Wikipedia talk:External links/Perennial websites

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IMDb user-submitted content is reviewed[edit]

Why isn't this considered? I just had an IMDb reference deleted cursorily despite this fact. I find it highly unlikely that the reviewers simply allow all entries to pass without checking. Does anyone have something to add to this? __meco (talk) 09:49, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I've also noticed some have reservations on allowing IMDB being used as a source. My view on it is that since it is already used in several articles about TV episodes (examples; All Good Things..., Elogium and Q-Less) then I think that's precidence enough to permit it to be used as a reliable source. The C of E. God Save The Queen! (talk) 16:15, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Nah. In All Good Things... article, I see that it is a link to a documentary of a show, so I made some tweaks to ensure that IMDb is not reliable without removing it. What do you think? --George Ho (talk) 16:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
This is the link to what Meco refers.— Preceding unsigned comment added by George Ho (talkcontribs) 16:53, July 1, 2012‎ (UTC)
Although I appreciate the support, I must reject it seeing that it's based on a flawed premise. We have clear rules and procedures for establishing what constitutes a reliable source. How a source is presently being used in other articles is not relevant to this process. If WP:RSN should find unreliable a source that is widely being used then that would mean removing it from wherever it was used (all conditions being equal). __meco (talk) 17:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
And just to give the latest of many examples of non-reviewed IMDb content, here's director Josh Schwartz confirming another one today in Newsday here:

As for Schwartz -- an executive producer of such fare as "The O.C.," "Gossip Girl" and "Chuck," making his directorial debut -- he isn't pretending to be a convenience-store clerk in this movie, no matter what the Internet claims. "No," he says, chuckling. "I get asked about it a lot, but that's an IMDb mistake. There are convenience-store clerks in the movie -- just none played by me!"

Come to think, IMDb still says David Schwimmer was in the movie Biloxi Blues, though per Schwimmer he was not. --Tenebrae (talk)
Although there might be errors, it is the job of the contributor as well as the editor to find out the accuracy of the information. The logic used here that suggests that because the person who experienced something is the contributor so it is ergo inaccurate indicates that Victoria's article about Josh Schwartz and Tenebrae's comment about David Schwimmer in Newsday are unreliable because they are direct quotes. If the person who lived the matter cannot attest to his or her life as in the Wikipedia policy on IMDB, then Schwartz and Schwimmer's comments noted by Victoria and Tenebrae are unreliable. TaramTaram (talk) 19:56, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Comment - IMDb is an Entertainment industry standard source of work information by a for profit company, Amazon. The paid staff checked information affects the lives and careers of thousands of actors and actresses as well as crew and other support staff. Why anyone would believe that Amazon would knowingly allow false information to be posted seems naive at best.

Are there errors in this massive database, of course. Some errors are more noticeable than others. The fact that this database has errors does not invalidate its it purpose, use, validity, or integrity. Furthermore, IMDB has no control over how its database is used. The only thing it can do as a company is work to insure that this data is as accurate as they can make it so as to continue to be a viable business entity. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 17:33, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

As someone with an IMDb entry, I can assure you that the fact-checking process there is not of a rigor sufficient for me to regard it as a reliable source. A lot of what goes in there, especially with regard to less-popular subjects, is simply not checked well (if at all). While somewhat more reliable than Amazon reviews and the like, I strongly discourage its unthinking use if anything solider is available. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:35, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Mike, as someone else with an entry, I can appreciate your anecdotal example, but I have found it to be quite the opposite. As has another User who commented here. Opinions are what brought us to this point and those same opinions are potentially preventing a credible source of information being used or at the very least, from being used properly. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 21:16, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Would be best not to misguide our editors when it comes to user generated content websites.Moxy (talk) 21:55, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
OK, but how are you applying that broad and somewhat vague statement to Are you claiming that the entire site is user generated? --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 00:00, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
You got it - to quote = Quite simply, a contributor is anyone who submits information for display on the site. There may be professionals there - but we have no clue who submitted what - are identities checked?. Changes are reviewed before they go on the site apparently - but who is checking this info and how are they doing so - are they checking for accuracy or just spelling and blatant vandalize? They also have a "Resume submission service", where people can post their own resume.....this is a grave concern when it comes to even simplest data like a birth-date. Basically if reliable published sources do not include the information that is at IMdb then that information should be questioned. If IMDB has some info and its reliable it should be found at a multitude of other locations (sources). It is however a great jumping of place for our editors. An entry like this is wonderful - but all this info can easily be-found in real publications by established authors. Would be best for our readers and Wikipedia's credibility if instead of linking (using) this site we link up and use real publication on the topics at hand - like Lawrence J. Quirk; William Schoell (2002). Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2254-0.  .. -- Moxy (talk) 01:39, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Moxy, I wholeheartedly agree that if there is a source for a citation such a book or similar WP:RS that it should be used. But that is not the point we are discussing. I reject the claim that all of IMDb is unreliable as a source because of ignorance by WP editors as to how its operated. Rather than go on debating it, how do you suggest that we verify its credibility? --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 18:04, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Here are the usual questions:

  1. It has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
  2. It is published by a reputable publishing house, rather than by the author(s).
  3. It is "appropriate for the material in question", i.e., the source is directly about the subject, rather than mentioning something unrelated in passing.
  4. It is a third-party or independent source, with no significant financial or other conflict of interest.
  5. It has a professional structure in place for deciding whether to publish something, such as editorial oversight or peer review processes.

