What do you think about Notion?

Recently, I have to take some notes for my exams. I could have use apple notes or any other service but they don’t provide same features as notion or the nice interface that makes it easy to read them later. Also as I can access these notes on any of my device, this makes it easier to access them on the go or to make any additions, not to mention their export to PDF feature is just awesome.

However I have seen very mixed views in privacy world about Notion. Since I only need to store that study notes maybe I’m not too worried about using it.

But still I want to know what do you think about notion and do you have any privacy recommendations for it?

Isn’t it the company who purchased Skiff few months ago and shut it down ?

Did you try the recommended tools ? Like standard notes for example ?

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Exactly very same company :slight_smile:

Highly recommend it :slight_smile:

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I explored Notion as a potential solution late last year. After a few weeks I determined it wasn’t for me - something simpler would fit the bill. I removed my account and data.

Fast forward to last week, I get an email from them about changing Trash retention times.

Not sure why. They may not be organized internally. Without an account, I am not sure why I got that email. Take that at face value.

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Maybe you could try Obsidian or Logseq.

I don’t think it’s a great option privacy-wise. Privacy policy: Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

and TOS;DR page: Service Notion (ToS;DR Phoenix)

However, I needed something free and accessible anywhere that I could use for “personal” work notes that wasn’t tied to an app or local files, so I use it for my job. I chose it over more obscure options at the time just in case anyone asked about it, and because some of the competitors I list below were much more new at the time.

Private apps that are very Notion-like would be Anytype.io or Appflowy. Obsidian/Logseq are pretty different, though Logseq has ‘blocks’ like Notion.

*forgot about AFFiNE (another notion-like app)

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Notetaking is something I am very personally invested in, and have done a lot of testing for in the past. I wouldn’t trust Notion, but I’ll leave that part of the conversation there. Here are the alternatives I’d recommend with obvious privacy benefits (and in some cases, feature benefits) going for them:

  1. Notesnook
  • This is my first recommendation because I think it is the best option for ease of use.
  • Pricing is generous (great discounts as well for students and the like),
  • Sync just works
  • Very active development, so I’m optimistic about them further refining their product (+ open source!)
  • My main gripe is the clunkiness of note sorting, which I believe they plan to address further in the future
  1. Obsidian
  • This is my current solution, and the one with the most potential imo
  • The two biggest reasons to use it are how powerful extensions are, and the amazing customization options available. (After being so happy with my workflow via extensions and UI customized to my liking, I can’t see myself ever using anything else)
  • Powerful note linking for creating huge knowledge bases if you’re into that
  • What might hold you back on this one is that it manages notes locally by default, rather than syncing between devices
    • This can be addressed with their sync service, which is E2EE, and audited by Cure53 (however not open-source, and quite pricey even with discount when compared to Notesnook)
    • A FOSS alternative to Obsidian sync is Syncthing, which can provide relatively seemless sync between devices, supposing you’re willing to set it up.
    • A final alternative I hardly see mentioned, is keeping your entire vault on a USB drive (this is what I do!). All plugins, settings, notes, configs, are seemlessly transferred by simply plugging the USB into whatever computer you want to work on. Of course, this becomes tricky if you plan on editing via the mobile apps haha
  • As I mentioned, Obsidian is closed source. However, as a local app with a good track record, and an audit from a reputable source, I’m willing to use it without doubts, especially given how far ahead of alternatives it feels to me.
  1. Anytype
  • A relatively new option that more closely resembles Notion than the other two listed. If Notion’s workflow and structure is its biggest selling point for you, this may be the best option.
  • Overall looks very promising, however the workflow is not for everyone, and I wasn’t a fan of the UI/UX at all, striking too much resemblance to an Apple interface while still feeling awkward
  • Biggest concern here is that they are in a testing stage right now, where they are not making any profits, while providing generous free storage to users for Sync. As a VC backed project, I am definitely wary, and am as of yet unable to place any confidence in their longevitiy given they haven’t even become a real product yet.
    • Anytype does work locally however, and as a FOSS app, supposing someone is willing to maintain it, the app itself wouldn’t disappear with the shutdown or acquisition of the company. Just something to note.

Other alternatives I’ve tested but would not recommend:

  • Logseq – FOSS Obsidian alternative. I haven’t checked in with it in a year or so, but last I used it I was having major performance issues, and wasn’t a fan of how clunky everything felt. Ultimately just seems like it fills the place of a less powerful Obsidian for the purpose of being FOSS, which just doesn’t appeal to me
  • Standard Notes – They’re a great company, and their recent partnership with Proton could be promising, but the product itself was never there for me. I’ve tested numerous times over the years, and always cancelled or refunded my subscription within a month. To me, it’s never felt like a polished app or experience, and I’ve always encountered bugs or performance issues. If it was cheaper, maybe the presence of sheets or their super notes would be enough to make it worth it, but I just can’t justify the price tag on this one
  • Joplin –nice offerring overall, but I never used it for long because it just doesn’t stand out as an individual note taker. It works, but I’ve always felt that it doesn’t do anything outstandingly: its UI is lackluster, its featureset is only adequate, and there isn’t much else. The collaboration is cool if you want to keep notes with others, but keep in mind you need a subscription for both people.

That’s my little bit there. Some things I’ve never considered in my testing, were web clippers, collaborative functionality, and web publishing. The main criteria I’ve always used to personally evaluate note taking solutions (besides privacy and security aspect) have focused on: text-based note functionality, note organization, export functionality (as PDFs primarily), UI/UX, workflow, customization options, performance with large note libraries (on both my high end PC and midrange laptop), and the presence of additional features (TeX support, visual-based note taking, etc.)

Hope this helps!


Notesnook and Obsidian are also the main 2 I use. I still have some stuff in notion though but I try to put most of my things in Obsidian.

IMO Logseq isn’t really much like Obsidian…I’ve never heard it characterized as an “Obsidian alternative” in the sense that it’s just trying to be a FOSS version of Obsidian, tbh. Of course people talk about them together a lot though. I use both daily and they’re kind of just different workflows. And for me the block-based outlining style is less clunky + more powerful than just markdown.

Just offering a different perspective to show YMMV.

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Yeah, that’s totally fair! I suppose that’s on me for approaching it as I had seen it described in some Obsidian circles initially, and kind of just continuing to label it for its knowledge base/note linking functionalities rather than workflow. That’s probably how I managed to miss adding the block vs pure markdown differences altogether.

And absolutely, mileage may vary! Personally I find the block workflow clunkier than working with markdown, but that just goes to show its a matter of preference.

Logseq is the app I have the least time in of the ones I listed because of the performance issues I’ve had, but I might have to give it another go to get reacquainted with how the workflow is.

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