Wikipedia talk:Red link

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If the default color weren't RED nobody would care how many red links there were[edit]

The red color is essential to people's dislike of these links, and their desire to be rid of them. Do you really care how many blue vs. light blue links there are? No. Red links beg to be "fixed" since red is the color of emergency. But my perennial proposal [1] that some other default color be chosen, always meets the same people who say "Everthing is fine the way it is. Don't fix what isn't broken." So I propose that that should be the answer to people who have red link disputes, also. Everything is fine. It doesn't matter how many there are. People don't mind looking at them. If you think otherwise, clearly you are crazy. Don't fix what's not broke. SBHarris 23:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

"The red colour is essential to people's dislike of these links, and their desire to be rid of them." This is precisely why we keep it red. —WFC— 01:19, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Bad reason. Since WP is a work perpetually in progress (see WP:NOTFINISHED) there should be no pressure created over parts of it that aren't done. It will always have parts that aren't done, no matter what color these links are, and their color will not change the fact that a healthy fraction of links don't go anywhere at any given time. These non-working links are the buds of new growth, and it's incredibly stupid to make them color of blood and wounds and inflammation. All it does is make people angry, and do irrational things to get rid of these red links, like write useless stubs, or remove link brackets, and all manner of unhelpful stuff. Last but not least, their very presense, though healthy, encourages arguments merely because the color is irritating. Perhaps the color has even convinced you to have your view of them, which is wrong. The solution is not to use an irritating color for these healthy links. Why is that so hard to see? SBHarris 01:44, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The crux of your argument appears to be that you [Sbharris] are right and those who disagree are "wrong" and "crazy", while simultaneously arguing that people will act more intelligently and/or conservatively if we change the colour. Although it is of course your right to do as you see fit, I would suggest that you will need more persuasive points to convince others.

I will spend a bit of time on this though, so that I can at least hold my head up and say that I tried. Let's say for arguments' sake that I accept that a change in link colour would make people less inclined to create bad stubs – I'm sure we both agree that there are stubs out there which are as bad as or worse than nothing. What is that achieving? The answer is not to take steps to reduce article creation, it is to ensure that promising articles get developed, that articles with no potential get deleted, redirected, or merged into broader ones, and that articles which probably shouldn't exist are not red-(or any other colour-)linked in the first place. —WFC— 02:12, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, and all of that takes time, since it represents a fair amount of work that volunteers may have to save up (or time for the right volunteer to happen by). Which is why a link-that-goes-nowhere should be marked as an invitation to create a decent stub (one that has more information than the original red-link implied) or an article, merge, or redirect (occasionally, removing the link is the answer-- all this is discussed on the page for which this is the TALK). But this invitation to do something should be an invitation, not a red flagged demand for action. Red is a color that suggests that this task (whatever it is), is some kind of WP emergency. We want a color that does not makes people ask "where's the fire?" It should not be a color that makes people uncomfortable to gaze at, in the