New Year's Wish List - for basic work processes

Here’s a list of desired features and fixes, in order of importance…

(1) Better communication between MN support / developers and users! This is ongoing problem that really needs significant improvement: many of us have exchanged forum post with MN staff , and communicated with them directly, but often feel that we’ve received slow responses (sometimes no responses at all). Moreover, many of our most pressing requests seem to be deferred, and we’re often told that requests will happen sometime down the line – but we rarely know if / when that might actually occur;

(2) Reduced PDF size. Currently, the export file sizes are too large to archive, and that’s a major problem with MN. In fact, I’ve had to hold off on using MN until there’s a solution, because I just can’t save and store PDFs with bloated file sizes into my database;

(3) MarginNote users need some way to archive our PDF files after we’re done annotating them – i.e., offline, and not connected to the iCloud / MarginNote file & notebook management structure while still be able to use MarginNote-created URLs. As part of that, as @JournoProf put it, “[MN] users have been begging for the ability to archive our annotated PDF files offline (again, while still be able to use MarginNote-created URLs so that clicking them refers right back to that section of annotated text).”

In other words, and as we’ve discussed exhaustively in this post, users want MarginNote’s links to work for internal text for document files (i.e., URL schemes that connect to internal MN-created notes). In other words, enable users to use the MN3-created URL links in other apps (e.g., DEVONthink) – beyond expensive 3rd party apps! (e.g., Mac’s native PDF app, Preview) – so that when we click on MN3-created URL links they’re not opening MarginNote again and, by extension, opening that file online via the iCloud.

(4) Fix MN folders & categories. Basically, we’d like to simple folder / organizational taxonomy in which we’re able to group files by subject AND prioritize them. Also, while I understand the reasons for why you’ve divided two categories: Study and Documents, many users annotate their documents in Study mode – so we don’t really feel there’s a practical need for separating these categories. In fact, it seems like it leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion when we’re just trying to import documents into MN, and then store and organized them into MN folders & categories.

(5) Overall Hashtag set up, referring to the taxonomy - organization approach that I outlined here. I think I’ve detailed it enough over here! Part of the problem is that MN just retains hashtags that are used across all Documents and Study notebooks, and so can quickly build up and become unwieldy if you’re using them for multiple projects – which then results in a massive, disorganized mess!

(6) Create some kind of Find / Replace function. Also, provide an option to change Smart/Straight quotes. These things are just to help us clean up the text – esp. when the OCR is poor (in MN or another app).

(7) Enable user to just export notes with select hashtags. This would be hugely helpful.

(8) Redo your user manual! I appreciate some of the online tutorials, but there’s no substitute for a proper written manual.

Thanks.

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I fully agree with this wish list, and would tack on a few more requests and suggestions (e.g., improved searching functions). Maybe I’ll add to this wish list in another post.

However, I would but “Fix MN folders & categories” at the top of this list. To me, that’s the most urgent priority – followed by reducing the bloated PDF size, and then the ability to click on the annotated PDF files offline (i.e., when they’ve been removed from the cloud).

Like @jprint, I simple want to import files into the Study folder; I do not understand what purpose the Documents folder/tab serves.

And just as @jprint suggested, I want to be able to easily create folders based on topics, and then subfolder based on priority. Ideally, it would be great if @marginnote3 could create an interchangeable system that would looks something like this…

Apples [subject folder]
1-URGENT
2-HIGH
3-MEDIUM
4-ANNOTATED

Bananas [subject folder]
1-URGENT
2-HIGH
3-MEDIUM
4-ANNOTATED

Oranges [subject folder]
1-URGENT
2-HIGH
3-MEDIUM
4-ANNOTATED

and then, a secondary filing system that would look like this

1-URGENT READING
-Apples [subject folder]
-Bananas [subject folder]
-Oranges [subject folder]

2-HIGH READING
-Apples [subject folder]
-Bananas [subject folder]
-Oranges [subject folder]

3-MEDIUM READING
-Apples [subject folder]
-Bananas [subject folder]
-Oranges [subject folder]

4-ANNOTATED FILES
-Apples [subject folder]
-Bananas [subject folder]
-Oranges [subject folder]

Is anyone from @marginnote3 / @Support-Team paying attention to this thread? I have to say, @jprint’s first point regarding “Better communication between MN support / developers and users!” seems very well taken, given the way that no one has responded to this thoughtful list – and that we’ve been pleading with @marginnote3 to implement some of these changes and feature for years !

