My Collections

Notes can be pinned to collections, just like things can be pinnned to Pinterest boards. Learn more

My Notes

Notes can be anything: brain dumps, concepts, discussion prompts, raw notes, events, ideas, todo lists, etc. Learn more

Welcome to Karma Your Personal Wiki

FAQSo is this, like, a journal? Or a todo list or something?How does this compare to Notion and Roam?How is this different from Wikipedia?Do I have privacy?Who owns my data?Is there advertising?How do you make money?

Karma is personal wiki software.

// Here's an explainer video in case you prefer that format [1]

It's sorta like a second brain. It lets you store your notes and then relate them to one another in a way that feels natural. Its purpose is to turbocharge your creativity, synthesis, and retention as you continue learning new things.

// the problem <- this is an inline comment (feature under construction)

When I read a book, watch a documentary, or even have a chat, I usually walk away with some gems in my hand: insights, ideas, principles, heuristics, mental models, etc. If I don't plug those gems into some kind of latticework, then they'll just float around in isolation for a while before dissipating back into the universe. I'll have to harvest them all over again, and I'll be less wise for it. I need some way to lower the cost of wisdom.

// the solution: perspectives

Charlie Munger is a big fan of solving this problem by thoughtfully modeling your knowledge:

"What is elementary, worldly wisdom? Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience — both vicarious and direct — on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and fail in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head." - Charlie Munger

Ray Dalio has similar ideas. In his [[Principles for Success]], Ray encourages us to continuously harvest and preserve the gems that we find so we can build upon them over time:

"I have found it helpful to think of my life as if it were a game in which each problem I face is a puzzle I need to solve. By solving the puzzle, I get a gem in the form of a principle that helps me avoid the same sort of problem in the future. Collecting these gems continually improves my decision making, so I am able to ascend to higher and higher levels of play in which the game gets harder and the stakes become ever greater." - Ray Dalio, Principles, Life and Work

In [[As a Man Thinketh]], James Allen compares this process to gardening:

"MAN'S mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny." - James Allen, [[As a Man Thinketh]]

These insights along with my own personal experience have made something very clear to me: knowledge management is a powerful skill. And with the right tools, it can be a fun skill to exercise. 

// the solution: tool

Karma wants to be your go-to gem collector. With Karma, your gems can be categorized as one of these:

  • Raw Notes: for book summaries, brain dumps, and other miscellaneous notes.
  • Essays: for more polished synthesis and structured articulation.
  • Concepts: for building blocks that I can reference from other pages.
  • Principles: for the truthy truths I find.
  • People: for the admirable minds I find. I put a lot of my favorite quotes on these pages.
  • Projects: to publicly brainstorm about a project you're working on. [2]

As you create posts, you'll want to organize and connect them. Karma's been built to make "connecting things" as easy as possible by allowing you to organize your knowledge associatively and hierarchically to whatever degree suits your style of thinking.

// hierarchically

You can pin any posts to any number of collections. Collections are to Karma as boards are to Pinterest. Basically, pins let you add individual files to multiple folders. [3]

// associatively

You can also link to any posts from any other posts directly, like this: [[A Page To Test Weavy Things]]. Posts display all other posts that link to them, which makes it very easy to explore and discover. This is called bidirectional linking.

You can also add any number of #hashtags to your post. [4]

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” - Steve Jobs

// social aspect

These features make it easy to weave your webs, but Karma's been built to make this enjoyable by making it collaborative.

Your notes default to public, which means your thinking is open-sourced. Other people (like @nina) can walk through your mind-map and comment on your posts. They can see the evolution of your thought by reviewing the history of individual posts. 

They can even fork your brain [5]: if you like someone's content, you can clone [6] it and then edit it yourself. You can also edit any content with wiki mode [7] enabled - even if it's not yours.

// ethos

This lets me very efficiently habituate a variation of Tiago Forte's CODE heuristic:

  • Collect: You need a place to collect the things that resonate with you - your gems.
  • Organize: You need to be able to structure and organize your gems in a way that makes them discoverable and reviewable.
  • Distill: Since you'll eventually have a massive amount of knowledge to manage, you'll want to progressively summarize your gems into denser and denser gems that you can build upon.
  • Express: Share these gems with the world so that you can improve them - and so that other people can build upon them!
  • Review: Periodic review helps you shake your tree and continuously unlock insights that were previously unavailable.
  • Synthesize: Draw connections between concepts and see what happens.

My self-education workflow now looks like this:

  1. Research whatever resonates and distill the gems into Raw Notes on Karma.
  2. Pin these notes to relevant collections.
  3. Extract Principles and Concepts from the raw material with the intent to relate them to other raw material.
  4. Periodically review these collections to improve my thinking, keep the gems alive, and fuel creative thought.

Regarding periodic review: Karma plays your posts back to you on a Leitner schedule that prompts you to draw new connections [8]. This means you can use Karma to drill things down into your long-term memory [9]. [10]

// pathos

This has helped me materially, psychologically, socially, professionally, within my relationships - pretty much every aspect of my life has improved as a result of systematizing my self-education like this. I feel like it's unlocked a bit of creative potential within me. This is why Karma excites me. It's helped me find some powerful truths about myself and about the world, and I'm optimistic that it can help you find some, too.

More generally, I'm a huge believer that we can and should rapidly improve the world for everyone, and I think improved thinking is where improved society comes from. Maybe technology can help us model the truth in a way that accelerates the emergence of a universal perspective that's good enough for everyone. [11]

Feel free to hop in - but keep in mind that this is in beta, so please forgive bugginess, and don't hesitate to provide feedback. [12]

// see what happens when you hover over that number ^

// these comments are called pseudothoughts and help me scaffold and annotate my content. Any line that starts with // gets formatted like this. [13]


So is this, like, a journal? Or a todo list or something?

It can be either of those! I'd call it a "learning journal" or "personal wiki". It's not built for private journaling or todo lists - it's more built for thinking out loud with the intent to grow alongside others.

How does this compare to Notion and Roam?

Notion offers a hierarchical structure, while Karma offers both hierarchical and associative structures. This means that instead of putting your files in one folder, you can connect your files to as many folders and other files as you'd like. [14]

Roam offers associative structure, but it's private. Karma is built to be public and collaborative.

How is this different from Wikipedia?

Wikipedia tilts towards consensus. Karma tilts towards discovery. It's a way for us to each build our own Wikipedias together.

Do I have privacy?

You can set your posts to private, but their metadata (title, date created, author) is still exposed. If you're looking for more privacy controls, lmk.

FWIW I see the typical usage of Karma as pseudonymous, like forums/Reddit.

Who owns my data?

Technically karma since karma owns the database, but I like the idea of making your data plug-and-playable so you can unplug it from Karma, plug it in somewhere else, modify it, and then bring it back to Karma with some sorta hash or key that lets you back into your slots. Lmk if you want that.

Is there advertising?

Fuck that

How do you make money?

With a different job

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