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Notion for everyone (notion.so)
1044 points by FireBeyond 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 452 comments





I love using Notion, but I think the general discussion about it does not talk enough about how it's flexibility is also a problem many times.

1. Flexibility of blocks is a cognitive overhead for most folks in my team. They would rather prefer more constrained and opinionated approaches like Trello

2. Notion is currently a jack of all trades and master of none. We have tried to use it as a wiki, project tracker, issue tracker, CRM & spreadsheet. Though it's good to have one tool that can do many things, we quickly reach limits of what is possible automatically and have to spend a lot of time to manually maintain it

3. Convention over configuration creates problems for other team members to follow because conventions are not documented properly.

But I see a lot of potential of it becoming a platform. If they can incentivize 3rd parties to build over their platform and build trust, I think it's gonna be the next big thing. "One platform for all my data" with specialized tools to deal with different kinds of data. I can imagine tools like Tello, Jira, Hubspot, Google spreadsheets & draw.io running over it.


I've tried to use Notion, but my experience mirrors yours:

There's just enough flexibility to slow you down, but not enough flexibility to make it down exactly what I need without jumping through a lot of hoops.

My favorite productivity tools blend into the background. I can get down to doing the work without mental overhead of managing the tool. Notion, on the other hand, feels like I'm spending half of my energy fighting with Notion, and only half of my energy doing the work I'm trying to accomplish.


> There's just enough flexibility to slow you down, but not enough flexibility to make it down exactly what I need without jumping through a lot of hoops.

This reads as if you except Notion to give you meaningful work to do, a workflow you can follow? Or do you just don't know how to implement the workflows you envision yourself?


I’ve had a similar experience with Notion. “Jack of all trades and master of none” resonates strongly with me.

This lead me to my latest startup https://froosthq.com/ which is Notion inspired and aimed solely at software teams.


Funnily enough originaly the saying was "A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one." Seems like it got pretty skewed over time.


And also what allowed civilisation to exist.

I really like the jetbrains solution to this problem. https://www.jetbrains.com/space/

Does this product "exist" yet or is it vaporware we're putting our email addresses in for? Page seems very light on info or even pricing.

The product exists indeed and it’s very stable. Been out there for years.

Froost or Notion? Froost's homepage says "subscribe for early access".

Yeah. I googled Froost out of curiosity and I was spot on, the project barely has anything but a landing page and a post on Indie Hackers about said landing page launching a few days ago.

I would rephrase "all in one tool" to more specific like "project management tool". All in one for software teams makes me think that you also offer things like version control etc. All-in-one is a very loaded phrase. Just my 2 cents.

Hey, just noticed a small mistake, or it was just unclear from my side. Looks like the "pricing" link links to "learn" in the url, while there being nothing about pricing in the page itself.

Imo github is eventually going to subsume all of this activity. People don’t want to go to more than one place.

If Microsoft could have subsumed "all of this activity", it would have by now. This all goes in cycles and there's always room for disruption.

I think Microsoft is taking leaps and bounds to make up for the errors of yore. I wouldn't underestimate them at this point.

Love the landing page. Can I ask what tools/frameworks you used or just straight up tailwind and desgin skills?

Straight up Tailwind

thanks.. the SVG squares are a nice touch

That looks pretty nice. I've put my email in your signup as this is something that I've built half of about 5 times now.

What are the five apps called?

Not OP, but if they were only half built (and presumably therefore not released), what use is knowing the working titles?

Tailwindui! Did you use it for the app aswell? Would love to see what the app UI looks like for this

Yes sir. Everything is Tailwind.

wanted to add my email but the console reports "mailchimp ajax submit error: error"

Thanks for letting me know, will take a look now. If you want to drop me an email “josh@ the website above” then I’ll add you to the list.

Looks great, signed up!

Notion recently published "How Notion Uses Notion" [0] which I found insightful in terms of how Notion's flexibility is put to work internally.

It's interesting seeing where teams hit the limits of the tool & wish for (or move to) something else though. I wonder if "The Notion Way" will emerge at some point, which would be useful for quickly qualifying yourself in or out.

[0] https://www.notion.so/How-Notion-Uses-Notion-616f41d2f5124f3...


This is great, thanks for sharing

Also, the whole Emoji's thing is distracting to me. I just want to see plain text in simple san-serif fonts, with borders (which are apparently outdated in favor of massive emptiness of negative space).

Visual cognitive load is ok as far as the brain can process blocks of information. Such as a table with borders. When you have emojis, colors, effects, etc without clarity of separation, you get something that becomes tiring after a little while to look at.


That's funny. One time while converting a prototype to less of a prototype, I created like 40 PRs in 40 working days. There were so many in-flight at one time that I couldn't really use normal issue trackers. Instead I created one GitHub issue with a table of items. Each item had an emoji in the first column that indicated its current status. The gear was 'in-progress', 'eyes' review, 'ship' deploying, and green check for done. I didn't know how many lines there would be, I started out with about 6 and it worked exceedingly well. If anyone ever asked me what I was working on or where I was with it, I just sent them the one issue link and they had the whole history and the near future listed.

I called it Emoji-Driven-Development.


lmao this sounds insane. I fully admit and recognize - I like reading tax forms :-|. The more old school, the better. Give me docs set in Times New Roman, all this frivolous stuff is giving me a headache. Now...where is my walnut cane and financial times set in orange paper?

Please link me the github issue so I can make use of a bottle of kerosene I've got left from 1940's gas lamp.


That's funny, because to me, the emoji seem like a nice visual differentiator and borders seem hideous.

Borders are timeless, they've been around before the internet and to be around forever. Literally a line in the whitespace that allows your eye balls to know that hey! that's block A and that's block B and there is a fricking line in the middle!

+1 on that, I have an unreal disinterest in emojis in all forms.

I've found Notion really worthwhile, but the fact it's so flexible means you need to go in with a plan so that you can really take advantage of it.

I really like how Marie Poulin's sets up her Notion process, here's a good example of how to make contextual dashboards - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX2AJD4kx80 but there's a bunch more, just massive productivity boosts from not having to jump between so many different apps/services.


> how it's flexibility is also a problem many times.

Flexibility is always a challenge, but in case of Notion IMHO the bigger challange is getting over it's aweful userexperience and interface. And flexibility is not always a problem. Excel proofs that flexibel solution can succeed with the laymen.

> 1. Flexibility of blocks is a cognitive overhead for most folks in my team. They would rather prefer more constrained and opinionated approaches like Trello

Is this not solved with their Template-Library? Those deliver a guided opinionated experience. Though it's not as constrained and powerful as a specialized app like Trello.

> 2. Notion is currently a jack of all trades and master of none.

It's a canvas-tool. You get a set of brushs and pencils and it's up on you to paint what you need. This has naturally advantage for some and disadvantages for some others.

> 3. Convention over configuration creates problems for other team members to follow because conventions are not documented properly

Is Notion a team-tool? Do they advertise it as such?

