Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 16

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MySpace Ban revisited

I would like to suggest that what appears to be a total ban on links to MySpace be reconsidered if the link is to a Band or some other "Professional" type page. In particular this type of page can frequently be an appropriate source for "Independent" musicians, etc. CyntWorkStuff 05:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Apparantly Jimbo had these blacklisted. If you want to change it I suggest you take it up with him directly. --Spartaz 06:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I did not know it was completely blacklisted, only that it was listed under "Links normally to be avoided" and then only in context of "Social Netwoking" or "Personal Blog" pages. CyntWorkStuff 06:45, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
My bad - I shouldn't post so early in the morning. Myspace blog links are blacklisted. For the others you are in the right place. So I'll shut up now... --Spartaz 06:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Howdy, I have a few mixed feelings on myspace. Yes I can see how some information can be gotten from the site, thats great. The problem I am seeing is that if whatever is being cited can only be found in myspace, is whatever is being cited really that big of a deal? If information about a band can't be cited by multiple reliable sources, then the band probably should not even be in wikipedia. We are not here to document the "up and coming" so to say, but rather those who already have had a ton of media coverage. I guess it comes to this... if what is trying to be said can only be cited by myspace, then we should be asking if that material is really notable, and is that material any type of original research. As far as myspace links in the "external links" section, I think they should go, as we are not a linkfarm. Its not our job to point people to every related band site. Nor is it our job to be pointing people to random fan-sites. Generally useful links to go in the "external links" section would be, the band's official page, their producer's page on them, and thats about it. If they are an "independent" band, then we should be relying on multiple reliable sources to document if and when the band is releasing something (after we check to make sure the band is or is not notable, and can info really be verifiable). If there are some interesting related hisotory or what not, that could go there as well. Its Google, Yahoo, Ask.com, and the search engines job to point people to the related fan-sites, and other paraphernalia. Cheers! —— Eagle 101 (Need help?) 10:13, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I think the main issue is when a band uses myspace for their official webpage. If that's the case, WP:EL definitely recommends linking to it. --Milo H Minderbinder 14:32, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
The situation I have in mind is not just when a Band (or now other entities such as Films; Books; Festivals; 501c3's and/or NGO Organizations; Performers; etc.) use MySpace as their "Official" web-page, it is when they start using a Main web-site and MySpace in tandem. For instance, since webpage's frequently require the assistance of programmers to update and change, many people use them for more static information and then use more User-modifiable sites, (like MySpace) to put up new info. Additionally because it is easy for an end user to do on their own, it is a place where the most current music, etc. can be found. While not at all advocating that the "External Links" sections be turned into linkfarms, I would just like to be able to list and cite both a main website and an "official" secondary or tertiary site, without having a "Removing external link: myspace.com -- per external link guidelines" show up. CyntWorkStuff 19:42, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
We just have to be careful, of course, that it's the true official page, and not someone masquerading as such. There are ways to tell. We just have to be careful. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 14:38, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The problem is myspace has no system for 'official' verification. There are several artists out there, and I'm sure many more, of whom have multiple myspace 'official' profiles. Only one of them, sometimes none of them are the 'true' 'official' profile. I don't think WP:EL recommends linking to it on shakey WP:RS (WP:V) grounds. JoeSmack Talk 14:41, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
We have to be equally careful outside of MySpace. There is nothing unusual about a fan site with its own domain. - Jmabel | Talk 18:51, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

(undent) If a band or artist or whatever has an official website and there is a link on that website to the Myspace page, then why do we need to link to both from WP? The link to the official site gets people on the right track to finding the other one. if there is no link on the official site, then how do we know it's official? -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 19:48, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I would say the same way we assess if any webpage/website is an official & trusted source. By careful research and using common sense and good judgment. Additionally, we can hope to rely on the knowledge of our fellow editors to tell us if someone is attempting to pull the wool over our eyes. My thought here is that just as NOT being on MySpace doesn't always automatically make a site and the information contained instantly credible, the fact that it was set up using MySpace as a tool should not in all cases make it instantly suspect. I just want to be able to make that reasonable assessment without being automatically wiped out in some sort of global "links to MySpace" hunting sweep. CyntWorkStuff 20:04, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
What about when the band puts the myspace link on their album? And along the lines of "why do we link both", why do we do it in the case of corporations that have multiple official websites? I don't see "why do we need both" as a reason not to link to an official site. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:56, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
If they have a series of interlinked sites then I don't think we are serving any informational value up by providing every single one of them. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:36, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Do we have an estimate of how many (in percentage, please) reliable sites there are on myspace? --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Impossible to estimate. Technically speaking, anywhere from 0-100%. They all are possible reliable primary sources. --badlydrawnjeff talk 20:24, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Just look at some of them! Most are sloppily done using code generators, and I could set one up in mere minutes. Any band with no official site outside of myspace should probably be AfDed under WP:MUSIC, since a website is so easy to set up these days. ST47Talk 20:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Thankfully, having a website does not meet the deletion criteria. d:-P --badlydrawnjeff talk 20:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Does it matter? If one band has an official page on MySpace, and the information thereon is reliable information about the band, then that link should be included. Blanket bans should be saved for spam sites. (And if Jimbo has blocked links to MySpace blogs, he's wrong.) Argyriou (talk) 20:38, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
That is technically a correct answer. But of all the myspace sites .. there are <100% maintained by bands, of those <100% do not have an official homepage, and of those <100% are notable enough to be in wikipedia. But to make it countable first, how many official 'groups' do have a myspace account (as opposed to my neighbours daughter)? --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:31, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
My specialty in this regard is indie music, and I'd say that it's rare for a group not to have a Myspace page, either as their main homepage or in addition to their main homepage. If you want to reach your audience, you get on MySpace. I don't know of any bands at this point that do not have a MySpace page, although I'm sure there may be a few here or there. --badlydrawnjeff talk 20:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I do believe that, but if that in total are 500 bands, of those have 10% not an official site, we end up with 50 myspace links, right. On a 50,000 myspace sites, that is a mere 0.1% .. all the others, 49,950, we'd have to revert. And then, I am not even asking if all these 50 are notable enough to earn a wikipedia site. --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:43, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Not music related. An article on my watchlist (an article for a school) recently had a groups.myspace.com link deleted, with a note indicating "(Removing external link: *.myspace.com -- per external link guidelines)". This link was to an online group for the alumni of the school, which is a small boarding school. I am not familiar with this school, but earlier when I checked the external links in the article, it appeared to me that the myspace group was at least as useful a resource in the context of the article as the school's official website. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Spam_blacklist lists only myspace blogs and a few other specific myspace pages as being blacklisted. Is there some other blacklist that bans all of myspace, or can I assume that groups.myspace.com is not actually blacklisted?--orlady 20:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Howdy, I just want to note that in this case, a quick read of the links normally to be avoided, would help here. In this case it is a link to a social group, we can't possibly link to every related social group without becoming a link farm. Cheers! —— Eagle 101 (Need help?) 21:46, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I see I forgot to answer to Argyriou. Argyriou, it is still possible to add myspace.com pages, but most (practically all) will be removed on sight. If there is such a page, I am sure there will be an exception (just wondering, how do you know it is an official myspace site of a notable band?). For now, such a site has not been encountered, and wikipedia is not a repository for external links. --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:57, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Some have cited Wikipedia:External links. But if you look at the subhead "Links normally to be avoided," you'll find that links that constitute "an official page of the article subject" are exempt. Many MySpace pages are run by the actual subjects of the articles or their delegates and provide a rich source of first-hand information about them. They often function as a subject's only official page or as a supporting page with unique content. No, I don't work for MySpace -- I just think it's a mistake to overlook this resource. Jessesamuel 22:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that is part of the above discussion. While obeying that WP is not a linkfarm, one could consider using a myspace page, if a) that is indeed the official page (how to check?), b) the page where that link is on is on itself notable enough to be in wikipedia, and the information is reliable (again, how to check). That indeed gives the possibility that there are some myspace links left over (and I am sure an exception for these can be made), but how many will that be? --Dirk Beetstra T C 22:39, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Until Myspace cracks down on impersonation, it cannot be considered a reliable or verifiable source, pure and simple. I should note that Jimbo Wales has a few impersonators there. Cheers, ✎ Peter M Dodge ( Talk to MeNeutrality Project ) 00:10, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
That issue has already been addressed - identity can be verified by the user confirming their page from an official source. If nbc.com links to a myspace page for a show, there's no doubt the page is an official one. --Milo H Minderbinder 00:18, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
No, not at all. Cross-referencing is key. The crux of the matter is this - if the page has legitimate claims, it will be reported by the news media. If it has been reported by the news media, then THAT is what should be linked. Linking to small indie band websites is nothing more than a promotion tool. ✎ Peter M Dodge ( Talk to MeNeutrality Project ) 00:24, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

That might be their policy, but it's definitely not the practice. I believe the guidelines should insist that any such pages linked should be 'official' and not fansites, and leave it at that. It would be of value if it became known that the only myspace links on WP were those verified to be 'official' by the WP community. There's a balance to be made between keeping WP 'pure' and making it the best resource possible. joly Wwwhatsup 09:31, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Until this day comes it should not be considered verifiable unless a 3rd party reliable source confirms it, and in that case just use the reliable source instead. Come to think of it, it seems like 99.9% of cases would end up in not using myspace. If it was used, it would only be in a ref tag. JoeSmack Talk 13:55, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Reliable sources and external links are two different things. The fact that a myspace page is official absolutely needs to be verifiable to use it as an external link. But another source doesn't need to verify everything on that page (same as any other official source), and a source verifying that it is official isn't necessarily going to contain all the info on the myspace page, and thus isn't really a replacement for the page. --Milo H Minderbinder 14:07, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what you are trying to say, but as per WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided i remove links that are not reliable sources. ELs are often times info that is waiting to be incorporated into the article, and if they ain't RSs someone is going to be mislead. JoeSmack Talk 22:11, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Then it sounds like you're misunderstanding policy. EL and RS are two different things and have two different standards for inclusion. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Please see WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided, number 2. JoeSmack Talk 00:10, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
And please see the intro to that section that says links to official sites are exempt from that list. --Milo H Minderbinder 13:24, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and how do we know it is an official site? Because there are other (3rd party) sources telling it is official, making that source an even better reference than the blog. --Dirk Beetstra T C 13:42, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
The guideline as currently written doesn't support that. It says to link official sites, not to compare official sites to third party sources and see which is "better". If you don't like the policy, propose a change. --Milo H Minderbinder 14:49, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

(undent)Yes, the policy says it should link to official sites, but how do you know something is an official site? Because the site itself says it is the official site? --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:02, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

As has already been pointed out, it can be verified from other official info. Just because another source is required to verify that it is offical doesn't somehow make it not official. --Milo H Minderbinder 15:16, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and as such it can be used as a reference, noting that it must be clear that the myspace site is there a reliable source (hence, a reference giving both the official site and the myspace site, explaining this). As an external link, it is only reliable if there is an official source stating it is reliable, then it does not need to be in the external links, since the official site can be in the external links, and people can go via the official site to the myspace site. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:27, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Again, you're entitled to your opinion, but the guideline simply doesn't agree with that statement. "Reliable source" is irrelevant in regard to external links to official websites. If a myspace page is an official site, the policy says it can go in the external links. --Milo H Minderbinder 16:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Again, how do you know the myspace in question is an official website. Wikipedia is not a linkfarm, hence, although it could go into the external links, one does not have to put a link into the external links section when it is available. And in these cases there are better external links available, and when it is the official page, it is better as a reference to statements in the text. --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:27, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
You're asking a question that has already been answered. Per the guideline, we just need to be sure that a website is an official one. Once we know that, it may be linked, period. "Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any." Per the guideline, "better" or "linkfarm" aren't reasons not to link to official sites. Again, if you disagree with linking to official sites, propose a change in the policy. --Milo H Minderbinder 17:22, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
How can we see in the external links that a myspace page is the official one, and what does that site add to the article when it is in the external links section. That a link exists does not mean that it should be incorporated (it can be incorporated, when it is clearly an official site). The majority of the external links contain information that could be used in the text and are then better used as a reference (vide infra). So yes, they can be official sites, they can be used. But the guidelines says: keep it to a minimum, and then the site that says that the myspace site is official is a better EL than the myspace site .. the myspace is then superfluous. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:38, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
"How can we see in the external links that a myspace page is the official one" This has already been answered multiple times, why do you keep asking? "Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any." Sounds like official sites should be linked. It doesn't say "can" be linked. --Milo H Minderbinder 18:05, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see it. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:33, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
My 2cents are this point are this: if i see "Official site" next to a myspace EL on wikipedia, i just don't trust it's claim. i don't see any good reason why i should as it is a social networking site. the burden of proof is on the contributor, and from wikipedia space i just can't see how it could be shown to be officially verified by contributor as the sole official site (the most of the 'exceptions' to linking to myspace). JoeSmack Talk 19:33, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
"Sole official site"? Where in EL does it use that term? The question keeps coming up about knowing a myspace site is really an official one, but how do we know *any* official site is legit? The question isn't unique to myspace. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:14, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Its a scenario in which i might use myspace EL. and we use a little common sense to identify official sites. For instance Spiderman 3, you might find the 'official site' being Spiderman 3 official site!!, Spiderman official site, Spiderman official site!!!, Spidermans official siite! and Spiderman 3 site!!!. My point is myspace is a social networking site, and requires sometimes arduous research to show it is official, all of which is unprovable in wikipedia space anyways. Just like flickr extremely rarely if ever an acceptable EL as an official site, myspace should garner the same response - thus both are hardly ever used and often deleted from EL sections. JoeSmack Talk 20:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I just can't take the argument that "MySpace is never a reliable source" argument seriously. Get with the times; MySpace is here to stay, and its ease of use (for lack of a much better phrase) is very attractive to people. For example, Jon Favreau, the director of the upcoming Iron Man film, has been using his MySpace blog as an official source of information. Are we seriously not allowed to cite the director, just because we "don't like" the website he used? Couple that with the rise of MySpace for bands, and any argument for a flat-out ban on MySpace becomes ridiculous to incredible proportions. EVula // talk // // 15:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't think we have said 'never' .. hardly ever is closer. And I don't think it is a 'I don't like it', it is a Jimbo does not like it. But you can write "Jon Favreau, the director of the upcoming Iron Man film has announced on his weblog<ref>[www.ironman.com/pagetellingthisistheofficialblog Ironman official site]</ref> that something is going to happen.<ref>[www.myspace.com/ironman official ironman blog]</ref>" ?? In that case indeed you can indeed use it as a reliable source. --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:04, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I've heard some pretty vehement arguments against MySpace being used for pretty much anything, so I'm perhaps a bit overzealous in my arguments for the site. I just think that MySpace isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and a policy that ignores that is based on a fallacy, in my opinion. EVula // talk // // 17:08, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
But the arguments raised against it are legitimate. Please give them a read. Cheers! —— Eagle 101 (Need help?) 19:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I personally think Milo has the correct argument. And, in my experience, non-official or fansites on myspace nearly always declare themselves as they soon discover it's the only way to avoid deluges of fan messages. The social networking aspect is irrelevant when myspace has become the default method of public communication by so many artists - audio samples, tourdates, videoclips, and other provided content are independent of social connections. Solutions could be to create an 'official' tag to be included on pages and/or to request email verification similar to the permissions@WP system. Wwwhatsup 07:42, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
This isn't always the case so I couldn't possibly trust the idea that everyone who is non official declares it. The social networking aspect isn't irrelevant, it is actually the most salient: myspace is first and foremost a social networking site no matter how you look at it. The solution you propose is sometimes suggested, but until it is made and it works and isn't abused and such, myspace won't be a proper EL in the vast vast majority of the cases it is used. JoeSmack Talk 16:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Whether it's a reliable source or not is immaterial, if it's not a spam problem it doesn't belong in the spam blacklist. Inappropriate ELs in general can be removed by other editors, who, unlike a blanket ban in the SBL, can use judgement on a case-by-case basis. --Random832(tc) 03:04, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Guideline against text links to external links?

The current 4th paragraph of External link was edited in a way intended to clarify it. It had been combined with the previous paragraph. Provided that there is no Wiki article that covers a hypertext link reasonably well, nothing in External link indicates that a text link to external links are to be discouraged. Or so a coherent reading of the previous Edit suggeests. An example consistent with this interpreation is Economics, which has the following last sentence of the Lead:

Methods of economic analysis have been increasingly applied to fields that involve people (officials included) making choices in a social context, such as crime, education, the family, health, law, politics, religion, social institutions, and war.

There the most suitable link is used, whether to another wiki article or an external link. Does anyone believe that the guideline of External link either does or should discourage such a practice? Comments welcome in either direction. --Thomasmeeks 19:24, 30 March 2007 (UTC) (']]' & spelling fixes) Thomasmeeks 00:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

What is it, though? Is it in the External Links section? No. Is it a reference? No. Then it doesn't seem to be covered by any policy, and personally, I'd delete it. Notinasnaid 19:26, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Notinasnaid, why do you say these links are not references? --Gerry Ashton 19:49, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
It isn't a form of reference I recognise, or can find in WP:CITE#How to cite sources. Notinasnaid 20:52, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
A reference is a reference if it is intended to show where information in an article came from. There is no hard and fast requirement that the reference be written in a particular form. If you wish to edit an article to improve the way a reference is written, you are welcome to do so, but it would be incorrect to remove a reference because you don't care for the way it is written. --Gerry Ashton 12:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I believe that the 4th para., 4th sentennce clarifies:

This guideline only concerns external links that provide additional info beyond that provided by citation/reference links.

If "beyond" in the quotation referred to the External links section, there would not be a separate section for that subject. Therefore, it must refer to external links other than for citation/reference or the External links section such as referred to in section 3: What to link. There it refers to providing context and making the discussion more accessible, which is just what an in-line Wiki link should do. --Thomasmeeks 21:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

There's this: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)#Link titles: "You should not add a descriptive title to an embedded HTML link within an article." The links above may pass as citations for the particular examples crime/education/religion/war and should be treated as references. They're definitely not proper external links. Titled embedded links are evil. Depending on your browser setup you can't even visually distinguish them from internal links. I think the guideline could be more clear that articles must not be scattered with links, even if they meet the inclusion criteria. Femto 10:53, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
These links are not references; they do not attribute the statement, they tunnel away (though probably to appropriate pages). IMHO, a proper setup for this sentence would be:
Methods of economic analysis have been increasingly applied to fields that involve people (officials included) making choices in a social context, such as crime,[1] education[2] the family,[citation needed] health,[citation needed] law,[citation needed] politics,[citation needed] religion,[3] social institutions,[citation needed] and war.[4]
The internal links I used may not be the most appropriate ones, but more appropriate pages can maybe be found, or maybe the sentence should contain a redlink for now.
Another reason why these links (or any external links) in the text are evil is that the page cannot be printed without the formatting breaking. OK, wikipedia is not a paper encyclopeadia, but see 'printable version' button in toolbox). I am not sure if there are policies and guidelines that specifically discourage these practics (I see that WP:CITE mentions inline html-links as a proper way ..), but I would suggest to rebuild these sentences on sight (convert inline urls of whichever format into either {{ref}} or <ref>). --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:22, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Thx for 2 comprehensive statements. First, I do accept that [URL title] is evil (as well as violating MOS;). My remarks above refer to extra-Wiki in-text links, that is of the form [URL text], which parallel [[Wiki article name|text]]. Fento's MOS quote refers to something else: formatting of external link for a citation. For that case, MOS says do not enclose the title of the external link in [URL ]. It does not say: don't use an in-text gloss in an HTML [URL ], such as [URL gloss]. In the example, the link is not a citation but goes to the document itself. One can can argue that the MOS should forbid the latter, but that is a different matter. My own view is that no categorical rules should be laid down here, because circumstances may differ. I do accept the presumption in favor intra-Wiki in-text links.
On Dirk Beetstra's comment, that is correct: the in-text link tunnels to the document itself. Arguably for that example, however, symmetry or simplicity calls for treating intra-Wiki and extra-Wiki links symmetrically (because all intra-Wiki links there happen to use economic treatments of those subjects). On the point about format breaking, at least on my printer, not even the hypertext prints from an HTML link, whether intra- or external link. (For that case, nothing would be lost that is not already lost in printing.) If the reference is to be preserved for printing, however, footnoting is the way to go as you suggest. Hmm, your last sentence seems to recommend intra-Wiki references. That could make sense for linking to the reference section of another article. But presumably nothing else in Wiki is a primary source, the gold standard. So, I don't know another Wiki article would ever ve used as a citattion. I'm probably missing something here (& not the frist time). --Thomasmeeks 20:42, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
You are right, that sentence is ambiguous. I meant the in-text extra-wikipedia links. I am inclined not to treat intra-wiki and extra-wiki links symmetrically; the text in wikipedia should explain, which can be helped with internal links, while the external links should be used as references (to attribute the text in the article). If the information is not available in wikipedia, then articles on that subject should be created/requested or the information should be included in the document. The external links suggest that the information on the article is complete, but not all information is included in wikipedia. That might suggest that the documents should not be created in wikipedia, whereas a redlink would trigger that. Although wikipedia is not a paper encyclopeadia, CD and paper versions of the wikipedia (e.g. for people who do not have an internet connection) would be void of the external information. --Dirk Beetstra T C 22:07, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Pointing out the advantages of referencing as a guideline is very appropriate. IMHO prohibiting extra-Wiki text links as a way to improve Wiki could produce the postulated beneficial effect, but that's assuming that Wiki policy will have a certain overall effect. What seems surer is that the article would not be as good. So, deciding comes down to a difference in prediction. Here at least the instances are unusual enough as to not require policy. I agree, not all info is in Wiki. It's nice to hope that a redlink would trigger improvement, but where to start and with what focus? At least with an external link there is a starting point. CD versions are different species for which special considerations might apply anyhow. --Thomasmeeks 02:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Footnote URLs that mess up the formatting

Example: James Dobson. What's the best way to resolve this? Use PURL? --Bix 20:52, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Just put a bracket on both ends of the URL. I correct this kind of problem now and then when I see it on various pages. This long newspaper article URL from the James Dobson reference section becomes this very short link: [1]
If you have more time, create a regular reference link consisting of title, author, publication, and date. --Timeshifter 10:41, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Hey, I forgot about this...
I meant that the reference at the bottom of the page shows the whole URL and thus throws off the formatting. --Bix 01:27, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Retitle "Advertising and Conflict of Interest"?

Could the title of Section 4.1, "Advertising and Conflict of Interest," be amended to something like "Advertising, Self-Linking, and Conflict of Interest"? I'm a math professor who tried to set up links to my course notes. I initially skipped over this section in my reading, because I didn't think I fell into either of the two categories; I was thinking "Coke, Pepsi, and politicians." I think many fellow new users might get confused. Thanks! Ken Kuniyuki 01:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I see no need for the change. You have aproached linking correctly from what I have seen by discussing it on the talk page. I would however, have a read over at Wp:not#Wikipedia_is_not_a_publisher_of_original_thought to cover all bases in case its Primary (original) research. cheers --Hu12 02:01, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Open Directory Project

I removed this for discussion:

Rather than creating a long list of external links, editors should consider linking to a related category in the Open Directory Project (also known as DMOZ) that is devoted to creating relevant directories of links pertaining to various topics. (See {{Dmoz}}.) If there is no relevant category, you can request help finding or creating a category by placing {{Directory request}} on the article's talk page.

I'm curious to know when this was added and who agreed to it, because it seems that we're throwing ourselves on the mercy of that project's editorial judgment and policies rather than our own. I saw it misused today where it seems it's being added because it contains a link to a highly POV blog-style entry about a contentious issue. Is there widespread consensus that this project should be linked to? SlimVirgin (talk) 00:06, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

That should not be in the guideline. DMOZ does not have a policy by which they chose to add websites to their directory. It is done by volunteers (I have been one a few years ago) and that guidelines for inclusion are very loose. Allowing links to DMOZ contradicts the "Links to avoid section" in this guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ is also not always the best link to use - there's a discussion in the beer articles and project about the use of links to BeerAdvocate.com, which provides better and more thorough coverage of breweries and beers than DMOZ does, or probably ever will. Αργυριου (talk) 00:48, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that a DMOZ should not be used blindly. Note that the text says "should consider" - not "they should" - that means that editors should look at the corresponding category and see if it helps enhance the WP page by providing an alternative to the EL list. WP is not a list of links, and this provides ONE alternative, but not the only one. I have no problem with the wording as stated. (Full discloure: I am a DMOZ editor) -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 01:06, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Please don't inappropriately remove things from the guideline without gaining a consensus first. There has been a ton of discussion on this. Using a Dmoz link on articles with potentially dozens or even hundreds of valuable external links is a longstanding good solution to the problem. The fact that some sites linked from Dmoz wouldn't qualify as Wikipedia external links is totally silly. No Dmoz category is likely to ever have every site be one that would merit an external link from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a link directory, and we need a practical solution for when there are dozens of valuable links possible, besides whining and reverting and pissing matches. 2005 02:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
This was removed as it contradicts the wording of the guideline itself. We are not linking to Google searches, not to the Yahoo categories directory and we should link to DMOZ either. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't contradict the guideline. In fact it is a part of the guideline that has a longstanding consensus from multiple previous discussions. Do not completely arbitrily change the guideline without gaining a consensus first. We went through this before. You know the process. Please don't be rude. 2005 00:28, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a collection of links, but ODP is. So it seems reasonable to let ODP handle the list of links and Wikipedia the article content. It indeed seems popular[2]. Your say "I saw it misused today" and that makes it sound like you assume bad faith. // Liftarn

  • It may be popular, but the point of our guideline pages is not to advertise popular websites. >Radiant< 11:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Popular to use in Wikipedia. That should prove that it indeed has value. // Liftarn

So its safe to remove these when found? - Denny (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I think that a discussion on the Talk page would be appropriate before removing them. The policy here says they are acceptable, so just removing them without any comment would not be appropriate in my opinion. One Edit summary made a comment that Google Search results and a DMOZ category are the same. I would like to hear more about your opinions on this, since in my opinion they are completely different. I don't believe that it is germane to talk about how much it has been done - that doesn't make it right or wrong. The EL policy says it can be done. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:50, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that dmoz (love the site, for what its worth) is a collection of links back to other external sources. From that respect simple linking to individual dmoz pages while a potential convenience to readers is a complete end-run around all our rules for judging who and what we link to. Adding a dmoz link to a subject that the article covers in and of itself I would say is completely unneeded. Nice, but unneeded. - Denny (talk) 20:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah Denny, I see you already went ahead and removed 16 of them... :-( -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I thought about it for a long while, and actually did remove those specifically since they weren't adding anything to the article. :( - Denny (talk) 20:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with some of them, and have reverted others - some of them had 30, 50 or 111 entries, which in my opinion do add to the article. I left the ones with none or only a few as deleted. Sorry to be skeptical, but according to your logs you asked the question here and then 6 minutes later started removing links. It would have been nice to give people time to answer first :-) I am not saying they should be kept, necessarily, but I am suggesting that there should at least be a discussion first. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 21:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I would like to suggest that if after reading the Archived version of this discussion (which has been had twice since I became a WP editor) and presumably before then too, we talk about changing the policy, and not doing mass-deletions of DMOZ categories. Previous discussions are: Yahoo Directory and DMOZ, Link to DMOZ, DMOZ Again (that one was about me), Use_of_deep_links_into_DMOZ_categories - you will see that the issue has some passionate advocates on both sides of the argument. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 21:18, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

The guideline is very clear: avoid linking to search engine result pages. If you want to link, then you need to explain the reasons why you want to link and the benefits to the article. The EL section is not a dumping ground for a collection of on-line sources that, per policy, should not be included in an article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:32, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
So... should we have a general DMOZ link to an article's given topic, or is it safe to remove it? As we can't ever guarantee any editorial oversight I would think 'no', and would be happy to do drudge work of removing frivilous DMOZ links if that's the right thing. - Denny (talk) 16:08, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ pages are not "search results pages". Please act in good faith. If you want to change the guideline, then get a consensus. Clearly the overwhelming consensus is contrary to what you want as many editors have voiced support for sometimes using Dmoz categories, and many more have added them to articles. 2005 21:16, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia:External links section titled "Links to be considered":

"A web directory category, when deemed appropriate by those contributing to the article, with preference to open directories."

Search engine results are not the same as a web directory page. Such as a category page at the Open Directory Project (dmoz). There are many web pages that list relevant links by topic. Each link list, directory, category, and subcategory page should be considered on its merits in my opinion. If the editor of the directory or topic list is putting in relevant links, and is not including problematic links for the most part, then it could be a useful external link for wikipedia.

I suggest we add some kind of clarification such as: "If the category page has more than a few problematic links that violate wikipedia guidelines, then wikipedia should not link to the category." --Timeshifter 10:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I see no difference between DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory or Google Directory]. We should not link any of these. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I do not think that DMOZ should be used, as there is no editorial control over it. Buddhipriya 20:18, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Alucard and 2005 are right. There have been numerous discussions and consensus building regarding Wikipedia's use of DMOZ as an "unofficial" link repository. In addition to the four discussions listed by Alucard, also see Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2006 December 15#Template:Dmoz and Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 January 19#Template:NoMoreLinks, both of which resulted in a clear "Keep" results and solid support for our use of DMOZ.