meantime. The unwanted associations that come with default-red would suggest that this "invitational marker color" for dead internal links could/should be literally anything but red. Even orange would be better. Though personally I like green, any change from the present would be an improvement. That is the crux of my argument. The idea that people are crazy if they think our present default-red is great, when it's quite obviously causing problems (see this entire page), is merely a corollary to my other reasoning. Feel free to refute it with your good reasons in opposition. If you're not crazy and there's something here I'm missing, feel free to remind or enlighten me. SBHarris 21:19, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I think WFC has a decent point that merits discussion and shouldn't be ignored on the "it's fine" argument. If you look around the web, you'll see very few respected websites using red text for anything other than extremely important messages. On Gmail, red is reserved for messages that someone in Ukraine accessed your account. On a Mac computer, the status symbols in the top-right are always black unless something needs immediate attention (such as the battery is almost dead). So, I don't think red is the best color for article-less links. Ego White Tray (talk) 12:42, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this is quite general. Coincidentally in the news today is a funny and whimsical science study that found that people on a diet eat less food (and thus fewer calories) if they are required to do it off a red colored plate! It's a color that seems designed to turn off your parasympathetic nervous system (feeding and fooling around) and turn on your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). We've all seen the fights and flights right here on WP. It's silly to encourage that, for this. SBHarris 02:10, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree they should be changed a different color. Dream Focus 12:38, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I began reading this section thinking, "Change out the red links? Oh boy, this is gonna be good!" And then I read over it, and I came out at the other end thinking, "You know, maybe green isn't a bad idea." I am the first author of around five dozen Wikipedia articles so far, and I can tell you that as en editor and a writer, I have deliberately avoided putting a red link into an article I am working on because it is red. Isn't that stupid? Totally. I shouldn't be deterred from putting a link in an article that I myself am creating simply because of its color! But as has already been said: red is the color of emergency, of urgency, of it's-broken-hurry-fix-it! Even when it isn't really broken, just not yet finished. I don't like putting red links in articles I write because it makes me feel like I am doing a bad job. Because they are red. On the other hand, I suspect that there is a pattern among some editors of dropping red links into articles for topics that those editors would like to see created... by someone else. This strikes me as rude. But whatever. Except that it's red. Which is the color of irritation, of stop-lights, of watery eyes, of anger. It's just flipping red, right? Yeah... just red like a toreador's cape (bulls are colorblind, I know, but you get the idea). Green comes with none of that baggage. So as I stand here now, I am willing to say that I would support a transition to green. Of course, that is going to require a total sea change in the structure of the 'pedia, and the resistance is going to be staunch. But for what it is worth, I think that changing to green would be the right thing to do, for everyone, in the end. If only there were some kind of supreme court we could take this to. I am afraid that instead it will languish forever in the pile of "good ideas we didn't really have the courage to execute." Que' lastima. But a good idea. KDS4444Talk 23:42, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