> But I see a lot of potential of it becoming a platform. If they can incentivize 3rd parties to build over their platform and build trust, I think it's gonna be the next big thing. "One platform for all my data" with specialized tools to deal with different kinds of data.

There are far better soltions around for this. I doubt this is a sane endgoal for notion.


Yup, Notion and OneNote occupy similar scenarios for me. It's where I can gather my compiled thoughts and notes, but I've had trouble implementing any team processes on it due to it not being constrained enough in its UI.

I don't think there's any easy answer here. I respect the Notion team a lot for making a tool that is so flexible, but it's also a curse in some key scenarios.


Onenote is so close as a perfect system for me but what it leaves out really hurts. -No task Hierarchy -No alerts for due dates (Yes you can add outlook tasks but its flakey) -No automatic reporting

No page sharing Not standard markup of the notes (not possible to export)

Yeah. I see that it works great for some scenarios, like when I and my co-founder are collaborating. But if I try to teach it to a sales guy, I can see he just hates it :(

Perhaps a wiki or internal QA site would be a good solution.

Good points. It seems you might enjoy Fibery[1], it addresses most of these problems (and has internal whiteboard as draw.io replacement as well). But I’m biased as a Fibery founder.

[1] https://fibery.io


This is amazing. I really am sold on your self-depreciating humor.

https://fibery.io/anxiety


It's customary to mention any involvement when suggesting a product

Thanks for advice, I’ll improve!

That button "I don't get it..." at the bottom right is genius.

your site looks amazing and the I don't get it button is really great.

But... even after looking at all the four separate landing pages I have no idea what exactly fibery could do for me


Same. I wish everything wasn't so zoomed in so I didn't have to read heaps of large headers and scroll for ages to figure out what exactly it does.

We'll re-do the product page with the Fibery 2.0 release somewhere in July. Thanks for the feedback!

BTW, Here is the detailed review Fibery vs. Notion (longread) [1].

[1] https://medium.com/fibery/fibery-vs-notion-66019dd91846


This looks amazing. Just reading over the docs before I dive in.

I am really surprised no one has mentioned https://zenkit.com/. Kanban - Wiki - Calendar - List - Mindmap - Hierarchy etc. It does those things very well.

Probably because it seems to be less known than Notion. IIRC it's a bit more expensive and more constrainend than notion, more targeted at teams than single users.

I really liked it first impression UI lets see how it goes. Thanks for the share.

Is data removable, do you use?

I use it for personal purpose. By data removable, I guess you mean right to be forgotten. Their https://zenkit.com/en/gdpr/ page provides the details.

I feel like Dropbox Paper strikes a great balance. If you drop certain links in a Paper doc, like a Figma or Google Docs Spreadsheet, it will show either an iframe or screenshot read-only representation of the current content with a link to it.

My only beef with Dropbox Paper is their iOS apps are buggy as hell and have been for a few years. I really wish they’d invest more in their native apps.


+1 for Dropbox Paper. I am weirdly addicted to it for all my internal documentation and writeups. When you get used to (and expect) the guardrails, it's so fast to quick create a doc with multi-media.

My only pain point is the damn file system


Agreed. It seems especially weird that, after moving files into a folder, they still appear in the main list.

That, and the fact that new files are world-readable by default. (With unguessable URLs, but still...)


Ran into the same issue. Loved the design and the demos I saw so I signed up.

What I really wanted was just a simple flexible to-do list, something that I missed from Basecamp v1 and was willing to try somewhere else.

But the flexibility made it a nightmare. Because what I wanted was very simple, the friction that I encountered, though probably not huge, felt much larger, because I felt, why can't this be easier? I just want a simple to do list, and I was messing with headings and all of this non-essential stuff that I didn't need.

I'm sure in a business setting it could be different, especially if someone goes through the trouble of setting things up so you have some sort of system of consistency that you work inside of, but as a first time user the flexibility was a bit of hinderance.


I can totally relate to this. I often feel that with all these "simplistic" products coming out they actually oversimplify it to the point where it actually takes longer to do. It is great to have the flexibility and all, but where do we draw the line from being too flexible or too simplified? Like you, I ran into the same issues with Notion, so I switched to Trello, but it has some lack of features that I really wanted. I've been searching the web to find team chats that particularly don't require too much integration, and is simple. Especially with task management. I've been seeing a lot of mentions about AirSend on twitter, and I checked out their website. They have a really simple to-do list that is built-in. My team and I just started using it last week, and so far I don't have too many complaints. Not sure if you are looking for a switch, but you might like them. I hope this helps! Their website is, AirSend.io

Can't agree more. I was using Notion from the very beta start and loved it. Then couples of months in I strated noticing that the more Notion added features the more I was spending more time "perfecting" my workspace than doing actual work.

Stopped using it and went back to old good Google Sheets, Apple Notes. Very constrained and just the right amount of "flexibility" to make it work for you workflow. No emojis encouragements.


long time notion user here. I was using notion for my personal life and it was serving the purpose but when I started using it as a project management tool for my dev team I realised how crippled it is (no dependent tasks, gantt view etc). maybe I'm wrong and notion is not built for this but then again why would i use it just for wiki? recently started looking for task management+wiki tool.. reviewed more than 10+ tools and finally picked an extremely powerful but a less known tool clickup.com

I’m starting to be quite sad about all these nice things that I’ll never get to use in my huge enterprise :/

ClickUp is totally badass, and their feature velocity is breathtaking.

Same here. I was so overwhelmed with the million ways I could accomplish my relatively simple needs that I just gave up on it. Also everything basically bringing up a modal for a new page annoyed me. Maybe it's just my personality type but I like there just being a canonical way of doing something and then doing it, rather than spending a fair chunk of time customising and configuring the tool to do what I want.

Regarding your first point, totally agree 100%.

I want to use notion, it's such a nice UI/UX. Problem is, it's just too complicated.

Trello is basic, but gets the job done.


This was exactly our issue. Not good at any one thing and the interface is very touch. A single mis-click and you can mess things up which reminds me Asana.

What all these platforms really need is solid APIs and interoperability so we can use the right tool while keeping everything in one place (ideally email or slack).


I really need a better index of all my notes, right now it's just too overwhelming without a better way of organizing everything, especially since it automatically collapses all my workspace trees when I close the app. Really gets in the way of using it beyond a handful of pages.

“One platform for all my data with specialized tools to deal with different kinds of data. I can imagine tools like Tello, Jira, Hubspot, Google spreadsheets & draw.io running over it.”

-> https://qatalog.com


that is really neat! but what apps can I connect to it? It says 9 providers but can’t see what they are

I miss Trello: add task, edit, save.

Can anyone explain to me why Trello is so popular? I'm serious; I honestly don't get it.

If I want to track tasks, I just make a Google Spreadsheet with a row for each task. This scales up easily to a hundred tasks or so, and it's straightforward to filter on a column to focus on particular categories or statuses. In Trello, I can see maybe 30 cards max before my screen space is all used up, and I spend so much time hunting around for cards. If a card has moved, I have to just read linearly through all the cards to find the one I'm looking for. I could use the search box, but that only pops up the detail window for the card; it doesn't show me where the card is in context.

