Wikipedia talk:External links

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Primary sources as ELs[edit]

I've been asked if an EL to a court decision is appropriate. We don't have a guideline on this. Specifically * Kansas v. Jonathan Carr decision by Kansas Supreme Court. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 17:14, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Sure, as long as it's relevant to the article subject. It would be covered under WP:EL#YES 3.- MrX 17:31, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
It's acceptable IF the court decision has been reported on in the responsible media. Court decision links are NOT to used if found by original research in the interest of the public, as opposed to in the public interest. iow, not in what should be private matters: see WP:BLP. WP:ORIGINAL mainly addresses primary sources espousing a personal opinion, as opposed to a court opinion/ruling. Previous discussions relating to your question: "Restriction on public records" and "Court cases clarification needed". It's been almost two years, but you were part of that first discussion. (talk) 19:04, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
As an external link, it doesn't truly matter if the court case was "reported on in the responsible media", although I have a hard time imagining why you would link to such a document outside of an article about whichever court case the document is about. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:55, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, even using a court decision as an external link might (some would be more definite) violate WP:BLP. As an example, if Miss Roe files a paternity suit against Mr. Doe, then that fact should not be in Wikipedia without it appearing in reliable secondary sources, per WP:BLP. Even the existence of the suit would be controversial. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:00, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Open Directory Project (DMOZ)[edit]

Recently this guideline was changed without, I think, adequate consensus.

I'm glad MrX made this change, because bold action to actually change a guideline is often more useful than paragraphs of discussion. Some of the previous discussion about DMOZ (Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 34#No longer suggesting_DMOZ) showed that some people felt that DMOZ shouldn't be unfairly promoted above other web directories.

My understanding is that we have less than 5 Wikipedia templates useful for adding a link from a Wikipedia article to a web directory. If so, I suggest this guideline should link to all such templates. --DavidCary (talk) 04:34, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Nearly two months ago, there was lengthy discussion and a clear consensus reached for the change here: WT:External links/Archive 34#No longer suggesting DMOZ, so I have reverted your bold addition of the material. If you wish to revisit this, that's fine, but I think you should present a stronger argument for recommending what other consider an obsolete link directory. The existence of the template or number of templates has no bearing on whether we should recommend DMOZ in this guideline.- MrX 12:48, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
As anyone can plainly see, there was no consensus in that discussion, just Wikipedia:Gaming the system, primarily by refusing to engage in a serious discussion by responding to the questions and points raised. WhatamIdoing is currently trying to address the cause of the issue (deleting External links from Wikipedia) from a different perspective, but getting the same Wikipedia:Gaming the system practices by the same people. This "cleansing" of U.S. political articles has been going on, in one place or another in Wikipedia, for over six months now. (talk) 13:59, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Incorrect. By my count, there were 5 supporting the removal, 1 opposing, and 1 (the OP) asking for links to previous discussions. If you believe that is an improper assessment of consensus, then you could perhaps request a formal closure at WP:ANRFC. Of course, I'm not precluding a new discussion here to propose re-adding the DMOZ recommendation.- MrX 14:26, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
At this point, I really think it might be worth nominating the DMOZ template(s) for deletion to discourage their continued use. Thargor Orlando (talk) 16:05, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree, but I think there would be quite a bit of push back, especially since the template has 6978 transclusions.- MrX 16:20, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
About the number of links: I read through Category:Web directories (notable web directories) and {{dmoz}} and {{Yahoo directory}} were the only ones that I found in Category:External link templates. However, I didn't look in any of the 44 subcategories, so there might be more. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

