, Outliner for enhanced outlining, DEVONlink if you’re actively using DevonThink and Discord Rich Presence to show off your Obsidian use on Discord.

Closing Notes

I was planning to continue with my organization of notes and folders, what kind of templates I have and other notes but it’s already well over a thousand words so I think sharing those in another post is a good idea. So I’m limiting this one with themes and plugins but I guess my choices has given you some ideas about the second part too.

If you have any questions or things you want me to mention, feel free to send a comment or reach out to me whichever way you prefer.

This is also the start of a new blogchain I call “Generalist’s Toolbox” so expect more posts similar to this about different tools I’m using.

In English İnternet Notları | Notes From Internet Rethinking the Internet

Adventures in Building a Library Catalog

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Rethinking the Internet


Some time ago, I wrote about the problems with Goodreads and how StoryGraph can be a good alternative for many. This is something I’m really interested because most of what I do is about books and because of my ADHD brain, not being able to track the books I have causes quite unique problems such as having multiple copies of the same book, sometimes in different languages.

This is why one of my major quests in life is having a personal library catalog in which I can track what I have. But this is not an easy task.

Chapter One: Storygraph

Although Storygraph seemed like a good alternative with many promising options, there were many problems which made it really hard to use. The most important one was the issues with finding and adding Turkish books. Most of them were not available and some were only returning the results for English editions. Which is a huge problem because if I’m going to keep track of my books and my library, I have to make sure the correct editions are logged. 

Another important issue was the limits of its social aspect. There’s no way to know if someone I know is on the platform unless they tell you. There’s no easy way to find people, no way of communicating, etc. Since I was also trying it as a Goodreads alternative, this was an important issue for me. Because I really like seeing which books other people are reading and what they think about it. 

Missing the social side plus not being able to track books in Turkish simply made Storygraph a bad choice for me. I had to move on.

Chapter Two: LibraryThing

Then I tried to give LibraryThing a shot. It seems old school and not really sure how many people actively uses it, but it seemed like a better place to keep a library catalog because of the power tools such as scanning book barcodes with the iOS app. 

At first, LibraryThing was working just fine, until I’ve decided to start adding my library at home to have a catalog I can easily search. Although LibraryThing can search the university libraries in Turkey, most of the data was either incorrect or totally missing. Yes, it was finding most of the books, but occasionally the names were wrong, sometimes the authors. Some books had Turkish character issues in their names, some showed the translator as the main author, some had completely unrelated information.

This is why I’ve returned to using Goodreads for the online and social part of the book tracking adventure. But Goodreads also has issues about Turkish book data, even though much less than the other options. Those issues mainly caused by volunteer librarians on the platform, and although I’m one of them, I don’t have the time to track every issue and fix it.

This means I still need a solution for building my library catalog. That’s when I decided to give an old friend a chance.

Chapter Three: Calibre, The Old Reliable

For those who don’t know, Calibre is a digital library software that’s mainly used for organizing your e-book library. It also has so many power tools and plugins inside, which makes it a crazy powerful software. I’ve been using it to organize my e-books for years, but it never occurred to me that I can use it for more. Until now.

You can simply use Calibre as it is, and it’ll probably work just fine but if you want to make sure that it can find anything, you can go to add-ons and search for these extensions too:

List of Calibre plugins I've installed.
The list: Multiple Countries, DNB_DE, Goodreads, Wikidata, Find Duplicates.

After this, all you have to do is expand the Add Books menu and select “Add Books by ISBN”. This screen will open, and you can add as many ISBNs as you want and let Calibre do its thing. If you need an easy way to separate e-books from paper ones, you can simply add a tag like I did and all the books will have this tag automatically added.

Calibre menu screen for adding ISBNs for import.

Now I can keep track of my library in one place and easily add more books whenever I buy new ones. All I have to do, write the ISBNs on my phone and then paste them inside the Calibre. While other solutions had dozens of missing books or books with incorrect information, Calibre only had two missing ones: one of them published a couple of weeks ago and one published by a small publisher. All I had to do, copy and paste book info from the publisher websites, and it was done.


So, this is where I ended up:

Calibre will be the tool to keep track of our household library for everything, e-books and dead-tree ones. I wish I could find a way to simply turn that into a one-person book blog, but until I have enough time to give it a shot, it’s a dream project waiting in my notes. 