Trello is like a task spreadsheet where you can only see a small amount of information at once, it's really hard to find tasks, you can't add custom columns, you can't colour-code things the way you want, you can't add tabs, you can't add formulas to do simple things like addition, you can't see previous versions, and on and on.

So why would you use Trello when you could use a Google Spreadsheet and get things done twice as fast? Does the whole product exist only because people like the cute little animation of picking up the tilty little cards and dragging them to other columns?


> Can anyone explain to me why Trello is so popular? I'm serious; I honestly don't get it.

It's sleek, powerful, constrained and optimized for it's single purpose, while still remain flexibel enough to give space. Also scales up nice for multiple users, from 2+, teams, 2+ departments and even whole companies or even more. And it also works on most platforms effortless.

> If I want to track tasks, I just make a Google Spreadsheet with a row for each task.

That reads horrible. How do you manage richtext with Spreadsheet? Links? Pictures? How do you collaborate with others? How does this get automated and integrate with other systems? How do you get a sane overview of the state of your tasks and projects? Sure, more or less all possible, but not on the level of quality you get from a specialized and over a long time optimized solution. And you need to invest the time to build this all first.

> So why would you use Trello when you could use a Google Spreadsheet and get things done twice as fast?

More like ten times slower.


How do you find cards? That's what really gets in the way for me.

How do you manage hundreds of cards? Dragging each card one at a time takes forever. If you want to make a change to a bunch of cards, do you open each card, edit it, close it, open the next card, etc. -- doesn't that take ages? Isn't it frustrating not being able to just drag 20 rows of a spreadsheet at once, or paste/format 20 cells at once?

> How do you get a sane overview of the state of your tasks and projects?

How do you get an overview when you can't see anything? In Trello I feel like I'm blind -- all the cards are scrolling off the bottom of the screen and the columns are off to the right. Instead of a single line of text maybe 20 pixels high, every card is a stack of labels, dates, a few lines of text, little icons and profile avatars. The minimal card is 100 or more pixels high, which means that only about 5 to 8 cards will fit vertically with all the other detritus packed into the UI.

How about an objective metric: in a given column of your Trello board, what fraction of the column can you see at once? Like what percentage of the vertical scrollbar track is the draggable part? For me it's about 5 to 10%.


I like Trello A LOT have like 30 different boards with probably thousands of cards.

Why Trello over Sheets?

I use Trello as basically a really extensible digital kanban board.

It also makes easier to associate tasks with each other add extra context (for instance if I'm keeping track of some long form context associated with a task where would you put that in sheets? A note? Can you search those? Once it gets really long a Google doc? I guess).

Also can add custom fields. I used this to allow me to add weights to cards so they automatically rearrange in priority order.

I even have boards that serve as a personal knowledge base.

I feel like Trello gives you really great free reign to discover a process for things and have it evolve over time.

Could you accomplish that with sheets? Probably but not as elegantly and definitely not with a UI


You are right that a spreadsheet gets more information on the screen, but Trello's kanban layout really highlights which task is "where" (in what state).

I've often used it with clients to let them know which high-level features are in progress, which are done, etc. It has also worked really well for collaborative trip planning. Both of these workflows benefit from cards with cover images too.

It's not a replacement for a company-wide knowledge base or an issue tracker for hundreds of tickets.


All the stuff you mentioned is not important when you’re collaborating on a project with others. Addition? Version control? Lol. Whatever.

Just because you don’t understand why people use Trello does not mean everyone’s a frivolous idiot.

What do you guys do for a living? Not a joke question.


GitHub more or less offers this in the Projects board feature:

https://help.github.com/en/github/managing-your-work-on-gith...


Folks who have used both Trello and gh Projects, how does Projects compare?

gh Projects

Pro:

- Integrated with GitHub issues

Con:

- Can not move card to other board

- No import/export

- No themes

- No change background image

- Only basic automation of moving cards to Done list etc

Trello

Pro:

- Can move card/list to other boards

- Export to JSON

- GitHub Power-Up for GitHub integration

- Butler for automating, in English

- Themes

- Change background image

- API

Con:

- Only SaaS, can not self-host, not Open Source

- No Swimlanes

- Export to CSV needs paid account

- No Import from JSON/CSV on free version web UI

Wekan https://wekan.github.io

Pro:

- Open Source, can self-host on x64, RasPi3/4 etc

- Import from Trello JSON cards/lists/checlists/attachments/labels/votes

- Import CSV, currently importing custom fields in progress of being added

- Import from Wekan JSON including attachments

- Export CSV, currently exporting custom fields in progress of being added

- Export Wekan JSON including attachments

- IFTTT Rules wizard has translations, but less rules than similar Trello Butler

- Swimlanes

- Themes

- Gogs integration https://github.com/wekan/wekan-gogs

- API, Outgoing Webhooks per board, Global Webhooks at admin panel of (nearly) all board actions

Con:

- Not integrated with GitHub yet

- No move list to other board yet

- No change background image yet


Less clunky in my opinion if you use it for software development because you can link it to issues / PRs and automate based on that

Trello… still exists?

Only on HN can people question the existence of an app which has 50M users. Trello might not be this month's flavor but I'll be damned if it's not one of the most useful planning tools out there.

I think tommoor is aware that Trello still exists, I read it as them questioning parent comment's phrasing "miss Trello"

I don't know how Trello has 50M users, and how so many people and companies can use it for project management. For anything more than a single board, I find it terribly lacking in functionality. Can't even see all your cards across boards without scrolling 50 times.

Using Trello well requires you to ruthlessly process cards. Once they start to "overflow" it becomes a nightmare

Lots of folks would argue that's a feature that exposes a problem in the conceptualization and modeling of a domain.

Well then they’re something wrong with you and your understanding of what people want in software. Can you link an app that you’ve made that people actually use?

> Only on HN can people question the existence of an app which has 50M users

1. GP isn't doing this. You misunderstood. 2. Even if they were(they weren't), how would this be something exclusive to HN?


It will soon be dead as Atlassian have started to kill it. For example, it now quite often now does browser page refresh when I open a card to add a comment. WTF ATLASSIAN!

Sounds like the curse of Emacs.

The curse of emacs is "Jack of all trades and master of ones that don't attract new users"

I am a 10yr+ Emacs user, this hit too close to home than I would like! I am seeing a lot of momentum in Emacs ecosystem for last couple of years and Spacemacs rocks! So hopefully it's gonna get better :)

Spacemacs is still alive? I tried it some years ago and it had several problem at the time. Does not seems have solved them yet.

Certainly is, though slowly but surely you zero in on the "best configuration" for yourself. Whereas when I was using vscode, onenote, google keep, and a bunch of other shit to manage everything, I had "topped out" at productivity.