Thus, I would strongly oppose any blanket removal of the DMOZ templates in articles, and I fully support its mention in this guideline. It has an established, albeit weak, consensus for use, it is not a search engine result, and it has just as much editorial oversight as we have here. -- Satori Son 21:05, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

there are new arguments, Satori Son, and this discussion proves that the consensus is disputed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Do we really need to go through this yet again. Just because you don't now agree agree means nothing to the consensus achieved. If you want to get something changed, GET A CONSENSUS. If you don't get a consensus, please do not edit this guideline for substance. Edits for typos and clarifications are fine. 2005 21:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I fully agree with your principle. Unless there is a clear and wide consensus for adding the DMOZ part, we should not do so. If there is such clear and wide consensus somewhere on this Talk page, please point me to it. Thanks, Crum375 22:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Scroll up. Additionally the text has been there for about six months. 2005 22:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I did, before posting. I see major disagreements about DMOZ and no consensus for adding it. Crum375 22:17, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
It was added late October, if it has been in that long that's the consensus you're looking for. [3] If you want to remove something that has been stable for so long, you should have consensus for the change, and until there's clear consensus it should stay in, not be revert warred over. Not to mention that it's a bit dishonest to call reverting back in something that has been there for months changing the policy. --Minderbinder 22:26, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Let's WP:AGF about 'dishonesty'. I missed the fact that this change was added in October 2006, but I still feel there is no consensus for it. Was there consensus for the change when it was added? If so, where can I find it? Crum375 23:00, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Please read the above. There was an entire "workshop" rewrite of the guideline discussed for literally months. There is no pithy little two sentences to refer to. There was four months or so of give and take where the guideline was made more coherent and focused. And just for the record, as you could see from the threads, I don't like the template part of that paragraph, but accepting it is what happens in achieving a consensus, people accept some non-perfect stuff. They don't just ignore the wishes of the significant majority and remove stuff just because they personally don't like it. 2005 23:11, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

(undent) Since the DMOZ text has been there for quite a while, and multiple discussions about removing it have not reached a concensus, I really think that a proposal to remove should be the subject for an WP:Rfc, and see if there is a concensus to remove. But please do not just remove it without reaching that concensus. If there are new arguments then they can be stated at the intro to the RfC, and then all interested parties can read them and consider whether that warrants a change or not. Essentially calling something "revert" that has been there so long is not the way things should be around here. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

From WP:Consensus: "Silence equals consent" is the ultimate measure of consensus — somebody makes an edit and nobody objects or changes it. Most of the time consensus is reached as a natural product of the editing process. It's unreasonable to look at an edit months ago and insist that other editors produce evidence of other people stating their agreement. If there wasn't agreement, it wouldn't have made it into the policy and stayed there for months. We can certainly discuss and see if there's consensus to remove it - if there are objections, I'd also suggest proposing improvements to the text that would fix those objections instead of just removing it. --Minderbinder 23:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I was not involved in the discussion to allow DMOZ as EL. I guess I am very confused. Am I the only person here who thinks that allowing DMOZ essentially points our readers into the equivalent of a Google search? Even if volunteers somewhere maintain it, we as Wikipedians have no control over the link collection. So please enlighten me - since to me this seems to be in direct contradiction to the rest of WP:EL. Crum375 23:18, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Crum, that very point was brought up in the discussions that I and others referenced earlier. There have been arguments made on both sides during those discussions. I don't feel that a link to a DMOZ category (or a category of any other suitable directory that we can all agree on) is anything like the results of a search engine. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:21, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me to be a link into a linkfarm, over which we as Wikipedians have no direct control. I feel that unless there is wide consensus for this kind of change, it should be removed. If there is such consensus, I am still waiting for a pointer to the relevant thread. Crum375 23:27, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
As you have noted, the change was made months ago. It was not reverted. The "Silence equals consent" part of WP:Consensus means that after this much time, there doesn't have to be a referencable thread. There needs to be wide consensus to remove it, in my opinion. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that as of now, this guideline is self contradictory. I am not at all sure that people are aware of that. I will wait for more comments here by others before acting. Crum375 23:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no contradiction. Just saying there is one, and making the rather wild claim that a hand chosen directory list is the same as results from the search engine really does not give anything for people to respond to. Dmoz categories are sometimes a great link for broad topics that could have hundreds of valuable external links. Wikipedia is not a link directory, and it is soemthing that wants to make valuable articles for users. A directory link can serve a good purpose, and that idea (one directory link) has been in the guideline for years. It has only been refined now to eliminate somejunkdirectory.com from consideration, and offered a bit on info when a directory category is a good idea. 2005 02:52, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Crum375, I took part in some of the DMOZ discussions last year and we included some of the editors from DMOZ. The one distinction you need to remember between a DMOZ directory and a Google search result is that Google makes no judgement about the content reliability or accuracy. It simply applies a computer algorith based on links and content and then ranks websites based upon a specific search term. The famous "Miserable Failure" search term clearly demonstrates how its results can be manipulated. With DMOZ, there is a set of human eyes that evaluates each site for relevance, content and quality before its added. Although this is a human process that has all of its shortcomings, it is still a valuable one.
I do not believe DMOZ should be used indescriminately, but it has clear value when used to fight spam. I've used it a dozen or more times, and each time, when used with an appropriate message, link spam was dramatically reduced on an article that prior to its inclusion was a haven for frequent spamming. As such, I've always viewed DMOZ as an asset to WP. Calltech 01:46, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Combating spam should not be a criteria for using DMOZ, as we could apply the same for Yahoo Directory, or other directories that are "human driven". The concern is that, as there the editorial process for these directories is opaque, we are relying on unknown criteria and in violation of WP:V and contradicting the wording of the guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:05, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
The fact that there IS an editorial process by an individual(s) that has some knowledge associated with a DMOZ category puts DMOZ ahead of Yahoo! or other directories that are more concerned about format and style than knowledge of the content. Yahoo! doesn't have experts in every category where it places websites. Pragmatically, using DMOZ to combat spam in selective instances works - why remove such a valuable tool? Calltech 16:29, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I was a DMOZ editor for several years, and I can assure you that the editorial control is haphazard , at best. There absolutely no proof that directory entries at DMOZ are any different that other directories such as Yahoo directory. This idea of linking to DMOZ is simply not sound, in addition of being contradictory to the language on the guideline (Links to avoid section) despite arguments about consensus, that obviously is being challenged in this discussion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:15, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't contradict the guideline. If you think so, say why. The consensus on this matter is clear. There is no "challenge" to consensus because some people disagree with it. That's just leads to the childishness exhibited trying to force a change when they see there is no consensus for change. Wikipedia has some goofy policies in my opinion, like letting unlogged in users to edit articles, but that IS the way it works here. You want to change something, get a consensus. Personally I'd prefer voting, but that isn't the way it works. Neither is rudely making changes not supported by a clear majority of editors time and again. It's plain there is no consensus to remove the passage now, so accept that... and try to PERSUADE people to change their mind. Don't try and steamroll your opinion over others acting in good faith. 2005 21:45, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
There is clearly no consensus to be using this policy to advocate for driving traffic to DMOZ. Please persuade people to change their mind instead of adding a contested endorsement of another project to a Wikipedia guideline. Jkelly 21:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
The burden is not on me. The burden is on you to get a consensus for a change in the guideline, and clearly there is none, so either make a case or move on. If you don't get a new consensus, the existing one stands. You are saying that there would be no consensus to have any external link guideline at all because you don't agree to it. Consensus doesn't work that way. 2005 23:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Denny nails it. This is an end-run around the NOT clause. Those who are stating consensus is required for changes need to get consensus to change WP:NOT an indiscriminate collection of links before there is any validity to any argument to keeping DMOZ. It conflicts. It conflicts with WP:EL, WP:SPAM as well. So, go get consensus to change those three, and there will be a point to this. Otherwise, no. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:42, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I have just reverted the edit made by KillerChihuahua that removed the entire section, and invited him/her to join in the discussion at the foot of this page before making changes to WP:EL. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 18:53, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
You should not be using the rollback button, popups, or valdal fighting tools for these reverts. Revert if that is what you want to do, but add a proper edit summary. Using popups, rollback, or vandal fighting tools should be limited to reverting vandalism. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:58, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Apologies. I assumed that the note that I left on the edit, the message that I posted to the user's talk page and the note I placed here was enough explanation of the actions I took and why. I assumed that as this was reverting an edit, that the simple revert button was the best way to show that it was just that. If I made a mistake I apologize. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 19:06, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

(outdent) Your assumption was incorrect. KillerChihuahua?!? 19:40, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

In order to try to make sure whether what I was doing was sound or not, I did some digging around and want to share the results with you: The first time the EL page was changed to say that linking to the ODP was ok was added to the article was in this edit dated 26 October 2006 and the note on the edit was Paste in from the workshop - which implies that it was a part of a larger discussion. The workshop referred to can be found at Wikipedia_talk:External_links/workshop#Wikipedia_is_not_a_web_directory. So this change has been in place for 6 months - a lifetime in the world of WP. I am not in favour of simply removing a section that has been there so long and was the subject of a workshop without some discussion (which I have tried to start further down this page). Given the latest coments, it appears that I am out of line with my comments here. I will withdraw from the discussion. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 19:48, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

(after edit conflict) The edit which led to the Seigenthaler controversy was in place for four months before anyone noticed. That this contradiction in policy was not noticed promptly is regrettable, but does not confer some kind of protection to it. KillerChihuahua?!? 19:55, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
As a member of Wikiproject Spam I have included referral to DMOZ as part of spam cleanups, and I agree that it has been helpful for that purpose. However in cases where I have content knowledge, when I have checked the links at DMOZ I find many of them that I would never approve as a content editor, including many commercial sites that do not cite any WP:RS or otherwise fail tests for WP:EL. Various criticisms of DMOZ are noted at Dmoz#Controversy_and_criticism. An example of a web site specifically critical of DMOZ is here. For an example of a specific criticism of Wikipedia over-use of DMOZ see here. Alexa, an independent rating service, gives DMOZ only a midrange rating based on its aggregated reviewing method . None of the web sites I provide links to are authoritative, I present them only as examples of the fact that DMOZ is controversial. Buddhipriya 19:53, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Linking to Livejournal.com

I removed a ton of links to Livejournal.com communities from this article... my thinking is that as we can't know a thing about the editorial standards of some random LJ, it shouldn't be linked to in such a fashion. Is this a good move? - Denny (talk) 20:28, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

ask over at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Spam--Hu12 06:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
OK. For sourcing/ELs though, what do you think though...? I'd think for a source they're no good. - Denny (talk) 06:38, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Always no on a Livejournal link, allowing for rare exceptions where it can be confirmed the livejournal is written by a recognized authority in his/her field. --SubSeven 10:01, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • 99% of blogs should not be linked to. Indeed, we make exceptions for recogized authorities, which most of Livejournal isn't. >Radiant< 10:56, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Noted, thanks guys. - Denny (talk) 16:08, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Links in infoboxes

Does the condition concerning sites that demand installation of plugins apply to "official" websites placed in infoboxes? One has just been added to Upen Patel; according to the site, it "requires the latest flash plugin, 1152x864 screen resolution, and a broadband connection". I'd normally remove it from an "external links" list, but I'm not sure about this. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 21:36, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

It only says "avoid" not "don't". If it's the official site then include it - along with the "explicit indication of the technology needed". And I don't see the reason for normally remove it from an "external links" list just because of the rich media unless it's deemed not appropiate for content (and I guess "avoid" would indicate a removal if there was a text site that was equal or better). - Ctbolt 22:20, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
In my experience, the usual response of other editors is to remove such links (I don't really see much difference between "avoid doing it" and "don't do it", to be honest). Given the relative unimpotance of external links for anything except giving sources, what's wrong with removing them in such cases? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 12:52, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Linking to legal episode downloads of a show (commercial site with ads) Spam/EL issue

I'm looking for comments on the inclusion of a link to In2TV episodes of Babylon 5 on the shows page. Concerns have been raised over the commercial nature of the site, that is also contains links to other shows, and that it is ad supported. In2TV provides free episodes that contain ads. Actually being able to watch the episodes of Babylon 5 is likely something a reader of the page would find valuable. I'm wondering if the inclusion would be approriate. It seems that the WP:EL policy is rather unclear about this type of situation. (I personally feel that the link should be included) There has also been some discussion on the babylon 5 talk page relating to this issue Talk:Babylon_5#"Free" video link still forbidden. Monty845 18:29, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's unclear because EL is a guideline and not a policy. :) In any case...
We don't need the link. If it's legal, then I don't see the harm in it. It's obviously related to the subject, it obviously fits into the type of thing we typically WANT to link to the only problem seems to be that the site is commercial in nature... Being commercial doesn't mean we can't link to it. We show preference to non-commercial websites when the choice exists... but there aren't many legal sources for online TV outside of commercial websites. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 22:01, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


Fourm

Every time i put my fourm up in a day its down again yet i know another fourm that is let stay up why is my site so wrong can someone tell me the website is spencerzone-A Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Fourm —Preceding unsigned comment added by DaAman (talkcontribs)

Our guidelines explicitly state that forums are generally not allowed and that you should refrain from linking directly to sites you are involved with. The message left on your talk page asked you to discuss the link on the article talk page, but instead of doing this you used the talk page to promote your website and then added the link to the article again. This is what Wikipedia considers to be spamming. Other forums may be there because they have gained community consensus, or because they have not yet been spotted by an editor who is concerned about them. In any case the existence of one link does not mean that other links are acceptable. If you believe you link can add encyclopedic value to the article you need to make your case on the talk page and gain the consensus of editors there. -- Siobhan Hansa 20:27, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Specifically refer to Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided guideline #3 and #10, also your forum doesn't seem to meet any of the Wikipedia:External_links#What_to_link guidlines. Monty845 20:35, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Additionaly it has only has a total of 2 members.--Hu12 20:52, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Assistance with external links in Health freedom movement

The Health freedom movement article has had a number of external link problems, none that I'd definitely categorize foremost as a spam problem, more just WP:NOT#LINK and WP:EL problems. The article is rather unique in that it's about an ongoing promotional campaign

While we made good progress with an earlier external link cleanup in February, we'd most appreciate outside opinions on the Health_freedom_movement#Campaigners.2C_organizations.2C_and_newsfeeds section. Currently we have a version without external links, and a very short discussion about it in Talk:Health_freedom_movement#Linkfarm that was started after some back-and-forth revisions. The old version had 17 external links [4]. I thought the removal of external links would not be controversial, but one editor has the understandable concern that "edits should improve articles, replacing a functioning link with a dead link to a non-existent WP article does not improve the article." 17 red links look pretty ugly... --Ronz 03:19, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I understand the background to the restrictive wordings in WP:EL. Many editors are used to the Net Culture of generous linking and I have seen many examples of newbie editors who have a big problem accepting link removal. Hence, the strong wordings in WP:EL. However, the WP:EL has to be interpreted, such as in the various consensus debates on this Talk page and the EL Workshops [5], [6]. When reading these texts, it is clear that the actual interpretation of WP:EL is more flexible.
There is a clear and obvious consensus that an article about a subject should have at least one EL – to its own official web site. I think it is reasonable that this principle can be expanded if the article covers a broader topic that includes several entities. Look for example how external links are used in articles in the category Political Movements [7]. For this type of articles WP:EL is obviously adapted to the fit the topic.
The Health Freedom Movement article is a rather long overview article. The article claims that the HFM consists of a loose global coalition of a number of activists, campaigners, and opinion makers. I find it strange that the ELs to some of the most vocal and important of these are controversial.
There is now a controversy over 19 links. How will the article be improved by reducing them? By removing EL to organizations outside the United States? By removing a direct link to an open source documentary film about the subject? Will verifiability of the claim that there are a number of HFM organizations be improved if links to these organizations are removed and replaced with “red” dead links to non-existing WP articles?
I am all for that if there is a WP-article about one of these organizations, the link should be internal (and the EL should be from that other article). But if no such article exists? I don’t want to start 19 stubs with a few lines of text and an EL just to circumvent an overly strict interpretation of WP:EL. In the future the missing 19 articles might be available, but I want to produce an informative encyclopedic coverage of the topic that works now. In the future the HFM article might also split into sub-topics (e.g. for the Geographical regions) and then the number of ELs in each article will be lower. But in the meantime? MaxPont 13:08, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Include the relevant, verifiable information from those external links in the Wikipedia article text, and cite the links as sources. We're supposed to be spending our time improving the Wikipedia article text and filtering such sources through WP:V and WP:RS, not just finding external sites to link to. This is the basis of WP:NOT#LINK and WP:NOT#INFO. Nineteen external links is excessive by any measure, and a movement that cannot be adequately described without including that many links may not be a truly organized "movement", but just a catchphrase to which a number of websites have signed on. MastCell Talk 16:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Let's just keep in mind that the health freedom movement is a very real movement and that its existence has already been verified by articles in the orthodox media. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/09/13/dp1301.xml and http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1157031,00.html Vitaminman 23:46, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Fansites

Didn't this used to say something about no linking fansites? Can we include this? Any thoughts? IvoShandor 12:18, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Isn't this why Google exists? Why even bother linking to fansites/forums/possibly unreliable information? I mean, if you can use Wikipedia, you can use Google. We don't need to provide links to everything. In my experience this lack of consensus has led to nothing but conflict, off wiki canvassing, personal attacks, edit wars etc. etc. etc. IvoShandor 12:22, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
We don't provide "links to everything". That's silly. We have a guideline for meritable linking, which is this. If you have constructive comments, feel free to suggest them. Saying no linking to fasites is weird and thoughtless, and has never been the guideline. I'd encourage you to start thinking about building a better encyclopedia, not frankly bizarre black and white ideas that have nothing to do with user value and encyclopedic merit. 2005 21:53, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I came here to say the same thing; who removed it, and why? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 13:24, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Going back into the history, the clearest was: "Fanlistings are generally not informative and should not ordinarily be included." At some point this was replaced by a long and overly explanatory comment about "non-reciprocal sites", of which fansites were the example. Now there's nothing. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 13:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd add "or reliable" to the "not informative" bit. But more important, I'd like to see this added back even without that minor and possibly contentious wording change. --Yamla 14:36, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the crieria should be based on the notability of the fansite relative to the availability of other informative sources. -- Monty845 15:15, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Please remember this is an encyclopedia. We have a guideline for external links. This is it. The guideline is based on what is best for users and the encyclopedia itself, not random nonsense. We have had plenty of discussions about this. The guideline covers what should and should not be linked to based on merit, uselfulness, reliability and so on. Ownership of a domain has nothing to do with encyclopedic merit. 2005 21:47, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I'll be bold... --Mel Etitis (Talk) 14:46, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I do enjoy boldness. Thank Mel. IvoShandor 15:36, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Please do not be arrogant. There is a process for changing this guideline. It's called consensus. Making changes to something that was the result of many months of discussion is not just inappropriate, it is downright rude. Please show respect for other editors in the future, and please at least read the thousands of words of discussion on this or any other topic before changing a guideline in direct contradiction to ongoing consensus. 2005 21:41, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Thought: at what point does a fansite theoretically became an RS? When its successful? When its cited in turn by other sources? A blanket restriction would also restrict some actual 'fannish' news sites, which are considered fan sites simply for focusing on a subset of culture. Just a thought. - Denny (talk) 21:49, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

A blanket restriction is of course just dumb. We aren't here to just link to corporate owned sites. We are here, this guideline anyway, to provide links to material that goes over and above the articles. Sometimes fansites do that and are excellent resources on topics, especially obscure ones. Very often they are useless. But we need to judge them on their value to users and the encyclopedia. Fan sites like filmsite.org are sometimes highly authoritative; sometimes they are thrown together junk. The guideline currently cares about the information, not whether something is owned by Tim Dirks or Time Warner. 2005 21:59, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Well I swear that this existed once before, I see no real consensus for its removal above either. Was it added without consensus then? This page is seemingly jacked up, if it is that unstable how are we supposed to apply the guideline? IvoShandor 09:19, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
In addition there doesn't seem to be a word about them on the page, considering how much trouble I have seen them cause a mention would be merited somewhere so editors could apply the guideline as well as cite it in discussion, if fan sites are to be considered on a case by case basis then shouldn't the page say something about it, at least mention it. As for 2005 people arrogant, good strategy, that oughta be conducive to discussion, please point out the consensus, I saw above a discussion involving three or four editors but nothing closely resembling consensus. If it is in the archives, perhaps you could link it please, as they are quite hefty. Thanks. IvoShandor 09:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The guideline "says something" about external linking. It says a lot. You seem to want to just ignore it for some reason. 2005 02:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

<deindent> My major problem with fansites is that the vast majority of them are stuffed full of image and multimedia copyvios and as such are prohibited by WP:C - not knowingly linking copyright violations. That takes priority over EL as it is a policy and EL is a guideline. --Spartaz Humbug! 09:30, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

So the vast majority won't be linked to because they fail to meet the criteria of the guideline. 2005 02:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

That is a problem too. Which should be discussed.

Ownership of a domain has nothing to do with encyclopedic merit

I have to say 2005, while I respect your opinion, I disagree with it (and I am not trying to be arrogant). There are plenty of domains around the Wiki that are known spam domains, ownership could definitely come into play. IvoShandor 09:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Read the guideline please. Spam domains would not merit links. 2005 02:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
All in all, it doesn't matter, I don't want to argue. I just came here looking for some guidance on the page about fansites, found no mention and said something. This page was most unhelpful in that arena, as I am working on trying to resolve an edit war as a neutral party. Though, I think a solution may have been reached regardless. IvoShandor 09:40, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Read the guideline. Your comments really don't make much sense. The guideline is detailed about we link to. If you are adding or removing something based on whether it is owned by a fan versus a corporation, that is inappropriate editing and you should stop. Spend some time reading the guideline, and if you are a masochist, the lengthy rewrite discussions from the last six months of 2006. 2005 02:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the tips, I am not removing any links, I want to be able to apply the guideline appropriately and its not very detailed if it doesn't even mention the fact that these sites should be considered on case by case basis, because there are certainly sites that aren't. I have read the guideline, perhaps you should assume good faith. IvoShandor 05:23, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
For instance: The average fan site hosted on Geocities generally fails the first What to link to criterion:

There are several things that should be considered when adding an external link.

  • Is it accessible to the reader?
  • Is it proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.)?
  • Is it a functional link, and likely to continue being a functional link?

Each link should be considered on its merits, using the following guidelines. As the number of external links in an article grows longer, assessment should become stricter.

Because Geocities sites are neither accesible (due to constantly being down b/c of bandwith nor are they likely to be functional on a continuing basis, usually. Some domains inherently have problems like this, regardless of content. IvoShandor 05:28, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

As you can see, the guideline covers that. 2005 05:55, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
So can we at least mention fan sites somewhere in this guideline or no? It's hard to cite this guideline in discussion because the come back is easy, well it doesn't say anything about fansites.... IvoShandor 05:59, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Whatever, nevermind. This is clearly fruitless. I guess this page isn't going to go into specifics, on fansites. IvoShandor 06:01, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Fansites can offer useful info just as well as any other non-official site. If a fansite violates copyright or other EL clauses, it won't be linked for those reasons (just like any other site). If it meets the EL criteria, it should be linked (just like any other site). Not to mention that since "fansites" isn't really defined by wikipedia, so a mention here without a definition would just lead to arguments over which sites are fansites. It hasn't been part of this policy for good reason, please don't add it without consensus. --Minderbinder 12:42, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Stop lecturing me. You are acting as if I added it. I have NEVER edited this page. Jeez, people need to lay off. I asked a question and got berated for this whole thread. What the crap? IvoShandor 12:46, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not lecturing you, and I'm not acting as if you did anthing. A question was asked, and I gave an opinion. AGF, be civil, chill out already and don't take responses so personally. --Minderbinder 13:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Whatever, nevermind. This is clearly fruitless. I guess this page isn't going to go into specifics, on fansites Maybe I should have added "it's cool" to the end, like I meant to. It's fine, I don't care. This is just an area I am starting to familiarize myself with and the last time I was here I thought I saw mention of fansites. Maybe I'm nuts. IvoShandor 13:13, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of how authoritative everyone here thinks this guideline is it did not help to resolve the craziness at Rule of the Rose. Which is why I came here, another page I never edited. That perhaps is one of the lamest edit wars ever and this didn't help at all, in fact it got me accused of being a troll when I posted it....that aside, that user was blocked. No one ever answered my original question though, didn't it used to say something? When was this? Am I confused, or was I reading something else? Anyone? (and no, I don't want to add it, this is just a question not a proposal).IvoShandor 13:18, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

In the past it has said "Fanlistings are generally not informative and should not ordinarily be included. On articles about topics with many fansites, including a link to one major fansite may be appropriate, marking the link as such." I think it was right to remove it, particularly since wikipedia discourages using quotas like that, and it was contradicted by other guidelines. --Minderbinder 13:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Somehow I've missed all this discussion. Just to set one or two things straight: this page used to rule out links to fansites, and that was removed without (so far as I've been able to find) consensus. Many of us were unaware of this, and have continued to remove links to fanistes. Indeed, this view has been used in a number of disputes, discussed in places such as WP:AN/I, and it's clear that most editors are unaware that the strictre was removed. In putting it back (after a discussion, albeit a brief one, I restored the status quo ante. 2005's talk of arrogance was not only uncivil, it was wrongheaded.
    Wikipedia isn't a link farm. There are many sites on the Web that point to fansites — indeed, interested people can Google for them; this is, however, supposed to be an encyclopædia. Fansites are rarely (I'd say never) reliable, in that they're inherently baised towards their subjects. We shouldn't link to them.
    Incidentally, I've never seen a dispute over what is and isn't a fansite. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 15:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The guideline was rewritten five or six months ago, and singling out fansites was abandoned then. It was a long process with a lot of discussion and compromise by many parties and the consensus at that time was that it was inappropriate to single out fansites. The reasoning being that a fansite that meets the other requirements of WP:EL shouldn't have to jump through additional hoops to be included. Especially since for some pop culture areas some of the fan sites are the best source of critical review of the subject matter. Objections were mainly that there was too much fansite cruft on wikipedia, and we needed all the strong wording we could to help keep it down. While I subscribed to the latter of these arguments the overall consensus favored leaving out specific mention. -- Siobhan Hansa 16:20, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough, thanks; a number of us obviously missed it. Perhaps, though, it could now be discussed again, as there seems quite a bit of support for reinserting a specific mention. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 17:43, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
You can start a discussion of any new principle you want, but a very long discussion of a significant rewrite involving dozens of editors giving and taking that led to the current consensus. Additionally, among the community of editors there is certainly no widespread consensus to prohibit fansites. To the contrary quite obviously, as literally thousands of editors have added them in good faith. Of course many that don't qualify under the guideline are added to, just like all kinds of spam is added too. The guideline covers all this though. The bottom line is the guideline covers links that merit linking. It's useful to anyone, even if all of us would perhaps prefer more clarity one way or another on some of the items. It does not make irrational statements for no valuable reason, and it doesn't seek to end run the general behavior of the mass of editors. The oversimplified point is to have good links useful to users, and not have links that add nothing or very little to the user experience. That should be a good guide to any good faith editor. 2005 23:06, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that Wikipedia is full of editors who are essentially adolescent boys with time on their hands and an uncritical enthusiasm for pop music, video games, etc. — just the sort of topics for which fansites exist. Trying to persuade them that a site doesn't meet a complex set of criteria here is pointless; they have neither the intellectual capacity nor the attention span for it. To be able to say: "look, fansites aren't allowed" makes life immesaurably easier. There are literally hundreds of thousands of articles infested with editors like this, and it's a frustrating business trying to keep some sort of order. I've never seen a fansite that belonged in an external links section, which is doubtless also part of my approach to the issue. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 22:43, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like you either need to WP:AGF or find another outlet for your interests. Insulting the mass of editors and articles is not helpful or sensible either. 2005 00:00, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
While Mel's language may have been somewhat harsh, I understand and fully sympathize with his frustration. And his assessment of the current state of external linking is fairly accurate. As such, I support putting the fansite prohibition language back into this guideline. -- Satori Son 15:13, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I also fully support the restoration of the original guideline. I just came here to cut/paste it into a discussion, and was disappointed to see that it had somehow been removed. Neier 12:50, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I would also fully support the restoration of the original guidline. I also came here looking for policy for fansites that I've read before but find no longer exists. It seems that out of thousands of editors that use these guidines regularly, only a handful (3-4) claimed consensus of change of policy in this discussion. A few relative changes are HERE and HERE. I must say, the way #13 now reads in Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided is probably one of the most confusing paragraphs I've ever had to endure. Cricket02 07:13, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
    • I still haven't seen a reason why fansites should be treated any differently from other sites, and every example of a fansite that shouldn't be linked can already be removed under the other criteria already listed. Aside from discussion here, on the encyclopedia itself, there's huge support for linking fansites, and when the policy said "one fansite" (quota, which is frowned upon on wikipedia) it was often disregarded when there was more than site that met EL and was worth linking. If you really want to add wording discouraging linking to fansites, you need to publicise that discussion very widely so that editors are aware and can participate. I do agree that 13 reads very convoluted, but what's scary is that it used to be even worse. --Minderbinder 12:18, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Thousands of editors add links to fansites in good faith, so your statement really is too absurd to take seriously. The guideline wording is clear and appropriate and was adopted via consensus after months of discussion involving many editors. No reasons are ever given to include a braindead prohibition, and just to cut to the chase it is quite plain to any fair-minded individual that the editor community at large has no consensus to have a random ban on fan-owned sites. It would be nice if a tiny minority would stop trying to force wording into the guideline that is plainly against the will of the mass of editors, even if they don't agree with that will. 2005 21:25, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
      • There is a large contradiction here - most of the comments assert that the reason to not enumerate fan sites as prohibited is because they would be prohibited for other reasons. If thousands of editors are adding fan sites that are prohibited for other reasons, those actions are NOT "good faith" by definition, right?StreamingRadioGuide 09:04, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
        • There is contradiction. Sites that don't merit linink are prohibited by the guideline. Thousands of editors add sites in good faith, many of those qualify under the guideline, many do not. You probably should read WP:AGF. 2005 09:39, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Note that arguably the ISFDB is a fansite. there are other such cases (admittedly rare) whan a "fan site" can actually be the most reliable source availabel on soemthing. I grant that they sterotypical fansite is not a reliable source for anything, but then neither is the sterotypical random corporate site. DES (talk) 21:32, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I only just discovered that fansites had been removed. I would also support reinstating the no links to fansites rule, except under extroardinary circumstances (as DESiegel pointed out above) where widely agreed-upon on the article's talk page. 04:35, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
This is an interesting discussion. But surely, this is a guideline? In that case, it is wrong to refer to "rules", just as it would be wrong to go to an article and remove things which this guideline discourages, against a local consensus. And it seems to be that the abovementioned teenage(?) boys(?) with time on their hands might well come to a consensus that these twenty or so fan sites are suitable links. A guideline is not a blunt instrument to override consensus. Or is it? Notinasnaid 09:47, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Individual WikiProject rules on External Links

What's the precedent if an individual WikiProject proposes adopting a different (more restrictive) version of this policy on the articles that the project maintains? The proposal, in its infancy stages right now over on WikiProject Aquarium Fishes. If I was trying to link to a site and that particular link was allowed under WP:EL, but not allowed under such WikiProject rules, should that link be allowed? Neil916 (Talk) 17:16, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

WikiProjects have no more authority than any other random set of editors. But because they generally take a considered approach to articles and have already built some consensus, normally based on good reason, around an issue they tend to be fairly influential. If an editor believes the actions of a wiki-project do not lead to good encyclopedia articles s/he should discuss it with the other editors and, if necessary, continue down the dispute resolution path. The guidelines here are a guide to deciding if a link should be included, but in the end we are trying to build an NPOV, GFDL encyclopedia, sometimes the rules will need to be more or less strictly interpreted to get the best results. -- Siobhan Hansa 18:36, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Maintaining an article is not the same as owning an article. Personally, I think its really important to try and maintain a consistent approach across the whole project so my view is that the guideline should always trump the views of an individual wikiproject. Ideally. i'd like to see much less in the way of external links but that won't happen anytime soon, so in the meantime we should all try to work against the same standards - i.e. the guideline. --Spartaz Humbug! 10:27, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't see that one guideline trumps another; the word guideline seems to be used more and more as if it is a synonym for "policy". The policy is that articles are decided only by article-by-article consensus (as modified by policy), correct? If so, a Wikiproject guideline is more likely to be closer to the spirit of those most likely to be involved than a more "elevated" one. Consistency is a highly desirable aim, but it doesn't seem to be that the policies either produce that, or give strong tools for enforcing it. Notinasnaid 10:18, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Copyvio Weasel words

Just something I would like to confirm with the assembled experts.

