Obsidian breadcrumbs plugin - creating directionally-linked notes, i.e. Threading Mode

This breadcrumbs plugin and Winston’s (Twitter) use of it are really cool. The link below skips most of the setup and starts at the demo. Basically, creating a connected note involves pressing CTRL+shift+alt then an arrow key to create a connected note up, down, previous, next. There’s also a ‘same’ (same as) choice.
(If you’ve seen TheBrain, you might note conceptual similarities.)

And here is an Obsidian Community Talks about the plugin.



OT, but noting your reference to the navigation in TheBrain. Due to my growing disenchantment with Obsidian, I’m migrating my main vault, used for journals and personal research, back to TheBrain. I’ll keep one other vault in Obsidian for now, but I’m thinking I’ll get rid of the app later this year. TheBrain 13 is looking like it will have a more robust editor. I like it when developers pay their support staff instead of relying on volunteers.


Interesting decision - could you share more?r. TheBrain seems interesting but does not appear to be very scriptable or customizable - yet you find it to be more helpful than Obsidian?

I’ve used TheBrain for 16 years – since v4 I believe. I don’t need a scriptable or customizable app for what I use TheBrain for.** TheBrain has very little friction for my use case, whereas Obsidian seems to be all about friction. I find the graph view in Obsidian to be ridiculous and pointless. I always find when I try to work with Obsidian’s graph that I’m shot off to somewhere I don’t want to be. Whereas the graph (“the plex”) in TheBrain is excellent at showing me the connections I want to know about, and the links panels introduced in recent years in TheBrain are far better than what Obsidian provides. I realize that about 75% of the world’s population are avid Obsidian fans, but I’ve decided to just stick with what I know and get off the train.

**I learned after a decade writing hundreds of fiddly scripts for DEVONthink – just because I could – that automating someone else’s software is a fool’s errand. Almost all the scripts I wrote no longer work because the app moved on and made them all obsolete.


I think I might be leaning this way too, about Obsidian.

TheBrain never really clicked for me, or at least I didn’t “internalize “ it, or whatever you’d call it.

I’m giving Tinderbox a try again. There must be a reason people put up with its idiosyncrasies and UX.

Admittedly, all the above may be solely due to me and/or the challenges of processing information.

No doubt Tinderbox Action Code is extremely powerful - I am continually tempted to put in the time to master it… but then I realize I can only master so many things outside of my core competence in my profession and Javascript, Applescript, and/or Python are so much more generalizable skills to master.


Tinderbox is the ultimate customizable app – customizable by the user without relying on third parties to cobble “plugins”. I use Tinderbox a lot but not for “note taking” – I use it when I have, or am gathering, a corpus of text that might represent concepts, or relations, or any other abstraction, and I want to perform analytical evaluations. Tinderbox is also the most friction-forward app I know of. :steam_locomotive: :exploding_head: It also exists on an island that is surrounded by stormy seas and hard to reach.


It is so reassuring to me when someone with your expertise reinforces what I’ve been thinking about Obsidian lately. I was initially enthralled with Obsidian but have come to the conclusion that it creates a cluttered set of notes, requires a lot of fiddling and is dependent on plugins by people that may or may not keep them functioning. As I said in another post, I’m “back to the future” using rich text apps. That said, I’m not quite sure where I need to put my research. I may just rely on indexed and linked files in DEVONthink.


Sorry, but while I respect your many contributions here and elsewhere, you’re out of line on this, and now I’m all fired up. I’ll post my response here instead of a DM because this statement contains an unfair implication that shouldn’t be sitting around in public without being corrected.

(I recognize that this is tangential to an otherwise delightful conversation about PKM apps and friction—apologies, I hope this doesn’t derail that train of thought too much.)

It would be fine to say “I’d prefer to use an app with a different support model.” Instead, here, you’re insinuating that Obsidian’s devs are somehow dodging the responsibility to pay the community moderators—i.e., me and a handful of other people.

That is simply not true.

1. Obsidian does have paid support staff and direct support channels

If you’re a commercial license holder or a subscriber to one of the paid services—Sync, Publish, and probably more in the future—you can use a support email to reach the paid support staff (yes, they exist) and the developers themselves. There also exists dedicated Discord channels to handle support requests for these services.