I'm trash at vim (I use evil-mode), org mode, and org-agenda, but I'm still lightyears ahead of where I was 2 years ago before I used these tools.


> I had "topped out" at productivity.

Did you topped out the tool or your personal ability?

> but I'm still lightyears ahead of where I was 2 years ago before I used these tools.

But is this because of the tools, the gain of new experiences or the 2 years difference?

And how do you know whether you are really moved forward, and not just run in circles appearing busy without being more productive? Do you have some objective metric for this?


> Did you topped out the tool or your personal ability

Both, I'd say.

> Do you have some objective metric for this?

Well my happiness, for one. My sense of accomplishment. How much more I can fit in a day. But no, I don't KPI myself.


I just started using orgmode to compliment notion. So far it feels to me as Notion is a bit like emacs / orgmode without API, and orgmode is a bit like notion without collaboration.


> orgmode is a bit like notion without collaboration

Emacs has a number of collaborative editing solutions: https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/CollaborativeEditing

The nice thing about org-mode is that it automatically gets all the cool stuff that emacs has. (Although, I have never tried any of the solutions listed in that wiki page and I suspect even the "working" ones have issues).


A meaningful and working integration with Airtable will help both products leap forward. Each is good at what they do.

Notion is great, I used to want to build my knowledge base in it, but figured it's not future-proof enough for my needs.

And that's part of the reason we went on to build Obsidian (https://obsidian.md/), the local-first knowledge base app. Everything is in plain text Markdown.

Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/zof4zCj.png

Just released 0.6.0 and here's a video for anyone interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAkJMHg-dGw

The private beta community has built cool stuff already: https://github.com/kmaasrud/awesome-obsidian

In private beta right now, looking to launch soon.


I like the idea of Notion, but one of things keeping me is that it seems like it'd be a pain to export one's data if Notion ever went out of business.

But just keeping folders of Markdown notes is also inflexible, but on the opposite side of the scale.

Obsidian looks like a great balance! I've requested beta access as well.

Edit: Obsidian seems to make it easy to create a Zettelkasten, sort of like https://github.com/alefore/weblog/blob/master/zettelkasten.m... but with automation baked in.


Notion has HTML as well as CSV+Md. I export once a month and it appears to work ok.

I switched from OneNote to Notion a while a go, one major reason being the possibility to easily export notes in Markdown format. I think it's working pretty well, or am I overlooking something?

Notion's export used to dump it all in one opaque blob of files with no structure aside from some CSV files that roughly described where things went. Maybe they haven't used it since Notion changed it to use folders.

Sounds like org-mode or vim-wiki would be up your alley. This appears to be quite similar but with a modern interface and probably better prebaked configs.

I've been using Obsidian. It's obviously still a work in progress, but it's pretty good already. The killer feature for me is that I don't need to put my data in someone else's cloud. Hoping for basic outlining features. That would make it a superapp.

I've been using Obsidian since 0.4.x and I absolutely love it. You can see the love and passion from the developers and I really want to see what it transforms into. Thanks for your commitment.

Nifty!

I just placed in a beta request.

A business partner and I heavily prefer to utilize markdown for note taking (we generally use Typora) but this poses problems when we are trying to colaborate on a document together.

Does Obsidian support real time collaborative editing?


Thanks for the interest!

Not yet, currently most of our users bring their own sync (Dropbox etc.), so if you edit the same document in real time that might create conflict copies.

We're working on a sync service with end-to-end encryption (for convenience, completely optional), and we might improve it to support real-time collaboration in the future.


Will there also be an option for client-side encryption without using your sync service?

We might provide a plugin in the future to achieve this.

Right now I think the closet thing is to use set up an encrypted folder with a third party app to use with Obsidian.


I just tried the beta. Beautifully done @erica

I signed up for the private beta, it looks really cool! Looking forward to it.

Writing my things in markdown is something I always wanted to do but found sorta difficult to manage in day to day scenarios. Obsidian got me crazy excited, just placed an request for beta access!

Hey, I signed up for the beta a few days ago. Can you tell me how long should I wait before I can try it??

We should have cleared everyone from a few days ago, could you check your spam folder?

This looks exactly like what I've been looking for for ages. Does it support MathJax of some sort?

Yep! Block math is already supported and inline math is coming very soon.

That's perfect. I've applied for the waitlist. Looking forward to trying it.

Other than being local-first, how is this different than roam?

Obsidian uses Markdown, and is not an outliner.

This is kinda weird, because I was happily giving them $4/month after running out of space in their trial plan, and now I absolutely have no reason to keep giving them money.

Which, sure, I guess I'll take it. My $4/month isn't going to make or break their business and they probably barely give a shit about getting money for personal usage. Does remind me that my usage of their app doesn't align with their business model, which makes it feel rather... tenuous? Like at any time they might say "actually we're going to only support paid enterprise usage now" or "oh we're shutting down because companies just used Confluence and Airtable instead" (I have yet to sell any employer on using Notion because it's too unstructured for them to grok the benefits of :\).


Github just did the same thing! It’s because the math works like this: They’d need 1,000 people to pay them $4 to match a single enterprise company paying them $4k/mo. So they just need one of those 1,000 people to bring Notion into their company, and they’re ahead. If they get 10, they’re way ahead. (This is slightly simplified, of course)

Don't overlook the importance of the economy. It's tough to get individual customers to pay $4/month for a service like this in a good economy. (They were already giving it away to academics, which will never be a lucrative market.) I wouldn't want to be selling Notion to individuals in an economy like this.

This is exactly what I did. Free student user. When I started working at a new company, and they wanted to modernise internal knowledge tools, I recommended Notion. Fingers crossed it gets traction.

I never thought about it in this way, very interesting and super logical actually.

This is exactly how freemium in b2b SaaS works. The free plan is a marketing tool to drive awareness and adoption.

More than that, because account management and dealing with billing problems is not free.

The impressive thing here is that it's (sadly) pretty rare for a company to actively cease a revenue stream and think of the longer term benefits.

GitHub and Notion are two recently examples, but for every one I see in the market, I can point to at least 10 that failed to take the obvious action.


In Github's case I feel like it helps that they have Microsoft backing them up. MS is much more used to this model, I imagine they make a ton more off enterprise licensing then they do off individually sold ones.

Exactly. After reading this Notion going free news.. My initial reaction is "the Github way". In any case, thank you for explaining math behind.

I too was happily paying for my personal plan.

Recently they have been hiring aggressively and expanding their templates for specific use cases. Coming from a cynical HN perspective, this looks like another promising startup falling into the vicious cycle of using VC money to fund hyper growth.

However their founder Ivan Zhao has been outspoken about not taking more VC money than necessary, and creating sustainable growth. So for now I'm approaching this news with cautious optimism.


I share your cynicism on this. Good chance this is a play to drastically boost numbers to court a big company for an exit. Not a bad idea if that keeps the product alive since it seems to be very loved in the world of productivity apps.

