Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking

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Links on/off button?[edit]

I don't know whether this is technically possible. If it is, I don't know if it's politically possible. But it's worth at least throwing out there and getting shot down, since it would render most of this discussion moot.

What if there were a button to toggle the links off and on?

The page would be rendered initially as it is today. If the links were hurting my readability, I could choose to turn them off.

Whether that would mean making them non-links, or simply changing the color of the text, would be a purely technical consideration, and I think the latter would be better if it's possible.

What if I then wanted more information about a word or phrase in the text? That would depend on the implementation. If only the color were changed, then the links would still be there and functional. I could hover over the word/phrase; if it became underscored, and my mouse pointer changed to the "hand", and the tooltip popped up, I would know it was a link and I could click on it as usual. If, on the other hand, the implementation was to change it to a non-link, then it would be necessary to toggle the links back on.

It might or might not be necessary to re-render the page when the button is pressed, I guess that depends on the capabilities of HTML. But I wouldn't see that as a serious problem, since the majority of pages render fairly quickly. Mandruss (talk) 09:37, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

You can apply a local stylesheet (in Special:Mypage/skin.css, or locally, in your browser) to style links however it suits you. You could also use a (browser-speciifc) plugin to disable all links, on a page-by-page basis. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:06, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Andy. I guess I shouldn't have used the first person personal pronouns. This isn't about me and my readability issues, it's about a general solution to the problem of wikilinks and readability. Mandruss (talk) 11:13, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
You can certainly tone down that default garish blue: see my userpage ... scroll down. Tony (talk) 11:49, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Allow me to suggest that we limit ourselves to solutions that will work for all Wikipedia readers. First, they need to be aware that a solution is available. Then they need to be capable of using it. Mandruss (talk) 12:00, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
The solution to overlinking is to remove excessive links, if there are any; but my response was based on the fact that what you (or any individual editor) prefer to see is not what others do. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:03, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Agree on your first statement, but let's consider the case where there's no significant overlinking, just a lot of appropriate links. It happens a lot, and it's what at least some of this page is about. It's what this solution addresses. I hope you meant reader rather than editor; I don't think anyone discussing the issue of readability is talking only about editors. And regarding your last statement, I think this solution allows everyone to have it their way --- as well as change "their way" with the click of a button. Mandruss (talk) 13:19, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Some interesting issues are intersecting here. Let's think about some extremes:

  1. We could go the way of my desktop Encarta dictionary (which incidentally has a button taking you to the WP article of the same title you've typed into the dictionary/thesaurus); in Encarta every single word functions as a link, but professional appearance and smooth reading are not degraded by patchy blue spattered all over the place—you only see a word turn (light) blue and underlined when you hover your mouse over it; until then, it's plain-sailing black. What Encarta sacrifices—if it was appropriate (which it's not)—is the opportunity to display intelligently selected and rationed links to readers. It's not an idea that appeals to me in relation to our environment. This selecting is what wikilinking does so well on WP, when not used to excess and when skilfully done.
  2. We could abolish linking. No one is thinking of that, I hope.
  3. We could go back to the old days of linking anything in sight, as many (most?) other language WPs still do, today. I think the en.WP community has spoken on that one, now that people have become used over the past eight years or so of gradual taming of the linking system. I get a lot of echo-thank-yous, from editors I've never heard of, for gnoming out overlinking nowadays; it surprises me.
  4. We could give readers on/off buttons, yes; that proposal would need careful thought, and I'm too attached to the maintenance of a good linking system to think this is a viable option. If linking is carefully applied and not too disruptive of the reading process, perhaps that wouldn't be necessary. See No. 5 ...
  5. We could float the idea of a button or two that offer toned-down link hues. Perhaps: "Light-blue link color ◌ "

    I've become so used to the colour patch/thingy I installed about six years ago that when I go to other WMF sites, links are like neon signs. See possible gradations here. But I'm such a tech dummy I can't work out how to update the advice at the bottom for vector (it's still says "monobook"). BTW, many people wouldn't be happy with my choice of minimal difference between the link colour and the default black text, but there are gradations slightly sharper gradations that are a little closer to the current default. I'm interested in people's opinions generally about pref. buttons for link colour—and link colour in general. Apparently the colour was chosen without much thought by a WMF engineer one day back early this century (according to Tim Starling, when we spoke a long time ago about it). Tony (talk) 15:02, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

I wouldn't have a problem with your option 5, with just one little change: the option to go all the way black. Is there a reason I'm missing why that would be a bad thing? Mandruss (talk) 16:00, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Greetings! I am glad to see that the issue is being discussed here. I have to say, however, that I agree with Tony1 on this one. It's more about displaying intelligently selected and rationed links to readers. In one word, relevance. Moreover, in most cases the actual linked content is just tangentially related to the subject, so there isn't really any reason to link such content. In my humble opinion, the main issue here is good linking skills. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:17, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I think that convenience (to the reader) ranks with relevance as the essential criteria as to whether some link should be added. However, that wasn't the initial topic of this section; should we open a new section for that? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:59, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Links are for convenience. But the selectivity (based on editorial skills/judgment) is a large part of their utility for readers. Just maximising "convenience" would result in every single word being linked, and then you lose the selectivity benefit. Comment on Jayaguru's post: not relevance alone, but utility, which is a tougher test. Part of utility is the obviousness of link pipes (misleading pipes are a major problem I sometimes have to fix when gnoming); and specificity: fixing vague pipes gets to be too much for gnoming, since often you have to research sections and offspring articles to identify a more specific target). So quite a few additional criteria are involved in the balance sheet of whether to link, and if so, how. It's a skill like prose-writing that wikis have made possible ... indeed I would say they demand it for high quality. Tony (talk) 03:42, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
By convenience I was thinking in terms of how many places a link should be replicated such that a reader doesn't have to scroll back several lengthy sections to find the link. A link should not be inserted anywhere if it is not relevant, and even a relevant term should not be linked on every use. The interpretation of "only once per article" is being used to override editors' considerations of other criteria, wherefore I think we should explicitly allow "once per section". But we have wandered off-topic; perhaps this should be discussed elsewhere? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:04, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Let's do discuss that though; I concur that "once per page" is too rigid a rule, though "once per section" is too loose; typically once per page is enough, but once per page as a default is fine, if we permit re-linking in subsequent sections if it seems particularly pertinent to do so, especially in longer articles.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:13, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I think a clear guideline is necessary since otherwise there would be a link on every mention. I appreciate your opinions but personally, I am in favour of once in an article. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 13:29, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I am going to work up a proposal; will bring it up in a new section in a day or two. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:16, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
  • But my default assumption is that readers start at the opening and read through. If they want to poke around patchily, they should expect lots of the same item to be blued out: they should be assume to instinctively know that skimming back is requred—or they can type into the search box what they want. The slippery slope would return us to the link-anything days, whereas it's been a lot of work to get the system pared back to where each link really means something. Tony (talk) 03:43, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Let's continue this discussion below at #Proposal to allow links once per section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:37, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