I just removed an EL to a site that published copyrighted lyrics from a musical artist. At the bottom of each song it has the following text: "All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. All lyrics provided for private study, scholarship, or research reasons only."

Now in my mind that doesn't make it suddenly not a CopyVio and we should not be linking to that site. Does anyone have any different opinion on this? -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:46, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

What is the site? Are you sure that it doesn't have permission to use the lyrics on condition that notice is used? As long as we don't copy them, what would be wrong with a link to the site? (Where do the weasel words come in, by the way?) --Mel Etitis (Talk) 21:34, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, I can answer the second part easily - take a look at Wikipedia:External_links#Restrictions_on_linking - that is QUITE clear. As for the first part, I have no way of knowing, and that is my question - we have discussed here before that we do not link to lyrics sites unless there is some distinct permission to use on the site (this should be in the archives for this talk page). My question is whether this is actually a CopyVio page, and the text I quoted were attempts at WeaselWords to get around CopyVio, or if they suffice. The site is www.quasimodobell.com/default.aspx/tabid/130/groupid/1465/gingroup/MEAT+LOAF/lyrics/1 -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 22:10, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I obviously didn't make myself clear; my third question (which I assume you were responding to) was predicated on the second. Looking at the site, though, this talks at some length about copyright, but still doesn't make things clear. perhaps we should contact them to ask for the copyright status of the lyrics. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 23:05, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

It would be better to contact the copyright owners of some of the songs than the site who may be violating copyright. Just a thought. -- Siobhan Hansa 12:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Sites requiring registration

Not allowing links to these sites seems reasonable to me — but if they're allowed when there's no other source for the information, I can't see what's going on. Why weren't they allowed in the first place? It reminds me slightly of saying that dogs aren't allowed into restaurants on grounds of hygiene, but making an exception for guide dogs (because they've been trained to have a shower before going out to eat, presumably...) --Mel Etitis (Talk) 22:06, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree, and will remove the addition for now until it can be discussed a little further and consensus reached. Let's be clear - this isn't about citing sources. Sometimes a reliable source such as a newspaper will require registration or purchase to view an article, but we link it anyway as a citation. However, when it comes to external links, they should all be readily available without registration or payment. Otherwise, they don't add much of any use to the average reader of the article. MastCell Talk 22:34, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
In the draft, I had made an amendment: sites requiring registration could be used as references if they are presented as an inline reference. Anyone can create a reference section and add a link to the site requiring registration, which is just an attempt to bypass the "External links" restriction. Thus, I had asked to rewrite that so that if someone wants to add a link to a site requiring registration, it should be as an inline reference, immediately following the sentence or phrase that is referencing. -- ReyBrujo 02:29, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Inline references are governed by a different set of rules... WP:EL applies specifically to external links. MastCell Talk 04:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but the external link guideline should state that such links should not be used as external links but instead as reference, pointing them to WP:RS or WP:CITE. -- ReyBrujo 04:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
ReyBrujo, you seem to want to apply EL guidelines to references that aren't inline. While I agree that these sections are often abused, and I'd like to see them phased out, I don't think this guideline has the mandate to extend itself into that area. I also think it may be a tactical mistake to strip out all these links - it makes it harder for editors to go in and find which assertions in an article a particular reference supports. It might make more sense to try and get a prohibition on adding new non-inline references, but this isn't the place. -- Siobhan Hansa 12:30, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

It would be inappropriate for any WP policy or guideline to forbid general, non-inline, references. Also, it would be outside the scope of this External links guideline to do so. An example of when it would be appropriate to include a general reference is when an advanced article takes it for granted that the reader understands basic terms, but provides a good general reference that has an index and glossary that will allow a reader to look up any basic terms the reader does not understand. It would be unreasonable to expect the editor to include an inline reference to the definition of all the basic terms used in an article. --Gerry Ashton 17:35, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that references are outside the scope of this project, but I would think a link such as you give in your example ought to meet the basic requirements of these guidelines, such as not being a registration required site. It's not so useful to the reader if it's not accessible (and it would, presumably, have to meet the points about being on subject and NPOV in order to be useful as a general reference). -- Siobhan Hansa 18:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Sites that require registration and/or payment are useful to those readers who are willing to register, and possibly pay a fee. Of course it would be better to use an unrestricted site if the editor knows of one, but better a restricted site than an article with inadequate references. --Gerry Ashton 18:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Maybe I misunderstand your example. To me the example you give doesn't sound like a reference supporting an assertion or text in the article but more of a primer for a reader. Terms that rely on a very particular definition can be inline referenced (or possibly wikilinked), but if you you're looking to provide a resource that can be used by a reader to understand the general concepts and jargon of a subject area - that doesn't sound like an actual refernce for the article to me and I think it better falls into external links rather than references in terms of the guidelines that should be applied to it. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I hope that the important assertions in an article will have inline references, but I wouldn't expect every single assertion to have an inline reference. For an example of a featured article that contains many assertions, but depends mostly on general rather than inline references, see Trigonometric functions. --Gerry Ashton 05:13, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
That's a great example Gerry. I think we're on the same page. I was reading too much of my own interpretation into your previous example. Thanks. -- Siobhan Hansa 12:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Third opinion requested

Can someone chime in on user talk:requestion #The original source for those links? There is a disagreement about whether links to researchchannel.org violate the external links guideline. I'd prefer that the conversation be kept in one place. Graham87 08:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Also see the section immediately before that titled "Linkspam ast.cac.washington.edu?" for more background. Graham87 09:56, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

SAFCO

Can I get some discussion please about the user Safco and a couple of links that were placed back to the SAFCO company website? One link is at Decontamination and the other is at Urban search and rescue. In both cases the user placed links to the [SAFCO.com] website which, in my judgment, violates WP:EL and WP:COI. I have removed the links. From what I can obeserve, there was no information added to the article beyond the external links. In the case of the search and rescue article the link was placed as a "See Also" link. I would appreciate your thoughts on my action. JBEvans 11:56, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I've dealt with this (the account has been blocked as violating WP:U, and for spam-linking). --Mel Etitis (Talk) 21:16, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Registration

I happen to have a subscription to Ancestry.com which allows me to for one thing, view original images of census returns. I'm not comfortable with the implication here, that we cannot add an EL to say, the actual 1930 census image for Charlie Chaplin to his article. To my mind, it enhances the article to be able to add links to actual documents, even though they may require registration or payment to view. Wjhonson 20:33, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

If the source is cited correctly (the document and not the link) the user can choose which route to acquire a copy of the document. However, if you cite the webpage, the user is forced to subscribe to view a document that would otherwise be free to the public. --I already forgot 21:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
We shouldn't be discussing sources, because this guideline only covers external links that are not references. So the example of a census page available on Ancestry.com wouldn't fall under this guideline unless it was extra material, not used in creating the text of the article. If the Ancestry.com site provided enough information to find the hardcopy version too, you could list both the hardcopy and the online version. In that case, I suppose you would have the choice of putting it either in the External links section, or the Further reading section. --Gerry Ashton 06:05, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
My point is not just about source but also about providing additional info that is not included in the article. So what I'm saying is that if you have the main source of info available for free to the public, we do not need to add a link to pay per view site(s) and should list the source instead. If we provide the source, the user can perform their own search (using their own search engine) and decide which pay per view site they wish to use. Otherwise, every pay per view site will want to have their site listed in the EL as offering a paid copy of something that is available for free. Then wikipedians have to decide which pay per view site should be listed over the others which opens up another can of worms and other assorted conflicts of interest. To keep wikipedia honest, we need to sacrifice the loss of some external links in favor of adding additional content to the article (copy of a historical document, quotes, refs, etc.). If the link is a rare exception, it can be discussed on the talk page and added through consensus. --I already forgot 15:38, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Okay now what about EL's which *only* have an internet version? That is, there is no print version of what the EL is stating, and the EL requires registration. In particular the issue has been raised that ClassMates.com is not a reliable source for the statement that "So-and-so was in the Class of 19xx at Y High School". (It's a site that requires registration before you can verify what it says.) Nor for adding an EL indicating that either. What do you think? Wjhonson 20:36, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

It has no place in the external links section. Registration on it's own knocks it out, but also, except perhaps in extraordinary circumstances, it's low on the quality scale in terms of adding encyclopedic information and insight. I wouldn't expect it to pass points 3 or 4 of "what should be linked to". As for the discussion on use as a source - that belongs elsewhere and isn't relevant to whether it's an appropriate as an external link. -- Siobhan Hansa 22:34, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The registration issue seems to be a complete red herring. Registration has no bearing on content. Period. ClassMates is a problem not because it does or does not have registration, but because it is a source of hearsay. The New York Times is no problem even though it does require registration.
For print sources that have versions that can be accessed on-line, a link to the online version should be provided if possible, but a regular print citation is also expected. I'm inclined to allow reference to registration-only sites if the source is considered reliable, maybe even if the general public cannot gain access. Free registration sites for acceptable sources are a no-brainer: they are intrinsically acceptable. Mangoe 00:45, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Clarification of rich media section

The rich media section as it is now is not well-written, as it talks about avoiding direct links to rich media then giving such a link (the PDF file) as an example of proper layout of links to rich media. The definition of a "direct link" is also not given - this has caused problems at user talk:requestion #The original source for those links (as I linked above), but this time my question is more related to the external links guideline so I'm bringing it up on the talk page. My definition of a "direct" link to rich media is based on the original version of the rich media section (which was subsequently [moved then clarified slightly. I define a direct link as one where the rich media is activated as soon as the browser window is opened by default (PDF files and many streaming media files being an example). Direct links to rich media cannot always be avoided (for example in PDF files, with links to YouTube videos and some audio files, an example being the first one in the article Der Erlkönig as there is no other way to conveniently get the audio). Therefore, the wording should be softened to "try to avoid" or something. That would be easy as long as there is consensus. A big problem for me is trying to figure out how to clarify what a "direct link" is because the wording has obviously caused confusion. Also the guideline to explicitly name the file format of the rich media seems to be rarely enforced. To be honest I think it is much more useful on direct links to rich media than indirect ones. Inadvertently clicking on a link and having the computer crash trying to load a large PDF file or load a poorly composed Java animation is much worse than going to some HTML page and finding that you haven't yet installed anything to play a .ogg file that you wanted to download. Graham87 08:42, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with Graham87's interpretation of the rich media section. WP:EL says to "avoid directly linking to any content that requires special software." I interpret this literally to mean no external links to flash, java, pdf, audio, or video. I also extend my interpretation to stub html pages whose sole purpose is to be a launch pad for the rich media. I believe the intent is two fold; one is for Wikipedia to link to pages that have content that is viewable in a web browser, second is for non-discrimination of codecs and operating system operability. For example; I am a Linux user and I cannot legally view Microsoft Media and QuickTime video. I don't have problems with a web page having rich media links on it but those links must be auxiliary to the useful content on the page. (Requestion 22:30, 14 April 2007 (UTC))
There is at least some content on some of those stub html pages - for example with researchchannel.org there is a further information section with links to more information about the program/subject. Rich media often *is* useful content (for example many articles are only available in PDF format so Wikipedia needs to link to them (often in a "References" section these days). Audio that can't be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons but is available free of charge can make an excellent external link. This radio show is about the most relevant link possible to add to Heart and Soul (song) (note: I didn't add it, I just clarified its content). I believe we disagree because we are both taking different approaches: you are interpreting the guideline literally as the last word on everything where as I am interpreting the guideline as a nutshell in terms of adding useful, accessible and tasteful links. Here is the very first external links guideline I know of which is about as close as you're going to get to the original intentions of anyone. Here is the guideline as it was in May 2004 (the only change after that was to add a navigation template in October 2004 which is meaningless in the context of this discussion). There is nothing there about forbidding rich media - just that it's a good idea to state the format of the rich media. I will ask user:Jmabel for his opinion about this conversation as he wrote the section which you are quoting to justify your position. Graham87 07:34, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
The only content I see on the researchchannel.org pages is a brief description of a video that I can't play. From my perspective the page has zero content and the links are broken. I'm all for rich media but I have a huge problem when Wikipedia links to content that I cannot legally view. Wikipedia has a policy not to link to known copyright violations. Isn't this in a similar vein? (Requestion 19:44, 15 April 2007 (UTC))
It's not similar to the copyright issue. The copyright issue is about linking to sites that are breaking copyright and the legal and ethical issues involved in encouraging that. You may not be able to legally view the media with the equipment you run, but there are no laws broken by the media being there and us linking to it and the vast majority of our readers are able to legally view the media. -- Siobhan Hansa 14:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

The idea is that when possible — when you are aware of an HTML page on a site that describes and is, in turn linked to — the rich media, you should link to that page. When a link goes directly to rich media, you should indicate the format (because, for example, someone with a slow connection and not too much memory on their system should not find themself sitting there with their system frozen for five minutes because they clicked on a link that happens to be a video or a PDF). Similarly, if there is a page describing an image, we should usually link that instead of externally linking an image.

Other than that: I don't particularly like PDFs, because they add overhead without really adding much information; they are often the only available format for a document, but when an HTML form is available, it should be preferred (or both should be offered). I'm all for linking truly rich media: for music and language-related matters, audio when available is irreplaceable (e.g. we should certainly link things things like KEXP's enormous and unique collection of live recordings, the Yiddish Radio Project, etc.). And, in general, many people will find audio and video more accessible than text. I'm all for linking a good English-language audio interview with the subject of a biography if one is available online, or an NPR or BBC story on the topic at hand: these are great resources for people who are less text-oriented than the people who tend to write Wikipedia. However, nearly always that should mean linking the HTML page that, in turn, links to the rich media. - Jmabel | Talk 18:47, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, I have tried to clarify the section per that message. I have replaced the first link to a page with links to rich media with one where the rich media is imbedded - i.e. a link from Ride of the Valkyries as that is a well-known piece where the audio link is fitting. I have also added reasons for not directly linking to rich media and a link to the category containing rich media icons. To Requestion: linking to files in formats that happen to be patented and therefore cannot be played on all systems is *not* a copyright violation - the whole point of the external links section is to link to files that can never be on a Wikimedia project. The problems playing these files through linux are an issue (they can be played but the legal status of that varies by country, see FFmpeg for details) but that means that there should be other external links in more conventional formats for finding out about the subject. That is why in the article Tito Mukhopadhyay, I also linked to a page with the transcript of the video - the transcript happens to be in PDF format but we can't have everything. I would welcome application of the bold, revert, discuss cycle if anyone feels so inclined - this is a wiki after all. Graham87 04:25, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I fear your edits might be premature. Consensus really hasn't been reached yet and I believe there are some problems created by your edit. #1: The copyright status of the audio you link. It appears to be hosted by a private person on their personal website. There is inadequate information about the recording and as far as I can tell, it's a pretty flagrant abuse. #2: "Only link directly to content that requires special software or an add-on to a browser if ..." Only is the wrong word in this instance since WP:EL is a guideline, not a policy. Nposs 04:37, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
As for the first objection, copyright is an interesting point but the site says "©1997-2007, Charles K. Moss" so I'd assume he has permission from the relevant authorities about the recordings. There are recordings there that clearly come from his piano students, but if needed I could try to find another example. As for the second one, "only" is probably a bad choice of words - I'll think about changing that. I've also replaced the carolinaclassical link with a link to the Fantaisie-Impromptu because having thought about it, it seems ironic to have a link to a piece by Richard Wagner followed by an article about Yiddish. Graham87 04:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I have a feeling that Angela Lear (the pianist featured in the recording) is not one of his students. So even if he does have recordings of his students, it would appear that he is also posting the recordings of others without their permission. I would recommend against any links to the site. I think this highlights another problem with rich-media links: copyright status. I realize there are a number of differing opinions about linking to material of dubious use, but rich media does pose a new set of problems for identifying ownership. Perhaps this should be mentioned in the guideline, as well. Nposs 05:06, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I have answered your second objection with my latest edit. Graham87 05:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Wow how do you know who the pianist is? Perhaps my screen reader isn't reading the details or I should download the file to find out. I will send an email enquiring about this - if it is a copyright violation then it definitely should not be linked. I highly doubt it is though - this seems to be a well-respected piano teacher. Graham87 05:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Looking at the html source, the file has not been uploaded to his server and is being hosted by what looks like Angela Lear's personal website. I shall dig further ... Graham87 05:21, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think you have consensus yet for watering down the guideline in this way. I certainly do not agree that we should be more liberal about linking to rich media content. As it is, you are seeking to allow this when the guideline previously said Avoid directly linking to any content that requires special software, or an add-on to a browser. This is a major step away from the concept of an open project as we will be encouraging non-free formats. I have reverted back to the previous version subject to further clarification of concensus here. Spartaz Humbug! 05:24, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
And you can get that exact recording and more by following the downloads link from her website (sorry can't paste the URL because it uses frames), so it is not a copyright violation. The carolinaclassical.com link uses the recording for streaming. Graham87 05:25, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Nope that is only a 1-minute sample. Graham87 05:27, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Graham87 - the sever path for this http://classicalmus.hispeed.com/lear/ doens't resolve to a proper website. Can you clarify exactly what link you are following? I suggest that you find a different example - I'm sure its possible to find one that has no doubts about its status. In this case it seems likely that the rights remain with the performer but unless we know the exact circumstances in which the recording was made we don't actually know that. --Spartaz Humbug! 05:40, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
OK - on further investigation classicalmus.hispeed.com is the hosting service used by carolinaclassical.com to host its media and is not a website - in fact hispeed.com appears to be blocked by Google. I'll remove that as an example for now. Graham87 05:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

<deindent> all we need now is clarification on whether there is consensus to waterdown the wording on the guideline to encourage more use of links to rich media. For that we need further editors to weigh in. Spartaz Humbug! 05:57, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I was probably a bit hasty in making my edits after the comment by Jmabel; I certainly won't change anything on the page now without consensus. Some of what I wrote changes the guideline about when the format of rich media should be specified and probably needs more discussion here. In some cases (as I have said above) it is impossible not to link directly to rich media (i.e. in the case of PDF's) so the wording should be softened there; the wording should also be softend from "avoid" because this is just a guideline. I think they were the only significant changes I made and more closely reflect current practice - I invite further discussion. Graham87 06:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to see the guideline point out the reasons that weigh against linking to rich media and outline the alternatives clearly so that editors have knowledge from which to make a decision about whether to link - along the lines of links to rich media can add depth to an article but can cause also problems for readers. The need for additional software (some of which is not available to all users), greater bandwidth requirements, and accessibility issues can make such links useless for some users. When adding a link to content that is not a basic webpage editors should look for equivalent content in html format (for instance a transcript) to add instead or as well as the rich media. Editors must also ensure that any benefits from such a link are significant and outweigh the disadvantages of linking to media that may not be accessible to some readers. In particular, over reliance on rich media links should be avoided. Where possible links should always go to a launching page rather than directly to the media, and the media format should always be specified. -- Siobhan Hansa 15:12, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I like that wording. It's clear and outlines the reasons against linking to rich media, but also acknowledges that there can be benifits of linking to rich media. It doesn't need examples because the wording is self-evident so that guards against linking to copyright violations and link rot. Would there be any objections to using that paragraph in the rich media section? Graham87 01:06, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually examples would still be helpful but there would be no need to change the examples currently on the page. Graham87 01:34, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I object to removing emphasis on the word "avoid" and I also object to ignoring the "special software" accessibility problem that us Linux users suffer from. (Requestion 17:06, 17 April 2007 (UTC))
It's not just Linux users that can have a problem with rich media, and this is why I think the section should be very general - at the moment I read it as implying that all rich media can have accessibility problems to somebody, and that is true. Audio links without transcripts are useless to people who are deaf; images without descriptions are useless to people who are blind. Here's another example to throw in the ring which I just remembered: the official homepage of Tony Attwood that just happens to require Java, and is difficult (sometimes impossible) to use with screen readers. It would be ludicrous for me to remove that link because it's an official website - I have now pointed out that it requires Java. A lot of people use Linux and will have problems with links to proprietary codecs; I'm sure that a similar number of people will be using slow or unstable PC's (probably running Windows) that won't be able to run certain types of rich media. Because of the large variety of circumstances that people are likely to be in in terms of system performance and ability to use non-HTML sites, I think the section should be quite general in case it overflows with people's pet accessibility problems. There must be websites out there that explain the problems with rich media and if I can find a well-written one I'll suggest that it be added as further information. Graham87 03:56, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Those were all excellent reasons why the "avoid" wording should be strengthened. Why would Wikipedia want to encourage such potentially problematic external linking? (Requestion 21:35, 18 April 2007 (UTC))

<deindent> if we have agreed that we don't need to water this down, why not just leave it as it is. Avoid is nice and clear and we need to avoid instruction creep. Spartaz Humbug! 22:25, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

YouTube vs. blogs

Can someone clarify for me why blogs are generally banned, but YouTube videos are not? Both sources seem open to the same problems with reliability. Λυδαcιτγ 23:49, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

we are trying to get rid of YouTube. Betacommand (talkcontribsBot) 00:07, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Blogs are generally not a valid EL, YouTube is not generally a valid EL. Each has to be considered on their own merits. IN general though, they fail all sorts of WP standards for inclusion. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 00:31, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
OK. I'd be in favor of more moderate standards in both directions: allowing YouTube videos and blogs, but only good ones (in the case of blogs, not necessarily blogs written by experts, but ones written by credible sources). Λυδαcιτγ 22:23, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
That's pretty much the standard right now. The issues tend to be different, with YT the concern is more often copyright, but as long as the material isn't a violation and meets the rest of EL, it's OK. --Minderbinder 22:28, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
What do you think of the use of this blog page in Backmasking? Λυδαcιτγ 19:50, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
As far as policy Blogs and YouTube are on equal footing... Both sometimes host official and reliable material and sometimes they host utter crap. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 06:17, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:EL is a guideline and not a policy. WP:EL says to avoid "links to blogs" and "direct links to documents that require external applications (such as Flash or Java)." I should note that YouTube requires Flash. So I agree that Blogs and YouTube are on "equal footing" in that they both should be avoided. There is a thread over at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Spam/2007_Archive_Apr#Special:Linksearch.2F.2A.blogspot.com about how well blogspot.com links have been avoided. (Requestion 21:20, 15 April 2007 (UTC))
Wikipedia now has 23670 blogspot.com links. That is an increase of about 1000 links in the last 3 weeks. (Requestion 06:24, 7 May 2007 (UTC))

blow molding design

There is a pretty good (short) article on plastic extrusion blow molding. It does not discuss double wall constructions or allow readers to learn about designing parts for the blow molding process. The company I work for has a design guide for the process. The link is http://www.custom-pak.com/BlowMolding/Index.html I would like feedback about the information in the link to enhance its usefulness to engineers and students interested in blow molded part design. Ultimately we woukd like to contribute the information to Wikipedia in an appropriate format. Thank you Mark rutenbeck 21:02, 13 April 2007 (UTC)Mark Rutenbeck

First of all, let me say how much we appreciate you coming here first and seeking input on possibly linking your website. That is exactly the right way to do it.
Unfortunately, I do see some problems with the website linked above. It seems fairly promotional in nature. I am certainly no expert on plastic extrusion blow molding, so I don't know how readily available this type of information is, but has your company published this information anywhere else in a manner not so advertising-oriented? Has anyone from your company given a trade show presentation that might now be available online? Maybe written an article for an industry trade publication?
While it is great that you want to contribute specialized knowledge to the encyclopedia, it really needs to be in a neutrally presented format and backed-up by citations to reliable, third-party published sources. Hope this helps. -- Satori Son 21:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Examine existing articles such as Plastics extrusion and Blow molding. Several steps in the process are presently not described in much detail. Text could be donated to the Wikipedia articles if following policies such as WP:NPOV. Also examine the policies for donating images (the "Upload file" link on the side of the page has links to info). (SEWilco 05:42, 14 April 2007 (UTC))
Incidentally, the custom-pak page is hard to use as a reference. The index page only gives a little information, with mouseover abilities to show several images. It is not obvious that other little pieces of information are available through several levels of pulldown menus. The user interface seems oriented toward big pictures rather than reading the text, thus making it hard to see what is being said and hard to link to it as having significant information. All the paragraphs together seem to be informative, but only a few sentences at a time can be read or linked to. (SEWilco 05:42, 14 April 2007 (UTC))


The Chester Wiki: Appropriate or not?

