Wikipedia talk:Build the web

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Intent behind the merge[edit]

It must be noted here in the BTW talk page that after weeks of dissembling, we did get a confirmation that the reason why Kotniski "merged" BTW with the other pages and then interfered with any identification of BTW as a Wikipedia guideline in the Wikipedia:Linking page (Tony1 and others participated in this also) is that he does not think it should be a guideline at all.

This just isn't the Wikipedian way of going about things and it's a subversion of process. If the BTW page needs to be clarified or improved (which I definitely think it does, comparing the current version to the earlier ones which I'd read) let that be done. And if anyone thinks that BTW shouldn't be a guideline, let its deletion or demotion be proposed here (again.)

But besides that - the reason why the guideline "Wikipedians should build the web" ought not be tucked away as some minor detail of an enormous policy page primarily dealing with styling issues and other technicalities of handling links (which, coincidentally, would make it much easier to delete) is that it is genuinely an important WP principle in it's own right. It's the same reason why WP:AGF isn't just a side note on the etiquette or civility pages, for example.

BTW is one of the Wikipedia rules that is referred to by Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. No question that there are exceptions to it but that simply means that exceptions should be described here or linked to from here.--❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 16:53, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

If you want to pursue that line, justify each statement in the short BTW essay, as I invited people to do above. That is the only way in which guideline status could possibly be supported, and we're waiting to see you do it. Tony (talk) 18:01, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Tony1, it does not matter what it says in this page. I was not bringing any of the language in the content of this page over to Wikipedia:Linking; all I was doing was insisting that there was a sentence containing the phrase "an important Wikipedia guideline is that editors should build the web". And it's the opposition to and interference with that which has given you away.
You do not particularly care what it says in this page: what you want is to make certain that "build the web" is not identified as a Wikipedia behavioral guideline even in a merged page where I'm not disputing the definition of what that is.
It's you who needs to justify yourself and your actions. There is no question that BTW is an established Wikipedia behavioral guideline and no one needs to prove it, no matter how much chaff you throw around about that or even if you double dog dare me to. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 21:50, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Yours is an exceptionally malicious interpretation of the diff you are pointing to. I think it's also factually incorrect. ("Kotniski [...] interfered with any identification of BTW as a Wikipedia guideline in the Wikipedia:Linking page" – are you referring to this???) If you continue to feel the need to discuss editors in this way, I suggest that you take it to an appropriate venue, rather than poison the atmosphere here even more. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:15, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Strikeout because this doesn't seem to be what you mean. But I have gone back to mid-January in the edit history of WP:LINKING without finding anything appropriate. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:30, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Somehow I think that everyone following that diff link I put up above will have no trouble figuring out what Kotniski asserting "BTW as a guideline is both redundant and misleading, and should thus not be marked as such" has to with him making a long series of efforts that coincidentally culminated in it not being marked as a Wikipedia guideline anywhere.
You weren't by any chance looking for an excuse to announce that I was being malicious and factually incorrect, were you? I'm sorry, did you just say something about how it's bad to "poison the atmosphere here"?--❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I gave a bunch of feedback about this page/merge/status at Template talk:Guideline list#Village pump. Rather than repeating or copying all of that here, I'd appreciate it if the content were read and taken as my contribution to this discussion. Much thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:28, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Rather than personalizing this with total irrelevancies, please give real reasons why it serves WP editors to have BTW as a separate page with guideline status. I can't see any yet. Clearly even when it was so marked, it wasn't interpreted as a "rule" that has only occasional exceptions (otherwise people would link almost every word in articles, and include goodness knows how many external links, which is simply not what we do or ever have done). Meanwhile the principle that we "build the web" (i.e. make hyperlinks) is stated very clearly, both in those words and in even clearer and stronger words, in the lede of WP:Linking. It isn't in any sense "tucked away". I just don't see what you're getting at with these arguments.--Kotniski (talk) 19:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't matter whether or not it "serves WP editors" for BTW to be a guideline. You still don't get to personally do a demotion of it in the course of a "tidying up and organizing" merge, period. If you want to demote it then you should have honestly, openly, and straightforwardly brought a proposal for that up. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 21:50, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
As I explained at Template talk:Guideline list#Village pump, the only "advantage" of keeping the guidelines separate that I am aware of is that it makes it possible to "run to the other parent": Say there is a dispute whether the link in "the Glorious Revolution happened in 1689" is relevant [1]. A single guideline will eventually be clear that it is relevant, but only because the article 1689 talks about European history in this year (per consensus for option 1 in WP:Date formatting and linking poll#Year linking).
