Wikipedia:External links/Perennial websites
|While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:External links page, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one.|
|Proposals and policy|
This is a list of websites that editors frequently discuss on Wikipedia. Some of these are currently accepted, some are currently opposed, and some depend on the circumstances. Consensus can change.
Also note that this page does not prescribe any recommendations of what action to take if one encounters any of these sites linked within articles. This list is only an aid to ongoing discussion surrounding the use of these sites, final consensus is yet to be determined.
Social networking websites
- As an external link: official links when the subject of the article has no other Web presence. Generally no. Regular websites are strongly preferred, but exceptions are made for
- As a reliable source: self-published, primary source, but only if it can be authenticated as belonging to the subject. (See Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources.) Sometimes. The official page of a subject may be used as a
- Common issues: Wikipedia is not a directory of any subject's complete web presence, and links to social networking sites (other than official links) are discouraged (ELNO #10). Facebook is particularly discouraged as viewing the page sometimes requires registration (ELNO #6). Facebook and Myspace pages (other than official links) could be characterized as fansites (ELNO #11). Be wary of fakes.
- As an external link: Almost never.
- As a reliable source: LinkedIn pages may be used as self-published, primary sources, but only if they can be authenticated as belonging to the subject. (See Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources.) Sometimes.
- Common issues: Wikipedia is not a directory of any subject's complete web presence, and links to social networking sites (other than official links) are discouraged (ELNO #10). Information (e.g., phone numbers) is not typically encyclopedic in nature. As a reliable source, LinkedIn is problematic in the same ways as MySpace, Facebook, etc. as self-published and unverifiable, unreliable content. External links to LinkedIn are also discouraged because seeing the content requires registration (ELNO #6).
- As an external link: official links when the subject of the article has no other Web presence. Generally no. Exceptions are made for
- As a reliable source: self-published, primary source. Twitter incorporates a Verified Account mechanism to identify accounts of celebrities and other notable people; this should be considered in judging the reliability of Twitter message. Sometimes. A specific tweet may be useful as a
- Common issues: Twitter feeds change with every post, so the desirable information you see today may be replaced by irrelevancies tomorrow. Wikipedia is not a directory of any subject's complete web presence, and links to social networking sites (other than official links) are discouraged (ELNO #10). Be wary of fakes.
- As an external link: WP:ELNO: "...one should generally avoid providing external links to: Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article." Sometimes. Using Ancestry.com as an external link can possibly be acceptable because of sourced information that is not available elsewhere, such as unique images, keeping in mind the first statement at
- As a reliable source: Rarely. Information at Ancestry.com is often poorly-sourced content from pseudonymous/anonymous contributors.
- Common issues:
- The Ancestry.com website content is user-submitted and is therefore considered not to be generally reliable.
- Ancestry.com does not exercise editorial control, material added to the site by volunteers does not have editorial oversight and is not vetted (see WP:QS).
- Ancestry.com often contains asserted biographical details such as date of birth, but using the website as a standalone source for stated facts in biographies (especially biographies of living persons) is not satisfactory if reliable sources for this biographical data are unavailable to otherwise verify the alleged facts. Extreme care should be used when attempting to use it as a source for any biography, especially WP:BLPs.
- Some editors think that if other published reliable sources cannot be found that verify asserted facts from Ancestry.com, then that information is—by definition—not important enough to include.
- Even though some of Ancestry.com is free, much of its content is only available behind various levels of paywalls—see ELNO#6.
- As an external link: Rarely. Sometimes, a link is acceptable because of a specific, unique feature or information that is not available elsewhere, such as valuable images and location information of graves.
- As a reliable source: cited if it is a circular reference to Wikipedia (WP:FORK and WP:CIRCULAR). Almost never. It should never be
- Common issues:
- Some editors consider it a type of fansite that is not written by a recognized expert (ELNO #11).
- Some pages contain copyright violations (WP:ELNEVER and WP:COPYLINK). Find a Grave requests that copyright violations be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the relevant page or image. Never link to copyright violations on Wikipedia.
- Some editors say it should generally be avoided as an External link because it does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article (ELNO #1).
- Some editors believe that if reliable published sources do not include the information that you have found only at Find-a-Grave (e.g., exact dates of birth or death), then that information is—by definition—not important enough to include.
- Find-a-Grave does not exercise editorial control, and the material added to the site by volunteers is not vetted (WP:QS).
- Find-a-Grave contains dates of birth, death and place of burial, material which is frequently not cited by other sources in an article (even though it is in theory available from other sources). Since it's not a reliable source, it should not be cited as a source, but having an external link allows others to find where information comes from. Such material is rarely controversial (WP:CHALLENGE).
- As an external link: Generally yes, if the subject of the entire page is exactly the same as the subject of the IMDb page that you're linking.
- As a reliable source: Generally no.
- Common issues: The IMDb website generally contains more information than the Wikipedia article, including information that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to amount of detail. However, content is user-submitted and therefore not generally reliable. (This includes biographies, which cannot be directly edited.)
- As an external link: Naval History & Heritage Command, are more likely to be accepted than other links. Sometimes. Videos from "official channels", like the United States'
- As a reliable source: video channel from a major publisher), then a copy of the source on YouTube is still considered reliable. Sometimes. If the source would normally be considered reliable (e.g., a segment from a well-known television news show, or an official
- Common issues:
- Videos must be carefully screened for copyright violations (WP:ELNEVER, WP:COPYLINK, WP:YT). The creator of the video must be verifiable as an official channel for the source. Do not link to copyright violations in citations, even if they reproduce information, such as news reports, that might otherwise be considered reliable.
- Many readers (especially users on restricted or metered bandwidth, or those behind restrictive corporate or educational firewalls) are unable to view video.
- Videos often contain less information than alternative websites or the Wikipedia article itself (ELNO #1).
- Videos must be labeled with software requirements (Rich media).
- Editors enforce a particularly high standard for links to videos.
- General comment: Because the Commons and Metawiki have a 100MB limit on files some files are added to YouTube for use in Wikipedia that are gathered from United States government sources such as the National Archives by WikiProject FedFlix or other projects. These files can be used on Wikipedia articles if available.
- As an external link: - especially when the petition is still open.
- As a reference: Sometimes - Generally, the only notable facts that a petition site is a reliable (albeit primary) source for is for its existence, the petition wording, the start and end dates, and for the final outcome after the petition is closed. A notable petition will usually be reported on by an independent source, which will have the final outcome and may also have analysis of the results and its impact. Information about petitions should generally not be included without independent, secondary references showing notability of the petition.
- Common issues: If no other sources exist defining notability, the information should not be linked, as it generally amounts to soapboxing and may result in BLP-type problems on pages about living people or active organisations.
- General comment: A large number of petition sites are blacklisted and can not be linked to.
- As an external link: third-party and independent), then editors may include an external link to that page. Maybe. If Wikileaks contains information that is directly relevant to the specific subject of the article, then editors may choose to provide a link. For example, if a particular page on Wikileaks is discussed extensively in the article (and sourced correctly to reliable sources that are ideally
- As a reliable source: primary sources for the fact that Wikileaks contains or says certain things, but not necessarily for any claims that the documents' contents are true, correct, unfabricated, actually happened, etc. Maybe. The documents on Wikileaks are reliable
- Common issues: Some editors allege that it is illegal (for anyone in the world; for Americans) to link to Wikileaks or that it is immoral to link to Wikileaks, because it will place people (soldiers, civilians, spies) in harm's way.