I'd like some advice. Some users, usually anonymous ones with few other edits, have been adding various pages from [8] (Chester Wiki) to various articles (such as History of Chester, and Chester). The guidelines for external links reads that "open wikis" are to be avoided, but I can't determine whether this is an open wiki or not. I'm also not sure how long this Chester wiki has been in existence or how stable or verifiable its entries are - the entries I have seen do not contain any citations or references for its claims, of which History of Chester is a typical exmaple. So, my questions are these: My inclination is to delete the external links. Would others share this viewpoint, and, if so, can a definitive list of justified reasons for this be given?  DDStretch  (talk) 15:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

By open we mean "anyone can edit" and anyone can edit the Chesterwiki. I'd agree that they aren't appropriate links. If all the local Chester-based regular editors on the article start saying "hay everyone in chester uses that wiki" you might wnt to put it back, but looking at, for instance, the pub guide, I'm pretty sure Chester has a few more pubs than that, and it hasn't been edited this month, so it's obviously not a comprehensive well up to date guide. As for definitive - well pretty much nothing's definitive on Wikipedia - but it falls to the person adding the link to justify that it improves the article. I think it would be hard to say it's the sort of information people would expect to find in an encyclopedia. -- Siobhan Hansa 19:04, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks for the response.  DDStretch  (talk) 19:50, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
With only 15 editors and about 200 articles, it doesn't seem to have the critical mass to be a reliable link for wikipedia. --Minderbinder 16:57, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Providing the appropriate link while following the grey areas of the guidelines is often times a difficult decision for me so I'll give you an example of how I look at the wiki situation.
If the article is about a space shuttle and the linked wiki is administered by NASA, it's a useful resource and may contain more info than the article can handle so it could be included as a link. If the wiki is about a space shuttle and is administered by vendors or manufacturers of NASA and contains info on the components of the space shuttle, it’s a judgment call based off the content of the wiki. If the wiki is open to the internet and is edited/administered by individuals collecting information, I do not link to the wiki but use it to find additional sources of information or links to include in the article if any. More often than not, the open wiki is a mirror of wikipedia articles. --I already forgot 21:41, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Chester Wiki has only been going since 8 February 2007, so it's hardly likely to have reached critical mass yet. Of the 15 registered users only around 4 have contributed stuff to date. It is an open wiki - anyone can participate if they choose. Re existing content on there - of course there are more pubs in Chester and more of everything that hasn't yet been covered. Contributors are adding content in their spare time outside of holding down full-time jobs. One of us is a scientist/local historian/lawyer, one is a journalist, the others I'm not sure. It's starting to attract a lot of local readers, even though content remains thin at present. We hope it will grow organically and more people will start adding content. But give us a chance - 10 weeks is hardly a long time in the life of a wiki. Purpleprose 18:29, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

  • In my opinion the wiki itself would meet the criteria of WP:EL for the article on Chester (specifically it's level of detail unsuited to a general purpose encyclopedia). However, using it as a reference to verify factual information is unwise. If the ChesterWiki cites its sources, use those. --Dystopos 18:35, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry for being quite stupid here, but I'm not sure I understand what you are saying: Is it that you think adding the link could be viewed as appropriate according to WP:EL, or that it could not be? Reading WP:EL#Links normally to be avoided, point 12 (Links to open wikis, except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors.) would seem to suggest that the link should not be added, but perhaps others aspects outweigh this, if you meant that the link's inclusion could be viewed as appropriate? Sorry.  DDStretch  (talk) 18:45, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I apologize for being unclear. I think a Wiki dedicated to a specific subject makes a very good external link for the main Wikipedia article on that subject. I suppose, then, that I disagree with point 12 of WP:EL, though I consider myself to be on board with the general concerns voiced in that guideline. My comment was intended to distinguish using the Chester Wiki as an external link from using it as a reference. --Dystopos 22:04, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I could also point out that the article on Chester Wiki about Chester Castle is far more in depth than the one on Wikipedia, which contains inaccuracies (the one on Chester Wiki has a lot of links to verified sources even if they are not cited as references. And also say that by removing the link to Chester Wiki, you are actually preventing more people from a) finding it, b) reading it and c) ultimately adding quality content to it... If you're so fixated on links, why not remove the one to Chester: A Virtual Stroll while you're at it? CAVS, incidentally, is not only one of the best sites for Chester history, it's about to be taken down forever due to lack of funding. Purpleprose 19:26, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

And therein lies the issue, I'm afraid, as I see it. The reason we don't like to cite or EL from open wikis is that anybody could write anything - even a false history of the place, so it wouldn't be correct to use that. If the writers on the Wiki cite their sources, then we could cite those same sources in the WP article, right? Either way we wouldn't need a link to the Wiki. The argument that having the link to WP prevents people from finding doesn't hold water, either - WP is not a place to publicise other sites. The fact that it is a fledgling Wiki and has great promise is a good sign for a future EL - if that Wiki becomes a reliable complete source of information. But for right now, given what I have seen, it should not be used. Thanks. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 21:23, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Since this is a small wiki than can be quickly scanned, I did so, and I find that the content looks useful but there are few or no sources. I suggest making this proposal again if, at a future time, reliable sources are provided for most of the information. For now, we should not link to it, except possibly on a one-time basis from a single article like Chester. I agree with User:Dystopos it should never be cited as a reference for factual information. EdJohnston 21:41, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Ok - Thanks for all the comments. I've also got a new view from a fellow Wikipedia:Wikiproject Cheshire members. In the light of this, I've included the link in the Chester article on a "one-time basis". This can be reviewed at regular times in the future if required. I've also invited the identified deficiencies in the Chester Castle article on here to be updated, in wikipedia style with proper referencing, by the people who feel it is deficient.  DDStretch  (talk) 11:50, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the apology on the Chester discussion page. It's appreciated. Hooligan says that he's more interested right now in updating the Chester Wiki rather than the Wikipedia entry for Chester Castle, but if anyone from the Cheshire project wants to use the Chester Wiki article on the castle and cite all the references, he says they are very welcome to do so. Purpleprose 16:01, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Exception for photographer credit

If a professional photographer releases a picture under an appropriate license and someone uploads it, I think it's reasonable for the image description page (i.e. not articles where the image appears, but the image itself) to provide a link to the photographer's website. Does this sound fair? I'm pretty sure we do it all the time already, as it's usually required for copyright reasons. Kla'quot 16:53, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Definitely — this guideline applies only to articles. By the same token, it's fine to link to your personal webpage on your userpage. Λυδαcιτγ 18:03, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Linking to sites that list illegal files

Please see discussion on Wikipedia talk:Copyright#Linking to sites that list illegal files. --GunnarRene 18:00, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Outside opinion wanted on external links

Editor Biographyfan has added quite a few links to various pages, to a website called ourstory. I removed these because of the seemingly spammy nature of the mass linking, but he is insisting that they are useful information not contained in the article and has added one back to Melinda Gates. I'd appreciate outside opinion on links to this site. Thanks. --Minderbinder 00:11, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

The sites are biographies generated on a graphical timeline, provided by service called OurStory.com. The timeline's are collectively maintained, but monitored by the user who started them. I didn't post that many links, and I only posted links to biographies that either I started, or am participating in creating. They are not complete works, but ongoing projects. I added my link back to Melinda Gates, because there is not much info in that entry. But, some of my other biography timeline projects are more filled out, and I hope to contribute them to the associated entries. My whole response to Minderbinder is below (he left out some of the parts of my intent and reasoning, so I am including it). I will be offline from here on out for the weekend, so if you need more info, I will respond on Monday.

My previous Reply to Minderbinder:

I am new to posting on wikipedia, and you recently deleted all of my links that I have added. I have read the links you posted in my talk section, and appreciate your concern and commitment to keeping the external links on wikipedia relevant and non-commercial. I support you in that effort.

However, you mistakely assumed I am associated commericially with OurStory, which I am not. Additionally, none of the links I posted attempt to earn me any money. The timelines I manage are freely open to the public to browse and reference.

I am a biographer by hobby, and am using the OurStory service beacuse I like the timeline they provide. It is a service that I couldn't find else where on the web, and as a history buff and biographer, I think it is valuable. I run a number of profiles on their service, which are told collaboratively with other people on the site, and I particpate in other people's biographical projects.

I do respect the fact that external links should provide information that positively adds to the discussion, or provides valuable information that is not already in the entry. And I understand that in some cases the information on my timeline projects does this and sometimes it does not. So, in respecting this, I will only add my links back to entries where I think my timeline provides valuable (or missing) information on that subject, for the wikipedia user. You can see my comments on those individual discussion pages.

But, as a final thought, I hope that you can appreciate that, in and of itself, a biographical (graphical) timeline is a useful external reference tool. It is something I have been looking for for a long time. For example, when I created my biography on Barack Obama, in my research I could not find a biographical web source that provided dates for important events that make up his life (including the wikipedia entry, offical Illinois sentate, or US Sentate biographies, or even his current campaign page). There was nowhere I could go to get a sense of the major events in his life, without reading 3 pages of text. So, in a case like that, I think the timeline is an external reference that is contributing to the entry.

If you think it is best, I can alter the way I leave links, so that it does not say Our Story in it. I just followed the example that is widely used on wikipedia for external links to IMDB.

If you would like to further the general discussion, please post on my Talk page again. And, please engage me on the discussion page for the individual entries where I am adding the links back. If you plan on re-deleting them, please review the timeline first, and provide a reason why you feel it is not worthy of being listed.

Biographyfan 00:25, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

These timelines are verifiable, and I have seen people using Wikipedia as a source for the timelines. I do not see why not to allow linking, at the discretion of involved editors, if the timelines of these people are accurate and do not include material that may be objectionable as per WP:BLP. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:20, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
The site is effectively an open wiki (i.e. anyone can edit) so we ought to be more careful than we might with a time line published by, say, the History department at Cambridge University or some other site with a well known reputation for rigor. But that isn't to say the site should never be linked. However, it also seems to be the case that Biographyfan is involved with creating the content on the time line articles s/he is linking to and as such s/he should suggest the links on the talk page rather than placing the links directly on the article page. Since Biography fan doesn't appear to have made any edits to Wikipedia that are not connected to promoting these external links this appears to fit more clearly under the SPAM issue than external links. I support Minderbinder's reversion of the edits. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:47, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
If there are COI issues the simple thing is to post a link to the site on the article talk pages for the article regulars to decide. If you go on a spree of adding links to a site you are associated with then it does look like spamming and you are very likely to be reverted. --Spartaz Humbug! 16:43, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Looks like self-promotion to me, they shouldn't be there... we can't link to every wiki that shows up and wants free publicity, and the fact that it's a wiki means it's going to be less valuable/reliable than other sources. They should all be removed as clear spam. DreamGuy 21:25, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
I looked at the entry for Melinda Gates. It seemed to me that the OurStory link added little or nothing to the article, because the OurStory interface was so confusing. In any case it is a conflict of interest to add links to a site you are associated with to an article. I suggest that Template:OurStory should be nominated for deletion. If the user keeps re-adding this link, without any Talk page consensus, I suggest that OurStory might be added to the m:Spam blacklist. EdJohnston 22:20, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to consider this, and provide feedback. I saw the note on my talk page, and I will make sure that I post my links to the talk page for an entry, and not just add them. Like I readily admitted, in some cases the content on some of the timelines are comprehensive and useful, and sometimes they are not yet filled out. I will no longer "SPAM" links on the articles, but, if I feel like a graphical timeline would enhance the entry I will, as you suggested, add it for discussion on the article's talk page. I do want to make it clear I am not the author of the timelines. Some of them I monitor, and some of them I am the author of only a few entires on the timeline. Nevertheless, I understand that this could be considered a COI. Also, not all entries on OurStory are user generated wiki style biographies. The ones I happen to be involved with are. But, there are other people on the site writing as primary sources on various historical topics, or personal experiences. My actions shouldn't prevent their contributions from being considered a viable reference for an article. Thanks. Biographyfan 21:23, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Is there a specific process to get independent review for links?

I am wondering if there is any formal process for calling in outside link reviewers (i.e., neutral parties) to get independent examination of links to determine if those links comply with the policies guidelines for WP:EL? I see this as a specialized type of peer review. We have a League of Copyeditors, but is there a League of Link Reviewers, or do we just post individual requests to look at pages here? In some articles there is bickering about whether a link should stay in or go. Calling in a neutral specialist just to look at compliance with policy guideline issues is what I am asking about. Buddhipriya 20:04, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

WP:EL is not policy. Please be sure you understand that a guideline is something different. (In particular, as I see it, only policy could overrule a consensus of the article's regular editors). Notinasnaid 20:20, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification of terms. Do you know if there a process for getting reviews against the guidelines, or do we just post requests here? Buddhipriya 20:23, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Since external links are usually more of a content issue, as opposed to an enforcement of official policy, it can be a little tricky to get truly neutral feedback.
One of the goals of Wikipedia:WikiProject External links was to provide a neutral forum to review external links, but it never really got going for some reason. The members of Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam, including myself, do some of this, but their primary efforts are geared toward stopping major, commercial link spammers.
Many times, a posting here will get some good feedback, and, if the article falls under the umbrella of an active, subject-specific WikiProject, such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Hinduism, you may want to try their talk page as well. As a last resort, major disputes over links are usually taken to WP:RFC#Request comment on articles. Hope this helps. -- Satori Son 20:41, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The closest thing to a process is to post the question right here, or at WT:WPSPAM. If you want to add a link to a page that is watched by some project, you could ask your question in that project's Talk page. What I have often heard in the past is that the consensus of the editors working on a particular article's Talk page should be respected. Your query about a 'neutral specialist' sounds like a concept that doesn't exist on Wikipedia. I've seen some disputes where a link clearly violated WP:EL but the editor persisted in adding it. Unfortunately that will turn into a user conduct RFC before you can get to a widely-supported verdict. There is always the m:Spam blacklist for difficult cases, and don't forget third opinion which is a very low-weight process. EdJohnston 20:56, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:NOT and WP:NPOV are policies. Things also change. In the recent past wasn't WP:EL policy? (Requestion 05:26, 24 April 2007 (UTC))
"only policy could overrule a consensus of the article's regular editors" This is nonsense, and a recipe for votestacking disaster. Most of the "only guidelines" are far more important, more tested, and more consensus than whatever any group on an individual article page would like to think. DreamGuy 21:14, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Third opinion. here 07:14, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed Guideline for other wiki links

See Wikipedia:Linking to other wikis for this proposal, which is currently in a development phase. LukeSurl t c 11:35, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Considering just how at odds with the current External links rules on wikis, instead of discussing it over there you should probably see if you can get the wording changed over here first... and I don't see that happening anytime soon. DreamGuy 22:57, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Open Directory Project

I removed this for discussion:

Rather than creating a long list of external links, editors should consider linking to a related category in the Open Directory Project (also known as DMOZ) that is devoted to creating relevant directories of links pertaining to various topics. (See {{Dmoz}}.) If there is no relevant category, you can request help finding or creating a category by placing {{Directory request}} on the article's talk page.

I'm curious to know when this was added and who agreed to it, because it seems that we're throwing ourselves on the mercy of that project's editorial judgment and policies rather than our own. I saw it misused today where it seems it's being added because it contains a link to a highly POV blog-style entry about a contentious issue. Is there widespread consensus that this project should be linked to? SlimVirgin (talk) 00:06, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

That should not be in the guideline. DMOZ does not have a policy by which they chose to add websites to their directory. It is done by volunteers (I have been one a few years ago) and that guidelines for inclusion are very loose. Allowing links to DMOZ contradicts the "Links to avoid section" in this guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ is also not always the best link to use - there's a discussion in the beer articles and project about the use of links to BeerAdvocate.com, which provides better and more thorough coverage of breweries and beers than DMOZ does, or probably ever will. Αργυριου (talk) 00:48, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that a DMOZ should not be used blindly. Note that the text says "should consider" - not "they should" - that means that editors should look at the corresponding category and see if it helps enhance the WP page by providing an alternative to the EL list. WP is not a list of links, and this provides ONE alternative, but not the only one. I have no problem with the wording as stated. (Full discloure: I am a DMOZ editor) -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 01:06, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Please don't inappropriately remove things from the guideline without gaining a consensus first. There has been a ton of discussion on this. Using a Dmoz link on articles with potentially dozens or even hundreds of valuable external links is a longstanding good solution to the problem. The fact that some sites linked from Dmoz wouldn't qualify as Wikipedia external links is totally silly. No Dmoz category is likely to ever have every site be one that would merit an external link from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a link directory, and we need a practical solution for when there are dozens of valuable links possible, besides whining and reverting and pissing matches. 2005 02:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
This was removed as it contradicts the wording of the guideline itself. We are not linking to Google searches, not to the Yahoo categories directory and we should link to DMOZ either. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't contradict the guideline. In fact it is a part of the guideline that has a longstanding consensus from multiple previous discussions. Do not completely arbitrily change the guideline without gaining a consensus first. We went through this before. You know the process. Please don't be rude. 2005 00:28, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a collection of links, but ODP is. So it seems reasonable to let ODP handle the list of links and Wikipedia the article content. It indeed seems popular[9]. Your say "I saw it misused today" and that makes it sound like you assume bad faith. // Liftarn

  • It may be popular, but the point of our guideline pages is not to advertise popular websites. >Radiant< 11:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Popular to use in Wikipedia. That should prove that it indeed has value. // Liftarn

So its safe to remove these when found? - Denny (talk) 20:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I think that a discussion on the Talk page would be appropriate before removing them. The policy here says they are acceptable, so just removing them without any comment would not be appropriate in my opinion. One Edit summary made a comment that Google Search results and a DMOZ category are the same. I would like to hear more about your opinions on this, since in my opinion they are completely different. I don't believe that it is germane to talk about how much it has been done - that doesn't make it right or wrong. The EL policy says it can be done. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:50, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that dmoz (love the site, for what its worth) is a collection of links back to other external sources. From that respect simple linking to individual dmoz pages while a potential convenience to readers is a complete end-run around all our rules for judging who and what we link to. Adding a dmoz link to a subject that the article covers in and of itself I would say is completely unneeded. Nice, but unneeded. - Denny (talk) 20:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah Denny, I see you already went ahead and removed 16 of them... :-( -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 20:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I thought about it for a long while, and actually did remove those specifically since they weren't adding anything to the article. :( - Denny (talk) 20:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with some of them, and have reverted others - some of them had 30, 50 or 111 entries, which in my opinion do add to the article. I left the ones with none or only a few as deleted. Sorry to be skeptical, but according to your logs you asked the question here and then 6 minutes later started removing links. It would have been nice to give people time to answer first :-) I am not saying they should be kept, necessarily, but I am suggesting that there should at least be a discussion first. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 21:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I would like to suggest that if after reading the Archived version of this discussion (which has been had twice since I became a WP editor) and presumably before then too, we talk about changing the policy, and not doing mass-deletions of DMOZ categories. Previous discussions are: Yahoo Directory and DMOZ, Link to DMOZ, DMOZ Again (that one was about me), Use_of_deep_links_into_DMOZ_categories - you will see that the issue has some passionate advocates on both sides of the argument. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 21:18, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

The guideline is very clear: avoid linking to search engine result pages. If you want to link, then you need to explain the reasons why you want to link and the benefits to the article. The EL section is not a dumping ground for a collection of on-line sources that, per policy, should not be included in an article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:32, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
So... should we have a general DMOZ link to an article's given topic, or is it safe to remove it? As we can't ever guarantee any editorial oversight I would think 'no', and would be happy to do drudge work of removing frivilous DMOZ links if that's the right thing. - Denny (talk) 16:08, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ pages are not "search results pages". Please act in good faith. If you want to change the guideline, then get a consensus. Clearly the overwhelming consensus is contrary to what you want as many editors have voiced support for sometimes using Dmoz categories, and many more have added them to articles. 2005 21:16, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia:External links section titled "Links to be considered":

"A web directory category, when deemed appropriate by those contributing to the article, with preference to open directories."

Search engine results are not the same as a web directory page. Such as a category page at the Open Directory Project (dmoz). There are many web pages that list relevant links by topic. Each link list, directory, category, and subcategory page should be considered on its merits in my opinion. If the editor of the directory or topic list is putting in relevant links, and is not including problematic links for the most part, then it could be a useful external link for wikipedia.

I suggest we add some kind of clarification such as: "If the category page has more than a few problematic links that violate wikipedia guidelines, then wikipedia should not link to the category." --Timeshifter 10:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I see no difference between DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory or Google Directory]. We should not link any of these. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I do not think that DMOZ should be used, as there is no editorial control over it. Buddhipriya 20:18, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Alucard and 2005 are right. There have been numerous discussions and consensus building regarding Wikipedia's use of DMOZ as an "unofficial" link repository. In addition to the four discussions listed by Alucard, also see Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2006 December 15#Template:Dmoz and Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 January 19#Template:NoMoreLinks, both of which resulted in a clear "Keep" results and solid support for our use of DMOZ.

Thus, I would strongly oppose any blanket removal of the DMOZ templates in articles, and I fully support its mention in this guideline. It has an established, albeit weak, consensus for use, it is not a search engine result, and it has just as much editorial oversight as we have here. -- Satori Son 21:05, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

there are new arguments, Satori Son, and this discussion proves that the consensus is disputed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Do we really need to go through this yet again. Just because you don't now agree agree means nothing to the consensus achieved. If you want to get something changed, GET A CONSENSUS. If you don't get a consensus, please do not edit this guideline for substance. Edits for typos and clarifications are fine. 2005 21:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I fully agree with your principle. Unless there is a clear and wide consensus for adding the DMOZ part, we should not do so. If there is such clear and wide consensus somewhere on this Talk page, please point me to it. Thanks, Crum375 22:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Scroll up. Additionally the text has been there for about six months. 2005 22:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I did, before posting. I see major disagreements about DMOZ and no consensus for adding it. Crum375 22:17, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
It was added late October, if it has been in that long that's the consensus you're looking for. [10] If you want to remove something that has been stable for so long, you should have consensus for the change, and until there's clear consensus it should stay in, not be revert warred over. Not to mention that it's a bit dishonest to call reverting back in something that has been there for months changing the policy. --Minderbinder 22:26, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Let's WP:AGF about 'dishonesty'. I missed the fact that this change was added in October 2006, but I still feel there is no consensus for it. Was there consensus for the change when it was added? If so, where can I find it? Crum375 23:00, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Please read the above. There was an entire "workshop" rewrite of the guideline discussed for literally months. There is no pithy little two sentences to refer to. There was four months or so of give and take where the guideline was made more coherent and focused. And just for the record, as you could see from the threads, I don't like the template part of that paragraph, but accepting it is what happens in achieving a consensus, people accept some non-perfect stuff. They don't just ignore the wishes of the significant majority and remove stuff just because they personally don't like it. 2005 23:11, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

(undent) Since the DMOZ text has been there for quite a while, and multiple discussions about removing it have not reached a concensus, I really think that a proposal to remove should be the subject for an WP:Rfc, and see if there is a concensus to remove. But please do not just remove it without reaching that concensus. If there are new arguments then they can be stated at the intro to the RfC, and then all interested parties can read them and consider whether that warrants a change or not. Essentially calling something "revert" that has been there so long is not the way things should be around here. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

From WP:Consensus: "Silence equals consent" is the ultimate measure of consensus — somebody makes an edit and nobody objects or changes it. Most of the time consensus is reached as a natural product of the editing process. It's unreasonable to look at an edit months ago and insist that other editors produce evidence of other people stating their agreement. If there wasn't agreement, it wouldn't have made it into the policy and stayed there for months. We can certainly discuss and see if there's consensus to remove it - if there are objections, I'd also suggest proposing improvements to the text that would fix those objections instead of just removing it. --Minderbinder 23:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I was not involved in the discussion to allow DMOZ as EL. I guess I am very confused. Am I the only person here who thinks that allowing DMOZ essentially points our readers into the equivalent of a Google search? Even if volunteers somewhere maintain it, we as Wikipedians have no control over the link collection. So please enlighten me - since to me this seems to be in direct contradiction to the rest of WP:EL. Crum375 23:18, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Crum, that very point was brought up in the discussions that I and others referenced earlier. There have been arguments made on both sides during those discussions. I don't feel that a link to a DMOZ category (or a category of any other suitable directory that we can all agree on) is anything like the results of a search engine. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:21, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me to be a link into a linkfarm, over which we as Wikipedians have no direct control. I feel that unless there is wide consensus for this kind of change, it should be removed. If there is such consensus, I am still waiting for a pointer to the relevant thread. Crum375 23:27, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
As you have noted, the change was made months ago. It was not reverted. The "Silence equals consent" part of WP:Consensus means that after this much time, there doesn't have to be a referencable thread. There needs to be wide consensus to remove it, in my opinion. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 23:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that as of now, this guideline is self contradictory. I am not at all sure that people are aware of that. I will wait for more comments here by others before acting. Crum375 23:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no contradiction. Just saying there is one, and making the rather wild claim that a hand chosen directory list is the same as results from the search engine really does not give anything for people to respond to. Dmoz categories are sometimes a great link for broad topics that could have hundreds of valuable external links. Wikipedia is not a link directory, and it is soemthing that wants to make valuable articles for users. A directory link can serve a good purpose, and that idea (one directory link) has been in the guideline for years. It has only been refined now to eliminate somejunkdirectory.com from consideration, and offered a bit on info when a directory category is a good idea. 2005 02:52, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Crum375, I took part in some of the DMOZ discussions last year and we included some of the editors from DMOZ. The one distinction you need to remember between a DMOZ directory and a Google search result is that Google makes no judgement about the content reliability or accuracy. It simply applies a computer algorith based on links and content and then ranks websites based upon a specific search term. The famous "Miserable Failure" search term clearly demonstrates how its results can be manipulated. With DMOZ, there is a set of human eyes that evaluates each site for relevance, content and quality before its added. Although this is a human process that has all of its shortcomings, it is still a valuable one.
I do not believe DMOZ should be used indescriminately, but it has clear value when used to fight spam. I've used it a dozen or more times, and each time, when used with an appropriate message, link spam was dramatically reduced on an article that prior to its inclusion was a haven for frequent spamming. As such, I've always viewed DMOZ as an asset to WP. Calltech 01:46, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Combating spam should not be a criteria for using DMOZ, as we could apply the same for Yahoo Directory, or other directories that are "human driven". The concern is that, as there the editorial process for these directories is opaque, we are relying on unknown criteria and in violation of WP:V and contradicting the wording of the guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:05, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
The fact that there IS an editorial process by an individual(s) that has some knowledge associated with a DMOZ category puts DMOZ ahead of Yahoo! or other directories that are more concerned about format and style than knowledge of the content. Yahoo! doesn't have experts in every category where it places websites. Pragmatically, using DMOZ to combat spam in selective instances works - why remove such a valuable tool? Calltech 16:29, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I was a DMOZ editor for several years, and I can assure you that the editorial control is haphazard , at best. There absolutely no proof that directory entries at DMOZ are any different that other directories such as Yahoo directory. This idea of linking to DMOZ is simply not sound, in addition of being contradictory to the language on the guideline (Links to avoid section) despite arguments about consensus, that obviously is being challenged in this discussion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:15, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't contradict the guideline. If you think so, say why. The consensus on this matter is clear. There is no "challenge" to consensus because some people disagree with it. That's just leads to the childishness exhibited trying to force a change when they see there is no consensus for change. Wikipedia has some goofy policies in my opinion, like letting unlogged in users to edit articles, but that IS the way it works here. You want to change something, get a consensus. Personally I'd prefer voting, but that isn't the way it works. Neither is rudely making changes not supported by a clear majority of editors time and again. It's plain there is no consensus to remove the passage now, so accept that... and try to PERSUADE people to change their mind. Don't try and steamroll your opinion over others acting in good faith. 2005 21:45, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
There is clearly no consensus to be using this policy to advocate for driving traffic to DMOZ. Please persuade people to change their mind instead of adding a contested endorsement of another project to a Wikipedia guideline. Jkelly 21:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
The burden is not on me. The burden is on you to get a consensus for a change in the guideline, and clearly there is none, so either make a case or move on. If you don't get a new consensus, the existing one stands. You are saying that there would be no consensus to have any external link guideline at all because you don't agree to it. Consensus doesn't work that way. 2005 23:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Denny nails it. This is an end-run around the NOT clause. Those who are stating consensus is required for changes need to get consensus to change WP:NOT an indiscriminate collection of links before there is any validity to any argument to keeping DMOZ. It conflicts. It conflicts with WP:EL, WP:SPAM as well. So, go get consensus to change those three, and there will be a point to this. Otherwise, no. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:42, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I have just reverted the edit made by KillerChihuahua that removed the entire section, and invited him/her to join in the discussion at the foot of this page before making changes to WP:EL. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 18:53, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
You should not be using the rollback button, popups, or valdal fighting tools for these reverts. Revert if that is what you want to do, but add a proper edit summary. Using popups, rollback, or vandal fighting tools should be limited to reverting vandalism. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:58, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Apologies. I assumed that the note that I left on the edit, the message that I posted to the user's talk page and the note I placed here was enough explanation of the actions I took and why. I assumed that as this was reverting an edit, that the simple revert button was the best way to show that it was just that. If I made a mistake I apologize. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 19:06, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

(outdent) Your assumption was incorrect. KillerChihuahua?!? 19:40, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

In order to try to make sure whether what I was doing was sound or not, I did some digging around and want to share the results with you: The first time the EL page was changed to say that linking to the ODP was ok was added to the article was in this edit dated 26 October 2006 and the note on the edit was Paste in from the workshop - which implies that it was a part of a larger discussion. The workshop referred to can be found at Wikipedia_talk:External_links/workshop#Wikipedia_is_not_a_web_directory. So this change has been in place for 6 months - a lifetime in the world of WP. I am not in favour of simply removing a section that has been there so long and was the subject of a workshop without some discussion (which I have tried to start further down this page). Given the latest coments, it appears that I am out of line with my comments here. I will withdraw from the discussion. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 19:48, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

(after edit conflict) The edit which led to the Seigenthaler controversy was in place for four months before anyone noticed. That this contradiction in policy was not noticed promptly is regrettable, but does not confer some kind of protection to it. KillerChihuahua?!? 19:55, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
As a member of Wikiproject Spam I have included referral to DMOZ as part of spam cleanups, and I agree that it has been helpful for that purpose. However in cases where I have content knowledge, when I have checked the links at DMOZ I find many of them that I would never approve as a content editor, including many commercial sites that do not cite any WP:RS or otherwise fail tests for WP:EL. Various criticisms of DMOZ are noted at Dmoz#Controversy_and_criticism. An example of a web site specifically critical of DMOZ is here. For an example of a specific criticism of Wikipedia over-use of DMOZ see here. Alexa, an independent rating service, gives DMOZ only a midrange rating based on its aggregated reviewing method . None of the web sites I provide links to are authoritative, I present them only as examples of the fact that DMOZ is controversial. Buddhipriya 19:53, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

DMOZ doesn't meet Wikipedia's policies and guidelines for external links; the fact that it was incorrectly inserted into the guideline months ago, without people noticing that it contradicted policy is unfortunate, but not a license to keep it here. Jayjg (talk) 00:51, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

The Disputed Open Directory Project section

Since we now have a disputed tag on the section, probably best to actually start the discussion again, rather than just referring to all the old ones.