The iceberg junk code[edit]

This recent addition strikes me as something that needs to be removed, and certainly does not reflect WP consensus or normal practice:

  • Items within quotations should not generally be linked; instead, consider placing the relevant links in the surrounding text or in the "See also" section of the article. Alternatively, immediately after the quotation and its references, consider adding an {{Efn}} template for each term you're linking and explain its meaning (usually by getting it from the linked-to article's first sentence); and before the References or similar section add a Notes section with a {{Notelist}} template. Example:
Classical arts reviewer Chris Ng wrote, "the mural shows icebergs with great sensitivity."[39][40]{{Efn|[[Iceberg]], a large piece of ice that floats freely after it broke from a glacier or ice shelf}}
== Notes ==
a. [[Iceberg]], a large piece of ice that floats freely after it broke from a glacier or ice shelf

I don't think I've ever seen such an absurdity in any article here, and this kind of abuse of complicated footnote code "bloat" is far worse than any excessive bluelinking problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:47, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Oh my. Yes, that is awful. Let's delete it (or at least decently bury it) before it propagates. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:45, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm going to WP:BOLDly just delete that nonsense.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:13, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to allow links once per section[edit]

This proposal arises from a discussion that developed above at #Links on/off button.3F, and a discussion at WT:Manual of Style/Layout#See Also section: is our guidance realistic.3F that came down to a question of overlinking.

At WP:OVERLINK the MOS says: "Generally, a link should appear only once in an article..." (emphasis in the original). Some editors have ignored the "generally" and interpret this strictly, using this as grounds for removing all "duplicate" links, including those in a separate "See also" section. Many editors find the strict "only once" interpretation too rigid, while others are concerned about (to quote Tony) a "slippery slope [that] would return us to the link-anything days". A reasonable compromise is to limit links to only once per section. Therefore I propose that the last two sentences at WP:OVERLINK be replaced with the following, which slightly relaxes the rigid interpretation, and clarifies some related aspects:

In general links should be made only at the first instance in the text of an article or section (not counting instances in infoboxes, tables, image captions, or footnotes). Where a link is proper at different places in an article it may be repeated as a convenience so the reader does not have to scroll back through the article to find it. Links that are otherwise acceptable should not be removed solely because they are duplicated, but only if duplicated excessively, such as multiple times in a given section.

"See also" sections are intended as a convenient guide to articles on related topics that a reader might be interested in, independently of whether the such articles have been mentioned or linked in the current article. Links are not precluded from a "See also" section because they have appeared earlier in an article.


~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:47, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Support/Oppose[edit]

