A Programmer's Perspective

The Bookmark Apocalypse

Published on: 10 February 2021

An epiphany

I have come to realize that I am a bookmark hoarder. I tag and chuck every article that interests me into a Trello board and these articles are left to rot for eternity as they are never opened again.

Hoarding...

Even when I encounter some Quora/StackOverflow post answering my question, I instinctively hit that "Bookmark" button in Chrome and send it into purgatory. It has come to the point where I don't even know if the bookmarks I have created are tagged appropriately or they are just chucked into a random category.

Last weekend, I was looking at some self-hosting open-source projects to dabble with for Open-source Deep Dive when I stumbled upon Shiori and Archivy. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be cool if I could take all of my bookmarks in Chrome and Trello and archive them for future reference?" Naively, I exported my Chrome bookmarks and imported them into Shiori, only to realise that I was archiving the most obscure links ever. And then, I was hit with an epiphany -

"Would I even read these links? Or am I changing outfits for the same problem?"

It really did seem like I was just trying to find fancier ways of putting off reading these articles. Even the creator of Shiori had a similar epiphany. In his issue addressing his departure from the project (here), he stated that one of the reasons why he stopped working on Shiori was because

Since long ago, I've got a habit to bookmark everything that looks interesting, even those that I haven't read. Thanks to this, I have a huge amount of backlog of article that I haven't read. To fix this, now I use a private blog where I wrote interesting things that I've found from other articles. This way, I'm forced to read the article, because if I didn't read it properly, then I can't convey it in written form properly.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Reading that has made me realise that I would benefit more from this kind of reflective reading, rather than the mindless hoarding of these bookmarks. So, what I plan to do is to create a new blog just for these ramblings. Maybe I'll post them to a Notion page as a private catalogue and only siphon those that are really interesting into my recommendations list or I can start a new blog project to manage the contents but that is yet to be confirmed.

On top of that, I would like to become more active in writing this year so ideally, I would like to share my reflections on an article I have read on this main blog every week. Other series like Open-source Deep Dive will still be in motion but those require a lot more research and careful planning so they will be less frequent! I have also started reading a lot more technical books so I will be sharing my findings and learnings on those when I get the chance to!

But for now, I would like to correct my bad habit of bookmark hoarding and begin taking more concrete steps towards becoming a better developer/computer scientist in 2021!


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