For a more public facing book tracking, I’ll keep using Goodreads. But I’m thinking about other alternatives too. Maybe creating a special category on my blog and write small posts every time I finish one. I’m not sure about it yet.

This experience taught me a lot about platforms, books, ISBNs and many other things. But one common thread I’ve been facing in many online tools is how Western —and sometimes simply US— centric those tools and projects were. I can easily use many tools as long as I keep everything limited with English and/or US-based. When you step outside English, you’re on your own. Nothing fully works and most of the time you have to figure out the problems you face by yourself because most of those were never occurred to the developers or not seemed urgent. 

We always talk about how internet is global and open for everyone in the world, as long as you live in English. And it will seem mostly true if you’re in the US, UK, or some other Western country (although the same problems may be faced by Europeans or people in the US who doesn’t speak English). But when you try to work with another language, even if you’re using a global standart like ISBN, things change quickly. 

If the global internet starts throwing bugs at your face when you’re trying to work with a global standart, think about what kind of problems people are facing regularly when it comes to more serious issues such as content moderation.

In English İnternet Notları | Notes From Internet Not Defteri | Notebook Rethinking the Internet

Why I Keep Coming Back to Blogging

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Rethinking the Internet

This is part of one of the blog chains here, titled “Rethinking the Internet” but instead of using numbered titles, I have decided to continue with unique ones.

If you’re someone who writes or reads online, you know that newsletters are the hot trend for a while. While I totally understand why it’s so popular and fits better for different ideas and projects (like the one I do with NewsLabTurkey and Tuhaf Gelecek), I never managed to write my personal one regularly. I could explain why with many different reasons —not being able to plan, can’t find new things to write regularly, being over-critical of my writing, having too much work in my hand— but after reading Cory Doctorow’s recent piece “Memex Method” I know why I couldn’t write a regular newsletter: because what I actually want to do is blogging.

Since I started using internet regularly, I always had blogs. It’s my natural state of being online —even though I spend way too much time on Twitter. I feel comfortable writing for my blog and enjoy the experience in general. I can work on my half-baked ideas without much pressure, because now everyone expects newsletters to be fully finished ideas and articles. Although it’s an understandable expectation, not really what I want to do.

Quoting from Cory, this is what I prefer doing:

“Blogging isn’t just a way to organize your research — it’s a way to do research for a book or essay or story or speech you don’t even know you want to write yet. It’s a way to discover what your future books and essays and stories and speeches will be about.”

This is especially important if you consider the fact that almost all of the work I do can be summed up as “reading, researching, taking notes and writing stuff”. I know some people prefer to call what Cory describes as blogging “digital gardens” but I’m having a hard time to understand why it’s not just called blogging. For my personal practice people usually describe as digital garden are either blogging but more linked together or how I use my private Roam Research graph for. There’s a good chance I might be missing something too.

Returning back to newsletter and blog thing, Dan Hon wrote about Cory’s piece on his newsletter and said something important: “But a blog post would be different. Medium posts are different. The setting is different. The place is different. The context is different.” This is quite important because what I couldn’t manage that newsletter keep going is mainly because I wasn’t doing something unique for that setting but instead trying to blog with a newsletter. That’s why I felt limited, not really fitting.

And of course there’s the thing about making an income out of your online writing. Right now creating a paid newsletter is the easiest way to almost anyone online but because I can’t create a Stripe account that’s not an option for me. I have a Patreon that’s been going on for a really long time but because I couldn’t figure out how to use that and a newsletter together, it never really took off. But if I decide to go with a blogging focused writing, I can make more use out of it and make sure people supporting me can have something more visible in their hands. For example, I can simply turn any post here patron-only and people supporting my work can read it with one click.

What I’m trying to say —both to you and myself— is that blogging is my real home online and I’m going to be using here more actively from now on. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with the newsletter but I’m thinking about turning that into a semi-regular announcement channel about the work and blogging I’m doing. Or maybe I will come up with an exciting experiment in the future.

Let’s end this with another quote from Cory about why blogging is important for anyone who’s job is similar to mine and his:

“There’s another way that blogging makes my writing better: writing every day makes it easier to write every day.”

PS. I’ve recently updated my RSS Reader page here if anyone is interested in that.