  • Support as proposer. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 17:36, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose—I think this is very unwise. Tony (talk) 03:14, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is specifically discouraged to have a link in the 'See also' section that is already in the article itself. -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:31, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a terrible idea. Specifically ruled out by WP:SEEALSO. --John (talk) 10:00, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support the first paragraph, oppose the second. As a reader I really hate it if I have to go link hunting, i.e. if I have to manually scan the article text to find a link just because the term was already linked somewhere else. E.g. an article about a composer might mention specific works at different places, and then it would be really inconvenient if only the first place were linked. Tobias Bergemann (talk) 10:17, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This would take Wikipedia back to the Stone Age of linking. Even the current policy is quite a flexible one. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:30, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if people are ignoring part of what's currently there, you should discuss the matter with them. The current wording is flexible enough to allow relinking where it makes sense to do so; the proposed wording is far too loose. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:45, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support the first paragraph for the reason given above by Tobias Bergemann. Many readers jump to a section and will not have had an opportunity to benefit from an earlier link. (So far all the "oppose" arguments seem to be "we've always done it that way." Not particularly persuasive.) Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 21:34, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I didn't think Wikipedia was a democracy! 64.134.232.217 (talk) 18:34, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - the policy of linking once only is a nonsense, particularly in lengthy articles - linking within sections makes much more sense. Readers will often jump to a specific section (which is what the TOC is designed for) so why force them to go hunting through each other section to find a previous occurrence of the word(s) to find a link to the relevant article? The mobile apps of WP present an article with all the sections closed up and actively encourage section jumping and so exacerbate the problem. It is also an extremely poor experience for users of screen readers who will find it very laborious to use link nav to scroll up and down the page. Bladeboy1889 (talk) 10:26, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support first part - much more helpful to the reader. Consider also mobile view, where sections are collapsed, and a link in, say, section 1 may not be seen by someone who has expanded, say,only section 4. Oppose second part. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:47, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose The issue seems to be the implementation of the current policy, rather than its actual wording, and I am nervous about how the altered wording would be applied in practice. Hchc2009 (talk) 14:36, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Is the proposal a solution to a nonproblem? 166.147.88.28 (talk) 02:47, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support This change would address two annoyances I have frequently seen in longer articles. The purpose of links is to help a reader quickly finding associated information without having to guess the exact article title and enter it into the search box. Complex articles aren't read linearly. Users might skip chapters by clicking the TOC, or they might arrive at the article via a link from another article or redirect to a section header or embedded anchor. A strict rule for no repeated links defeats the very purpose of why links exist in the first place. From the usability point of view, a reader cannot be expected to hunt previous chapters for links - a reader might waste alot of time scanning through information outside his/her scope of interest trying to find a link without even knowing if it exists. This is a very bad user experience. Therefore, the question, if a link should exist or not, should be answered from the viewpoint of a reader arriving at a section header without knowing the previous part of the article. In a very short section or article, it might still be okay to scan the whole article for a link, while in longer and more complex articles it is not. Similar for See also sections. While it is generally unnecessary to repeat already existing links in the See also section, sometimes See also sections contain well-organized lists of orthogonally related topics and if some of the links, which would belong into such a list, cannot be found there (because they are already used further up), it could easily be interpreted as if the subject isn't covered at all in Wikipedia. In such cases, not repeating the link creates inconsistencies and hinders easy navigation. --Matthiaspaul (talk) 20:45, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose It opens the door to large scale overlinking and repetition of large number of links in the see also section that are already in the text.--SabreBD (talk) 23:14, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
You didn't provide a rationale for your comment. My request for further comment was moved to the bottom of the page; perhaps you would comment there. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:14, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Yes it opens the door for unnecessary linking and since it is irrelevant to the subject it shouldn't be linked anywhere. Sometimes the word is so common that there is no need of introduction. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 04:39, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
What the heck are you talking about? Any link that is "irrelevant to the subject", and links to common words, are already excluded by the existing rule, and this proposal makes no changes to that; your comment irrelevant. "Unnecessary" linking is not the same objection as "large scale overlinking", and seems very weak. Links that may not be strictly necessary can still be useful. The possible inclusion of an unnecessary link seems a much lesser offense than the exclusion of a useful link. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:53, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
@J. Johnson: You cannot link to very common words, geolocations, professions even once. That one link is only for linking a important subject. You cannot link Barack Obama two times and it is about whole article. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 11:13, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
As I just said: links to common words are already excluded, and (did you miss this part?) that is not changed by this proposal. But if you need to discuss this further we should do it below, lest we stimulate JS to further removals. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes and no, mostly no. The second part is bunk; the way see-also sections current work is just fine, and they're terribly overused as it is. Usually there should not be one, when there is one, more of tehn than not all the links in it are redundant, or can with very little effort be worked into the text. That said, the first part is onto something we've all know for a long time, that the "once per page" thing is not actually viable, especially for long and/or dense articles. But "once per section" isn't useful; many sections are only one sentence. The proper solution is to clarify existing wording a little to be clearer relinking is okay where it makes sense to do so, such that users do not have to unreasonably link-hunt. "It already says that" isn't good enough; if it were being reliably interpreted that way, this proposal would not be happening and attracting so much support for its top half.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:20, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I mostly agree (except re See Also). Any suggestions? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:55, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose for a few reasons. First, sections are an implementation detail, not a clear division of content like chapters in a book. A section may be as small or as large as the content requires so for some sections it may be appropriate to link multiple times and for others it may be appropriate to not link across many sections (even if we define a section as something under a level 2 header). Second, although I understand the frustration that comes from policies built around some conception of shared common sense--in this case the word "generally" should lead an editor to link where it might be appropriate just as the admonition to link once would lead another editor to remove the same link--we should be very hesitant to replace broad guidance with narrow proscription. While narrow proscription is of course the purview of MOS (I kid, I kid), it rarely results in the outcome desired. This is especially true where we're creating a narrow rule to clarify a more general one or where we're aiming for a broad outcome (getting roughly the right amount of links on a page) using a specific decision rule. Protonk (talk) 18:13, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support one link per section in article body, Oppose in "See also." — In the typical GA, sections are often detailed enough to be read independently, and it's not unlikely that a reader will look at the TOC and jump to the most interesting section. I think the proposal provides a genuine service to readers who jump into an article at a section and do not always read from the top down. Not a joke at all: I think of this proposal as particularly helpful to readers with disabilities such as ADHD. The proposal for one link per section helps make WP more accessible. On the other hand, I think there's a serious risk of bloat in "See also" sections, which are too often abused (especially in C-class and lower articles) as a poor substitute for incorporating relevant matter into the article body. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 20:54, 18 July 2014 (UTC), updated 21:09, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Invoking the "not repeat" language at WP:SEEALSO is meaningless as it only repeats the "only once" langauge here (from which it is derived). It most certainly does not rule out making changes. Nor does it rule out "duplicate links": the supposed prohibition is given (in both places) as a general rule. The problem is that quite a few editors routinely remove such "duplicate" links, without consultation, as being flatout prohibited by WP:OVERLINK (end of discussion, editorial judgment and common sense be damned). The current language is nominally general and flexible, but the result is not.

You opposers seem to fear some immediate and overreaching kudzu-like fate for en:Wikipedia if ever a link be repeated in an article. Note that this proposal in no way relaxes the requirement for relevancy, nor what should not be linked. There has been no showing how duplicating a link in "See also" is in any way objectionable, except for violating an arbitrary and rigid prohibition. If this is such a terrible and unwise idea please show how that is so. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:18, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

We don't "fear", we know. Less is more. Links are valuable when properly used; they detract when in excess. Although overlinking has reached its peak, it would be a shame to let those gains in parseability/readability be eroded by removing provisions in the guideline that have served the project well. In the same way as WP:MOSFLAG allows the use of flag icons in clearly defined but limited circumstances, editors have naturally gone beyond what is allowed or optimal, and linking practices are no exception. Links far enough away from the first one are not prohibited as it seems the nom implies. Thus the rationale for allowing an existing link to be repeated in the See also section is mighty weak, and is likely to turn it into a repository of repeat links. -- Ohc ¡digame! 01:24, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this started out as two proposals: One to make it clear that links may be repeated in articles. Another to say that links can be repeated in See also. Are you two discussing both proposals or only one? And if one, which one? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:29, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  No, it is really only one proposal. The second paragraph clarifies a special case. The existing OVERLINK text says once per article, which implies the whole hog, and then exempts infoboxes, tables, etc., without addressing "See also" sections. The proposal specifies the text, which would not cover a SA, but Wikipedians being so various in their interpretations I thought it best to explicit address SAs. I could have proposed merely adding "See also" to the list of exemptions, but it seemed to me better to go for the most general case.
  Ohc: Setting an arbitrary limit ("only once"!) on the number of links without regard to their quality or relevance has a serious failing: it gives a free pass to link ANYTHING (with a few exceptions) once. Provide any example you want, and identify every instance of what you deem overlinking, and I suspect that many of those links (most?) will be 1) non-duplicated links, and therefore pass under the existing rule, and 2) better handled (i.e., removed) on the basis of relevance and quality.
  As to turning a SA "into a repository of repeat links": do you mean like repeating every link in an article? The way to avoid that is not by absolutely and universally prohibiting repetition, but addressing that problem at WP:SEEALSO. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:57, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
"It gives a free pass to link ANYTHING"? No, not really. It's been described at sections What generally should be linked and What generally should not be linked. In my humble opinion, the latter should also be made more precise even: it's still missing many problematic areas that should be added on the not to be linked list. For example, I hope WP:OVERLINK could be extended to geographic locations in general (towns, cities, regions, countries). A small quote from my post at What is "major" for the purposes of overlinking?:

... how does linking a geographic location help you to gain a better understanding on the main article anyway? Okay, you don't know for example where Nicaragua or Saint-Quentin, Aisne are located. Then you click the link and some 9000 words will pop-up in front of your eyes telling you everything about the natonal/regional economy, administration, population, transport, politics etc. (call me a no-life, but I just copy-pasted the whole deal into a words-calculator). Now, how relevant can you consider that wikilink? How much does that linked article itself help the reader to understand the main article he was reading?

.
Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 00:18, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
  • What u talking about, Dude? WP:UNDERLINK says

    An article is said to be underlinked if words are not linked that are needed to aid understanding of the article. In general, links should be created to:

    *relevant connections to the subject of another article that will help readers understand the article more fully (see the example below). This can include people, events, and topics that already have an article or that clearly deserve one, so long as the link is relevant to the article in question. (emphasis is mine)

    That links need to be relevant and useful to the reader's understanding is unambiguous, and the converse being that anything that isn't strictly relevant and useful to the understanding of the subject would constitute overlinking. -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:39, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
That's exactly my position: that relevancy (or usefulness to understanding) is the proper criterion of whether a given link is in, not whether it's already been used. The current rule (as interpreted) is that no matter how strongly relevant, useful, etc., a link is, sorry, you can use it "only once" (emphasis in the original) in the entire article. And if editors won't assess links on qualitative relevance and usefulness then, yes, any link can get a free pass once. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:05, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
  • And if editors won't assess links on qualitative relevance and usefulness then, yes, any link can get a free pass once – Your fears are overblown and based on a false hypothesis. I see plenty of anecdotal evidence, on a daily basis, of editors applying the "relevancy test". -- Ohc ¡digame! 00:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
What are you talking about? If you're saying that editors do assess links on the basis of relevancy, then fine, we don't need a fixed, quantitative limit of "only once". On the other hand, it is a fact that "only once" is being applied by some editors strictly and without regard to relevancy (resulting in non-hypothetical aggravation). I'm saying the proper criterion for assessing links is, as you said, "relevant and useful to the reader's understanding". At best "only once" is just a crutch to avoid having to look at relevancy. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:14, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Relevancy deals with the quality of the link. About the quantity, it is said that:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead

I don't see any reason to loosen the current one. There are editors out there who would like to link a specific term on almost every single mention, and I don't find it a good idea to encourage that via WP guidelines. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 13:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
  JS: Not eactly. What the page says is "... only once" (you left off the emphasis). And I have shown you the reason for changing this: some editors intepret this as absolutely only once, regardless of quality. Quantity, to the measure of only once, trumps quality, relevance, helpfulness, etc.
  Your objection to linking "a specific term on almost every single mention" is ill-formulated. If a term is mentioned only once (and assuming a link is relevant and useful), would you object because every instance (albeit only one) is linked? What is the precise problem you envision with linking "on almost every single mention"? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:53, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
  • As clearly stated in the guideline, a second appearance is not prohibited, but seems to be strongly implied by JJ; the assertion of only once is not borne out by any evidence – I have not seen editors removing a second occurrence outright when there is reason to keep same (for example, where an occurrence is in a section far removed from the first). OTOH, the proposal opens the door to linking of relevant words as many occurrences as there are sections in any given article. From my own observations about past linking practices, I do not consider this to be a desirable state of affairs. -- Ohc ¡digame! 01:42, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
"[O]nly once" (with emphasis) is from WP:OVERLINK (second to last sentence), as just quoted by JS. Yes, it is supposedly qualified by the leading "generally", but in practice it is strictly interpreted by some editors as sufficient basis for removing all "duplicates". Evidence? see (e.g.) this edit and this edit for "outright removal" on the sole basis of being duplicates. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:31, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Ohconfucius: Do our different views here resolve (in part) to your "I have not seen editors removing a second occurrence ...", whereas I have seen them? You asserted that "the assertion of only once is not borne out by any evidence". I have provided two contra-examples where links have been removed on the sole basis of being duplicated; do you require more? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:59, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
J. Johnson: You seem to have created this proposal as ex-post justification for edit-warring with another editor over their removal of overlinking. I have no problem with those removals from the See also section. I am only surprised that more links were not eliminated, but perhaps the editor was only working based on WP:SEEALSO. You just have to search around the rest of the article and count how many times the links are repeated after the 'See also' links had been removed to see what I mean. -- Ohc ¡digame! 08:00, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
You said you had "not seen editors removing a second occurrence", I supplied two instances, and on that basis you make a wild accusation of edit-warring? If that is the best response you can make then I think it is adequately demonstrated that "duplicate" links are in fact being removed on the sole basis of being duplicate. Moving on, I suggest that the question is now whether this is how WP:OVERLINK should be interpreted. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:11, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
The examples you gave are not second instances, but nth instances. The Seattle Fault article isn't very long, "Tacoma Fault" is already linked once in the middle of the article, and once in the navigation template at the bottom, so the See also link is not warranted. User:Brianhe's edit was perfectly reasonable and also in line with guidelines. See this evidence of your edit warring to reinstate the link to Tacoma fault.

In the Puget Sound faults article, I found five links to Seattle Fault in the version you apparently object to, plus one instance using the {{main}} template. If these two examples are the best you can do to contest my assertion, I think we can close this discussion straight away. -- Ohc ¡digame! 02:51, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Geez, if you wanted more/better examples you only had to ask. (The ones I previously supplied were just the easiest to find.) Fine, here are some examples that cite WP:OVERLINK as authority for "only once" where I have no involvement:

  • Edit summary at Plate tectonics: "Alfred Wegener's name is already linked twice in the article - so for strict compliance, one of those links should be removed, ...."
  • Comment: "That was a duplicate link, removed per WP:OVERLINK".
  • Comment: "Sorry, but every city is already linked, and that's why they're not supposed to be linked again. Per WP:OVERLINK, a link should really only appear once in an article unless the two links are a long way away from each other in the article."
  • Comment: "According to WP:OVERLINK— A link should appear only once or twice in a page."

