Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 10

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Link order

Is there any requirement that the external links be in a particular order? Some articles have the links alphabetized, while others seem to be organized based on when they were added. Tkrpata 22:24, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

If it's an issue then the article clearly has too many links. Do you have a specific example? Thanks/wangi 22:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Two links is considered to be too many links now? Koweja 22:46, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
?? I do not think that was the intention of the original question. Clearly the more link there are the more ordering becomes an issue, and the more link there are the more likely it is that there are too many. Thanks/wangi 22:51, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Official links go first. If necessary, use subtitles like ; Official sites and ; Unofficial sites and put the links there. Inserting fan sites in the middle of official ones is a very good way of catching spam. As for order, there is no specific rule. Maybe you can sort them in order of reliability. -- ReyBrujo 22:58, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikitravel links

How welcome are wikitravel links on wikipedia articles?--202.164.137.59 15:31, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Contributory infringement

My link to youtube.com in a footnote was deleted, apparently because someone posted on WP:EL that "knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States." I was going to challenge the deletion of my footnote by realized that I can't because the WP:EL IS NOT FOOTNOTED and is locked from being edited. Wikipedia cannot base its policy on statements lacking a cited source of information. I work hard to cite all my sources of information and to find one of them deleted because of some un-sourced, over exaggerated, and mostly untrue statement leaves me shaking my head. The source of the WP:EL sentence "knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States"[citation needed] needs to be cited so that I can show you several reasons why this statement is wrong. -- Jreferee 18:02, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

This part of the external links guidelines comes directly from our copyright policy. You should be able to cite your source without linking to copyright information. Please also note that Wikipedia can base its policies on uncited statements, and most Wikipedia policy is based on values and ideas about human behavior that are not verified by reliable sources. Many Wikipedian's would be against linking to copyright violations regardless of whether there was the possibility of legal sanctions - they simply believe it is the right thing to do. It is the consensus of the community, and the occasional pass down from the foundation that determines which rules we turn into policy and guidelines on Wikipedia. --Siobhan Hansa 18:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikis

I wonder if we don't need to cover Wikis. For a long time, I gave them a pass without really looking-- they were wikis after all. But if you do look, many of them turn out to be written by one or two editors, and they are frequently linked to when they contain at best a handful of articles. Some also are used essentially as forums. Seems to me many belong in the same category as blogs, forums, et al.

While on the subject, I recently had a run-in with an editor who took "Links to forums, [...] unless mandated by the article itself" to mean "was really really important to some readers of the article". I think what is meant is "the article is actually about the blog/forum/etc. (as stated under Proposed_re-organisation, above, by Bravada, talk - 23:11, 11 October 2006). Can we get agreement on this, and change the policy accordingly? -- Mwanner | Talk 18:21, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikis are one level below blogs and should never be linked to. Obviously if we put a value on reliability and stability at all, no public wiki should ever be linked to. 2005 22:25, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I think there's an argument to be made for not using wikis as references or sources, but I don't see any reason not to link to them if it's appropriate. After all, linking isn't necessarily an endorsement of the content there, just pointing out that it exists and where it's available - there's a link to Weekly World News. Wikipedia obviously doesn't have a problem with linking to wikis as evidenced by links to Wiktionary, WikiBooks, and a number of others on the main page. And if it's objectionable to link to an external wiki on the grounds that there might be inaccurate info there, shouldn't a wikipedia article not link to other wikipedia articles for the same reason? (I'm only partly kidding.) Any argument that all wikis inherenly bad must apply to wikipedia as well. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:44, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree-- I was referring to wikis with a handful of editors. I wouldn't be working here if I didn't believe that the open source process yields worthwhile results, but it does require a reasonably high level of participation to work. I must say, though, that outside of Wikimedia wikis, I haven't encountered many I think we should link to. -- Mwanner | Talk 23:22, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Links to Wikipedia Foundation pages aren't the same as external links. Any guideline that prohibits blogs plainly implies a prohibition against wikis as blogs are infinitely more stable and reliable, even if they aren't very much of either. 2005 07:21, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
"plainly implies a prohibition against wikis" is your interpretation, and in my eyes it's a stretch. If it "plainly" prohibited something, it would come out and say it. I think that many WP editors would take issue with your opinion that wikipedia is infinitely less reliable than blogs. And as far as I can tell "stable and reliable" aren't necessary criteria for an external link, based on this policy and based on what is linked from WP. What's wrong with judging each wiki on its own merits based on the criteria here? Why would it be necessary to make the blanket statement that all wikis are inherently bad? --Milo H Minderbinder 15:45, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Don't be absurd about it. We are talking in general. Obviously the very best maintained wiki is "better" than the very worst maintained "blog". However, also obviously this encyclopedia says that citing itself is not a reliable source. Anything that can be defaced by a random user is not trustable. "Why would it be necessary to make the blanket statement that all wikis are inherently bad?" Why is it necessary to say all blogs are bad? I hate blogs in terms of their trust and value, but I don't think they should be always prohibited (if not offical). SOME are fine. However if they are prohibited, it is obvious that a type of thing that can be instantly anonymously edited by many crackpots is less reliable than something put out by one crackpot. Wikis should be, at best, treated like blogs. That's all. 2005 22:12, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I agree with you that blogs aren't inherently bad, and I don't think it makes sense to forbid links to any blog, especially when we're seeing blogs published by major periodicals, written by the same writers. I don't think it makes sense to try and compare wikis and blogs in this context, or use the exclusion of one as justification for the exclusion of the other. And while I agree that wikis generally shouldn't be cited, this article isn't about citations: "This guideline refers to external links other than citations." As long as an external link isn't a citation, I don't see why it must be disqualified for not being "trustable". Linking to a site doesn't mean that wikipedia is promising that the information there is 100% accurate. Look at IMDB, it's notoriously inaccurate (and open to editing by the public) yet it is linked on virtually every article about a movie, tv show, actor, or filmmaker. What's the objection to judging each wiki on it's merits, since many are reliable and accurate? (same goes for blogs) --Milo H Minderbinder 23:02, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
For the record, IMDB cannot be edited directly. Users can submit information, which may or may not be accepted. I'm unaware of IMDB being notorious for inaccuracy-- do you mean like Wikipedia is notorious :-) -- Mwanner | Talk 19:35, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
A couple examples are upcoming movies - IMDB tends to include any rumored info on future films regardless of source (or lack of). Also, casting info on individual episodes is horrible, there's tons of stuff that is simply wrong. They supposedly have people screening info, but I suspect that they can't come close to keeping up and just end up taking much of it without even checking. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:05, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Different Youtube wording.

Any objections to replacing the current youtube specific wording with this...

"Links to sites containing publicly contributed content, such as video upload sites or photo collections, should be removed if the copyright status is in doubt."

--Barberio 18:37, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes I object to assumptions based on no evidence. Hopefully that's a pretty small objection to most people. No evidence usually means no crime. Wjhonson 18:26, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Feedback on new external link

All,

Antonrojo was very helpful in explaining why an external link that I added was removed from the following topics:

Web conferencing
Streaming media
Webcast
Podcast

I added FindWebEvents.com as a link, hoping that it would extend the encyclopedia and add value to users who were looking for the above topics. FindWebEvents.com is a new search engine which focuses on web events.

I understand that external links should be used sparingly, but added this link hoping it would add value to the overall topics. During the short time the links were included on the above topics, the usage of FindWebEvents.com was fantastic. People were truly looking for specific web events, podcasts, webcasts, etc. coming straight from the Wiki topics. This confirmed to me that users are looking for information on specific topics, and they found value in the search engine to help them find this information more quickly and accurately.

I'd like to ask for everyone's feedback on adding the external link FindWebEvents.com on the above 4 topics.

I truly believe this link adds value and most definitely extends the current Wiki encyclopedia. If I can help answer any questions, please let me know!

Thanks for everyone's time and feedback,
Curtis

Streamlogic 18:43, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, no. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a link directory. External links should contain information about the article they appear in. Also, links should never be added by someone associated with the site in question, which I suspect rules out you adding this link. -- Mwanner | Talk 18:54, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
when i'm asked by other researchers at the university whether wikipedia is a good research source, i often use two arguments: wikipedia cites (or tries to) its sources, often linking to them. therefore, it's a good resource through which you can find those sources. also, many of its articles about general subjects often spawn more especific articles and even projects, which gather people interested in the subject and discussing it. thoug wikipedia is NOT the place for that discussion, you can always ask questions at the talk page, which will be most certainly answred as well as contributors can, often citing sources AND adding knowledge both to the researcher AND wikipedia.
i think it's lame to prevent wikipedia from being a place to discuss subjects, for there's been made a discussion page where one could do so, often generating even more knowledge. thus, though external links is NOT meant to be used as a turnpike, one could always place a 'interesting links' section here at discussion page.capi 23:47, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

A call for comments and changes on the Rewrite

The rewrite of the guideline appears to have reached a level of stability now, so can people please look it over, and make any comments/changes they think are needed. The rewritten guideline itself is at Wikipedia:External links/workshop, and is open for editing.

If you have no changes or objections, can you drop a note here to show you support this as the new guideline. (Alternatively, if you have a major objection to the rewrite not correctable by a simple edit, note it here.) --Barberio 13:37, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Looks fine to me. Still not sure on the "no need to add a rule for fansites" I just noticed on the talk page. I would agree except fansite links are a major sticking point, most of my time is spent removing them. I'd much rather have a specific "no fansites except..." rule, just so it can be pointed out when necessary. People are less inclined to follow a generic rule, often making up some excuse. I think they definitely need to be able to see an exact rule in this case, so they know this isn't just an editors opinion and that they can't try and make up some phoney excuse to re-add their fansite spam links.
Anyway, I agree about WP:CREEP, just that in this instance I think an extra rule is warranted.
Don't feel inclined to do anything about this if there's a consensus disagreeing with me, this is just my opinion on the matter. Nothing personal either way. —B33R TalkContribs 14:22, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer listing fan sites as an example application of a general rule. Maybe we need a section giving some example situations? --Barberio 14:26, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
No mention of wikis (see above). Throw them into the list with blogs and forums, perhaps? -- Mwanner | Talk 14:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

If a mention of "fansites" is necessary, what would you propose? If the term "fansite" is used, it should be be defined for the purposes of WP policy - is it any unofficial site, or is it a site that maintains a "fan" point of view? Throwing wikis in the list with blogs and forums would be a huge change, and would impact many links - if you want to propose that, I'd make the proposal well known in the many places where wikis are linked. --Milo H Minderbinder 15:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

There is no reason to mention fansites. It makes no sense on any level. We are not interested in who owns what, and certainly not interested in only linking to corporate sites. The guideline, whatever version, should focus on value, merit, responsibility, added detail, etc., all the stuff we talk about, not if a website is owned by a corporation or not. Additionally, adding CREEP over one pet peeve seems to be the very first point of any overall rewrite of a guideline. Fansites are often excellent links, many times the best available. Often they are useless. We need no guideline about them. We need a guideline about external links. The guideline is about external links that add to articles. Forget the junk irrelevant to that. 2005 22:05, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I have added wikis to the blog/forum prohibition at Wikipedia:External links/workshop, so it could be discussed there. It's really not that much of a change if you consider that early in the present guidelines we say "it isn't useful to provide a link to a page whose contents change often." I wouldn't have a problem with making an exception of unusually large, longstanding wikis. Most of those I see being linked to turn out to be the production of a handful of editors (often just one). -- Mwanner | Talk 22:23, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I just removed wikis from the prohibition. This would be pretty major policy change for wikipedia, and I think such a change should have consensus. I don't think "changing often" really refers to wikis, but is about things like the front page of newspaper websites. Major articles don't move that often in wikis, and when they do, there are usually redirects from the old name. And a wiki itself generally isn't going to change web addresses. Probably best to continue that particular discussion at Wikipedia talk:External links/workshop. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:37, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Well we also say that we should avoid any "page that contains factually inaccurate material or unverified original research", and wikis, especially one-author wikis, are certainly subject to this. I think it is the unstable content of any given wiki article that is meant by "changing often", not page moves or web address changes. -- Mwanner | Talk 00:30, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I've just read over it and done some edits, and as it stands now I would support it as the new external links guide. BTW, I removed video sharing sites from links normally to be avoided. See Michael J. Fox for an example. It links to the recent political ad on YouTube. Per the proposed policy this would not be allowed because it is not technically the exact subject of the article, nor an official link. - Mike | Talk 23:36, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I have copied over the new version and tagged the workshop pages as historical. I also moved the wiki inclusion discussion here, as I don't see that as a reason to hold off on adding the new version. - Mike | Talk 00:41, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I'd just like to make a personal thank you to all those who involved themselves in the rewrite. Good to see that Co-operative editing does work. --Barberio 16:21, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi everybody, I disagree with #7 "Links to (...) discussion forums" . In Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, we have links to discussion forums where half of the employees of the company (the subject matter) actually spent lots of time on and discusses the future of development and asks the community about the inclusion of certain product features. WP:EL was used by some people as a reason to remove these very valuable links, without actually realizing their importance. I'm removing the "discussion form" part, anybody disagree? Peter S. 13:24, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

It's very very hard to know that people posting to a forum are who they say they are. Further to that, forums can be unstable with the link disappearing or being altered. While employees of the company may post there from time to time, this does not equate to an official endorsement, or a direct relation to the site. The forum does not appear to be uniquely connected to the article, and linking to it is probably not appropriate. --Barberio 14:16, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi Barberio, from what I see, you don't make regular edits to the Red Camera article. Why you undoubtedly are a specialist when it comes to discussions about external links, you are not aware of the importance that the link dvxuser.com has in connection with the article. I am a regular contributor, and I feel strongly that your reverting is based on trying to impose a rule without knowing the details. Peter S. 16:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Then please provide some detail as to why these links should have an exception to the guidelines? --Barberio 18:03, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Linking to Sister wiki projects

This guideline needs to address linking to pages in sister wiki projects like WikiSource, WikiCommons, etc. And throw in WikiTravel while you're at it :) i.e. what templates are useful, what pages should be linked to, should they go at the top of the list or the bottom, etc. Kaldari 01:03, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

MySpace links

In a lot of cases bands or musicians use MySpace either as their primary official site or at least as an important secondary. So why are these links not acceptable? Shouldn't the rule of thumb be that the MySpace/friend networking links are unacceptable unless pertaining to a musical act/band?

  • jk 05:12, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
There is a certain level of understanding if the site is official. Note that, if it is unofficial, it is discouraged by our guidelines and should not be added. -- ReyBrujo 05:20, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
May I ask - if a musician is dead, and therefore his or her myspace music site is not being used for social networking, but rather for disseminating information about his or her work - sharing some music and information not in an unencyclopedic way - could that not be an acceptable external link? The issue of "official" or "unofficial" becomes moot when an artist has been dead for some time, doesn't it? Since WP:EL is listed as a guideline, not an official policy, is there room for interpretation here? And if so, how does one go about reaching a consensus on it for a given page? Thanks for any insights. Tvoz 05:53, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
If it isn't official, it shouldn't be linked, regardless of life or death. Somebody owns the rights to the music, even if the artist is dead. 2005 07:16, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Right - but music can't be posted on MySpace Music unless the person posting it has the rights or permission to do so - so it's as close to an "official" site as you're going to find. I don't see what your point has to do with it anyway - the question is whether a Myspace Music page is necessarily a fansite or a social networking site, and I don't think it necessarily is, and therefore should be ok by these guidelines. Tvoz 07:47, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
if the artist's MYSPACE exists, as long as it's verifiable that it's no fake, i think it SHOULD be at the external links. whether he is dead or not matters not as long as it is his myspace/blog/orkut, and there is true proof of it. but if it's fan made, unless it is official (meaning the artist refers to that site) it should't be here at all.capi 23:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Point of interest: Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2006 November 25#Template:MySpace. I'm going to fight this TfD tooth and nail. If you support MySpace links in articles (provided they are actually official), feel free to voice your support; if you're for the template's deletion... uh, don't bother clicking the link. ;-)
Actually, the main reason I'm linking to it is because several arguments are referencing this guideline, without specifically stating what is wrong with the MySpace link (though the guideline specifically mentions MySpace, it does so in a very vague way that I believe should be addressed). EVula // talk // // 06:03, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
"If you support MySpace links in articles (provided they are actually official), feel free to voice your support..." Why? One doesn't have anything to do with the other. 2005 10:19, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Exclude wikis?

