Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking

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

There is clear consensus to exclude. Drmies (talk) 21:14, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

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)
  • Exclude: exactly the kind of thing I'd expect to be linked. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 01:34, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Relax duplicate linking rule[edit]

Many editors feel that the rule about duplicate links is too strict as currently written:

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. Duplicate links in an article can be identified by using a tool that can be found at User:Ucucha/duplinks.

I would like to poll the attitudes of the MOS community on this topic, so that I can draft a suitable proposal to change this rule. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Notes: I've canvassed both proponents and opponents of duplicate links, from the discussions that I found in the archives. It's possible to support or oppose more than one of the options below, as I have done.

General question[edit]

A strict interpretation of this rule implies that a link to an obscure term that appears in section 19 of a long article should be removed if it occurs in section 2 as well. If you support this interpretation, please explain why.

Support status quo:

  • I think the actual cost of this is minimal, but I feel that most articles are more threatened by overlinking (where multiple low value links create a sea of blue, making it harder to identify valuable links) than by underlinking. The "rule", such as it is, can already be interpreted to include extra links in situations where this will be helpful to a reader, but to relax it or delete it would be to encourage the continuation or worsening of overlinking. --John (talk) 21:44, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Comment: the current rule as written does not allow a term to be linked twice in the text of an article (excluding the lead section).--Slashme (talk) 22:12, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John, and see my fuller response under the When far enough apart option. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I feel the current rule is loose enough to allow for exceptions where truly warranted, but in my experience, as John noted, overlinking is a far more prevalent problem than underlinking. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I have been invited to participate in this discussion on my user talk page, presumably because of my participation in prior discussions on point. My current thinking is succinctly embodied by Jayaguru immediately above. I think the current phrasing already permits editors to use a modicum of common sense and to resolve particular instances of repeated links to key topics in very long articles by compromise and article-level consensus. Given that over-linking is a far bigger problem than under-linking, IMO, I suggest we leave the current guideline as is. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It is disingenuous to argue that the existing language "can already be interpreted to include extra links...", and (comment below) that "[t]he existing guidance already allows for this", as this is at variance with the practice of some editors (and I believe the duplinks tool) of removing all duplicate links on sight, without discussion, which they justify on a strict interpretation of the existing language. Strictly speaking, the last paragraph at WP:OVERLINK does say "only once' per article", the "generally" and "common sense" qualifications rarely allowing any exceptions with those who a fear a sea of blue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:30, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It not only is disingenuous, it is illogical. Suppose we assumed that we had only honest editors who never interfered with the the proper function of articles that depended on links (this you understand is purely hypothetical) then what we have is a set of debatable rules based on the personal aesthetic tastes of a few people, for controlling the functional design of didactic articles??? This puts the editor or author into the position of looking guiltily over his shoulder and thinking up his justifications every time he stretched the envelope, never knowing when someone who does not understand his links might come and remove them without notice, and start a fight at an advantage if he corrects the mutilation.
    The style guidelines should be to support production of superior products, not for permitting them to be extruded painfully through a picket of stonewallers who, let it be said in case you haven't noticed, do not hesitate to interfere, and do not hesitate to do it on a basis of Zero linking as one of them asserted elsewhere on this page.
    When the rules are based on counting links rather than on the function of links, then you should not have to ask what is wrong; the system is wrong. It is nonsense to argue that the flexibility is adequate, because that flexibility does not extend as far as the functional requirement, but as far as the whim of a luddite who not only wishes to control what HE sees in an article, but what anyone else is permitted to see as well.
    Furthermore note that dirtlawyer and Jayaguru-Shishya are typical in stating flatly that the flexibility is "sufficient" -- a quantitative assertion, please note. And who determines the quantity? Not their opposition! And who justifies the argument for that quantity? Nobody. The closest we have got to a quantitative argument is that if we have two links on a page the thin end of the wall of blue will nip us all in the bud.
    And when they have finished asserting that the flexibility is adequate and have gone back to their own affairs and the old guard have continued with their old habits uninterruptedly, where are they to protest the inflexibility? Certainly nowhere that they can do WP or anyone else a scrap of good.
    Where is the integrity, let alone the flexibility then? JonRichfield (talk) 19:18, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, the rule should be left as it stands. In fact, "rule" isn't the correct word, as others have pointed out; it's a guideline which is somewhat strongly encouraged. Sure, an overly-literal reading of it could be detrimental to some articles, but the responsibility for that lies with the reader.-RHM22 (talk) 22:58, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Not merely could, but actually is detrimental. The underlying problem that drives all this that some editors do take a strict interpretaton of this "guideline" as if were an absolute rule. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:21, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I understand that, but that's the fault of the editors who misread it, and not the policy, which begins with "[g]enerally." I agree with the others who suggest above that articles are more often harmed by an overabundance of links than a lack thereof.-RHM22 (talk) 23:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry to hear that some editors are acting against the guideline we have. However, like RHM22 well put it[1]: "that's the fault of the the editors who misread it". In such cases, I think the issue should be first taken to administrative attention by dispute resolution or an administrative noticeboard instead of attempting to change the established WP guidelines straight away. As I have strongly understood, the phrasing of the guideline is not the problem itself, but the misreading of the guideline by some editors. Therefore, the right way to handle this problem would be to bring the guideline violations to administrative attention, and then to impose sanctions for these sanction if seen necessary. Has there been a case about aggressive misreading of the policy on hand, could one please bring it to our attention since it'd the most helpful! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
This gets back to my comment above about disingenuousness. You claim that "generally" ameliorates the black-letter text that says "only once", and shift blame for any problems that ensue on editors who "misread" the text. I say the bolded "once" beats the snot out of "generally", and that editors who take a strict view of "once" are supported by the actual, literal, and least interpreted meaning of the text.
However, the underlying problem here is not how this "guideline" should be interpreted, it is this bogeyman of "overlinking". Until we deal with that there will be no progress on this issue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:03, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I support the status quo: The existing guidance already allows for common sense addition of extra links where these would be necessary. Relaxing the guidance would result in articles peppered with repetitions of links "because they are allowed". Apuldram (talk) 21:02, 22 April 2015 (UTC)


Relax somewhat:

  • An over-strict interpretation of this rule gives the situation where readers need to hunt for the first occurrence of an obscure or technical term, or else use the search box, instead of having a convenient link to the article. The cost of having something linked two or three times in an article is far outweighed by the benefits. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Maybe change "Generally" to something more instructive. Perhaps something along the lines of "Unless separated by a substantial amount of text." Regardless, we should put a period after "in an article" and remove the "But" following the period. In fact, I may just boldly do that last suggestion. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:21, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The rule is written on the assumption that articles are read as though they are novels - that is we start at the lead and go through in the exact order to the end as though this were a pleasant read. An encyclopedia, however, is a reference tool - sections allow readers to go just to those sections which matter to them. Readers may go straight to the section they require, missing out the lead, and the section where the term is first linked. We have redirects and anchors which go straight to sections, missing out on previous links in the article. Each section needs to be treated for what it is, an independent section that readers are highly likely to read independently of the rest of the article. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I strongly favor relaxation, but it seems futile to argue for it. Based on prior history (e.g., see Archive 16) this proposal will not get anywhere without dealing with the main concern of the opposers: overlinking. Part of that concern is this fear of immediate inundation in a sea of blue. if any link should appear in an article twice. I find this fear to be absurd, but that is beside the point. The point is that as long as they adhere to that fear we will not get anywhere.
I suspect this sensitivity to overlinking arose from the WP:Overlink crisis of 2007-2011, when "many thousands of articles" were loaded up with navboxes and infoboxes that in turn accumulated hundreds of links. So perhaps it is about time for some of you folks to WAKE UP and note: 1) the overlink crisis is long over; 2) there are three orders of magnitude difference between a single duplication of a link, and the thousands of links some articles had back then; 3) neither retaining nor relaxing the "only once" rule has any affect on that kind of massive linking because it exempts infoboxes and such. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:36, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I also strongly favor relaxation. I am a new editor (Oct. 2014) and I was really surprised when told I can only link to another page once. This shocked me because for lengthy articles this seemed really counter-intuitive. It was good to know that I am not meant to link every time this word occurred (this is what I thought at first!), but about once per visible page would be fine in my view, or once per section if people prefer that. - I often don't read an article from start to finish but I use the table of contents to jump straight to the section that I am interested in. What I also do now is to insert this, for example:
    Further information: compost
    which is in a way a blue link to another page but a more prominent one which I can place at the beginning of a section if it is appropriate. EvM-Susana (talk) 22:54, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Per SilkTork - in longer articles, especially, multiple links to obscure or precise terminology would provide a useful resource to readers. Perhaps relax the "per article" rule to a "per major section" rule. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:24, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • There is nothing worse than having to hunt for a link that appeared earlier in an article, especially if linking the term would make more sense in the current instance than in the first. Linking should anticipate readers, not Wikipedia guidelines. Betty Logan (talk) 07:39, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The first thought I had reading the question was precisely what SilkTork stated! I will add that this is especially important in articles dealing with long articles and technical subjects. After noticing a comment further down this discussion, I will add that people who follow a wikilink to a specific section of an article will have to hunt through the previous sections of the article to find an appropriate wikilink. Another problem would be if the first link is piped, obscuring what the reader is looking for. AHeneen (talk) 08:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Relax the rule - why don't we just leave this up to an editor's discretion (as we do for example with choosing British/American English)? Sometimes linking more than once is appropriate, overlinking can be annoying. Editors in my experience are generally smart enough to make up their own minds without a prescriptive rule.--Jackyd101 (talk) 17:52, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Comment; we do not leave choosing British/American English to editor discretion. In most cases this is determined by WP:ENGVAR. --John (talk) 09:56, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
In some cases national connection determines the ENGVAR used but in many cases it is left to the first (major) editor as per WP:RETAIN. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:33, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto, Slashme and SilkTork. The current guideline and common editor practice (i.e., more than one link of the same term in an article is overlink) is counterintuitive. Previously linked terms that would aid the reader in another section should be linked as well. As mentioned by others supporting a change, the guideline does not explicitly allow for repeat links in an article as the last sentence (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. Duplicate links in an article can be identified by using a tool that can be found at User:Ucucha/duplinks.) does not concern the prose. --Lapadite (talk) 17:10, 8 March 2015 (UTC)