And there is a whole trove of "There are a couple of duplicate links which should be removed per WP:OVERLINK" comments from a script being used on GA articles, with subsequent removal. E.g.:

And many more instances of second instances being removed merely for being a second instance, as explicitly stated. Your assertion that "a second appearance is not prohibited" is contradicted by the evidence. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:21, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Okay, there are other examples, but are these examples of a serious problem? 173.160.49.206 (talk) 21:29, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, Ohc has just accused me of edit warring (hardly a collegial attitude) simply because I and another editor have different interpretations of OVERLINK. Whether an absolute "only once" rule is helpful or not is frequently questioned, most recently here and here. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:18, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
And you have not accused others of edit warring? 24.9.99.196 (talk) 23:38, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
An entirely irrelevant comment. With one exception (64.134.232.217) all of the IP addressees that have appeared in this discussion (166.147.88.28, 173.160.49.206, 24.9.99.196, and 166.147.88.48) have a common source (Denver, Colorado) and pattern of edits. If anyone else wants to discuss whether the "only once" interpretation results in a problem, fine. But I am disinclined to engage in an irrelevant discussion with an anonymous, wiki-hounding sockpuppet. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:39, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
  • @J. Johnson: Just to recap: I said: "I have not seen editors removing a second occurrence outright when there is reason to keep same (for example, where an occurrence is in a section far removed from the first)". I stand by that. Note that I'm not saying second occurrences need to be removed in an absolute sense. But when there's a third (or more) link to the same article from another, chances are at least one can be removed.
    1/ Plate_tectonics: As far as I can see, this does not involve link removal, and there seem to be an adequate number of links for navigation. Arguably, the link locations could have been swapped, but it's otherwise irrelevant.
    2/ User_talk:Sitush: The article referred to was Narendra Modi, and it seems that "The Emergency (India)" may have been a necessary and relevant link, once. A second instance, only three sentences later, was superfluous and correctly removed.
    3/ User_talk:Imzadi1979: That comment is completely in line with guideline and what I am to preserve. The inexperienced editor was placing links in the next line and here omitting the necessary disambiguation. In fact, he/she had been attempting to alter wikilinks to mine metadata for an external site.
    4/ User_talk:Moonriddengirl: Er, seems to illustrate a humour deficit on your part. Thanks for providing the comedy, amigo.

    You have not disproved my above (repeated) assertion. As for me, I don't have any more time for this nonsense. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:17, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

  I can't answer for what you can, or cannot, see. The "assertion" I address is where (on the 26th) I said that "some editors interpret this as absolutely only once", and then you said "the assertion of only once is not borne out by any evidence." What I have shown is multiple assertions by various editors that WP:OVERLINK means "only once".
  You seem to have overlooked that this proposal would still prohibit duplication within a section, and would not prevent removal of links duplicated "only three sentences later", or "in the next line" (cases #2 and #3 above); there would be no lessening of authority to do so (a point I made previously). Editors would have to give up this "more than one" quantitative crutch, but there would still be adequate bases for blocking "large scale overlinking". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:10, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion continues[edit]

John: how is this "a terrible idea"? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

John: your bare opinion, lacking any explanation or reason, amounts to no more than WP:I just don't like it, and warrants no consideration. Can you provide any basis for your opinion? Or should should we ignore it? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:03, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, and please yourself, respectively. --John (talk) 22:14, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
If you have some basis for your opinion that might inform the discussion I should like to hear it; perhaps it would even change my views. (And I allow that even feelings and speculative considerations can be relevant, albeit not compelling.) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:32, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Let's be polite. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 166.147.88.48 (talk) 02:27, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

The implementation issue dervies from the "absolutely only once" interpretation, which is based on the existing actual language of "only once" (emphasis in the orignal). ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:03, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

As explained in previous comments: there are problems trying to find a link when it is buried in the article's text. There are also problems when editors clash on whether the policy allows any exceptions to "only once". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:03, 6 June 2014 (UTC)


Sabrebd, regarding your "oppose" (above):

Why do you think this "opens the door to large scale overlinking and repetition"? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:14, 9 June 2014 (UTC) (added context to comment that JS moved. J. Johnson (JJ) (talk))