Discussion moved from Wikipedia talk:External links/workshop

I added wikis to the forum/blog/etc entry under "Links normally to avoid" on the grounds that wikis are inherently unstable. User:Milo H Minderbinder has objected on the grounds that this is a major change, and asks for a discussion on this page. I feel that since we have been saying for some time that we should avoid any "page that contains factually inaccurate material or unverified original research", and since wikis, especially one-author wikis, are certainly subject to these problems, that this is not truly a change.

The floor is open... -- Mwanner | Talk 00:44, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

There's no real reason to include it if it's already covered by the guideline. --Barberio 10:44, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
There certainly are some wikis that have bad info, particularly one-author ones. But I don't think it's a logical conclusion to say that all wikis are by definition inaccurate. Newspapers, magazines, even textbooks have some mistakes in them, yet we don't categorically exclude all of them because of that. I don't see the point of making a blanket inclusion of wikis. If a wiki contains inaccurate info, that's grounds for not linking to it. If a wiki is accurate and well sourced, what is the problem with linking to it, particularly if it contains "other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article". --Milo H Minderbinder 14:22, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Then why do we prohibit blogs? Seems to me that a wiki with one or a handful of editors is not much different than a blog. And the difference between textbooks, newspapers, et al. and a wiki is that the former are fixed and unchanging; a wiki may be fine when you link to it but could be trashed tomorrow, and if there are few editors, the trash could be there for a long time.
It seems to me preferable to have a prohibitive rule that one can make the occasional worthwhile exception to, rather than to have to argue over every case of a one or two editor wiki that their wiki isn't good enough, though wikis are fine, in general. I think it would be reasonable to assume that there are far more wikis out there with a handful of editors than there are massive, relatively dependable wikis like Wikipedia. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:41, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I would be interested to see some links of a wiki that are as accurate and well-sourced as Milo claims. Other than this one, of course :) (Radiant) 15:04, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Memory Alpha, a Star Trek wiki [1]. I'd be inclined to trust it more than I'd trust wikipedia in terms of ST content. --Milo H Minderbinder 15:20, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Hm, good point. Can we add a clause that most Wikis are unacceptable as link but there are some exceptions? How about only linking to Wikis that have a Wikipedia article, would that help? (Radiant) 16:28, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
        • I'd be more comfortable basing exceptions on the size of the active user community, or the frequency of edits. Otherwise we'll just end up with a lot of vanity articles to delete. BTW, for an example of the more typical wiki I see when spam patrolling, see [2] (and this is on the larger/more active end of the scale-- I see lots of one and two editor wikis, I just can't seem to find them easily). -- Mwanner | Talk 16:50, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
          • With policies, I'm generally not crazy about exception/rule. If it is necessary to mention wikis, what about something like "A wiki may only be linked if it meets the criteria XYZ..."? Maybe a footnote if it seems too much like rule creep? I think it's probably a good idea to take a second look at the blanket ban of blog links as well, now that there are blogs hosted by major newspapers and written by the same reporters. --Milo H Minderbinder 16:52, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
        • Mwanner - we already have a lot of vanity articles to delete. Milo - there are probably a few blogs out there that make decent links, yes. The trick is finding them, and wording it so that not every joe nobody with his own blog gets the idea he should link to that. I think the "must have a WP article" rule isn't half bad; if a blog is notable, it gets an article; if not notable, it's not a worthy page to link to. (Radiant) 16:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
          • But notability isn't really the criteria for external links. A wiki could have "other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article", "proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.)", be accurate and verifiable, and still not be notable. Notability just means that it has received attention from the press - plenty of internet material isn't deserving of an article yet a link to it still adds value to a wikipedia article. --Milo H Minderbinder 17:10, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
        • Radiant, that was my point-- why do we want to set this up so as to increase the burden of dealing with vanity articles? And I have to agree with Milo-- notability isn't the issue, accuracy is. But it is also true that not every blog or wiki that is deserving of an article is equally deserving of an ext link (on any page other than the article about it).
        • Could we get back to the issue of the present policy's prohibition against any "page that contains factually inaccurate material or unverified original research"? How can one link to a blog or a small wiki with any confidence that it wouldn't someday fall afoul of one or both of these standards? -- Mwanner | Talk 19:47, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
          • I agree that a blog or wiki could deserve an article but not a link, the opposite situation is also a possibility. When you link to any online info, there's no guarantee that it won't go away or change. If a blog or wiki has accurate info, you can link to it. If that info changes or goes away, get rid of the link at that point. Any online resource can only be judged by its current state, it could get worse or it could get better. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:52, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
            • Well, of course any site could change. But wikis and blogs are essentially meant to change. And blogs are essentially meant to be original research. That's why they've been nixed for the last six months. -- Mwanner | Talk 22:12, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
            • The issue isn't really accuracy or even that anything can change. The issue is the guideline's multiple emphasis on linking to something that is likely to be there in the same form for a user to see. A public wiki can change 180 degrees in a second. We can't be perfect, but we should try to link to URLs that are going to have the basic info on them that was there when the link was placed. I think the prohibition on blogs is unreasonably strong, but if it exists then wikis are "worse" in every way. Wikis should be treated no better than blogs, and probably more harshly. In terms of wikis that have articles, that isn't a problem. We link to official sites, regardless of what they are, and any other Wikipedia article should not link to the external link, but rather link to the Wikipedia article about the third party wiki. In other words, a Star Trek article should internally "see also" the article about this Trek wiki, not be an external link. 2005 22:41, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I could see a general Star Trek article, like Star Trek, pointing to the Memory Alpha page in the See also section. But if I were editing a page like, for example, Q (Star Trek), and someone put Memory Alpha in the See also section, I would remove it as only tangentially-related. Rather, I think it's much more useful to do it the way it is done in Q (Star Trek) (and other pages): using the memoryalpha template, which provides a direct external link to the MA page as well as a wikilink to the MA article.

Re: why do we prohibit blogs (and wikis)? The concern, I think, is generally cutting out opinion and unverifiable assertions that aren't helpful to an encyclopedia. Looking at our own proposed guideline here, it says external links can improve the article with "information that can't or shouldn't be added to the article"; also we are to be concerned with accessibility, functionality, and proper-ness ("useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.") Finally, looking at "What should be linked to" as it currently stands, I think blogs/wikis/etc. could fall under #4: "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article". Obviously, many(/most) blogs would be culled for failing for not being sufficiently useful, tasteful, meaningful, or relevant. The inclusion of the blogs/MySpace/etc. line in the "Links normally to be avoided" section does not function as a ban, it functions as a general rule of thumb. We could take it out of the guideline and it would still be easily defensible to remove inappropriate blog links from articles' external links sections. I would probably prefer removing that line altogether, but I do see that it is a useful rule of thumb. The point is that it's not an all-out prohibition; wikis like Memory Alpha should still be allowed to be linked to because it contains "meaningful, relevant content" and is most likely "neutral and accurate material". Of course, where does the burden lie for proving that it's neutral and accurate? I don't know; there's also discussion at WP:RS, but of course that concerns sources, not external links. Obviously there could arise disputes about what qualifies as neutral/accurate/tasteful/etc. but I think that should be left to the editors to decide.

Sorry that was so long, and I hope it's somewhat coherent; generally, I agree with Barberio, I think it's already covered by the guideline and there's no need to include wikis. But then again, I think it is just as reasonable to remove blogs/MySpaces/etc. too. Schi 23:32, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

  • The last part is the problem. If wikis are covered by the existing line, so are blogs. Whatever line is or isn't in the guideline, it should read be "blogs and wikis". If the blog line stays in, wikis should be inserted. I wouldn't mind taking the line out either, but it is just wildly illogical to call out one but not the other. Maybe this won't fly, but... perhaps the lines about Myspace, social networking and youtube should be combined, while a new line about blogs, wikis and discussion forums is created basically saying they should never be linked to unless they have inordinate amount of detail, a significant history of stability, and WP:WEB-like authority, meaning something like the Trek wiki is likely mentioned all over the place, while some crackpot or spam wiki doesn't have nice things being said about it anywhere. We could make some absurdly high hurdle that makes clear these links should almost never be used. 2005 23:51, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
    • "they should never be linked to unless they have inordinate amount of detail, a significant history of stability, and WP:WEB-like authority" That's actually pretty good, I just don't agree with the mention of WEB since "notability" really just means "well known" and doesn't have any connotations of accuracy. Why don't you go ahead and put in a line like that? --Milo H Minderbinder 00:13, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Over in video games, it is often useful to link to a wiki related to a game so that users can get information they want that isn't encyclopedic (such as cheat codes, game mission info, mechanics) and often these wikis will link to further fansites which don't warrant being included (but so many people have their own pet fansite they want included which). I very much like the provido against linking to your own site, but a stable wiki is not often available when a game comes out - but a rapidly growing wiki with a lot of information is. I don't think wikipedia is the right place for game walkthroughs, tips, fansite links and cheatcodes, but external wikis are a great place for all of this information to go - releaving some of the pressure here made by users (anon and registered) and increasing the relative usefulness of the wikipedia article. Robovski 04:01, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

  • I think it's quite reasonable that blogs and wikis are put on the same level - if anything, a blog is more authoritative since it's written by a single person, and a wiki can be added to by anyone. I think it's also quite reasonable to state that nearly all blogs, as well as most wikis, are unsuitable as external links (I'm phrasing it this way because there are way more blogs than wikis out there, as every 16-year-old these days tends to have a blog). So I'd be in favor of a wording like "don't link to blogs and wikis, except ..." (Radiant) 13:08, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


OK, sounds like we're close to consensus-- pull blogs out of the MySpace/forum entry and add a new entry covering blogs and wikis? Something like

  • Links to blogs and wikis, except those with a substantial history of stability and authority. Granted, this doesn't cover User:Robovski's issue, but I suspect that if the gamers want to keep wiki links that don't quite meet this standard, nothing's going to stop them. Anyone have a problem with the proposed text? -- Mwanner | Talk 13:37, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
    • "Links to blogs, except those written by a recognized authority, and wikis, except those with substantial history and stability" ? Oh and by the way arguably an encyclopdeia is not the place to find cheat codes for games. One could always link to e.g. Gamefaqs for that, which is not a wiki. (Radiant) 13:41, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Comment it seems to me that the thing that gives a wiki credibility is "process and approval". For example, everyone person watching a page on Wikipedia implicitely approves of a change if they don't either edit it, or dicuss it on the talk page. And the process here is that there are enough users to provide wide coverage of the pages. Most wikis have difficulty because they do not have enough participation to gain credibility as having any type of process (many participants page watching) and approval (who then assent to changes when they don't modify them). Thus, the key, IMHO, is that the credibility correlates with the number of editors. Thus, do you think it would be worthwhile to say something like: "wikis with substantial numbers of editors that have a history of stability?" --Trödel 14:52, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


OK, to keep this from going on forever, I have changed the page as follows: pulled blogs out of the MySpace/forum entry, and added two new lines reading:

  • Links to blogs, except those written by a recognized authority.
  • Links to wikis, except those with substantial history of stability and a substantial numbers of editors.

Revert or tinker further if you feel you must. Thanks for all the input. -- Mwanner | Talk 15:36, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Looks good to me --Trödel 15:49, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Reasonable number of external links

Hey folks, I was wondering if I could get your feedback on an appropriate upper bound of links for an article to have. Animal rights has a considerable number that seems a touch unnecessary. Is there any policy on reducing the amount of links in an article? --Brad Beattie (talk) 08:00, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Common sense would indicate that adding 4.5 pages of links to a 10.5 page article is overkill. I would advise you to take this matter to the talk page for Animal rights, and ask people at WP:VP and WP:RFC to chime in on the matter. (Radiant) 13:10, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually, that's a great idea, especially if we could set it at, say, 3 or 4 (can you imagine the revert wars that would start?!). Anyway, yes, there is no question that the links on the Animal Rights page have gone way over any reasonable upper bound, and what we've got there is a link directory. I'll be happy to help work on the problem. -- Mwanner | Talk 13:17, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I swear I put a tag in that article... -- ReyBrujo 13:18, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Ah, no, someone else had done that, and I had agreed while reviewing the articles at the external links cleanup. First of all, move all the external links into a proper section. They have just merged it into the Further reading one. All links that point to the homepage of a site are external links, those that point to pages other than the main one could be considered further reading (AGF). Then, trim the external links section. The fact that someone had merged the further reading and the external links section is an attempt to keep them there, so I would suggest splitting back and purging as many as possible. -- ReyBrujo 13:23, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Judging blogs

OK, so now that we've cracked the door open for blogs, can someone provide some insight on how to determine which ones are "written by a recognized authority"? First case I have run into is at Branson, Missouri, a couple of links added to thedailyphosdex.blogdrive.com. I really don't follow blogs at all. TIA, -- Mwanner | Talk 19:06, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, what is a "recognized authority"? Does this allow blogs run by conventional newspapers? Sites like Gizmodo.com, Gawker.com, the Huffington Post or MyDD? In group blogs, does the participation of one "recognized authority" legitimize the posts of other, non-recognized non-authorities? Schi 19:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  1. Who is recognized: One who could reasonably be expected to publish in other, reliable sources if only blogs were not so dammned accessable.
  2. Gizmodo: yes
  3. Gawker: yes
  4. Huffpo: some of it
  5. MyDD: some of it
  6. Does the authority bless others of less authority: No JBKramer 19:48, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

A good reference for this is probably Wikipedia:Reliable sources, which is a good read overall. Specifically check out Evaluating reliability ("Neither online nor print sources deserve an automatic assumption of reliability by virtue of the medium they are printed in. All reports must be evaluated according to the processes and people that created them."), and Self-published sources. Note that since the article is about reliable sources (and external links aren't necessarily used as sources), it doesn't all apply, but I think it's a useful comparison. One distinction I would make with blogs is whether they are self published or published by a newspaper (especially if the bloggers are regular reporters and not someone just doing a blog) [[3]]. The branson article seemed like pretty blatant off-topic self promotion so I deleted the offending bits. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:19, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Factually inaccurate material

I noticed that in the section titled: Links normally to be avoided you include:

  • "2 Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research. See Reliable sources."