Comment:

To point out a few misunderstanding related to this RfC (in a chronological order):

  • Slashme[2]: You said that the current guideline dows not allow a term to be linked twice in the text of an article excluding the lead section. This is not true. As explained by many users, a term indeed may be linked more than once in the article (excluding the lead section, of course). Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • The guideline actually doesn't allow double linking as currently written: let's parse the text:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, (general rule)
but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated (exception, valid when?)
in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. (exception is limited to these cases)
So if I understand you correctly, you interpret that sentence to be equivalent to the following:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but may be repeated if helpful to readers, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.
@Jayaguru-Shishya: Would you be comfortable with this wording (without the bolding of "for example", of course)? --Slashme (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Slashme: Thanks for your suggestion. At this point, I'd give a "cautious yes". The wording you are suggesting might be a good solution, but I am still thinking that many editors seemed to have problem with the wording "once" (yes, with the bolding). I was also thinking of 1) removing the bolding, or 2) giving the bolding for word "Generally" instead of "once", since some editors feel that the word "Generally" is sometimes neglected by some editors. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:02, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • J. Johnson (#1)[3]: You said that the duplicate links tools do remove all duplicate links on sight without discussion. This isn't true either. Actually, the Ucucha script only highlights the duplicate links. All the removals must be done manually, though. And that's where every editor using the tool is responsible for using personal discretion rather than removing the highlighted links blindly. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Not quite. I was referring to "the practice of some editors ... of removing all duplicate links on sight, without discussion". A practice assisted and even encouraged by the duplinks tool, which I mentioned parenthetically. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • SilkTork[4]: I agree with Tony1. The WP articles are structured so that the text unfolds in a logical and sequential manner. Well said. Also, talking from my personal experience, there are lots of articles where the same terms have been redundantly linked all over and over again. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't think that that is a clear case of a misconception that you are correcting, but rather a difference of opinion. Wikipedia is full of links to article sections because, for example, someone might need to be referred to the history of Germany or the geography of Germany for a better understanding of a certain point, without needing an introduction to the country. --Slashme (talk) 21:12, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • J. Johnson (#2)[5]: Many of the links are already apearing twice, or even more. That's perfectly in line with the current guideline, and there's nothing wrong with that. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding over what's being voted here, I think. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Of course there is nothing wrong ("generally") with a second ("duplicate") instance of link. That in some articles some editors have tolerated such instances misses the point: other editors strictly remove even a mere second instance as "overlinking", as if "twice" is only one step removed from the evils of thousands of links. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • EvM-Susana[6]: You said that you were "really surprised when told" that you can only link another page once. I am sorry to hear that, but that's not actually how it is: You can indeed link to a page more than once. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • JonRichfield (#1)[7]: I think the problem concerning the excessive usage of technical terms is already covered by Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable, according to which we should strive "to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers". This is also consistent with WP:LINKSTYLE on "nested links". Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • JonRichfield (#2)[8]: "Furthermore note that dirtlawyer and Jayaguru-Shishya are typical in stating flatly that the flexibility is "sufficient" -- a quantitative assertion, please note." Actually, that's a qualitative assertion; it emphasizes users' personal discretion, and the current guideline doesn't have any fixed quantitative rule even. Just to correct the misunderstanding. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Jayaguru-Shishya My apologies; I missed your responses here.
  • "to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers" is certainly a worthy objective, but in technical topics it involves conflicting constraints and there is no fence to sit on between them, only a ditch. To use technical terms as opposed to abusing them whether in technical writing or not is because they are efficient. To abuse them means using them when they serve no purpose, and that is not competent writing; it is pretentiousness. But consider say:
"...hypopharynx varies greatly with the nature of the insect. Commonly it is a tongue-like structure attached to the floor of the preoral cavity between the other external mouthparts, just below the opening of the pharynx and above or anterior to the base of the labium. The salivary duct then emerges between the labium and the hypopharynx. In this form it assists chewing and swallowing, much as a human tongue does. It forms part of the floor of the cibarium, and in sucking insects, such as the Siphunculata, sucking lice, it forms part of the muscular suction apparatus, the cibarial pump. In some insects, such as many Diptera, the hypopharynx forms a stylet through which the salivary duct passes, and..."
That I think you will agree contains a generous helping of technical terms (bolded for this demonstration) for anyone unacquainted with the subject, but which of the terms do you suggest should be omitted, and what service do you suppose it would serve the reader to omit them? Why do you suppose that he would have been reading the article in the first place? JonRichfield (talk) 18:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
@Jayaguru-Shishya You please note, it is a thoroughly quantitative decision in that someone must decide how much flexibility or linkage is desirable or permissible. The discretion you refer to has nothing to do with quality, just whether you will suffer torments in the afterlife if ever you put in a link too many, not which kind of link. JonRichfield (talk) 18:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Once per section[edit]

Since 2006 there have been proposals to allow linking once per section, proposed in July and November 2006 (unanimously supported both times), and again in 2013 and 2014 (no consensus).

Support:

  • If this is approved, it must be made clear that it is not required to link once per section, but allowed in long articles. This is a reasonable way to relax the strict rule described above, and solves the problem that one can be linked to a section of an article, and will therefore not have seen previous links. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, of course, it's quite bizarre that such a rule (as opposed to a set of general suggestions) should exist, and even worse if people are thoughtlessly enforcing it, as seems sometimes to happen with Wikipedia's rules. W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, this is sensible, for the reasons given. Andrew D. (talk) 22:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Each section needs to be treated for what it is, an independent section that readers are highly likely to read independently of the rest of the article. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I made a similar suggestion a while back, with allowance for more than once per section for very long sections. This has to be tempered though. The real goal s not a link every so often or per section, it is to make links as meaningful and convenient as possible. Those tow needs conflict sometimes. So links=good except where it results in a link density that is too high in the article, in a section, or in a particular run of text separate from its section structure. To me, this means there should be an overall statement of goals, with any other "rules" (guidelines) being subordinate to that statement. Dovid (talk) 16:57, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • For long-ish articles only. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We should permit with a caveat i.e we shouldn't blindly link a term once in each section, but I can imagine a scenario where we link the first occurrence in an article for those that read from "start to finish" and maybe any section where the term is "context relevant" and might be sought by someone who has jumped straight to that section. Betty Logan (talk) 07:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support unless and until someone shows me real objective evidence that it would harm readability or usefulness, as in something vaguely resembling a scientific study. Here at Wikipedia, unsubstantiated statements of fact are also known as opinions. I've seen too many links removed on the basis of the current language to put much stock in the "it already leaves room for discretion" argument. I try to live in the real world, and I think our guidelines should live in it, too. ―Mandruss  08:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Oppose:

  • The existing guidance already allows for this and this proposal is based on a misreading of the existing guidance. To relax the guidance would encourage currently overlinked articles to stay bad or to become worse. The status quo is just fine in this instance. --John (talk) 21:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I'm reading it exactly the same way as the proposer, i.e. that the list of exceptions is a closed list, and thus we have an apparent (and ridiculous) prohibition on the use of repeat links anywhere else than the places listed. If the list is not supposed to be closed, then something should be added to indicate as much. W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:51, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John, and see my fuller response under the When far enough apart option. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Let's not replace one rule that isn't working with another that won't work. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Per my statement above and per John. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
    • @Jayaguru-Shishya a repetition of the uncalibrated quantitative argument (...relaxed enough... yes? "Enough" being how much?) The guideline " generally" amounts to handwaving, giving NO indication of when enough is enough, so some geniuses have seen fit to create tools to remove repeated links automatically. Could you even hypothetically support a "guideline" that can be interpreted as support for such vandalism? JonRichfield (talk) 08:15, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • While I am receptive to applying common sense to repeated links to the same topic in the main body sections of a very long article, I am also mindful of the mindless over-linking that often occurs in relatively short articles of a few hundred words, where the same topic is often linked in an infobox, one or more tables, a navbox, the lead, and then each of four or five brief one- to three-sentence sections. Again, I view the problem of over-linking in the typical Wikipedia article as a far more relevant concern than that of under-linking. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:00, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps you would provide us an example or two of "mindless over-linking that often occurs in relatively short articles of a few hundred words", so we could see just what the real problems are? Keep in mind that tables, infoboxes, etc., are entirely irrelevant here, as the current rule exempts them. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
JJ, see my comment below. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:02, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Comment:

  • We should probably state explicitly whether (for the purpose of "once per section") a "section" means only the top level, ie (defined per MOS:SECTIONS) ==Section==, or whether it is intended to include sub-sections eg ===Sub-section===. Some articles may have many small sub-sections, so we may want to limit duplicated links to once per top-level section. Mitch Ames (talk) 07:27, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • By overlinking, we'd lose the opportunity to display intelligently selected and rationed links to readers. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk)
  • I want to read and discuss the proposed language for any "relaxation" of the present guideline; propose it, and then let's discuss it. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:00, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
"When far enough apart" is not the kind of statment one can support or oppose. More appropriate would be discussions of how frequently constitutes "far enough", such as "once per section" (like the section above), or per "20,000 words" (below), or even no definite rule. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:24, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
JJ, I edit a lot of American football sports bio articles, many of which consist an overly long infobox, a lead, one or two sentences about the athlete's college career, a sentence about his NFL Draft outcome, and another two or three sentences about his pro career. Links to common words and phrases like National Football League/NFL, team names, positions, touchdown, quarterback sack, tackle, etc., are often repeated in every one of the lead and three or four very short sections. In my experience, this happens in many different sports articles, but it certainly is not a sports-only problem. I keep about 1,000 of 20,000+ such NFL bio articles on my watch list; given human time constraints, it's impossible to track them all, let alone fix the over-linking in all of them. So, you do what you can, and you try to educate other editors through WikiProject discussions and the BRD process. If you really want links, I can start digging out examples. FYI, in my six years on-wiki, I've gone from linking virtually every meaningful term in articles, to being something of a link minimalist. I really believe that it is better to emphasize 25 meaningful and relevant links in a Good Article rather than three times that number which include commonly understood terms as well as those that are not really central to an understanding of the article topic. Of course, that requires a command of the subject material and some measure of editorial judgment in prioritizing what gets linked. I am sympathetic, but I am unwilling to further qualify the general rule without specific language to review. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:02, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Please link to a specific example to review, so that the rest of us can what you are talking about. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:22, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1: Again, please link to a specific example showing how merely duplicating (repeating) a link more than once in the text of the whole article (but no more than once per section) leads to any kind of "overlink" problem. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:51, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1 We all are here for the purpose of improving the function and functioning of WP. In this matter however, we have had years and years of irrationally counterfunctional organised resistance to any constructive improvement of a pernicious point of view legalistically supported by what I have previously referred to as uncalibrated quantitative guidelines. The consequence has been a disservice to users, authors and editors.
"Over" linking in most terms is no more than a minor irritation of little functional importance. Rationally real overlinking only matters when it would be reasonable to call someone in for disruptive editing or the like. Occasionally there will be a slip certainly, and occasionally a novice could be gently admonished for overdoing it, but generally an extra link does less harm than a missing link.
Note that the very concept of overlinking is ambiguous, including personal aesthetics of some editors who apparently don't like blue and are willing to cry holy war on anyone with a link that they personally think unnecessary (even in cases where they don't understand the subject matter and don't realise that they have misunderstood
  • a technical term that looks everyday, but really does need linking, such as mandible or spigot or labium, or
  • a place name that they have thought to refer to someplace familiar to them, such as Trinidad or Cairo). So they unlink such items, possibly even automatedly.
  • One even can find occasions where the same word in different contexts needs re-linking to different meanings, such as gravity in physics or engineering
  • What about where different words link to the same article, such as dorsad, distal, distal, sagittal or occusal, sometimes in the same sentence, never mind on the same page?
So you want "specific language" that will permit definitive rulings on each link in each article? No, sir, these, I protest you, are too hard for me. Such language would fill books about it and about I reckon, though I freely invite you to demonstrate me mistaken by providing counter-examples. I reckon rather that things should be the other way around and that we should permit people to write more or less as they please, gently admonishing beginners who do ridiculous things, as most of us do in our original innocence. Like linking to New York repeatedly in the same sentence or short paragraph. If it isn't ridiculous leave it for procedures similar to English/American spelling and so on.
We might have a list of hints such as:
    • Are you sure your reader needs this link? When in doubt don't link, any more than you would include other unnecessary distractions.
    • Better link than explain something that an informed reader might be expected to know already; remember that any parenthetically helpful explanation that you include might well go out of date causing confusion, will irritate most readers much worse than a link will. By reserving explanations for linked articles that are in themselves coherent, you aid in keeping resources up to date, consistent and precise. This applies especially if your explanation assists readers in matters outside your sphere of professional competence.
    • If you already have the same wording for the same concept linked where the reader still can see it immediately, whether he is already following a link or not, eg in the same sentence, or the same short paragraph, you really need not link it again, and when you do not need to, the chances are that you should not; always avoid unnecessary distractions for the reader. In fact, if the same link is still visible to most readers on the same page, avoid repeating it unless in a caption, table, box, footnote or the like.
I suggest that quite a short list of such rules of thumb would be sufficient for the average newby after a few helpful admonishments, rather than umbrella "guidelines" that are so simple, clear, adequate and adequately flexible that we still are exchanging ink bombs and spitballs after how long now???. Furthermore I reckon that quite modest technical facilities for links to be user-hideable, user-specific, ad hoc searchable by pop-up, and user-invocable ad libitum, are easily practicable, which should render this precious waste of time unnecessary as being totally obsolete. JonRichfield (talk) 08:15, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

When far enough apart[edit]

A common suggestion is to allow duplicate links where the term is far from a previous occurrence, for example in this proposal. This addresses the basic issue that we face as readers, namely that one can see a term after reading two pages of an article, and have no idea where it was linked above. The question then becomes how frequently one can link. If this position gets significant support, we can draft some options.

  • There used to be a long-standing bullet point "where the later occurrence is a long way from the first". This was removed on 27 November 2011 by User:Maunus; subsequent edits restored some parts of that radical cut. Maunus' edit summary refers to this RFC which he closed against consensus. Should we simply restore the previous bullet points? I think that would reflect common practice. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:35, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Support:

  • It's hard to make a fixed rule in this case, but I'd say that anything that is more than 20 000 words away is sufficiently distant. The question remains whether we need a hard rule, though. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Did you really mean 20,000 words...? We shouldn't really be producing 20,000 word articles anyway under WP:TOOBIG, let alone articles in which links are frequently 20,000 words apart. Hchc2009 (talk) 21:43, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, User:Hchc2009 - that was in fact a typo! But I didn't mean it as a serious suggestion anyway, just an example of how one might frame a rule. --Slashme (talk) 17:14, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Oh? I thought it was a subtle point. I.e., if 20,000 words is not sufficient distance, then how about 40,000 words? Is there any "distance" sufficient to permit replication of a link? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:19, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
That's a very good point to raise, but it's not exactly the point that I was making :-] --Slashme (talk) 08:24, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, obviously, and there should certainly not be any hard rule. It's rather disturbing that we appear to have developed "legislation" in matters like this. Editors' judgment should be trusted.W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Generally, this would be roughly once per section. This is rather vague, and sure, there can be dispute about it. I suggest banning anyone who edit wars over this. I think that'll be a win-win situation. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 21:52, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Links seem cheap and so we should be quite flexible in accommodating this where it seems helpful. Readers should never be required to hunt for a link. Andrew D. (talk) 22:17, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Supporting on the basis that this is what policy does imply (acknowledging John's point below), but more formalization as to describe "far enough" should be considered. As well as the aspect of how links in infoboxes and tables affect this. --MASEM (t) 23:59, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • More guidance is good. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Duplicate links, when far enough apart in the article text, are permitted if needed, is sort of the idea I would prefer, and what even the opposers below say they want. Once per section is a MAXIMUM, that should hardly ever (never?) occur. Once per article body is the goal, but I would like to see it broken frequently for odd and little-used terms and long articles. I do not agree that the language we have (below, from WP:REPEATLINK) is crystal clear. If our policy is that once per article is the general goal (to avoid the dread sea of blue), however duplicate links to the same term in the body, for odd words, are permitted in certain dire situations, then repeat that caveat right after the controlling paragraph below. Those people here saying it's already clear, are wrong, or else we wouldn't be having this long discussion. It's not clear until you put ALL the exceptions right where the reader needs to see them, which is not the case here. SBHarris 02:05, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree with Sbharris. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree with the principal of "permitted when far enough apart". As has been mentioned by others, readers do not necessarily read entire articles, from the top, and nor should they have to. We probably need some specific guideline about what is "far enough" (editors will probably disagree over it otherwise), but I have no suggestions for now. Mitch Ames (talk) 07:53, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I made a similar proposal some time ago. I believe my suggestion was some approximation of 1x-2x per printed page for long sections. Dovid (talk) 16:53, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I propose that no more is demanded than a rule of thumb,and that apart from the current "captions, sections, tables etc", we should aim for about a page apart, so that one is likely to find just one hideous blue link per page. I also reckon that the whole thing could be averted by a change in technology, but that has been shouted down repeatedly by link-haters in the past. JonRichfield (talk) 07:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The bold text suggested above by Sbharris seems right to me. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:05, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Definitely. I feel like objections to this are rooted in the desire for wikipedia to be "proper" and look nice, at the expense of being as useful to our readers as possible (which is obviously more important). Links that aren't very relevant shouldn't need to be duplicated, and I agree that there should be a reasonable gap, but useful/relevant links should be duplicated after a while. We don't know which section of an article a reader may be looking at, e.g. they may jump straight to a "Legacy" section, where there won't be any links to that individual's important works because they will have been linked earlier in the article. The reader would have to scroll around looking for the link, which isn't right. And I disagree that the current wording is flexible enough as people are always removing/telling others to remove any duplicate links. --Loeba (talk) 21:50, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I like Sbharris's choice. While I think "once per section" would still be a useful guideline, it's a distant second choice to this. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think that User:Sbharris's proposed language would best serve the purpose of making it clear that 'only one link in the text' is not an absolute rule. 24.151.10.165 (talk) 22:27, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Oppose:

  • The existing guidance already allows for this and this proposal is based on a misreading of the existing guidance. To relax the guidance would encourage currently overlinked articles to stay bad or to become worse. The status quo is just fine in this instance. --John (talk) 21:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
The current text is "if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead". This does not allow links to be repeated in the body of an article, no matter how far apart. --Slashme (talk) 22:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Slashme, the current guideline is just that, and per the heading does allow for "common sense" and "occasional exceptions". I'm with John on this matter. As a FAC coordinator, one of the last checks I make on an article before promoting to FA is a duplink check using Ucucha's script. If the article is detailed and the links are some distance apart, I've always given the main editors some discretion. What I think we do want to avoid is a sea of blue, and the status quo helps us achieve that while still permitting some duplicates if they can be justified. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree with Ian - exceptions can be made, but what we already have seems a good general rule. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
    • @Jayaguru-Shishya, John, Nikkimaria, Hchc2009, and Ian Rose: if I understand you properly, you do not say that a link to an obscure term should be removed from a paragraph at the bottom of a long article simply because it occurs near the top, but you all believe that the current wording makes this clear. I don't think this it does: the list of exceptions to the rule only includes non-body-text examples. --Slashme (talk) 12:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
      • Yes, the word "Generally" right at the start already implies this. --John (talk) 13:07, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
        • It actually doesn't: let's parse the current guideline:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, (general rule)
but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated (exception, valid when?)
in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. (exception is limited to these cases)
So if I understand you correctly, you interpret that sentence to be equivalent to the following:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but may be repeated if helpful to readers, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.
@Jayaguru-Shishya, John, Nikkimaria, Hchc2009, and Ian Rose: Would you be comfortable with this wording (without the bolding of "for example", of course)? --Slashme (talk) 18:44, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comfortable invocation of the "sea-of-blue" catch-phrase comes easily, much as the Aussies used to speak of the"yellow peril" and the NATO nations of the "red peril", but it is no substitute for practicality or responsibility. In reality "sea of blue" so far amounts to what? An article in blue punctuated with the occasional redlink or conjunction? I have never seen such, and correcting one if we found it would be trivial, probably even leading to grounding someone on the grounds of disruptive editing. What I certainly HAVE seen are articles full of obscure terminology with linked terms that occur less than once per page. I have seen sea-of-blue nazis removing links close to each other, where the linked word happened to be the same, but the articles linked to were different. I have seen editors virtuously removing links to commonplace words in ignorance of the fact that they did not refer to commonplace concepts. I have seen links removed because of the "everyone-knows-that" syndrome when what they mean is that the local usage is familiar in his town, his discipline, his patois, or even in his personal youth, but where it is not easy for others to guess what he is on about. The function of links at a density of at least one per screenful per linkworthy concept is a real and daily re-confirmed service to the reader who needs guidance, whether he is familiar with the subject or not, and who might have entered the article in the middle for reasons good, bad, or indifferent. As against that we are to be concerned with the convenience of what? A minority of people who dislike blue??? How much more of a service to our readers is it for a blue-hater to be spared skipping a visible link than for a reader who needs a link to be sent searching for one in the hope that there might be one somewhere, or to abandon an article in which he is lost in terminology without any hint that a given term could easily have been found if he had only known where to find a link? The very principle of confining a sound practice and requiring editors to go out of their way to justify links that the majority of readers at worst don't mind, and that readers in search of support actively need (the ones we write for -- remember them?) just to gratify the personal tastes of the blue-haters is wrong-headed. If as a matter of taste some people would like to see less blue, but still would condescend to permit the occasional link, then there are technological alternatives that they could agitate for to hide the blue and extend the linkage function instead of demanding the retention of guidelines that militate against practicality on the grounds that if the editors only would spend extra effort working round them, then maybe no one will descend on their work and devalue it. Similarly if naive readers only would repeatedly interrupt their reading to check for whether there is a link somewhere that might help them, then maybe they wouldn't need links anyway. And neither would we, right? It is no good speaking of benignly flexible guidelines when in the next breath one mentions duplication detectors; that bespeaks a destructive misunderstanding of function when constructive alternatives could achieve more for the same effort. "Allowing for common sense" is when you find some real sea of blue and correct matters, not when you grudgingly admit that an editor might have a point in stretching a "guideline" that wikilawyers are happy to use in justifying their habitual disruption. JonRichfield (talk) 12:43, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Lengthy, but I fully concur. It is a bit of a farce to claim that the rule is permissive, when in actuality some editors use it non-permissively. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:58, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Strong oppose. I don't agree with Silk Tort's contrast with reading a novel. Of course it's not the same as reading a novel, but WP articles are structured in the standard way, on the basis that the text unfolds logically and sequentially. In the minority instance where someone parachutes in via a section link, they can expect to encounter terms, concepts, ideas, information that are dependent on the previous text—whether by glossing, expansion, or unfolding context. Same for acronyms and initialisms: should we start expanding them several times during an article, just in case someone has forgotten? Well no—a reader might have to revisit the previous text if they forget. Reps of "National Science Foundation (NSF)" would be irritating to many readers.

Once you start giving the green light to multiple linkings of the same item in an article, there will be no end to it. People will argue about what constitutes "enough distance", for example. If you want a link to something that is unlinked, either scroll up till you find it (which you probably should do anyway) or type it into the search box.