No red links[edit]

"Red links generally are not included in either See also sections or in navigational boxes, nor linked to through templates such as.., since these navigation aids are intended to help readers find existing articles. An exception is red links in navboxes where the red-linked articles are part of a series or a whole set, e.g. a navbox listing successive elections, referenda, presidents, sports league seasons, etc."

I strongly disagree with this. I've created dozens of nav boxes with red links and they've proved to be very constructive. If notable articles are missing they should be red linked in nav boxes so long as there is a conscious ongoing effort to blue link them. It's different if the majority of links are red, but if most are blue and red links are added to coordinate an effort and are part of a set to improve coverage they should NOT be removed. I recently had red links removed from a director template when I had intended working on blue linking them, that isn't constructive if they're part of a set.♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:28, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

See also WP:EXISTING which encourages articles to be created first. Navigation templates are for navigation between articles belonging to a set that are already in existence (per this guideline: "these navigation aids are intended to help readers find existing articles"). They are not a substitute for filmography articles. It may be that the films in the filmographies will never get articles. Until they do, they should not be added to the templates. You can use the redlinks in the filmography article to create the articles, not the navigation template. --Rob Sinden (talk) 12:37, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
(And, incidentally, on the navbox in question the majority of links were red [2]) --Rob Sinden (talk) 12:41, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd actually fall the other way here, in that the exception shouldn't be made for the examples given above and should be removed. Navboxes shouldn't be used as a substitute for articles, which seems to happen all too often. --Rob Sinden (talk) 12:44, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
No, that makes it awkward.And read what I have to say about per WP: on my user page. If I'm working through creating the articles shortly why would it make it easier to add them one by one afterwards? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:02, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Why not add them en masse after a number of articles have been created? --Rob Sinden (talk) 13:18, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Because you have to keep clicking back and forth to the director page to create them rather than just feed straight off a template into a new article. If I have to make 60 extra clicks to creater 60 articles what's the point just to "abide by the rules"?♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:45, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Unlinked text is even worse than redlinked. It's almost an admission by the editors that the topics are not notable, and unlikely to become articles. Navboxes shouldn't be used as a substitute for filmography or bibliography articles, which is essentially what they are if we allow redlinks and unlinked text. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:19, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn't someone looking over it assume that was the total list of all of their works then? Do we need a disclaimer text saying it isn't a complete list to avoid confusion? Dream Focus 14:31, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Why should they assume that it is anything but a navigation aid between related articles? --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:41, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Rob Sinden, whatever REDNOT or any "rule" says, it's still counterproductive to remove red links which can editor states they'll have blue linked within a short period of time. If an editor adds ten red links to a nav template and are clearly working on them then reverting back and obstructing is petty and counterproductive. It then becomes meddlesome and irritating for the editor working on filling them in good faith.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:40, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
That is irrelevant to this discussion, and something best left to our conversation on your talk page. However, WP:WTAF. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:42, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
How it is irrelevant? You've removed red links from a template when I was in the middle of working on them. That's meddlesome. Red links aren't pretty, I agree, but they happen to be one of the most important things on wikipedia for identifying missing articles and encouraging growth.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:40, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
This is a discussion to change the guideline, not about a specific incident and temporary "allowance". And incidentally, I had no idea at the time that you were actively working on them. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:46, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
You have a point about an excess of red links like 50 odd, but if an editor adds 10 red links and then starts to work on creating them it is definitely not constructive to impede their progress.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:57, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, and if it was clear that that is what you were doing, maybe we wouldn't have had the falling out. By reverting wholesale against the guideline despite having it pointed out to you, this wasn't obvious. Fact is, there were about 50 redlinks. --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:05, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Redlinks encourage article creation. If a director's navbox contained some redlinks, there's no problem IMO to leave them there for possible future blue-linkery. It paints a false picture of that director's filmography to show on the blue links, if a portion of their filmography doesn't currently have articles. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 14:53, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
But that's what filmographies are for. Again, I think people confuse filmographies, which are supposed to list the complete works of someone, with navboxes, which are navigational aids between existing articles. If we keep doing this, then I can envisage a Wikipedia soon where everything is navboxes and there will be no articles. --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:56, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
WP:EXISTING states "Red links should be avoided unless they are very likely to be developed into articles. Even then, editors are encouraged to write the article first" That doesn't say "You must NOT have redlinks in nav boxes". Very likely and encouraged are the key parts here. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 14:59, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)WP:REDNOT (this guideline), says "Red links generally are not included in either See also sections or in navigational boxes". --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:05, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
"Red links generally are not included in either See also sections or in navigational boxes". Again, the key word is generally - it doesn't say you must NOT have them. Get back to me when you can find a policy that strictly forbids this. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 15:08, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Hardly anything is forbidden, but common sense tells you that there is something fundamentally wrong if a navbox contains links to more films than a filmography article. --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:14, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Exactly, and the whole point of me creating Template:William Beaudine was to work towards blue linking them as soon as possible.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:03, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Support including redlinks with a caveat Redlinks are useful in cases where there is some clearly-defined or logical set. Otherwise, excluding them actually misleads readers into thinking that there are only five films directed by so-and-so or 10 albums released by such-and-such when in reality there are more. Similarly, "X topic by country" templates shouldn't remove Equatorial Guinea simply because our coverage of that country isn't very good yet. Removing this text or converting it into non-linked plain text will only discourage navigation between these topics. In the case of more general footer navigation, there obvious shouldn't be an infinite list of articles that will never be made. If the wording allows for exemptions for clearly-defined lists or sets which are finite and logical, then I'd definitely support the change. —Justin (koavf)TCM 15:04, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