2. Obsidian’s community help channels are supported by volunteer moderators

If you’re using the app with a free license (this includes if you’ve donated to development via Obsidian’s Catalyst program), then yes, the support model is community support.

The community moderators—again, there’s only a handful of us—have had many conversations about the model we’re using, and we have repeatedly concluded that it’s better if the moderators remain intrinsically motivated to help.

To state that more simply: we have not asked to be paid, and we do not want to be.1 We are very intentionally “volunteers.”

We are happy to support the community as a hobby, because helping people is nice to do, and the app and knowledge management are topics we are passionate about. If I was being paid to do this, (a) nobody could pay me enough to deal with the shockingly awful way some users treat us when e.g., they haven’t gotten the feature request they wanted, and (b) I would do a worse job—I wouldn’t be answering help questions at 7am and at 10pm.

I hope that clears things up without vitriol. I feel quite angry about the implication levelled above, but I have tried to filter my frustration and engage respectfully here. I am happy to engage further via DM if necessary or helpful.

1: Naturally, this is all dynamic. I can only speak for the conversations I’ve been a part of in the past 1.5 years. The community and the app continue to grow, and so maybe the devs will set up more substantial direct support options for the community in the future.


You @ryanjamurphy make several good points.
And just noting, many people are on this forum as unpaid volunteers, and there is no expectation that Apple et al. should be paying us.
Not having a monetary component can be freeing. I could have made, perhaps, $50k on software I’ve written and maintained since 2003. But in the beginning I made the conscious decision to have it always be free. I didn’t want that monetary dynamic to spoil the freedom.

There is, of course, a need for all kinds of support models, from none to having a person on call for you. The amount of support should be part of one’s decision to choose an application (as @anon41602260 has done), and that is perfectly valid, but does not negate the need for other models.


Hi Ryan,

To be honest, this is the first time I’m hearing about Obsidian’s email support team. :slight_smile: I paid for Obsidian and I’m paying for the sync service, but even though I took another look at the website, I still cannot find a reference where to ask questions outside of the forum and Discord. Maybe I’m just stupid, but maybe it’s just very well hidden in an (understandable) effort to rather have people go the forum first instead of needlessly flooding the support inbox.

Would you mind giving me a hint how I can contact the Obsidian team? I do actually have a question for them that’s related to their sync service, for which I did not get an answer on the forum (probably because it’s quite a specific question on where they store the end-to-end encryption keys).



Sure, support@obsidian.md! Sorry, should’ve included it in the post.

I’ll pass along the feedback that it’s hard to find. I don’t think that’s super intentional!


I expressed my preference for support models. I haven’t attached Murphy or anyone else.

This is where I exit the forum permanently. I will not accept being called out and attacked for having a preference.

Good luck.

Well, that’s lamentable, and now I feel a little bad. :frowning_face:

Do what you need to do!


No doubt, Obsidian is a fantastic tool for some (many?), and I’m happy for the Dynalist team for having produced an app that’s had such runaway success in drawing an audience, but I do wonder how much sticks for long term use. It’s been interesting to observe some of the churn between tools— fervent Roam users switching to Obsidian, some Obsidian users hopping over to Logseq or elsewhere, and so on.

Bearing in mind all the activity that Obsidian, Roam, Obsidian, Logseq and the like have drummed up, it seems crazy when you remember that many of these contemporary PKM apps have only been publicly available since late 2019 (I think that’s when Roam started beta access?)— not a long time at all. Curious to see how they’ll evolve with more real world use in the coming years.

Edit: just saw what unfolded above as I was typing this thought out…

Do what you need to do, of course — but I hope you’ll change your mind and stay. You’re a valued member of this community.

On a re-read, I can see both how you didn’t at all intend what Ryan inferred, and how he inferred it. I hope we won’t lose you over a misunderstanding.


+1 for this sentiment.

@anon41602260 Your leaving would be a big loss to this community. Your contributions here are numerous and valuable. I hope you will stay.


Clearly, this has come off the rails. Locking the thread.