This is the first time that I can think of where factually inaccurate material has been discussed in such a explicitly negative way in a guideline. While I approve of this statement, I am concerned that it contradicts WP:NPOV... I could also see all sorts of arguments popping up as to whether the facts on a particular link are accurate or not. How does one determine if the facts are inaccurate when there is a dispute? Also note that this is not really discussed at WP:RS (although it should be). Blueboar 19:26, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I think this covers conspiracy theories websites. See Talk:7_World_Trade_Center#wtc7.net_as_source and nearly all the talk page discussions on Talk:7_World_Trade_Center/archive3 for problems we've had with people trying to insert 9/11 conspiracy sites on such articles as 7 World Trade Center. On the otherhand, these links may be acceptable on articles such as 9/11 conspiracy theories where these theories are the subject of the article. --Aude (talk) 20:15, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
The active phrase here is 'misleads the reader'. Ie, people presenting their own opinions as facts, or using spurious science presented as accurate studies. For instance, it'd be inappropriate to link to a website that "Scientifically proves the Sky is Orange.". Unless they are being used as a reference for a quote, or are the site directly related to the site (ie, Time Cube) If someone's willing to argue that they represent an *informed* POV, then that's a different matter. But the NPOV policy has always been for *Informed* Points of View, not patent nonsense. --Barberio 20:53, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that "misleads the reader" is a point of view in and of itself. Except for the most clear-cut cases, this is only going to cause arguments over whether a particular link is misleading or not, and the answer will depend heavily on the editor's viewpoint. For instance, does linking to a politician's speech on a subject mislead the reader? It probably depends whether you support that politician's party or some other party.
My other concern is that wikipedia articles frequently link to sites with "unverifiable research", at least assuming the definition of verifiability described at WP:V. This rules out linking to most mainstream media sites, for example, because such sites don't generally cite their sources, which is usually a requirement for something to be called verifiable according to the definition that's used here. Linking to a corporate page that makes claims about the company's products is probably also ruled out by this phrasing.
I think requiring external sites to live up to wikipedia internal standards before we link to them is asking too much. Wikipedia needs to be open and transparent because of what it is; other sites don't. JulesH 14:59, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
You should know that this is running directely contrary to discussions and revisions happening on WP:RS. One thing we need to make sure is that our guidelines and policies do not contradict each other. My personal opinion is that a provision such as this is a good thing... but we really should be consistant from one guideline to the next. I have raised what this guideline says on the talk page for WP:RS... perhaps you could pop over and help explain why you think this is important. Blueboar 22:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
We should be careful with a provision like this. I had a case where someone insisted that we remove a link because it had an out-of-date address for an office. -Will Beback · · 23:02, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
WP:RS is about what we can use as a source for the purposes of WP:V and WP:NOR. External links aren't sources, so I see no contradiction in using different rules for them. JulesH 23:27, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to word it better, but still have concerns about people insisting on links to conspiracy sites on articles that aren't about conspiracy theories. Some of these sites, for example, do have material about 7WTC, but are notorious for their theories and inaccurate or misleading information. On that article, we now have only two official links. I would like to keep it at that, as any more links open the door for problems. Through discussions on the talk page, it is clear there is no consensus for additional links on the article. And that is enforced. --Aude (talk) 00:01, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I think points of view about the September 11 attacks are a bad example. Based on what I heard from someone who visited Egypt, what most people in Western civilisation would consider a "conspiracy theory" is the dominant view in Egypt. I suspect it is also the dominant view in Muslim countries in general. However, I don't know Arabic, so I would probably have trouble proving it. My point is, that area of Wikipedia probably suffers from systemic bias. Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 00:55, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

We do have articles on conspiracy theories; links about conspiracy theories are absolutely okay on those articles. But, if the article is not about conspiracy theories, then such links are not okay. Those websites in question do not base their information on reliable sources. --Aude (talk) 01:10, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Admitting that I don't know much about the topic, is it Wikipedia's place to judge whether the popular belief of Western countries, as proclaimed by major American, British, French, etc. news outlets any more valid than the popular belief of Muslim countries, as proclaimed by major Iraqi, Afghani, Egyptian, etc. news outlets? What if the Egyptians think that the belief that Osama orchestrated the attacks is a ridiculous conspiracy theory? (I think they do, but like I said, I don't have a source to cite.) Is it Wikipedia's place to call any major opinion, Western or Muslim, a conspiracy theory? Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 03:38, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Reliable sources from such Arab and non-Western countries are entirely acceptable, such as Al Jazeera and the Times of India. --Aude (talk) 04:07, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Ah. Nevermind then. Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 04:15, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Consensus

I might add that on Google Maps, there is a warning (in comments) " ATTENTION! DO NOT ADD LINKS WITHOUT DISCUSSION ON THE TALK PAGE. THEY WILL BE REMOVED." This is enforced, and I think is helpful in keeping the link section in check. If consensus on the talk page says okay, then the link can be added. Harsh as it may sound, this strategy is used on the main September 11, 2001 attacks page and it works. On most pages, such explicit warnings may not be needed, but maybe the guideline needs to mention something about consensus for adding links. After official websites, I think consensus is the next important criteria. --Aude (talk) 00:03, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Great re-write

I just wanted to say I think you did a great job on the re-write. The guideline is much clearer, much easier to follow, and better presented. Thank you all for your hard work. --Siobhan Hansa 20:05, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree. I've been watching the changes and was worried a few times but the guideline is really starting to come together. Nice work.--I already forgot 03:09, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Are external links required?

Another article I'm currently working on, Gun violence in the United States, I am VERY hesitant to even include ANY external links. Anything pertinent is included as a reference. Once an external links section is added, it's vulnerable to POV linkspam (see Gun politics in the United States#External links). I wonder if including zero links is okay? I'd rather not open a can of worms for links. I can think of one or two "official" government links [4] [5] to include if we must include an External links section. But these also are included in some way or another as references. Thoughts? --Aude (talk) 20:22, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

There is no requirement to have an external links section to become a Featured Article, no. JBKramer 20:26, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
In some cases I can see where the appropriate number of external links would be zero. --Barberio 20:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Problems with ODP

Per this announcement Open Directory Project seems to be having some ongoing technical problems. In light of that, should the recommendation to link to it be removed, at least temporarily? Little Miss Might Be Wrong 23:45, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

The ODP is still working, and links there still direct to visible pages. This is only a problem with their dynamic content backend, and will lead to a delay in adding links there. This isn't (yet) an issue that calls for removing the recommendation. --Barberio 00:09, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Changes of last few days?

I see many changes over the last few days, but see no discussion about these changes. I have reverted to previous consensus version. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 01:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Please see the rewrite discussion archive. It's been going on for months. - Mike | Talk Flag of the United States.svg 01:59, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Recent reverts

I have reverted three of the last four changes:

  • the deletion of the "un-encyclopedic" level of detail qualifier: it seems to me that we can reasonably leave it in at least until we encounter our first dispute over how to define it-- I suspect it won't be all that problematic.
  • The previous version had clear-cut examples of what was meant by excessive details (i.e. athlete stats etc.). This version sums things up with "unencyclopedic". Since everyone's definition of "encyclopedic" differs, "unencyclopedic" tells me nothing. It is also redundant and doesn't really add anything to the sentence. My personal belief is that we should avoid using loaded, meaningless adjectives such as "encyclopedic". It should be removed and replaced with some examples. My removal of the word should be considered as "the first dispute over how to define it": so please define what is meant by "unencyclopedic" level of detail and then add it to the guideline. --JJay 14:07, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, I meant an actual example-- a site that one editor felt had an unencyclopedic level of detail while another editor differed. I wouldn't have a huge problem with adding a clarification, though the old one was rather long-- "such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks". I would urge that any such addition await a real example of this issue. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:26, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I disagree: the previous definition had the benefit of clarity. Furthermore, we are talking here about line 3 of What should be linked to. It makes no sense to say "that site has an 'unencyclopedic' level of detail"- so let's link to it. The goal here is to discourage packing articles with massive amounts of information that can be found on more professional, specialized external sites - not to encourage fights over what is "encyclopedic" or "unencyclopedic". The "unencyclopedic" qualifier should be removed, perhaps replaced with "excessive", and the previous direct examples should be re-added to the guideline. Those examples were arrived at after a great deal discussion and debate. Now, everything is back on the table, which is a huge step backward in my view--JJay 14:42, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • So your proposal amounts to
"3. Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to the site's copyright issues, excessive level of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons."
I could live with that, though it's certainly wordy. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly what I'm proposing, although I'm not sure the qualifier "excessive" is really required. A close reading of the sentence + examples shows that "excessive" is clearly implied. --JJay 15:19, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Needs something there, though. How about "amount of detail (such as..."?
Yes, something like: Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to the site's copyright issues, excessive level amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons. ----Seems way better to me. --JJay 15:59, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Done. -- Mwanner | Talk 17:58, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • the removal of the prohibition against forums by a user who has a problem with it. This has been policy for a long time-- discussion is definitely in order before such a change is contemplated.
  • the removal of the "presumptuous template", {{tl:NoMoreLinks}}. It doesn't strike me as presumptuous to ask people to discuss links before adding them, especially on some of our more massively spammed pages. -- Mwanner | Talk 13:59, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Hmmm... I just noticed that this template was added yesterday, making my reversion more dubious. So, could we have some discussion? I see this template or equivalent text used on quite a few pages, and though I've seen it removed by spammers, I've never seen a Talk page comment saying "this is outrageouse" or the equivalent. It seems to me that all that it presumes is that there is a reasonable limit to the number of links that should be added to one page, and that the limit has been reached in at least one editor's judgement. Seems consistent with the rest of the policy to me. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:52, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Please be a little more careful before making inappropriate reversions. This is a guideline. Templates do not exist to end run guidelines, and certainly should not do so with ZERO discussion. We have had a lot of discussion about this guideline, and there is no reason to start from scratch because somebody created a template that says "no more links". That's just absurd. This guideline applies to links both old and new. There is no ghetto part of this guideline that says a link added today has a different criteria than one added yesterday, nor that any single editor can just say "this is all the links I'm going to allow here". I removed the presumptuous template. If someone wants to discuss and reach consensus on changing the way external links are added, this is the page to do it on. 2005 22:11, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
        • OK, I am sorry about reverting first and asking after. But, please note that the template does not say "this is all the links I'm going to allow". It says, in effect, "don't add more links without discussing them". Granted, it could say it a lot more diplomatically, and, obviously it ought to refer to the policy page. But we have articles with 50 and more links. Cleaning up such a mess takes time, and the existence to way too many links just seems to draw more. I think there is a place for such a template. Yes, it needs rewriting. But note that our policy states twice that "[links] should be kept to a minimum". -- Mwanner | Talk 22:22, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
          • No it says what it says, and if a links page is a mess, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the value of a link someone wants to add. The template is ridiculous, but that isn't the point. Any external links templates need to be discussed here, not just pulled out of somebody's butt while totally ignoring this guideline. If an editor thinks external links need a cleanup, there is a template for that. If you or someone else wants to start a discussion about drastically changing the way external links are handled, start one. Us talking about your reversion is not the place for that. 2005 22:32, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
            • I've seen many similar messages in the code of articles. Things like don't add links, don't add fansites, don't add unofficial sites, etc. For the most part, it seems like these messages ignore EL and are just someone trying to block the addition of any more links, whether they meet EL or not. Would it make sense to create a template for this purpose that is consistent with EL? Even something like "Don't add external links unless they meet WP:EL" would be better than many of the ones I've seen. Along the same lines, I assume it's reasonable to remove messages along the lines of "no more links" or at least change it to something more consistent with WP guidelines? --Milo H Minderbinder 17:20, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
              • Messages on mature articles that are a result of discussion and consensus -- like agreeing to just use a Dmoz link on articles where there could be dozens of decent links -- are not in the same ballpark as this. Templates allow one editor to randomly tag articles in ways one person should not. This particular wording is especially unhelpful in that it implies that any new links have to jump through hoops old ones don't. Most existing notes of this kind basically say not to add links because there is a directory link or something similar, in other words, no links at all are allowed. Determinations like this should be devloped by consensus, or at least by multiple editors, not something any editor can just say because they know a template exists. 2005 21:41, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
                • So you obviously don't want to see this as a template. But is it appropriate for an article to have a "no more links" message, particularly if the article has few or no links other than official ones (and no directory link)? And what if a message like that seems to be added by an individual instead of a consensus decision? It seems like some are just using these sorts of messages to try and keep out links they don't personally like instead of applying EL. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:11, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
                  • If there are inappropriate messages on articles, they should be dealt with in terms of that article. 2005 23:44, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Sites requiring registration

Until recently, the section "Links normally to be avoided" included the exception "A site that requires registration or a subscription should not be linked unless it is being used as a source". For clarity on sourcing, should not that exception be carried forward to the new "Sites requiring registration" section? --CliffC 17:35, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I dunno, we say up top that editors should "Refer to the citation guideline for instructions on citing sources". Seems to me we should leave it to that page to cover. -- Mwanner | Talk 17:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
External links that require registration are not useful, just as external links that require special software for browsing (Java, Flash, IRC, etc). However, if you are using such external link as reference, and you are showing exactly where the reference is being used (that is, it is an inline citation and not just a link in the references section), then it can stay as reference. Thus, I agree that we should point that out, with a link to the citation guidelines. -- ReyBrujo 21:47, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, yes, I was referring to in-line cites. The citation guideline mentioned by Mwanner doesn't seem to mention sites requiring registration just yet, so I'll hope to see it in "Sites requiring registration". Thanks. --CliffC 01:35, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Sites that solicit contributions

I saw an interesting Edit summary just now: "rm linkspam, sites solicit financial contributions" (at Arctic Refuge drilling controversy). I'm kind of sympathetic-- I see lots of links added to pages that, among other things, seek contributions. Generally I just judge the site on the usefulness of its content, ignoring the funds pitch (though if the site is borderline useful, I tend to count the pitch against it).

Of course, one could look at fundraising on a site as the equivalent of direct retail sales, the major red flag for me. So, should we mention fundraising? If so, as a major bar to inclusion, or a minor one? -- Mwanner | Talk 21:36, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Removing a link from a site just because they solicit contributions is terrible. The guideline already mentions an excessive advertising, so nothing else is needed. A fundraising link on any site or page should be irrelevant. But like any other type of money-making, if that is excessive and all the site/link is about, then it isn't appropriate. 2005 22:20, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

University of Mary Washington

At the University of Mary Washington article, Analyzethis (talk · contribs) insists on adding a link to a website he runs [6]. Several other users keep removing this as linkspam but he keeps adding the link back, insisting it's vital to the UMW community. Can we have an outside view on this conflict? Metros232 20:58, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, I can't judge how useful this link is to the community, nor can you. But I think it is analogous to an independent student newspaper being listed as a link -- and I think that would be fine. There's too much knee-jerk deletion of links going on across Wikipedia coming out of this "guideline", and sometimes the deletions seem to reflect personal biases and other times they are being done by rote, rather than by determining relevance on a case-by-case basis. I don't know which, if either, is the case here. Why do you feel as strongly about removing it as the other user feels about keeping it? I don't think there is overwhelming reason to either keep or delete this link, so my recommendation would be to see if there are other folks working on that page who also think the link is useful, not just the person who runs the website. BUt then he may be the only one interested in keeping this article current. Hope this helps at least open a discussion. Tvoz 02:36, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Well so far in discussion at User_talk:Takeel#Middlesell_Links, Analyzethis (talk · contribs) has been the only one to advocate for the link to stay while three other users object to it. Also note that what is presumably the same user added this link to several other college pages under IP address 199.111.74.57 (talk · contribs) and called removal of the links vandalism.
It appears to be little more than a blog and not anything substantive to add to the article so far as I can tell. Metros232 02:44, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I have left a warning. If there is dispute over a link, it should be discussed on the talk page and consensus reached one way or the other. One does have bias when adding a link to websites one runs or is affiliated with. Broader consensus should be reached. --Aude (talk) 02:46, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
This one is easy. Links added by the owner of a site are prohibited: "editors are restricted from linking to the following, without exception." That's the second clearest thing in this guideline, after official sites. Just remove the link. If the owner of the site wants to ask someone to link to it via a posting on the talk page, fine. 2005 03:18, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Purpose =

What is the purpose of including external links? I don't see anything in the policy explaining why external links should be included at all. I mean... it's kind of obvious, but I thought that stating the purpose could decrease the edit wars. -Freekee 20:18, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Adding an external link...why was recommended my link rejected?

I discovered a great website/portal about all things African (knowingafrica.com) that I wanted to add to the Africa, but after adding it today, it has subsequently been removed. I would like to understand this better and challenge the rationale for having it removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.65.55.223 (talkcontribs) 03:25, November 20, 2006

Looks like a nice resource to me. The folks at Africa recently went through a large purge in external links Talk:Africa#External_links_section. Even though there is nothing obviously wrong with the link, wikipedia is not a link directory, and the community behind Africa may feel that they have enough resources already. Raise the issue on the article talk page at Talk:Africa if you feel strongly about its inclusion. here 03:40, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
It's also possible that it was reverted because it was added five instances of it were added at once [7]. I remember seeing it at the time and considered removing it myself as being a spammy sort of behavior, but didn't 'cause I don't edit that article much. -- Mwanner | Talk 18:03, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Citation in the guideline

I am just bringing to everyone's attention that there is a citation in the policy, but there is no instance of <references/>. A footnotes section should probably be added (or the citation removed). – Heaven's Wrath   Talk  05:41, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

"A website that you own or maintain"

I was looking at the text which begins "A website that you own or maintain, even if the guidelines otherwise...". I can see a problem with this. This is all very well for the small site where someone wants to promote it. But how about, for example, a big company which has a tie-in cross product web site: official but secondary, relating to perhaps dozens of articles. They can post this and the person can say "I don't own or maintain this site. I don't even work for the company that made the products, nor the one that created the site: I work for the marketing company they hired". I'd like to suggest an investigation of whether this form of words could be made more all-inclusive; or indeed whether adding such links is a valuable service to Wikipedia readers and shouldn't be stopped; or whether existing policies are adequate. Notinasnaid 11:05, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

No investigation is needed. Wikipedia:Conflict of interest already addresses this problem. Even if you are not employed directly by the company, or the company that made the site, acting as an agent for either constitutes a conflict of interest. I've updated the guideline to add 'acting as an agent'. --Barberio 12:47, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
How does this apply to sites where users can add or edit content, which could include wikis, imdb, etc. Is anyone who edits disqualified? Admins? Just the owner? Can the article about YouTube only be edited by people who've never uploaded a video? --Milo H Minderbinder 17:13, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
If you originated the specific content on Youtube OR you are the owner, employee or agent of Youtube, then it's a conflict of interests. If you uploaded an unrelated video, then there's no conflict. --Barberio 23:21, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
This would certainly include those who set up wikis then seek to use Wikipedia to promote them. But not, I think, those who add to it. Notinasnaid 14:08, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Regarding Linking to "Blogs"

I would like more information about this policy. Most websites these days include a blog component, as it's the thing to do. However, does that mean that a website that includes a blog IS a blog for the purposes of this policy? In other words, say you have a content management website with longer articles and also some blog entries. Is this automatically exluded because of the blog component? Some article editors seem to think so.