As I understand it, the motivation for doing something like this is a combination of the official policy of WP:NOT#LINK and the desire to provide readers with further reading about the articles. WP:EL says that Some external links are welcome,... but it is not Wikipedia's purpose to include a comprehensive list of external links related to each topic.. So we end up with a dilemma which has been seen on many WP pages - links get added and added until it gets too much, someone removes them, there is an outcry and sometimes a long and heated debate. The fact is that wince WP is not a directory, we can not list EVERY site that may just be useful, and thus it becomes a subjective judgement, and subject to a lot of argument.

So the idea was to find a directory that COULD be linked to *as an exception to the rule* so that readers of the article could have a place to go to find many, many more links than Wikipedia would ever have in its article. That way we satisfy the needs of the users, and hopefully keep debate down to a minimum.

So far, so good (hopefully). The big question is what should be linked to? Obviously it has to be a directory that has categories that could correspond to WP pages, otherwise there isn't any sort of correlation between them. Hopefully it is a directory which comes as close as possible to mirroring WP's philosophies - you can't pay for inclusion, limited or no ads, etc. The Open Directory Project (or DMOZ as it seems to be known by others) seemed at the time of the previous discussions were had, to be the best one out there that fulfilled the most of those requirements. It's far from perfect, and has a lot of flaws, but at the time there was nothing better.

So, as I see it, this boils down to two questions:
1. Should we use the approach of linking to an external directory in order to direct users to further material on a topic? If not, how are we going to combat the wave of useful sites that feel they just HAVE to be added to the EL section of the articles? This is non-trivial, in my experience.
2. If we do decided to continue adding a link to a directory, then is there one out there that is better than DMOZ, in terms of the sort of characteristics that matter to WP. (I certainly understand that some of you do not like the ODP, but if we are going to link, then we need something better than the ODP to link to). If Wikipedia had a directory sister project that was extensive, then that would resolve the issues of the directory having the same standards and control as WP. If they don't have one that is that extensive, then none will be 100% according to the WP philosophies and a compromise must be found.

Hopefully this will help structure the discussion somewhat. In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I am am ODP editor. I have tried to state the case here as neutrally as I could, though. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 17:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Let me dispel some myths. There is a misguided perception that "linking is good, this is the WWW after all'. Not so: External links in an encyclopedic article are useful only when these links are of good quality, do not contain objectionable material that otherwise would not be added to the article, do not violate WP:V, etc. The main principle is "EL section is not the dumping ground for material that could not make it to the article due to violation of our content policies." This is a guideline, and guidelines cannot trump policies; rather, guidelines are there to assist editors with understanding and applying policy. Inviting a loophole and making the suggestion that DMOZ (or any other web directory for that matter) is a good thing, is in contradiction with the wording on this guideline ("links to be avoided" section). ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:02, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Characterizing the opinions of others as "myths" and "misguided perceptions" does not seem particularly helpful to this debate. I would prefer to discuss specifics. For example, which of the 13 items listed under "Links normally to be avoided" (emphasis mine) do you think the Open Directory Project violates? Also, which official policy, as opposed to guideline, do you think it violates? Honestly, I'm not really sure I understand your objections. Thanks, Satori Son 18:12, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I was not characterizing opinions of other editors that have commented in this page. I was referring to a misguided perception in general. As for the specifics: Links to normally avoid is pretty clear on what we ask contributors not to link to. DMOZ can contain listings of sites that can be assessed to be a "link normally to avoid". For example, let's imagine an editor WANTING to add this external link to George W. Bush: http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/ . Most certainly it will be deleted from the article, citing WP:EL, right? But it will not stop that person to adding the DMOZ category http://dmoz.org/Society/History/By_Region/North_America/United_States/Presidents/Bush,_George_Walker/ that contains a link to that site. See the problem now? DMOZ does not have any policies about NPOV, verifiability, and the like (thankfully), because they are a web directory and not an encyclopedia. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
But how does solely linking to the DMOZ site itself violate any official policy? Aren't you discussing sites that might be linked from DMOZ? I'm not playing word games here - I think that is a very important distinction.
Do we really have to follow all of the links on a potential site to make sure they also comply with all Wikipedia policies? And what about the sites linked from those? How far down the chain do we go?
I understand you have some very valid concerns regarding the holy triumvirate of WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV, and I truly am not being dismissive of those. But I just do not think those concerns are critically relevant unless the sites are linked to directly from here. Otherwise, we become content cops for half the web.
We are not allowing the ODP editors to control what we link to directly from an article. Obviously, that would be an improper abdication of our responsibilities and I would strongly object to it.
The {{Dmoz}} template is not a perfect solution, but it is the best one we have at the moment. Alucard saying that the link spam issue is "non-trivial" is a polite understatement. He knows how bad it is because he, I, and many others are hard at work at WikiProject Spam trying to keep the 'pedia free from of it. Unless and until we have access to an even better link repository, this is an extremely valuable tool for us, and Wikipedia is of a net higher quality because of it. -- Satori Son 20:13, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

(outdent) As my previous input[11] apparently was discarded as not actually participating in the discussion, since it has twice been suggested by Alucard (Dr.)[12][13] that I "give input" - beyond that which I have already given? bah. I re-post it here, in teh hopes that Alucard (Dr.) will trouble her/himself to read it if it is in a section to her/his liking. "Denny nails it. This is an end-run around the NOT clause. Those who are stating consensus is required for changes need to get consensus to change WP:NOT an indiscriminate collection of links before there is any validity to any argument to keeping DMOZ. It conflicts. It conflicts with WP:EL, WP:SPAM as well. So, go get consensus to change those three, and there will be a point to this. Otherwise, no." KillerChihuahua?!? 19:45, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

You're right, of course, that we are not an indiscriminate collection of links. But what official policy states we cannot link to an indiscriminate collection of links? None do. By your argument, there would never be any external links of any kind, because what doesn't strictly qualify as article content cannot qualify as a link. Or even a link from a link. WP:NOT controls what Wikipedia is, not what Wikipedia can link to. -- Satori Son 20:13, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not clear to me why there's a lot of discussion about this. If Wikipedia wants to partner up with some other project by advocating linking to it throughout our articles, it should be a project that offers something really remarkable. DMOZ is a list of links, something we're expressly not interested in. So, really, what is our incentive to drive traffic to that particular list of links again? Jkelly 20:27, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
C'mon, this is too illogical. We are NOT a collection of links, but we link to such things some times. We are NOT a reliable source, but we link to reliable sources. We are NOT and official site, but we link to them. Etc to infinity. Let's stay on topic here. We link to lots of stuff we are not. lol, It would be obviously stupid to just link to WHAT WE ARE! That isn't the point though. The question is whether linking to a directory on those occasions there are far more valuable links that could be used than we can list. Maybe more to the point that you are avoiding, we link to Dmoz on occasion so we do NOT become a list of links. 2005 21:32, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

For those who wish to remove it, what do you propose as an alternative? If an alternative isn't offered, the default alternative in most cases is that editors see no external links and start adding them, in many cases spamlinks. I can understand the argument for removing it, but taking it out causes other problems. --Minderbinder 20:24, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

An alternative what? An alternative list of weblinks? I'm not really following this "vaccination" argument you're making. Jkelly 20:27, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Any alternative. On articles that have many potential links, a link to a directory like this can substitute for a long list of links. Are you OK with having a bunch of links instead (or constantly fighting to keep the list short) or do you have an alternative to propose? --Minderbinder 20:37, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no need for an alternative. Too many links are unacceptable, period. Either you use the content of these links as sources, or you use just a few links that are significant. That is what this guideline is stating. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:40, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a directory of links... but often a directory of links is one of the things we SHOULD link to according to WP:EL ("unique resource no appropriate for inclusion on Wikipedia"). DMOZ was chosen because we are an open project and we -should- have a systematic bias for open projects. DMOZ is not the only choice, but if quality is equal it should be preferred. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:37, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
This guideline spells is out: we do not link just for the sake of linking. And that includes web directories such as DMOZ. If there is a problem with spam, adding a link to DMOZ is a poor solution. A link should be assessed on its value, and we should not encourage or suggest linking to DMOZ (or any other web directory) in this guideline. If an editor wants to ad a DMOZ link, let the editor discuss this in that article's talk, as you will need to do in many instances when discussion other ELs. There is no need to carve an exception for DMOZ, as many of the DMOZ categories are not maintained well, or not maintained at all. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:38, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
"we do not link just for the sake of linking." Nobody suggests that. Please don't make strawmen. "many of the DMOZ categories are not maintained well, or not maintained at all" and should not be linked to, as the DISCUSSION AT THE TIME made clear. Strawman #2. Why don't you address the issue instead? What should we do if there are say 100 links of approximately equal value that could be added to an article? Randomly chose five? Have endless pissing matches about which ones should be included? Have no links on articles that merit the most links? Enough of the irrelevancies please. Contribute something constructive and specific about what should be done when there are 100 possible very valid links? 2005 01:52, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ doesn't meet Wikipedia's policies and guidelines for external links; the fact that it was incorrectly inserted into the guideline months ago, without people noticing that it contradicted policy is unfortunate, but not a license to keep it here. Jayjg (talk) 00:51, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, that does sometimes happen, and of course something inappropriate shouldn't stay just because nobody took it out at the time. Musical Linguist 01:45, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
There was lots of discussion. There was no incorrect assertion. Please try to act in good faith. Additionally the text about linking to any web sirectory was there for a very, very long time with much discussion about it. Making patently false statements does not help your cause. 2005 01:52, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
There are no "causes", 2005. If material was added to a guideline that contradicts the guideline, and editors raise concernd as some of us have done here, you cannot only dismiss these if you provide a counter-argument that is different than "it has been there for a while". Address the concerns expressed, please. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:11, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
"If material was added to a guideline that contradicts the guideline..." It doesn't. You STILL have not even made a claim how it does. You also didn't answer my question. What should we do? No more arm waving please. You want to remove something that offers a practical aid to editors when in a difficult situation and is widely thought well of and used. You have suggested NOTHING to deal with the problem. Be constructive please and stop dodging the issue: when there are 100 approximately equally valuable external links, what should be done? Write something. Make a proposal for pete's sake, maybe people will like it. Saying you don't like something is no proposal, and offering no counter suggestion for the problem being addressed is no help. 2005 02:46, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
DMOZ adds something beyond the scope of which the article should contain itself. In this case, it is a list of links maintained by similarly motivated 'editors', as is wikipedia itself. I find it often a well deserved addition to an article and occasionally a partial solution to WP:EL debates. I find the discussion about linking DMOZ as violating wikipedia policy unfounded and beside the point. I have long used odp links here and never found it contrary to policy, or had it cited as such. I have also dabbled as an odp editor and find the internals I have known as a suitable ally for the wikipedia community. here 02:17, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
You say: "In this case, it is a list of links maintained by similarly motivated 'editors', as is wikipedia itself". Well, not really. Editors at DMOZ do not have any accountability or formal editorial process to chose what is included in categories. Some categories do not even have editors allocated to them. Once you are an "editor" for a category, you pretty much WP:OWN that category. There is no formal review process for adding links to a category, and other editors do not have much of a say on what a category editor decides to include or exclude (beside some forum discussions if happens that a category have more than one editor). Yes, DMOZ is volunteer generated content, but that is where the comparison stops. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:22, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
If, as you say, you spent time editing at dmoz, you already know that's not the case. The dmoz guidelines say:
The directory also has very specific site selection criteria. I'm uncertain why you persist on spreading disinformation. It's not a search engine and the template doesn't violate any guidelines or policies. Many people find adding dmoz links to appropriate for some articles. As others have noted, nobody's saying that it should always be added, but in many cases it can be a valuable source of additional information. - EurekaLott 03:03, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
While I was an editor at DMOZ, these guidelines were followed loosely at best. Metas and staff did not get involved much at all. Maybe that has changed now, but the fact is that many categories are under-staffed and not well monitored, and most importantly the link inclusion criteria at DMOZ differs from Wikipedia's. That is the main issue at hand. Nevertheless, the concern is about an encouragement in the guideline to link to a specific web directory, when actually the guideline itself has already a good explanation about what to link and what not to link, and should not carve an exception for DMOZ. Let editors discuss a specific link to a DMOZ category, on its merit, rather than encourage blanket linking to DMOZ as in the disputed wording. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:13, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Take sometime and explore some categories at DMOZ and compare the links there to the ones we would accept in Wikipedia. A good example: http://dmoz.org/Society/Politics/Fascism/ vs. Fascism#External links. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:22, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with linking to a directory in some cases - that is, I don't think our guidelines should include directories as a straight category in "links to be avoided". But it does bother me that we actively encourage linking to a particular website with whom we are not affiliated rather than laying out what would make a good directory link for our encyclopedia. That way when dmoz is appropriate it can be used, and when it isn't (as in Jossi's example), it would not be receiving extra support from this guideline. -- Siobhan Hansa 13:10, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Let editors decided if a link to a DMOZ category is warranted in the same manner any other link is assessed for compliance. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:39, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
For heaven's sake, THAT IS WHAT IT SAYS. It says "consider". It doesn't say "always link". My goodness, what a waste of time about absolutely nothing. 2005 20:36, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
That is an inappropriate comment, 2005. Editors that care about this project are having a vigorous debate on an issue they consider important. As said before, we do not need to tell editors on a guideline to consider violating the same principles explained elsewhere in the guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:36, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

Ok, I saw this over at the spam wikiproject. The primary use of the dmoz links to me is to help curb linkfarming, which we are not. Frankly I don't care whose linkfarm it is, as long as it is reputable, and has high quality (non spam links). (which as far as I know dmoz is) I find it rather scary when articles have longer external link sections to a bunch of fansites then actual text in the article. If there are that many good sites, I highly advise using them as inline citations. In otherwords when we find the external link section getting long, its time to think about using a linkfarm. —— Eagle101 Need help? 16:22, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

No concensus, put it back

From what I can tell, there is no concensus leaning toward inclusion ( by numbers ). I assume that is reason to place this text back into the article. Similar text has been in this guideline since at least July 2005. A discussion leaning toward inclusion at this point is certainly no justification for removal, despite lack of consensus. Back to the status quo. Here is is back in:

  • Nov 2006,
  • Sep 2006: A web directory category when deemed appropriate by those contributing to an article, with preference to open directories.
  • Jan 2006: Web directories: When deemed appropriate by those contributing to an article on Wikipedia, a link to one web directory listing can be added, with preference to open directories (if two are comparable and only one is open). If deemed unnecessary, or if no good directory listing exists, one should not be included.
  • July 2005: Web directories: When deemed appropriate by those contributing to an article on Wikipedia, a link to one web directory listing can be added, with preference to open directories (if two are comparable and only one is open). If deemed unnecessary, or if no good directory listing exists, one should not be included.
  • Jan 2005: The article is only a few lines long (!) ...

here 15:45, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

There is no consensus to re-instate the current text either. The text was added, and now it is challenged based on new arguments that have not been responded to. We may need to find a way to address the concerns expressed. A version based on previous incarnations of the wording may be better. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:51, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
The text was added months ago. If there's no consensus we stick with the stable wording, which is leaving it in. At AfD, if there's no consensus to delete an article, the article stays - this is the same situation. Since there doesn't seem to be support for removing it, I'd suggest proposing tweaks to the wording that address your concerns and trying to get consensus for a wording change. Otherwise, the wording goes back in. --Minderbinder 16:05, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!. So far there are legitimate counter arguments, but not many examples of where the use of this clause has been abused. And in reality using DMOZ to fight spam works! Why take away such a valuable tool? There are no perfectly managed directories and there are lots of cases where DMOZ is not appropriate, but I only recall one incident where an editor went overboard. It was then discussed and his edits reverted with his agreement. Now compare that with the massive amount of SPAM that has been avoided by using it as a deterent. As mentioned by Minderbinder, this was discussed and agreed upon last year. There are no new arguments here, but there are fair minded objections. Without a clear consensus, the original text should be reinstated. Calltech 16:23, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
There is a clear consensus for inclusion of a directory link under certain circumstances, and the ongoing consensus remains. Obstinate disagreement does not invalidate an ongoing consensus, particularly since you have refused to state ANY alternative, and yourself said the point of the text was correct. The consensus text will be added back, and once again, if you have any objections to anything in this guideline, use this talk page to bring up a proposal and reasons for it. Removing or adding substantial text from a guideline that states it is a consensus of editors is supremely rude to your fellow editors. Please don't do it again. 2005 22:43, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
That said, it is certainly possible the wording of the section could be improved. So anyone can feel free to MAKE A PROPOSAL to edit its wording, keeping in mind the goal of a directory link is as a fall back for when there are dozens of possible links. Until such a proposal gains consensus though, the other wording goes back in. 2005 22:46, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
First, I take exception on your characterization, and your tone of voice. There is no need to tell others "don't do it again", please WP:AGF. The wording needs to be tweaked as per the concerns raised. Stubbornly claiming consensus when there is a dispute related to the current wording, will not do. yes, the text may go back, but it will need to be tweaked to respond to the numerous editor's concerns raised in this discussion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:49, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Don't pretend you didn't do what you did, or that you have not done it numerous times before. The guide says the text is there by consensus, so please act in good faith based on that. This is not an article space article where you can just change wording based on other criteria. Changes here require consensus to be made. Now you have been told this many times. Please do not act otherwise in the future. Secondarly I am not stubbornly claiming consensus. That is nonsense talk. Consensus exists. Deal with it. Consensus is not "unanimous consent". I disagree with an aspect of that text, but that doesn't mean consensus does not exist. Even if significant disagreement appears, that does not mean that the old consensus does not stay intact. It does stay intact, until some other consensus replaces it. That means the text absolutely does not "need" to be tweaked. It means it is YOUR responsibility to convince a consensus of editors that your concerns have merit and should be addressed. Your confrontational style does little to lead to that conclusion, so I'd suggest a change in that, but the bottom line is if you propose something the consensus of editors thinks makes sense, then that will be a fine thing. However, if the consensus of editors does not want to address what you think "needs" to be addressed, then it won't. 2005 23:13, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposal

"Dozen of links" can be paired down citing WP:NOT#DIRECTORY. As for the disputed text, I propose to go back to a tweak on a earlier version:

  • When deemed appropriate, a link to one web directory listing can be added with preference to open directories. If no good directory listing exists, or if the directory includes links that do not fit within the criteria specified in this guideline, do not link to such directory.

This wording addresses the concerns expressed:

  1. It does not recommend a certain directory;
  2. It does not contradict the current wording in the guideline about "Links to be avoided";
  3. It forces editors to assess the quality of the directory in the same manner as any other external link.

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:54, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

This would be a major step backward in several ways. First, saying "one" directory will lead to 1) pissing matches about "link to my directory", "no link to this one." Directories are in general bad links, and they should not be linked to at all when there are other valuable links.
Second, "or if the directory includes links that do not fit within the criteria specified in this guideline" is totally absurd. You need to get over this. It's not our business to care about every link on pages we link to. For instance, we link to CNN articles that may link to some crap reseller site. It is foolish to not link to the CNN article just because a minor percentage of links are crap. The same with Dmoz. They have categories to regional business lists. We should not refuse to link to their Automobiles category because they happen to link to a car dealers among the many subcategories of automobile information. It makes no sense to hold sites we link to to the criteria of the Wikipedia itself -- and this is especially true when talking about something like a directory. If 95 of a hundred links on a page would qualify for external links on an article, but five would not, it would just be stupid to disqualify that link because of the five. Third, this is baffling: "It forces editors to assess the quality of the directory in the same manner as any other external link." I can't even imagine how you don't see that as ludicrously wrongheaded. 2005 23:27, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
""Dozen of links" can be paired down citing WP:NOT#DIRECTORY" What is that supposed to mean? If there are 75 links of equal value, then there are 75. Why would the solution be to just randomly choose some? All that would do is lead to endless edit wars. The reality is 75 equal things are in fact equal, so none should be listed and one replacement that links to most of them is the best choice in light of WP:NOT.2005 23:29, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
See [[WP:NOT#DIRECTORY. It is all there and it is policy. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:58, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
We know that. We assume that. Why do you mention it? It is not relevant here. 2005 20:27, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
There are certain criteria that DMOZ satisfies that most others don't.
  • DMOZ is established with a huge inventory of websites (if a website is notable, it is in DMOZ)
  • DMOZ does NOT display advertising
  • DMOZ is not a self-inclusion, self-editing directory (editors control inclusion and content)
  • DMOZ does not charge for inclusion
  • DMOZ has editors assigned to each category with some knowledge of that category
  • DMOZ has established guidelines against advertisement-like submissions
  • DMOZ has in place guidelines controlling the management of the directory
  • DMOZ is not controlled by a small group of editors. There are a number of industry specific directories that are controlled by small groups whose own self interest supercedes the industry it serves.
To me, these criteria closely parallel WP. DMOZ is not perfect by any means (we've already discussed this here AND in the past) and we should always be evaluating others, but right now it is the best available IMO. I highly recommend leaving the original wording as it was before these discussions were initiated. Any minor changes that make it better are always good, but trashing it, or opening it to other unnamed directories creates an entirely new set of problems as 2005 indicated. Calltech 14:40, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
To me, these criteria closely parallel WP. Not so. See DMOZ#Controversy_and_criticism ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:54, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
C'mon, you can't seriously be pretending Wikipedia doesn't as much controversy as Dmoz. That's silly. There are plenty of Wikipedia haters, not coincidentally often the same people. 2005 20:27, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
"Dozen of links" can be paired down citing WP:NOT#DIRECTORY" What is that supposed to mean?. Simple. Add {{linkfarm}} and ask editors to pair down the number of links as per WP:NOT#DIRECTORY. It works. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:57, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
You continue to offer no constructive suggestion. Once again, the ongoing issue is dozens of equally valuable links. Between two (or 100) EQUAL things, the only "paring" that can be done is random. And also your suggestion is for cantankerous edit wars for no useful purpose. It really seems that you need to give this more thought. Random changes and edit wars is not remotely a better choice than a Dmoz link. 2005 20:28, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Random edit wars need to be dealt with the dispute resolution process. And a guideline cannot set policy, rather it should explain it. The policy that this guideline is trying to explain is WP:NOT#DIRECTORY, and should not attempt to make allowances that contradict WP:V.≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:38, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
We know that. It doesn't. Let's focus on the topic please. 2005 01:41, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Amended proposal
  • When deemed appropriate, a link to a web directory listing can be added. If no good directory listing exists, or if the directory includes links that do not fit within the criteria specified in this guideline, do not link to such directory.

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:12, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

    • As stated above this continues to open the door to edit wars, inclusion of bad quality directories, and also adds a silly criteria, and which again offers trolls the ability to just be a nuisance. If a directory has 100 links on it, its totally silly not to link to it if 99 are great links and one is 404 or below average quality. 2005 20:27, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I personally would not mind wording that said something like when there are too many links of near equal value that a directory link should be used "with a preference for Dmoz." This would make it possible to link to some niche directory when the Dmoz category is bad, but also allows the "trump card" we need by making it clear that if all else fails, and there is a decent Dmoz category, that is the end of the war. I really can't imagine why there would be objections to that, unless a person just likes edit wars on major articles. 2005 20:34, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

No, sorry. This is a guideline. As a guideline, it does not set policy, rather, it should explain policy. If there are trolls and spammers that want to add 99 links to an external link section, slap a {{linkfarm}}, and tell them to go are read the policy of [[WP:NOT#DIRECTORY. That is all you need to do. And if there are many good links in these, move them all to talk and ask editors to use these as a source to expand or better the article's text. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:34, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, we all understand that is how you would prefer to deal with this problem, but the solution that is preferred by a majority of editors, including many active members of WikiProject Spam, is to use the {{Dmoz}} template instead. And since, despite your vague generalizations, that approach is not in direct conflict with any Wikipedia official policy, the wording here at WP:EL should, and did, reflect that preference. -- Satori Son 22:16, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
I see your point, but I would argue against an argument for inclusion based on "preference". For example, my preference is to do what I said. But I do not impose my preference by means of specific wording in a guideline. Let editors use their own good judgment when to keep a link, remove a link, or add a link to DMOZ, Yahoo directory, Alexa, or any other web directory. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:20, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
And a small request, please do not use the "we" form when you comment. Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:22, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
We know a guideline doesn't set policy. Again please don't go off on irrelevant asides not relevant to the discussion. And also please don't mix concepts nonsensically. We aren't talking about a troll adding 99 bad links. Bringing up nonsensical strawmen out of left fireld just wastes everybody's time. Please stay on the topic: what to do when there are far too many equally valuable possible external links; secondarily, given the widespread view that a directory link should be used in these circumstances, what sort of directory link should be used. 2005 20:27, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
You should start changing your tone of voice, 2005. I take exception with the way you are addressing my comments. If you cannot engage in a discussion on its merits, I will not respond to your comments. Enough. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:44, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we all assume a little more good faith here. There's no one editing on this page that doesn't want a good encyclopedia. We just have different ideas on some tactics and some of the value judgments at the peripheral of the main chore of developing good articles. Instead of lecturing each other (and I'm as guilty as anyone else with my last comment). Perhaps we should start trying to dig a little deeper into each others concerns so we can understand them and come up with a solution that addresses the real issues without leaving people who are doing good work feeling unsupported. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:55, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Once again, please stay on topic. If you don't want to engage in discussion, then don't, but no one will waste time responding to you then. If nothing else, don't clutter this page with off topic comments. I've invited you several times to respond to specifics, and you never do. Fine. We can just move on from this topic since clearly there is no consensus to make changes. 2005 06:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Links are only ever equal when the content and presentation is effectively identical - and then choosing randomly is as good a way to choose as any other. When there are lots of good links to add we should do the same as we do when there is lots of good content to add - use good editorial judgment. Prioritizing content is one of our major roles as editors and applies just as much to the external links section as to summarizing the lead. Pointing people to a directory of all and everything on a subject is not a substitue for actually providing them with a well considered list of a few good links (a service which can actually provide significant value to readers). I appreciate that the use of appropriate directories can also be useful, but I'm not a fan of using dmoz (or any directory) to fight actual spam. We should provide a link to an appropriate directory if the directory is pointing our readers to something valuable. If it's just pointing them to crap, I don't think we should include it. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:31, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Well said, Siobhan. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I apologize for the tone of the above remarks. To restate my concern above in a less preachy fashion - I think this guideline needs to be careful about not compromising editorial decision making on articles. I see the idea of saying "If there are lots of links that meet the criteria they're all as good as one another - just link to something that links to them all" (which is very crude paraphrasing) as abdicating our responsibility as editors. I believe sorting through the information and making these decisions so readers don't have to is one of the main differences between an encyclopedia and a portal. And I really cringe at the idea that of using directories as a way to fight off the addition of link cruft. This may be because my understanding of the tactic is wrong. I see us providing a link to dmoz so all the poor quality sites get added there and are two clicks away instead of one. And I guess I see that as an unpleasant thing to do to our readers.
On the other hand, I know when you're dealing with editors who are more use to adding to networking, fan and portal sites, it's much easier, faster, and ends up with fewer hurt feelings if there is a clear line to point to and an unambiguous standard. For those in favor of the "consider a link to a dmoz directory" wording, is this one of the main motivations? -- Siobhan Hansa 04:16, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Of course it is often the case links are effectively identical. Let's be realistic here. "We should provide a link to an appropriate directory if the directory is pointing our readers to something valuable. If it's just pointing them to crap, I don't think we should include it." Well that's the status quo. Again, be realistic. No one is saying a dmoz link should always be used, or a link to a crap category should be added. That is not an issue. I hate to keep saying this, but all this going off topic really doesn't do anything but waste time. "We should provide a link to an appropriate directory if the directory is pointing our readers to something valuable." Saying that is embracing the text that has been there. 2005 06:53, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I was trying to talk about two separate issues here. When we're talking about lots of good links I think we need to embrace our role as editors and make decisions about which ones are best. In such circumstances a directory may be one of the best links to provide. The if it's just pointing to crap issue was in response to the idea I've heard in this discussion that having a dmoz link helps fight spam. In that case I think we are effectively just trying to push spam to another source and linking to that. -- Siobhan Hansa 13:04, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Amended proposal
  • When deemed appropriate, a link to a web directory listing can be added to the external links section. Inclusion of such link should be evaluated on its merits and in the same manner as any other link, as per the criteria described in this guideline.