It seems to me that the overall community viewpoint is approximately this:

  1. Not so much, although it's probably better than it used to be.
  2. Kind of, if you overlook things like the résumé service.
  3. This item doesn't really apply, because you're trying to come up with a default answer for the whole.
  4. Sort of, although that for-profit company presumably bought it because they thought it would drive sales of movies.
  5. Maybe, although the "deciding" seems to be rather scripted, with as little human judgment as possible.

Your own answers may differ significantly, of course, but if you had this discussion on a third (fourth?) page, doesn't that sound approximately like the answers you'd expect to get? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:22, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

LinkedIn (again)[edit]

I wondered why LinkedIn was unsuitable as an external link, as it doesn't currently say. Apparently it's due to WP:ELNO #6 : "Sites that require payment or registration to view the relevant content". But I don't believe that's the case. After all, we can cite The Times without issue, and that requires payment or registration. Whatever the reason, I think it needs to go in the essay as to why LinkedIn is unsuitable. What does everyone else think? Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:17, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

WP:EL (the guideline that ELNO is part of) only covers a site's use in the external links section, not as a citation. Citing paywall sources is fine per WP:PAYWALL but as external links they usually fail ELNO#6. January (talk) 14:59, 6 September 2013 (UTC)


What's the consensus on wikia sites? I'd think they would be "EL yes, RS no". Thoughts? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 13:23, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Sounds right to this user. Specialized wikis, whatever the platform (wikia is only the most common), can give much more thorough discussions of a subject. (In some ways, I think these sites' lax requirements for well-sourced information is what enables this level of detail.) At any rate, it's wholly appropriate as a way to direct readers to in-universe discussions of fictional subjects, e.g. Wookieepedia and Memory Alpha. Wikia sites concerning non-fictional subjects might be a different story, though. Ibadibam (talk) 17:54, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
As a note on Wikia site, we should only redirect them to those sites if the site is well established. Wookiepedia and Memory Alpha are very well known, but a random site for a lesser known work that might only have a dozen contributors, we would not include even if it was the only wikia for that fictional work. --MASEM (t) 18:02, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
But where to draw a line? A while ago I saw an editor arguing that any wikia but those two are "too small" to link to (that was in the context of the Witcher wikia). I think that any wikia that has some relevant content is valid to link to; in particular if it is a wikia specializing in a given topic. For the Witcher example, I think all Witcher articles we have should link to the corresponding article on the Witcher wikia, and roughly, this should a standard practice. I.e., if a wikia about subject X exists, all our articles related to subject X should link to their corresponding articles on the said wikia, unless there's a consensus that said wikia for some reason breaches our other policies (through I cannot even think of when this could happen). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:18, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
WP:ELMAYBE doesn't use the number of authors as a factor in determining the relevance of an external link. A web page could have a single author and still qualify, so long as the source is knowledgeable (per point 4). So why does point 12 of WP:ELNO specifically call out open wikis as requiring "a substantial number of editors"? In my mind this has less to do with any requirement of scope or substance, and more to do with having a community that fights vandalism and ensures the project's credibility. If the wikia's editor base is keeping their pages patrolled, then that wikia is substantial enough for linking. Ibadibam (talk) 06:42, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
@Ibadibam: I think that's a good observation. At the same time, I found vandalism on Wikia to be pretty rare. It seems that the site has an active anti-vandal anti-spam meta community, if not two. The site is also actively maintained from the technical/maintenance perspective. Two anti-vandalism extensions are used often on Wikia. ProtectSite.... The other extension is AbuseFilter]. There are also blacklists, including spam blacklists, and a number of tools to deal with spam ([1]). As such, I think that we can consider even small wikias well protected against those concerns. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 10:39, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
The concern is not just spam and vandalism at the moment; it's also about activity and trying to predict what will happen to the site's activity in the medium-term future. A site with three active editors this month might have just one or even none next month. A site with 50 will almost always have a few present next year. The usual size requirement is on the order of 10 to 100: I've never seen a regular EL editor ask for less than 10, nor more than 100.
Another concern is the ease with which the site's contents could be changed in non-spammy/non-vandalistic ways. Wikia might be well-protected against spam (I wouldn't know), but no bot can protect articles against bad information.
As for the actual suggested addition: When Wikia sites come up at WP:ELN, they are almost always rejected. Therefore the accurate description of the community's actual practice is "Maybe" at best, or even "Sometimes, but usually no". WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:58, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I think these arguments apply equally to DMOZ directory. For some reason that website gets a free ride on Wikipedia despite having poor quality content and being very spam-ridden (at least in the areas I have looked). pgr94 (talk) 16:54, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
pgr94, This is a tangent, but I think that reviewing our recommendation to use DMOZ would probably be warranted. Its quality seems to be lower than it was a decade ago. WP:EL originally recommended "web directories", with none named; in late 2006, DMOZ was added as an example, and then became the default. It's probably worth considering a return to the original, DMOZ-silent version. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:37, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, is it really a tangent? Like a wiki, DMOZ is crowd-sourced. Nonetheless, it is spammy and extremely patchy. DMOZ has a large number of editors, yet the scope is so large, so all-encompassing that many areas of poor quality can be found. Clearly the larger the scope that the website covers, the more editors needed to ensure quality. This would suggest that small specialised wikis are more likely to be high quality. Secondly, an external link is good if it has content that is relevant, reliable, trustworthy, and stable. Whether a website is a wiki or not is only secondary. To me a blanket rule to include or exclude wikis is unhelpful. pgr94 (talk) 10:00, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Small wikis (specialized or not) are more likely to fail NPOV (because one or two POV pushers can throw the whole thing off) and more likely to be unstable (because one or two POV pushers could join tomorrow, or everyone else could get bored and quit). This is true for any open platform, not just open wikis (links to closed wikis have never been discouraged). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:44, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that there's no "magic number" of editors that indicates the reliability and stability of a wiki. And for many topics there's really no good reason to link to an open wiki. But open wikis generally serve one very important function on Wikipedia, which I mentioned above: they are a dumping ground for in-universe content about works of fiction. Directing interested editors to Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia helps limit the content of Wikipedia's Star Trek and Star Wars articles to what's actually notable, and there are more cases of this specifically listed for this reason at WP:WAF. WikiProject Star Wars has even identified this phenomenon in their project guidelines. Fiction wikis keep cruft off of Wikipedia, and for that reason I think they should be allowed, unless they're demonstrated to have unreliable information—probably be decided best by the relevant wikiproject or taskforce, if one exists. Ibadibam (talk) 23:27, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Directing editors elsewhere is quite a different matter than readers. If we're using external wikis as a "dumping ground", why would we want to send our readers there? Nikkimaria (talk) 23:53, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
So the readers can find in-depth information about a topic that interests them—information that Wikipedia can't really provide (or shouldn't anyway). Ibadibam (talk) 00:00, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
I completely stand by all User:Ibadibam has said here. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:40, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