  • No. It means we should not (in general) link to the blog part, but rather to the static part of the site. (Radiant) 14:22, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I need to verify some further clarification here. From what I have read in EL, RS, and V, nothing has changed about self-published sources (such as blog posts) being acceptable as primary sources for statements made by the subject of the article, as long as authorship is not in dispute. Several other editors seem to be under the impression that this single exception to "no self-published sources" has also been thrown out. Can someone please clarify that this particular exception to the rule is still in effect? Crockspot 21:58, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Part of the confusion is probably because WP policies assume that all blogs are self published, which isn't the case any more. Where is this discussion going on? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:36, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
The current discussion is on Talk:Ava Lowery, but I don't think it is applicable to that particular article. But I am being insistently told there that WP:RS#Self-published sources in articles about themselves is no longer policy, and that ANY link to a blog in ANY case is to be removed. Obviously, since this exception for primary sources is still in WP:RS and WP:V, someone is confused, and I don't think it's me. Crockspot 18:09, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps those taking that position have missed the first line of the "Links normally to be avoided" section, namely "Except for a link to a page that is the subject of the article or is an official page of the subject of the article, one should avoid:" I think the equivalent exception used to be in the blog entry itself; when it was made an overall exception, people may have thought it was simply removed from the blog entry. -- Mwanner | Talk 18:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Lyrics sites

It's been my understanding for a while that we don't link to websites of song lyrics because they keep those lyrics posted in violation of copyright. I don't see anything in this guideline that directly addresses this question, so I thought I'd ask here. Is it legit to link to lyrics sites, such as Beatles Music Lyrics? -GTBacchus(talk) 19:42, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Clearly not all lyrics sites violate copyright; some may have very old songs or may be official provided or with permission. But in other cases, it is covered by Restrictions on linking, item 2. Notinasnaid 19:47, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
lyricsdir.com currently has 662 links. These sites are usually in copyright violation because the lyrics are copyrighted by their authors, who don't permit redistribution unless granted permission. I suggest removing all these links, as well as any other site with lyrics. -- ReyBrujo 03:46, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
By the way, it is not our task to prove these links don't break copyright, it is the task of the editor linking to the site. Thus, I suggest removing them unless the editor informs that the site is not breaking copyright. -- ReyBrujo 03:49, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with the strong language "prove". It is certainly not the task of editors adding links to "prove" anything, copyright or not. It is only our task to have a certain level of belief that the material is not in violation of copyright. That belief only has to extend as far as : "It appears to be the work of the author". Any more harsh position would disasterously affect wikipedia's ability to link to anything. Wjhonson 16:28, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Unluckily, linking to sites that breach copyright without doing anything to prevent it is considered breaking copyright, as stated in the Fair use pages. Thus, someone linking to a lyrics site is effectively working against Wikipedia, making us as guilty as himself. It is not different from linking to YouTube, a PDF version of a book, or a mp3 file. While pointing to lyrics in the official site of the singer or band is fine, linking to these generic sites is not. Note that some sites have agreements with determined record companies to upload certain lyrics, but most don't. -- ReyBrujo 17:31, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a completely incorrect representation of case law on this subject. Scare tactics will not stop me and other editors from continuing to link to sites that make Fair use of copyrighted materials and sites which have material whose copyright is suspect or stated for use. YouTube is a medium for exchange of material that may be in the public domain, and may be copyrighted by the person posting to it. Any links reverted on presumption, are subject to edit-warring. Editors are not responsible, under case law, for items they felt were fair use. Don't wikilawyer me on the subject. Wjhonson 17:54, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
As I have already stated (maybe you decided to bypass that part), some lyrics site have agreements with record companies or with bands to post the lyrics, while others do not. Extensive copy of copyrighted text (commonly, 100% in these sites, as they post lyrics for the full album) cannot be justified under Fair use. Trying to think you can justify anything under Fair use is faulty. While I am saying "Let's clarify that a site posting the full contents of an album cannot claim fair use and should not be linked because it is breaking copyright unless explicitly stating they have an agreement with record companies", you are basically saying "No, let's not mention it, so that the editors of Wikipedia can claim ignorance and thus not being held responsible". I will point you to www.azlyrics.com/copyright.html, a site that posts lyrics. This site clarifies that Unless you have received permission from the copyright owner or their representative to distribute the lyrics from their songs, you are in violation of the law. and that a certain Publisher demand us to cease and desist from offering these unauthorized lyrics for distribution via our website. In other words, even these sites know posting determined lyrics can violate the law, they do not invoke Fair use to continue posting the lyrics, and that they would remove lyrics when asked to. They are not claiming "ignorance" as a safeguard like you, but instead "let's hope nobody realizes about this", which is the same approach torrent sites use ("If something you are copyright owner is here, please tell us so that we remove it"). The editor inserting the link must get sure the link he is adding is not breaking copyright. Or, as with images, we will have to have a team checking every link to see whether the link is breaking copyright or not. And since we get 15-20 new external links per minute, that is pretty impossible. -- ReyBrujo 18:20, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
"The copyright owner must show that the webmaster actually knew or should have known of the infringing activity." I direct your attention to "must show" which is not a statement by the owner, it's that they have to *prove* their case by the preponderence of the evidence. Also I direct your attention to "actually knew". Technical language which excludes the case where the infringement exists, but the infringer did not know. I rest my case. Wjhonson 18:04, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

But Rey, no one, not me, not any living person whatsoever... is stating that we should use sites which can be shown to be in violation. The objection is the assumption that a site is in violation, simply because they are silent on the issue. Your example is not this case, it's a red herring to misdirect the argument. If web content does not explicitely mention, or hyper-mention that there's a copyright issue, then assuming there is one, is not the position that wikieditors should take. Rather we should assume there isn't one, until there is evidence that there is one. Wjhonson 18:29, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Wjhonson, a C&D order would need to be dealt with by our lawyer... and he costs a lot of mula. I prefer to see donations be spent on servers and bandwidth. ---J.S (t|c) 02:40, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
All a C&D says is "stop doing that". You don't need a lawyer to stop doing something. It's another red herring argument. Again I'm not suggesting linking to sites that can be SHOWN to be in violation. Only that we cannot restrict linking to sites about which a reverting editor has not made any attempt to *determine* *whether* they are in violation. It should not be up-to-the submitting editor to *prove* that a site isn't in violation. That would be an almost unbelievable high bar to cross. How exactly do you prove something like that? Wjhonson 19:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I totally disagree with this. It is the burden of the person adding information to provide references for it, and it is the duty of a licensee to show that they have a license. So why shouldn't the person adding a link show that the link is properly licensed. If it is not, then you can still use the reference without a link. To do otherwise is to turn our heads and allow violations - then we are no better than youtube users, napster, or any other group that willfully steals from others. --Trödel 00:26, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Further reading

Further reading redirects to here. An invitation to further reading of a physical book isn't an external link. Last time I read these MoS entries there was a distinction made between the two, and the consensus at the time was to have external links and other media in a section called "Further reading". Has this policy been reverted or was I reading another contradictory policy elsewhere? --Monotonehell 06:04, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

restrictions on linking viz COI

There is no absolute prohibition in linking to sites you maintain, etc.--WP:V clearly delineates the self-publishing exceptions. WP:EL is a guideline, and as a guideline should not contradict policy. If you want to go into detail on discouraging self-publishing external links, that should go in "links normally to avoid." Cindery 22:09, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

This is a guideline about external links, not sources. Also, what do you think in WP:V even comments on adding external links to a site a person owns or maintains? 2005 22:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
There is an absolute prohibition in this guideline, primarly because people have generaly agreed that there should be. It it rooted in Wikipedia:Conflict of interest, which is rooted in WP:NPOV not WP:V. This issue has been a pretty clearly established aspect of NPOV. --Barberio 00:06, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more that self-published links should almost always be avoided, and that strong encouragement to avoid them should be in EL guideline. But, they aren't actually prohibited, and there are some very good exceptions--and stating that they are affects...YouTube. For example, the primary way for a YT self-publisher to affirm GDFL and copyright permission is to publish the link him or herself on Wiki. Instead of going into detail re YouTube, it would be better to move self-published links from restrictions to "links normally to be avoided." Any self-published link of any variety can be objected to by any editor under WP:AUTO and COI, as well as all other policies and guidelines. If you want to spearhead an initiative to outright ban commercial self-published links not already covered by spam, I will be your vice-president. :-) What I'm concerned about is the possibility of the technicality being used to wrongfully exclude/delete YouTube in general on a technicality.

Cindery 01:29, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

We should never link to GFDL video on Youtube. If the self-publisher is willing to release video under the GFDL, we or they should upload it to Commons and not link to it on Youtube. 67.117.130.181 01:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
That's a good point. That way the video can't vanish as it easily can from YouTube. -- Mwanner | Talk 01:46, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
You are confused about the language. The External links guideline is not talking about self-published websites. It is talking about the owner/operator of a website adding a link to that website to the External links section. 2005 01:53, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I see your intention, but "agent of" and/or "maintains" can mean someone who publishes and maintains a link at YouTube. Cindery 20:18, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

There is no absolute prohibition on self-published sources; external links is a subset of sources. Blogs and websites maintained by the subject of an article are usually included in external links of articles about subjects (and who put them there is largely irrelevant). It's not a restriction; it should go under links normally to be avoided. The point should be to help people to understand the useful exceptions for the benefit of Wikipedia; not to compound existing confusion about what to link and what not to link (by failing to make any distinction between useful and unuseful self-published links in favor of erroneously stating that they are prohibited).

Self-published sources (online and paper)

Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources.

Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by a well-known, professional researcher in a relevant field or a well-known professional journalist. These may be acceptable so long as their work has been previously published by reliable third-party publications. However, exercise caution: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so.

Self-published and dubious sources in articles about the author(s)

Material from self-published sources, and other published sources of dubious reliability, may be used as sources in articles about the author(s) of the material, so long as:

  • it is relevant to their notability;
  • it is not contentious;
  • it is not unduly self-serving;
  • it does not involve claims about third parties, or about events not directly related to the subject;
  • there is no reasonable doubt as to who wrote it.

Cindery 23:43, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

It sounds like you're not really taking issue with recommending that people don't add links to their own self-published material, but are just saying that it's a guideline and not a policy (so it can be absolutely forbidden). I guess I'd agree with that, but I can't think of an exception where I'd think it would be OK for someone to do so. Personally I'd prefer if forbidding people to link to their own sites was a policy and not just a guideline. --Milo H Minderbinder 18:37, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Help sought at VoiceXML

User:Calltech and I clearly have quite different interpretations of this guideline, as is becoming evident at VoiceXML. As far as I can tell, we are both being calm about the disagreement—no danger of an edit war—but it is clear that we will not reach consensus, so I thought it would be useful to bring this here.

The external link in question is the link to the home page of the working group within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that maintains the VoiceXML standard. I'm linking the working group rather than the standard itself, because there have been several versions of the standard, at least two of them widely used, plus two more that will probably be important within the next year, and I think a link to the group conforms to our intent of providing a relatively high-level link that will lead to other relevant links. I think that this is, for all intents and purposes, the official site of VoiceXML and should be linked. (One of the draft standards is externally linked within the article text; I'm neutral on that, but that is not the dispute we are having.)

CallTech, however, says that the only thing in the external links section the article should be the DMOZ page, and that as for finding the group and other relevant documents "W3C has its own article which is prominently linked (internally) in the first sentence" and, presumably, the W3C article links to the W3C site, in which you could presumably then look up the Voice Browser Working Group. My feeling is that is awfully far removed (navigate an internal link, on that page find an external link, then within that outside site, navigate to the relevant working group) from what I think (from having used this technology) is the single most useful URL for further information.

I am bringing this here because he tells me that there have been recent changes in this guideline and, if I read him correctly, tells me that what I want to do goes against the guideline. Since I don't think it does—in fact, I think that this being, effectively, an official site, the guideline actually encourages linking it—I figured I'd bring the matter here, because if he is right, I am obviously quite out of touch with how this guideline has evolved.

CallTech, if you think I've at all misrepresented your position, my apologies, and please restate it yourself. - Jmabel | Talk 05:07, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Jmabel, and I agree that this has been a calm discussion and that there is simply a difference of opinion here.
First, I did not state "that the only thing in the external links section the article should be the DMOZ page". I replaced the list of links on this article with the DMOZ directory listing and also added a message on the link section warning against undiscussed links. This comes right from the recommendations here Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam. Additional links can be added but should be discussed first on the Talk page. In fact, after you re-added w3c to the external links section, I stated "Prefer you remove this link and get consensus first which is WP guideline".
WP:EL: "Try to avoid linking to multiple pages from the same website; instead, try to find an appropriate linking page within the site." W3c is already linked here VoiceXML#Future Versions of the standard and you've acknowledged that.
It really boils down to getting consensus within WP guidelines. The arguments you've made here are strong for keeping this link and I now wouldn't be opposed to keeping it. I do think it was important to discuss this first before adding it because this article was becoming a magnet for external links. Calltech 12:45, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Additional note - I went ahead and softened the notice under External Links. Both came from Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam. Both messages request users submit new links first to Talk page, but the second one is not so harsh. Calltech 14:50, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm a W3C member and I was trying to have the W3C spec pages more informative. I added the two links in the VoiceXML page external links. They were removed. Can you clarify why they were deleted? The VoiceXML Forum is good source. Do I need to find consensus before adding a link to a page? I'm a novice and I need to understand the rules first. Paolo Baggia
Thanks for your comments here, Paolo. This was discussed on Talk:VoiceXML a few days ago. My observation on voicexml forum was that it requires registration (and payment) which is against guidelines WP:EL#Sites requiring registration. There are always exceptions, but these should be addressed in the Talk page rather than simply adding them. There are lots of really good VoiceXML websites out there, but WP is not a directory. If you follow the DMOZ Open Directory Listing - VoiceXML external link within the article, you'll effectively see all of these sites including voicexml forum. Calltech 14:50, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Again, I brought this here hoping to get comment from people who routinely work on external links issues on Calltech's and my disagreement and whether one or the other of us is misunderstanding the guideline. That Paolo would like to go farther away from Calltech's understanding than I would in this case is only barely on topic. I am still hoping to get comment from people who work routinely in this area (external links). - Jmabel | Talk 19:01, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Use "further reading" instead of "external links" sections

Just a thought: in broad agreement with what WP:EL already advocates in spirit and letter, we should discourage the use of "external links" sections in articles altogether. We should instead use a term such as "further reading" or "further information", since this is what external links are supposed to provide anyway. The use of "further reading/info" would immediately conscientise the editor into considering whether or not an external link genuinely provides more information for the reader or is just linkspam. Another advantage is that if there is no "external links" section (there being a "further reading" section instead) there is no place to dump drive-by spam. I edit the occasional geographic article where accommodation links are often posted, as well as car articles that attract a proliferation of forum/car modification website links. If the section was titled "further reading" instead it would cut down on well-intentioned but inappropriate external links at the source.