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:24, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Some wording from m:When should I link externally could also be used in this context. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:25, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
I would like dmoz to be mentioned by name, but am willing to compromise. Fighting spam is a secondary function of a directory link. First and foremost, it offers content that is not appropriate to include in the article itself. If a particular category on dmoz is found to be well edited and appropriate, then it is likely a good candidate for an external link. I am also confused as to why the pre-existing text has not remained in this guideline throughout this discussion. As of now, there has been no concensus to remove the wording from the article. Imagine someone over at WP:CSD beginning, removing A7 from article for discussion, this is not how things work around here. Leave it in until you have a new version or concensuss to remove.
My rewording, trimmed a bit: Web directories may be linked when appropriate as a resource beyond the encyclopedia's intended scope. Directories should be neutral and generally evaluated in the same manner as any other link. here 06:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Web directories should almost never be linked. Watering down the language is a terrible idea. if anything it should be strengthened to prevent directory links to be added. The most important concept is a directory link should never be included among external links if there are any more external links than official site ones. Dmoz should be called out specifically to prevent the inclusion of all the useless link lists out there. If no good Dmoz category exists, then a case could be made for another directory link on a talk page. A link to Dmoz or any other directory should almost always be the only external link on any article. Directories should be a very rare alternative, not a regular option. The language that has been there states that. If anything it should be even stronger. 2005 06:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
 : shrug :, I wouldn't say almost never. I imagine this will be an ongoing discussion through the life of wikipedia and the various compatible web directories. The quality of the link is what matters, and I also find dmoz the often-best-option when a directory is appropriate. here 08:39, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Linking to a linkfarm really isn't a good idea ever. DMOZ isn't any better then any other link farm and is often worst then most... just because it is run a little similar to wikipedia is no reason to give it preference, if anything we should suggest that editors look at a site like DMOZ to find individual sites to like to rather then spam... or even no external links at all, nothing wrong with that... also having a link to DMOZ isn't going to stop any of the spammers I've ever meet (threat of black listing works way better(warning 3 or 4)) --T-rex 08:44, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
It's sometimes quite clearly the best idea. Dmoz isn't given preference because it is similar to the Wikipedia. Again let's stay real here. Dmoz is by FAR the largest directory in existence. Some people don't like it because they think it is full of oligarchal nutjobs, but that isn't really relevant. In specific situations, sure sometimes there will be other directories better. But it is the most comprehensive directory out there, which has to be the starting point. A Dmoz link should only be used when a directory link is the best external link solution available, which will be rare, but it does occur. When there are dozens of good links available, choosing no external links at all is too anti-user to be a reasonable solution. A Dmoz link is far better for users. Saying editors should "consider" a category link to the largest directory in existence in problematic situations seems a few miles short of a bad thing. 2005 08:56, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't see being biggest as being a particularly useful guide here except that it is convenient because it is likely to have a category. But it says little about the quality of individual categories. I think the best directories for particular subjects are generally more likely to be found in practitioner communities than on a general directory service. By specifically recommending dmoz (or any other directory service) we automatically bias content. And we make it harder for editors to look at different possibilities and discuss them simply on their merits. This is where I believe the guidelines overstep into editorial decision making in a bad way. -- Siobhan Hansa 13:15, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
"I think the best directories for particular subjects are generally more likely to be found in practitioner communities than on a general directory service." - examples please. And "By specifically recommending dmoz ... we automatically bias content"?? You just provided another argument for DMOZ where virtually all other directories fall short. This should also be added to my list above:
  • DMOZ provides an unbiased computerized ranking of websites and the order in which they are displayed.
Practitioner community directories are probably the worst when it comes to bias and self interest. By nature, they are smaller, with fewer guidelines, and subject to the whim (and bias) of the hosting website and editors. Listings are often providing based on advertising (Featured Listing) or affiliation with the host. None of this is true with DMOZ.
Again, where are the New arguments that are deemed significant enough to overturn the existing language that was published after consensus reached last year?. Calltech 15:18, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Just read this and above sections... ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:24, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
There are several proposals on the table, and all I hear is an argument of "it was consensus". Why not to look at these proposals on their merit? The proposals does not disallow DMOZ, or any otehr web directory. Rather, it encourage editors to make good judgment when contemplating adding such a link, What is wrong about that? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:33, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Calltech - on the automatically biasing content issue, I'm not sure I understand your argument. You seem to think we aren't biased. But we are, and intentionally so. Our neutral point of view is explicitly biased in favor of significant opinions of experts in the field. Having something that lists everything written on a subject is not something that any of our policies aspire to. We should be favoring expertise. I'm also not clear on the "computerized ranking" comment. I didn't think dmoz worked that way, I thought it was up to the category editor.
I'm not suggesting we recommend community practitioner directories, I'm well aware there are plenty of terrible ones and I don't advocate for them. My pint is simply that we should not be trying to direct editors towards a particular directory or even a particular type of directory. We should be emphasizing the quality aspects that make a good link and leaving the decisions about particular links to article editors. -- Siobhan Hansa 20:06, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Another round, revised my wording...
  1. When deemed appropriate, a link to a web directory listing can be added to the external links section. Inclusion of such link should be evaluated on its merits and in the same manner as any other link, as per the criteria described in this guideline.
  2. Web directories may occasionally be appropriate and should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template.
here 17:54, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems clear that there is no consensus on any of the proposals. I support the idea of having some sort of boilerplate language that helps with spam control, but I simply am not convinced that DMOZ is superior to any of the alternative directory sources. Alexa, an independent rating service, gives DMOZ only a midrange rating for quality. See: [14]. The directory provided by Alexa is more likely to be meaningful than that of DMOZ because it uses an algorithm that includes traffic statistics and inbound links as part of the evaluation method. That said, I think that the language given above is moving in the right direction by saying that "a web directory" may be appropriate, but that other factors need to be considered as well. Are there any other web directories that have templates like the dmoz template? Buddhipriya 18:16, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Alexa just uses Dmoz and then fiddles with it in a mostly obtuse way, so that is no solution. 2005 21:58, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Hopefully a compromise proposal

Web directory links should be used only occasionally. They should only be used an an alternative, not a normal choice. That is why the current wording is superior to what has been suggested. Opening the doors to a directory link for any article is not a step forward. To try and address some concernes I'd simplify the current wording: On articles where many meritable external links exist, rather than creating a long list of links, editors should instead consider linking to a related category in the Open Directory Project (also known as DMOZ) if that category is comprehensive. If a topical directory exists that editors believe is superior to the Dmoz category, they should discuss using that directory instead on an articles talk page. No promotion of Dmoz other than as the largest directory it should be the starting point. Better directories would have the option of being included instead if a consensus supports it. And, to me, most importantly, a single directory link is not normally encouraged, but offered as a rare option. instead is a key concept. 2005 21:58, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

This seems to introduce the concept that where there are lots of links that could be added editors should not be choosing between them. I really believe that one of our major role as editors is about prioritizing information for readers. I don't see how a link to a directory instead of an editor vetted list is a good thing for us to be doing at all. -- Siobhan Hansa 22:45, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Please be specific in what you want to see happen when editors can not agree on a list of under ten (or choose your number) external links? This isn't about something besides choosing. Let's try and stay focused on the issue. So far the only option you seem to support is edit wars or (even worse) mediation and bad will. We are talking about situations where "choosing" has not worked or is extraordinarily arbitrary. You can't seem to get past the idea that sometimes sincere people have sincere disagreements where everybody is basically equally right. This "let's have edit wars" idea is a no starter. the current wording is obviously superior to that. 2005 23:09, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Hey come on now, your crack about staying focused on the issue is unfair. I've been saying all along that this is about us doing our job as editors - about us making good choices, and about having guidelines that support that rather than having guidelines that restrict editors in doing that well. The external links section is a content issue. When editors can't agree they should follow the dispute resolution process (messy, drawn out and occasionally nasty as it is) as they do for any other content issue. There is nothing in our policies that support us preempting that process with a "if you can't agree, give up and link to this". I also think this uses edge cases as the basis for a guideline that should be useful for all articles. It's a very low percentage of our articles where regular editors can't come to a compromise if they discuss the issue. -- Siobhan Hansa 23:45, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Well then your suggestion is to insert a section about dispute resolution. Frankly I consider that terribly wrongheaded since this is not a "dispute" issue. The "dispute" is not the point, and leads to lawyering with the fanatics getting their way most of the time. You should reexamine this statement: "It's a very low percentage of our articles where regular editors can't come to a compromise if they discuss the issue." That's because in most cases now a Dmoz link is used! I'd suggest taking a look at the bigger picture. 2005 23:58, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
No, that is not the suggestion. You may have missed the point. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:04, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
As Jossi says, that's not my suggestion at all. I believe we should not be recommending a particular site in our guidelines. My suggestion is simply that we do not include a sentence that implies any individual directory is preferred. The vast majority of our articles do not have a dmoz link so your implication that we would have a high percentage of disputes if we didn't have a guideline recommending it is hyperbole. In my experience of cleaning up external links sections I can't recall having had to go to dispute resolution over any of them, whether or not a dmoz link ended up being included. If there were actual discussions about what might be a good selection of a few external links that were cut short (or not attempted) by someone pointing to this guideline and a replacing well chosen links with a link to dmoz, I think that's a disservice to our readers. The "big picture" is far more than the relatively small number of articles where there are actual disputes. Our guidelines need to help guide all our editors make good decisions, not simply be about providing strong statements to stop opposition. -- Siobhan Hansa 00:52, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
If you are backing off your suggestion now there isnt anything to talk about. Arguing against clear guidelines to help editors without offering any alternative isn't constructive. On the other hand, if you are now (finally) stating that the passage is fine just without Dmoz, well, that renders your comments puzzling, but fine. That is a much more minor point. As for hyperbole, your sentence doesn't make since. You are the only one who advocated dispute resolution instead of a directory link. It's obvious that a dmoz link has helped end edit wars on many articles. I hope you aren't disputing that. 2005 09:37, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Could you point me to a diff where I made a suggestion that I'm now backing off of? I'm not sure you've been reading my comments properly. I only ever said that dispute resolution is Wikipedia's process for content disputes and we shouldn't presume to change that. I've never suggested we need to incorprorate it into the guideline - we don't do it for any other section that might result in differences of opinion, why would I, or anyone else think we need it here? Why you find my comments puzzling when this entire discussion is about whether we should be explicitly recommending dmoz I'm unclear on. As to it being "obvious that a dmoz link has helped end edit wars on many articles." again, I don't think you are understanding my comments. In the big picture, a few thousand articles (which is how many dmoz links we have - not how many have ended edit wars) is not that significant in the million plus articles we have. In the cases where a dmoz link has been added (whether part of an edit war or not) when using dispute resolution instead would have resulted in a better selection of a few good links then I think the result is a poor one. If your desire to have dmoz in here is so that you can shut these sorts of situations down quickly without having to justify the benefit of the link to regular editors of an article (as they would apparently have to do for any alternative), I think you're misusing the guideline. -- Siobhan Hansa 11:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
"...is not that significant in the million plus articles we have..." The case for it is clear from both the perspective of this guideline and from the perspective of the spam project. If it isn't significant to you, then why are you not letting it go? As for rolling back to the old invitation to freely add directory links, that is different than merely saying we should not highlight dmoz. That should be another discussion. The current text clearly calls out a Dmoz link in ONE scenario, "rather than creating a long list of external links..." 2005 00:33, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

(resetting indent)Why I don't "let it go" is because I believe our guideline should be appropriate for the majority of our articles rather than the minority. Using hardcases to build guidelines is generally a bad idea and I think that's the case here. I do a lot of work on spam fighting. I know it's easier to point to a guideline or policy. But when the guideline is a poor one for good editors, and when it is a sop to spammers (we don't want your link but put it in this other site and we'll just link through to it) I'm very much against it. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I would accept a small modification to the suggested wording by [[[user:here]]:

  • Web directories may occasionally be appropriate and should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link, as per the criteria described in this guideline. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template.

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:07, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Personally changing the guideline to encourage directories makes no sense to me, but doing it without presuming Dmoz first is silly, unless an editor's purpose here is to engage in arguments. By their nature, directories are often almost exactly identical. Leaving the door open for people to spam their clone directories of dmoz is just a bad idea. 2005 09:37, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
The most important part of the existing wording is... Rather than creating a long list of external links,. Without that phrase, someone needs to advance an argument why we should have some random directory link in every article. I'm afraid I can't imagine why this rather sudden urge to allow random directory links in every article. 2005 09:41, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Our guideline already suggests limiting the number of external links. "A few" right at the top. A directory can be one of them. There is no "sudden urge to allow random directory links". There has been a line in the guidelines suggesting a directory might be appropriate since July 2005. Suggesting we should have a directory instead of a few well selected links is new however. -- Siobhan Hansa 11:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
It's six months old. You are suggesting to going back to the invitation to spam one directory link per article. The rewrite addressed that very poor idea, and stated when a directory link was appropriate, specifically "rather than" a long list of links. If you want to change that, please make a case for why a directory link should be allowed on every article. I certainly don't see a need to increase spam and edit wars for no concrete gain. 2005 00:33, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
A directory link should be allowed on any article where it is one of the best external links available for the subject and it provides encyclopedic value to readers of the article. Just like any other link. Because we should not write guidelines that arbitrarily limit editors or bias their decisions. I'd never seen the previous guideline as an invitation to spam, and I'd never seen directories as a particular problem on the articles I edited. But if that's the issue, how about we take out all mention of directories? They can be evaluated just like any other link. That addresses my concerns at least as well as well as taking out a recommendation of dmoz. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
The suggestion of having a directory instead of other external links was made by you yesterday (bottom of your two comments here) and is different from the guidelines' "rather than creating a long list of links" since an alternative to a long list of links includes a short list with one link being a directory. Perhaps the intention was ifferent, but the phrase does not provide a strengthing of our guidelines. In fact the one above can be considered to weaken them since "rather than creating a long list of links, editors should instead consider linking to" suggests that creating a long list of links is a viable alternative if editors reject the idea of a guideline. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Stating that directory links should follow the rest of the criteria feels to me enough to address 2005's concerns. I do not believe the above wording encourages linking a directory, nor validates such a link without reservation. In general, almost all external links should be discouraged, which should be clear throughout this guideline. here 02:47, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Directories never meet the criteria of the guideline so that's a non-starter. They never meet "What should be linked" points three or four. They are just link lists (directories that also have articles or whatever could be linked to but not necause they are link list but because the article would meet points 3 or 4.) If there are not too many links, a directory should be culled for useful links, not linked to. If there are too many links, a directory link should be considered. Again, why is there now this desire to link to ransom directories? What wording is being advocated to be added to "What should be linked"? What logic is there to have external links, and an external link to external links? (LOL) Sorry but dramatically weakening the guideline without any reasoning behind it is an odd idea at best. 2005 03:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • 3) 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.
  • 4) Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews.
Directories meet both just fine. 3) excessive amount of detail. 4) review of links, meaningful relevant content ; If the directory resource does not meet 3 and 4, it should not be linked. I guess I wasn't around at the start of all this, but we seem to be close to recreating the language I see now under, Links to be considered: A web directory category, when deemed appropriate by those contributing to the article, with preference to open directories. (open directory link added) I like seeing the {{dmoz}} template link as well, but don't feel strongly. here 04:22, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
If you are going to take the position that a list of other resources is "excessive detail", fine, but that just seems silly. Directories have no content of their own. Bending over backwards to have them fit criteria clearly not intended for them again begs the question, why do you want to link to link lists when a long list of links is not involved? Articles should have meritable links themselves. There is no good reason to include a link list rather than the meritable links themselves, unless there are way too many. 2005 07:22, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I think we see directories on Wikipedia from very different perspectives. I tend to think that directories that may be appropriate for an article tend to fall broadly into one of two different types - 1) Lists to, normally "official", pages for relevant, specific but distinct entities (say association chapters, or laws on the subject) and 2) resource directories where the consensus of editors is that it enjoys a high reputation with practitioners or experts in the field, and it is suitable for the general readership of the article. In the first case we can provide a jumping off point to a wide range of similar sites where the readers' preferred destination might depend on something specific to them (their location for instance), but if the directory didn't exist, we wouldn't reproduce that list on Wikipedia. In the second case the site's reputation is part of what makes it a good link (with the expectation that it's link management provides value) and it provides a focused service while allowing for a broader set of links than Wikipedia can provide. And again, if it didn't exist, we wouldn't be trying to recreate it.
If I read your comments correctly, you seem to see directories as places that build up links because we link to them. That is, whatever their state when we link to them, part of what hapens is that anyone who would have added a link to the article adds it to the directory instead. Is that correct? And if so, is that because you think it's a desireable thing to be building up those directories from Wikipedia contributors (albeit not on Wikipedia)? Or are you simply looking for a quick way to push the long lists of links off Wikipedia and this happens to work? Or something else? -- Siobhan Hansa 02:54, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you are talking about. Something like an official list of chapters has nothing to do with a directory, and is covered by the offical sites part of the guideline. Aside from that, a directory lists links to websites. There is no reason to ever link to something like that, unless an article has too many meritable external links. Again, what possible reason (except space) would we link to a list of links instead of the linked-to sites themselves? 2005 05:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

(resetting indent) I think there are plenty of circumstances where the official site section doesn't fit but a link to a listings directory could be useful, still I don't think that's an area that's holding us up on this. I think I am beginning to understand the difference in our views of this a bit better. I don't agree the only reason for not including a long list of links is simply space (though we don't want an article with more links than text either). We shouldn't include a long list because we shouldn't be sending our readers off on an unfocused journey. It is the job of editors to review, prioritize and present information so that readers don't have to and this applies to external links as much as it does to the rest of the article. If there are 100 meritable links a portal or directory might present them all, but an encyclopedia should choose the best selection it can that won't overwhelm the reader. I've always seen this as one of the essential value adds that we provide as an encyclopedia. Do others not share this view? -- Siobhan Hansa 13:26, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

It was not easy, but I am glad that we have managed to find common ground and fnd a fornmulation that addressed all involved editros' concerns. Thank you all for your patience, and special thanks to Siobhan for finding a version that worked. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:04, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Random section break

When there are 100 meritable links, it is not our job nor decision to narrow that to an acceptable few. If we choose a handful of equal links out of a hundred, we are doing a disservice to the reader and those websites not chosen. A single link to DMOZ keeps WP clean, gives the viewer a list of websites and topics that HE or SHE may want to view, and allows the websites the means to be reviewed, included and displayed. Everyone wins, its democratic and fair, and the user gets choices. This is NOT a common occurence, but happens enough that a guideline was developed last year to advise editors. Editors can always arrive at a consensus to do something different, but when there is dissent, using the guideline is the fallback and provides the basis for a potential dispute resolution. Identifying DMOZ was the best directory at that time and is still now, unless someone can show a better directory, IMHO. Calltech 18:35, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Well stated. The guideline spells out what should commonly occur, then it also spells out an advisory for what is a good idea in rare/difficult situations. Edit wars to turn 100 links into 9 is a lot of things, but it is hopelessly unrealistic as a solution. A directory link makes sense in some cases. A directory link does not make sense in the vast majority of cases. Mentioning the by far most comprehensive directory also makes sense, although that wording could possibly be tweaked to make the point better. 2005 22:58, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
If "A directory link does not make sense in the vast majority of cases", then we do not need the text in this guideline. There is no need to spell exceptions in guidelines, rather, we describe common uses that explain policy, not exceptions that may be in violation of policy. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:04, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
There will be 100+ meritable links for virtually every mainstream subject. Such a guideline would indicate that almost all our featured articles ought to have just a dmoz link and no others. This isn't the way Wikipedia works now, and there are no policies which would support that interpretation for our guidelines. And please stop implying anyone is suggesting edit warring is a way to deal with 100 meritable links (or spam come to that). No one has suggested edit warring. It's expressly forbidden by our policies (not to mention common sense). What has been suggested (at least by me) is that external links are a content decision that should be considered like any other content decision, by discussion and consensus building. Edit warring isn't an acceptable way to deal with any content dispute - external links included. -- Siobhan Hansa 21:34, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I prefer the first of Here's suggestions. But two is OK and Jossi's just change above doesn't alter it's meaning to me. -- Siobhan Hansa 11:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Just to test for what we mean by "directory", would About.com pages be considered directories? Now and then I see them on article pages and while I personally dislike about.com because of its aggressive advertising and popup ads, other editors have challenged me when I have tried to remove it. So what exactly is a directory? Buddhipriya 07:59, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Another Proposal
Links to web directories are generally not recommended. However, as an alternative to adding a long list of external links that meet guidelines, a link to a directory, preferably an open source, is acceptable. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template. - Calltech 14:56, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Caltech, that is exactly what prompted the challenge to the wording. A long list of ELs need to be dealt by asking involved editors to pair down the list to a few links based on WP:NOT#LINK, use the material on these links as sources for the article, and applying editors; best judgment to these endeavors. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:25, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, I believe the specific reference to and recommendation of DMOZ in the guidelines was what prompted this discussion and subsequently the use of directories as external links. If you look at the first part of this discussions weeks ago, you'll see what I mean. I used your suggested wording of the use of DMOZ in the above proposal, but with a reversal of the slant regarding the use of links to directories in general. Further, there is nothing in this wording that prevents editors from paring a long list on their own. Calltech 15:57, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Very good. It addresses the points raised, and includes the previous consensus concept. I replaced the section added recently without consensus. We could go back to the consensus text, but this does address the concerns raised. 2005 21:41, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
No, it does not. See WP:CCC to learn that there is no longer consensus when there are substantial arguments as presented challenging a previous consensus. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:02, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Read what you referenced. It doesn't say you can add text you want because you don't like other text, which you then remove. If no consensus on new text can be achieved, then EITHER the old text stays or the old text is removed. Adding completely different text that plainly has no consensus is ridiculous. 2005 01:01, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I really believe that saying, Web directories may occasionally be appropriate and should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link, as per the criteria described in this guideline. addresses 2005's and Calltech's concerns. Again, almost no link are generally recommended -- directories included. Further the alternative to a long list of links implies that dmoz would replace the list, also inappropriate. A few key links plus a dmoz category is fine, in my opinion, but should not be championed as recommended. here 22:23, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
We aren't going to have silly text in the guideline that says "sites of one kind should be evaluated like other sites." Duh, so let's move off that tangent please. Mindender's current edit addresses the issues. 2005 00:57, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
" Sayig "Duh" and saying "ridiculous" is not a useful way to present your arguments. There is no longer consensus on your favorite version, and we are trying to reach a compromise given the numerous comments on this page for such need. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:49, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, the top of the guideline says Before making any major changes to these guidelines, please use the discussion page to ensure that your changes reflect consensus. Please abide by that. The text is now at the last version that had a consensus. if you say a consensus no longer exists, add that it is disputed, but do not make changes to this guideline that you know very well do not reflect consensus. Please follow the instruction at the top of the guideline and behave in a resonsible manner. 2005 22:05, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
The wording by user:here addresses the fact that DMOZ is suitable for inclusion. Let's not add directives to a guideline. Guidelines are there to explain policies, not to tell editors how to fight spam. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:52, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your objection to using a directory as an alternative to a bunch of links, what is it? --Minderbinder 18:18, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
At this point there seems to be no objection other than apparent stubborn obstructionism. I've returned the text to the last stable version before this unfortunate incident began. 2005 22:05, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't think Mindbinder's wording is great, but I don't think it's terrible either. I would prefer something that was clearer that long lists aren't acceptable (instead of this simply being an alternative) and that this is for cases where consensus building has failed. I appreciate the usefulness of having explicit steps in the guidelines for articles where editors are simply looking for any excuse to include links. -- Siobhan Hansa 00:00, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
A web directory may occasionally be appropriate and should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link. Since long link lists should be avoided, in cases where many external links meet the guideline one option for editors to consider would be to make use of a well-chosen link to a directory. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template. 2005 00:46, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, but no. After all the discussions and concerns raised, you cannot just go back to the disputed version. I have restored the last compromise version. And I would also appreciate if you stop describing other editors efforts as "obstructionism", unless you want other to describe yours as "trolling". Let's continue in looking for a compromise version that we can call consensus. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:33, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry but yes. After all the discussions you simply can not make these changes without getting a consensus. At this point your actions have moved beyond raw arrogance to bordering on vandalism. DO NOT CHANGE THIS GUIDELINE WITHOUT GAINING A CONSENSUS. Stop acting like you can just bully things to be your way. Others of us have been working on achieving consensus wording while you simply change and move and alter things however you please, despite having exactly no one supporting your position now. The guideline is being changed back, again, to the version that had been in place for SIX MONTHS. Please contribute to the discussion to change the wording, but not change this guideline without a clear consensus to do so. 2005 03:23, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
That could work too, it avoides the "alternative" wording, but implies that every article for which there are lots of links ought to have a directory. I also wonder if it really provide the sort of clear wording you need when working with entrenched link-adders? Could we consider leaving off A web directory may occasionally be appropriate and should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link, since this effectively says evaluate links in accordance with this guideline, site this under "Important points to remember": Long lists of links are not appropriate. Where editors have not reached consensus on a small list of links, a link to a well chosen web directory should be used until consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template. -- Siobhan Hansa 01:28, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Your text sounds fine to me. 2005 03:29, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Siobhan. I think we are pretty close. I would be happy with this tweak to your proposal: ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:51, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Long lists of links are not appropriate, Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links. If you find a long list of links in an article, you can tag the EL section with the {{linkfarm}} template. Where editors have not reached consensus on a small list of links, a link to a well chosen web directory could be used until consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template.