I would say that wikis, whereever hosted, are just generally a WP:ELNO - most wikis out there do not give extra info, are not stable, do not have a significantly stable editor base. We do not link to other Wikipedia articles as an external link either. There are exceptions, some wikis are significant, and they can be linked. It is WP:ELNO, not WP:ELNEVER and we have WP:IAR - believe me, by far most of the wikis out there are not suitable, the ones that are are the minority. Note that the Wiki still has to pass the bar of adding something to the article that can not be included, and we should avoid linkfarming (we do not link because the resource is out there). --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:22, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

What makes the exceptions suitable for linking? What makes them significant? Ibadibam (talk) 18:33, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
While some generic statements can be made, they are not really very useful. It is a matter of "I know it when I see it", more properly expressed by saying that it is reasonably easy to justify (on talk) why a particular EL is an exception and is helpful for that article. Johnuniq (talk) 01:46, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Ok, perhaps some examples? Like the aforementioned Wookieepedia? Ibadibam (talk) 06:11, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
I'd curious to see some bad examples. Because in my experience, practically all Wikipedia articles on fiction or games that have corresponding Wikia articles could benefit from a Wikia link. Why cannot we link from Juan Rico to , Naruto Uzumaki to or (a specific case where I was reverted) from Times of Contempt to ? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:40, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

I am still waiting for someone to explain why most wikias are not suitable for external links. I cited several specific examples above. Can someone can explain why the sample wikias (Starship Troopers, Naruto, The Witcher) - stable, vandalism/spam free, and clearly useful to the reader - are not satisfactory, or why they are not representative of wikias in general? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

In the spirit of collaboration I am pinging all past discussants: User:Ibadibam, User:Masem, User:WhatamIdoing, User:Pgr94, User talk:Nikkimaria, User:Beetstra. Those of you who disagree with restoring my proposed entry on Wikia, please explain to me why the examples I cited above are not legible for being included on Wikipedia. It has been my experience, over many years, that Wikia pages I've visted - a sample of several hundreds by know - are, with almost no exception, free of vandalism, and spam, and particularly in the context of topics of dubious notability provide a very helpful external link with much "further reading content". Their exclusion from Wikipedia articles seems not justified on the basis of "they are too likely vandalized/spammed". For the record, I am including a proposed entry on the Wikia below (revised in the light of comments above), so we are all on the same page with regards to what is it that I am proposing to include. PS. While I considered Nota bene* Sometimes rather than YesY Generally yes for a compromise version, the fact that hundreds of pages I reviewed seem fine, and next to none were vandalized/spammed, makes me stuck by the "generally yes" version for now. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:34, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
This is purely from the point of view that wikis on Wikia tend to be spam-free and vandalism-free - and those are not the only measures for making a wiki 'stable'. I see the addition of Wikia wikis also from the 'what do they add' point of view. Wikis are, by nature, not a reliable source of information, and when not operated by a large userbase generally also not a very complete source of information. Moreover, since most are open wikis, the information that they provide could be included into Wikipedia itself. The questions are then, a) should Wikipedia host that information as well (if so, it does not make a suitable external link), b) if not, is the information that is not on Wikipedia, but on the Wikia wiki, adding anything to the Wikipedia article that is necessary (if not, the link does not need inclusion) c) is that information reliable (is it referenced there, although it does not need to pass the scrutiny of WP:RS/WP:V/WP:NOR, we would not put an external link to information which we expect to be really unreliable, and en.wikipedia, orders of magnitude bigger than the bigger Wikia wikis, is by nature unreliable itself) and stable enough (and there may be other issues). And although Wikipedia has as a goal to write an encyclopedia, that is not necessarily true for a Wikia-wiki.
We do not add external links because they are on-topic or relevant to the subject, we add external links because they add something that we can not include that is however of encyclopedic value. Our aim should be to include encyclopedic information, not to add external links to it. Every external link one wants to add should be reasoned and one should be able to make a case for it (otherwise it is in contrast with our core policies), there are only few cases where that can be swept under a blanket of 'generally yes' or even 'sometimes', and I don't think that it is generally true for external wikis (Wikia or elsewhere). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:39, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Proposed entry on Wikia[edit]