In reality the external links section is actually just further reading/info where said info happens to be web-based. External links are the means, further reading is the end. As I said, the letter and spirit of the EL guideline already makes it clear that this is how external links are to be used, so why not make it clear in the articles themselves? Zunaid©Please rate me at Editor Review! 11:20, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't see Further reading / further information as any more discouraging of barely on-topic links. If anything, it is even more open-ended: "But the person who looked up this war may want to know all about the Avalon-Hill game that simulates it". - Jmabel19:03, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes interesting I hadn't thought about that, but I agree with your idea. We should title the section "Further reading" not "External links". Then within that section we could have links and non-linked works, or even sub-sections I suppose if there are a lot of them. Good idea. Wjhonson 19:09, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, my initial instinct upon hearing/reading "further reading" is that it would be a bunch of wikilinks, not external links. Like Jmabel said, changing the wording won't do anything to prevent people from putting improper links there. EVula // talk // // 19:14, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Further reading can also include items that are not links at all. Such as a book, whose contents are not on the internet. Or a magazine article reference. I don't think anyone is suggesting that changing the title will add or detract from whether people misuse it. Just that "Further reading" is a better title than "External links" since it's more comprehensive and also more standard in other reference works. Wjhonson 20:19, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
It should be obvious that it would make it more likely to be abused, since other editors can look at an external link, while a we all can't just grab a copy of some obscure book whose title sounds interesting. External links is proper in that they are just that, links. Non-linked items should almost never be outside of sources. Also, the point of external links are for users, not anybody else. Links can be seen immediately. Almost any other "further reading" type thing requires payment/registration or something like that, and thus fail in the same way as "Sites requiring registration". Again obviously the sites requiring registration section of the guideline would need to be removed completely if external links were changed to a broader further reading criteria. There is no value to users in making the change, and a half dozen reasons not to. 2005 23:50, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
"Almost any other "further reading" type thing requires payment/registration or something like that" There are things called libraries which one can borrow published works for free. "External links" is a limiting title, it excludes published works. Published works, which are a better recognised authoritative source than websites, are an important resource for wikipedia articles. There's no way wikipedia can be considered a serious encyclopedia by reliying on websites as source material. Some readers wont have the need to visit real paper, but others may be interested enough to take out a book from their local library. Even WP:CITE which is the parent policy to this page uses the term "Further reading". --Monotonehell 15:51, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
"'External links" is a limiting title, it excludes published works.'" Yes, that is by design. They are things that can be seen via a click. You seem to want to put a round peg in a square hole. The external links section is for links that are freely accessible. That's it. "Published works, which are a better recognised authoritative source than websites..." That is just patent nonsense. Silly generalizations like that won't get you anywhere. 2005 21:48, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
My completely ignored post above states pretty much the same thing. I'm sure this was policy a few months back. I just can't remmeber where I read it. I've been doing it on a lot of pages that I'm involved with. It works well on the pages I've put it on as the further reading does include printed works as well as websites. Term "external links" doesn't put the section in context while the term "further reading" not only contexualises the section but opens it up to real media, where more authoritive sources exist. --Monotonehell 23:38, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I've started doing the same thing on the subset of articles I edit. In response to some points raised above: I don't get the Avalon-Hill example. Further reading means "further reading on the article's subject/topic" so I don't see how anyone can justify putting such a link in, and vigilant editors will be justified in removing it. In response to the obscure books concern, at least the title and existence of the book, if not the contents, can be confirmed online, and even if it can't I don't foresee it as a major problem.. I don't think you'll get much "non-link spam" as compared to linkspam, because what's the point if it doesn't give your site a good pagerank?

The problem with "external links" is that it can be taken to mean "list of somewhat-topic-related external links". IMHO "topic-related" is not a strong criterion, and there are well-intentioned editors who add inappropriate links in good faith thinking they are okay. The info has to "add value" to the reader's knowledge of the subject by extending the article, as this guideline already explains in quite some detail. The term "further reading/info" means just that, "find further information on this subject that is not covered (or is not appropriate to cover) in this encyclopedia article" and IMHO is less open to interpretation than "external links". We should discourage the reasoning of "external links for external links' sake", and the first small step to doing so is to name the section appropriately. You won't stop intentional linkspam, but you may stop well-intentioned addition of links to a "list of external links". The term "external links" IMHO is more open-ended than "further reading" as the latter directly indicates that the link has to extend the article, and empowers editors to remove links that are not. And as mentioned above, it is more consistent with what is used in other reference works. Zunaid©Please rate me at Editor Review! 07:52, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Video and photo sharing sites

Links to video and photo sharing sites should be avoided, due to lack of verifiability, reliability, and possible copyvios. This is exactly the same case as per blogs and personal pages: do not link. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:32, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

All of which issues are best handled on their appropriate pages, not here. There should be no special consideration here, of issues that are policy or not. WP:V in particular is irrelevant. V can be checked by simply watching the production. Bringing up V over and over is a red herring meant to distract from your real issue which is apparently RS. Copyvio again is irrelevant. Obviously a YouTube of a music video is a copyvio, anyone can tell that. However a YouTube that is an original production has no copyright issue since the author loaded it themselves, and has their own copyright. The act of posting it, is a grant to the public to link to it. A link is not a copy, therefore there is no copyright issue involved. We *can* link to copyrighted work. A blanket identification of all YouTube as a copyright issue is ungrounded in fact or practice. Wjhonson 20:15, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
EL is a guideline, not a policy. Per V and C, which are policy, YouTube is not prohibited; there are ::exceptions. Due to the disruptive mass deletions of YouTube links immediately following a created EL ::technicality which is in conflict with policy, the YouTube-specific wording is being reverted back to the ::original, in order to prevent abuse of the EL guideline to advance a specific source bias being advanced ::by two people. All blatant YT copyvios are covered under C. Please see YouTube discussion involving jossi ::and I at NOR. Jossi, you're up to 3RR.
Cindery 20:12, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
WP:V is absolutely relevant: there is no way that anyone can vouch for the video content uploaded to a site with no editorial control. Such content cannot be verified by "watching it". Same way that we cannot verify the content of a scanned document posted on a personal home page. Note that WP:RS is a disputed guideline. A new formulation is being worked out at WP:ATT and WP:ATT/FAQ. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I would also appreciate if you refrain from deleting the examples given for video and photo sharing sites. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:24, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I will not refrain from deleting a list of specific sites whose only purpose is to push a particular POV. A list of specific sites has no purpose in a general discussion, when that list itself is disputed. One side does not win in a dispute. The most appropriate action is to not list the sites whatsoever. Wjhonson 20:32, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
That is a silly attitude. At least you could have kept the explanation, if you do not like to have the examples there. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:33, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Can you both please refrain from editing/reverting each others changes, and instead continue discussion here. Thanks/wangi 20:34, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Both User:Jossi and User:Wjhonson have attempted to make significant changes to the guideline today without discussion. This page is here for a reason, and almost everything in the guideline has been discussed in-depth and with CONSIDERABLE difficulty. Just slashing through and adding or removing things is inappropriate and uncourteous to the rest of us. If you want to add or remove something (other than typos/copyedit kind of stuff) then discuss it here first. 2005 21:46, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Video sharing sites should not be linked to for the reasons widely discussed here: Wikipedia_talk:No_original_research#YouTube_art_as_primary_source and here: Wikipedia_talk:No_original_research#Proposed_amendment ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:37, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree that we should not be directly naming specific sites in the guideline. There are lots of good reasons to link to original content on YouTube or Flickr or other sites and a blanket interdiction is plain wrong. There is no basis for user: Jossi's position. --JJay 20:39, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
That is not my position, just check the comments ,made by other editors in the links provided. As for the "lots of good reasons", I would appreciate it if you list them, as I do not see any. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:12, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
It is your position since you have been inserting a list of supposedly banned photo and video sites into this guideline. Leaving that aside, let's take a closer look at one of these sites: YouTube. Besides the masses of home videos and the like, YouTube also hosts an enormous amount of authorized content for major media companies as part of negotiated agreements or other types of partnership deals. NBC is an example [8], but there are many, many more. YouTube is not violating copyright by hosting material placed on its site by the publisher and we would not violate copyright by linking as specifically authorized under wikipedia policy [9]. Given this context, your concerns regarding WP:V are not relevant. Considering that we do articles on many of the TV shows, stars or other media phenomena that may be covered by the authorized content, an external link to YouTube may be warranted in certain situations. That is just one small example of when a YouTube EL may be necessary. Another is when YouTube content itself gains enough prominence to justify an article at wikipedia. For example, Lonelygirl15 can not be treated in any serious way without linking to the YouTube content. In short, given the many, many valid exceptions and the rapidly shifting nature of the internet, blanket bans on specific sites are always a bad idea and should never be included in policy. --JJay 00:01, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Videos and photo-sharing sites are no better than blogs; the contents of them cannot be considered reliable, nor copyright honoring. Jayjg (talk) 22:17, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

See above. --JJay 00:01, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Both User:Jossi and User:Wjhonson have attempted to make significant changes to the guideline today without discussion. This page is here for a reason, and almost everything in the guideline has been discussed in-depth and with CONSIDERABLE difficulty

--mmm, that's not really true. Wjohnson is supporting a consensus edit back to the original state EL guideline was in before two weeks ago, and the reversions he made are to my edit/Barberio's--both Barberio and I posted discussion, which jossi ignored: jossi just kept reverting until he was up to 3RR, then he was forced into joining the ongoing discussion.

Also, there wasn't really a lot of discussion about the YouTube-specific language that was added two weeks ago--it was actually railroaded in while the page was protected, on a dubious claim of consensus involving three editors. The fact that it was put there and immediately used by the people who put it there to enforce EL guideline against a specific site should be disturbing to all EL guideline editors. There is no ban on YT; the EL guidleine was just hijacked wrongfully for that purpose. The purpose of EL guideline is to help editors evaluate external links, and when to link; not to enforce a phony ban on a medium a handful of people don't like. Cindery 23:12, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I wasn't talking about anything to do with YouTube, which again is the problem with a flurry of multiple content edits to this guideline. 2005 23:37, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
I take exception with your assessment and your lack of assumption of good faith. This is not a " phony ban on a medium a handful of people don't like". If you want to engage on a discussion, do not use straw man arguments as these do not help. Fact is that you have yet to provide a solid argument on how linking to video sharing sites is any different than linking to a personal website or blog. What applies to one appies to the other, so if yo want to change policy, go ahead and make a proposal. But do not go around asserting that adding a limitation on linking to video sharing sites is a change. It isn't. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:34, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Arbitary Section Break because this is such a long thread

(I haven't taken part in this discussion before, but came here after people started mass-deleting links, regardless of the copyright status of the linked-to content.) Jossi, you ask "how linking to video sharing sites is any different than linking to a personal website or blog". While both can involve personally-created non-authoritative content, a site such as youtube has a large amount of authoritative content, provided by major WP:RS sources like NBC. Blog content is mostly POV and non-authoritative, but it can be linked to in some cases. Ditto for personal websites. An image or a video can have the same issues (for example, a video of the uploader talking to the camera about something) - but often it does not; it's a recording of an event or an item. Also, while a bigfoot video on youtube would probably not meet WP:RS and WP:NOR, a video of a major event that gains notability might. For example, if youtube had existed, the Rodney King video might have ended up there instead of at broadcasters, and might have been appropriate to link to from an article on Rodney King.) Someone might upload a video specifically for linking to from Wikipedia the same way they upload images to Wikipedia, and as the copyright owner give explicit permission as owners often do for images here.
My feeling is that video-sharing links and photo-sharing links need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and right now they're not - some editors are trolling for links and mass-deleting them (using the "linking to content of unknown copyright is a US violation" argument) when obviously there's considerable disagreement. jesup 23:02, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Mass deletions are not welcomed. The use of video material uploaded by a studio, news outlet, record label, etc., may meet the threshold for inclusion on El sections. That is not disputed. As for the Rodney King example, it is not applicable: if such a video was ever posted in YouTube, Wikipedia will need to wait until a major news organization refers to it and confirms the content. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:32, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Mass deletions without reference to the content or its status are happening, and at high speed. See Spartaz for an example (deleting 2-4 per minute it looks like), and he's not the only one. As for Rodney King, I said it would need to meet notability guidelines, which would almost certainly mean that it had been referenced elsewhere - but once it did it would probably have been linkable. My point was just that it's different than blogs. jesup 23:51, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Have you tried actually looking at what's being deleted? I just looked at half a dozen of Spartaz's deletions, and I didn't see one that I would miss. Actually looking at this stuff also raises the issue of how one determines that copyright isn't being violated. With images, it's pretty much up to the uploader to state and demonstrate that copyright is not an issue. On these links, there's nothing at all to go on, not even a claim on the part of the editor adding the link that they ever even considered the issue of copyright. And one of the links was already "withdrawn by the uploader". I for one am not all that worried about losing this stuff. -- Mwanner | Talk 00:50, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Do you understand that your argument applies to ALL web pages ? Not just video, all of them. Ninety-eight percent of all web pages say nothing about copyright whatsoever. Are we to assume they are all in violation simply because they don't address it? That logic fails. Wjhonson 02:07, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
The contents of 98% of all web pages is not uploaded by random users. Have you tried looking at the images our users submit to Wikipedia in a given week? Take a look at one day's worth. That's the kind of content you're dealing with at YouTube. -- Mwanner | Talk 02:31, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
And you're not addressing my point. All web content, per that view, comes from "random users". How do you propose, finding the copyright status, of *any* web content? You want to assume that all web content, of any type, is in violation of copyright first? Our policy is not to remove images immediately but rather to ask for copyright status of the image. So are you proposing that wikipedia needs to allow video uploading? Cuz if you're not I really have no idea what you are proposing. A blanket prohibition on links to video is simply not going to stand. So you should come up with some alternative. A link to video doesn't normally start off by saying "here's the copyright data wikipedia needs". I would propose that we act in good-faith by assuming copyright is in the hands of the uploader UNTIL we have evidence otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty? I think that works well with all other web content. Wjhonson 02:41, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I was kinda leaning in that direction, but the servers here run pretty slow sometimes already. Still there's a major difference between sites that solicit user input for content and sites that don't, in terms of the likelihood of encountering copyright infringement. And yes, you're right I suppose, an outright ban on the site won't cut it, at least until Wikipedia is ready to accept video uploads. Thinking out loud, though, it would be possible to say that links to YouTube and the like would be permitted only via, say, a template that tied in a page on which the linker was required to make a statement similar to what we do on image pages: indicate the source and the copyright status. Too clumsy, perhaps? Might be worth thinking about. -- Mwanner | Talk 03:50, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
At a site such as Flikr, or other photo-sharing sites, almost all photos uploaded are taken by the uploader. At youtube it's different, but at a guess from looking over the "recent additions" I'd say around 75% are taken by the uploader. Now, the links in wikipedia to youtube probably skew the other way, I agree, and probably many youtube links in wikipedia are inappropriate for various reasons. Warnings are appropriate, reviewing is appropriate, banning or mass-deletion are not, IMHO. jesup 02:55, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I've looked a little. If the content is copyvio or not useful to the page, fine - but Spartaz certainly doesn't seem to be making that distinction; he/she appears to be mass-deleting youtube links. His talk page includes discussion on how to configure AWB to make it easy to do, and editing 2-4 pages/minute removing youtube links tells me he's not reviewing the links and checking for appropriateness or copyright; he's just deleting all youtube links. If as jossi said, mass-deletion are not welcomed, well, then, spartaz is doing something unwelcome - and he's not the only one who took this entry in WP:EL as license to mass-delete. jesup 02:55, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
No I took the discussion on AN/I as reason to review these links and I see no reason at all why we should keep obvious copyvios or videos whose copyright status is unclear. I asked you to give me a diff for an incorrectly deleted file and the one you gave me was of a file that did not have any evidence that it was free and where you made assumptions about its copyright status. I'm afraid that this isn't good enough. If the file is not clearly free than we can't link to it in case its a copyvio. I also reviewed the file you objected to before I deleted it. In future, I would prefer you to address objections with me before making public allegations of misconduct. On a more cheerful note, I'll be very happy to review any other deletion that you disagree with. I'm sure that we all want the best but lets concentrate on the issue - copyvios and vidoes whose status is unclear. If you can think of a better way to handle this problem please let me know. I'd be delighted to find a simpler way forward. Thanks --Spartaz 18:08, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
No one is suggesting keeping obvious copyvios. The problem comes when assumptions of copyvio are used as a reason for mass-deletions without comment. That's a problem and has to stop. If you claim other are assuming copy, you are assuming copyvio. You don't have the high ground here. Wjhonson 18:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
All of the articles I deleted links from yesterday had already been tagged to highlight concerns about the free status of the videos. The vast majority (95% of the links at least) were either copies of TV programmes (copy vios) or links to commericial music videos (copy vios). In the case of Katana the vid had a link to a website where the vid wasn't available and there was no evidence that permission to upload the video had been granted (likely copy vio and deletable in the same way as an equivilent image). I'm still waiting for someone to show me a video I deleted incorrectly so I can understand where the consensus of the line should be. If you could review my deletions and show me any that were incorrect it would be exceedingly helpful. --Spartaz 19:19, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
First, I didn't mean to accuse you here without discussion, but others here asked for an example of apparent mass-deletion, and that was the one I knew of. I didn't see how someone could review 4+ pages and videos per minute and remove them; that looked like mass-removal without review, especially given the comment that implies that no review for copyvio is needed.
The Katana link hadn't been flagged that I know of. The video appears to be an amateur video with title added, done by a student of that dojo and the person giving the demo. The comments there from the uploader imply (but do not state) so. The site mentioned (apparently his sensei's site) has some professional-quality videos, but not the one linked to, and not with the title on the one linked to. I agree, there is no absolute certainty it's not a copyvio - but it's not obviously a copyvio either.
But the real issue I have is that the summary for all these edits appears to be misleading, and implies they were not removed for copyvio, but instead were removed due to a blanket mass-deletion policy which is at best a controversial opinion held by some of the editors. Even jossi here doesn't support a mass-deletion. If they're copyvio and the editor has reviewed them and decided they're obvious copyvio, then remove it and summarize as such (including that it was reviewed). This will make future editors much less likely to undo the edit. If it's possible copyvio, ask a question and get one of the page editors to investigate. As I stated in response to spartaz, "not clearly no copyvio" != "copyvio". jesup 19:55, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, well I think there is considerable doubt about the status of that video and I don't think we should be assuming anything (other then good faith of course). I think we already discussed the summary to death. We will update it. Can I ask you whether you had any objections to any other link I deleted, or just the Katana one? --Spartaz 05:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Whatev, jossi! :-) And remember, "accusations of failure to assume good faith are themselves failures to assume good faith." (I have taken note already at NOR that you appear to switch to ad hom/pretending not to have heard arguments you have heard repeatedly when you're losing on logic, and I won't be sidetracked here, either.) but Warm wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!, Cindery 00:52, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Happy thanksgiving. The way to resolve this is to have more long standing editors take a look at this issue, rather than keep arguing the same arguments again and again. I am placing a request at the Village Pump. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:02, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I suppose that if you can't accept that your edits didn't meet consensus, you could try to recruit people to adjust the numbers to your side--but because reason and logic should ultimately be used to establish the guideline, I have the feeling they will. Wikipedia is not a democracy, etc. There's no logical reason for EL on C to differ from C (but there is an illogical reason, and now that we know what it is, that makes things a lot clearer). Cindery 01:17, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I find your assessment that this is "recruiting" to be quite peculiar. When there is a dispute pertaining to policy and guidelines, the way to move forward is to expose the issues to the wider community. While Wilkipedia is not a democracy, it works by establishing a wide as possible consensus. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:27, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Absolute restrictions

