Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking

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Why not link several times in the case of long Wikipedia articles?[edit]

I have a comment to make about this: "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, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead." I would propose that for long articles, a link could be repeated again if the reader had to scrol down several pages from the lead to get to it. As long articles are unlikely to be read from start to finish, a reader my jump into the section that interests him/her the most. And there, if a link is not repeated it could leave the reader wondering if a Wikipedia article already exists for that particular item. Example is the long Wikipedia article on malnutrition where I would propose to link the term "stunted growth" more than just in the lead and in the first occurrence after the lead, namely also in the section that deals with children (which is quite far down).

Therefore, I would propose to modify this to: "... at the first occurrence after the lead or in the first sentence of a distint section if that section is a long way down from the lead. As a rule of thumb if the reader has to scrol down by two pages, then it is reasonable to repeat a link, as readers are not always reading an article from start to finish but may jump in at the middle into a section heading that interests them." Thoughts? EvM-Susana (talk) 20:43, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Agreed for the most part, but be advised that you have unwittingly entered an ideological, almost religious war zone. ‑‑Mandruss  05:15, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Strongly suggest you do some searching through the archives to get a sense of what you are up against before proceeding. Pay particular attention to the issue of "overlinking". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:51, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
I think Susana's made a practical suggestion which would help readers. Spicemix (talk) 15:12, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
This is not the first time that this or similar suggestions have been made. It would be wise to consider why they have not been adopted. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:39, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I also agree with Susana's reasoning. It exactly describes my sentiments when I add a link which later gets reverted. Why spend time scrolling back through an article looking for a link, when it could also appear in another section. If it doesn't appear twice within one or two sections, it is harmless and could only be helpful. And the statement "Generally, a link should appear only once in an article..." sounds more like a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. WP:COMMON encourages common sense, which when applied to this discussion should allow multiple links for the situations described here. CuriousEric 18:43, 9 December 2014 (UTC)


Sorry if this has been covered before, but when linking to articles such as [[Santa Barbara, California]], is that how the link should be formatted, or is [[Santa Barbara, California|Santa Barbara]], [[California]] preferred? The second seems better, 1) to give the reader the choice of where to go, and 2) to give the option of Santa Barbara, California, when an overlink to California would result. Thanks! Spicemix (talk) 15:06, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Aren't we going around in circles? See #Improving link specificity above. --Redrose64 (talk) 22:05, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I note the example [[Lake County, Ohio|Lake County]] above and I'm pleased to see that's the consensus. My problem though is that several times recently I've been reverted for piping links to be more specific, e.g. here, and I don't see a wording or example at WP:SPECIFICLINK that establishes [[Lake County, Ohio|Lake County]] as best practice. As there is a countless number of confusing non-specific links of the [[Lake County, Ohio]] type across WP, can something be added to the MOS please, so that policy can easily be quoted in the edit summary? Spicemix (talk) 13:40, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Actually, you're wrong as to the consensus; although not incorporated into WP:SPECIFICLINK, it seems, to be, in order of preference
  1. Santa Barbara, California
  2. Santa Barbara, California
  3. Santa Barbara, California
Arthur Rubin (talk) 15:53, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I think WP:LINKSTYLE gives a pretty good picture about the issue, and it also does supports WP:SPECIFICLINK. Anyway, if one takes a look at the former, there are similar examples: [[Riverside, California]] and [[Riverside, California|Riverside]]. The first one is a direct link, the second one a pipelink. Like Arthur Rubin listed above, the first would be what WP:SPECIFICLINK calls "specific"; the second one "related, but less specific". The third one, however, would be similar to what WP:LINKSTYLE describes: [[Ireland|Irish]] [[Chess]] [[Championship]]. Hmm, I think user Tony1 has a pretty goor article about it here[1]. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 17:52, 27 November 2014 (UTC)