  • As an external link: YesY Generally yes.
  • As a reliable source: N Generally no.
  • Common issues:
  1. As any user-submitted content, content on wikias is not generally reliable as a source.
  2. ELNO #12 recommends open wikis are to be avoided, "except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors". This is primarily a controller for how likely are those sites vandalized, and how quickly is such vandalism reverted. Wikia, however, is a major wiki farm with a number of anti-vandal and anti-spam tools (see VSTF Wiki). As such, Wikias are not significantly more likely to be vandalized for a lengthy duration that Wikipedia pages. However, it is recommended that before adding an external link to a Wikia link from a Wikipedia, the editor verifies that the particular Wikia they want to link is not suffering from any serious vandalism or spam issues.
  • Oppose - again, the exclusion of Wikia links is based not only on the likelihood that they include vandalism and spam, but also on such factors as site quality, likelihood of appropriate updates, etc. Wikia sites are very uneven in that regard. Most are quite lax on copyright/fair-use issues (ELNEVER), are not neutral or accurate (don't meet ELYES), contain unverifiable research (ELNO#2), etc. See previous discussion here. Nikkimaria (talk) 11:59, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
    • (This discussion is the continuation of the one you linked to, BTW.) Wikia complies with DMCA takedown notices as a matter of policy, and the reliable Wikias have comprehensive fair use claims (e.g. Wookieepedia's policy). I'd say the presence of those policies satisfies ELNEVER. Ibadibam (talk) 18:37, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
      • The key point of that is "the reliable wikis" - how do you determine which ones those are? Wookieepedia is among the most developed and the largest, and so is already allowed. Nikkimaria (talk) 19:40, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
        • Yes, and that's why we need to get some examples of good and bad Wikias so we can all determine what that threshold is and come to a consensus on a guideline. Ibadibam (talk) 20:10, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
    • @Nikkimaria:, as User:Ibadibam has noted, you have to include some proof that Wikias are generally of low quality. I've stated, before, that in my experience, having read few hundred wikia pages, the vast majority were informative, and did not appear affected by spam, vandalism or such. And while both of our comments are based on OR, at least mine suggest I did some OR, whereas your comments are based on... what? Dislike of Wikia, or hearsay about it? Can you cite any source that compares the quality of Wikipedia or Wikia? Because if not, we are just dealing with a lot of "in my opinions". The point about copyvios is taken, but it can be accommodated with a note similar to that on our entry for YouTube, which essentially repeats ELNEVER, i.e. reminds editors to make sure they are not linking to pages containing copyvio content.
  • Comment - I still think there's a good case for generally allowing Wikia as an EL for fiction topics only, per the above discussion from April, and would support a proposed entry for Wikia that notes this distinction. This accounts for actual practice by several WikiProjects, and makes it easy to deal with the ELNO#2 problem that Nikkimaria has rightly raised. Ibadibam (talk) 18:37, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Wikia as an EL definitely should be marked "Sometimes" and then provide the rationale of what we consider a decent Wikia (one with an established history and respectable user base side, at minimum). Saying "Mostly Yes" opens the door to a lot of poorly maintained Wikias. --MASEM (t) 20:54, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. This is not an accurate description of actual community practice. This page is supposed to document what actually is happening, not what someone wishes it would happen instead. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:38, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
    • @WhatamIdoing: Your comment is essentially wrong, as it displays lack of familiarity with Wikipedia:POLICY#Life_cycle, which I encourage you read. Some proposals codify established practice, yes, but others suggest changes to it. Certain things are changed only after a policy is accepted by the community, not before. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
      • Far from being unfamiliar with POLICY#Life_cycle, I believe that you will find that I wrote most of it. Face-wink.svg. This particular page is not a policy or a guideline. It is really just documentation of the typical response to the typical instance of the named websites. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:40, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - no, these links generally fail WP:EL, except sometimes for really stable ones, or the ones which are the subject of the page. Where they are not the official website of the subject, they fail WP:ELOFFICIAL - we do not list all official websites about a subject, we do not need to link every facebook, myspace or blog, and neither the wiki of the subject. En.wikipedia is likely, by far, bigger than any of the wikia-wikis, and we still have a general disclaimer that what we publish should be considered unreliable. We are not including external links because we can, we are including external links because they add something to an article. We should not be including a Wikia-wiki just because it exists, that is beyond our purposes and fails our core policies. Inclusion of every single external link should be considered and reasoned, not because of a blanket. A Wikia-wiki is generally not a suitable external link, a Wikia-wiki is generally not a good reference, exceptions for both exist, and one should be able to defend that exception. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:41, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
    • @Beetstra: Have you reviewed the three specific cases I listed above? Can you comment on why you would not support including those particular three external links? Please note I am not suggesting we should add wikia links wherever possible, but in cases where it is a clearly helpful page, as I believe is the case in all three examples I cited above. Would you be more supportive if we went with "sometimes" rather than "generally yes"? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
      • @Piotrus: - those are exceptions, that does not make it a status of "generally yes", it is a "generally no", there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Wikia wikis, and there will maybe be a couple which pass, and that number is likely in the same order as cases where a wikia-document is a reliable source (for a specific context). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