The absolute restrictions section was added to clear up a problem with the old format guideline. These absolute restrictions were not created as part of this guidelines, but are parts of and results of other policies.

The copyright issue is absolute, it is an almost direct copy of the language in Wikipedia:Copyrights. The blacklist issue is absolute, the blacklist is a technical restriction on certain lists, maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation. The issue of adding links in a conflict of interest is absolute, there have been issues recently where Public Relations companies have attempted to abuse this, and the conclusion was clear that WP:NPOV means you must not edit with this kind of conflict of interests.

All of these are the results of decisions and policy made outside of this guideline, and simply being repeated here. Please do not remove them, or 'merge' them into the rest of the guideline. There are kept separate and noted as absolute restrictions for a good reason. --Barberio 23:48, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you that there are some absolute restrictions, and that those include spam and copyright. But, copyright should be shortened to exclude licensing info--C clearly states that if an author has published their work elsewhere under other terms (say, public domain on YouTube) that does not affect their right to publish it here under GDFL. It's not accurate to include licensing info as an absolute, because it implies that under C, any link may be deleted without discussion if there's a question about GDFL. That's not actually the case--C specifies that a note be made in talkpage of article, with url etc., if there's a cr doubt. When the cr "doubt" is GDFL, it's not really a legitimate doubt, and certainly not deletion-worthy, as the vast majority of YT work is published without copyright under public domain. (There should be some cr issue with the material other than GDFL, which is being used as technicality.)

RE site you are an agent for or maintain--that's strongly discouraged, but not actually an absolute restriction. Cindery 00:28, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with User:Cindery, definitely not an absolute restriction. Also please do not shout by repeatedly bolding your comments. --JJay 00:32, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

A guideline cannot prescribe absolute restrictions on anything. You can refer to existing policies, if you want. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:35, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Again. The guideline is not prescribing these restrictions, but repeating them clearly. These restrictions will be in place if they are in the guideline here or not. It's plain silly to claim that we shouldn't say they are absolute restrictions just because we're reporting them in a guideline.
Specifically, the Blacklist is a very absolute restriction. The Wikimedia software will not accept edits including links that match the blacklist. This is not a 'guideline' that can be overridden by editor consensus, and should not be reported as such. --Barberio 09:04, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Foreign language links

Re this section: could someone insert an example of the "proper" use of the language code in an external link? I find it much easier to understand an instruction (and less likely to screw it up) if examples are included. Thanks-- RCEberwein | Talk 14:20, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I'll give some examples. - Jmabel | Talk 18:47, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Scifiscripts.com

scifiscripts.com appears to be a site offering full movie scripts. Their site claims All rights not reserved. and has no copyright notice about the different scripts. I suggest removing every single link pointing to a script. Someone disagrees? -- ReyBrujo 20:49, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

To promote a site

All links promote a site. Links to the Library of Congree promote their site, links to IMDb promote their site, links to Google books promote their site. "To promote a site" is ridiculously vague and was never the intention. The language must be clarified otherwise all links are in danger of violating "promotion". Wjhonson 02:47, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Summaries like nonsensical revertion won't help you. -- ReyBrujo 02:55, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Especially when the reversion is to wording that makes clear sense and has been understood and agreed to by many editors. The change trying to be made insisting all links are promotional doesn't make sense in this context. Links added to promote a site are prohibited. The fact that links may benefit a site is not the issue. The text is clear and easy to understand. Don't add a link because you want to promote a site. 2005 03:09, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
"Benefit" and "Promote" are synonyms. Wjhonson 03:15, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I disagree that this prohibition is in here just for commercial sites (as indicated in your edit summary). And I think the recent change to emphasize the commercial aspect is not an improvement.
I do a fair amount of editing on nonprofit/charity articles and we get a lot of editors who add links to sites they are connected with (either as an employee, volunteer or supporter) with the intention of promoting the organization and/or its point of view. These are generally good faith additions, but nevertheless inappropriate. In the same way we see people adding fan sites (some of which may have no commercial aspect at all) to many popular culture articles. I believe these types of additions are no more appropriate than links added to promote commercial sites. Although the profit motive is a strong one, a simple belief in a particular point of view can be just as powerful, and is just as bad for Wikipedia in terms of diluting the value of an article for readers. --Siobhan Hansa 02:55, 26 November 2006 (UTC)


Links added in order to promote a site is very much the intention. That is why editors are discouraged from adding links to their own sites. Links should be added to inform our readers, not to promote sites. It is not at all vague when one looks at a user's contributions-- when a user adds a link to the same site to a dozen articles in a row, especially when they are the user's only edits, it is patently clear that one is dealing with "links added to promote a site". -- Mwanner | Talk 02:59, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
The way its worded it does not address owner-placed, or employee-placed links. ALL links are promotional. Every single link, in all articles, ever, is "promotional". "To promote" is too vague to stand. Wjhonson 03:00, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
"To inform" and "to promote" are synonymous. Wjhonson 03:01, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
What part of the intent issue don't you understand? -- Mwanner | Talk 03:03, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
The part where its clear and not vague. "Promote" merely means "to encourage the use of". All links encourage the use of the link. Therefore all links are "promotional" and serve to "promote the site". Wjhonson 03:06, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Intent matters. -- Mwanner | Talk 03:11, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Then the word "intent" must be present. As I've now done. Wjhonson 03:13, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

What happened to: For policy or technical reasons, editors are restricted from linking to the following, without exception: 3. A website that you own, maintain or are acting as an agent for; even if the guidelines otherwise imply that it should be linked to. This is in line with the conflict of interests guidelines. If it is a relevant and informative link that should otherwise be included, mention it on the talk page and let neutral and independent Wikipedia editors decide whether to add it.

I thought this was an excellent guideline which very clearly outlines a good practice to establish a consensus about new links. Why was it removed? - Rainwarrior 07:43, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Never mind, I found the new section that covers it. - Rainwarrior 09:20, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
First I reverted edits by User:Satori Son because I think he made his changes in good faith thinking these were grammatical errors when in fact these are items that have been vetted here ad nauseum. His changes effectively stated that only commercial websites were included in the "promotion" clause. My personal opinion is the clause in the article as originally posted was sufficient. Adding "intent" and "main intent" are impossible to determine. If I want to spam WP, I'll argue that 51% of my intention was to provide good content and 49% was to promote a website. I haven't seen any abuse of this clause and its something that can be explained to a new user who gets caught promoting a website. If all links are promotion, then every link woould be challenged and removed which is just not the case. Calltech 01:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I did believe that first sentence was written with a grammatical error and should actually read, "Links that are added with the main intent of promoting a site that primarily exists to sell products or services, that has objectionable amounts of advertising, or that requires payment to view the relevant content." (I have no opinion on the "main intent" versus "intent" issue.) Now I see the purpose of the sentence, but by leaving it the way it is, we are trying to cover too may issues (four) in one confusing, run-on sentence. I apologize for not reading the above discussion and suggesting my correction here first, but maybe a little WP:BRD will suffice. How about making my change, then adding a new sentence that covers promotion of non-commercial websites? This is obviously a very hot topic right now, and we need to try and make this policy as clear as possible for everyone. -- Satori Son 01:44, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I like the idea - how about taking it one step further since all 4 topics are separate:
  • Links mainly intended to promote a website
  • Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services
  • Links to sites with objectionable amounts of advertising
  • Links to sites that require payment to view the relevant content.
Calltech 02:09, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
That's even better as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, I see more Wikilawyering in our future as spammers and other special interests continue to parse that sentence in different ways. Clarity is paramount. -- Satori Son 02:17, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
You read my mind. I was thinking as I woke up that it should say "main" and not just "intent". Wjhonson 16:30, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Personal websites of non-notables, and anonymous websites

As these are almost literally a dime a dozen, and in no way verifiable as accurate, true, non-libellous, etc., and in no practical way different from blogs, is there any reason why we should link to them? Would any serious encyclopedia link to them? Jayjg (talk) 22:21, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