you should present a stronger argument for recommending what other consider an obsolete link directory.
recommending a link to a page on some other site, a page that is a long list of links about that topic
Many people hear that Wikipedia is a repository for all human knowledge (Wikipedia: all human knowledge).
Many of those people know things that are not yet included in Wikipedia, and want to help. In general, we should encourage those people to be bold and improve Wikipedia (WP:IGNORE).
Sometimes these people become obsessed with some particular topic and want to know "everything" about it, in far more detail than is appropriate for an encyclopedia article.
Directly inserting the complete text of Euclid's Elements directly into Wikipedia is problematic, but many people find the direct link to that text (hosted on some other site) a useful addition to the Wikipedia article Euclid's Elements.
In the same way, directly inserting a long list of links about some topic directly into a Wikipedia article is problematic, but many people find a single direct link to such a list (hosted on some other site) a useful addition to the Wikipedia article on that topic.
Such a link is useful to the people who read that article and want many more details on the topic.
recommending a link to some specific link directory
It helps the editors of Wikipedia when, when a guideline suggests doing something, we also mention (or link to some other page that mentions) a convenient method for doing that.
In this case, there are convenient link directory templates that such an editor, reading this guideline, might find useful.
Removing that little tip leads to well-meaning editors who don't already know about that trick staying blissfully ignorant, leading to them doing things the hard way and wasting their time.
Dear editors who think DMOZ shouldn't be unfairly promoted above other, superior web directories that allegedly exist:
Could we please briefly *mention* those other, superior web directories in this policy?
My understanding is that there is less than 5 of them, so I wish this guideline listed *all* of them -- something like the way WP:NPOV recommends listing *all* the significant points of view in an article.
I would be surprised and delighted to learn that there are so many that they couldn't be briefly mentioned in a single short sentence, so WP:BLOAT becomes an issue.
--DavidCary (talk) 16:20, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
I still object to restoring the examples as you did here, for reasons that I've already stated. I'm not going to revert because I've already been too active on this topic, but I believe that your edit goes against consensus.- MrX 23:36, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
DavidCary, if you want to mention all of them, then you need to make a list of all of them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:48, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I think indeed, DavidCary that what User:WhatamIdoing is suggesting is the way forward. I also find it inappropriate that since it was removed after an earlier discussion, that the re-inclusion is pushed while discussion about that re-inclusion is still ongoing. More general, I think that linking to a directory service is also somewhat outdated, it is an option, but I do not think that it should be (strongly) suggested. Mentioning directory services as an option is more than enough, it should not be presented as 'if people object against your linkfarming on-wiki, then please go ahead and link to the directory service'. If the links do not merit inclusion on-wiki, then they do not merit being linked to through a directory service either. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:59, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
linking to a directory service ... is an option, but I do not think that it should be (strongly) suggested. I agree -- linking to a directory service be neither strongly suggested (WP:ELYES), nor forbidden (WP:ELNO). I guess that means that we all agree that linking to a directory service should be de-emphasized by putting it in the WP:ELMAYBE section? Is there some way to further de-emphasize it without going so far as to forbid it?
... inappropriate that since it was removed after an earlier discussion, that the re-inclusion is pushed ... Huh? I was under the impression that people around here were comfortable with the Wikipedia: BOLD, revert, discuss cycle process (BRD).
It's likely that I didn't catch all the nuances, but the impression I got was that: Some people want to remove DMOZ from this guideline. Other people want to keep DMOZ in this guideline. As far as I could tell, the discussion never actually actually persuaded anyone to change their mind.
Then MrX did exactly what BRD recommends doing in that situation: boldly made a change. Then DavidCary did one of the options BRD suggests: revert. After that, according to BRD, the obligation was on MrX to discuss, which he did.
If you feel the BRD process is inappropriate, please give me a pointer to a more appropriate process?
WhatamIdoing, I thought I did make a list of all of them, but perhaps I was mistaken. Please tell me -- which ones did I leave out? (Or feel free to add them to the list yourself).
Some people seem to have the idea that a link never merits inclusion in a Wikipedia article whenever the text (or other content, such as a list of links) at the destination of that link doesn't merit including directly into that article.
That idea is wrong. For example, a link to the complete text of Euclid's Elements is appropriate in the Euclid's Elements article, even though the complete text itself is not appropriate in any Wikipedia article. --DavidCary (talk) 19:09, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I haven't seen any such list. I've seen you say that you believe there are fewer than five templates, but I've never seen you list the templates that do exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:29, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • DavidCary, you're well outside of the original BRD cycle. You have essentially made a bold edit challenging the consensus established in June. BTW, why did you wait two months to bring this up again?- MrX 23:54, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • DavidCary - It was removed after discussion, that is the established consensus. It was a de facto consensus for 2 months that it was not there. You boldly re-included it, and it was re-removed. That is the B and R of your BRD-cycle, B is not the removal of 2 months ago and R the re-inclusion. However, when 'D' was busy, you re-insterted it. That is NOT what BRD is about, BRD is not about having your edits standing against consensus while discussion (which was against it, and does not seem to have changed) runs. Please remove the edit and establish consensus for re-insertion here.
  • Anyway, I am against the inclusion of 'some' examples, or even the 'many examples are available'. They are utterly superfluous. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:20, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
There are good reasons to mention templates for link directories, such as (a) It helps the editors of Wikipedia, when a guideline suggests doing something (in this case, WP:ELMAYBE mentioning "A well-chosen link to a directory"), that guideline also mentions (or link to some other page that mentions) a quick method for doing that (in this case, link-directory templates).
(b) The people who wrote "{{no more links}}" seem to think that DMOZ helps reduce a lot of unnecessary drama over arguing over which links to include or exclude.
After reviewing my edits, I see I did make one edit beyond BRD. Sorry. Please don't let one mistake distract from the topic at hand.
There exist good reasons to delete all mention of DMOZ in this guideline. Could someone please state those reasons, rather than alluding to unspecified "problems" or "previous discussion" or "reasons already stated"?
Stating actual reasons is much more likely to change my opinion from "DMOZ has problems, but mentioning it in this guideline is better than not" to "Let's not even mention DMOZ in this guideline".
Some people seem to be saying that DMOZ is "an obsolete link directory" -- which link directory(ies) made it obsolete?
After my previous waffling and asking for links to previous discussions, I'm leaning towards "opposing the removal", which -- by my count of the Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 34 archive -- gives 5 supporting the removal in that archive, and 3 not supporting removal -- Johnuniq, an IP user, and myself.
Is a 5 to 3 majority what passes for consensus now?
How can we craft a compromise ("alternatives should be given equal consideration" -- pgr94) that would be acceptable to practically everyone? --DavidCary (talk) 19:46, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
which link directory(ies) made it obsolete? Google. Here is a game, which to be honest I don't play a lot: browse around DMOZ, and come up with a link that you find especially useful. Now search in google the head of the directory it was in, or the title of the most relevant W article. If it is not in the first page or two, you won. trespassers william (talk) 22:30, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
As someone who has only vaguely followed this discussion, I must say that this comment pretty much sums up my feelings. Continuing to recommend DMOZ, or any web directory, in the year 2014 is like still linking to a Webring. It's just outdated. So count this as a vote for removal. oknazevad (talk) 04:16, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Since there seems be dispute about whether or not the previous discussion supported removing the DMOZ material, I suggest that someone create an RfC to get a clearer determination of consensus. But please, make a decision, and don't wait two months to comment. This is not worth the energy being expended over a few words that don't really have much practical impact anyway. For the record, I'm opposed to recommending any directories.- MrX 23:00, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
How should we respond to an editor who believes we should prefer DMOZ even if it is of poorer quality than an alternative? Can we make clear we have no favourites? pgr94 (talk) 12:36, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
And perhaps link to the "link quality" criteria to be used. pgr94 (talk) 12:48, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Someone has asked for a list of reasons why mentioning only DMOZ was removed. Off the top of my head, here are the main objections:

  1. Mentioning only one web directory unfairly promotes one web directory over others (especially for editors that are unaware that any others exist).
  2. Mentioning DMOZ by name discourages people from using better webpages.
  3. DMOZ's quality has declined compared to five or ten years ago. If we were going to recommend one web directory, it would be better to recommend one that is generally high-quality.
  4. Mentioning DMOZ may tend to promote needless links (in articles that could realistically have zero links rather than a link to DMOZ).

There may be others, but this is what I recall off hand.

The arguments in favor of mentioning DMOZ by name appear to be:

  1. Inertia: it's been in the guideline for years.
  2. If you don't mention DMOZ by name, then people won't be able to figure out that the template exists.
  3. Most DMOZ pages look okay in the particular subject area that I edit.

I happen to think that the one set of arguments is better than the other. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:36, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Excellent, thank you very much, WhatamIdoing.
I think there are 4 possible options for this guideline:
  • "Don't mention or link to any particular link directory."
  • "Only mention DMOZ." This has been the status quo for years. WhatamIdoing and pgr94 have presented some good arguments against it.
  • "Only mention one link directory, something better than DMOZ." Several people have alluded to this option "If we were going to recommend one web directory, it would be better", "an obsolete link directory", etc., but I wish they would specify what specific link directory they mean by "it".
  • "Link to a list of link directories, or mention more than one link directory, or both." This seems to me[1] to be more helpful to "editors that are unaware that any others exist" than the "don't mention any particular link directory" option.
Currently I think that "link to a list of link directories, or mention more than one link directory, or both" is the best of these options, given the above reasons and arguments.
--DavidCary (talk) 19:00, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
You might be right. The biggest problem with the "link to a list of link directories, or mention more than one link directory" is that none of our WP:VOLUNTEERs seems willing to spend time writing the list. As a purely practical matter, we can't include a list if nobody is willing to create it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:48, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Why on earth would we want to include more directories? Who actually uses directories in 2014? Thargor Orlando (talk) 22:20, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Question about using a Genius (website) [external link] URL[edit]

In Wikipedia:External_links#Sites_requiring_registration it says, in part (near the end) : "Bibliographic citations should normally cite the most authoritative source for the publication (e.g., [...snip...]), but may add a link to a free version if one is available and not a copyright violation.".