Also, I find it interesting that they're working on an API. A lot of organizing products lack integrations and this might open to door to sync items between Office, GSuite, fitness applications and other services for life management.


Knowing their aversion to VC in their history, I had the opposite reaction — this feels like a play to boost raw user count in order to attract an investor.

Notion just raised $50M. I don't think they need to boost anything to attract anybody.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/technology/notion-startup...


Are there any open source Notion alternatives? This is the main benefit of open source software, in my mind: no one can "take" it from you because it doesn't belong to "them" in the same way that a product does.

Joplin or Bookstack are probably the closest. Joplin is closer to Evernote.

https://joplinapp.org/

https://www.bookstackapp.com/


Yeah I don't think Joplin has collaboration features. I also found the UI to be extremely bad on iOS.

BookStack doesn't have any client apps — it's basically a PHP app like WordPress that you can self-host, but the collaboration feature set is pretty good. It's a wiki that feels a bit like Notion.


Outline could be an alternative if your main usecase was internal team documentation. I understand that Notion can be used for a lot of other things too…

It is BSL licensed, the only restriction is that you cannot run a hosted version for other organizations to use (aka compete with the only way the project maintains itself).

https://www.getoutline.com/


I cannot use outline unless I have Slack or a Google account?!

That's correct.

I use Tiddlywiki. The good part is that, once you familiarize yourself with the internals, you can customize it any way you like.

https://tiddlywiki.com/


I'm a happy user of QOwnNotes and Markor with a shared dir with a sync tool of your choice. Indeed, committing my data to a closed (source) silo is what prevents me from using tools like this (Notion does look very neat).


No. There are tools doing similar stuff of some aspects of Notion. But the main benefit of Notion is the interface and collection of ability. And there is nothing like that at the moment. But the question is what you really want. Maybe you are just care for some specific aspect, not the whole tool?

emacs + orgmode

It's a wiki. MediaWiki has a lot of dynamic features now.

it's product as marketing: make happy individual users, in the target market, and you're likely to tell others, hopefully workmates or others like you. if you can get a workgroup using the product and happy with it, it's worth quite a bit more with their per-user subscription model for groups.

it can work well for productivity apps, slack, for example.


By keeping SSO out of personal use, they can be assured that most businesses will have to pay as thus they can more easily give this part of their service away.

Another example of the SSO Tax: https://robchahin.github.io/sso-wall-of-shame/


Got about the same feeling, but then I noticed that this free personal plan allows only 5mb of file uploads as opposed to the unlimited uploads in the paid plan, which is one of my use cases – I store quite a lot of files there as a personal software archive, and then I felt relieved.

The 5mb is a per file size. You can still upload unlimited files as long as they're less than 5mb.

they might have ruined it for people paying for Notion Personal

>> What if I had multiple members in my free workspace? No worries, you don’t have to remove anyone! Nothing is different for you until you hit 1,000 blocks of content. At that point, if you want to add more, you can:

Upgrade to our Team Plan. Start a new workspace for just yourself and use it for free, indefinitely. Remove members, and enjoy no content limits on your own. Note: Make sure members in your workspace have their private pages backed up before you remove them!


Don't feel bad, they just got a major cash infusion from a VC firm. Looks like they figured those $4 a month individual users won't move their need much long term?

The flip side is that Evernote had a human-aligned business model and as a result never made enough money to compete with Microsoft OneNote.

Yeah, you might still have a reason though, if you upgrade to Personal Pro which gives you 30 days of version history

I assume this is on the frontpage because of the Microsoft announcements.

no they just anounced this today

Timing of the announcement isn't a coincidence though I'd guess.

I mentioned this before. Notion is great, but the fact that they use fullstory (session recording) for a note taking app is a huge problem for me. We’re talking about potentially sensitive data being available to notion and perhaps fullstory employees for the sake of improving UX. I especially dislike the fact that they don’t disclose session recording upfront. I found out by inspecting their app webpage.

Sure there’s a way to opt out of fullstory in general, but that’s not very reliable.

I should mention that we use fullstory for our saas product and quite happy with it. However, our implementation makes it possible to opt out upfront during registration and or change your session recording settings from within our app. We don’t rely on fullstory or bs workarounds, we simply don’t load fullstory when you opt out.


Hi Yabood, we actually don't use Fullstory anymore due to privacy concerns. We removed it 6-9 months ago from all platforms. If you're still seeing this somewhere please let me know so we can address it.

Does Notion have access to the content of my notes if they're compelled to produce them?

Do employees have access to the content of my notes?


Notion employees are only allowed to access your workspace data with your written consent. We are also only allowed to do this in order to facilitate an improved user experience for you (e.g. debug problems you have asked support about, etc).

We are working on updating our T&C and Privacy Policy to make this more clear, but it is rigorously practiced internally already.

We do not yet have end-to-end encryption, or other encryption functionality that would make it technically impossible to access your data. We would love to do this at some point but it will be difficult because our permission model is quite complex!


> Notion employees are only allowed to access your workspace data with your written consent. We are also only allowed to do this in order to facilitate an improved user experience for you (e.g. debug problems you have asked support about, etc).

Do you have technical controls in place to prevent this access, or is it more of a policy?


Thanks for the reply, Jamie, much appreciated.

I would definitely pay for an E2E encrypted Notion.


Thanks for raising the concern! We'd love to have that too at some point.

Ditto. Also I'm a big Notion fan but there is no way certain stuff I work on can be on it, or I can recommend it to many people doing sensitive things. Which is a pity. Notions security is its biggest flaw. Also the lack of proper two factor in the modern age is silly.

I'm curious. Why the need for E2E?

I tend to use these platforms to organize my personal life and thoughts. Sharing that information in any way with a for-profit company is a non-starter for me. "Trust us, we care about your privacy" isn't good enough for me.

I would recommend looking at Standard Notes. It's paid only but it's so worth it.

Yes they do. Read the T&C.

Was hoping for an answer from someone at Notion rather than "read a 50 page legal document", but thanks.

Good thing that you got exactly what you wanted.

:)

The one thing that bothers me about Notion (and Slack and other "everything in one place" tools), is the lack of encryption. I might have FAANGophobia, but whenever there is a free tier without a form of end-to-end encryption in place, it feels like a data puddle waiting to become a lake.

That being said, having clear-text data would allow features like an API on publicly shared pages/blocks, to use Notion as a CMS. I have seen some attempts [1] at reverse-engineering their internal API, but an official one on a paid plan could be a nice addition.

[1] https://github.com/splitbee/notion-api-worker


this is the only thing that stops me from using Notion, too. just downloaded it and it looks like it would change my life... except i don't own the data.

right now i'm trying out Outline [1] which has an option for self hosting.

[1] https://github.com/outline/outline


Thanks for the mention!

Outline also has an RPC-style API for the entire project btw, the documentation needs a little work but it's there: https://getoutline.com/developers


I just checked outline out and went to try the hosted version, but looks like they don't let me sign up with my own email. I generate emails for each service I use, and am much too lazy to generate a Slack account just to use it to sign into this. I suppose I could spin up an instance and self-host, but don't want to dedicate 30 mins to just setting this up to test it out.