Ahmet Nerede | Where's Ahmet DEHB ile Yaşamak Duyurular | Announcements Not Defteri | Notebook Türkçe

DEHB Üzerine Sıkça Sorulmayan Sorular

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series DEHB ile Yaşamak

Daha önce de yazdığım gibi, DEHB ile yaşamak veya bu konuda faydalanacak kaynak, konuşacak insan bulmak hiç de kolay bir iş değil. Zaten zor olan birçok şey, bu yalnız kalma hâli ve gizlenme zorunluluğu ile daha da çekilmez bir noktaya gelebiliyor. Bu yüzden Twitter’da ilk yazdıklarımdan bu yana aldığım olumlu tepkiler ve bu konudaki ihtiyacın seviyesi nedeniyle elime fırsat geçtikçe bir şeyler yapmak için çaba göstermeye karar verdim.

İlker Küçükparlak hocamın da desteği ve bir şeyler yapma isteği ile yukarıda gerçekleştirdiğimiz canlı yayın da bu fikirlerin ilk sonucu. İlker hocanın özellikle daha doğrudan tecrübeye ve bunun paylaşılmasının yaratacağı faydaya odaklanıyor olması, beni memnun eden ve katılmayı keyifle kabul etmeme sebep olan noktaların başında geliyor. Şu ana kadar gelen tepkilerden görebildiğim kadarıyla da yayın gerçekten amacına ulaşmış ve izleyenler için gerçekten faydalı olmuş. Dürüst olmam gerekirse, bu derece olumlu bir tepki beklemiyordum, devamının istenmesine ise şaşırdım. Ama aynı zamanda çok mutlu oldum.

Sohbetimizin tamamını YouTube üzerinden izlemek isterseniz yukarıdan ve bu linkten erişebilirsiniz. Yayın eş zamanlı olarak Instagram’da da yapıldı, eğer orayı tercih ederseniz onun linki de burada.

Bu noktadan sonra amacım bu konularda bir şeyler üretmeye olabildiğince devam etmek ve bu sayede DEHB ile yaşayanların birbirini bulmasına ve destek olmasına yardım eden bir aracı olabilmek. Çünkü yayın sonrasında gelen yorumlardan ve mesajlardan ben de birçok şey öğreniyorum. Bunları bir yerde toplamayı ve insanların bu içerikler ve kaynaklar aracılığıyla buluşmasını çok isterim.

Bu yüzden bu blog postunu (ve bundan sonra bu konuda yazacaklarımı) bunun için bir açık sohbet ortamı olarak görebilirsiniz. Yorumları DEHB ile ilgili aklınıza gelen her şeyi paylaşmak için kullanabilirsiniz. Bu sayede hem diğer DEHB’lilere destek olacak kaynakları bir yerde toplamış oluruz hem de ben sizlerden daha fazla şey öğrenebilirim. Eğer siz de bu konuda bir şeyler yapıyor veya üretiyorsanız onu da mutlaka paylaşın. İçiniz rahat olsun, herhangi bir trollüğe veya gereksiz saldırganlığa izin vermeyen katı bir moderasyon uygulayacağım.

Sitemde DEHB ile ilgili tüm içerikleri sağ taraftaki menüde de görebileceğiniz DEHB ile Yaşamak serisi altında topluyor olacağım. Eğer bu sayfayı yayınlandıktan uzun bir süre sonra keşfettiyseniz linke tıklayarak tüm arşivi görebilirsiniz.

Tekrardan gösterdiğiniz ilgi ve güzel yorumlarınız için teşekkürler. Gelen mesajlara ve yorumlara elimden geldiğince cevap yazmaya çalışacağım (burada, YouTube linkinde ve Twitterda) ama yetişemezsem de anlayışla karşılayacağınızı umuyorum. 😊

Blogchains In English Passwords

Passwords: 1

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Passwords

If you ever need an example to explain why we need to be careful about the concepts and words we’re using, postmodernism is the one you’re looking for. Not sure if it’s just because of my academic background or the type of people consciously misusing the term but every time I see someone using postmodernism without even knowing what it really means causes some serious emotional reactions.

There are two sides of this bastardization of postmodernism and blaming everything they deemed wrong to it. Both comes from the similar “not even trying to understand what it means” attitude —and aims for a similar goal— but comes from totally different groups.

First one is quite famous, the new generation of right-wing figures all over the world claiming postmodernism —or cultural marxism, or postmodern neomarxism or critical theory or reified postmodernism…— first corrupted the academy and now they’re corrupting the society. Everything would be much better if postmodernism was gone.