I have an "anecdote" to put my question in context, but the "anecdote" has been relegated to "Appendix A." (see below), in order to make it more convenient to skip reading the "anecdote"... since it is kinda long, and might be kinda "optional".

Maybe this -- [this business of websites with annotated copies of stuff that is, or "might" be, worthy of annotating / explaining] -- is old hat, or "old news" to some of you people who "keep up" better [than I do], ...but I had never heard of Genius (website) before!

So, here is my question:

Would a web page, on a website such as Genius -- e.g. the one at this "Genius" URL -- count as [quote] : "a free version if one is available and not a copyright violation." -- ? --

Any comments or advice are welcome and will be appreciated. --Mike Schwartz (talk) 09:02, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Appendix A. :

Here is an anecdote to put my question in context:

Once I was having trouble finding a copy of a certain page on . This episode was probably unrelated to editing ["ref" tags, in] articles on Wikipedia, but this anecdote does relate to "External links" (well, "links") to "Sites requiring registration".

I had started out with a certain link from the first EL URL . That certain link was labeled "demise of the 10x engineer in the Silicon Valley" and it pointed to the second EL URL. I then went through at least one more level of indirection (I think) -- (involving a comment at 3C EL URL, iirc) (the comment being a fragment of 3 EL URL) and I wound up here: at fourth EL URL which had a link I was having trouble following. That link was labeled "software is eating the world", and it was the one that pointed to a certain page on .

OK, so here is where it gets interesting. I was only able to access [see] about the first couple of sentences or so, of the a certain page on -- probably because it is "premium content" -- [content visible /slash "available" only to subscribers] -- or something like that.

OK, so I was *that* close to giving up, but then -- "lo and behold" -- it turned out that there was an annotated copy -- quite possibly better than the "original" copy, since it had all kinds of random nobodies chiming in with their 0.02 about what stuff means, or whatever -- an annotated copy of that certain page (meaning, that page that was originally "from", available [for free] on at this "genius" URL.

Return from subroutine: This is THE END of "Appendix A." So, from here, please (feel free to) return to about the 2nd or 3rd paragraph of this section.

I'm not familiar with the website in question, but the first thing to establish would be whether it's a copyvio. If they post one or two news articles from a paper, with substantive commentary, that might be fine, but if they do this systematically (e.g., all major stories from the paper), then it might well fall afoul of WP:LINKVIO. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:41, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Torrent links[edit]

Directing the discussion back to the talk page per suggestion below.- MrX 00:40, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