J. Johnson, you are misinterpreting the guideline. There is no such thing as only once restriction. If somebody still misinterprets the guideline, you can sure notice him/her about that per WP:MOS/Linking.
Anyway, I have already quoted the current guideline, and you have shared your own opinions about it. If there is nothing more to add to the discussion, I'd suggest to not go over the same arguments over and over again. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:22, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
I suspect we keep going "over the same arguments over and over again" because we are not really on the same argument, have yet to find a common view from which to proceed. Like, you say that I am misinterpreting the guideline. Only I am not interpreting it (mis- or otherwise). What I am saying is that other editors are interpreting the guideline (as shown by the edits and comments I have pointed to) as an absolute "only once" restriction. Whether this is a mis-interpretation is a separate issue; my point is that the guideline is, in fact and as demonstrated, applied as an "only once" restriction. If you don't see that (or can't explain why I should see it differently) then there is a problem. If you do agree that some editors mis-apply "only once", then we can proceed to the next sub-issue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:28, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how the words "only once' can be interpreted to mean anything other than 'only once'! - if the MOS is meant to mean that it is acceptable to link to relevant pages in multiple sections then it should be amended to say that to remove any misinterpretation. And if that is the intention of the MOS then I fail to see why there is anyone opposing this change - no one has suggested relaxing the outline of what should be linked, merely that if a link is relevant in the first section of an article there is no reason not to re-link the same name / word in the fifth section of the article if it comes up again.Bladeboy1889 (talk) 07:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, my point exactly. Though I can see multiple interpretations, others don't, and therefore clarification is needed. As to a reason for not duplicating links, the concern seems to be that any such permissiveness would be a "slippery slope" leading to "link-anything". Why that should be has not been explained; perhaps some opposer would explain that. I wonder if the WP:Overlink crisis sensitized people to such a prospect. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:20, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Then you can notify the users who violate this, this is the wrong forum to discuss it. The current guideline is very clear: a link should generally appear only once unless it's repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, or at the first occurrence after the lead. Conversely, if a duplicate link does not fall under the first occurence after the lead, footnotes, image captions, tables or infoboxes, then it may be removed. If somebody still removes a link that does fall under one of the aforementioned, then you can notify the user about the guideline.
There is no reason to keep going over the same arguments over and over again. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 07:30, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
The whole point of the RFC was to suggest that relevant links should be viable in multiple sections of an article not once and once only to aid uability and accessibility for the reader. The objections have either been "no - because it means people will link things like dates and other non relevant stuff" (which the RFC doesn't suggest) or "no - becuase that's already what the MOS means" (which is patenetly not clear due to the wording.) So neither of those objections hold any weight because they don't actually address the issue. Bladeboy1889 (talk) 07:39, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
JS: note that we are not talking about the exceptions ("infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes") in OVERLINK, or mis-removal of same. The issue is whether "duplicate" links are allowed anywhere in the text of the article. You say that such duplicates "may be removed", simply for being duplicate. However, some of us disagree, and (skipping over why the guideline is not clear) argue that an absolute, quantitative limit of "only once" per article can be a disservice to the reader, and that where links may be "viable in multiple sections" (the other requirements of OVERLINKK still applying) a limit of once per section is more sensible, and more useful. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:06, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
The point is moot, you have utterly failed to demonstrate anyone going around removing useful duplicated links. But you have demonstrated instances of editors removing links in 'See also' sections that repeat the links already made more than once in the text, and you seek to change this guideline because you disagree with a rule in WP:SEEALSO. Most bizarre. -- Ohc ¡digame! 00:37, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
  Talk about (below) WP:IDHT: I maintain that I have demonstrated removal of "useful duplicated links" on the explicit basis of being duplicated. You reject some of those instances of the basis of a personal conflict (implied bad faith??), or that they are SEEALSO issues, or that they warranted delinking. None of which disproves my point, which is the reliance on "only once". However, even in examples where those objections are not applicable it seems you still can't see them. So let's look at one up close.
  From Talk:Little Boy/GA1 we have an explicit statement of removing duplicate links on the sole basis of being duplicate:
  • There are few duplicate links in the article which should be removed per WP:OVERLINK. Those are: nuclear fission (in the lead), cordite, and Trinity nuclear test.
    • YesY Removed duplicated links. Hawkeye7 (talk) 12:58, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
  Actual removal was done here and here, with edit summaries of "rm dup link" and "rm dup links". This is only one of many similar examples to be found at GA. I don't know how much clearer this (or anything!) can be shown. (Why can you not hear/see this?) It is certainly more definite and more solid than anything you have shown us as to why allowing "duplicate" links will necessarily lead to "large scale overlinking." At any rate, even this single instance just demonstrated utterly explodes your statement that I have "utterly failed to demonstrate...." Whether you can see (or hear) that could still be debated, but your statement is disproven. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:07, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The link to "nuclear fission" that was removed was indeed a duplicate of a link that occurred in the previous paragraph within the same section (the lead, commonly the most densely-linked). Changing the guideline to what you want – permission to link in other sections where it may be relevant – "a link is proper" (your words) would not have prevented its removal. The link to "cordite" removed here was actually the third such link in the article. The relevant duplicated link still existed (in the "Design" section) after that removal. I don't see how it has any greater relevance or utility where it was removed. Your examples are either careless, or contrived, and show that you are obsessed with linking to the detriment of parsibility. Looking at your proposed revision, it seems virtually all "relevant links" can be duplicated in the 'See also' section. In practice, if relaxed, that will mean a large number of links will be duplicated there. I am certain it is not a desirable state of affairs. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:33, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Request for explanation of opposition[edit]

I have yet to see any explanation or argument as to why this proposal is "very unwise" (Tony), "a terrible idea" (John), "take Wikipedia back to the Stone Age of linking" (JS), "far too loose" (Nikkimaria), "opens the door to large scale overlinking" (Sabrebd). I point out that simply not liking something, without explanation or support, is not a helpful or useful argument; please explain yourselves. If you all cannot, or will not, explain why this proposal is unwise, or would lead to large scale over linking, etc., then such mere statements of opinion, in failing to contribute to understanding, are properly ignored. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:47, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Links, like medicine, are useful when used in moderation. Too many of either leads to side effects – in our case the detraction from other more pertinent and useful elements in the text, links or otherwise. Less is more. Careful selective use enhances; overuse devalues. Human nature being what it is, such loosening would lead to undesirable large scale overlinking, much like there is overuse of flagicons (but that is despite our guidelines). So your not accepting that as a rationale looks to me like WP:ILIKEIT. -- Ohc ¡digame! 00:43, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be making a case for not linking at all. The guidelines as written do not provide the ability for "Careful selective use" at all - it says "first appearance and never again after that" which means "this is rigidly non-negotiable. If you're reading the fifth paragraph of the sixth section of an article and want to find out more information about someone mentioned then we're not going to help you - you've got to read the whole article from the top until you find mention of them previously in the second paragraph of the third section and we don't care about how usable or accessible that makes it." Bladeboy1889 (talk) 07:26, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Ohc: I tend to agree with all of your general comments, except for two points. 1) "Less is more": If "only once" is better than all the higher numbers, why isn't zero even better? (Which goes to Bladeboy's point, above.) 2) Your implicit position that allowing even a single duplication necessarily leads to "undesirable large scale overlinking": this is not demonstrated. What I do not accept "as a rationale" is your failure to provde a rationale. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:10, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
  • JJ, I appreciate that you care about the navigational aspect, the networking potential of a wiki. But as OC says, the density of links needs to fall within a window of optimal functionality. Perhaps you're not as oriented as many editors have become to the negatives in linking beyond a certain point. Many coders/programmers have objected to restraints on linking, because their profession cares a lot about navigational aids. But over the years we've learnt that readability and focus on high-value links is the other side of the equation. Tony (talk) 02:56, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Accessibility and useability should be the key imperative and should not be dismissed just because they don't fit with a rigid adherence to a rule. The current guideline doesn't allow for "high-value" linking as you claim - it says "first mention only, no deviation from that whether it is best served there or not" so there is no allowance for even placing the allowed 'one time only link' in the most useful place in the text where is has most relevance - instead it must potentially be buried in a non-relevant section if it happens to have been mentioned there. This guideline imposes a a negative user experience and is prejudiced against anyone using adaptive technologies, anyone using the inbuilt page navigation aids or anyone accessing a mobile version and should be changed.Bladeboy1889 (talk) 07:26, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Tony: thanks for your comment. I am, indeed, "not as oriented ... to the negatives", but that is the criticism I am making: that the negatives have not been demonstrated. Bladeboy has recapitulated the main points against the absolute "once only" rule. I have not seen any similar explanation of why, or even how, allowing some "duplication" is going to result in "large scale overlinking". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:13, 15 June 2014 (UTC)