Hello

这个第一点有点直击我灵魂,看着不知道咋回了

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-QSD
Support Team

Hello

Hello, thank you for your reply~

(1) A few weeks ago most of our community management team members were preparing for the exam, so the response was a little delayed, these circumstances will be improved in the near future ~

(2) The export of PDF is too large is always important to us, but mn is not PDF editing software, so there is no direct export with markup function, in the next mn5 version will consider adding a new rendering way to export it ~

(3) This problem is not yet a good solution, you need to temporarily export MarginNote notebooks as md documents and the like can be. If the marginNote notebook saved offline is not possible

(4) Because MarginNote currently uses the virtual folder form, but after the mn5 support more open folder import form can be achieved in the form of physical files

(5) Tags will be adjusted in the big version, your previous suggestions we have also received will be considered collectively ~

(6) This can try to use ohmymn, this plug-in has a find and replace function ~

(7) At the moment, you can filter and copy out this brain map, and then reorganize it in the focus mode before exporting this part of the notebook.

(8) We are in the translation of the Chinese version of the user's quick guide manual it ~ expected to be released next month.

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-Relight
Support Team

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Thanks for your reply. I’m answering each of your responses, in turn, below…

That’s fine. But the general problem of poor communication between MarginNote users and MarginNote staff has been a real issue for quite some time. I know users who’ve literally quit the app because of it. I’m hoping you’ll heed this, and become more responsive to your users’ needs and requests.

We’re on MN3 right now. Does that suggest that we’ll have to wait for two versions before you’ll be able to produce PPDF exports with smaller size?

If I understand you correctly (which might not be the case), you’re acknowledging the problem – but saying that MarginNote does not intend to solve it by providing an offline solution. Is that correct? That would be a real shame, and might even be a dealbreaker for me. If I can’t store PDF files of a reasonable and can’t access them and use MN3-created links offline, then MarginNote is effectively cancelling the utility of using the app for me. And that would be a real shame.

Same answer to my reply for (2)… We’re on MN3 right now. Does that suggest that we’ll have to wait for two versions before you’ll be able to produce a better folder system for MarginNote?

Ok, thanks. But when? When can users expect to see “the big version”?

Can you please explain this more for us? Thanks.

I think I’ll let my responses there for now…

Thanks.

Hello

Hello, at present, for the stability of MarginNote3, large-scale changes are generally not carried out, these new features will involve the software underlying data management and optimization, which will cause more unknowable hidden problems, new features need to go through multiple versions of rapid iterative update testing before you can.

For ohmymn, you can take a look at this document:

https://busiyi.notion.site/MagicAction-c4fb456af9a7407683c5cd615481f04c#dc4f76d1e5fa45aa90e653df7155c28f

https://busiyi.notion.site/busiyi/ohmymn-wiki-74ac16d09d17420391b8ffb0dd8cab01

https://github.com/mnaddon/ohmymn

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-Relight
Support Team

You didn’t answer any of the questions I raised, and I’d appreciate it if you would do so – for me and the @marginnote community. It’s only fair. We’v paid for the software and services you’ve provided, and asked for very basic improvements over many years.

I’ve submitted the same requests over four years ago after all.

I appreciate you sending me the links, but two of them are in Chinese and one of them has a broken link.

I agree with you. Frankly, this is such a depressing response by @marginnote / @Support-Team that it makes me reconsider if I should even use the app anymore.

You, @jprint, provided a thoughtful, detailed list of suggestions that we all need (badly) and, as you said, you’ve sent this to them years ago. You’ve followed up about each of these requests diligently – frankly far more than I would’ve done. And yet, they haven’t provided direct answers to any of what you wrote.