I have boldly removed the reference to post-nominals in WP:OVERLINK. The usual practice is (now) certainly to link them, per Template:Post-nominals. In any case, we should not expect the average reader to know what "PC" or "CC" might stand for. StAnselm (talk) 10:56, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Unless a post-nominal is arcane or known only to a few, the practice is not to link them. Please restore the guideline. Tony (talk) 01:27, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
I can't imagine how anyone could know how much of the Wikipedia reading population knows each post-nominal. That being the case, what does one do with "known only to a few"? I'll confess to being ignorant about anything more obscure than PhD or OBE (and I didn't learn what OBE stood for until I was probably well over 30). ‑‑Mandruss  01:47, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, sometimes we just have to make decisions as to what the readers would know, and thus what would be most helpful. Tony, if this is the practice, how do you explain, for example, the Ian Smith article? It is a featured article, and yet the postnominals are linked in both the lead and the infobox. This is also the case with David Lewis (politician), Neville Chamberlain, and Stanley Bruce, which are all featured articles. StAnselm (talk) 01:59, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
OBE is one of those that should be linked. A lot of people - even in Britain - think that it's Order of the British Empire. In fact, the O stands for Officer, and the full award is Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:47, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
OBE, probably yes. StAnselml, GCLM, ID, CC, QC—they're on the specialist/technical side. I'd link them, once. Tony (talk) 04:58, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, what would be an example of a non-technical one, given that we don't use PhD as a postnominal anyway? StAnselm (talk) 05:06, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
In fact, now that I look at WP:POSTNOM, it explicitly encourages editors to wikilink. I really don't understand why this was included among the things not to link. StAnselm (talk) 05:16, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  • St, that question was gurgling around in my mind, yes. Tony (talk) 13:53, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. I've been dead busy the past few days. Anyway, I oppose StAnselm's proposal. Pre- and post-nominals have been included ever since November 2012. Changing the prevailing consensus would definitely need discussion and achievement of new consensus before changing the guideline.
I also think that the process has started rolling on the wrong track here: the proposal is about "post-nominals", but the change included both pre- and post-nominals.
In my humble opinion, linking pre- and post-nominals is quite redundant. When it comes to pre-nominals, I don't think it's a good idea to link, e.g. [[Ph. D.]] [[Paul Krugman]] or [[Professor]] [Paul Krugman]]. For the sake of link specificity, linking directly to the subject would be a better idea. And post-nominals, I simply think that when it comes to more "bizarre" ones, it would be more advisable to write those open; that'd be better for the flow of the text, it would make the text more self-supported, and it for the reader it would save a lot of trouble. For example, instead of including a post-nominal such as "KBE" and wikilinking it, one could simply write it open as a "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire". Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:37, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Ph. D. isn't a pre-nom, it's a post-nom. That aside, I get the impression that what you would like at Winston Churchill is |honorific-suffix=Knight of the Order of the Garter, Member of the Order of Merit, Companion of Honour, Territorial Decoration, Deputy Lieutenant, Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Academician written out in full and without any links at all. If so, Oppose as way too bloated and unhelpful. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:22, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Aaah, it seems to be a Finnish speciality. According to pre-nominal letters: "In Finland, abbreviated academic titles can appear before or after the name (for example, FM Matti Meikäläinen or Matti Meikäläinen, FM)."
Oh boy... The British sure fancy their honorifics, don't they? I agree Redrose64, writing it out makes it quite bloated, but I don't think the current '''Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill''' {{postnominals|country=GBR|size=100%|sep=,|KG|OM|CH|TD|DL|FRS|RA}} is any better either. I mean, if the reader bumps into 7 different post-nominals in the very first sentence of the article, and he/she probably doesn't even have any clue what do they mean, I think it's like throwing a bucket of cold water onto him/her in the first instance. Besides, I don't know if those honorifics really are that central to the actual article.
Anyway, I'd suppose that Winston Churchill is kind of an extreme case? If the others have significantly smaller number of honorifics, the text of course won't be so bloated. And when it comes to writing it out, I think the upside is that the reader immediately gets the meaning and can decide for himself/herself whether he/she wants to know more or not. Or what would you like to suggest, Redrose64? =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:31, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
"The reader... probably doesn't even have any clue what do they mean" - and that is precisely why we wikilink. "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire" is never written in full after a person's name in the British system. StAnselm (talk) 21:23, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Anyway, I think pre-nominals are much the same issue as academic post-noms - WP:HONORIFIC says that "styles and honorifics should not be included in front of the name" so the issue of wikilinking is pretty much redundant. StAnselm (talk) 21:28, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I understand your point StAnselm, but forcing the reader to go through seven different articles on post-nominals isn't a solution either. If we wouldn't "encrypt" these honorifics, the reader wouldn't have to go through all of those articles. After all, they are not really central to the subject at hand. Anyway, as said above, pre- and post-nominals have been included ever since November 2012, and changing the guideline would need a consensus. I'd like to suggest that the proposal is first discussed before any changes. =P Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:11, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I think linking unexpanded pre- and postnominals violates WP:EASTEREGG. Relegate them from the lede to a footnote, or part of a "Titles and styles" or "Awards" section. Margaret Thatcher#Styles and titles could do the job better than the opening does (Currently "Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS"). jnestorius(talk) 23:41, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
It's just like country-names: don't link the obvious ones (Dr, PhD, etc), but all of Thatcher's little baubles could do with a link. Tony (talk) 04:07, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Good point Jnestorius, you just expressed what I couldn't put into words clear enough earlier. Placing them into footnotes instead of linking is much more appropriate, and the readers can more easily follow what's going on. That's just one reason why the previous change is problematic. I restored the previous version that's been around ever since November 2012. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:48, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Prefer anchor linking to section linking[edit]