I just checked out Outline. It seems strange that the landing page example is lifted straight from Stripe's docs[1] with "Stripe" replaced by "Acme".

[1] https://stripe.com/docs/webhooks#what-are-webhooks


I can tell you that a large majority of in-production API docs use Stripe's docs as a template. I did it for my company, and I've seen a ton of other API services do it. Stripe leads in API docs, so it's easier to not reinvent the wheel and just do what works. I know this instance isn't even for a production product, but meh.

Good spot! I guess that was a little cheeky in hindsight…

who cares?

Would really appreciate your thoughts on this, if you have any initial feedback.

We're considering the self-hosted option too - that's the big draw.


i've only been using it for a little bit, but here goes:

* unlike Notion, it's one workspace per instance. makes sense, but worth noting as using workspaces as for organisational purposes won't work so well here.

* for personal instances, Slack doesn't make all that much sense. i see a PR for LDAP support on GitHub, so i will play around with that

* supports embeds just like Notion - paste the link and it just works. supports codepen, figma, gsuite, youtube and others. this was the feature that made me take notice of notion, so it's good to see it here.

* even better, the embed API seems pretty easily extensible, so the sky's the limit here. i can't wait to make some sweet dashboards based on entirely self-hosted data!

* no mobile app is a bit of a bummer, but the PWA experience works pretty well. considering i'll be authoring predominantly on desktop and only reading on iPhone, this isn't so much of a big deal for my use case

* no auto-save :(

* you can share a read-only, fully public link of any page you want. pretty damn cool.

all in all i'm pretty impressed. it seems pretty robust! i mean, it's definitely not as full-fat as Notion, but perhaps that's a good thing - and OSS means it's easily extensible for whatever you need to use it for. who knows which way my opinion will change after some more extensive use, but this definitely shows promise.


There is no easy way to implement client side encryption. You will have a private key or long password the you will keep safe. You lose that all your data in gone. Plus it's difficult to securely move that password to a new platform

Your data being inaccessible without a private key or password is the entire point.

People rightfully get skittish when there's no "forgot password" mechanism to get their account and data back.

I certainly agree that that's the point, but such a system needs some potential usability affordances. For instance, a key stored in the browser rather than a password the user has to remember, and ideally a key synced between multiple devices controlled by the user so that the loss or failure of one device does not mean loss of the account.

For example, imagine having the browser generate an asymmetric key for the user, and making sure browsers store such keys (encrypted) in Firefox Sync or equivalent, so that the keys are safe even if the user moves to a new device or an existing device fails or gets lost.


I wrote some ideas on how to implement a password reset for end-to-end encrypted apps, reviews and comments are welcome:

https://francoisbest.com/posts/2020/password-reset-for-e2ee-...


Keeping an unencrypted local mirror on your own device(s) would solve that problem, as well as potentially the "my data is stuck on their servers" problem. On devices with space for it, I mean, so maybe laptop but not phone by default.

How do you even sync the key between multiple devices? If you send the private key to the server that undoes any protection from the encryption

You derive a master key from a password, and use that to encrypt other keys, or a more complex key chain if needed. You then only sync encrypted keys with the server.

Firefox Sync has a model that doesn't trust the server.

Exactly. I cannot understand how this can’t be the user’s choice.

Search is a problem. Index is available to a saas provider.

1Password figured it out, and even wrote a paper about it. So it's a solvable problem. They even figured out a good model for helping recover lost passwords when my family members forget it.

https://1password.com/files/1Password-White-Paper.pdf

Don't work for Agile Bits, but have used 1P for a long time and couldn't live without it.


Much more critical (imo) software such as Backblaze offers full encryption, it’s the user choice and responsibility. That’s what privacy is also about.

We can't compare how storage service implements E2E encryption for multi-functional note service.

Maybe it's not easy to have client side encryption, but it seems CryptPad has it:

https://cryptpad.fr

https://github.com/xwiki-labs/cryptpad


The idea is not to move the password, or any derived key, but the clear-text data. GDPR and other laws enforce that you give customers the right to access their data (in clear text), if possible in an interoperable form. Notion does so in CSV and Markdown, which is good enough to transfer to another service.

We've been working on Portabella (https://portabella.io) for the last four weeks in an effort to bring end-to-end encryption to everyday tasks. Currently we support basic kanban boards and lists. Like other comments have highlighted there is no reason for data not to be encrypted in this day and age.

Currently everything happens client side, however we believe homomorphic encryption is at a level of sophistication that should support most users and their needs.


Standard Notes is end-to-end encrypted: https://standardnotes.org

Made me puke when Evernote introduced the "Context" feature, a disgusting data grab. It's a much worse option than just searching for whatever I want by myself, with the added anti-feature of losing all privacy to Evernote staff (and whomever hacks/has already hacked them).

My guess is that all these apps are salivating over the data to be able to train their NLP models which they can sell to an acquirer. I can't wait for Obsidian or some other app to reach feature parity (including wide, stable platform support). Would happily pay $$$ per year for it.


Hi there. I'm a co-founder of Emvi [1] and we have an API on our paid plan (free as we are in beta right now) that you can use as a headless CMS. Our blog is an example of it. We have (incomplete) client libraries on GitHub [2].

[1] https://emvi.com/

[2] https://github.com/emvi


I'm assuming you are talking about end-to-end encryption, which in case of tools like Slack doesn't really make sense because it's the company that owns and has total control of the data, not you the end user. What happens when they need to hand over records for discovery, for example?

Please elaborate what you mean by discovery ?

It's a legal term - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_(law). Most countries/industries have some kind of regulation around data storage and retention for exactly this purpose.

The entire point of end-to-end encryption is to prevent this from being automated and abused by either the legal system or the company. Requiring a warrant to access the secret key on the user device reduces the risk of mass surveillance. Metadata (access logs) remain in clear text and can still be used to help authorities identify nefarious activity.

I’m not sure what it is, but I feel like HN seems to pick apart everything that’s posted in a negative light. Honestly I discovered Notion a few years back and used it for a while, but stopped using it when I couldn’t sync it with my teams project management software. Fast forward a few years and my SO and I were at a restaurant sitting next to a guy who’s one of the early engineers in the company, and that sparked my interest again. Since then, I’ve been using Notion to replace Google Docs and Trello, and it’s been fantastic

Yeah this is part of what makes HN what it is. I'm not sure it could be any other way if its a community comprised of people building product for a living, who see the world as a mutable, and whose products tend to mostly be rehashes of prior products (not throwing shade, most products are just new takes on the same couple dozen ideas from 30 years ago).

Most negative comments aren't mean-spirited, but they can verge on nitpicky. The worst type of comments are not those talking about product shortcomings, but are ones that veer way off topic into a commenter's pet point and kind of tank the whole discussion. Similarly, if everyone's just praising a product its not particularly constructive or helpful, except to know the product is going in the right direction. Good critique is super valuable.