        • The problem is not spam or vandalism, the problem is that they are, by nature, not reliable (often worse than Wikipedia), (often) incomplete and (often) do not add anything beyond what Wikipedia includes (or could easily include). It appears that you read WP:EL from a spam/vandalism point of view, I read it from a WP:NOT#LINKFARM/WP:NOT#DIRECTORY point-of-view - it is not our purpose to include external links for a subject just because it is on topic and free of spam, we include it only because it adds to the Wikipedia page beyond the point of what Wikipedia should include. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:09, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
        • @Beetstra:. 1) You call them exceptions, but just like I told Nikkimaria - in my experience they are the rule. Can you cite any stats that most Wikia pages are poor quality? If we cannot find any stats, and agree on the quality for "most wikia pages", then we have to review them on the case by case basis, with the neutral version being not generally yes or no, but sometimes. One of my primary concerns is that "generally no" will be read by some people as "always no". You say that the three pages I linked above are "ok", yes" Well, I've been regularly reverted when I try to link those or others of similar quality on the basis of "wikia pages are always bad, no exceptions" (ex. [2]). My main purpose here is to have a rule saying that "sometimes, elinks to wikias are ok and they should not be removed by default with no exceptions allowed". Wikia links should be removed only if the target pages are problematic, not because we assume that all wikia pages are bad (because we can all find plenty of examples of high quality wikia pages which censorship from our elink sections does not benefit the reader, but on the contrary, denies them a helpful resource). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:04, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
          • I have removed many, many of them. I don't think that they are that commonly OK. With some exception, Wikis (including Wikia's) make bad external links. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:29, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
          • You say "Wikia links should be removed only if the target pages are problematic, not because we assume that all wikia pages are bad" - that is putting the horse behind the cart - it is, and has always been: "Wikia links should only be included when their inclusion is justifiable" - and the latter is in line with our core policies. And the example you give is exactly that - that wikia is not the official link of the subject, moreover, in a next edit (here you do exactly what WP:EL is suggesting - incorporate the info if that is possible. We do not add external links just because they are on-topic etc. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
            • @Beetstra: I hear what you say. Perhaps we look at some differen wikias. The ones I feel are related fall into the two categories I primarily use - gaming and fiction wikias. Fiction wikias often have much more developed articles on fiction topics, which we tend to limit due to issues with notability. The three examples I gave above fit into that category, but I could add one more. Back ten years ago when I started editing Wikipedia, a bunch of my articles were on fictional entries in the Honorverse. Now, most of them are gone, redirected and often transwikied to the active and informative . That wikia is the best resource on this book series out there - yet a number of people here would say we are not allowed to link to it. At the same time, the honorverse wikipedia article links to at least two set of forums dedicated to the series and another, smaller wiki, this one on wikispaces (no idea why this is not picked up by [3]. I could name dozens of other examples where I have seen extensive, helpful wikis on fiction topics that we cover that we are not linking too, and I find it ridiculous: all net savvy Internauts those days know that for those topics, those wikias are the primary guide. Excluding them is hiding from reality. Ditto for games. Let's look at NetHack - it links to on wiki,, but not to . Now, I am not saying here "keep wikia links" because "other crap is linked"; rather I am saying that wikis are helpful, people want to have them linked, and wikia is probably loosing out because it's easy to pick it up through external links search tool, so it's subject to periodic mass removals, whereas other wikis are not. Why is being removed from BattleTech page? Any BT fan will tell you it's the premier resource for this franchise. And so on and so on. I am fine with changing my view from "usually yes" to "sometimes", but I'd like us to stop hating other big, reliable, and helpful wikis (which are usually, through not always, hosted by Wikia). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:26, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
              • @Piotrus:Honorverse has 65 references, long article; NetHack 26, reasonable article; BattleTech has 38 references, also quite a long article. Do those pages benefit so much from a link to a wiki, where Wikipedia itself is not reliable and stable enough to provide info itself. We do not link because the topic is the same, we link because they add something substantial. If you can make that case then that may be fine, but in most of those cases I don't believe they follow WP:NOT and WP:EL. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:55, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
                • Uh, those wikis have hundreds if not thousands articles we don't, because of Notability fiction / not a manual issues. They are clearly helpful to many readers, aren't they? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:26, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
                  • Look, and that is the individual case you would have to make, e.g. on the respective talkpages, not because of a blanket 'sometimes'/'generally yes'. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:14, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
                    • @Beetstra: That's fair. So if there's consensus among editors of a given topic on that topic's talk page that a link to Wikia is appopriate, would you say it's ok to include it, and a blanked removal citing ELNO or such is inappropriate? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:36, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - EL Possibly, RS No. I would also recommend providing examples of the major ones (Star Trek, etc.) to provide a benchmark for the standard expected fir EL use. I can't imagine using one as a RS unless it has a RS footnote, in which case we should use the footnote itself. (talk) 16:58, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