At Talk:James Foley (journalist)#Is that right? and on his talk page User:Wnt is arguing that a torrent link is fine and should be accepted. Comments? Dougweller (talk) 17:21, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Note that I am not arguing for it to be used in preference to a stable HTML link, if someone is willing to provide one, but it is definitely better than no link to a relevant source that the article discusses in depth. (I don't want to start a duplicate discussion here, just wanted to clear up that point) Wnt (talk) 17:28, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't think a torrent link is at acceptable, for reasons already argued on the talk page. WP:EL applies to external links (not links within citation), but common sense would suggest that the reasons for omitting a torrent link would still apply. PDF is ubiquitous; bit torrent is not.- MrX 18:31, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
How can common sense be that a policy you say doesn't apply, which doesn't prohibit torrents and speaks generically of many types of software, is actually prohibiting torrents? And as for ubiquity: to begin with, Bittorrent was 30% of all downstream traffic in 2011 [2] and 37% of upstream traffic [3] in 2012. More to the point, Bittorrent is genuinely, ubiquitously available to every user. There are free-as-in-free, open source clients that work well. We have Wikipedia articles, which I've linked in the reference per the EL guideline, which give information about how they work. Any reasonably competent user who is capable of updating an OS and a browser often enough to avoid being taken down by a virus should have no problem going through the simple installation process for basic Bittorrent use for obtaining documents like this that are distributed legally. (Concealing their identity from Comcast censors when pirating movies is their own bailiwick) Note the really, bittorrent is more available than PDF because someone who wants to download the PDF reader has to click on an agreement with Adobe that they may find repulsive, whereas the Bittorrent user is subject to no such humiliation. Wnt (talk) 19:28, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying that torrent links explicitly violate WP:CITE; I'm saying that that would be a logical extention of WP:EL. That's just my opinion of course. Based on my SWAG, approximately 6.3% 8.9% of users have bit torrent clients installed. Assuming that's close to accurate, that does not seem sufficient to justify including links which are only easily accessible by a small minority. By the way, the cite in the article contains this text. "(magnet link for a Bittorrent client; PDF)". Is that because the source is a PDF document?- MrX 19:56, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Someone mentioned this guideline, and it says that PDFs are supposed to be linked (even gives an example). Nobody actually does that normally, but I thought as long as they'd raised the issue I'd follow it. Could you explain what "SWAG" is and what it tells you? I am skeptical that few users have really used Bittorrent!
To be clear, my support for using a Bittorrent when it is what is available is not actually contingent on the program being used by X% of users. I would support referencing even very obscure documents (a dataset in ArcGIS, a GenBank sequence) provided only that the interested and motivated reader is able to make use of them by some straightforward procedure. I believe this guideline presently permits that, though more grudgingly than I would prefer. It's always better to give the user a way to see what is being talked about than not to. Wnt (talk) 20:42, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
SWAG meaning I didn't spend much time verifying the statistic that I provided (I took the estimated number of installed BitTorrent clients and divided by word internet users as of December 2013). This dilemma does reveal a potential gap in our CITE guideline, and a possibly a need to shore up our EL guideline. It would probably be a good idea to start a discussion at the village pump to get some broader input. As far as this case though, I'm concerned about accessibility and also about referring users to a torrent of unknown origin. Also, wouldn't there be similar copyright concerns as linking to Scribd content?- MrX 20:58, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I haven't really seen copyright concerns with Scribd content - generally when I've run across it it really is in public domain. The big problem I have with it is that it's an inaccessible interface in the sense you have to enable a bazillion scripts to use it and the content is locked up in an annoying reader to keep you from copying it, even though it is public domain, and above all else, >90% of the time (at least that's my impression) when I see a scribd link to content there is some other link to the exact same content that is not subject to all that nonsense. Even so, if I see a scribd link I'm not going to delete it unless and until I find a better link to the same source to replace it with.
You're free to go to village pump or otherwise propose a change in policy, but really I don't think this "gap" is a problem. Internet changes, unfamiliar protocols become familiar, venues that were pioneered solely for file sharing become more general purpose. Certainly accessible with minor effort is better than totally inaccessible. Last but not least, yes, I agree that the "torrent of unknown origin" part would normally be a risk. However, I happen to know that I viewed the exact same video clip on LiveLeak before they decided to "stop spreading propaganda", and there were news stories about the clip on that site. In a different situation I would think that trackers that list this as the torrent, with user comments about its authenticity, would be positive evidence, but it might be harder to be convinced. The good news is that a torrent's "address" (magnet link) actually is a checksum of its content, so it is not possible for that content to be changed. If people who have viewed a widely watched and well-known clip can recognize that a given torrent is an authentic copy, that will remain true no matter how much time passes afterward. Wnt (talk) 23:14, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment, the file/torrent name is an mp4, i.e. a video. This particular link is worrisome, in that it seems to be the terrorist propaganda film that most news agencies and video feeds refuse to show (inferred, I have not downloaded it). Clicking on this link will download the video, but will also disseminate that video to others. As I said on the John Foley talk page, this is a contravention of terrorist legislation in the UK, the Patriot Act:- Providing material support for terrorism in the US. Providing a hard to find link may in itself be against the Patriot Act, and we should remove this specific link. Martin451 23:24, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I request we restrict the discussion of this to the other page, because it has no general bearing on the EL guidelines, unless you are proposing a separate point that we should ban external links to material that may (perhaps in puff and bluster only) be subject to censorship in any country of the world (including Tiananmen Square footage). Wnt (talk) 23:36, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
But thanks for mentioning the mp4 thing. Crap, I just copied off the wrong line in my download folder mindlessly. I'd say I was in a rush, except I repeated that stupidity about three times and still didn't see the problem. Wnt (talk) 23:38, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Books' Details vs Books' Author's blog[edit]

Some Wikipedians believed that if book of the author is not referrable in internet except in blogspot means then we can refer his blog with that book contents as reference.

But I beleieve that Book Details is enough.

Is it correct to cite a blog in wiki even the blog has that Book contents.?--Tenkasi Subramanian (talk) 19:22, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Tenkasi Subramanian,
This question needs to go to a special discussion page, called the WP:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. They'll need to know the name of the article that you're editing, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:45, 8 September 2014 (UTC)


I am from Tamil wiki and this is for Tamil Article. Anyhow I'll question on that respected page. Thanks.--Tenkasi Subramanian (talk) 23:11, 8 September 2014 (UTC)