No, unless it fits this policy. Did you have a specific link in mind? Fagstein 23:05, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Of course they would. Obviously they are different than blogs so why mention that non-sequitor? The prohibition against blogs relates to their changeability, not any sense that anything written on a blog has to be useless. This guideline lays out what is valuable to link to. Many non-corporate websites present very valuable content, even if most websites of every kind would never merit a link. Brainless, blanket prohibitions show contempt for users and that is not what an encyclopedia should do. We link on merit, accesibility and appropriateness. 2005 23:36, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your argument. The problem with blogs is not that their content can change, because that is true of all websites. Rather, the problem with them is with the nature of their authorship, and their complete lack of editorial oversight. Personal websites of notable people are, of course, encyclopedic, but personal websites of non-notable people don't have any particular value, and anonymous websites could say anything at all, without any possibility of knowing whether or not they are true. Jayjg (talk) 02:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree that personal websites, including blogs, shouldn't be linked to. The only exception I can think of is a blog belonging to the subject of the article. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem with blogs is their changability. That has been establieshe ad nauseum in discussion here which you seem to have not cared about. It's ludicrous to say no blog can ever have useful content on it, so your position is unfathomable. We link based on merit, accessibility and copyrights. That is what is all over this guideline. Personal websites from non-famous are often excellent things to link to, like someone's website with hundreds of historical photographs of Peoria. The fact that aperson is not famous does not mean that a website can't have authority and value. Your wild generalizations make no sense at all, while the wording trying to be added makes even less sense. Filmsite.org is Tim Dirks personal website, and it is a great site to link to. Michael Grost's film essays have been online for a decade and are great resources to link to because they are meritable, accessible, stable, and everything else good, even if on an AOL homepage instead of some corporate site. The guideline speaks very strongly against lightweight, unhelpful links. That is what it should do. Great links that meet the criteria should be linked to, non-qualifying ones should not. Thoughtless generalities have no place here. 2005 06:35, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Blogs have been in the guideline for some time. The "personal websites" part is a recent addition that was made without discusion. There are numerous exceptions to both, notably when the blog/personal website qualifies as the "official site" - one of the prime criteria for linking. Furthermore, there is no real, underlying consensus on blog ELs: even wikipedia currently links to blogs and to video hosted on blogs (another topic much discussed here of late). I'm reverting your addition, as the issue requires more discussion. --JJay 02:55, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
You haven't articulated the difference between a "personal website" and a "blog"; in fact, they are essentially identical, though they have some minor differences in terms of the editing tools available. Jayjg (talk) 03:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
This is too bizarre. Are you honestly going to insist that this http://googleblog.blogspot.com/ is a personal website? My goodness, you really need to give some thought to your assertions here. 2005 23:27, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
You keep making assertions without meaningful content; please make a coherent argument. Jayjg (talk) 00:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
What part of this are you failing to understand? You continually ignore example after example. You ignore statements backed up with logic and reason, and instead just fall back on bizarre assertions, in this case asserting that Google's blog is a personal website. Okay, if all blog are personal websites, explain the exact person this official corporate blog belongs to. Stop avoiding responding to the several reply that make your statements completely absurd. You brought up coherence, so please be coherent now and tell us how the official Google Blog is a personal website, and what person, specifically, it belongs to. Or, better, just agree your statement that all blogs are personal websites was silly so those of us interested in this guideline can move on to real topics. 2005 01:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
If they are "essentially identical", why do you believe further explantion and iteration is needed in the guideline? Furthermore, why are you talking about "personal websites of non-notable people"?. We have a few guidelines on notability, but this page relates to ELs and as per the entire guideline, we don't link to "non-notable" information, whether that information is found on blogs, personal websites, major news sites or anywhere else. That is blatantly obvious starting with the statement about "meaningful, relevant content" in the "what to link to" section. --JJay 03:06, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
JJay, I can't see why you're reverting exactly, and what is a "recognized authority"? SlimVirgin (talk) 03:10, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Also, the definition of the exceptions for blogs has completely changed from a "recognized authority" to a news publisher or pofessional researcher. That is significant change in meaning and I don't see any discussion or logical basis for the change. --JJay 03:13, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • In response to User:Slim Virgin, the types of blogs that we might want to link to, tend not to be news organizations or professional researchers. They do tend to be closer to the definition of a "recognized authority", which granted is vague, but is vague for a reason. It applies to people like Andrew Sullivan or some of the hundreds or articles in our category:blogs. These may not qualify as article references, but may be suitable in certain situations for ELs. I see no reason to make the exception definition more exclusionary, unless we are going to list further exceptions to the exceptions. And that is a never-ending process that should be avoided--JJay 03:27, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Andrew Sullivan is a professional researcher/journalist (we can add journalist if that will make it clearer), and newspapers' blogs are the kind of blogs we want to link to. Can you show me an example of an acceptable blog that would not be covered by the current wording? The problem with the "recognized authority" thing is that it isn't just vague, but meaningless. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Sullivan in a journalist and his blog consists of his personal writings. If you are going to add journalist to your definition, then you now need to add diplomat, government official, politician, judge, author, artist, performer, actor, political candidate, rabbi, imam, union leader, pro athlete, museum director, board member, CEO, nobel peace prize recipient, etc - none of whom are necessarily "professional researchers" or "news organizations", but all of whom may be "recognized authorities". Recognized authority is not meaningless. It is vague. Vagueness has its virtues, because the road you are heading down is a never ending street, where exceptions invite more exceptions, etc. It is a zero sum game.--JJay 04:31, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I see what you mean, but this guideline has to take into account the wording of the relevant policy, which is WP:V, and the words I used here reflect that. It's true that the bar for external links is lower than the bar for sources, but it should not be wildly different. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:38, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The bar is lower for ELs for good reason, because the ELs are not acting as references for the article. They point users to sources of additional related information, within the confines of a fairly rigid guideline. "Recognized authority" is a perfectly adequete measure to judge the worthiness of a blog/personal site link, but may or may not be sufficient as a source. "Professional researcher" excludes every field I named, and to respond to the comment below, people from all these fields are blogging about their work. There may be occasions when those blogs can serve as valid ELs. The present wording excludes them, just like with the professional timpani sites referenced below. --JJay 05:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
People may be "recognized authorities" in one field, but not in others. In fact, that's the typical case. Most of the people you refer do not write professionally about their fields. Jayjg (talk) 04:35, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
In relation to your previous question, "further explanation" is apparently needed because some people don't actually seem to understand what a blog is. Can you articulate a meaningful, content and policy based difference between a blog and a personal website? As for "non-notable" people, the whole point of EL is to link to stuff that isn't, well, crap. Personal websites/blogs are a dime a dozen; the only reason they might be of value is if they are the personal website/blog of someone who is a professional or expert in a specific field, or perhaps a blog of an inherently reliable source (e.g. a respected newspaper), or if they are the personal website/blog of the person an article is describing. And you still haven't articulated the value of linking to an anonymous website, for which there is absolutely no way of verifying the validity of any of the information found therein. Jayjg (talk) 03:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • First, I have no clue what you mean by "anonymous website". You'll have to elaborate on that. Second, if you want to add blog/personal website to the definition, then do so - you have already said they were essentially the same - but I personally think it adds nothing. And I would appreciate an explanation of what you mean by "personal website". Millions of websites are owned by individuals. Are you saying that any site not owned by a corporation (or to be more restrictive, a news source) should not be linked? I have already addressed your point about "non-notable blogs"- if they are "non-notable" than they are not recogized authorities, are they? In short, the guideline already covered this, succinctly. But taking out the phrase "recognized authority" overly restricts the exception clause. --JJay 03:35, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the million of dime-a-dozen (or free) personal websites or blogs (btw, the difference between a personal home page and a blog is only te underlying publishing technology), are not worthy of being linked to, unless the site in question is published by a notable/recognized expert in the field. Anonymous websites are evidently not worth linking to, as there is not accountability and no feasible way to attribute the opinions placed in that website. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
As per Jossi. An anonymous website is one for which we have no idea who the author is; there is no personal name or organization which takes credit for or claims ownership the contents. As for "adding" blog to the definition, it has already been there for ages; a blog is just a shorthand name for/special type of personal website. Sites which have little or no editorial oversight in general should not be linked; while the guideline for External links is somewhat looser than for reliable sources, that doesn't justify linking to all of the millions of sites on the web. An encyclopedic link is, in some sense, one which we know contains information that is at least somewhat reliable, ideally not defamatory, copyright violating, etc. With personal websites, unless it is the website of someone who has a reputation in the field in question, there is no such guarantee. Jayjg (talk) 04:04, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, all of which is already covered by numerous clauses in the guidelines - i.e. the ones that relate to the reliability of the material. However, I will point out that the guideline now excludes Jossi's "notable/recognized experts" (which is pretty damn similar to the previous definition of "recognized authority" that should be retained). Instead, it makes an exception for professional researchers and news organizations. That is way too exclusionary. It is not supported by Jossi's statement, nor is it even supported by User:Jayjg, who writes: "Personal websites of notable people are, of course, encyclopedic". The approach shown here, by adding a new definition after a 24 hour discussion, ignoring objections and then edit warring to impose the change is counterproductive. It won't stick as written. That's not the way this page is edited, but is the way that has led to numerous page protections in the last few months. --JJay 04:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that people differ strongly on how "reliable" material is; it's essentially a personal view. On the other hand, "anonymous" and "personal" are quite specific, and deal with 95% of the crap currently linked to that contains "unreliable" information. As for the guideline, it has been held hostage for the past couple of months by people who resist both change and logic; that is not the way the page should edited, and that methodology "won't stick". Jayjg (talk) 04:23, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm interested in the 5% that would also be discarded. And your use of the word "crap" is offensive, as is your comment that the page has been "held hostage for the past couple of months" by those who "resist change and logic". It is particularly offensive to the hundreds of editors who have contributed here because I can't find any evidence that you participated in the page in the last few months (besides one revert) or made any attempt to add any sort of logic during that period. Maybe I missed your previous comments. As for the "change" you have tried to impose here in the last 24 hours, argue your points without ad hominem remarks on the work of other editors.--JJay 05:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Jayjg acting arrogantly and dismissively of others is not going to get your opinion included in this guideline. Just because you disagree with and did not particpate in lengthy discussions on this guideline doesn't mean you or a couple of others can just come in and make major changes, especially ones that don't even make sense, particularly since they have not even been attempted to be explained. I don't understand this desire to be illogical, but please behave like an adult acting in good faith. If you or anyone else wants to present a case for improving the guideline, THEN DO SO. Don't just arrogantly try to cram something down other people's throats. Not only isn't it polite, it won't work. 2005 06:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The more clear wording of policy has been explained, but I haven't seen any logical responses yet. Perhaps you can try that, rather than focusing on other editors and hurt feelings. Jayjg (talk) 19:52, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I have an issue with the wording of the guideline. In Timpani, I have including a number of links to websites of professional timpanists that offer material that enhances the article (e.g. video clips, especially good FAQs outside the scope of the article, etc.) These are "personal websites", however they are by professional performers. I think it should be noted that links to personal websites are okay if they are reputable and they offer content that enhances the article. (Links to personal websites that offer no educational content should be discouraged.) Many editors have a rather narrow interpretation of these guidelines, and I can see links like these being deleted citing WP:EL. – flamurai (t) 04:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The current guideline would not exclude those links at all, since they are by non-anonymous professionals. Jayjg (talk) 04:23, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Under the current wording, those links could be easily removed, since they are not by professional researchers or news organizations. --JJay 04:44, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

JJay, which part of your version of EL would disallow http://www.bushisantichrist.com/ as a link in George W. Bush? Please unequivocally prove that the source is "unreliable". Jayjg (talk) 04:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

  • See "Links normally to be avoided": #2 Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research. Which points directly to WP:RS, which bans extremeist and partisan sources. See also the sentence that requires links to be: proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.). And it's not "my version", it's everyone's version, built through consensus. Just like with articles, where editors are more than competent to remove that type of link, without the ongoing laundry list approach of this guideline --JJay 04:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I was referring specifically to that; please prove, using undeniably objective standards, that the source contains "factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research", or that it is "extremist and partisan". Clearly the author feels that the information is accurate, useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc. and not extremist or partisan. Who is to say that he is wrong and you are correct? And if you rely on WP:RS, then why not just scrap WP:EL and insist that external links meet WP:RS instead? Finally, the consensus version is, of course, the current version, which also appears to have a consensus of the current editors. Jayjg (talk) 04:48, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The guideline points to WP:RS. And your link would be gone immediately, without much protest. Furthermore, your interpretation of what the author "feels" has no bearing on editing articles. Instead, point me to the edit war over this link and the failure to remove the link due to the previous inadequacy of the guideline. --JJay 05:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
You keep making assertions, but you have not been able to actually answer the questions. Please prove, using undeniably objective standards, that the source contains "factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research", or that it is "extremist and partisan". If you want to convince others of your position, you'll have to make an argument for it. Jayjg (talk) 19:52, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Asked and answered above. If you don't think Bushisanantichrist is an extremist and partisan website more power to you. Please argue that point on WP:RS. If you see "factually verified research" in that link, well perhaps we need to change WP:V radically. If you think that type of link was acceptable, and would have been accepted by editors, until you got the insight to add "anonymous website" to this guideline, then I can only refer you to WP:Common Sense. In the meantime, I'm not here to play mind games and if you need more opinions on your link try the Village Pump. --JJay 22:57, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

A blog is a personal website; a personal website may or may not be a blog. The standard practice on Wikipedia seems to be to avoid linking to such sites, unless, of course, they're by the subject of the article (see for example here). I know that from my own experience, because when I arrived at Wikipedia, the article I spent most of my time on was one where a lot of private websites would have bolstered the side I was on (which I felt was not adequately represented); but I accepted that personal websites were not considered reliable, encyclopaedic sources. Like Jayjg, I can't imagine any serious encyclopaedia linking to them. AnnH 11:30, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm at a loss as to understand the reverting here. Is someone saying that anonymous websites should be linked to? Who is saying that? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:57, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Why would being "anonymous" be a factor in linking? The criteria for linking is spelled out already: providing extra info not in the WP article, being accurate and verifiable. As long as a site meets those, what's the difference if it's anonymous? I think personal websites are comparable to blogs in regards to EL, and I don't think there's a blanket statement that can cover either. There are good and bad blogs and personal sites, and they just need to be judged on their own merits, according to the rest of EL, and the same as any other external link. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:28, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Obviously anonymous websites sometimes merit links. I'm at a loss as to why you insist on trying to cra this addition in, especially without offering the slightest reason for it. Anonymous websites will seldom meet the criteria to link, but sometimes they obviously will, like an example of hundreds of photographs of Peoria from 1900 to 1940. Such a site would not become infinitely more valuable if the title "photos by John Smith" was on it. This is guideline to help linking to help readers. It isn't some thoughtless, arbritrary thing that throws logic to the wind for no reason. Linking is primarily based on merit. Anonymity adds no merit so anonymous websites have a much higher road to climb to deserve linking, but that is all it is, a much harder road. It's blatantly silly to say an anonymous website can NEVER have value to our readers. C'mon, you have to understand that. 2005 23:16, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Do you know what we mean by "verifiable"? We mean "with reference to a reliable source." There seem to be editors on this page who have never read the content policies. This page, and all other pages, must be consistent with the content policies. "Verifiable" does not mean we can check whether it's true (how could we?) It means we can check that it was published by a reliable source. The bar is lower for external links than for sources, but the words as used by Wikipedia don't suddenly change their meaning. Your opinion of the merits of a link is likely to differ from other people's, so the criterion is only this: has the thing been published by someone reliable? SlimVirgin (talk) 20:36, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Of course I know what it means, you can lay off the ad hominem attacks. An anonymous page can be verifiable if all the information on it is cited. It can also be verifiable if it's something like a TV episode synopsis, where the primary source is a work of pop culture (which is what can be used to verify it). In both cases, the info "has already been published by a reliable source" and meets WP:V so it's consistent with the content policies - a linked site doesn't necessarily have to be an original source. Don't forget, wikipedia isn't all scientific topics. Anonynimity really has nothing to do with whether a source is reliable, just as a source having a name to it doesn't automatically make it reliable. --Milo H Minderbinder 21:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Please read WP:V, which is policy. WP:RS is NOT policy. And it's not an ad hominem attack to point out that a lot of the people on this page seem to be unfamilar with the content policies. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:31, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
So point me to the part in WP:V where it says it applies to external links. Should be easy, assuming you're familiar with the content policies.  :) --Milo H Minderbinder 21:44, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
But if we have to look to other reliable sources to properly verify the information on an anonymous website, wouldn't it be best to cite to those sources, and skip the middleman link to the anonymous site? I'm not being rhetorical, I really am trying to understand your position. Thanks, Satori Son 21:26, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. [[[User:Milo H Minderbinder]] may need to re-read our core policies and understand these well before contributing to a guideline that cannot be writen in a way as to contradict policy. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:28, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Quit telling me to read the policies, you're just using that as an excuse to avoid addressing what I have to say. Satori - one example would be a list of quotes from a work of fiction. Citing the original would require many citations (and lists of quotes are specifically discouraged on wikipedia), while citing the list would be much more convenient. Assuming this hypothetical list was sourced to the original material, allowing it to be verified, how would it violate WP:V or WP:RS? How would it being anonymous make it any less verifiable? And would it somehow become more verifiable just by slapping the name of the author on it? Quoting from V: ""Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source." How would this hypothetical page not meet the standard set by that policy? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:08, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
For log or numerous quotes, you can use Wikiquote and use the {{Wikiquote}} template. As for your last question, the only way a reader can verify the information is if it is published by a reliable source. An anonymous website or any other personal website is not a reliable source: It can be changed, selectively quoted, placed alongside POV commentary and editorializing, etc. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:37, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Wikiquote is an alternative way to do it, not a reason an anonymous site can't be linked. You didn't answer my questions above. And any online source can be changed, selectively quoted, placed alongside POV commentary and editorializing, etc. Anonymous or not, and "personal website" or not. If a site does those, that's a valid reason not to link to it. But none of those have anything to do with anonymity. And I completely agree that info is verified from reliable sources. You just seem to be missing the fact that a linked site doens't have to be the reliable source itself (particularly if the site provides sourcing). I'd recommend reading WP:RS#Popular culture and fiction: "Articles related to popular culture and fiction must be backed up by reliable sources like all other articles. However, due to the subject matter, many may not be discussed in the same academic contexts as science, law, philosophy and so on; it is common that plot analysis and criticism, for instance, may only be found in what would otherwise be considered unreliable sources. Personal websites, wikis, and posts on bulletin boards, Usenet and blogs should still not be used as secondary sources. When a substantial body of material is available the best material available is acceptable, especially when comments on its reliability are included." So this policy says that they should not be used as secondary sources, but says they are acceptable otherwise. Since external links aren't held to the same standard as sources, it certainly seems that personal websites and even anonymous content may be acceptable assuming it meets the rest of EL. I don't think EL should even mention anonymous content or "personal websites". --Milo H Minderbinder 15:10, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
You seem to think we verify external links. Where does that come from? We most certainly do not. There seems an awful lot of confusion here. The content of Wikipedia articles have different policies governing them than external links. Most obviously external links very commonly have POV and are unencyclopedic. External links are not sources, so lets not pretend they are. 2005 23:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Of course we verify ELs. And if you do not, I would advise you start. All external links that are hosted on sites that are not considered reliable sources, that push a POV, that are un-encyclopedic, that do not add value to the article for these reasosn should be removed at sight. The EL section is not the dumping ground for what could not be added to an article because it fails to meet WP content policies ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:00, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
You have caused a lot of problems with this page due to now four misunderstandings of yours about wording or policies (two of which you seem to have relented on once you recognized you misunderstood the wording). The idea that an editor verifies that John Smith batted .231 in 1964 before a link from baseballreference.com can be added is counter to policies, and just plain absurd. You need to ask more questions instead of insisting your very mistaken assumptions are the only valid concepts for anything. 2005 23:10, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
2005, can you please make coherent arguments, rather than borderline personal attacks? You have yet to articulate how we assure that anonymous websites contain verifiable material. Note, not "verified", but "verifiable". Jayjg (talk) 00:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
And "please make coherent arguments" isn't a borderline personal attack? Assuring that anonymous websites contain verifiable material has already been addressed (and I guess ignored?). Could we all please address the actual content of the guideline instead of complaining about the other editors? --Milo H Minderbinder 00:17, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
"Please make coherent arguments" is a request regarding Talk: page comments, not a personal attack. What coherent argument did you see in 2005's statement, and in what way do you think that the issue of ensuring that sites contain verifiable information is addressed? Jayjg (talk) 00:23, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I have addressed this multiple times, you'll find my comments if you search the page for "fiction". And how does "Please make coherent arguments" actually respond to what he said or help make this guideline better? --Milo H Minderbinder 00:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Jayjg your behavior really offers no reason to even deal with you, let alone explain a dozen times what you could learn by just reading, but I have already shown how anonymous websites can have verifiable content. Besides yourself, I doubt there is going to be anyone who asserts that they NEVER can. But now try and follow this, THAT ISN'T THE POINT. The guideline prohibits websites that contain things like copyright violations, unverifiable original research, and so on. THAT IS COVERED. Insisting a site without a name on it somehow can never have linkable content but one with a name on it can is simply absurd. If you do have any genuine views here, you need to start thinking about the content, and the prohibitions in the guideline. Which means, if you do believe an anonymous website could never meet the criteria of linking, then it is redundant and pointless to say it again in the guideline. Your interpretation is illogical, but even if you actually believe it, the guideline already addresses your concern. Now I'm not going to go over this same point again and again and again just because you want to argue. I am instead going to say clearly: READ THE GUIDELINE. Perhaps after you do you will have a better appreciation of how unreliable, unhelpful, unvaluable things that don't merit links are already addressed. 2005 01:29, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