I don’t think I have to go too deep into this side of the argument because it’s already discussed way too much. And there’s nothing useful in any of those people’s arguments —only the good old right finding a new way to blame the left.

Another side is somewhat new and usually comes from more “centrist, liberal” types. This group either focuses on “cancel culture” discourse and blames critical theory for it or comes from post-truth literature, blaming postmodernist academics for causing all of it.

This side, especially the post-truth ones, more problematic because not just they’re practically taking the same side with the above group but doing that while distancing themselves from everything and claiming postmodernist woke culture and radical right-wing groups and openly lying politicians into the same basket. They only do that because they’re willfully ignorant about the concept and the literature behind it and it’s also the easiest way to solve all of their problems. For example:

Yet the authors summarize their analysis of Social Justice scholarship by proclaiming it treats the principle that “objective truth does not exist and knowledge is socially constructed and a product of culture” as “The Truth, tolerates no dissent, and expects everyone to agree or be ‘cancelled.’” For those of us who have carefully read the literature, Pluckrose and Lindsay’s discussion of reified postmodernism in academic philosophy looks much more like incendiary fan fiction than scholarly analysis.

Books and articles like this —which turns postmodernism into a boogeyman they’ve imagined— are popping up more and more. Another example can be Lee McIntyre’s book ”Post-Truth” and its chapter on postmodernism. 

The Chapter goes into great lengths to find proofs to blame post-truth to postmodernism but meanwhile shows how the author doesn’t even understand what Foucault or Derrida actually says or how it actually makes the connection. McIntyre proudly claims that “postmodernism is the father of post-truth” because Mike Cernovic said he studied postmodernist theory in college and there are signs of influence in the works of an intelligent design defender Phillip Johnson. 

The chapter, just like the similar chapter in Ralph Keyes’ book Post-Truth Era, doesn’t really explain what postmodernism is or who those postmodernists are. Most of the time random names put into the category, even Heidegger can be a postmodernist according to McIntyre. They just cherry-pick people and quotes to make sure the evil postmodernism they imagined fits into the narrative. It’s especially sad because the rest of the books criticize people for doing the same thing.

(Just to make it clear, the whole Sokal affair or its copycat version is not even worth spending time here. One is an article sent to a journal without a peer review process and other published in a pay-to-publish scam. If those “burns” shows anything, it’s the academic publishing ecosystem is a trash fire.)

At this point, I think it’s time to explain what postmodernism actually is and how it should be understood. 

If I have to make it simple, postmodern is not an ideology or a philosophical position but a concept to define the current conditions. Basically, postmodernism is dealing with the philosophical problems and issues with the modern era and what it brought. You’re not defending a position but defining and explaining a problem. What this means is basically when “postmodernist philosophers” talk about a condition or make an observation, they’re not taking sides with it but basically saying that “this is something that’s already here, I’m helping you to see it”. 

I think the main cause of the intentional misrepresentation comes from here. Both groups I’ve talked above are fully aware of the fact that these theorists and philosophers making these problems crystal clear and creating holes in their political narratives. Both fascists, conservatives and neoliberals actually benefit from these problems and fully aware that once people start to see it, their stories will fall apart.

This is why they choose to blame people who point out those problems, instead of accepting there are problems. It’s especially easy because ideas and thinkers they return are the ones claiming everything is perfect, or they have the perfect theory to explain everything. If you say that “they’re wrong”, congratulations you just become a postmodernist.

Let’s make it even more clear with an example. Think of someone who lives in a house with worn out and poorly made roof and windows. They watch the weather report in the evening, meteorologist warns about a heavy rain tomorrow. They’re overconfident about themselves and their house, so they don’t think that’s a problem. Next day, rain starts and the house is flooded. But instead of finding the source of the problem and fixing it, they blame the “rainist” for saying that it’s going to rain tomorrow.

This is basically how we should understand the people who blame “postmodernists” for the problems we’re seeing everywhere. They don’t actually understand what those philosophers are saying but only using them to absolve themselves from any responsibility. 

This also means that talking about a position called postmodernism or being a postmodernist doesn’t even make sense. Just like you can’t call a meteorologist a “rainist”, you can’t call a philosopher working on postmodern a postmodernist. It’s a concept to analyze and understand the current conditions we’re in and the problems we face. You can’t be someone siding with a problem, especially if your main goal is to solve that problem.