I think it's universal that any time there's a comments section on a website with at the very least a sort "air of intellectualism" (independent of whether the users are smart) the comments are generally going to be critical.

This isn't necessarily because people who think they're smart are melancholic. I think it's because praise ultimately sounds the same in the end. Because it sounds the same, it doesn't sound smart, it doesn't get upvoted, you're better off just not posting it.

On the other hand, you can sound smart and original with criticism if you word it right.

Hence why I take the critical comments with a grain of salt and pay attention to the fact that the original HN post is on the front page with 256 points at the time of this writing. A lot of people clearly really like Notion.


Not my experience of HN, it highlights both the positive and negatives. There is a lot of critical feedback, often from people who have built successful products, and it can be really useful for those trying to start/grow their product. For some people, Notion will hit a sweet spot, for others, it won't. I did an evaluation of it, and found it had a bunch of shortcomings for our development team and I sent my feedback to them.

Thanks. I'm going to give it a try. I currently use Trello to track my personal stuff. How does Notion compare?

I personally like the UX more, and it’s just a smoother experience for me than trello. Also what’s cool is we’ve divided up the Kanban boards so they’re separated by team, but they merge into a master board so we can see how everyone is doing at a glance. I also use it for tech designs writing documentation so, I need more than trello by default

I think Notion is a superset of Trello and because of that it's not as good at being a task tracker as Trello is, but it does so much more than task tracking that the benefits most likely outweigh any drawbacks.

I'd recommend watching their office hours video for building things from scratch to see how powerful it is for personal use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1I3Hic0urY


Note-taking is very similar to blogging. Many people lose so much time while searching for the best app instead of taking notes. If you want to develop a proper note-taking habit, just start writing into somewhere. md files, evernote, notion, etc. after a while, you will know your needs and you will be able to pick one of them easily. I have been using https://www.zoho.com/notebook/ for a while and I am happy with it. Since my needs are extremely simple: bullets, tags, groups, mobile app, macOS apps.

Notion is great. My one complaint is the fact that there's no "family plan". I currently have a free workspace that I share with my spouse, but we're about to hit the 1000 block limit. Notion CS's recommendation was for me to use a personal plan and invite them to each page we want to share, or to create a top-level page that all of the shared pages are nested under and invite them to the top-level page alone, but this is very annoying. But I don't want to pay $16/mo just for 2 members who don't need advanced team features.

(Notion here) We agree! The new personal plan enables you to have unlimited pages & blocks and share with up to 5 guests for free. https://www.notion.so/pricing

Guests have to be invited to individual pages though, right? So this means I still need to either invite my spouse to every single shared page (which is problematic if my spouse wants to create a new top-level shared page in my workspace), or nest all the shared stuff under a single top-level page which is annoying (and hurts navigation on mobile).

so does that mean the person you've shared it with can have access to the full workspace? I honestly don't mind paying $8/month for 2 but it seems that the only way we can both be admin immediately bring this cost to the team plan at $16/mo for two....

Same problem here, I ended up creating different workspaces altogether as I can't justify paying $16/mo for 2.

all workspaces now appear as "Team plan trial" but still the same limitations as before which is fine with me. all the workspaces are named with our initials at the beginning to make sure we don't get confused with personal ones...

ie : "AB - Home | AB - Finances | AB - Life" etc.


This is my exact experience. I wanted to share a page I put together for our garden, so we could both edit it. Notion wanted 16/mo for us. While that pricing makes sense for a company, it doesn't make sense for a household.

They just changed this, pretty great.

Same situation with my wife. :/

+1 in exact same situation

I've tried so many note/todo/productivity apps throughout the years and I always find myself coming back to one simple solution:

- keep your daily todo stuff on a sheet of paper in front of you, transfer the stuff from yesterday onto a fresh sheet before starting to work

- keep project specific tasks close to the project. If the project is physical stick a note onto it, if it is git managed code open a issue or add a todo inline, or add a todo.md in the project folder. Only put a vague line on your daily todo sheet: "work on project x" all the detailed stuff should be in the project

- if you have calls, meetings etc, just add them to your calendar with a reminder, no need to have them on the todo list


Same here. No productivity app will win me back the time I have spent looking for them.

I build a very stripped down to-do list sametable.app as a counterforce to all the all-i n-one platforms.

I'm sad that so many of the top comments here are Notion skeptical. I have loved Notion from the very beginning and used it as a personal repository for a long time.

More recently, we used Notion - where 'we' = a group of professional volunteers; professional in that everyone had skills to contribute and volunteer in that no one is being paid for those contributions - to create a Citizen-to-Citizen long term support platform for those impacted adversely by the COVID19 epidemic. In India in case you're wondering.

The challenges are many:

1. Make it clear that we see ourselves not as a charity but as a citizen to citizen support network - today it could be that person, but tomorrow it could be you. We have to design around the dignity of the recipient and the donor.

2. We need to identify potential beneficiaries whose needs are verifiable. Which means involving organizations that work with migrant laborers at scale (to take a key demographic) and can verify and on-board those potential beneficiaries.

3. We need to pull together the back-end and front-end technology to make donations without intermediaries, i.e., there's no middleman receiving and storing the money - it's a direct transfer from one individuals account to another individual's account. No administrative fees and with any luck we could even see if the credit card fees can be waived.

4. Compelling and easy to grasp design that inspires trust in potential donors and even more importantly, builds solidarity between the donor and the recipient. We are all in this together, aren't we?

5. A communications strategy that brings in donors and creates a democratic narrative around donations.

Each one of these needs several individuals and sometimes several organizations to collaborate and agree upon a course of action. Notion helped us do that layer by layer, with the top level principles leading naturally to more technical decisions and an easy way to share content with non-technical but nevertheless insightful leaders in organizations that are providing essential services.

We first tried doing it with a combination of Google docs, Github repositories and other pieces of chewing gum and string, but once we shifted to Notion we never looked back. So much so that the next project this group is attempting is Notion native.


Hey i am originally from india and what you said resonated with me especially related to the issues faced by migrants. Any way I can contribute to your project?

Thanks.


Thank you for your generous offer of help. We don't need additional support at this time but I will keep you in mind if new needs come up. Thanks once again.

This changes a lot for me. I like Notion's interface, as well as the functionality included. It feels like a desktop app, which Google Docs simply can't compete with (they're also Google products, do with that what you will). The "blocks" limit always felt arbitrary on Free, so I never really got into it, but now that I can use this like I would normally use a note-taking app, I can see it being very valuable.

edit: apparently there's also a free upgrade to Personal Pro for EDU users, I wonder if that's been around for a while.


free for edu users since Sep 2019.

Accredited college or university only (e.g. no elementary or high schools). Also currently no discount for team plans.

If you ask, they'll give you access if you have a HS email... at least thats what I did sometime last year.