Bladeboy1889 and J. Johnson, your behaviour is coming very close to WP:IDHT. J. Johnson said (14 June 2014 (UTC), emphasis added):

If you all cannot, or will not, explain why this proposal is unwise, or would lead to large scale over linking, etc., then such mere statements of opinion, in failing to contribute to understanding, are properly ignored

.

According to WP:IDHT:

In some cases, editors have perpetuated disputes by sticking to an allegation or viewpoint long after the consensus of the community has decided that moving on to other topics would be more productive. Such behavior is disruptive to Wikipedia. Believing that you have a valid point does not confer upon you the right to act as though your point must be accepted by the community when you have been told that it is not accepted. [...] Sometimes, even when editors act in good faith, their contributions may continue to be disruptive and time wasting, for example, by continuing to say they don't understand what the problem is.

Time to let it drop. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 09:33, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

JS: Indeed, that is one of my points: as stated above: I have yet to hear (or see) any explanation or argument as to why this proposal is "very unwise", etc. But is that because I am deaf and/or blind? or that there has been nothing shown? Yes, there have been statements of opinion and belief, but where are the explanations or examples? We are supposed to reach consensus through reasons and persuasion, but on this matter we do not yet have consensus. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:15, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Bunkum. The "once only" rule that you cite (conveniently only in part) actually says: "Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead." Emphasis is mine. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:44, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
  • However, I would agree that no consensus has been reached for a more permissive style of linking. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:49, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
  • You say you tend to agree with me, but then by saying zero is better than one is classic case of "Reductio ad absurdum". I think this discussion is at an end. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:52, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I have already covered this. Of course "generally" can be interpreted as relaxing the "only once"; no where have I claimed otherwise. But whether that is a valid interpretation is not the point. My main point, as I said at the very beginning, is: 'Some editors have ignored the "generally" and interpret this strictly....'. And again on the 26 May: 'Yes, [WP:OVERLINK] is supposedly qualified by the leading "generally", but in practice it is strictly interpreted by some editors as sufficient basis for removing all "duplicates".' Do we need to go over this yet again?
  • Reaching consensus is not facilitated by having to play whack-a-mole because someone is not paying attention.
  • Do you actually understand the application of reductio ad absurdum? In the present case you stated "less is more" (meaning better), without limit or qualification. Such a limit is extremely important, because having accepted the implied progression that 4 is better than 5 (because it is less), and 2 better than 3, and 1 better than 2 — this last bit being the essence of your argument, right? — there is no reason to stop there, and therefore zero is just as validly "better" than one. Which is, indeed, absurd, because we do allow an occasional need for "one", but absurdity is a logical consequent of the unqualified "less is more". If you want to allow "one" but not "two" (i.e., "duplicates") then a specific limit or qualification is needed for that exception. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:41, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • You are deliberately twisting things to suit your linking proclivities, and the examples you chose to prove your case are plain simply wrong. You will notice I said "less is more". I would have given you the benefit of the doubt, thinking you were choosing to be the devil's advocate. This has been going on fruitlessly for too long, and I'm inclined to say you are playing your absurd games and "re-interpreting" what I said into "none is more". There really is no point for me to continue this discussion because you are not listening. I am not playing at sillybuggers any more and become a troll. I wish you a good and contented life. -- Ohc ¡digame! 01:21, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
That "less" leads to "none" is not my "re-interpreting", it is the straight-forward logical result that follows from your assertion. If "none" is absurd, and the process needs to stop at "one", you need to specify that. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:37, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
For anyone wondering if expansion leads to a similar absurdity: the problem with the simple, unqualified "less is more/better" criterion is (as demonstrated) that there is no basis for treating "one" as special. Yet there is an excellent argument for treating "one" as better than "zero", which suggests an alternate criterion: that more is better. And possibly this illustrates the essence of the issue here: if one is better than zero, why shouldn't two be better than one, and so forth? The position of the opponents is that relaxing this entirely arbitrary limit of "only once" thusly leads to "excessive" overlinking, which raises the previous question (but inverted) of: what is the limit or qualification that keeps two from progressing to unlimited ? As a matter of fact "unlimited" does not apply here at all, as the proposal has a very definite upper limit: once per section. (In the text, which is to say, exclusive of the existing exceptions for infoboxes, etc. And assuming that sections are not unlimited.) Furthermore, the other criteria (relevancy, usefulness, etc.) still apply, so (depending the context) the number of instances of a given link is quite likely constrained to less than this upper limit, even to zero. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:36, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

I'm taking the discussion to User talk:J. Johnson#Misinterpretation of WP guidelines since it's no longer related to WP:MOS. Possible individual misbehaviour doesn't belong to WP:MOS, and should be discussed with either directly with the user or at forums like WP:ANI. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 12:49, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

This discussion is not about "misbehaviour" of editors violating some clear and unambiguous interpretation of the guideline, but that some editors do (and I would add, in good-faith) follow a certain interpretation of the guideline with results here questioned, and a proposal made for changing the guideline. There is no element of misbehaviour, because the problems I allege are rooted not in editorial application, but in the guideline itself. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:40, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
We should allow each other with flexibility and kindness, even when there's an adversarial environment. A quick look at JJ's talk page shows appreciation in barnstars by other editors. Nice. While I find it hard to go along with his views here, this page should not become personal in tone. Tony (talk) 12:34, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Ohc: You should decide whether you are in or out of this discussion. And if in, then please keep in mind that your last comment characterising my argument as "absurd games", and your recent edit summary referring to "absurd logic", do not advance the discussion. You have not provided any basis why any of this is "absurd"; it appears that you have only called out a name you have heard but don't understand. Please note: the actual absurdity here is not the logic, but the result logically reached by the unqualified and unlimited application of your simple dictum "less is more/better".