Please protect our linking system from dilution by repetition: the more blue patchiness, the less "selective" value each link has. That's basic reading psychology. Tony (talk) 06:51, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Strongly oppose Strong oppose. There is no merit to "strongly opposing" (if that expresses passion). Passion is no substitute for logic,and logic in this case says that the interests of the reader who needs it most come first, and that if what the reader who needs it most is irksome to passionate parties, then the latter are the ones who should make the concessions (if we could call that a concession at all). If their aesthetic preferences cannot be satisfied by the current system,then the proper course is to request an option that will suit them, while permitting busy researchers and novices to make the best of the available tools most effectively. Telling users not to follow links into the middle of articles, or to scroll up and down until with any luck they find the link they want and trust that it does in fact link to the intended concept as the word that they had found unlinked, is the sheerest arrogance. Who on Earth has the right to tell people how to do their research, or more precisely, to do without it because you don't like the way links look? To demand that readers read entire articles because notionally "articles are structured in the standard way, on the basis that the text unfolds logically and sequentially" is a travesty. They might sometimes, and it might be nice if they did so more often, but to conclude that only lesser life forms might need to read limited sections in contexts different from those intended by the authors cannot have much sense of the nature of research -- or of browsing. The function of the encyclopaedia trumps personal tastes, and again I repeat, to impose one's personal tastes at the cost of function is unethical as well as illogical. And as for the slippery slope into the thin end of the wedge of solid blue, that argument is an embarrassment. JonRichfield (talk) 19:52, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Editors who refer to a "sea of blue" are reminded that we have specific WP:SEAOFBLUE, aka WP:Sea of blue, which (so far as I can tell from its location) applies only to "links next to each other so that they look like a single link". This is quite distinct from WP:OVERLINKING: "an excessive number of links". Some of the contexts in which participants here have used the term "sea of blue" suggests that they are referring to "too many links" (WP:OVERLINKING), rather than "links next to each other so that they look like a single link" (WP:SEAOFBLUE). One could reasonably favour either one of those policies while disagreeing with the other, so it might be helpful to the discussion if participants are clear about which of those two distinct concepts they refer to. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:27, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Mitch Ames, I was one of those you described and unaware of the distinction. FWIW the substance of my objection, plus the bulk of the controversy concerns fuzzy thinking about "overlinking", with "sea-of-blue" as in essence a term of abuse handy for those opposed to reform, but shorn of any basis for rational argument. The real sea-of-blue problem is not a major issue anyway, as no serious editor to my knowledge approves confusing concatenation of links. That guideline as I see it is more of a heads-up than a prescription anyway. The guideline also recognises that concatenated links are very hard to avoid in some technically dense topics. We might think about an appropriate tool for dealing with such situations, but then, they are not very common, are they, though I certainly have encountered situations of the type in my own writing. JonRichfield (talk) 07:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
"Once you start giving the green light to multiple linkings of the same item in an article, there will be no end to it"? Bullshit. If we allowed a single instance of link in each section, there would be no more links than sections, and there is the end of it. There is no slippery slope. "No end of it" is totally bogus.
Ohc: If "less is more", why don't we go for zero instances? (Haven't we had this discussion before?) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:45, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
"Zero instances" is actually what we practice. We don't go linking every single word, although this is a technical possibility; we don't link every occurrence of every less common word. We link only to articles that are relevant to aid and guide readers, without causing them to leave the article prematurely, before they have understood what they came to understand. In fact, when editors link, we carefully ration linkings of those words within an article.

I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors. -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:09, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

OHc: you have misunderstood what I said. The current language says that a link — not a duplicate link, just a link — should occur ("generally)" "only once". By your "less is more" criterion zero instances of any link should be better. And indeed, simply eliminating ALL links certainly would put an end to all overlinking and sea of blue problems. If you reallly want to go with such an inane criterion you should apply it consistently ("down will all links!"), not just in special cases. Another thing: you misstate the proposal. Your mention of "linking every single word", and "every occurrence of every less common word", is more bullshit (more precisely, those are straw man arguments), because the proposal has nothing to do with those. Please stay on topic. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:29, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I actually want the rule to be slightly less prescriptive, not more: my problem is not that the current frequency of linking is insufficient, but that some editors interpret this rule strictly as it is written, namely as a complete ban on linking a word more than once in the body text, and I would like the rule to reflect what I see as the consensus in good articles and in this discussion, namely that duplicate links in distant parts of a long article are helpful to readers, and should be allowed. --Slashme (talk) 07:52, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
However proper it may sound to claim that "We link only to articles that are relevant to aid and guide readers, without causing them to leave the article prematurely, before they have understood what they came to understand", that is unrealistic and patronising. Our job is to make sure that the readers have the tools they need to discover what they wish to know and are assisted to find and use those tools. It is not to penalise them for wanting to know anything but what authors and editors decide that they should know,and in the sequence and context that they should know it. For a reader to wish to know what an unfamiliar word or usage might mean in context, instead of waiting till he has read uncomprehendingly from the beginning, is entirely reasonable and practical; some of us may remember having actually paused in reading a paper book to consult a paper dictionary or a paper encyclopaedia for clarification on anything on spelling or the meaning or usage of a word or on any matter of technical fact, history,or opinion. Who is to claim that such practice is in any way pernicious or undesirable because it detracts from the benefits accruing from reading the book in the manner that the author had intended?
Nor does it support that "Zero instances" is actually what we practice. It might be what Ohconfucius would prefer, but in practice we link-heads are spared the occasional link as a sop no doubt, and that is different from zero instances; note that in spite of the apparent triviality of the point, if partisans insist on appealing to the concept, it becomes necessary to refute it.
Then again we are reassured that "In fact, when editors link, we carefully ration linkings of those words within an article." Pardon those of us who thought we were editors and thought that we were doing nothing less, but there would seem to be room for debate on our delusion, given that this squabbling about the concept has continued for years, with the same team stonewalling constructive practices, constructive discussion, and constructive technology, without the slightest material justification.
For example: "I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors." Someone is of the personal opinion that everything is hunky dory, so nothing must be adjusted even if other users have repeatedly demonstrated that improvement is desirable, even though someone else passionately pleads with us to "protect our linking system from dilution by repetition: the more blue patchiness, the less "selective" value each link has. That's basic reading psychology" and asserts "In the minority instance where someone parachutes in via a section link, they can expect to encounter terms, concepts, ideas, information that are dependent on the previous text—whether by glossing, expansion, or unfolding context".
"Minority instances" is an unsupported opinion in the first place; when did that participant, or anyone else quantify the instances? Secondly, how small must that minority be to matter? I am likely to read several thousands of words before having to refer to a dictionary or encyclopaedia (or a link) even once, even in a long article; does it follow that the dynamic function reference function is only a several-thousandth as important as the rest of the material?
And if the linked reference drops me into the middle of a twenty-page article (or a two-page article FTM) then I must go back to the start and read an extra few thousand words of no relevance when reading just a few dozen plus a click or two would completely satisfy my needs without wasting my time and dividing my attention?
And "reading psychology"???? Someone had better go back and learn a bit about reading psychology before making such claims in public. The "dilution" effect is over-use of a particular format, punctuation, cliched text or expression, or other demands on a reader's patience, emotions or attention, it has nothing to do with links, which are no more "dilution" of the text than necessary paging up or down might be. He would not, I hope, urge that we chop up our articles into single-page slices to render routine paging unnecessary.
Am I alone in smelling red herring in "I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors." Veeerrry subtle. Great courtroom tactics. The prescription is all on the other side. Persons agitating for more constructive linking practices are NOT the ones requesting prescription, they are the ones wanting more constructive freedom for competent editing aimed at assisting users in need of assistance. It is the blue-sea bigots who use the guidelines as a basis for wikilawywering. "The guideline says... so do it MY way, even if I don't know what you are talking about and don't care!" JonRichfield (talk) 07:32, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, lots of red herrings. Also straw man arguments, non sequiturs, and entrenched emotionalism, all of which impede rational consideration. To make any headway in this I think is is necessary to first identify the arguments and sentiments in opposition, reject the spurious ones, and then we can see what remaining objections merit consideration. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:44, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

My proposal[edit]

Current text:

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.

My proposed text, with the change in bold:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. [Slashme's edit]

Alerted WikiProjects and other related pages to this discussion[edit]

As seen, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, I alerted WP:Med, WP:Film, WP:TV, WP:LGBT, Wikipedia talk:Good articles, Wikipedia talk:Good article nominations, Wikipedia talk:Featured articles, Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style to this discussion. I alerted those WikiProjects because those are the main WikiProjects I am involved with these days, and I alerted those other pages for obvious reasons. Flyer22 (talk) 21:36, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Review of opposing opinions that need demonstration[edit]

Discussion (speaking loosely) on this issue has (again!) ground to a halt, showing a general tendency of editors to repeatedly declare opinions without actually grappling with the basis of those opinions. I am going to list some of the opinions that have been declared here which I think lack a demonstrated basis. (Note: I do not say they lack a basis, only that such a basis is not adequately demonstrated.) If anyone has anything useful to say about any of these please open a separate subsection at the bottom for discussion.

