Welcome to Plateia!

This a community for readers and learners who not only want to manage their knowledge, but also want to discuss their findings and thoughts with other people.

Tired of breaking up your findings into a “tweetstorm” and looking for a platform that is friendlier for in-depth discussions with markdown, tags, searchability, and other cool features? This the right place is for you.

What does Plateia mean?

Plateia or Platia (πλατεία) is the Greek word for town square.

Why did we decide to start Plateia?

Plateia is started by a small group of friends. It is firstly inspired by an idea called “learn in public” we found in an essay called “Knowledge Management in a New Era” written by Guy Spier.

Although “learn in public” sounds like a great idea, Twitter is an awful platform to do it: it forces you to break up your thoughts into tiny chunks, has no markdown supports, no sorting or categorizing, no searchability, and is pretty bad for any kind of productive discussions.

How should I use Plateia?

  • Treat Plateia like how you treat your current knowledge management tools like Evernote, but with the additional feature of socializing. Post things that would still be valuable to you and other people in 5 years.
  • We encourage you to install a grammar checker browser extension.
  • Listen attentively, then respond.
  • Since Plateia is a place for learning, we don’t want to spend much effort on moderating. Just don’t post misinformation, don’t spam, and don’t be a jerk.
  • Make a conscious effort to suppress tribal instincts.
  • Assume good faith and work out your disagreement with someone through civil discussion.
  • Flag low-effort, misinformation, ads, and illegal contents.
  • We expect a reasonable extent of maturity and emotional resilience from all our users. Don’t flag because you disagree with someone or they hurt your feelings, talk to them first.
  • Feel free to post anything in foreign languages (music, poems, linguistics, language-learning contents), but also make sure other English-speaking users can also enjoy it. Plateia aims to have people from all over the world. Celebrate our diversity, yet avoid making users who don’t speak your language feel alienated.
  • More guidance about how to use Plateia.

Tips & Tricks


We love markdown, and encourage you to use it generously, here’s a cheat sheet: Basic Syntax | Markdown Guide


Create a checkbox with the following syntax:

  • [] or [ ] for an unchecked box
  • [x] or [X] for a checked box

Math Support

You can render blocks of maths by wrapping with $


(@LeftOnMars : still trying to figure out how to use this, add more guidance later.)

Special House rule

Criticization towards any organizations and government entities around the world is allowed on Plateia, except for a single government. We feel sincerely regretful for this rule, but it is to ensure the physical safety of this website’s administration team. We anticipate getting rid of this rule someday, eventually.

We’ll remove the offending content and let you know in private if you broke this rule by accident.

All contents created by you are yours.

You have 100% control over them. You can edit and delete some or all of them any time you want. We take privacy extremely seriously and will never share or sell your personal information (unless ordered by a court).

If you’d like to leave, you can download all your posts and replies on your account page.


Plateia uses the Discourse framework and AWS. It costs about $100 a year, for now, maintained by @LeftOnMars . It will not carry advertisements or charge membership fees in any foreseeable future. Donation to help out with the cost is appreciated but not needed.

As a pet project, to keep the quality of the content high, Plateia will remain Invitation only.


Should this be the default email sent to new users when they join?

Good idea. Added to my backlog.

Writing advices from one of my favorite economist Noah Smith, which also back the idea of “lean in public”.

I write because I need to organize my own thoughts. I need to make sense of the world , and a big part of the way to do that is by writing. And if you’re that kind of person, you should probably at least have a blog.

One of my PhD advisors told me to read 100 papers for every one paper I write. For blog posts and op-eds the ratio is probably lower (maybe 20?), but the principle is the same. If you aren’t already an expert on something, you won’t become an expert on a topic by reading 20 articles, but you can certainly get a general idea of the topic, the arguments that other people are making, and so on. Read other blogs, read academic papers, read the news, read Twitter.

But in fact, background reading isn’t the only way you learn from writing — sometimes not even the main way. When you put down your thoughts, other people will respond to them. They will have different perspectives. Sometimes they’ll know things you don’t know, sometimes they’ll be totally full of crap. More often, they’ll just be thinking about the issue from a different frame of reference, or applying different ideas and bits of knowledge. Reading responses to what you write — both positive and negative — will help you understand the issue better. And then writing responses back to those people will further hone your thinking.

Humans are not fully autonomous thinkers; we are collective beings. We learn by conversation.