How would you deal with something like this? --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:17, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd hide most of the red links until it is being worked on again rather than delete them all.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:19, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Well that's an option as far as working on them goes (I believe there's a way to hide content if template is transcluded, but it still shows up in Template: namespace), and I have no problem with that in principle, but the suggestions by the other editors above are that the full filmography should always be shown, otherwise it gives the impression that {{Lau Lauritzen Sr.}} only directed half a dozen films. As anyone can see, to implement a full filmography navbox for him would be ridiculous. --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:29, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

On the contrary he's a notable director and I thought I was being constructive working towards trying to improve coverage of a large number of films which were almost entirely missing after starting his article. The current guidelines anyway state An exception is red links in navboxes where the red-linked articles are part of a series or a whole set, Filmographies are part of a series or set. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:37, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

These are navboxes - navigation aids. They don't need to be and are not supposed to be complete filmographies. And a "set" would be something where notability was guaranteed - award winners, etc. By having the complete "filmography" in the navbox implies that all films included are notable, and of course notability isn't inherited. --Rob Sinden (talk) 17:01, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Who are you trying to kid? Director templates are intended to cover all major feature films released by directors, it's what we're working towards on wikipedia to be as comprehensive as possible. Films directed by a director do constitute a set, and the other WP:EXISTING thing you cited was a false representation of what was written anyway in that they were all intended to be turned into articles in a short period of time. I did state that "I'm working on them" in the edit summary but you reverted again. Sorry, but I've created a load of templates on here and have never had anybody cause disruption like this before to those I'm actively working on.♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:17, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Rob, I assume you'll be removing all the redlinks from {{NOCin2014WinterOlympics}} then? Let me know how that works out for you. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 19:01, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
  • A Navbox is more than just a navigation aid. It can present a structured array of related topics, some with articles and some without, that is presented in each of the related articles. Avoiding redlinks does not mean topics have to be dropped from the box. {{NOCin2014WinterOlympics}} with the redlinks removed looks like:
Nothing wrong with that: It gives a complete set of topics, but avoids redlinks. I would strongly oppose any suggestion that navboxes should omit topics for which there is not yet an article, even when the topic clearly belongs in the set.
The separate question is whether the entry for Algeria in the example above should be red or black. We can assume that most Wikipedia users understand that clicking on a redlink is just going to take them to the page saying "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name". The redlinks do no harm, and apparently encourage article creation. A redlink to Algeria would be acceptable within an article. I see no reason why it should be unacceptable in a template transcluded into an article. Aymatth2 (talk) 01:03, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

(outdent) I did not think my edit would create this big discussion, but maybe that is a good thing. I found this template with around 50 redlinks (about a third of the links) and thought it was excessive. I thought my deletion of the redlinks was in line with WP:REDNOT and I said so in the edit summary. I am not surprised that I was reverted, and do not really mind it since the articles are being created. Dr. Blofeld wrote on my talk page, "Templates are allowed to have plenty of redlinks, especially if editors are actively working on them." but I would like to point out that having the redlinks already in the template make it difficult for editors to know the links are being actively worked on. I think there could be some reasonable compromise on the number of redlinks/percentage of links and length of time. I would hate to see a template sit around for possibly years at a time with a majority of links being redlinks and no one creating articles. Another point I have seen from my work on music articles is there is an active push to redirect non-notable album/single articles and these musical artist navboxes usually then do not contain the redirects and therefore would not contain the entire discography of the musical artist. I do not know if people see these navboxes as containing the entire discography or not, but they are similar to director navboxes. Aspects (talk) 09:13, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes I understand that, but this was created to create the articles within a few days. I even told Rob that I'm in the middle of workong on them yet he persisted on reverting. That's meddlesome and not helpful to editors who are working in good faith towards it.♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:03, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Against altering the guideline. Navboxes are not encylopedic i.e. in the case of red-links in filmographies we can provide a source backing up the claim that an actor appeared in this and that, but we don't have sources in navboxes. If you have red lnks and black links in a navbox it essentially becomes an unsourced list. If we are going to treat them like lists then they should be subject to the same verifiability/sourcing requirements that all lists on Wikipedia are subject to. Navboxes should be restricted purely to navigation aids, and there should be a strict one-to-one relationship between a navbox and an article: a navbox should only be placed on pages that it includes links to, and vice versa i.e. it shouldn't include links to non-existent articles. The way the guideline is worded (i.e. "generally") means that the guideline provides some leeway, which is what Blofeld is asking for. If Blofeld is developing some articles and navboxes in conjunction with each other so that the navbox will briefly include red-links, then the guideline as it currently stands permits this. We have to allow some slack for development, but we shouldn't allow a practise to evolve that would ultimately violate other policies. Betty Logan (talk) 09:14, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it's different if nav boxes are full of red links, more than blue long term, but if I add red links to a template with the intention to swiftly blue link them and somebody is obstructing me by removing them just for the sake of the rule this isn't right. There should be some leeway permitted for editors actively building templates and content and a handful of red links in templates should be allowed. It's the ones which are excessively red linked I can see a problem with. I disagree with the notion that all red links should be removed for the sake of it. Some capital cities for instance have some very notable articles missing and identifying them and red linking a few in templates I think is productive and encourages growth. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:54, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

