Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Layout

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WikiProject Manual of Style
WikiProject icon This page falls within the scope of WikiProject Manual of Style, a drive to identify and address contradictions and redundancies, improve language, and coordinate the pages that form the MoS guidelines.

"Other information" as a section heading[edit]

See for instance [1], [2] and [3]. Is this ok? Dougweller (talk) 17:29, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

WP:Layout does not prohibit it. Therefore, it is ok permissible. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:30, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I think a better word is that it is "permissible". A reasonable argument could maintain it is unnecessary visible clutter in most cases. "Okay", at least to me, seems to carry a connotation that the arguments against it are not significant. Jason Quinn (talk) 14:35, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Examples in See also section[edit]

An editor has removed the examples in the See also section because the pages to which the examples link "don't have 'a brief annotation when a link's relevance is not immediately apparent' in the see also section." However, it seems to me that the point of the examples is the text on the Layout page, not the text on the pages to which the examples link. I suppose we could put in new examples, such as -

"Arthurdale, West Virginia – New Deal planned community." in New Deal

But then we run the risk of the text of the sample article changing and varying from the example in Layout. Your thoughts? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:45, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Is it possible to link to a revision in the history? Theemathas (talk) 13:01, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
This was restored. I think that someone thought the example was supposed to be on the linked page, rather than right here on this page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:54, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

"Paragraphs" organization[edit]

The organization of the section titled "paragraphs" seem strange in three ways. First, the first paragraph is mostly about bullets — when to use them or not to use them. The discussion then moves away from bullets, but the second paragraph concludes with an instruction re bullets. Perhaps the discussion re bullets would flow better if all in the same paragraph? Second, the second paragraph contains an instruction re section headings, which seems out of place. Perhaps that instruction re section headings should be moved out of the "paragraphs" section and into the "headings and sections" section, which appears two sections earlier? Third, the "see also" link appears at the end of the section, although most wiki articles put the See also or Further information links just below the section heading. Would it make sense to move the "see also" link into the standard position? Barryjjoyce (talk) 02:37, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

I appreciate you bringing this to the talk page after I reverted you here and left a WP:Dummy edit note about the revert here. Like I stated in my revert, I had just come from an article where I fixed a heading matter while pointing to MOS:PARAGRAPHS. That article is the Justin Bieber article, and this is the aforementioned edit I made there with regard to MOS:PARAGRAPHS. I decided to click on MOS:PARAGRAPHS, but then saw that the "Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading." text that was there had been removed. I was confused as to when and how that happened since I have Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout on my WP:Watchlist. So then I looked into the edit history and saw that you'd moved the material. I disagree with at least that change; there are two reasons why. The first is that the material is a longstanding aspect of MOS:PARAGRAPHS, which means that many editors will link there for the text you removed (like I did). The second reason is that the "Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading." text fits there, in my opinion; the fact that it mentions headings does not make paragraphs any less the focus of that text. It's clear why it mentions headings. Flyer22 (talk) 03:08, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
@Flyer22: Thanks for including the "diff" to the Bieber article you were editing. That example helps me understand where you were coming from. However, I think this example supports my point. Your Bieber edits and comments were on the subject of whether to include or delete certain section headings, and were not about which paragraphs should be grouped together or split apart.
The "Headings and sections" section advises against organizing text into "very short" sections or subsections. The statement in MOS:PARAGRAPHS that "short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading" is a further explanation of the same principle that disfavors very short subsections. The two statements are clearly related. And since they are related, I propose grouping them in the same paragraph in the same "Headings and sections" section.
Also, I'm interested if you have any thoughts re my suggestions to (1) move the "see also" sentence under the section heading, and (2) grouping the three sentences re bullets into the same paragraph? Both involve moving material within the section, as opposed to moving it to a different section. I think they would be slight improvements. They seem less controversial, but I want to tread carefully here, for obvious reasons. Barryjjoyce (talk) 03:35, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I've made one small change — the proposed "see also" change. It's a modest change, and it complies with the MOS:BODY guidance that the "see also" should appear immediately under the section heading. There are still two more proposed changes raised for discussion, but I'll give it more time for editors to weigh in on those before making either of those changes. Barryjjoyce (talk) 15:18, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Barryjjoyce, I saw you recently ping me, but, because I was busy with other matters, I didn't get to this section to respond to you. The ping didn't work; it's that I saw you on my WP:Watchlist. I'm still against moving the "Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading." text out of MOS:PARAGRAPHS. This is per the reasons I already stated above. As for your other proposals, I don't mind. Flyer22 (talk) 17:43, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

See Also section: is our guidance realistic?[edit]

Our instructions for the See Also section include this language:

"As a general rule, the 'See also' section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body or its navigation boxes."

