Top 5 forum posts

December 19, 2020 | minutes read

I’m obsessed with personal information management (PIM) and as I learn more about the discipline, one concept continues to repeatedly crop up: Zettelkasten. I first learned about Zettelkasten after reading one of my favorite books “How to take smart notes”, and since then, I’m sold on the idea and continue to tweak my digital workflow and draw inspiration from the online Zettelkasten community at This online forum, like many other online communities, buries tons of gems hidden within the conversation threads.

At the time of this writing, the forum paginates across 43 pages, each page containing one or more forum posts, each post potentially containing nuggets of gold. But because I’m short on time, I really only want to read the top discussions. Unfortunately, there’s no easy or built in way to sort those posts so I wrote a little script that identifies the top posts by view count. Below are the top 5.

Top 5 Forum Posts

Below are the top 5 forum posts from, sorted by views in descending order.

  1. The Collector’s Fallacy (25,300 views)
  2. Create Zettel from Reading Notes According to the Principle of Atomicity (23,300 views)
  3. A Tale of Complexity – Structural Layers in Note Taking (21,500 views)
  4. You Only Find What You Have Identified (21,200 views)
  5. The Difference Between Good and Bad Tags (16,100 views)

Programmatically retrieving view counts

This section describes how I used a combination of bash and python to fetch the view counts on the forum. The actual (python) code for parsing the pages themselves can be found in my public github repository hosting my random one off scripts.

  1. Fetch all the forum posts with curl
  2. Save HTML to disk
  3. Write a little python parser that extracts the view count
  4. Output a comma separated value (CSV)
  5. Use sort followed by with head

[code lang=”bash”]
% for page_num in $(seq 1 42);
do curl "$page_num -O ;

I’m Matt Chung. I’m a software engineer, seasoned technology leader, and father currently based in Seattle and London. I love to share what I know. I write about topic developing scalable & fail-safe software running in the AWS cloud, digital organization as a mechanism for unlocking your creativity, and maximizing our full potentials with personal development habits.

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