It’s beyond disappointing. Like I said, this last exchange has forced me to reconsider whether I should use the app. Suffice it to say, I can’t recommend it to colleagues and fellow users until they make some major changes. But I’m not exactly brimming with confidence that will happen – especially since @Support-Team’s last reply. Please do better, guys.

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Hello

We are developing the next generation of MarginNote, and these issues will be tried to be solved in the next generation of MarginNote with the underlying data logic changes

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-Relight
Support Team

You still haven’t responded directly to the questions we’ve raised; you’re just saying, basically, “We’re working on these things and we’ll try to do some of them in the next generations of MarginNote, though we’re not providing a sense of what we’re planning to do that relates to your requests and when users can expect to see them.”

Is there someone at @marginnote who can speak more clearly and directly about what you intend to do and when users can expect to see the features we’ve been asking for? This does not seem like an unreasonable request at all, especially since we’ve been begging for them to be done – for years.

Hello


Hello, it is still in the development stage, and the specific time node and the specific function implementation form cannot be guaranteed

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-Relight
Support Team

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Your response just reinforced every problem we’ve had about the kind of communication coming out of @Support-Team these days. It’s incredibly frustrating.

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I understand both of what @TinderTest is saying, and Support-Team’s response. I wasn’t trying to start an argument; we just need to solve these essential problems so that we can effectively work on @marginnote. It just hasn’t been working properly – for years.

On the one hand, @Support-Team is basically saying, “we acknowledge that users want these features…we’re working on them but can’t commit to a precise timeframe since it takes a while to develop these things.” That’ a fair point, and I get it. Many of us are sympathetic.

But…

As many of us have said, MarginNote users have been pleading with @marginnote for these key features – for about half a decade! That’s not an exaggeration, either. Our feature requests are perfectly reasonable for basic work processes. Namely:

  • We need to have a better way of importing and organizing our files for annotation (i.e., organizational folder improvement, as I described). MN’s folder system has been unmanageable for years.

  • We cannot properly use MarginNote if the PDF export files are too large. Because MarginNote-created PDF’s are so bloated, we haven’t been able to archive our own files for years.

  • We need MarginNote-created PDF’s to work offline (that is, be able to use MarginNote-created URLs offline). If we can only use MarginNote-created PDF’s (like the URLs) online, it limits how many files we can work on – because we have to limit how many files we annotate on MN, given the limited space on our cloud accounts. And this limitation has impeded our work with MarginNote for years.

  • We can’t use the MarginNote’s hashtag system if every hashtag carries over all Documents and Study notebooks. The hashtags build up over time, and so it’s impossible to navigate through all of them. And so, we’ve had to limit how much work we’re doing with MN’s hashtags for years.

I hope @Support-Team and your colleagues at @marginnote3 can better understand your users’ needs and concern, and can make changes, accordingly. Thanks.

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You articulated my thoughts much better than I could’ve done so. Thank you. Now let’s see what happens!

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Yup. Wondering what @marginnote3 / @marginnote / @Support-Team will say – and (more importantly) what they’ll actually do. And when…

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Hello. Here’s the manual:

https://manual.marginnote.cn/en/

Hi Jprint,

Before the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year, we thought we would publish an annual summary to explore the roadmap.

MN5 is under continuous development, and many of the issues you mentioned that could not be solved in the underlying architecture of MN3 have actually been solved in the internal version of MN5, so if you are interested you can follow the beta testing program and our subsequent release of related inquiries.

Best Regards,
Lanco
MarginNote

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While it’s nice to see the manual, you realize that you sent us selections that are in Chinese…?

Obviously, that doesn’t help those of us who are English speaking users.

Also, I’ll add that the English manual also needs some serious editing. It’s just incomprehensible in many sections, and so it adds more confusions.

I’m really not trying to be a jerk; honestly, we’re grateful that you’re putting together a proper manual for us, but we need it to be accessible in English. Thank you.

Hello


Hello, it is indeed English ~ and you can switch languages

https://manual.marginnote.cn/en/

Kind Regards,
MarginNote-Relight
Support Team

Yes, we know!

But look at all of the text in your slide examples!!! Everything is in Chinese, so it doesn’t help us at all!

Again, I’m not trying to be difficult, but you need to understand that those kinds of examples are simply not useful.