A proposed reworking of Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking#Linking to sections of articles, based on an orphan comment by @Altenmann: from January 2014 (see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking/Archive 16#Section links)

If I want to link to [[Foo#Bar]] then I don't think <!-- the article WP:LINK links here --> is ever optimal. If it's likely a once-off link, just linking [[Foo#Bar]] may suffice, with no edit to Foo. Otherwise I suggest best practice should be:

  1. Add Bar of foo as #REDIRECT [[Foo#Bar]]{{R to section}}{{R with possibilities}}
  2. Edit Foo to change ==Bar== to ==Bar=={{anchor|Bar}}<!-- [[Bar of foo]] redirects here -->
  3. Link to [[Bar of foo]]


  • Linking to an anchor is better than linking to a heading, because the heading text may be changed, breaking all the incoming links. The current MOS is too diffident about this point.
  • Specifying the redirect once you have added it is useful
    • in case later another editor also wants to link to [[Foo#Bar]]; they can also link to [[bar of foo]] rather than, e.g. creating Fooian bar as another redirect.

jnestorius(talk) 16:24, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Editor not seeing the benefit of WP:NOTBROKEN[edit]

At the Suicide among LGBT youth article, I reverted EChastain and cited the WP:NOTBROKEN guideline. Despite this, EChastain reverted me, stating, "avoiding clunky redirect is better (using Pipe trick)." I reverted again, adding. "No, it isn't, and WP:Edit warring over a clear guideline (WP:NOTBROKEN) is silly. Follow the guidelines, with few exceptions. And this is not one of those few exceptions; not a WP:Ignore all rules case in the least. Redirects like this help readers. If you don't know why, then ask at WP:Manual of Style. Or I will so that you are educated on it." EChastain reverted yet again, stating, "how does it help readers? just your presumption - readers don't tell you what they experience - please provide proof." Apparently, EChastain thinks that the WP:NOTBROKEN guideline exists just to exist and has no valid reason for existing. Either that, either the guideline is not fully clear on why it's beneficial, or EChastain was reverting simply because of the heated words that I recently left on the EChastain talk page. Will anyone else watching the Manual of Style/Linking talk page explain to EChastain why the WP:NOTBROKEN guideline helps readers? To briefly answer EChastain, it helps readers because not bypassing the redirect automatically lets them know that they are most likely at the right article; when they see the tell-tale sign, at the top of the article, that the term was redirected to the article in question, they know that they are most likely at the correct article, and that there is no article specifically for that term. Flyer22 (talk) 22:54, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

I also alerted editors of WP:Manual of Style to this discussion. Flyer22 (talk) 23:01, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Correction: EChastain didn't revert back to the WP:NOTBROKEN violation a second time; that edit was rather a revert of my WP:Dummy edit; therefore, I struck through that part above. Flyer22 (talk) 23:07, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

As a reader I didn't see the benefit at all. In fact, it was confusing. As an editor I can at least figure out what's going on. Don't know how Flyer22 knows what the anonymous reader experiences. She's been here too long to know what's like to have wiki jump around for unnecessary redirects. EChastain (talk) 23:21, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Is there a particular reason why the text should speak about LGBTQQ instead of LGBT? I mean, since the link is taking one to LGBT article, is it possible to use that abbreviation in the text as well? =P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:55, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
The particular pipe mentioned first, [[LGBT|LGBTQQ]], confuses both readers (at least with popups[note 1] or link display on mouseover[note 2]) and editors. If you're going to avoid the redirect, use [[LGBT]]QQ, although I believe [[LGBTQQ]] is more understandable yet.
Of course, it would be nice to know how readers generally see it. But, considering the mistakes the Foundation has made interpreting their surveys, I don't see any hope of a reasonably-well-sampled survey occuring. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:26, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
EChastain, these redirects aren't "unnecessary" as you put it, and this guideline exists for a solid reason. Dustin (talk) 06:18, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ Wikipedia:Tools/Navigation popups, the gadget or script
  2. ^ Many browsers have an option to display the URL on mouseover