                      • Consensus does not necessarily trump policy, I think it depends on the situation. WP:NOT has longstanding consensus, and WP:ELNO has consensus against inclusion of Wikis .. that is a bar to pass. I think that if unclear, that removal warrants a question or discussion. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:55, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


  • Consensus can change, and that's what we're discussing here. It's probably fair to say that Wikia has generally become more reliable since it was first blacklisted, and much Wikipedia content has been transwikied to Wikia pages, as Piotrus noted above. It's about time this policy be updated to reflect actual practice, and consider Wikia a "sometimes". Ibadibam (talk) 19:09, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
    • I could even agree with rarely and a note that each link has to be justified on the talk page. But I don't believe there's a consensus for blanked removal of all Wikia links under semi-random lettersoup edit summaries. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:44, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
      • The lettersoup edit summary generally point to policies and guidelines which have long standing consensus - Wikis are discouraged specifically in one of the WP:ELNO's for a reason, and moreover I do believe that they, often but not always, fail the rest of the guideline WP:EL as well as the policy WP:NOT (as do many, many external links). As long as no clear consensus for an external link inclusion is there, I believe that they can be summarily removed per those policies and guidelines, and that that local consensus does not necessarily trump our core policies or guidelines either. Also note that actual practice may still fail our policies and guidelines. I think that our focus should be at writing an encyclopedia, not at writing an internet directory or a linkfarm. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:47, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
        • While I agree with you, I think that as encyclopedia we fail the reader if we exclude links to what often is the primary source for information on a given subject. While it's reasonable to exclude those links in some cases (blatant copyvio, BLP, etc.) I don't believe this is the case with most wikia links. So by censoring them we are reducing the informational value of our encyclopedic articles. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:10, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
          • I think that with writing an encyclopedia, and following what we are not writing, we would not fail our readers. Finding other primary sources is what other websites are for (directory services, search engines). --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:19, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" - Winston Churchill paraphrasing John Maynard Keynes. Wikia was founded in 2004. Since then, some of its "resident sites" have gone on to great things and others have not, similar to certain fan sites. The ones Wikipedia should include in EL/Further reading are those which are more extensive and in-depth than Wikipedia (not "or could easily include" as that's a hypothetical). Ask yourself: If I were researching the topic of this article, what would be seriously helpful to further my knowledge beyond what is included in this article? Some Wikias clearly make that cut. Based on what he's posted (both here and on his Talk page under On External Link Remova), it appears Dirk Beetstra has very strong feelings about External links, and presumably about the related Further reading section. I disagree with his strongly deletionist interpretation. As Jimmy Wales put it, "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." That doesn't mean we include everything everywhere, that means we include the encyclopedic, and link to more extensive, in-depth sources for those who wish to go beyond that. I think including some examples of Wikias which meet that standard is useful, as it gives editors a benchmark. Suggesting an editor check if the article's subject has a Wikia (or similar) is akin to checking DMOZ for a category on that subject. It's a useful exercise, and may or may not result in either or both being included in that article's External links or Further reading - but you don't know until you (edited: aka Wikipedians considering adding links) look. So, I would recommend the Guideline be clear on that point. Note: Wikipedia articles aren't all equally extensive and useful, and therefore some are often referenced elsewhere while others are not. (talk) 16:40, 7 June 2014 (UTC) - unfortunately, the wording of our pillar 'What Wikipedia is not' and the external links guideline is against that argument - links are only included if they merit inclusion, not just because they exist. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:38, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
I am not disputing that. Why are you claiming I am? I edited my above post to clarify "you" in case you thought I was referring to our readers, not our edutors. (talk) 17:16, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
I was responding to your ".. it appears Dirk Beetstra has very strong feelings about External links, and presumably about the related Further reading section. I disagree with his strongly deletionist interpretation." - that is what I meant: one of our pillars is strongly against inclusion of external links, only those that merit, and the onus is on the one who wants to include links, not on the one who wants to exclude links. By the way, yes, the related Further reading section falls under the same scrutiny, as well as 'non reference' external links in the body of the text. --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:53, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
The closest anything in Wikipedia:Five Pillars comes to your claim is Pillar One, which states that Wikipedia is not a web directory. It does NOT say editors must fight tooth and nail to delete all links but one current official link (not that I'm claiming this is your view, but what I've been recently seeing claimed by others as an excuse to "cleanse" articles). In my experience "the onus is on the one who wants to include links" has unfortunately morphed into stonewalling and WP:IDONTHEARYOU. I would prefer to view EL and FR in the same way as the other sections of articles, working together to inform our readers to the best of our abilities. Surely we don't want to include anything anywhere that doesn't have merit? We also don't want to miss the forest for the trees. That said, I would add that in the case of the Wikia wikis (and other wikis) most worth adding, they are generally about a popular topic and are therefore probably included in any web directory section about that topic. So, list the best one. That's what we've traditionally done with topics so large and/or popular that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of links with much merit. For example a Wikipedia article about a major country. I'm not aware of well-done Wikias about such, just pop culture topics. Still, same idea. (talk) 16:37, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
The closest? No. "External links or Internet directories. There is nothing wrong with adding one or more useful content-relevant links to an article; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of Wikipedia. On articles about topics with many fansites, for example, including a link to one major fansite may be appropriate. See Wikipedia:External links for some guidelines.", ".. Wikipedia is not a directory of everything in the universe that exists or has existed.", "The White or Yellow Pages. Contact information such as phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses are not encyclopedic.", "Directories, directory entries, electronic program guide, or a resource for conducting business. For example, an article on a radio station should not list upcoming events, current promotions, current schedules, etc., although mention of major events, promotions or historically significant program lists and schedules may be acceptable. Likewise an article on a business should not contain a list of all the company's patent filings. Furthermore, the Talk pages associated with an article are for talking about the article, not for conducting the business of the topic of the article." etc. etc. Those are all statements regarding that we do not include information just because it is on topic, we do not include all possibly relevant websites to a subject, or all external links which could possibly help an article. There is nothing there that blankets the inclusion of links. Wikipedia:External links guides us then with "Some acceptable links include those that contain further research that is accurate and on-topic, information that could not be added to the article for reasons such as copyright or amount of detail, or other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article for reasons unrelated to its accuracy.