When you first mentioned reductio ad absurdum I had a brief hope you might understand something about how this form of argument is applied. Apparently not, you truly "don't get it", so I suggest you leave off flinging that term around. Perhaps someone else can make a better argument, but I have yet to see it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:00, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

JJ, you do valuable work for WP, and you're not absurd (even though I don't agree with your line of argument). Please pass over my friend OC's use of the word, which was ill-judged, IMO. We all become passionate about WP, which is a good thing I guess. Tony (talk) 15:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
My takeaway from this little storm in a teacup is that JJ thinks his argument is perfect and everyone else's is lacking. If I ever said JJ was absurd, and I don't think I did, I would sincerely apologise. It was the absurdity of his "taken to its logical conclusion" logic that I believe is faulty, and I still maintain that to be the case. -- Ohc ¡digame! 15:46, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
My thanks again to Tony for trying to keep things mellow, and I shall try to follow suit. But (!) as Ohc can't decide whether to grab hold or let go, and has been the biggest opponent to my proposal, I think some resolution is needed. I propose we discuss the proper application of "absurd" at his talk page. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:49, 28 June 2014 (UTC)


In the three weeks since I requested an explanation of the opposition to this proposal nothing has been established (except that Ohc doesn't understand the application of reductio ad absurdum). Can't any you nine opposers support your opinions that the proposal is "unwise", etc.? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:18, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I don't think the best way to elicit discussion is to badger folks who registered an opinion (Which is fine and all, discussions aren't a vote but neither are they a mock debate, not every comment needs to be a self contained affirmative case for a position). Further, by singling out opposing comments which didn't leave a rationale, you run the risk of convincing yourself that the opposition as a whole doesn't frame an argument, rather than specifically selected comments not comprising one. Someone closing a discussion like this (and many discussions are like this) should look at the preponderance of opinion and the arguments raised by each side. Each editor needn't invent a new argument to oppose or explicitly endorse particular arguments, so long as an actual argument exists on that side. Protonk (talk) 17:14, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

HTML Lunacy: Annoyance or Asset?[edit]

I have from time to time run across "New York Times" in blue when an entry has mentioned a report in the Good Grey Lady. I have now learned, after a couple of tries, that the click-through will inform me that the New York Times is a newspaper. It will not give me the text of the relevant article.

Moving right along now... In a discussion of David Foster Wallace's landmark novel "Infinite Jest," "endnote" is blued as a click-through, because the novel has 388 endnotes. Massive end-noting is an interesting and uncommon literary device, so it's perfectly reasonable for a further discussion be to linked through the miracle of html. But no! This link tells us, in great length, a lot of stuff interesting to typographers, about endnotes in books.

I doubt that typographers are more common among those interested in this novel than they are in the common population.

There is no discussion of the novel's interesting use of the device.

In the spirit of positivity which always infuses me when I run across idiocy loose in the world, I wonder whether Wikipedia might be able to use these hilarious gaffes as an asset for improving the great encyclopedia over the long run.

Are moronic html a reliable sign of inappropriate people being loose among Wikipedia's editors? What needs to be done to hunt these rats down and exterminate them? Uh, excuse me. Is there a gracious but still effective way one can suggest that editors be perhaps encouraged to improve and be suitably informed, trained, upgraded -- if not stood out in the cold for 48 hours of Maoist self-criticism? Yet.

DavidLJ (talk) 00:55, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

What you expected to be linked should have been inline reference cites following the sentences that mentioned then; we use hyperlinks to point to relevant other articles on WP, and reference citations for "more information" on the actual fact. --MASEM (t) 01:51, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Most of our editors are ordinary people who may have an amateur interest in the subjects they treat. That's why a lot of our articles are in a sorry state. I would agree that a more professional approach is desirable.

    Linking is one problem area, as some editors seem to have difficulty in applying the relevance test when it comes to linking. Both your examples are good illustrations of why our work fails. And as you said, the latter 'endnote' link would be made more meaningful if there was a discussion in the article as to the author's uncommon use of this literary device. Instead, we have this meaningless short cut and no discussion. So it's both a content and contextual issue. I don't know if there is a way to find such issues and address them in a systematic way, or if there is any answer. In the absence, we need to just accept Wikipedia is a work in progress, and do what we can to fix problems as and when we come across them. It would be great if you could help. -- Ohc ¡digame! 02:09, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

The example you cite of the article Infinite Jest is exactly how inline links should be used - the link should be to provide more information on what endnotes are, not for any further discussion of their relevant in this instance. If explanation of it's specific relevance to the topic of the original page is required it should be included in the artcile itself, or if externally to wikipedia, placed in a reference. So it appears it is you DavidLJ, that doesn't understand how inline linking should work so maybe you ought to consider if you should stand out in the cold for 48 hours? Bladeboy1889 (talk) 08:02, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion, the example you brought up certainly should not be linked. Totally useless with respect to the article. HTML lunacy indeed. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 15:51, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Not really. Proper names (save for major geographic features) should be linked on first use even if we're talking a work like the NYTimes that everyone should know. And "endnote" is not a common enough literary device that it is a germain term. What is the issue is expecting these links to lead to the "raw source", to speak, instead of another WP article, which all other links of this style go to other WP articles. --MASEM (t) 15:55, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I think we should always ask ourselves, "is this link relevant to the article? Does this link help the reader to gain a better understanding on the subject?" A hypothetical example, if one is writing an article about "Koala-bear incident" and he/she is citing "Defleppardian Times" but still doubts that the users might not know that it is a newspaper, one could also rephrase it like "The newspaper "Defleppardian Times" reported that..."
If the only purpose of the link is to make the readers know that "Defleppardian Times" indeed is a newspaper, but has nothing else to do with the article, then it is not so good idea to link that one. It's so so tangentially related to the subject and makes a great disservice for the author (and distracts the reader to a lot of irrelevant text). If this happens from one article to another, it'd lead into a quadratic growth. Intelligent linking, that's I'd like to see!
I think User:Tony1 has a pretty good article about smart linking here. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:09, 23 June 2014 (UTC)