Nitpick: this isn't the pipe trick. --NE2 13:32, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Lists of shipwrecks[edit]

There is a discussion taking place re overlinking in various lists of shipwrecks. Please feel free to contribute at WT:SHIPWRECK. Mjroots (talk) 08:01, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Comment requested on link related template[edit]

Please comment at Template talk:interlanguage link#A significant flaw on how a possible problem with this template should be addressed. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 15:35, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

RfC: linking pre- and post-nominals[edit]

Should the phrase "and pre- and post-nominals;" be included in the section "What generally should not be linked"? 19:48, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Exclude. As it stands, this guideline conflicts with WP:POSTNOM, which explicitly encourages postnominals to be linked. The current practice is certainly to link to postnominals, as evidenced by Template:Post-nominals, and numerous featured articles such as Stanley Bruce. Note also that we don't include academic titles like PhD anyway, so the issue of linking them is moot. As for pre-nominals, a similar situation exists - WP:HONORIFIC says "in general, styles and honorifics should not be included in front of the name". StAnselm (talk) 19:55, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
    • Although we do include pre-titles such as "Sir" and "Dame". These should be bolded but not linked. -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:59, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Exclude from that and include in WP:UNDERLINK, third bullet. See my comment at #Post-nominals above. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:14, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Include It seems that there's been launched a new thread about "Pre- and post-nominals". I am a bit surprised, since only five editors commented the last thread, and now there's been launched a new one already.
Anyway, I partly agree with RedRose64: writing out the pre-/post-nominals could make the text somewhat bloated. However, I also concur with jnestorius: unexpanded pre- and post-nominals would violate WP:EASTEREGG. I've also tried to illustrate the very same point by myself: for example, in the Winston Churchill article, the reader will bump into seven different post-nominals in the very first sentence, and he/she would have to click every single one to know what's going on.
Therefore, I do support jnestorious's view, according to which footnotes would be a better solution. Mere linking will result to the W:EASTEREGG, and writing terms out can surely bloat the text.
A small sample from an article that currently implements the linking of pre- and post-nominals:

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KGOMCHTDDLFRSRA (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.

Happy clicking! ;-) Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:34, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I posted a request at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure and was advised to start an RfC. I'm still not totally sure what you're proposing: do you mean, "Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG1 OM2 CH3 TD4 DL5 FRS6 RA7 (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician..."? In any case, I don't think this is what WP:EASTEREGG is talking about at all - if you click on an acronym, surely you'd expect a page that explained it. It is totally reasonable that the postnominal goes to the award page. StAnselm (talk) 21:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh, they advised to start an RfC. Very well then. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:57, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Coming here having just seen a mention of this RfC at another page. It seems to me entirely right to link these items, assuming we're going to include them. Linking is common practice from what I've seen. Many readers (particularly non-Commonwealth) are likely not to know what they mean. If you do know what they mean, the link won't disturb or distract you, you just ignore it (unlike footnotes, which are a slight distraction). As pointed out above, it's not a case of Easter eggs at all. Can't think of any reason why anyone would want not to link them. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:59, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I think they should be linked and unexpanded (does that mean I should say exclude?). However (and this RFC is not the place to discuss the idea but I'd like to leave it for people to ponder) could the {{Post-nominals}} template produce a "hover" like {{IPAc-en}} does so well? For example /ˌæləˈbæmə/ Thincat (talk) 15:29, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
    Surely it does that already? {{Post-nominals|MC|DSO}}MC DSO and when I hover over those links the first one shows "Military Cross", the second "Distinguished Service Order". --Redrose64 (talk) 17:58, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Not for me. How weird. I am using beta hovercards so I get what you say but with IPAc-en I also get a second box with a one-line description of the phoneme. However, you're right, now I've turned off hovercards I do see a one-line box from post-nominals. Thincat (talk) 08:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


I have personally thought this article a little too long, and that some editors might just want a snappy summary of the page. Because of this, I have tried to make a "nutshell" summary several times, but rejecting each attempt. I was wondering if some editors could come over here and we could help each other figure out how to make an adequate summarization? If one shouldn't be made, please give me a good reason why. Thanks. Thatguytestw (talk) 14:49, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

What do you mean exactly? The current introduction seems to be as good a summary as any. You mean some kind of bulleted list of highlights? W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:47, 30 January 2015 (UTC)