I wonder whether this instruction is actually desirable, and also whether it describes actual practice. Perhaps it is true in situations where the redundancy is obvious, or in cases where the See Also section has grown to include items of questionable relevance. However, other than these reasonable constraints, it seems to me that this is a rule that puts form over function. Especially in long articles, the See Also section functions as a sort of tl;dr which identifies some of the best wikilinks that appeared within the article.

If the best defense of the existing language is that it interprets the word "also," one could reply that the "also" means articles other than this article.

I am not insisting that the sentence simply be deleted. But we should decide exactly what it is we want to say. Maybe that requires a bit more subtlety. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 17:50, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

It describes actual practice when it comes to WP:Good and WP:Featured articles, generally anyway...until someone adds a link to the See also section that is repeated higher in the article. And very experienced Wikipedia editors, such as myself, often remove a link from the See also section that is repeated higher in the article; I usually do. If WP:See also did not have this rule, the See also section could become a large WP:DIRECTORY, as it is in some articles.
This WP:See also rule is generally abiding by WP:OVERLINK, which makes a few exceptions; it states, "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." Flyer22 (talk) 18:07, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for your reply. So my take away is that there really has formed a conscious , deliberate consensus around this rule. I guess I assumed this language was accidental and not carefully thought out ... but by now I should have known that does not happen on Wikipedia as often as it used to!
Still, I am following up because I wonder whether you ever felt that there were individual cases where certain articles would have been more useful had you not deleted those redundant wikilinks from the See Also section -- and, significantly, whether you can articulate the distinction in a principled way -- like, "While it is important to not create a slippery slope situation where the See Also section winds up looking like a directory, some of these articles are so significant (perhaps PRECISELY because they featured so heavily in the body text!) that we should make an exception."
Speaking as a lawyer, I will volunteer that I understand why it is risky business to suggest changes to longstanding policies. The encyclopedia is working quite well. But in this case I think you would agree that some of those articles were actually enriched by having a more thorough See Also section. In a place as unruly and heterogenous as Wikipedia, policies like this should not be framed as absolutes, but rather as a balance of values (here, usefulness vs. crowdedness) . That puts a thumb in the dike of the slippery slope, and allows people to make case by case solutions to what is essentially an aesthetic problem. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 19:15, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
EDIT: In general, no-discretion policies are preferable where the costs of uncertainty are high, e.g. because quibbling over borderline cases leads to conflict. But I don't think this is such a case -- I don't think we have seen editors become as emotionally invested in having their favorite links in the See Also section! We are not going to see edit wars here. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 19:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
You would be awfully surprised then. --Izno (talk) 00:05, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Andrew Gradman, yes, I oftentimes feel that a link should be repeated. As noted above, if a link is in the lead, WP:See also allows us to repeat a link once after the lead. So that is two chances that a reader has to see a link. There are other chances to repeat a link as well, noted above, which makes more than two chances in some cases. And in those cases, it can be overkill to then add the link to the See also section. The See also section is supposed to tell people to "See this also" because that matter has not yet been addressed in the article, or because it's otherwise relevantly related to the article; that's why it's (generally) not good to have a link repeated in the See also section, as if that matter has not already been addressed. So, yes, I have removed a See also link in cases where I thought that the article benefited from them, but I don't generally feel that way. Sorry for the late reply. And WP:See also and WP:Overlink are guidelines, not policies. Flyer22 (talk) 16:07, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
That sentence has bothered me for quite some time. Sometimes it's just silly not to put a highly related topic in the "See Also" section merely because it was linked earlier in the article. This becomes especially true when the article is very big and the link in the text is unlikely to be easily found by a skim reader. In the end, as far as I'm concerned, good common sense is what matters most for the "See also" links section. Jason Quinn (talk) 14:39, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

See also - article sections[edit]

Sometimes it is useful to include in the See also section a specific section of an article (especially a long article, where only on section is relevant). Some guidelines on to do this would be helpful. Possibilities include:

Thoughts, anyone? Mitch Ames (talk) 14:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

