Tool For Public Knowledge Web?

To create a trusted source in the form of a public knowledge web that is easily accessible, what platform would you use? While the content needs to be viewable by the general public, the content is edited by a small team (4-6).

In doing initial research on this, the tools that surface include Obsidian, Roam Research, TheBrain, Notion.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Anyone creating a similar resource right now?


What kinds of knowledge and what kinds of people?

The last one is the biggest question. I suspect some folks won’t tolerate e.g., markdown (Obsidian) or complicated controls/syntaxes (Roam). Others might be frustrated by managing tables inside tables (Notion).

(I haven’t used The Brain so I can’t pick out what might be arbitrarily annoying to some people about it.)

It will be hard to please everyone, and in my experience full buy-in is important for this kind of thing to work.

I have tried to sketch out a theory to help people think about these tools. The NOTE framework might help you think about your needs for this environment:


I would look into a hosted MediaWiki service (of which there are many). MediaWiki is the software underlying Wikimedia, and so the shared authoring box is definitely ticked, as is the public aspect because most likely any of your public readers will be familiar with how Wikimedia works. You can change the theme, logos, navigation, etc., to whatever suits the purpose of the knowledge web. Unlike the other, newer apps you mention – all of which are fine products – MediaWiki has demonstrated its long-term durability.


Great questions. From a simple familiarity perspective, a front-end that looks like Wikipedia is probably the most familiar kind of knowledge base. I haven’t worked with Obsidian publish, so wasn’t sure if the public-facing view of this is like Wikipedia.

I will read your article.

Great idea. I hadn’t thought about this. You are correct–this will check the familiarity box.

Notion can do the job, but I find search in public pages not that good. Besides that I find moving data from Notion to another platform quite cumbersome. Notion offers an export function, but especially with images it’s far from perfect.

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I’ve set up reference sites using Wikimedia before. It really is smooth and familiar to people. Like Wordpress, it can feel clunky at times; but even if you’re publishing for a relatively small group of people, that familiarity of feel and functionality is a huge benefit for uptake.


I would definitely never use TheBrain for a public-facing knowledge web – though it is capable of the work, it would probably confuse people. Here’s an example – do you want to put this sort of interface in front of the general public? Same question for this example of Obsidian Publish.


Yes, you are correct. Both are unfamiliar and would be confusing to average users.

I’m familiar with both TheBrain and Obsidian - and still managed to get lost on those sites!

+1 for WikiMedia - it’s very familiar and easy to use.

Just a thought, but if Wikimedia is too heavy for you, you might take a look at Tiddlywiki.

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I had done an extensive research for hosting this for internal team wiki for my previous employer. Media wiki, Twiki, DocuWiki and also a paid one HCL Connections

There is a good collection of wiki software here for reference. wikis.

Finally we went with a mix of three. Don’t ask me why as it was not my decision. IBM Publisher, TWiki and DocuWiki.

HCL Connections was the best though expensive.
TWiki needed lots of configuration overhead. But once set up is very robust.
DocuWiki just okay. But not so great. But for a cheap solution it’s good.


I second a hosted MediaWIki service. Turn off the parts you don’t need/want. Make it simple. You can always turn on features later, once users are comfortable. Create an in-house style guide first. What should the Wiki f be used for, what should be the tone and structure of articles, who should edit, and give them a cheat cheat for Markdown, etc.