I know it's a niche need but any note-taking app I use needs to support Latex and code highlighting. Unfortunately, once I throw this criteria in just about every app gets excluded, but at least VSC + sync is still very nice.


Supernotes[1] has been called "a smaller, faster notion" and supports LaTeX (both inline and block, notion only does block) and code highlighting.

Disclaimer: I built it.

1: https://supernotes.app


... You have a cookie pop-up that says, "Can we use cookies?" but the only option is a "Yes" button. If you're not giving people a choice, why even pretend?

Tracking scripts / cookies are only loaded if you click "Yes", otherwise they are not loaded at all.

But if you don't tap "yes" there is no way to dismiss it. Not a fan of this behaviour, and won't be looking any further.

This is top-tier HN material right here folks.

If you use dark patterns on your front page, why would I ever trust your app?

How do you see this as a "dark pattern"? I see it as more of a reasonable compromise. If you visit my site, I think it's reasonable for me to understand how you're using it. If you don't want to participate in that, you are given a choice. That choice is between being tracked and having a mildly distracting banner at the bottom of a landing page. This doesn't seem like a betrayal of trust in any way. The implicit trust here is that you will not be tracked unless you agree to be tracked. This is in fact the case.

Of course, on the one hand we do want you to opt in to tracking. This is a marketing site, after all. If you're actually interested in the product, tracking helps us understand who is interested and why, which in turn allows us to improve the product and reach more potential users. If you're not interested in the product, you don't need to click yes and there is no problem – because presumably you won't be spending very much time on the landing page for a product you're not interested in.

I think a landing page like this one is slightly different from, say, a big cookie banner on a news website, as the intent is not really for you to be spending a lot of time reading content on this site.


It's a UX dark pattern because (besides deleting the html element) there's no way to dismiss a call to action, you can only ignore it.

Just because it's annoying doesn't mean it's a dark pattern in the typical sense of the word. Here's darkpatterns.org's definition:

> Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something.

And here is the one used by the verge [0]:

> A dark pattern is a user interface carefully crafted to trick users into doing things they might not otherwise do, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills

Here there's no trickery and no chance that a user would unintentionally agree to cookies when they didn't mean to. It's just a little annoying thing that bugs you until you do what they want. It's not unethical, but if you don't like it you shouldn't use their site.

[0]: https://www.theverge.com/2013/8/29/4640308/dark-patterns-ins...


> Just because it's annoying doesn't mean it's a dark pattern in the typical sense of the word.

I'm happy to include multiple forms of coercion; the pattern here is the ratchet: https://jacquesmattheij.com/dark-patterns-the-ratchet/

> It's just a little annoying thing that bugs you until you do what they want.

That's a nice summary of a class of dark patterns, yes.

> It's not unethical, but if you don't like it you shouldn't use their site.

It absolutely is unethical, and yes as I said above I will consider this a good reason to avoid the app.


What exactly is your definition of ethical? Because a little box at the bottom of a webpage that just sits there does not really cross the unethical line for me.

For me, this is only a dark pattern if the cookie banner makes the site unusable (as many sites do) until you click "Yes". Ours clearly does not.

Regardless, the initial accusation was:

> If you're not giving people a choice, why even pretend?

Which is clearly not true. There is a very real choice – we are not pretending. Your choice matters.


So why not allow disabling of the box?

Because we do actually want you to click "yes", so that we can understand how you're using the site. Annoying? Absolutely. Unethical? I don't think so.

However, since a lot of people are not a fan of our banner, we've decided to add an explicit "no" option. I still disagree that our original implementation is a "dark pattern", as we very explicitly[1] will not sell your data, and tracking for the sake of improving the product seems like a square deal to me. But I understand that people are finding it annoying, so it's been changed. Sorry about that.

[1] https://supernotes.app/terms/


I trust people on HN to have the ethical relationship you envision, where someone uses your service, steps into a place you pay for, and can be generally expected to advance their own interests in a land of push and pull.

But for kids, older adults, and recent immigrants I feel this is borderline confusing (the right way to say no is to ignore?) and manipulative, and I would prefer more margin from the border.

The difficult conversation is to what degree do we expect rational agency from different kinds of folks, how do we think about formal or business relations with them, etc, but I don’t think the answer is “you shouldn’t let older moms or kids into the web”.


I don't have a horse in this discussion but...

> There is a very real choice

I don't see a 'No' button... I love the app, really, but that isn't nice. Also a GDPR violation for those in the EU.


> It's just a little annoying thing that bugs you until you do what they want.

Ah, cool then.


Not having a clear way to deny personalised tracking is also in violation of the EU Cookie Directive.

From looking at the currency used though, it seems that you don't need to concern yourself with EU stuff soon =)


As far as the EU Cookie Directive is concerned, I don't think this is correct. The directive stipulates that you cannot use non-vital cookies until the user explicitly consents. This consent must be freely given, i.e. it must not be a requirement to use the site. Since our banner is mildly annoying but doesn't prevent use of the site, I think this complies. As a side note, I'm not sure you can be in "violation" of the ePrivacy directive, as it is a directive, not a regulation (unlike GDPR). This will change when the ePrivacy Regulation[1] comes into play. I might be wrong here though, IANAL.

However, since a lot of people are not a fan of our banner, we've decided to add an explicit "no" option. I still disagree that our original implementation is a "dark pattern", as we very explicitly[2] will not sell your data, and tracking for the sake of improving the product seems like a square deal to me. But I can understand how people would find it annoying, so it's been changed. Sorry about that.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPrivacy_Regulation_(European_... [2] https://supernotes.app/terms/


Notion thankfully does support LaTeX, but only in equation mode (e.g. `\[...\]`, not `\(...\)`).

Just type `/math` in a Notion document to bring it up.


Joplin[0] supports code highlighting and TeX math. I assume you just need TeX for equations, not for the whole document. It's also open source, and works with several different sync back-ends. I've been using it for some time and am very happy with it so far.

0 - https://joplinapp.org/


Sounds like a good use case for Orgmode.

Notion supports both. Unfortunately not inline latex equations.

Hi Notion founder here. Better and inline LaTex support is coming very soon (weeks) :-)

I'm excited for this. Thanks so much!

One more suggestion for you – dropbox paper (https://paper.dropbox.com/) has latex support + syntax highlighting. It's quite simple but it works well as a google docs replacement. As others have mentioned Notion is also fantastic.

Nothing has beaten having a local Hugo server running (with a theme that has Katex and syntax highlighting). Note taking can be like blogging to yourself, and the flat markdown means it's easy to edit and search. I don't have the time to learn orgmode, which I'm sure is better.

So this isn't a structured notes app like Notion, but InkDrop has support for Latex and code highlighting. It's not free, but it's the only notes app I've ever been willing to pay for aside from Bear.

Notion supports Katex if formulas and other related stuff is all you care about.

https://katex.org/


Take a look at Emvi: https://emvi.com/ We have Latex on our roadmap for formulas.

Try Quiver!

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