See also column helpful information[edit]

I meant to add a comment to this edit: The comment would have been "restore helpful information." Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:42, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

This is somewhat disingenuous, as Butwhatdoiknow took part in the previous discussion on this advice; it is actively unhelpful for the reasons given there, namely that columns hide problems with extensive length in these lists when they should be kept short. We should be actively proscribing the use of columns here, instead recommending that long lists be trimmed (through integration into the article body, or by the creation of dedicated list articles where the items are all of a particular nature). Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 14:01, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

• Relevance[edit]

I think see alsos should be ordered by relevance to article. (talk) 12:37, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

It says preferably alphabetically sorted and I think that makes sense. Relevance is very subjective and is different for different readers. Alphabetic ordering helps readers find things more quickly, useful as the section is for navigation. It's also a guideline, so editors can and do ignore it: one thing I've seen that works is grouping of longer lists by topic, another is using indentation to group topics. And if the list is too long it can often be shortened considerably by removing irrelevant links/integrating them into the article.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 13:58, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps we should omit information about how to organize these lists, and leave it entirely up to editor judgment. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:59, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Change to further reading guideline[edit]

We're running into a situation where some editors are choosing to use further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines. I'd like to propose that we either craft the manual of style so that further reading sections aren't used in this manner, or point people to a main project page on external links (as opposed to the dead-on-the-vine further reading guideline proposal) to ensure that we don't continue to have these sorts of issues. Thoughts? Thargor Orlando (talk) 15:46, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

My reading of WP:FURTHER is that a "Further reading" section and an "External links" section are pretty much the same, except that one is primarily (not necessarily exclusively) printed matter and the other is exclusively online material. As I understand it, WP:EL applies to any EL that is not used as a reference, regardless of the heading that precedes it. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
That's absolutely the common sense reading I get from it as well. Unfortunately, this common sense doesn't seem to be carrying over across the board, and it would be nice that, if our reading of it is the intention, that we can explicitly say as such. Thargor Orlando (talk) 21:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, and propose that we could solve the problem by simply adding to WP:FURTHER and Wikipedia:Further reading's lead section the explicit statement:

Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links.