1- "Relaxation not needed, as already allowed."
"Generally" yields before, and the quaint notion of "no fixed quantitative rule" is contradicted by, the actual, explicit, and bolded text of "only once per article".
2- "The problem is with editor's who 'mis-read' the rule/guideline."
The fact is that those editors explicitly cite "per WP:OVERLINK", and their interpretation is a fair reading of "only once ...."
3- "A 'sea of blue' would be created that makes valuable links harder to identify."
In fact, WP:SEAOFBLUE refers to sequences of links that appear as a single long link, what would be more accurately called "dribbles of blue", and there is no credible showing that duplicate links contribute to this specific problem. The "would be created" is entirely a speculative anticipation of an undemonstrated and unlikely prospect.
4- "Needed to protect our linking system from dilution by repetition."
There is no showing that "our linking system" needs protection, of how having (say) 103 links in an article instead of only 100 dilutes anything. It also completely overlooks that the utility of the "linking systen" is diluted if the reader is to hunt for a relevant link.
5- "Relaxation would encourage the continuation or worsening of overlinking."
None of the proposed alternatives have encouraged "overlinking", nor is there any showing of exactly what would be worsened. (See the following.
"Overlinking" has been repeatedly invoked as if that phrase alone is a complete and adequate justification. As far as I can tell, that concept includes the following objections:
5- "It would bring the severs to their knees."
News flash: the WP:Overlink crisis of 2007-2011 is over. And it involved instances of articles having thousands of links - a problem three orders of magnitude greater than any mere "duplicate link" problem. Also, these involved links in navboxes, and thereby would be exempted from the current "overlink" rule. Invoking "overlink crisis" in this discussion is entirely a red herring, as it is entirely irrelevant.
6- "Loses the opportunity to display intelligently selected and rationed links."
How? It is the current formulation that is relied on the deny the "opportunity" to "display intelligently selected" links.
Certain other arguments have been made that are so inane that listing them seems tantamount to trolling; I won't address them unless they are raised.

If anyone wants to discuss these please open a new subsection below here. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:52, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

P.S. A lot of the so-called discussion here has been declarations ("arm-waving") that there are (have been, will be) problems if the "guideline" is relaxed. What we could use are links to specific articles that demonstrate definite problems. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:07, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Nested links[edit]

Resolved: See #RfC - Nested links below. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:09, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

WP:LINKSTYLE currently includes this:

As far as practical, avoid nesting links, a nested link meaning one that goes to a page where another technical term needs linking in turn. In particular avoid deeply nested links, i.e. where an already nested link goes in turn to a page that link to yet another technical term, and so on.

The wording was recently changed but the previous version had much the same problem, namely that it's completely impractical.

Wikipedia is intended to have links from one page to another, and "technical subjects might demand a higher density of links". Any link to a technical page is almost guaranteed to go to "a page where another technical term needs linking in turn", and so on as "deeply" as the reader wants to go. I suggest that paragraph should simply be deleted, although perhaps someone can come up with different wording this is both achievable and useful. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:17, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Whatever the text means, it needs copy-editing for clarity. I have trouble understanding it. Tony (talk) 13:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I recently edited that text and carefully avoided changing its sense, especially because of the sensitivity of the topic. However, I would have NO objection to its complete deletion and leaving the practice to the good sense of the editors. Some topics, often highly technical topics) simply need nested links because the subject matter includes nested concepts. To leave them unlinked would do the reader no favours. JonRichfield (talk) 16:55, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
In most cases a simple explanation of what the term means is more helpful. Some readers may be reading the article in a printed form in which no links will work. The sort of overlinking you advocate is intellectually lazy and counter to the principles on which we work. --John (talk) 21:17, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with John. Excess linking makes a disfavor for the contributors as they might not really describe the terminology they are using, but make them to just throw a wikilink instead. In turn, this would also distract the reader by making him/her to go through lots of irrelevant text.
In my humble opinion, when researching a paper-published article, indeed one wouldn't be able to do that. On the contrary, the author should phrase and write the text in such a manner that each piece of special terminology that is being used, is also being described to the reader. So forth, no disfavors would be made and the author would stay alarmed to keep the text easily-readable to the readers. What holds with the paper articles, also should hold with wikiarticles. That's what I think. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:33, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I assume that what it's supposed to mean is avoid the following situation: "term1" is wikilinked to an article which in its explanation of "term1" requires an understanding of "term2" which is not explained but wikilinked. It certainly needs copy-editing if this is indeed what is meant. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:51, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I have to disagree with that. At the best, a good article is self-supporting and written in a style that is understandable for any person who has never even heard about the topic. This, and avoiding the use of too technical language is already described in WP:TECHNICAL. The current WP:LINKSTYLE on "nested links" is consistent with that. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:36, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
John, if you are referring to what I wrote, kindly restrict yourself to honesty and courtesy. I said nothing in favour of four-letter words such as overlinking, nor intellectual sloth, either here or anywhere else. If OTOH, you referred to what other persons said, it would save a lot of friction if you particularised your targets and justified your claims concerning 'principles on which "we" work'. JonRichfield (talk) 19:53, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
The view that "in most cases a simple explanation of what the term means is more helpful", as urged in the MOS, is in my view pernicious. It makes sense only in trivial cases, such as where a few words of truism will do instead of a link, and where the insertion won't spoil the flow and comprehension, and is thoroughly and stably irrefutable and unobjectionable. Elsewhere, to explain what otherwise would be conveniently linkable is a temptation to bulk out the text with redundant duplicated material that might need changing, and creates a long-term problem of synchronised maintenance of articles that instead should have been linked. It is a standing invitation to a mess and if it doesn't offend the reader by explaining what needed no explanation, and that in the form of a link could have been skipped, it at least commonly wastes time and space. I strongly urge that in all practical circumstances links be used. This is more important than the question of whether a link could work in printed material, where unnecessary redundancy could waste vast tonnages of paper. Wikipedia material on occasion might well be printed and used as hard copy, but the medium was not primarily designed with that in mind and it accordingly would be improper to cripple its computer-and-comms functions to accommodate the shortcomings of static media. JonRichfield (talk) 19:53, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Your opinions are welcomed of course, but good writing would dictate explaining terms rather than just lazily wikilinking them. A certain degree of redundancy is desirable as in all communication to assist understanding. The two are not mutually exclusive of course, and long-standing practice here supports an appropriate degree of linking and an appropriate level of explanation of technical terms. --John (talk) 20:12, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
@John Nothing of the kind. You confuse good writing in its own context, in which the proper placement and statement of concept reduce the need for parenthesis, footnote and the like, with encyclopaedic writing, in which it is rare that any article could or should be fully self-explanatory. In particular, when the medium permits effectively instant linking, as in WP, then to cram the text with redundant explanations and definitions in the expectation that at least some reader might need them and be able to follow the resultant distortion of the thread, would be grossly incompetent.
Here I agree strongly with Sbharris and Jayaguru-Shishya just below. Such writing also would madden the reader who has at least average mastery of the subject matter. It would frustrate both the reader and maintainer of text on the same subject in different articles. Apart from wasting their time on irrelevancies, it would force them to stumble on every confusing inconsistency and error; it would be counterproductive and very bad writing indeed, inefficient and ineffectual. Good writing is effective, and in an encyclopaedia must be efficient as well.
The very concept of "lazy wikilinking" in this concept is suspect; to justify a link requires only that the text as it stands makes sense and can be read smoothly (typically without following any link) by the informed reader. A reader unfamiliar with the technicalities should be able to see at once that a term that leaves him in difficulties offers a link for explanation or expansion and in presenting neat text in the first place, should leave him less confused than if the parenthetical equivalent to the text he had linked to had appeared in the text. To achieve this is not a simple matter in general, and to speak of "lazy linking" suggests sloppy composition. JonRichfield (talk) 05:32, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. This is not an either-or debate. Clearly one would rather have a word in parenthesis sometimes if that will do -- diaphoresis (sweating)-- and even a short explanatory clause if that will save somebody from doing the inevitable click. On the other hand, WP is explicitly a hyperlinked text, and there is real magic in that. It took us humans a long time to do this! This magic should be used to the max, instead of considered a redundancy merely because it might not show up in other media.

I also want to go on record that I explicitly reject the idea that more links are not useful in technical subjects because they lead to yet more links and you never come back up to the level of ordinary secondary school lay English that most of WP is (supposed to be) written in. Clearly, this kind of understanding is possible in most (though perhaps not all) cases. If for no other reason, that links often lead to articles which begin with leads/ledes written in very simple terms, before descending back down again into jargon (I've spent a lot of time on WP making sure that is true-- but most of this remains yet undone).