Some external links are welcome (see What can normally be linked, below), but it is not Wikipedia's purpose to include a lengthy or comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a Wikipedia article unless its inclusion is justifiable according to this guideline and common sense. The burden of providing this justification is on the person who wants to include an external link."
For wikis, there are cases where it is justifiable to include the link, and some examples have been given here. But it must be justifiable, we do not just link because the topics are the same. If material is not encyclopedic in Wikipedia's sense of what an encyclopedia should be, then it generally also does not merit linking to. And links that are in violation of that, where editors think that they are not justifiable, can be blanket removed. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:19, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
The point is that by excluding wikias we are not excluding "one fansite among many". We are excluding what often is the most informative website on a given topic, i.e. one of the two most relevant external links (the other being the official webpage of the topic, which is often much less relevant, if it exists at all). For example, regarding Honorverse, the Honorverse wiki is, without the doubt, the most useful link, as all editors familiar with that subject agree. To exclude it because it has some fair use issues (no piracy, publishers and author are aware of it, the problem is taking fair use a bit too far - fair use galleries, etc.) seems to me to put meta:copyright paranoia issues above the good of the reader. Everyone knows that in such a situation (when publisher/author/IP copyright holder is aware of the fan site's existence and expresses a tacit approval for it) the chances of Wikipedia being sued for simply linking to said fan site are abysmal low. Yes, we can stretch our rules to make a case it's illegal for us to link to it, but it's clearly the case of putting the letter of our rules over the spirit of building the encyclopedia (one which has external links section which the reader should find, presumably, useful, not with the most relevant link censored). When our article on The Pirate Bay links to the world's largest repository of pirated materials, and that's fine, and when we commonly link to websites that are known for violating fair use and numerous other copyright policies on a daily basis (ex. any and all news sites, which we know have problems with respecting fair use and free licences), but we cannot link to a website due to minor fair use violation, I sense a rule lawyer on a mission that has nothing to with building a better encyclopedia, somewhere... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:56, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Piotrus, again, there are cases where you can justify inclusion - but that will be far, far from 'generally yes', I really believe that these are exceptions and that external wikis are generally not suitable. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:06, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Dirk, I said above I am even willing to accept the inclusion of Wikia with a "rarely" variable; exceptions are fine. What I am not prepared to accept is a current enforced de facto total ban and censorship on Wikias. Again, look at Talk:Honorverse case: there's a consensus it's a useful site, but an extreme interpretation of ELNEVER, stretching interpretation to fair use that if used consistently would kill almost all external links we use is being used to prevent its inclusion. As I mentioned earlier, editors don't seem to even censor other wikis, the Honorverse article links to another wiki of much worse quality. That's fine... but a link to the clearly most useful site such is censored "BECAUSE WIKIA". --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 01:01, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
There is not a ban on these sites, there never has been (then they would be blacklisted, likely, because every addition would be abuse). If there are editors de facto banning Wikia, then they should be talked with - changing this essay/document is not going to help (this is less than a guideline or a policy, if you include links and using this page in the argument people who remove the link will still say what I basically say, that policy and guideline advice against them).
The WP:ELNEVER generally is only for the specific pages on the external site which really violate copyrights (except if the majority of the site is problematic). Although I think that Wikia will have the same problem with Fair Use that we have, I do also think that Wikia will have strict rules trying to enforce that images are in fact Fair Use.
As per Wikia, I would argue that other wiki-farms should get the same scrutiny and treatment - I do think that Wikia is one of the 'better' wiki-farms out there. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:04, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
@Beetstra: I am trying to talk to that editor (also active here) at Talk:Honorverse, but I think it's fair to say they disagree with your interpretation. Her latest criticism, as far as I understand it (and I am open to being corrected by her - I don't want to put my words in someone else's mouths, I am just trying to summarize my understanding of hem here) is that Wikia's hard-coded ads for other Wikias are often fair use violations and thus we cannot link to any Wikia site unless they stop advertising one another (or clean up all of their advert images) is, I think, a de facto ban on all wikias. Since that editor states that ELNEVER, as a policy, overrides the consensus of all the other editors on that talkpage, how else would you suggest can we try to discuss it? Since unlike the other editors there I believe you have no personal involvement with the subject and that Wikia, perhaps you could consider commenting there? I find your interpretation of ELNEVER (don't link to problematic pages like fair use galleries, but it's ok to link to the main site) very reasonable (and reflecting our usual practice, ex. in TPB article). More input from neutral parties could, perhaps, help resolve this issue. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:14, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't suggest we ban all Wikia sites - this particular one is in total in violation of fair use (including on the page being linked to), and your proposed solution wouldn't solve it. Nikkimaria (talk) 11:38, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
WP:ELNEVER (better: WP:COPYLINK) indeed trumps consensus. That is in line with what I said earlier: local consensus/WP:IAR does not necessarily trump policies or guidelines (and in some cases, it can never trump it, as e.g. for WP:BLP, WP:COPYRIGHT, WP:NFCC, and some other cases with legal implications). --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:04, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I changed my vote for EL from 'Sometimes Yes' to 'Possibly' as it makes sense, clarifies, and reflects what I see as the general consensus here. Thoughts? (talk) 16:06, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think we have this option, and what's the difference between those two anyway? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 14:28, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