Hey, that looks pretty good. Nice tossing in of the WP:NOT#LINK to stress policy. What is the definition of "a small list of links?" (Requestion 07:52, 5 May 2007 (UTC))
I don't think we can define a "small list", it's going to be different for different articles. If we put in a number large enough for our bigger, mainstream articles it could easily be seen as a traget for articles that only have a couple of lines of content. If we make it small enough that even our stubs wouldn't be overwhelmed it will look ridiculous because our feature articles often have quite significant lists - but it's a small number for the article. -- Siobhan Hansa 12:37, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting the addition of hard number. In this case it is probably best to be vague. I was just curious what others thought since someone in the future is bound to question it. To me a "small list" is less than 10 external links. (Requestion 20:02, 5 May 2007 (UTC))
I think those tweaks are a good improvement. -- Siobhan Hansa 12:19, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I asked this earlier but no one replied, perhaps the question was not seen. Just to test for what we mean by "directory", would About.com pages be considered directories? Now and then I see them on article pages and while I personally dislike about.com because of its aggressive advertising and popup ads, other editors have challenged me when I have tried to remove it. So what exactly is a directory? Buddhipriya 00:38, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't consider about.com to be a directory. I think of directories as pages that list related entities of some sort and provide contact information for them (for most of the directories we're likely to use this is normally a URL). Those "entities" could be organizations, but are most likely to be informational websites about a subject. -- Siobhan Hansa 01:28, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't think many people would describe About.com as a web directory. The article here doesn't, and I can't remember ever seeing it on the List of web directories. The site has some good content, but it may also have an objectionable amount of advertising.
I also think "should be evaluated in the same manner as any other link" is needlessly wordy. Every external link needs to be evaluated, so the addition is essentially meaningless. I prefer the existing "a web directory category, when deemed appropriate by those contributing to the article" wording. Including the word category is important, because it indicates that contributors should add subpages of quality directories, and not the front pages of unknown vertical directories - EurekaLott 01:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Adding news articles to external links

User:EnviroGranny added some news articles (from yahoo, fox news, etc) to several wikipedia articles , without actually adding any text new to the article. I don't think we should be doing this. It just leads to a long list of external links. Instead, they should be added to the talk page or not added at all, if it doesn't tell the reader anything new. If they are used as references, it should be placed inline with the text. I don't know what the guideline says of this. Any comments? Pizzachicken 17:59, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

You got it right: If these are possible sources for an article, add them as sources. I would suggest you move these links to talk, and invite editors to evaluate them and augment the article's content based on these sources. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
... Pizzachicken 18:12, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Reliable sources often fall under the guideline of what we should be linking to. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:39, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I think news article links are certainly by their nature going to be better types of links than most links put on articles, so barring some other unstated reason (too many links already?) I can;t for the life of me see why you wouldn;t want them there. If they are falsely listed as sources and have not been used as sources, then don;t have them in a Sources section, but don;t removed news article links from External links just because they are news articles. That sounds backwards to me. DreamGuy 21:09, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

That certainly does sound backwards to DreamGuy. Check his edit history. He regularly deletes large, informative, encyclopedic websites in favor of new articles that have little or no information found in the article and are often only a few paragraphs long. He's on a mission to clean out large numbers of external links that aren't news articles or professor home pages. Mermaid from the Baltic Sea 00:25, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
No, actually, I regularly delete large, websites that are UNRELIABLE, UNSOURCED, and often SHEER SPAM. The fact you continue to dispute these changes whereever they happen shows you don't understand the entire concept of the external links policy. If there are large sites that have actual RELIABLE and sources information, they certainly can stay whether they are news articles or sites by professors or whatever. But an encyclopedia simply cannot refer readers off to pages thrown together by people with no credentials or demonstrated knowledge whatsoever. It's completely irresponsible. DreamGuy 01:11, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Cheaters Detective Agency

References to information that doesn't exist on external links pages are being made up by Woxd. Please see Private investigator. Is this the appropriate section to make that complaint? Can the Private investigator and Cheaters Detective Agency pages be locked from editing please? I don't know how to approach this and this person is destroying my first works on Wikipedia. Alibond 00:04, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Diffs please? ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 16:44, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Alibond has had similar confrontations with others on Cheaters when someone has attempted to contribute unbiased information, and he once posted a request for others to help him attack me. If you have time, please review the discussions on the articles mentioned and Alibond's contributions on Wikipedia. Under these circumstances it is impossible for anyone to contribute meaningful unbiased information to Cheaters Detective Agency and Cheaters.
The information Alibond is referring to was pulled by me off of the website owned by Cheaters Detective Agency. It was changed on the company's website soon after Alibond first commented on it.
I changed it from this: Revision as of 00:08, 17 April 2007 Cheaters Detective Agency is a group of private investigators featured on, and licensed by the Cheaters television show.[1]
To this: Revision as of 12:11, 24 April 2007 Cheaters Detective Agency is a group of private investigators featured on, and licensed by the Cheaters television show.[1]. The company is no longer actively accepting new assignments. Instead they are focused on providing business and marketing support to independently licensed agencies. [2] My reference was the firm's website: http://www.cdacase.com/cda/License%20Interest%20page.html
This is how my reference read on the Cheaters' web site when I retrieved it:
Yes, Cheaters Detective Agency is Licensed, and in good standing, as a Private Investigative company in the State of CA under the CA Dept of Consumer affairs license# 2532. Although we maintain an active investigative license we are not actively accepting new work at this time, Instead we are completely focused on providing advertising, marketing, and investigative business support to licensed investigative agencies who choose to join the expanding Cheaters national brand, as independently licensed and operated offices.
This is the same paragraph on the Cheaters' web site today:
Yes, Cheaters Detective Agency is Licensed, and in good standing, as a Private Investigative company in the State of CA under the CA Dept of Consumer affairs license# 25322. Although we maintain an active investigative license, generally cases are directed to our nearest licensed office. We act as the headquarters office and also conducts most of the advertising, marketing, and investigative business support to many licensed investigative agencies who have chose to join the expanding Cheaters national brand, as independently licensed and operated offices.
Google's cache still contains the text as I first found it: http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ZM6mbWvAtlwJ:www.cdacase.com/cda/License%2520Interest%2520page.html+Yes,+Cheaters+Detective+Agency+is+Licensed&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us
I referred to the same page when deleting a link to Cheaters Detective Agency on Private Investigator and I explained why in the discussion forum for that article (in the section "Cheaters Detective Agency"). I also deleted an 800 number and a link to a Cheaters business opportunity that Alibond had placed on Cheaters Detective Agency, I explained why in detail on the discussion forum for Cheaters Detective Agency. Woxd 02:44, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Ratemyteachers.com & Studentsreview.com

I have been removing links to Ratemyteachers.com from school articles on the basis of criteria 2 and 11 in WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided: "Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research." and "Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority."

A couple of times other editors have replaced the links, claiming that RMT.com is appropriate. I just don't agree with that and I wonder if I'm behind the times. I can't find any Wikipedia policy or guideline about it besides the two that I've cited above. Has this been discussed anywhere? Why do people think that it's more acceptable to link to than a blog? ... discospinster talk 20:50, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Seems like a well founded decision to me. There is no reason to link this site from school articles. Carry on ;). here 23:50, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
A similar site, www.studentsreview.com, should alo be removed when found. -Will Beback · · 00:09, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree. Here are the links: Ratemyteachers.com and Studentsrreview.com. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:32, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I have cleaned up a few. Seems that one editor added exactly the same OR sentence with a link to ratemyteacher.com. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:39, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I tend to disagree with this 'policy'. Criteria 2 doesn't seem to be met as I don't feel they fall in to the 'factually inaccurate or misleading' or 'unverifiable' category. How do you determine the collective information provided by these review sites is any more accurate or any less misleading than any information provided by the schools themselves? Same with US News & World Report and other review sources. These links can provide useful information about schools, both positive and not-so-glowing. They also are independent of the school, so not controlled by the school. Criteria 11 doesn't seem to fit, either. These aren't blogs, they're collective reviews and/or ratings. Would we also ban links to Consumer Reports because of their reviews? How about any reference to book, movie, music, or other reviews? In the case of some schools, there is little meaningful and useful information released by the school aside from the occasional self-promoting press release, so sites and sources such as these, USNews, etc. provide a useful service. averagejoe 14:59, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd agree with removing these. They aren't really a source of information, just a site where people can log on and make whatever comments they want, true or not. I don't see how these sites are any more relevant than linking to a forum or collection of blog responses. This isn't comparable to consumer reports or other published reviews, since in those cases we have an author/publication of the reviews - in this case it's just a collection of anonymous posts. --Minderbinder 15:20, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Reputable publications have their imprimatur, while a collection of user generated content without an editorial process does not. We cannot attribute these reviews to these websites, as these websites are not responsible for user generated content. We can also not attribute the material to individual reviewers as these are anonymous. Thus, deleting these links is appropriate as per WP:V and this guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:29, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:V is about inclusion in WP and is irrelevant here.
--Jeff 23:50, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Also, note our policy of WP:NOT. The criteria for inclusion in WP is not "to provide a useful service", but to provide material that is verifiable and published in reliable sources. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:31, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
These are usefull sites for sure, but they arn't quite the things that wikipedia's school articles should be linking to either... --T-rex 08:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Surely this is a guideline. As such, any local consensus of editors can override it, and people on link cleaning missions should respect that consensus, except where this guidline is a reflection of policy. I don't think this guideline gives editors authority to remove links favoured by a local consensus, no matter how neat and tidy it may be to remove all links of a given class, or to a given contentious site. Or am I wrong? Notinasnaid 09:42, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

But what do you mean by "local consensus"? ... discospinster talk 12:10, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Is it not the case that each article is effectively governed by the editors who choose to edit it and participate in discussions on its talk page, and that this is where a (local) consensus is formed; furthermore that this is the only consensus that counts (subject to policy)? Notinasnaid 15:53, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Local consensus is just another way of saying people ignoring what should be done by vote stacking. Local consensus is nonsense. Consensus should always be based upon the overall consensus of the encyclopedia, when known. On issues that have not been brought up elsewhere, going with a local consensus may work for lack of anything better to do, but when a broader consensus and guideline and policy comes about, that always is what people need to follow. DreamGuy 21:07, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

These kinds of websites certainly do not ate mentioning in any article unless the existence or content of a page on one of them somehow because newsworthy related to the topic. For example, if some teacher sues some site about such a page, or gets fired because of it. Otherwise it's just pure unencyclopedic nonsense, and likely to be spam as well. DreamGuy 21:02, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

"Local consensus" means that people who have staying power in editing an article and who care enough to comment on the article's talk page probably have a better idea of which external links are most appropriate on a subject than does a drive-by editor on a mission to clean out all links that don't meet his personal interpretation of WP:EL. External links are NOT sources and should not always be held up to the same standards as sources unless they are also used in that way (in which case, they should probably be deleted from the external links section to avoid duplication). Otherwise, we end up with great, informative and large websites deleted in favor of short, uninformative websites that happen to be BBC News articles or the rantings of some professor. People who regularly edit an article and are informed about a topic should have some idea as to whether an external link is a useful resource, unreliable bunk, or spam. Mermaid from the Baltic Sea 00:21, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
No, local consensus means a small handful of people whoi think they WP:OWN an article regularly ignore policy. And you're the prime example of this. And your wikistalking me everywhere is getting really annoying. DreamGuy 01:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, let's run with this a bit. Suppose you or I remove an external link from an article, citing this guideline. It is consistently reverted by one of many of the regular editors of the article, who simply state "no consensus for change". Attempts to raise it on the talk page come to the same conclusion. What would your next move be? Is there some grounds for warning each and every one of the editors, and if so, what is the warning? Or is there somewhere we can recruit an angry mob to change the balance of consensus in the article? Notinasnaid 07:28, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Talking about this in an abstract way, rather than in relation to a specific case, you might start by considering whether the consensus of the regular editors is appropriate and that this guideline should be over-ruled in that instance. There are no warnings for people acting in good faith who disagree with your opinion on what's appropriate. If you still think it's an unreasonable link, to the extent you're not comfortable with it staying, you can ask for a request for comment, or post on an appropriate WikiProject or some other neutral place to get input. Of course it doesn't mean the new editors will support you over the regular editors. -- Siobhan Hansa 23:42, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

City/State listings

I would like clarification on whether or not information links like Starting a Business, Small Business Community, Small business Administration, Office of the Secretary of State etc are valid links. for example:

Business

I would have thought no one would think not. But I was mistaken. Is this valid content? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kiamori (talkcontribs) 23:16, 1 May 2007 (UTC).

I checked your contribution history, and you appear to have added the same set of links to the articles on about 20 different towns in Minnesota. The above four links seem to have the common theme of 'starting a small business in Minnesota.' Since they have a how-to aspect, I would argue they don't belong anywhere, per WP:NOT. If they go anywhere, I argue it should be only in the Economy of Minnesota article. Links to four articles on how to start a business don't help anyone interested in Rochester, MN learn more about Rochester. So they don't have encyclopedic value. EdJohnston 23:49, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

That makes sense, I've submitted them to economy of Minnesota Thanks Kiamori

Thanks for your response. I respectfully suggest that you remove these links from the individual towns. And would it be possible for you to put something on your user page, at User:Kiamori? Since this page is blank, this makes your signature show up as a red link, which sometimes suggests inexperience. EdJohnston 19:39, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Proposal on BAN of links to Political Party websites

IO thought this up while thinking up a response on the talk page of Saskatchewan New Democratic Party. I'll make this quick and to the point: I propose a ban on all external links to political party sites, their affiliates/non-profits/caucuses/ect (with one exception, the parties article should have a link to a home page because that is relevant) . The reasons for include that parties (esp. opposition) are very likely to publish things against other parties, possibly fugging the details in the process. All in all, they are not ever a source of NPOV, and a link to a news site is better in every case. Anyone? Comments? -Royalguard11(Talk·Review Me!) 23:23, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

In general, this is a bad idea as a policy. Why should be intuitively obvious. Αργυριου (talk) 23:30, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Links to outside sources do not have to be NPOV, the POV of the site just has to be apparent to anyone going there, which it definitely would be in these cases. A political party website is pro-their own party, obviously. Banning the very sites most directly representing the view of the topic of the article is a horrible, horrible idea. What's next, removing all the company home pages from articles about those companies because they are pro-themselves? IT's completely unworkable and not at all what the External links policy is about. DreamGuy 01:16, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I mean when parties publish articles on their website who's only purpose is to attack the other parties, then someone will go and put it in the article and reference it (and people should know that referencing to a basic propaganda site can't pass RS). Do we need to put every rumour that the Democrats post on their site about the Republicans on Republicans? No, of course not! We already follow this (for the most part) by not doing this. We might just want to formalize it so that newbies can understand right away that they can't (instead of politely asking them 20 times not to link to the site, followed by a block for linkspam).
And of course you link the party from the article (if you actually read my post and not just the title you'd see that). I have not proposed removing all links, just the ones not relevant to topics (like on Republicans saying "the Democrats say this and this about the Republicans). Now please go re-read this several times so that I don't have to repeat myself later and you accuse me of asking to ban external links from relevant articles. -Royalguard11(Talk·Review Me!) 03:57, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like you are arguing not about removing links from External links but from not allowing biased sources as citations for claims of fact. Of course biased references should not be treated as factual, but they can be used to cite proof that someone has made a claim. Reporting that people make biased claims is not being biased yourself, it's just reporting the facts. Now of course some claims are minor enough that including them at all is "undie weight" per NPOV policy, but that has to be hashed out at the article level. Banning all political sites just is completely unworkable. DreamGuy 19:14, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Official websites

Is there absolutely no exception to the inclusion of official websites. I know EL guidelines state, "Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any." (emphasis added), but is "should" all-inclusive regardless of what the official website has to offer. Either way, it would be nice if the guidelines were modified to clarify the issue.

The reason I am asking is that I recently found myself caught up in a dispute regarding an official website. Basically, I didn't believe a website that offers very little about a person other than promoting his/her products/services should be added to that person's biographical article.

Similarly, I don't believe the Microsoft official website should be on Bill Gates's article, otherwise one could argue that the Microsoft website should be added to every article related to Microsoft, and doing so would add unnecessary redundancy — almost to point of giving a *spammy* feeling to wikipedia, which I know is not the intent.

Anyhow, I am not trying to carry on the previous dispute here, as the matter was settled through consensus and I shall respect the outcome, but as I have mentioned earlier, I would appreciate if some clarification was made in the guidelines to avoid such matters in the future. — Dorvaq (talk) 16:54, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

If the site is the official site then I can see very few reasons why you wouldn't link to it from the article. In the examples you gave I would definitely link to the sites. That doesn;t make Wikipedia spammy, providing that the article isn't spam in the first place. If the article meets Wikipedia criteria for inclusion then a link (one link, more than that, say to other parts of the same site, is spammy) is certainly called for in all but extreme circumstances (illegal content, etc.)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by DreamGuy (talkcontribs).
By "spammy" I meant in cases where the official website is attached to 100 articles, or possibly more. As mentioned, I know the intention by the individual poster was probably not to spam, but rather to make a seemingly very legitimate edit. Yet, taking all into consideration, it does feel like an ingenious method of circumventing our spamming policies.
Again, that is just my point of view, so if the consensus is to keep the status quo, it's fine with me. However, I would like, if possible, to have this reflected into the actual guidelines including the exceptional cases you've noted above so that it becomes easier to argue a point if a similar case arises in the future.
Lastly, if you feel this is an isolated case and that it's unlikely to recur, then I'm fine with keeping the current form of the external links guidelines as well. — Dorvaq (talk) 20:43, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
If an individual has an official website then it probably should be linked to. Linking to the home page of the Microsoft website from articles on Microsoft products or from Bill Gates doesn't seem so appropriate - I'd say a link to a product's page (or page about Bill Gates - depending on its content) on the Microsoft site would probably be appropriate and a wikilink to the Microsoft article (which I would hope would be in the main body of text). If you're talking about a big organization, it's conceivable there are products etc. out there where the manufacturer no longer has any info on their website about it. In those cases I don't see the point in linking to the company's website if we have a Wikipediia article on the company - just wikilink to the company article instead. But I think those are uncommon circumstances and are best dealt with by building a consensus on the talk page about what is best for readers. There maybe respected fan sites or an archive that provide good info, or the company's site may be the best think for some other reason. -- Siobhan Hansa 21:14, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

while we're talking about 'web directories'... botw.org

What is the general consensus on the quality & relevance of Best of the Web Directory [15]? It has been in existence for a long time, but has relatively few links here. Is it a possible alternative to DMOZ? I ask because over the last few days, it has been added to about a dozen pages by a small number of users ( Linksearch results ). This type of activity normally suggests the link in question is being spammed, but I'm a fan of "intelligent use of quality web directories" and most of the pages it was added to are subjects that(IMHO) could use a directory link. --Versageek 17:00, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm not in favor of allowing this commercial directory because it requires payment ($200 one time or $70/year ) to get your site listed and displays advertiser sites first. Calltech 17:21, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Here is one of the main link builders Special:Contributions/MisterCharlie who today alone has added 14 links to BOTW. Calltech 17:27, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Wow, that is some serious spamming. Looks like it is all cleaned up now. I've been sitting on the fence post about this DMOZ debate. There definitely has to be some wording about non-commercial directories or we are going to have more of this kind of thing. I can see it now, a spamming link farmer will point to WP:EL as a defense. (Requestion 23:48, 4 May 2007 (UTC))
Careful where you throw that "s" word around. I was merely adding relevant external links in a manner consistent with how other external links were being applied. Not some irrelevant links. And as I stated earlier (below), if there is a decision that this is no bueno, that would be the last you see of these. We are most certainly not looking to spam your project, or hinder your efforts in any way. MisterCharlie 00:00, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about that. Didn't intend to be throwing that "s" word around in front of, uhh, exuberant linkers. This WP:EL page is for talking about the policy of external links. Someone should open up a botw.org thread over at WT:WPSPAM. (Requestion 02:13, 5 May 2007 (UTC))
With the help of an assistant, I have been trying to add the listings in a manner that we felt added to the quality of the page. The BOTW directory has a lot of categories, and we are by no means attempting to add category pages that don't contribute as a resource to the wiki page. Additionally, we have been adding them to pages that already contain a relevant DMOZ listings as well, so the external link isn't coming from out of left field. Each of the BOTW category pages that were added as an external link went to a category that contains pretty comprehensive resources for the subject matter. And yes, we are a commercial directory - just as the Yahoo directory is a commercial directory. We do not require that you pay to "get your site listed", but we do offer an expedited review fee for those who wish to submit their site. On the flip side, we employ a team of editors that include tens of thousands of sites on a weekly basis at no cost to the site owner - simply to build a comprehensive resource of quality sites. As fellow netizens, we respect what it is you are trying to do, and certainly do not want to interfere with the project. We would love to be included in the "intelligent use of quality web directories", but should the consensus decide otherwise, I will of course refrain from adding additional links going forward. MisterCharlie 23:39, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
You are by definition spamming the Wikipedia. Please read this guideline and stop adding any links to your directory. Any of the links you added should be reverted. 2005 23:50, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Having looked at Special:Contributions/MisterCharlie and the BOTW link that was added today to the Final Fantasy article, I agree that all these links should be undone, per WP:EL, 'Links normally to be avoided'. EdJohnston 03:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Unclear sentence

I moved this from the links to be avoided section, because I can't figure out what it means. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:00, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article.

I restored it, as there was no consensus to remove it. If you get people to agree it should be removed, THEN remove it. DreamGuy 10:57, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Slimvirgin - that sentence is supposed to stop people adding links in place of writing content (i.e. putting i a link to a brief biography instead of adding the bio details to the article). Can you think of better wording that would be more easily understood? -- Siobhan Hansa 12:42, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Another way of saying this, SM, would be, in the positive rather than the negative would be: "Link only to these sites that are factually accurate and verifiable". Which is already addressed elsewhere in the guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:23, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Broken wikilink in normally avoided #2

In #2, the "See Reliable sources" points to Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Using online sources, which no longer exists. The text that used to be there now seems to be at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/examples#Use of electronic or online sources. I'd make the change, but I only lightly follow the action here, so I'll leave it to the regulars. AndroidCat 17:15, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

EL to be reliable sources: Possible?

Policy currently states:

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

Does this mean each EL link has to be a reliable source? How is that even possible to determine for a website link? RS applies to the content of an article, not to an External link. Am I correct? There is virtually no article which doesnt have a "non-reliable" link on the EL section. The criteria should be relevance and quality of the Exteral Link. I'm having a debate right with an editor over a controversial article where he removed some of the EL's are not reliable sources. Thats only because they're telling another viewpoint of his faith with which he doesnt agree with. If he's asked he'll reply that the information on the link is not accurate or verifiable. I disagree. This is a problem for Controversial articles, as you can see. Whats the solution for this and other cases like this? --Matt57 (talkcontribs) 23:57, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

"Does this mean each EL link has to be a reliable source?" No. That passage just states that factually innacurate and unverifiable original research that misleads ALSO can't be externally linked to, and instead of defining it again, it just refers to where reliable sources define it. 2005 00:04, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. What should be done in the case of controversial subjects? One group of editors will say its not accurate, the others will say it is. --Matt57 (talkcontribs) 00:42, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Accurate in what way? 2+2=4 or Islam is the one religion of the one God? Someone can say "it is factually inaccurate to say the world is round" but that assertion of innacuracy is not demonstrably provable. A link can say Islam is the one religion of God because that presents one point of view, and can't be demonstrably shown to be innaccurate. 2005 01:40, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Of course it has to be a reliable source. Otherwise why to link to it? EL section is not a dumping ground for material that is not compliant with WP content policies. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:00, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Being a "reliable source" is not the same as WP:RS. It obviously would be stupid to have two guidelines if one was supposed to be the same as the other. Wikipedia external links do not have to meet the same criteria as sources. That's the current fact. If you want to propose to merge WP:EL with WP:RS go ahead, but that is not the status quo. 2005 01:40, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Just read the lead to this guideline. It is all spelled out there: Wikipedia articles can include links to Web pages outside Wikipedia. Such pages could contain further research that is accurate and on-topic. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:03, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
If a site contains material that is factually inaccurate (violates WP:V or unverifiable research (that violates NOR and V). Remember that RS is a guideline, but WP:NOR and WP:V are policy. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:06, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
What about controversial articles like those on Islam? Half of the links are critical of Islam, half are not. Half the editors will claim some links are not accurate, while the other half will say they are. So I assume if we can prove that the site is accurate, then it should stay there, correct? Thats the only way to go about it? I'll change the title of my section here, did not mean to be that dramatic about it. --Matt57 (talkcontribs) 01:11, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
The discussion should not be framed around the critical nature of a linked site. Rather, it should be framed on the quality of the content, its accuracy and its reliability:
When assessing external links you need to simply ask yourself the question: Why is the link not used as a source for the article? If the answer is "because it is not a reliable source," then don't link. If the answer is, "that link is a great resource that complies with the verifiability policy,", then you can link and hopefully someone else would add material from the source to the article. If the answer is, "because the content of that external link is too long and would not be possible to summarize it in the article, but it is is a reliable source", then link, by all means.
≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:16, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
If you tell me the name of article in question, I can take a look and offer some assistance in the dispute. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:17, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Thats a good guideline. Thanks for the offer to help. Here are two examples ([16],[17]) of people removing links saying these are not reliable sources. This is completely wrong and this is just one article. These links are critical of Islam but the editors who removed them do not agree with the viewpoints and they removed them now. Thats probably their actual motivation for removing them. How can this be dealt with citing WP policy? If what they did is against policy only then can this be easily tackled. This is a complicated issue for Controversial articles as you can see. All articles for Islam are spammed with links which may not be reliable. I take that if the content of a link can be verified that its reliable? But, how do we verify all the content of a webpage? This looks difficult. --Matt57 (talkcontribs) 01:33, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I will take a look and comment on the article's talk page, if I have anything useful to contribute. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)
Your mission is not to verify all contents of a website. That's a fool's errand. Wikipedia doesn't do that. Some external links would never make it as sources. For example, we could link to the Vatican's website from a variety of articles, and use it as a source for some things, but it could never be used as a source for: "The one and only God is a Catholic God." Obviously the Vatican's website does not have a neutral point of view about the true nature of God. But it is perfectly valid to link to the Vatican site (as well as others with conflicting opinions) from external links. 2005 01:56, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
You are mistaken. It most acceptable to use the Vatican website to assert that their viewpoint is "The one and only God is a Catholic God". You are confusing WP:RS with WP:NPOV. RS discusses the reliability of sources, WP:NPOV discusses attributing significant viewpoints to those that hold them. What we are discussing here is the reliability of the linked site. Is the Vatican a reliable source for the curia's theological viewpoints. Of course! ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:14, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Just take the Vatican website and use the criteria established in RS:What is a reliable source. Is it a reliable source, or not? Of course it is. The take this EL http://www.americablog.com/ and apply the same criteria. Can that site be considered reliable for anything else than in an article about the blog? Of course not. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:22, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
In a nutshell this is where you get confused. Yes we can cite the vatican website that it is THEIR OPINION that God is a Catholic God, which you need to see is not the point. What we can't do is have this line in an article "The one God is a Catholic God." and then cite the Vatican site for that statement. Clearly they have a point of view and can't be a reliable source for THIS PARTICULAR statement. On the other hand, they could be a perfectly reliable source for "Pope Urban the XXV was pope from 1312 to 1325." On the other hand, we can link to the Vatican site's 500 page discussion of the nature of God from the nature of God article. Perhaps your confusion can be cleared up thusly: "External links need to be able to meet the criteria for reliable sources for something; they don't need to meet the criteria for the article they are linked." Another example would be the Reagan library site could be a fine external link on the Ronald Reagan article. It could be a useful source for his birthdate. But this line "Ronald Reagan was the greatest president ever" could not be added to the article with a cite from a Reagan library page saying that. It's an important distinction. External links have to be the sort of site that could qualify as an source in general, but not everything the site says needs to qualify as sourceable material. Again, in a nutshell, external links can present a point of view. Sources can not, except when saying it is a point of view. Citing "Ronald Reagan is the greatest president ever" does not make it so. Linking to a site that says that is fine. In terms of the issue raised here, if something on a site is demonstrably, plainly untrue in an objective way, it should not be linked. However something that says either "Islam is a false religion" or "Islam is the one and only religion" could be linked. 2005 02:53, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
????? We are not talking about sources to support an edit. We are talking about the external links section in articles. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:59, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Um, exactly. I hope that clears up your confusion. The passage cited at the beginning of this section refers to reliable sources to explain something, but to answer the original question, every page on an external link most definitely does not need to qualify as a reliable source for that article to be listed as an external link. It should though qualify as something verifiable and authoritative in general. 2005 03:04, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Another way to summarize it is to say that someone can't object to an external link simply because they went through a linked to site and found a single sentence that was not verifiable or offered an opinion as fact ("greatest president ever"). 2005 03:08, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
You are still missing the point, I am afraid. This is what I am referring to: Reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy, or are authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. (From WP:RS)l and this from WP:V: In general, sources of questionable reliability are sources with a poor reputation for fact-checking or with no fact-checking facilities or editorial oversight. Sources of questionable reliability should only be used in articles about themselves. A website that is of questionable reliability, should NOT be linked to. That's all. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 06:01, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Well of course, and also not the issue. THIS guideline makes it clear what can or can not be linked to. WP:RS covers sources, not external links. Not-coincidentally they basically say the same thing, but the guideline to refer to when considering the reliability and worthiness of an external link is this one, not WP:RS. In answer to the original question, WP:RS was mentioned only so as not to say the same thing in two places. 2005 07:28, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree with 2005 here. I think WP:EL is much too strict. The criteria for a useful link should be very different (and substantially weaker) than the criteria for a reliable source. IMHO a link should exist when its likely to be useful to our readers. A source needs to be strong enough that we are comfortable putting their information into wikipedia's voice inside an article. jbolden1517Talk 13:17, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I would agree with jossi on this. If wiki is to be a quality encyclopedia, then it shouldn't link to garbage. True that a link need not be scholarly, but it should be reliable.Bless sins 16:36, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we argue about what's actually being advocated. Nobody is arguing for linking to garbage, what they are arguing for is linking to information that is useful but not necessarily reliable. For example linking a biographical article to a blog of the person its about. Not a reliable source of information but interesting for the reader of the bio. jbolden1517Talk 18:18, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
A a biographical article link to a blog of the person its about, is a reliable source. See WP:SELFPUB ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:35, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

How is it a reliable source? It isn't peer reviewed, it isn't fact checked. There is no history to verify that what's said one day isn't changed. The person doing the writing is highly biased and motivated away from a NPOV. This is exactly the point of discussing this kind of link, from a RS standpoint its terrible yet from a providing information (that is not wikipedia's voice) it is very useful.

Another similar example would be a political speech. Linking to the full text of the speech might be useful for determine what was said but not for what is true. jbolden1517Talk 20:15, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Also, whatever concensus is reached, please change the article page accordingly. If the article says "See Reliable sources", then users will continue to interpret this as meaning ELs must satisfy the conditions imposed under the article WP:RS.Bless sins 16:38, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Then link, by all means

>> "When assessing external links you need to simply ask yourself the question: Why is the link not used as a source for the article? If the answer is "because it is not a reliable source," then don't link. If the answer is, "that link is a great resource that complies with the verifiability policy,", then you can link and hopefully someone else would add material from the source to the article. If the answer is, "because the content of that external link is too long and would not be possible to summarize it in the article, but it is is a reliable source", then link, by all means."