...I'm very disturbed by what appears the be the implication that anything not published by NBC is "anonymous" and therefore "unreliable." Notability varies a great deal. Very often--if not always-- one must know or learn something about a subject before one can make judgements about whom is notable/reliable regarding a subject or field of study. To use the Joshua Clover example again, you would have to know something about postmodern American poetry, and about Joshua, to know that Jordan Davis is also a postmodern American poet and a friend/colleague of Joshua's, and therefore a reliable source about postmodern American poetry and Joshua. If you were completely ignorant, you could look at that YT link and say, "not NBC. never heard of the guy, therefore he's anonymous." This is a problem that comes up in AFD a lot, and when people who are ignorant assume that everything which is not on Google is OR (or that everything that's not in the first 100 Google hits is OR. See under: "research is not original research.") It's not humanly possible for an 18 year old (Dmcdevit) and a 20-something guy (JSmith) or for any two people for that matter, to know enough about every article on Wikipedia to judge whom is notable enough on every subject to be sufficiently "un-anonymous." Deleting all the links, putting "anonymous" in the guideline fosters an editorial policy of ignorance; doesn't foster respect for the editorial process, whereby, collectively, with collective knowledge, Wikipedia editors are capable of determining whom is reliable/notable and whom is unreliable/anonymous. Cindery 17:39, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

A "personal website" is not the same as a "blog" as has been stated. A "personal website" is not the same as a "personal website of a person who is not a professional researcher, journalist, writer". I hope we can keep that firmly in mind. Perhaps we could come up with another name for websites created by researchers, writers and journalists, such as "professional website", but that seems a bit vague. Wjhonson 15:57, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

This is a guideline

WP:EL is a guideline dealing with one of the most difficult and contentious aspects of the encyclopedia. Please do not just attempt to add pet peeves and personal opinions into the guideline. If you feel the guideline should be changed in a substantive way (that is, new new concepts, not just wording clarifications or grammar), please start a discussion here with your reasoning. Please treat your fellow editors and their views with respect, even if you disagree. Please do not just try to arrogantly ram your favored changes into the guideline just because it seems like you can. 2005 00:05, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with you. This guideline is one of many. Editors are expressing their opinions based on their understanding of current policy, which this guideline cannot bypass, but only support; and you can start treating fellow editors with respect by not calling them arrogant. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:38, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
It's rather odd that you would insist that we "treat your fellow editors and their views with respect" when your edit summaries say things such as "behave" and "act like an adult". Perhaps you should try modelling the behavior you demand of others. Jayjg (talk) 19:45, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Both of you, please don't do this. If you want to discuss an issue, do so. If you want to see a change made, propose it. Repeatedly trying to force a change that has no consensus to a page that says it was developed by consensus is rude and arrogant, in my opinion. If you don't agree, fine, but I hope you will begin to adopt tone and behavior of a cooperative nature. Force and ignoring others is neither fun nor nice. 2005 23:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Addition...

"Links to websites that allow self-publishing, except when the copyright status and ownership is clear."

Anyone have a problem with this guideline? ---J.S (t|c) 23:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Please explain where you would add that. What do you mean exactly by self publishing? --JJay 23:49, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
This should maybe be held off on until the conversation about "anonymous"/non-notable "personal" websites above is resolved? I haven't had time to wade through all the points in that conversation, but it seems like it would overlap with your addition. Schi 23:54, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I assume he means in "Links to be normally avoided". "self-publishing" isn't perfect, but may be a step in the right direction, and may be possible to tie into guidance on links to forums. I'd be careful with "copyright status and ownership is clear" - it seems like that could be interpreted too strongly in both directions (one side saying that should exclude all or most of youtube, the other side saying that means that all youtube links are ok because youtube requires uploaders to clearly assert status/ownership - even if they lie). But maybe this is a step. Also "allow" gets tricky - if a website has a forum or section with a wiki, but has other controlled content, can one link to the controlled content? I'd assume yes, but the wording above would imply no. But perhaps again this it too much "Rules lawyering". Maybe we could discuss the intended implications? That might also help (if this is adopted) by clarifying intent. jesup 00:04, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
JJay, Oh sorry: "Sites to normally avoid"
Websites that allow it's users to publish material without a vetting/verification process. Wikis, image sharing sites, video sharing sites, HotOrNot type sites, MySpace type sites, etc. I know those are all covered, but I think this guideline summarises all those issues in one descriptive statement, (descriptive instead of prescriptive).
Schi, I Was kinda thinking this would be a good solution to that debate. ---J.S (t|c) 23:59, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Before anyone gets hot under the collar (on either side): lets discuss this before we insert anything into the page or remove anything, please. Civility thanks you.  :-) This may be a way to unify some of the current requirements, with some thought and perhaps some examples or sub-cases. jesup 00:08, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

(edit conflict)It could be, possibly, I don't know exactly. But it's redundant at present with some of the other aspects of the guideline. Also "websites that allow self-publishing" seems very broad to me. A large portion of websites have rolled-out some type of blogging feature that allow reader comments or uploads. The sentence might cover too wide a cross-section of sites. I also don't understand the obsession with adding something about copyright to every line in the guideline. The very first restriction in this guidleine states: Sites that violate the copyrights of others per contributors' rights and obligations should not be linked. Linking to websites that display copyrighted works is acceptable as long as the website has licensed the work. Knowingly directing others to a site that violates copyright may be considered contributory infringement. What could be clearer than that? --JJay 00:09, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
My intent with "websites that allow self publishing" was actually to only include the material that was self-uploaded. It was a bit too broad. I'll think of a different way to state what I was trying to get at... Give me a few minutes to brainstorm. ---J.S (t|c) 00:15, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
How about:
"Links to amateur websites, except when the owner/author is known to be an expert in the field."
or...
"Links to material whose author is unknown within the scope of the field."
---J.S (t|c) 00:26, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

..that is completely unacceptable because, as I pointed out, thousands of films like Alexander Nevsky are legally in the public domain, and one need not be any kind of authority to upload them to a website or to YT and external link them to Wiki. Cindery 17:50, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

If the author is an unknown person (either anonymous or simply non-notable) then we have no way to evaluate how trustworthy the uploader is. If YT user "IHateJews" uploads clips from a PD holocaust documentary... then we probably don't want to link to it. However, if a notable holocaust historian uploads the documentary then we can be reasonably sure it's accurate. Unknown person = no assurance of accuracy. Oh, Cindery, start indenting your comments. I have a hard time taking anything you say seriously. (rewording for civility) Cindery, please start indenting your comments, otherwise I have a hard time taking anything you say seriously. ---J.S (t|c) 21:18, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Would you take him more seriously if he indented? :)--Spartaz 21:22, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I was getting at... I just didn't say it well.---J.S (t|c) 22:00, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I reworded. ---J.S (t|c) 22:03, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

...I am a she. If J would like to re-do the indenting for the entire page here and then on to the rest of Wikipedia, I could care less--it seems a less destructive control-freak project than deleting all the YT links without looking at them.:-) Cindery 22:39, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Also: you completely don't seem to get it that thouands of films are in the public domain, and the Wiki uploader can be completely anonymous, and that is fine. Cindery 22:41, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Guidelines cannot bypass established policies

The lead had this wording: Wikipedia articles can often be improved by providing links to web pages outside Wikipedia which contain information that can't or shouldn't be added to the article. That sentence, added circa Oct 22nd 2006, is in direct contradiction with Wikipedia content policies. Material that could not or should not be added to an article, should not be linked to either. The EL section is part of our encyclopedia and not the dumping ground for material that is not considered valid, useful, or compliant. I have removed the last portion of the sentence to read only ''Wikipedia articles can often be improved by providing links to web pages outside Wikipedia. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:15, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I have to disagree with the removal. There are cases where copyright laws would prohibit adding content on wikipedia pages but could provide a source of information by following the link. This would also apply to long list of historical data and other archives. --I already forgot 01:24, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


Yes, I think Jossi is missing the point of the phrase he removed. It relates to the "What should be linked to" section...
  • Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons. [Note: this does not mean that the linked site violates copyright, it means that if we moved content from the site into our article, that would violate copyright.]
  • Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews.
Granted, it might be put better. Maybe we should go back to another workshop version: there's getting to be an awful lot of off-the-hip editing on what really ought to be a pretty stable document. -- Mwanner | Talk 01:48, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the intent of "information that can't or shouldn't be added to the article." relates to things like articles in peer review journals. The minute detail of how a experiment was performed it helpful for those who want more information, but is likely too much detail for an article aiming for a broad scope. Likewise, an author might release the first chapter of his new book on his website... the first chapter cannot be included because it would be a violation of his copyrights, but it could be of great value to someone who wanted to know more about the book. ---J.S (t|c) 02:33, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Mwanner and J.S' points. External links are provided to offer further and useful information that is outside the scope of the encyclopedia, and I think that has been the spirit of the guideline (and usage) since before the addition of the sentence. How is it in violation of Wikipedia content policies? Or maybe the broader question is: how do content policies apply to external links? I inquired about this during workshop editing and only 2005 responded, saying that they (or at least WP:V) don't apply. It seems that there is disagreement about this, so maybe we should hash that out? Personally, I find it a little difficult to apply Wikipedia content policies to external links (except for those policies that address external links specifically, e.g. WP:NPOV#Undue weight), because all the language in the policies is formulated to discuss text/images in the article. SlimVirgin made the point above that, in terms of verifiability, the bar for external links is lower than for sources, which I think most of us would agree with (right?) So where do we place that bar (if we place it at all)? Schi 05:46, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The lead is worded in a way that is inappropriate. The explanation needs to be kept at the "What should be linked to" section and the lead kept simple and formulated in a manner that does not create confusion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 06:05, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I disagree, but if you have a better wording, I'm open to discussing it. ---J.S (t|c) 07:22, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the wording could possibly be less open to interpretation, but it certainly doesn't violate policy at all. There certainly is worthwhile content that can't be included in a WP article but could be linked. Not to mention that the policies discussed are all about WP content and sources, they don't even apply to EL. Some people seem to think that content on external sites that WP links to must meet all WP policies, and that's certainly not the case. --Milo H Minderbinder 15:20, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The concerns are valid and need to be addressed

The concerns raised are valid and should be addressed. While EL section can be a useful addition to an article, it cannot be a dumping ground for crappy stuff unsuitable material that could not make it to the article for being in violation of policy. So, this guideline needs to be worded in such a way that encourages useful links, while discourages crap unsuitable ones. The tension between these two aspects, what to link and what to avoid, needs to be carefully worded as to provide a good understanding that can be easily applied by editors. The guideline's lead in its current state does not reflect the spirit of the guideline and needs to be reworded. As the page is now protected, we could move forward by discussing a new lead. This is my attempt:

Wikipedia articles can often be improved by providing links to web pages outside Wikipedia. A good selection of external links is welcome, but keep it concise: Wikipedia is not a web directory. These links belong in an "External links" section near the bottom of the article, as per our Manual of Style. If the site or page you want to link to includes information that is not yet a part of the article, and that website is a reliable source, consider using it as a source first.

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:11, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

"Crap," is a) uncivil b) utterly and uselessly subjective. (Or perhaps we should throw out the whole EL page and just write "don't put any 'crap' on Wikipedia"?) Not everything in a blog-published-by-an-authority or YT link published by NBC is de facto relevant as an external link: your ideas of "what is not 'crap'" are not necessarily good ELs either, hence the editorial process, by which ELs are vetted by collective judgement viz all policies and guidelines. "Careful wording" should not be so specific that it replaces the editorial process.

Cindery 19:45, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I hear you. I have changed the offending words. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)
Careful wording is needed to avoid misinterpretation as well as making this guideline compatible and not competing with established policies. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

...I said "Careful wording should not be so specific that it replaces the editorial process"--which seems to be the crux of the matter. Some people would like to make the guideline so specific that it excludes specific problemmatic sites, which have exceptions. Other people--the majority--are saying because there are exceptions, the wording can't specifically exclude them, they should be vetted by editors. A better solution to the problemmatic sites is faster removal under C; not erroneously specific language at EL. Re the lead, I don't think it needs to be changed; "unsuitable" is too vague/extra verbiage; links should be evaluated as "further reading," not as sources. Cindery 22:27, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Protected

I have full protected the guideline. Please discuss before modifying the guideline. This page is visited by thousands of new and established users, and we can't just modify it every other hour. I also ask administrators not to modify the article other than correcting spellings. I thought we had already learned in the last edit war. -- ReyBrujo 02:20, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

What template? Shouldn't this go on the template's talk page? ---J.S (t|c) 02:34, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Ehem... sorry, I was multitasking with a template and got the heading mixed. -- ReyBrujo 02:56, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
While I'm glad this is protected, I have to say that it's currently locked into a pretty bad state that doesn't reflect consensus. I particularly disagree with the inclusion of anonymous content and personal websites, both of which are only in the guideline because they happened to be in at this particular point in the revert war. So how do we go about getting the guideline back into stable shape? --Milo H Minderbinder 15:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
My personal opinion of the inclusion of anonymous websites aside, I do agree with Milo H Minderbinder that the current wording is more indicative of where the music stopped in the game of edit-revert-revert than it is of demonstrated consensus. Let's please keep discussing this to ensure the guideline reflects current community opinion. Or maybe it's time for a strawpoll to get a quick read? -- Satori Son 15:25, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Er, no, let's not do that. It's generally better to make a good list of pro and con arguments. A poll tends to focus everything on a binary issue and tends to give the result that "some people disagree with one another" which we're already aware of. The issue seems to be once more whether we can link to wikis and blogs? I believe the answer to that was "in most cases, no". (Radiant) 15:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
A locked page is always the wrong version: this is an established principle. The way to get the right version is to discuss and reach a consensus, which is what should have happened before every single recent change instead of this appalling edit warring. Please don't try to take shortcuts to "the right version" which should be "immediately obvious". Notinasnaid 17:26, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree that this is an egregious case of the "wrong version," and that noting that is relevant--there was no consensus for the changes made, and there was consensus to leave them out. Cindery 17:54, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

There was no consensus, Cindery. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:56, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, in fact their was. The page should be reverted back to where it was stable and previously protected, here , as a result of several months of discussions. It should then be protected, (semi)permanently, with any changes to be discussed here first. There is a very clear previous version to revert to, the same version that was protected previously. 2005 23:19, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Confusion about that probably does call for a poll, then, Jossi. Cindery 18:00, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

In the absence of consensus, changes shouldn't have been made. I hope the current version doesn't give anyone an excuse to go on a massive editing spree. I agree with Radiant that a poll probably isn't the best way to go, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's what ends up happening. --Milo H Minderbinder 18:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
No polls, please. The issues need to be argued and agreed upon. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:43, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Nobody seems to want to take the time to propose a change (as in: I think that where it says "XXX" we should add/replace it with "YYY" with all of the wording). Instead, instant gratification, making a point by changing the guidelines. I feel this has to stop, no article is for making a point, still less these critical ones. Even now, nobody has proposed any form of words since the protection! Nothing should be changed until exact wording reaches a consensus. Notinasnaid 22:05, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I started whit a proposal for the lead, above at #The_concerns_are_valid_and_need_to_be_addressed. You are welcome to comment. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
As Notinasnaid stated above, administrators never protect the right version, that is why the template has a disclaimer. I am willing to revert to a version with consensus, but unluckily there is none. The page was full protected on July, September, October and November due edit warring. And I am sure next month will be again :-( -- ReyBrujo 01:36, 29 November 2006 (UTC)