I have now added the Wikia entry with "sometimes" EL / "generally no" for RS, which I think is the consensus here, and the notes explaining it: if an otherwise relevant wikia is not affected by vandalism, spam or copyvio issues, it can be linked to. I hope this reflects my understanding of our consensus here? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 14:36, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

It does not reflect a reasonable understanding of the consensus above, which was against the proposed addition. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:59, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposed entry on Wikia ver 2[edit]

  • As an external link: Nota bene* Sometimes.
  • As a reliable source: N Generally no.
  • Common issues:
  1. As any user-submitted content, content on wikias is not generally reliable.
  2. ELNO #12 recommends open wikis are to be avoided, "except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors". This is primarily a controller for how likely are those sites vandalized, and how quickly is such vandalism reverted. Wikia, however, is a major wiki farm with a number of anti-vandal and anti-spam tools (see [ VSTF Wiki). As such, Wikias are not significantly more likely to be vandalized for a lengthy duration that Wikipedia pages. However, some small wikias may not have sufficient vandal robustness, and editors should ensure that the wikia they are linking to is not affected by vandalism, spam and such.
  3. WP:ELNEVER is another consideration: many wikias have significant problems with copyright violating content, including fair use. Uploader need to ensure that the pages they are linking do not contain problematic content.

I think the above version should address all the issues discussed above. If anyone is unhappy with it, please state clearly why, and what should be changed to make inclusion of wikia possible. In other words, when can we link to wikia sites? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:31, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Rarely, as most Wikia sites fail either ELNO or ELNEVER. You're also again misstating the purpose of ELNO#12 - as previously explained, it's not just a measure of how little spam and vandalism a site has. (Plus, {{citation needed}} for claims about vandalism/reversion rates). Nikkimaria (talk) 11:33, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I concur with you that the examples you cite violate fair use. However, we do link to thousand of other sites that violate it in a similar fashion - not as few exceptions, but in fact I believe majority of our external links fall into such category, as virtually all websites, including WMF projects, have various fair use problems. As such, I do not believe your interpretation of the policy ELNO/ELNEVER is correct, as if it was applied to all external links, we would have next to no Internet to link to. I have asked for rules clarification at Wikipedia_talk:Copyrights#Clarification_needed.
Regarding the spam/vandalism, there are no studies on this topic, hence no citation can be provided ([4]). The closest you can find is [5], which notes that most other wikis model their vandalism and spam fighting processes on Wikipedia. As such, the links I provided and are listed above are the best, that plus our own observations, which a) confirm that major wikias (the ones we would likely link to) are vandal- and spam-free, and b) are what the proposed guideline requires editors to do before adding a link, to verify that the wikia they link to is not an exception. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 11:58, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Even if we accept that point a is true, which is questionable given that anecdotal evidence does not translate to factual data, b does not follow from that - because, again, we're not worried just about vandalism and spam in linking to wikis. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:03, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
So, pray tell me, what matters? Because we clearly link to some wikias. We do link to some wikia sites. Yu-gi-oh Wikia ([6]) is linked from Yu-Gi-Oh!, following a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Anime_and_manga/Archive_45#Allow_external_links_to_Yu-Gi-Oh.21_Wikia.3F. Naruto links to Naruto wiki ([7]). Memory Alpha ([8]) wikia linked from Star Trek or Wookiepedia ([9]) linked from Star Wars. Young Justice (TV series) links to Young Justice wikia ([10]), following a discussion at Wikipedia:External_links/Noticeboard/Archive_14. What makes those links acceptable? It is certainly not the fact that those sites respect copyrights to the letter, as just looking at the Star Trek and Star Wars wikias for example I see violations - such as a Death Star used in Wookipedia logo, or a number of decorative images used at Star Trek wikia, galleries full of problematic images ([11], [12]), and so on. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 16:49, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
oppose - Wikis still generally fail our inclusion standards per WP:EL/WP:NOT. I still do not see the need to have these separately mentioned here. Those wikis that pass can be discussed on a case-by-case basis, on the talkpages of the respective page. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:15, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Google communites[edit]

I'd like to suggest adding this.[13] Dougweller (talk) 12:16, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Adding how? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:47, 10 June 2014 (UTC)


I propose adding this to the section on facebook/myspace, before the last bullet:

  • As a source of free content: Nota bene* Sometimes. says: "When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)." and "By "use" we mean use, run, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of." [1] So Public content on facebook is WP:free, but content just shared with friends or groups is not free.

I propose appending this too: See {{Free--PublicOnFacebook}} - a template I plan to create.

Handy reference: Free_content says:
..."A free cultural work is one which has no significant legal restriction on people's freedom:

  • to use the content and benefit from using it,
  • to study the content and apply what is learned,
  • to make and distribute copies of the content,
  • to change and improve the content and distribute these derivative works.[2][3]"

--{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 01:19, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I think you are in the wrong place, Elvey. This is about external links, not about sourcing free content from them. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:42, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Adding reflist here so that the references don't float to the bottom of the page.

  1. ^ November 15, 2013 version, accessed Aug 2 2014.
  2. ^ "Definition of Free Cultural Works". Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Stallman, Richard (November 13, 2008). "Free Software and Free Manuals". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved March 22, 2009. 

Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk)

  • @Elvey: This is very interesting. I am tentatively supportive your addition, but can you also explain how one can find out if a given facebook photo is shared publicly or not? And what if the settings are changed later? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:11, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Your input is requested: Template talk:Find a Grave#Summary of points regarding template verbiage changes[edit]

I've started a discussion regarding use of the Find a Grave template and whether the way that the template page is worded in accordance with Reliable sources guidelines or a generally accepted consensus about its usage.

After discussion and review of information posted on Wikipedia, including this forum, I posted a summary of pointed suggestions for changes to clearly state when to use/not use the Find a Grave template. Do you mind looking at it and responding at Template talk:Find a Grave#Summary of points?

Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk) 17:37, 16 September 2014 (UTC)