Mitch Ames (talk) 03:57, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
I completely and totally disagree. The "further reading" section is not now and has never been considered an "external link" section, as the layout MOS makes perfectly clear when it says that the section should not duplicate external links nor the references. A further reading section is a standard appendix that supports article content. Just as the external links guideline does not apply to citations to sources in reference section, neither does it apply to further reading sections. This is the common sense reading of it. Furthermore, most further reading sections on Wikipedia do not have external links at all because often times such citations are offline. Viriditas (talk) 11:58, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
I acknowledge your points that Further reading should not duplicate External links nor References, and that most Further reading sections have no links - but those points are irrelevant. The discussion is about external links that are in Further reading and do not duplicate External links or References. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:33, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
@Viriditas: WP:FURTHER doesn't say that "the section should not duplicate external links nor the references"; it says "The Further reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section, and should normally not duplicate the content of the References section". The use of the word "content" (twice) is significant: this means that any particular link or source that appears under either External links or References should not also appear under Further reading. Nor is it "a standard appendix that supports article content". It is a standard appendix, yes: but it says "This section is not intended as a repository for general references that were used to create the article content." which is to say it is the place to put material which was not used to support article content. Nowhere does it specify that the material listed under Further reading should be printed matter, so they may, ipso facto, include links to online publications; and WP:ELPOINTS is clear that any link that is not used as an inline citation or a general reference is subject to WP:EL. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:32, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
In practice, further reading sections support content and provide pointers to further information. And while they are not intended to be used as a repository for general references that were used to create article content, they can be used to point readers to "publications that would help interested readers learn more about the article subject" and help them expand it as editors. While it is true that the guidelines for external links sections provide for further research and contain some overlap here, a further reading section is not an external links section, and overlap between references and further reading is allowed in terms of general reading lists. A further reading section is in practice, a list of old media, including recommended print and electronic citations. On the other hand, in practice, an external links section is a recommended list of websites. The reason we have an external links guideline is because anyone can publish a website; not everyone can publish a reliable book or newspaper. The overlap occurs when the old media makes the jump to new media, but the dominant guideline for further reading sections is WP:RELIABLE, not WP:EL. Thargor's conspiracy theory, which posits that editors are "choosing to use further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines", is one of the most ridiculous claims I've ever seen on Wikipedia and has no basis in reality. External link guidelines do not apply to further reading sections, WP:RS does. Thargor is making this claim because for the last year or so he's been systematically removing further reading sections in controversial articles because he personally doesn't like them, usually due to their subject matter. This entire discussion is an attempt by Thargor to game the system by claiming external links guidelines apply to further reading section in order to bypass WP:RS and remove any source he doesn't like. Unfortunately, most editors in this discussion aren't aware of this behavior, and don't know what he's really up to here. To summarize, further reading sections are not intended to contain websites, they are used for traditional citations, so EL doesn't apply. It is true that there is some overlap between old and new media, hence the confusion, but at the end of the day, we defer to WP:RS, not WP:EL. Viriditas (talk) 01:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps some example would be helpful in this discussion. @Thargor Orlando: could you provide a few examples of "further reading sections as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines", so that we can see what the problem is. @Viriditas: no doubt can provide examples of Thargor Orlando's alleged "systematically removing further reading sections in controversial articles because he personally doesn't like them". Viriditas, can you provide some examples of legitimate links in Further reading that would contravene WP:EL if it applied? Mitch Ames (talk) 01:51, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Mitch, addressing only the relevant question to me, the issue was raised specifically at Abby Martin, which is what prompted this desire for clarification. I'm sure, if I took some time and effort, I could find more. I've been doing a lot of work on external links (not further reading sections) as of late and was frankly surprised that the only real mention was here. Thargor Orlando (talk) 03:05, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Please provide an example of further reading sections being used as external link dumps in order to circumvent our external link guidelines. Abby Martin's article does not have any links which circumvent the guidelines. Instead, you modified this layout guideline, and claimed that it is now governed by the external links guideline, which you then used to deny exclusion. That makes no sense at all, and merely demonstrates you trying to game the system. Further reading sections are not governed by external links, they are governed by RS. Viriditas (talk) 00:58, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
I had a look at the Further readings section of this recent version of Abby Martin. Most of them obviously contravene WP:ELNO 8 "Direct links to documents that require external applications or plugins (such as Flash or Java) to view the content". One has significant content viewable without Flash, but the Flash content may be relevant and/or necessary for reasonable interpretation of the text. The only one that didn't require some external software was in Russian (which does not contravene ELNO, but see WP:NONENGEL). Mitch Ames (talk) 06:06, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