In English Passwords

Passwords: 0

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Passwords

One of the things I enjoy doing most is think about the terms we’re using. Not sure if that’s because how my brain makes sense of the world around me or something that comes with my philosopher side but thinking and writing about the words, ideas and systems feels like a game to me.

That’s why, time to time, I wrote about the terms that seemed worth writing it down in the blog. But the more I went deeper thinking about the world we’re in and what’s going on, some words or concepts started to appear more and stronger. So I’ve decided to collect my ideas about these, collecting the words in the meantime.

I’ve started this blogchain with 0, because I wanted to talk about the term “passwords” first. The term I’m stealing from Baudrillard. He defines it like this:

Passwords – the expression seems to me to describe quite well a quasi-initiatory way of getting inside things, without, however, drawing up a list. For words are bearers and generators of ideas – perhaps even more than the reverse. As weavers of spells and magic, not only do they transmit those ideas and things, but they themselves metaphorize and metabolize into one another by a kind of spiral evolution. It is in this way that they are ‘passers’ or vehicles of ideas.

Passwords – Jean Baudrillard, p. IX

What I do —or want to do— with the words and concepts in this series (or experiment?) is quite similar to what Baudrillard does in the book Passwords

We think we advance by way of ideas – that is doubtless the fantasy of every theorist, every philosopher – but it is also words themselves which generate or regenerate ideas, which act as ‘shifters’.

Passwords – Jean Baudrillard, p. X

Like he says, words we use to think and generate ideas shapes those ideas and change how it can evolve. This is why we’re seeing more and more examples of discussions based on definitions or how should we define what we’re going through. Because the words we use to define our ideas and experiences plays an important role, most of the time without us noticing it.

The words we’re using, how we’re using and who defines what it can or should mean is an important power. Letting the words defined for us to shape our ideas also means giving up our imagination.

This is especially important today. No one can deny that we’re going through some paradigm shift globally. Whether it’s the jackpot or something more positive, there’s a radical change going on. This change requires new words and concepts to think about it and discuss the meaning of the old ones. 

Because words pass, then; because they pass away, metamorphose, become ‘passers’ or vehicles of ideas along unforeseen channels not calculated in advance, the expression ‘passwords’ seems to me to enable us to reapprehend things, both by crystallizing them and by situating them in an open, panoramic perspective.

Passwords – Jean Baudrillard, p. X

That’s why I feel the need for passwords. Passwords for the weird and deadly interesting times.

Blogchains In English İnternet Notları | Notes From Internet Rethinking the Internet

Rethinking How I Use Internet: 8

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Rethinking the Internet

Goodreads today looks and works much as it did when it was launched. The design is like a teenager’s 2005 Myspace page: cluttered, random and unintuitive. Books fail to appear when searched for, messages fail to send, and users are flooded with updates in their timelines that have nothing to do with the books they want to read or have read. Many now use it purely to track their reading, rather than get recommendations or build a community. “It should be my favourite platform,” one user told me, “but it’s completely useless.”

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books

Goodreads is one of those platforms people really hate but feel like there’s no other option. Especially with Amazon buying it years ago and only adding Kindle integration and not dealing with anything else (such as their major spam account issue and not even being able to report them) it’s turning more and more into a website which is used by Amazon for selling more stuff.

There has been some discussions I’m following about what could be done about it. Tom Critchlow‘s “Library JSON“. Decentralized projects always gets me excited but at the same time I know that it’s practically impossible to turn it into something adoptable by everyone. Mostly because decentralized projects generally think about people who are technically more capable.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to test it when Tom makes a more robust version of Library JSON. I’m sure I will. But right now I have a new possible favorite called TheStoryGraph. There are many things I like about it and it really solves a lot of the personal problems I have with Goodreads.

From there, The StoryGraph recommends books, marked by thematic tags and length and accompanied by well-researched synopses. But beyond the design and descriptive tags, there is one major difference Goodreads users will notice: ratings are almost unnoticeable, deprioritised to the bottom of the page.

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books

TheStoryGraph is definitely more social but not like Facebook or Twitter, which are focused on playing you with their algorithms and not actually caring about what you want from these platforms. They’re actually focused on helping people to find new books.

Of course there are things TheStoryGraph has to be careful about while growing up. Tom’s quote on this summarizes it beautifully:

But Tom Critchlow argues that a “better Goodreads”, with functionality such as The StoryGraph offers, must avoid falling for the “seductive and imaginary ideas about social networks” that doomed a long list of previous competitors, including his own. “So many people dream of disrupting Goodreads,” he says, “[but] focus on the wrong things, myself included.”