A navbox can give sources in a <noinclude>...</noinclude> section. That is redundant when the navbox title links to an article on the subject that gives the sources. The reader would expect a navbox for a well-defined set such as Margraves of Istria to show all members of the set, including those like Englebert I (r. 1090–1096) for whom there is not yet an article. Omitting members that do not yet have articles could be seriously misleading if the set is reasonably small and many members have articles. If a topic is likely to eventually get an article, it should be redlinked. Otherwise it should still be included but not linked. WP:NAVBOX is the relevant guideline. It is neutral on the question of redlinks and nowhere says members of the set that have no article should be omitted. Aymatth2 (talk) 15:21, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Aymatth2 and Dr. Blofeld - your points are nicely made. So come on, folks. We're spending a lot of time here juggling rules with sensibility. If an editor creates a navbox and is clearly working on bluelinking the reds, why would another editor want to get in the way of content building by removing the redlinks or just unlinking them? And if a navbox has a well-defined set, and a few members of the set are red, and time marches on, don't you realize that content builders see the reds as opportunity knocking? By the way, I created {{Benedictine monasteries in Catalonia}} on November 25 with dozens of redlinks, and within about 10 days, all the reds became blue. Thanks for allowing me to concentrate on article writing vs. linkage discussions. --Rosiestep (talk) 15:49, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
There is only an expectation of completeness if you are using a navigation template as a substitute for article space like a WP:List article which achieves the same thing without making the user go looking for articles that do not exist. ::::Also, part of a series (not set) implies a sequence. There is not one.
Do not think of nav boxes as a substitute list making device. It's a road map. And there's nothing more frustrating than reading a map which says soething other than the reality. --Falcadore (talk) 02:56, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Do red links motivate people to write articles?[edit]

I once read a research paper claiming that there was evidence that red links motivate people to start an article. I think it was written by Dr Spinnelis but I don't remember the link anymore. Has there been any research on that? Red links are unsighty and make the articles hard to read though... Χρυσάνθη Λυκούση (talk) 05:39, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Red_link#References. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 15:44, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you dear! Χρυσάνθη Λυκούση (talk) 19:48, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • They're considerably less unsightly than many of the content warnings and exhortations that populate pages, that are also intended to elicit edits. --Lquilter (talk) 17:32, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Interesting observation but there's a problem: red links are in the main text, while the various content warnings usually differentiate themselves visually from the style used in the main text, for example by using colored boxes or by using smalled font size or superscripts. Χρυσάνθη Λυκούση (talk) 19:48, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Redlinks in infoboxes -- link to discussion[edit]

There is a discussion about redlinks in infoboxes at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Redlinks in infoboxes – proposed guidance. – S. Rich (talk) 03:07, 16 April 2014 (UTC)