The major paper encyclopedias typically have sections called "further reading," which is the inspiration for Wikipedia. They tell readers where to go to pursue the study of the subject. In our case they point to reliable secondary sources that have not been referenced explicitly, but often have been reviewed by editors in preparing the article. All the items in "further reading" are facts about a publication that deals with the topic of the article, and these facts have been selected by an editor just as have the facts in the main text of the article been selected by an editor. I have not seen (in history articles) examples of "data dumps", which I take to be UNselected grab bags. "Further reading" sections are unusually valuable for students doing papers on the topic. Websites, as several editors here have noted, do not usually meet the criteria of published reliable secondary source. Rjensen (talk) 04:25, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Of course, the major paper encyclopedias have far fewer footnotes. So they explicitly reference very little in the body of the article. Accordingly, their "further reading" sections may well contain sources used to support the articles. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 12:06, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I've always seen "further reading," however, as substantive bodies of work that would be used not as a reference in our project, but as larger works. As an example, the article on Barack Obama might not use a book called Barack Obama: A Biography as a source, but it would be a good larger-form option for readers who want to learn more about a subject. On the other hand, some random New York Times interview is unlikely to act as further reading, and is just an indiscriminate link that offers little "further" information. By simply pushing out indiscriminate links as "further reading," it creates the same problem the external links guideline sought to solve, as there would be no end to it. Butwhatdoiknow also makes a solid point that our referencing system is much different than a traditional encyclopedia, making further reading sections somewhat moot in many regards. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:54, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the substance of your comment. However, it seems I misled you regarding my point: I think that a citation to Barack Obama: A Biography in a footnote somewhere in the Barack Obama article should not keep it out of the Further reading section. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 15:47, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Particularly important books may be double-listed. What Barack Obama needs, though, is someone to actually get a handful of good books like that and use it, instead of citing four hundred WP:PRIMARYNEWS and websites. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:14, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Also agree. I think the idea I'm trying to say is that "further reading" should be substantive texts, not random links. Thargor Orlando (talk) 22:17, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Substantive texts are used as sources and citations in the body of the article and appear as references to cited material. Further reading sections do not contain "random" links. "Links" are the domain of external links, not further reading sections. Viriditas (talk) 01:29, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
It appears we're basically on the same page here, with one exception. Unless there's any significant protest, I think I like Mitch's suggestion of adding this: "Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links." This allows for book "further reading" offerings without allowing the external links workaround. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:31, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Considering the discussion above, I am going to use Mitch's suggestion and make the change. Thanks everyone! Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:21, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Good edit!! Compiling further reading sections and bibliographies is a major activity of historians and scholars here on Wikipedia. What needs to be clear is that "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics......thus should contain only scholarly publications. Links to web sites do not belong in "further reading sections" or in bibliographies for that matter. For student "further reading" and its extension bibliography of work pages are essential - as Wiki is used as a jumping of point for self education. We simply cant use all the best sources in articles. Students from the Wikipedia:Canada Education Program have used the sources from the "further reading section" of Canada - History of Canada - Military history of Canada - Culture of Canada so much that we created bibliographies for all of them Bibliography of Canada - Bibliography of Canadian history - Bibliography of Canadian military history. -- Moxy (talk) 17:51, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad this inadvertently made a better discussion as to what belongs there. Is there a way we can phrase that to flesh out what we have a little more? Thargor Orlando (talk) 19:06, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, Moxy is wrong. That's too harsh: Moxy is right so long as you're only talking about specific types of articles, like maybe major subjects in history, such as the article on World War II. For pop culture, notable hoaxes, outdated concepts of diseases, etc., you should not limit it to "only scholarly publications". ==Further reading== for a notable pseudoscience-y book should include a bibliographic citation for the original book. For a disease, it's good to include a famous early description of the disease, and it's often a good idea to include a lay-oriented book that average non-university-graduate patients (or even younger students) could understand. Even for something like history subjects, where scholarly books are easy to find, there's a place for including non-scholarly books, e.g., books written by people who were present or participating. It'd be pretty silly to exclude Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant from Ulysses S. Grant on the grounds that his own memoirs weren't "scholarly". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:15, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I would rephrase Moxy's original statement "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics......thus should contain only scholarly publications." to something like "further reading sections" should contain major works on the topics, with priority given to the most reliable and most scholarly sources available to Wikipedia readers. 'Further reading' can also include "primary sources" that are of value in historical study." Rjensen (talk) 20:56, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Thargor Orlando recently added this to the layout guideline in order to gain advantage in a dispute:

Any links to external websites included under Further reading are subject to the guidelines described at Wikipedia:External links.

This is altogether unclear. Many of our best sources are print publications, not external websites. However, these print publications are now becoming available online. They should not be subject to an external link guideline, they should be subject to WP:RS. We also have a plethora of new media sources that are not exactly considered "external links", ranging from podcasts, to television interviews, to radio shows, to documentaries. Again, these are not considered "external links", such as a self-published website. The external link guideline was created to act as a gatekeeper of self-published websites. It was not intended to filter citations and sources in further reading sections. The rules governing external links are quite different than the rules governing further reading sections which include scholarly and other types of content. We don't determine their inclusion based on the type of website that hosts the content. The fact of the matter is, the external links guideline does not apply to citations and sources already being used. In practice, citations and sources found in further reading sections use WP:RS to determine inclusion regardless of the type of website where their content may be found. Thargor Orlando is trying to invoke the external links guideline because it allows him to eliminate sources used in controversial articles. Essentially, it is a backdoor for those wishing to exclude sources because of their POV, not because of their reliability. This is a bad faith proposal with the sole purpose of eliminating further reading sections, particularly in controversial articles where POV pushers may attempt to hide or delete sources because they disagree with the view presented. Essentially, Thargor Orlando is doing a sneaky, backend run around NPOV by appealing to the external links guideline. This allows him (and anyone else) to endlessly wikilawyer over the minimal use of sources, the merit of including citations, and the relevance of a further reading section, while ignoring RS. For only two examples of this today, Thargor Orlando argued on Talk:Abby Martin that links to controversial television and radio interviews of Abby Martin by Piers Morgan and Bob Garfield, two reliable sources, were not acceptable as either further reading or external links. Thargor Orlando is trying to go around RS and NPOV by proposing that further reading sections should be governed by the external links guideline even though these sources and citations do not depend on websites for their content. Piers Morgan's interview appeared on CNN and Bob Garfield's on NPR. These are relevant to the subject of the article in terms of further reading or further reading and resources, not in terms of their external links or the merits of their external links. Viriditas (talk) 00:55, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm not so sure now that that WP:FURTHER should be necessarily be constrained by WP:ELNO. Some ELNO items are purely about accessibility - eg 7 "Sites that are inaccessible to a substantial number of users, ... only work with a specific browser or in a specific country.", 8 "require external applications or plugins". So ELNO disallows a site that requires Flash, even though most users can easily get Flash. But Further reading could legitimately include a book or other physical publication that might be difficult or impossible for me to find or buy. It seems to me that before we say Further reading should be constrained by ELNO, we need to answer a few underlying questions:
  • Why are those restrictions in ELNO?
  • Why do we separate External links and Further reading? (Obviously External links are web sites, but it's not obvious that Further reading is intended to be limited to offline publications.)
Mitch Ames (talk) 06:24, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
The idea about constraining the two is exactly why we talked about it prior, to ensure that link dumps don't occur in further reading like they don't occur in external links. It is clear by the discussion above that further reading, at least as understood by everyone, that it's meant to be a place for more significant looks at a topic, not simply random "hey, check this out" indiscriminate links. A television interview concerning one topic is not "further reading," as it's not something to read and it's not a significant look. The external links section is constrained because we don't want an indiscriminate list anywhere. We want links to outside sources to either be references or official sites to ensure quality, not to become random dumps of information. To use further reading as a link dump is not at all what is intended by it, and really basically misses the point. Even if we were to say "hey, weblinks are cool here", nothing being added to the place Viriditas is currently battling at would be allowable even still. If someone wrote a biography of Abby Martin, or even perhaps a feature-length biographical magazine article, those could be appropriate. Not a podcast. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:47, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

The External Links section is basically a 'Further Reading' section - most if not all of the external link in an External Links should be information, and I quote, "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." that adds to the article. Basically, an External Links section is just a bit wider than a Further Reading section. We do not add a 'Further reading' section (my emphasis) if there is nothing to further the reader.

I do agree that it adds to clarity to sometimes split the External Links and Further Reading type information, but those two sections are basically the same. Whether it is separate or not, they still both have to comply with our core policies and guidelines, in other words, no linkfarming, no yellow page generation, and the sections should neutrally (where applicable) depict what there is outside, follow copyright rules, etc. etc. I also see Further Reading sections (without direct linking) which are plainly a large, long list of publications regarding the subject - most of which do not necessarily add, nor cumulatively add.

Regarding Viriditas' example ("Piers Morgan's interview appeared on CNN and Bob Garfield's on NPR. These are relevant to the subject of the article in terms of further reading or further reading and resources, not in terms of their external links or the merits of their external links.") - that is exactly what external links should comply with, they are relevant in terms of further reading/research. Thát is the base requirement. If they do that, then they may fail some of the 'Links to be avoided'-requirements but still be suitable for inclusion. As an example: omitting a YouTube because they are on YouTube is not the reason, the reason generall is that they do not add (which is, unfortunately, true for by far most of the material on YouTube) anything to the article which is not already there.

Mitch Ames: no, ELNO does not disallow sites - the point (#7) is that if many readers can't read the info, it does not help the reader anyway. Similarly for #8. We are not writing an USA/Europe centered encyclopedia here where everyone has access to everything - do note that there are countries that have no or limited access to YouTube and even to Wikipedia. Sites that hit some or more of the points in WP:ELNO often are often of less use to Wikipedia articles. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:11, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Another further reading issue - do we mean 'anything an editor thinks should be there'?[edit]

I'm having 'editor-recommended' quoted at me to argue that any book recommended by an editor can be in the list. I don't think this was ever intended - surely if a book is added it should be one that is clearly significant in some obvious way, eg mentioned by other authors in the field, etc? Dougweller (talk) 07:41, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, good question. Does anyone know what the phrase "editor recommended" is designed to accomplish in Further reading? Maybe we can just delete it. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 11:40, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I think that's more a consensus issue, but if it's causing that sort of problem, removing it doesn't seem out of line. Thargor Orlando (talk) 12:57, 10 April 2014 (UTC)