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books

So far it seems like they’re not going to fall into it and I hope I’m not wrong.

Right now I moved all my Goodreads data to TheStoryGraph and will be using it actively. You can check my profile and see how it works and looks like, you can do it from here.

Blogchains In English Not Defteri | Notebook Rethinking the Internet

Rethinking How I Use Internet: 7

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Rethinking the Internet

On most of what people call “the internet” I’m somewhere between lurker and behind the locked accounts. I want to draw more solid lines on that but maybe what I need is just going with the flow and seeing where it’s going to take me.

What I’m actually thinking about lately is actually my newsletter. I want to go back writing it and making it one of my regular online presence but I’m not really sure about the shape and the frame I want to put on it.

I already took some steps on the infrastructure side of it (which I have explained why in detail on the draft of the first new issue which still waiting me to finish it for, I don’t know, two weeks?). But I still don’t really know what I want that newsletter to be. Sure, keeping people up to date in a way that’s much readable and accessible than Twitter and maybe adding links to things I enjoyed and want other people to see. But what else? Are these enough to write a newsletter?

Probably one thing that’s blocking me to plan this whole thing is I’m still not sure what I’m going to put in this blog. Because I still don’t have a solid idea for one of them, it feels impossible to shape the other. Where’s the line between the blog and the newsletter? I know many people have this line drawn long time ago but when I was writing the newsletter I wasn’t blogging so I used that format pretty much similar to how I blog. Now I’m making those two my main online places so I have to do the hard work.

This is probably the moment I should plan a format for the newsletter. I still don’t know what it’s going to be but the only way to find out is to experiment. In the meantime, this blog is where I’ll be.

Blogchains In English Not Defteri | Notebook Rethinking the Internet

Rethinking How I Use Internet: 6

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Rethinking the Internet

It’s been a while since I wrote in this blogchain. And during this time, I relapsed quite a bit. Especially after all the events going around the world. But this is a good time (at least for time) to restart this conversation.

The main thing is, for many different reasons, what many people consider as “the internet” (platforms all the way down) are actually becoming more and more harmful. In my case, it feels more and more like an addiction than a way of communication (for personal reasons mostly). And yes, I know, most of us stuck at our homes and we need to connect and communicate and conspire but those places are not fit for that. Especially not today.

Why? Because we’re all angry, the world is on fire and we don’t know what to do. But these platforms only helps us to get more angry, react without thinking and consume every new viral thing every minute (pun intended). This isn’t the way to figure that shit out. We can’t find out how to solve our problems or build better futures there. These places aren’t fit for that purpose. “Doomscrolling” is not going to help us.

That’s why I think this is a good time for me to make some big changes. Because I feel like we need to think deeper, write more and talk longer about what we’re going through and what we want next. This requires new ways to use internet. Or maybe return some of the old ways because those tools were more focused on building a community or can be used more easily to start deep conversations.

I’m also happy that people are trying out new ways to start conversations and find other people to think about all that. We need more of that. We need to take our communication and conversations to old and new places and build new stuff.

Since all of this feels more and more like apocalypse, may as well we can just act like that and build all that cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic ideas and communities now. Returning to Isles of Blogging feels like a much better option than keep relying on Silicon Valley gods and their toys.

In English Not Defteri | Notebook On Traveling

On Traveling: 1

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series On Traveling
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I think a lot about traveling, being able to go somewhere else for any reason and the action itself. There are many reasons behind this.

I think the first one is related to how I grew up. Being almost exclusively in one city for 18 years, while being connected with rest of the world through other means probably put leaving that city and going as many places as possible on top of my priorities. Even so that when I was making plans for university, my main target was going İstanbul, not a specific university.

A lot changed since then. Now I’m traveling a lot and to many different places. Even writing this one in an airport, waiting for a flight. And honestly, sometimes I think about how I ended up in this place. Just some guy who saw lots of stuff on the internet while he was a teenager and decided to do something with that and ended up here. Although I’m not that famous and making tons of money from what I’m doing, it still feels too much for me.

Anyway, that’s one of the reasons why I decided to start a blogchain on traveling and what type of stuff I’m thinking about traveling and/or while I’m traveling. I wanted to write and talk about it, so that maybe I can manage to turn all of those half-baked ideas in my head into something else.

Let’s see what this blogchain will take me.