The whole argument there reminds me of the comic sophist assertion that dictionaries are not really useful because they are circular, as no entry consists of anything but words that need to be looked up themselves. But dictionaries ARE useful, so long as you independently know a FEW concepts (just a few meanings outside the text). The only dictionary not useful is one in a language where you know not a single word. Anything else can be expanded, like getting a clue and key (clue and key are the same root!) to reading ancient Egyptian from just one inscription on a Rosetta Stone. Then going on, until you've mastered it all. WP is easier. From the whining here, you'd think we'd been producing nothing but crap in Linear A. Sheesh. SBHarris 06:25, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Exactly. As I previously mentioned above, both WP:TECHNICAL, and WP:LINKSTYLE on neseted links do support this. We should not make a disfavor for the contributors nor make the readers go through a lot of irrelevant text if the technical terms could be explained, or the text could be better written. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:44, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

I think it's time for a straw poll: Should we delete, change, or leave as it is the above-mentioned "avoid nesting links" bullet point in WP:LINKSTYLE? (Specific suggestions for new wording are invited.)

If we delete that bullet point, which defines "nested links", I propose changing the next bullet point thus: "do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence, especially if this requires going into nested links" Mitch Ames (talk) 03:29, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Delete "avoid nesting links" as impractical in any technical page. Delete "especially if this requires going into nested links" from subsequent paragraph. Mitch Ames (talk) 03:29, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete "avoid nesting links" per foregoing. JonRichfield (talk) 06:30, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete "avoid nesting links" per foregoing.SBHarris 15:59, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Consensus is not a vote. There are several policies that affirm this (WP:CON, WP:POLL, WP:WIKINOTVOTE). But if you want to have a vote, I'd suggest opening an RfC and informing all the parties that have previously been involved with discussion of similar kind. An RfC is not a majority vote, however. Even though the previous discussion/RfC may have resulted into an outcome of "clear consensus" with votes 5 to 3, DrMies himself admitted that he didn't take into account the preceding discussion (excluding which the votes were 1 to 4). Anyway, I think it's better to play with open cards and inform the users previously involved, rather than starting a poll in an already existing thread without notifying anybody. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:40, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:47, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
"Consensus is not a vote." – Agreed, but straw polls are a legitimate way of "gauging opinion, and focusing a long or unruly conversation on a specific question at hand", which is what I'm trying to do. If you think more discussion is needed and/or you think the existing policy should remain, please say so explicitly. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:39, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The form of your question ("should we delete, change, or leave as it is"} carried a strong implication that action would follow. If you wanted to just gauge opinion the "straw poll" nature would have been clearer if you had asked (e.g.) which way are folks leaning?. Or you could have summarized where you think matters stand and asked if others concur. Which you could still do. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC).
I thought my question was fairly clear - I do not think that the more verbose "do you think we should" or "which way are you leaning" vs the more direct and concise "should we" changes the meaning of the question, or the answers that people would give. My intention is:
  • if everyone (at least a few editors, over the course of a week or so) says "delete", then I'll take that as consensus and make the specific change (per WP:TALKFIRST); otherwise
  • if everyone says "leave it as is", I'll take that as consensus and leave it, and not continue the discussion (If my initial post didn't convince people, there's not much more for me to add); otherwise
  • for other outcomes I won't change the policy, we'll carry on discussing the matter, perhaps discuss some specific alternative wording, perhaps raise an RFC until we get consensus.
Feel free to express a concise opinion about whether or not you agree with my proposed change to WP:LINKSTYLE. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:35, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
You seem confused. You are once again talking about assessing consensus, and taking action on that basis, whereas in your prior post, after being criticised by JS, you said you were just trying to guage opinion. Your supposed "conciseness" is ambiguous. Your "straw poll" is invalid for any claim of consensus. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:40, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
How exactly does one assess consensus then, if actually asking people if they agree to a change (and, for example, having them all say yes - that being the criteria that I said I'd use as as indicator of consensus) is not sufficient? Mitch Ames (talk) 13:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose any claim of consensus arising out of this discussion for the reasons previously raised by Jayaguru-Shishya. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:41, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
It would be helpful to the discussion of whether and/or how LINKSTYLE should change, if you gave an opinion about that change to LINKSTYLE. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
It is not helpful that you keep doing this bait-and-switch. What is it to be: more discussion? a straw poll to "gauge opinion"? or determination of consensus suitable for taking action? If the last, you should acknowledge the objections previously raised. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:03, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
"What is it to be: ... ?" - My intent is still exactly what I stated in the bullet points in these edits. Mitch Ames (talk) 11:39, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Per J Jonson and Jayaguru. Tony (talk) 11:45, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Clearly some editors are not happy about the process, so I've raised an RfC. Editors (including those who've already express an explicit opinion on the proposal) are invited to comment on that RfC. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:09, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Much better. Very important to not shortcut processes. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:43, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Linking to World War II[edit]

Editors interested in what should or should not be linked - in particular, whether articles should link to World War II - are invited to comment at User talk:Colonies Chris#World War_II link. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:10, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

RfC - Nested links[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The consensus is to delete the wording. AlbinoFerret 23:00, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Should this bullet point be deleted from WP:LINKSTYLE

  • As far as practical, avoid nesting links, a nested link meaning one that goes to a page where another technical term needs linking in turn. In particular avoid deeply nested links, i.e. where an already nested link goes in turn to a page that link to yet another technical term, and so on.

and the words "especially if this requires going into nested links" be deleted from the next bullet point.
Mitch Ames (talk) 11:59, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia is intended to have links from one page to another, and "technical subjects might demand a higher density of links". Any link to a technical page is almost guaranteed to go to "a page where another technical term needs linking in turn", and so on as "deeply" as the reader wants to go. I suggest that paragraph should simply be deleted, although perhaps someone can come up with different wording this is both achievable and useful. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:01, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

  • I do agree that it needs to be either fixed or deleted. Tony (talk) 12:03, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete, as both that text and any problem it is intended to address is very unclear. If anyone thinks there is some problem that needs addressing they should propose replacement text. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:45, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep, excess linking makes a disfavor for the contributors as they might not really describe the terminology they are using, but make them to just throw a wikilink instead. In turn, this would also distract the reader by making him/her to go through lots of irrelevant text through wikilinks that could be easily written out in the text.
In my humble opinion, when researching a paper-published article, indeed one wouldn't be able to do that. On the contrary, the author should phrase and write the text in such a manner that each piece of special terminology that is being used, is also being described to the reader. So forth, no disfavors would be made and the author would stay alarmed to keep the text easily-readable to the readers. What holds with the paper articles, also should hold with wikiarticles.
At the best, a good article is self-supporting and written in a style that is understandable for any person who has never even heard about the topic. This, and avoiding the use of too technical language is already described in WP:TECHNICAL. The current WP:LINKSTYLE on "nested links" is consistent with that. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 10:01, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete If I look at a fairly recently featured article Mirror symmetry (string theory) this guidance seems to be saying that (as far as practical) it shouldn't link to pages containing technical terms explained by further linking. Now, this page links to Calabi–Yau manifold so either it shouldn't be linking there or that page shouldn't have linked technical terms. Neither seems to me remotely practical so the guidance doesn't apply. That would be OK except that so many people regard MOS as being hard rules even when it says they are not. To avoid the ridiculous position of trying to observe it under unsuitable circumstances, the advice would be better deleted. Wikipedia uses hypertext to good effect and I don't think good articles need necessarily (or even usually) be self-supporting. Thincat (talk) 10:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
PS The featuring discussion Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Mirror symmetry (string theory)/archive1 is very instructive on how to deal with technical topics. Mathematicians and non-mathematicians (some not techically minded at all) were constructively involved. Thincat (talk) 11:05, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
The current WP:LINKSTYLE says, "As far as practical, avoid nesting links...", but it also says that "Do use a link wherever appropriate...". I don't really understand how you see that as a "hard rule". On the contrary, it leaves a lot of room for editors' personal discretion. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:18, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
But wasn't I clear in accepting that it isn't framed as a hard rule? And "Do use a link wherever appropriate..." isn't in the part we are discussing might be removed. If the current clause were written as general guidance rather than a premptory stipulation with a let-out phrase, that might be ok. But that is exactly what the next clause says "Do use a link wherever appropriate, but as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence, especially if this requires going into nested links". We should remove the earlier clause and (separately) consider whether it make sense to advise people to do things only when appropriate because that is what people think they do anyway. Thincat (talk) 12:48, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete – Rules are not needed in matters of "editors' personal discretion" and clear writing style. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:22, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete paragraph. Sensible editors will endeavor to explain things in simpler terms, but I don't see this paragraph being particularly practical or helpful. We interlink whatever is helpful. Alsee (talk) 01:56, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete as unrealistic. Rothorpe (talk) 00:38, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete. Per above deletes. --Epeefleche (talk) 01:52, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete "Do use a link wherever appropriate" is sufficient. As mentioned above, readers can read linked material to whatever extent they choose, and I think are more likely to follow the links when the topic is unfamiliar to them. This material at the bullet and the phrase at the next bullet, "especially...", are not only unnecessary but are unclear. – CorinneSD (talk) 20:08, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Comment[edit]

Mitch Ames, have you notified the users that participated the previous discussion at Nested links? If not, I'd highly recommend you to do that since you started a thread[9] on the very same topic, and launching an RfC without informing them seems like running for consensus without their knowledge. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:25, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Linking "New York City"[edit]

Beyond My Ken has now twice reverted my unlinking "New York City" per wp:overlink. See here, asserting "can't be overlinked if it's the only lonk", and here.