Who wrote that? You explain to this guy at User talk:Requestion#Please stop indiscriminate mass destruction that WP:EL#What to link does not mean any website that contains reliable content and is somehow related to the article topic has a right to get a link. And that it doesn't mean everybody who removes a spamlink is a cyber-bullying fundamentalist. Femto 15:27, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
It was added a couple weeks ago by Jossi (April 21st). I don't see any discussion on that. AndroidCat 19:53, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
If there are objections about the wording, let's discuss. I am under the impression that it is simply explaining policy, as all guidelines should. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:56, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I think that section should be reworded to stress what the focus is. Maybe I'm wrong, but the focus to me seems to be how to get content in an external link to be used in an article. Isn't this what an article's discussion page for? The problem Femto mentioned that I'm having with my workforall.net nemesis is that they are interpreting this section literally as an open license to add any external link spam that they see fit. (Requestion 22:29, 6 May 2007 (UTC))
By the way, in case I came across a little grumpy, I apologize — but just read the abovelinked complaint by someone whose spam got removed to see what kind of reasoning this little paragraph is causing! In the eyes of those who desperately fight to get their links included it's a blanket permission. Against it, you cannot justify the removal of a link anymore. Even WP:COI and WP:SPAM become irrelevant because "what to link" seems to override the weaker "should avoid" language of later sections. The "What to link" section already refers to the "following guidelines" for further details; these explanations are simply out of place there and should be removed entirely. Femto 22:37, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
"Against it, you cannot justify the removal of a link anymore." I don't know what you mean by that. The guideline strongly prevents linking to garbage, and requires sites jump through pretty high hoops to be linked. I don't have an opinion I guess on out of place-ness and need for the passage, but the most important point is we have an entire guideline, not a bunch of unrelated sentences, and summarizing sentences are not specifics. If someone is adding inappropriate links, one sentence or passage here doesn't give them the licensce to do that in the face of the rest of the guideline. 2005 23:33, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
How do you defend against: "My links are fully compatible with the guideline. They're a useful resource, tasteful, informative, factual, and impossible to summarize in the article. You're a vandal if you remove them. They should be linked, WP:EL#What to link said so right here." - Even if you eventually manage to get through to someone that in spite of the positive language in this section the rest of the guideline still applies, that's an exercise I'd rather do without. Femto 11:11, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

"you may then consider adding that link" is a major improvement over "then link, by all means". 2005 23:41, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

That new wording would be a good improvement. Even better would be to mention posting the link on the discussion page and talking about it. Isn't "sourcing" the focus of that section of text? (Requestion 01:35, 7 May 2007 (UTC))
I wonder if the paragraph isn't getting us into instruction creep - we should ask ourselves how useful it is to keep adding more text to the guideline and and what this bit is really trying to achieve. But if it's to stay, I like 2005's suggestion, and emphasizing using the talk page can also be good. Also we could begin the paragraph with "When assessing external links you need to start by asking yourself" instead of "simply ask", which should help emphasize there's not a simple test and as long as your link passes the test it's on the page. And I think we need to make sure the "reliable sources" description here is the same as elsewhere in the guideline? -- Siobhan Hansa 11:36, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, that is an improvement. Why does this section of text encourage the editor twice to add the external link? In my experience nobody needs to be encouraged to add links, they'll do that on their own. Also, isn't this section about "sourcing?" Can't we cut out all that adding cruft and just say post it to the talk page? (Requestion 17:46, 7 May 2007 (UTC))
If it's about sourcing I think it needs rewording significantly since I didn't get that when I read it :-) So it's supposed to make people stop and think "Is the link I want to add really further reading? Or is it something that would be a useful source to build the article from?" and then get them to act appropriately? -- Siobhan Hansa 21:59, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
If that section isn't about sourcing then what is it about? For sourcing purposes, why not let all the other WP:EL rules determine if it's a good external link candidate. No need for any special exceptions. (Requestion 00:45, 8 May 2007 (UTC))
I made a suggestion below about wording for another sentence that I think overlaps this one. If I'm right about what these two are supposed to mean, I think it makes sense to amalgamate them. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:55, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

I'd really like us to take a stab at rewording or eliminating this paragraph. Even with the recent tweaks I find it unclear and (I think) unnecessary. Do others agree it's basically covered by the Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article. point in "links to be avoided"? If not, what is in this paragraph that isn't in that sentence? -- Siobhan Hansa 14:18, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I think just get rid of it for the time being. It was added without consensus and most editors in this conversation find major problems with it. Could be proposed later with different wording. Nposs 14:51, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree it's problematic and creepy. No matter how refined the wording, you cannot adequately explain in one paragraph what this is trying to convey. Removed it. Let's keep something like "When in doubt about the appropriateness of adding new links, make a suggestion on the article's talkpage and discuss with other editors." though. Femto 15:41, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree, Siobhan - I don't think it adds anything to the article, and we are seeing instances of editors trying to twist the wording in this EL document to get what they want and otherwise circumvent the WP common understanding of how things are done. Keep it simple. Femto, I agree to delete it for now. -- Alucard (Dr.) | Talk 15:52, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Good solution everybody. It simplifies, it reduces some confusing wording, and it stresses WP:CONSENSUS policy by suggesting discussion. I like it. (Requestion 17:01, 11 May 2007 (UTC))

Multiple official sites

Can someone weigh in on the external links for Verio? It's one of those articles where depending on how you look at it, there could be many "official" sites. --Ronz 15:39, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Seems to be an acceptable number of links there. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Care to explain why you find the links acceptable? --Ronz 19:36, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Opening up the spam can of worms

OK. I'm going to give this a shot. I'll probably lose but...

Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services... (#4 under to avoid)

I think this is too strong, or at least it is interpreted too strong. Most websites exist primarily to sell a product or service or to push a particular POV. Arguable the NYTimes websites exist primarily to sell their archives and columnist sections. I'd like to propose we weaken this to:

Links to sites where the link's effect or purpose on wikipedia would be primarily marketing related, that is to sell products or services

So do I have any support for this at all or lone voice in the wilderness? jbolden1517Talk 22:00, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

The current text is one of the clearest in the guideline so I'd leave it. 2005 22:04, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree it is very clear. I just think its incorrect. That plus bans on strongly POV websites if actually applied fairly it would kill almost every link on this site. jbolden1517Talk 23:26, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Concur with 2005. And you are right, it would open up commercial website spammers to all forms of creative lawyering. Calltech 22:11, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I've always found that line to be quite clear. Unless I'm missing something NYTimes websites don't seem to be being removed because of the wording do they? -- Siobhan Hansa 23:05, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
No NYTimes was meant as an extreme example just to show that the guideline as written (and rigorously applied) is a problem. But for example a few days ago a web app that walked a buyer through a well written comparison of various mainstream bike brands was deleted under this guideline. There is no question that was a useful link to our readers. And there is no question that the bike stores intent was for you to walk into the store with a clear idea of what you wanted to buy. But who cares? jbolden1517Talk 23:24, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd probably care about that. Advice about a product from a place that is trying to sell you the product ought to be considered suspect by default - not necessarily in a mean way, they're doing their best to serve customers within the context of their business. But there's an inherent conflict of interest that ought to make this a non-default decision. If the link isn't added by someone affiliated with the bike shop and editors can agree the advice is unbiased you can probably build a consensus on the talk page to over-ride the guideline in the best interests of the article. -- Siobhan Hansa 23:39, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
We can't stop people reading things in obtuse ways, but the sentence seems as clear as it can be stated. Pages that primarily sell a product should not be linked to. The New york Times is a newspaper. Sure it wants to make money, but it obviously is not what is being addressed. of all the things in the guideline this is one that there almost never is a problem with. If a page is just selling DVD it can be linked to. If a page has a detailed review of the DVD that qualifies under the guideline to be linked, the fact it also sells the DVD doesn't disqualify it. 2005 00:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Would everybody agree with that sort of wording? Something like, Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services... (4a) However, if an editor not affiliated with the commercial site wishes to add a link to such a site, they are encouraged to discuss it on the talk page. While there is an inherent conflict of interest in adding any commercial site, a consensus of editors should feel free to link to pages where the information is unbiased and useful to readers even if the site itself is not? jbolden1517Talk 00:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

That's just the wrong direction. There is no "inherent conflict of interest". There is only meritable material that qualifies under the guideline. Basically, does a page merit a link if the widget-selling aspect is ignored? If a Michelin site goes into exhaustive, authoritative detail about the automobile tire, the fact is what matters, not that they happen to want you to buy their tires. Do other reliable/authoritative/meritable sites consider the michelin site reliable/authoritative/meritable or not? Don't go down the instruction creep path. Have a clear statement in a clear guideline. Links that merit links get linked. What we are saying is a page that simply sells a product does not merit a link. 2005 00:21, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
2005 the people reading it that way aren't being obtuse, they are following the guideline as written. And that's the problem the language in the guideline is very strong, "Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services.". This addresses the site not the page. "Links to pages that primarily exist to sell products or services" would also solve the problem jbolden1517Talk
The problem with "Links to pages ..."' instead of sites is that a common spammer technique is to add links to seemingly harmless info-mercials that are just one click away from their goal. In the case of your bicycle website example, if the site was that great, then why didn't they just override WP:EL with a WP:CONSENSUS? (Requestion 00:35, 8 May 2007 (UTC))
Because there are a lot of legalists who are concerned about creating a precedent for spammers. In other words there was a consensus that the link would be useful to the readers and there was a consensus that the primary purpose of the site (and the wizard) was to help people pick which bike to buy (from that store). It just so happens that helping people pick the right mainstream bike brand is actually fairly useful.
Now I didn't understand your point about harmless info-mercials one click away.... Could you elaborate? jbolden1517Talk 00:39, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not concerned about precedents as much as I'm worried about spammers interpretering WP:EL incorrectly and using that against me. Simpler rules would reduce this problem. What I meant by "harmless info-mercials" is a funnel strategy, something that can slip by the spam radar but still get the PR juice. (Requestion 00:53, 8 May 2007 (UTC))

Shorter version

OK howabout, Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services... (4a) However, if an editor not affiliated with the commercial site wishes to add a link to such a site, they are encouraged to discuss it on the talk page. A consensus of editors should feel free to link to pages where the information is unbiased and useful to readers even if the site itself is not" ? jbolden1517Talk 01:01, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

This just seems like an unnecessarily fine distinction to make. If it is a great link, it should stand up to the process of consensus building (which could include reversions and discussions on the talk page.) This is just a guideline, after all, and there's always the possibility of "ignoring the rules" for the betterment of the encyclopedia. Nposs 01:30, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Unclear sentence

I moved this from the links to be avoided section, because I can't figure out what it means. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:00, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article.

I restored it, as there was no consensus to remove it. If you get people to agree it should be removed, THEN remove it. DreamGuy 10:57, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Don't restore such poor writing, please. What does it mean? SlimVirgin (talk) 23:00, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe you just don't understand how things work here. DON'T REMOVE THINGS you don't understand. It has a long consensus to stay here, it is necessary, and if you don't understand then don't mess with it. Get freaking consensus BEFORE going ballistic all over the page. That's a simple, basic, fundamental concept here on a project page of this standing. I could understand if you were just some newbie who doesn't understand how things work, but you've been here for years. Taking it upon yourself to delete whole sections, especially when you KNOW people are opposed to their removal, us way, way out of being bold territory into acting like you think you just just up and make all the rules yourself and expect other people to just accept them. Knock it off. DreamGuy 18:13, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Slimvirgin - that sentence is supposed to stop people adding links in place of writing content (i.e. putting i a link to a brief biography instead of adding the bio details to the article). Can you think of better wording that would be more easily understood? -- Siobhan Hansa 12:42, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Why would it always be a bad thing for people to do that, Siobhan? SlimVirgin (talk) 23:01, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
The reasoning that I've seen in the past is two fold:
  • That throwing links into the EL section isn't an appropriate way to add content to an article from a "think of the readers" perspective.
  • That, much as we're stricter on Fair use images than we have to be in order to encourage people to make available more free content, we should be stricter on the EL section to encourage people to create actual GFDL and encyclopedic content, since EL's are the least valuable content people can provide for an article.
Come to think of it, the "unique" wording was also important - in order to ensure we didn't get 5 links to (non-copyvio) videos of the people in a sailing boat, nine almost identical deep bios, or 233 versions of the same or similar interviews etc..
I had a brief look through the archives but couldn't find the discussions I remember. These isn't my position 100% - so I may not have captured the argument entirely accurately. -- Siobhan Hansa 23:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Another way of saying this, SM, would be, in the positive rather than the negative would be: "Link only to these sites that are factually accurate and verifiable". Which is already addressed elsewhere in the guideline. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:23, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:01, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
This line is more about encouraging people to add content, not ensuring the links are reliable (which as you say, is mentioned elsewhere). In fact it might be more like the section Jossi added that we've been discussing above - now that (I think) I understand that one... -- Siobhan Hansa 23:50, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
But it doesn't mean anything as written. Please don't keep restoring it. It's really bad writing. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:19, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Others have found it to be useful. Please don't simply delete it. Would something else work instead? Like:Links should not duplicate or significantly overlap content already provided, either in the article itself or in other external links. If the link you want to add contains content that ought to be in the article, please rewrite the content for Wikipedia (using the page as a source), rather than adding it as an external link. this feels a bit long-winded and clumsy, but I'm trying to start with clarity over neat wording. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:48, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
This one to me is more about keeping people from adding a linkfarm, especially ones that are repeat info (both in other links and the article) and links that aren't reliable sources. Mostly I think it is to discourge the EL section from being a link directory; no other item mentions such in the list. JoeSmack Talk 00:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

What's with the deleting?

Is there something else going on that I don't know about? A campaign to trim guidelines down, or a desire to go back to a golden age of Wikipedia when guidelines were perfect? Why the deletion of sections that have been guiding editors for some time as well as recently developed consensus? Is it so unreasonable to expect a bit more communication and cooperation about significant changes? This isn't exactly a sleepy guideline. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:14, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Some of the writing in here is really poor, and apart from that the advice is wrong, inconsistent with the policies in some cases, and written in a very patronizing style as if for children. The writing needs to be tightened considerably, and the wording made consistent with the policies and best practice. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:21, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
This, for example:

When assessing external links you need to start by asking the question: Why is the link not used as a source for the article? If the answer is "because it would never qualify to be used as a reliable source for anything," then don't link. If the answer is, "that link is a great resource that complies with the verifiability policy,", then you may link and hopefully someone else would add material from the source to the article. If the answer is, "because the content of that external link is too long and would not be possible to summarize it in the article, but it is a reliable source", you may then consider adding that link as well. Better still, discuss in talk page with other editors about the appropriateness of adding any new links.

It's just plain wrong. We link to all kinds of sites that wouldn't be used as a reliable source (except in an article about themselves, perhaps, but that includes just about everything). Also, there's no need to write as if two people are having a conversation. And we don't ("better still") discuss adding links on the talk page: if we had to do that, nothing would ever get done. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:24, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Agreed on this removal. jbolden1517Talk 02:27, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:40, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
The section is already being discussed on this talk page above. Deleting the section without commenting in that discussion is a poor model of cooperation. Your edits do not reflect consensus on this talk page and your interpretation of policy is disputed by others. You've deleted sections that have recently been developed under consensus and other sections which you hadn't brought up on the talk page and clarified your objections to. It's very dramatic, but not particularly informative. -- Siobhan Hansa 02:55, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
The rude and incomprehensible deletion has been fixed again. Slim Virgin you are acting beond rudely here. Please stop. This passage in particular has been discussed and agreed on by many editors who initally disagreed. Rudely ignoring consensus and removing it is just plain weird. 2005 04:08, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Other things [18]:

sites with meaningful content

  • "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews."
  • Wrong; it might be very suitable. Changed to "Sites with relevant content that have not been used as a source for the article."
"wrong"? If the definition of the site we're talking about is one that has "content that is not suitable for inclusion" saying "it might be very suitable" doesn't make any sense to me. If it were very suitable the section wouldn't apply to it. Also your proposed change implies that a site which is used as a source cannot then be used as an EL (at least that's how I read it. From a reader perspective external links serve different function from sources. If we have an proscription on using links to sites that are sources in our EL section we probably won't direct our regular readers to the best external further reading/viewing content that we could. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:35, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Long lists of links

  • "Long lists of links are not appropriate: Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links. If you find a long list of links in an article, you can tag the "External links" section with the {{linkfarm}} template. Where editors have not reached consensus on an appropriate list of links, a link to a well chosen web directory category could be used until such consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template."
  • Removed because of the Open Directory thing, which often supplies nonsense that we shouldn't be linking to.
    I think we need to provide some sort of alternative for very low quality links in large number. Like dmoz to all fan sights for the rolling stones in the rolling stones article or Or dmoz of republican blogs in a "republican party" article jbolden1517Talk 02:50, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
The wording is "a well chosen directory" and dmoz is provided as a possibility, it's not a requirement. Have you reviewed the discussion which built this consensus from a few days ago? This wasn't my first choice of wording (nor anyones I don't think) but I thought it was a good compromise that dealt respectfully with the things people wanted from the guideline. Do you have a new suggestion or some insight that might help define the issues better or address the ones that have been raised? I'm wondering because you say it's just the dmoz wording. But you didn't delete just the dmoz wording, so it seems like there may be more to this from your perspective. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:26, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Previous discussion: Wikipedia_talk:External_links/Archive_16#Open_Directory_Project_2. The guideline should stand, even without the DMOZ section for the time being while this is rehashed. Nposs 03:28, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Section should stay. Open Directory mention should stay. I constantly patrol pages for unencyclopedic links and spam and so forth. This is a hugely impotant section, as it's what I point to as explanation when I remove ten tons of crap/spam/vanity/etc. The Open Directory link is also a very helpful tactical decision to stave off people who want to add links they feel are justified. This is all necessary and should not be removed at a whim by some editor going wild. DreamGuy 18:09, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Sites which fail to meet criteria

  • "Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources. For example a blog written by the subject of a biography article."
  • Can someone give an example of such a site, other than the website of the subject of the article?
    An important political speech on a topic. Say for example a speech by the president. Political speeches aren't peer reviewed so they aren't RSes and politicians aren't authorities but this could still be a very important link. Another example might be information from highly biased but knowledgeable sources. Like co-conspirators in a crime. jbolden1517Talk 02:46, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
    Material doesn't have to be peer-reviewed to be a reliable source. Political speeches are reliable primary-source material. Highly biased sources may also be reliable sources: almost all sources are biased. I can't think of a single example of a non-reliable source that contains information about the subject from knowledgeable sources, other than the subject's website/self-published material, which is dealt with elsewhere. That makes this a redundant and possibly confusing paragraph, which is why I removed it.SlimVirgin (talk) 02:49, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
If you are confused, that's fine, it's not confusing to most people, so it stays. If you'd like to SUGGEST a REWORDING so that people can understand it better, fine. Don't just remove it completely.DreamGuy 18:05, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Any site that does not provide a unique resource

  • "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article."
  • Removed because incomprehensible. I can't even figure out what it's trying to say.
Perhaps you could particpate further in the discussion you started about it. We can work on the concept or wordsmith it there. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:14, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
As other editors have mentioned already, this is trying to express the important idea that the point of external links should be to amplify the content of articles, not draw away readers to other websites. It is intended to encourage editors to add content to Wikipedia rather than link to every site that is simply relevant to topic. It is worth finding a way to reword this and reincorporate it. Nposs 03:18, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
It's a long standing part of the guideline. Just because somebody can't understand it is no reason to remove it, especially since it is quite clear and no explaination has been given for the lack of understanding. 2005 04:04, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

site registration

  • Would mean we couldn't link to the New York Times archives.
News articles are more appropriate as references, and when used as references - adding a link to an article that requires registration is fine. The point of this guideline is to discourage people linking to whole websites that require a subscription (or other form of registration) to view the content. Nposs 02:57, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. There is a real problem with putting ELs in WP that are not just as accessible as WP is. So yes, this means we should avoid links to the closed areas of the NYT archives (note that the NYT archives are not entirely closed). There is longstanding consensus around this, and I have not so far seen a case where an alternative open source could not be found. UnitedStatesian 03:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think we agree: I don't believe that anything that requires registration should be linked in the external link section. References (which belong in the text of the article), however, can link to content that requires subscription to view. Nposs 03:09, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure. An article reference that is Web content requiring registration or subscription is bad - unhelpful, at least to some readers, and unable to be checked. This type of content is not a good source for WP articles. I am sure alternative sources can be found and referenced (by even - gasp! - using a non-internet reference instead!). UnitedStatesian 03:21, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
This has been discussed on this page multiple times, and it seems like the consensus is that references are governed by a different set of guidelines. I would suggest that you move this discussion about links in references to the appropriate page. (The idea seems to be that providing a link to an online version of a reference (if one is available), even if it requires a subscription to view it (e.g. old NYT articles) is acceptable.) Nposs 03:32, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
When we are linking to a few of the best available resources for a general readership, linking to sites that require subscription is rude not a courtesy, these aren't sources that we're going to mention anyway, they don't have to be in the article at all. Subscriptions also make it impossible for editors to compare sites to decide on the best selection of links or to see if a site is suitable without paying the fee. And allowing linking to subscription sites would bring us into a weird conflict with our guideline against linking to sites that primarily exist to sell a service. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Ditto with site registration paragraph. No reason not to link to sites that require subscription as a courtesy to the reader. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:40, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Same disagreement here: Linking to sites that require registration is definitely NOT a courtesy to readers who expect links to open internet content. UnitedStatesian 03:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
As UnitedStatesian. less clear than subscription. But still to be avoided. -- Siobhan Hansa 03:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
  • OK with indicating a preference for non registration sites? jbolden1517Talk 02:50, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Its absurd to not link to something that uses flash but link to registration pages, especially paid ones. There isn't any reason to link to registration pages unless we lift the prohibition to link to browser-specific sites and stuff like that. In any case removing the passage is completely inappropriate without a consensus to do so. 2005 04:03, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Massive non-discussed changes

There have been several major, undiscussed changes inflicted on this guideline today... very bizarrely after we seem to have settled on a consensus after much discussion. This is a guideline that states it is a product of consensus. I admit I have a hard time understanding the pure arrogance it takes to ignore the consensus statement at the top of the article, but no matter how rude you want to be, repeated changes that do not have a consensus are not going to be let in, no matter how many times you make a change. The registration stuff for example has been in there more than a year. Just removing it is beyond arrogant, but it is also just a waste of people's time because it isn't going to stay out unless there is a consensus to do so. Please play nice and make proposals for changes on this page, and don't make changes to the guideline because you don't like it or don't understand it. Use this page to convince others your position makes sense, and if you can't that's the way it is. 2005 04:00, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

And I'd add a suggestion. An incremental approach works much better: pick the one phrase in the GL that bothers you the most, and address it on the talk page, then move on to the next one. Trying to gain consensus for a wholesale rewrite of the GL in one shot is going to be extraordinarily difficult. UnitedStatesian 04:23, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. That's a very good point. The last major rewrite of this guideline took THREE MONTHS of discussion, including an entire workshop rewriting that people commented on. Making one change without consensus is one thing, but multiple major changes will never get anywhere as they will just be reverted if only to keep the lineage of the guideline coherent. If someone doesn't like something in the guideline, either choose one thing to discuss at a time, or do a workshop rewrite. Slashing and burning is if nothing else just a waste of everybody's time. 2005 06:33, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I don't know what the heck some people think they are up to, but they can't just come in here and yank out whole sections that they disagree with. I reverted it the other day when one of the same editors tried to do so and I will also do it again in the future if I need to. This is a hugely important page and arbitrary removal of items that certain editors feel is inappropriate without any discussion is just ridiculous. So thanks, 2005, for undoing them. DreamGuy 18:03, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Sentence Clarification/Deletion

In the intro section of this GL there is the sentence "Care must be taken not to delete links that are being used as references." This is confusing. For example: if the reference link is a reference for some NPOV or OR text in the article, the link will be deleted along with the bad text, as it should be. This sentence at least needs some modifier. Alternatively, since this GL has just finished stating that it does not apply to references, I think this sentence can be deleted completely. But it doesn't work standing alone. Comments? UnitedStatesian 06:18, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't think the sentence is meant to stand alone, The guideline of this article refers to external links other than citations. Care must be taken not to delete links that are being used as references. (emphasis mine). The sentence is question is part of a point, that this guideline applies to ELs and not RSs. jbolden1517Talk 18:29, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I feel the "Care must be taken not to delete links that are being used as references." sentence should removed and replaced with a link to the appropriate WP:CITATION? guideline. This EL guideline does not need to be telling people to be careful. BTW, embedding external links in the references is one of the latest pro-spammer tricks since they see it as a safe haven. (Requestion 18:56, 8 May 2007 (UTC))

Proboards external links ban

What's up with this? Are Proboards sites actually banned from external links? If so, why?--Amadscientist 06:17, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

There are a couple versions of the url that show up in the wikimedia blacklist (meaning that they cannot be added to page), but there doesn't appear to be any ban. In general, links to forums are strongly discouraged under the external link guidelines for a number of reasons. They tend to fail important tests: encyclopedic content, no original research, verifiable, etc. Is there a specific example you are thinking of? Nposs 06:42, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Forums are almost NEVER encyclopedic. In fact I can't really think of any examples that would be acceptable. I delete any and all forums/message boards/discussion lists/etc. on sight. DreamGuy 00:25, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Wiki's: "substantial number of editors"

I'd like to get additional opinions on a potential link to a wiki. The site has twelve thousand editors, and someone has argued that that number isn't "substantial" and that a hundred thousand would be required. That seems unrealistic if not borderline ridiculous. If anyone wants to join in the discussion, it is at Talk:Lost (TV series)#Lostpedia and the site for a potential link is Lostpedia [19]. Thanks. --Minderbinder 23:41, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

12,000 editors for a single purpose specialized wiki. You are talking something like 1/1000 viewers and a representative sample. I'd say that's easily enough assuming that more than a few hundred were active. Wikipedia has many more topics. jbolden1517Talk 23:52, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Interesting way to look at it. Feel free to weigh in on the article talk page, on this particular issue there seem to be a few editors who flatly reject any non-official links, regardless of whether they meet EL. It would be nice to get some outside opinions. --Minderbinder 00:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Frankly, the substantial number of editors thing doesn't in any way in and of itself make any wiki meet the standard guidelines for encyclopedic links. As a general principle, wikis competing with Wikipedia should not be linked to, as they have very drastic problems with verifiability, reliability, etc. There wouldn't be a wa of judging quality on other sites without seeing if they cite their information from reliable sources, etc. DreamGuy 00:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

They don't have to be reliable. He's not asking to cite just to link. In other words this is an issue of notability not reliability. jbolden1517Talk 01:14, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
It's reputation rather than simple notability - we should still have an expectation that the material is reasonably accurate and it's not full of specious claims and coverage of unencyclopedic info. -- Siobhan Hansa 01:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Non-official sites that don't stand up to WP:RS fall under WP:EL links to avoid. Not sure if this site is reliable or not, but notability is not the only consideration. Nposs 01:37, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I think you all need to read the guideline, Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority.. 12,000 fans of Lost on their primary wiki constitute a recognized authority on Lost. If you don't believe that, you don't believe that then what are you doing on wikipedia? We aren't talking medicine here this is a TV show, there isn't much that can be known. jbolden1517Talk 02:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

That's a peculiat position; 12,000 fans are a recognised authority? Recognised by whom? And why should a self-selected group of people with a strong point of view count as a reliable source? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 13:31, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I think the recognized authority issue is very much the point and not one we have a good answer to. We normally say it needs to be recognized by other experts in the field. With pop culture subjects we get into muddy water. Such experts are rarely academics or paid up members of an association. You get a few writers who concentrate on TV, but most of the time the experts pretty much are fans. In the end I think if this wiki is recognized by the Lost fan community as a significant, reliable place to go for encyclopedic information then it might well be appropriate. That encyclopedic bit is important though - if it's the best place to find out which cast member is sleeping with whom, or to get the most outrageous suggestions about what will happen next, then I think, well, not so much. -- Siobhan Hansa 13:56, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
To quote WP:RS their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy, or are authoritative in relation to the subject at hand The public is well aware that for television shoes and movies obsessive fans are far and away the experts. The entire plot of Galaxy Quest is based on the assumption that the audience knows about and agrees with this theory. jbolden1517Talk 14:33, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I actually like that for a revision to #11. We change it to Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority. For pop culture subjects a site wide recognized by fans as a source of reliable and encyclopedic information is considered reliable" everyone agree? jbolden1517Talk 14:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I think the whole pop culture thing is still being worked out and is too muddy to write this sort of assessment into a guideline at this point. -- Siobhan Hansa 14:43, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
This skates on thin ice, IMO. Would this then allow blogs and personal webpages for hategroups, which could conceivably be staffed or run by an expert but not necessarily contain the experts blogs? Lsi john 17:09, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

The problem is the guideline right now says the opposite. And right now all over this encyclopedia articles are being regularly harmed because we can't link to knowledgeable amateurs who are well regarded. jbolden1517Talk 15:49, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Call me crazy be but..

Is there any support for the idea of replacing the whole guideline with something like: For non-citation external links editors should only link to a small selection of sites. All links should be to pages that are authoritative, have an established reputation for providing reliable, encyclopedic information on the subject of the article, and are generally accessible to our audience. Just a thought - it seems like we all try to use guidelines to micro-manage things sometimes. A real overhaul like this might be more what we need. -- Siobhan Hansa 16:59, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Looks like a moderate improvement to the nutshell, but I find the additional specifics to be useful and appropriate for inclusion. One can think of the details as a FAQ of sorts, explaining common questions and issues with the general you are expressing. here 18:31, 11 May 2007 (UTC)