I've already pointed him twice to wp:overlink, and pointed out that according to it the names of major geographic features and locations are not usually linked. He just keeps on reverting.

I used "regexp common terms", maintained by Ohconfucius (see here).

Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Epeefleche (talkcontribs) 20:14, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

My opinions:
  • Per WP:OVERLINK, things most certainly can be overlinked if they are the only link.
  • As one of the largest and best-known cities on the planet, NYC is a "major geographic feature" and should not be linked per WP:OVERLINK.
  • If you're a fan of User:Tony1's essay on linking, NYC need not be linked in this case because of the numerous NYC-related links immediately preceding it, and therefore should not be linked. If anyone wants to read more about NYC, they are two easy clicks away from that article.
  • Don't edit war. Go to talk and discuss like grownups. ―Mandruss  20:26, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I would agree this is OVERLINKing because of the chainlinking in Manhattan, New York City. One link is fine; two are distracting. --John (talk) 20:31, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree that the link to NYC is clear overlinking, as is IMO the preceding link to Manhattan, given that Upper East Side is linked, which is really all that's needed to provide context for the subject; every larger geographical entity has little to do with the gallery, but can easily be reached from the UES link. BTW, the article also suffers from some unnecessary repeated links and, worse, from links to disambiguation pages Léger & Giacometti (who is linked properly 2 paragraphs earlier. Bikeshed? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:56, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Given (1) the unanimity here, and (2) the weakness of the opposing argument, I think it's appropriate to boldly unlink "New York City" there, and I have done so. ―Mandruss  03:41, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
  • There might have been a better chance of stronger opposing arguments if anyone had bothered to notify me that this discussion had been opened. Apparently winning the dispute was more important to the OP then common courtesy. BMK (talk) 11:03, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
@Beyond My Ken: Mea culpa. I saw the user link in the opening post and assumed you had received a notification. Then, when I added the {{unsigned}}, despite knowing that that meant the notification wouldn't work, I failed to put that together. But I'm sure you're aware that the edit isn't set in stone just because you arrived late. Please give your stronger arguments. ―Mandruss  11:11, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I have also "crossed swords" with BMK over his insistence on linking "New York City". I think I gave up on a few occasions; and he probably gave up on a few. Perhaps his keenness arises from some sentimental attachment to the city; I can't work it out, but I don't think it achieves what he might hope for.

We have to draw the line somewhere or linking will go down the slippery slope towards dilution and disinterest by readers through swamping. My view is that NYC should be linked only when there's exceptional justification; and that some of those links should be to sections of the NYC article, or daughter articles on more specific topics, even if piped to NYC. Specific link targets make better sense, and readers are thankful, surely, that editors' skill has gone into thinking through appropriate specific links in preference to general articles of large scope. Better in most cases are unpiped links to section and daughter articles in the "See also" section: that is where readers will know exactly what they're buying in clicking a link, and is usually a good, functional alternative to placing opportunities for on-the-spot diversion during their reading of thematically intensive text—especially in the early parts of an article. Tony (talk) 11:41, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Actually, I agree with BMK, although I may be on the minority side. Since this is a NYC-related topic, "New York City" is a highly relevant link and should be kept. However, generally, I think that "New York City" would be overlinking, if the subject wasn't as closely related to NYC. Epic Genius (talk) 16:37, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
This is clearly overlinking. Note that the linked term "New York City" is immediately preceded by a linked "Manhattan". One could advance the argument of relevance if there was no other contextual link to the location. However, the sentence already contains links to several NYC locales, namely East 79th Street, Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, as well as Manhattan. So, as the directly relevant terms are already linked and there cannot be any ambiguity, the link to New York City following it adds zero value. Hell, given all the link saturation in that sentence, I would be tempted to unlink "Manhattan" too. -- Ohc ¡digame! 04:45, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Overlinking in my humble opinion. I think linking to the most specific one would do the trick (i.e. Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City). Manhattan and New York City are chained through Upper East Side, actually... Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:59, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
    • It's totally ridiculous to call this "overlinking", it's like calling having a piece of toast for breakfast "overeating" because you ate a five-course meal for dinner the night before.

      The purpose of Wikilinks is to be convenient for our readers. We link "New York City" not because we think they don't know what it is, or because they're incapable of retyping "New York City" into a search box, but to make it easier and more convenient for the reader who decides he or she wants to read that article at that moment. We don't link every instance of it throughout the article -- actual "overlinking" -- because an overabundance of links makes the article difficult to read for some of our users. In both cases, we're serving the reader, which is what we're here for. To eliminate one lousy link because of some ridiculous guideline (not policy, and not mandatory) is not being useful, it's cutting off your nose to spite your face. Common sense should prevail, and the single link to New York City should be restored. BMK (talk) 21:46, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

      • Please explain how to reach a resolution when your common sense differs from mine and others. I was perplexed by this soon after I arrived at Wikipedia, and I'm still trying to figure it out almost two years later. ―Mandruss  21:56, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
        • Well, by far the easiest way is just to follow my common sense, but somehow I doubt that idea will fly. :) BMK (talk) 21:58, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
          • As I see it, we have two alternatives:
            • We can have one of these discussions about each and every case, and go with the local consensus each time. Or,
            • We can agree that the guideline represents community consensus and that we will abide by it, even when it hurts a little, except in an extremely few exception situations, thereby saving all of us enormous amounts of time and stress. And work to change the guideline if we feel really strongly about it.
          • I'm for the latter alternative. ―Mandruss  22:13, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
            • There is a third alternative. Actual, real, overlinking -- too many links to the same subject in an article -- gets undone, and a single link here and there that're helpful to our readers do not. That's the option which helps the encyclopedia. Moderation, common sense, and no strict constructionism of and overreaction to MOS. There are, after all, rules, and then there are RULES. The trick is to have the necessary judgment to tell one from the other. BMK (talk) 01:31, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
              • Yep. But until you have convinced everyone of your wisdom, that's the same as my option 1. So local consensus it is. ―Mandruss  02:21, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
              • The "third alternative" isn't at all contentious, norbut is the unlinking of New York City in this case [and unlinking multiple occurrences in the same article are not]. So if you please stop trying to sidestep the issue that you are seeking to impose one person's "common sense" over the collective consensus view... -- Ohc ¡digame! 06:10, 18 March 2015 (UTC) [redacted -- Ohc ¡digame! 09:09, 19 March 2015 (UTC)]

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Unless I'm in the desert, I'll take a horse over a camel every time. You folks are so enamored of your design, you want to use a camel, even when it's not appropriate to do so. That's an easy choice in a group environment, but not a very useful one. BMK (talk) 00:58, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Lost me there but what the heck, seems like you're not in a listening mood anyways... -- Ohc ¡digame! 06:18, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
While not agreeing with BYK on this matter, let's remember that he makes a very significant contribution to the fields in which he edits. You can tell just by looking at his contribs page. Tony (talk) 10:53, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
  • There is a dispute (and brewing edit war) regarding the proper location at which to place the refimprove maintenance/cleanup template/tag. It involves the same editors who were involved at the outset of this dipute, and the same core principle -- whether consensus (as reflected in guidelines and templates, etc) should be followed ... or instead whether one editor's personal non-consensus contrary view which he thinks is more sensible is what should be followed. Input of others would be helpful.

Discussion is here. --Epeefleche (talk) 22:29, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

A question from an editor about linking nations[edit]

It's not here though, it's at Talk:Brian Sylvestre#WP:OVERLINK. Please comment there. Walter Görlitz (talk) 18:17, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

It's better to move discussions like that to the guideline's talk page where it'll become part of the guideline talk archives. Users are free to simply delete entire conversations off their own talk pages.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:22, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Discussion on links and "the"[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Links and "the" for a discussion that might add content to this MOS subpage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:21, 23 April 2015 (UTC)