The year of birth of Tokugawa Yoshimichi also happens to be 1689. The article 1689 is completely irrelevant for this person. (The information about the relations between Russia and China is hardly relevant, and that's the closest I could find.) But in the current situation an editor who believes that all birth and death links should be linked can appeal to WP:BTW which, when read in isolation, does in fact suggest that we can never have enough links. When you reply with WP:OVERLINK, this editor will respond by saying that the two guidelines contradict each other and in this case WP:BTW is right.
Even for an editor who wants to (correctly) link 1689 in the Glorious Revolution context, arguing with someone who believes year links should never be made becomes easier by using the same strategy. --Hans Adler (talk) 20:54, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you understand what we're discussing here Hans. At the moment I don't care about and I am not attempting to determine what it says in the BTW policy page or even what it says about the "build the web" guideline over in the Wikipedia:Linking policy page except that BTW is properly identified as a guideline. And I definitely am not saying anything about date linking; I haven't even read up on that.
The point is that a guideline can't be demoted by someone pretending to just be doing a merge to tidy the Wikipedia namespace up. We know that these guys were trying to do that because it wasn't enough for them that the pages be merged - they also insist that BTW not be identified as a Wikipedia guideline in the resulting merged page.
If ArbCom renders a verdict that no date anywhere must be linked (or whatever they're adjudicating, even once I tracked down what was apparently the relevant page I couldn't figure it out) then I have no problem with it being smack in the middle of the BTW page or smack in the middle of the "build the web" behavioral guideline paragraph of a merged page. But it still wouldn't mean that these guys get to demote BTW from guideline status on their own cognizance. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 21:50, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
It's getting more and more clear to me that you are discussing something completely different than everybody else. I, like everybody else, I believe, have been talking about "guidelines" as the written representations of community consensus. Guidelines in this sense can obviously be merged for presentational reasons, so long as the sense is preserved. And if you want to oppose such a merger you need to explain how and why the merger affects the way the consensus is codified, or why the presentation has not been improved. I am still not sure what exactly you are talking about, but it is beginning to look like a "guideline" as an entity whose content may be transferred elsewhere, but which may not be killed even when it's empty. Or perhaps the words "build the web" as a sacrosanct creed which, once you feel it is under attack, needs something like constitutional protection. You may not recognise your position in this description, but this is honestly the best I can come up with. --Hans Adler (talk) 11:50, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
In summarizing my opinion on the merge, you came up with something completely incoherent. I am totally surprised. Really.
"Opposition to mergers must explain how and why the merger affects the way the consensus is codified." Way to make up rules out of thin air. I don't need to summarize that one for it to be incoherent. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Why of course, if people want to merge and give convincing reasons why it should be done, then just saying no without giving any reason is not acceptable. And if my attempt at mind-reading failed, then how about making it unnecessary by summarising your opinion yourself? --Hans Adler (talk) 14:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Give us a quote of where I've said "no without giving any reason" and I'll hold your hand while you read it to ensure that your attempt to mind-read doesn't fail. Somehow I think your "mind-reading" powers are calibrated to help you say things that further your objectives, like misreading obvious diffs so as to claim I'm malicious and factually incorrect, rather than designed to achieve any understanding of other people. That's probably why your "mind-reading" attempts fail.
And it's also why they're prefaced with categorical assertions about what are valid objections to the way a merge is carried out and what are not. That's a required technique there, I suppose? You have to hypnotize yourself by reciting a series of fake legalisms that would mean you're not going to encounter any opinions that don't fit with your own agenda, before you can enter the mind-reading trance. Such a sincere attempt to understand your interlocutor, to go to the effort of invoking psychic powers.
You should adopt Kotniski's technique there of changing the meaning of words as you're carrying on a discussion with someone. I bet it would do wonders for "mind reading" of the sort you're trying to perform. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 11:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I am giving up. Seeing what happened with your user page and how you reacted has inspired me to consider the possibility that you believe that minute details of process are infinitely more important than minor matters such as writing an encyclopedia or making our policy pages reflect consensus in the most efficient way. After rereading some of your comments I have now come to the conclusion that that's exactly your position. No wonder you are simply dismissing all relevant rational arguments as detractions while blowing irrelevancies out of all proportion. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:26, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You heard it here first, folks. Eliminating all mention of a guideline from current Wikipedia policy pages without discussing whether or not the elimination should occur is a "minute details of process" according to Hans.
Explain to everyone, Hans: why isn't simply merging the pages enough? I have again agreed with that down below when rd232 proposed it. Why does any mention of BTW as a Wikipedia guideline have to be eradicated? Or is the answer to this question just an "irrelevancy" that never, ever has to be addressed by any of you? (Until it's good and long since done, am I right?) --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 02:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Nothing was demoted as far as I know. Anyway, whatever it was that was done had consensus, and that consensus was later confirmed in discussion. If you think it should be partially undone, then you're entitled to argue for that, but please do so rationally, based on what arrangement of pages and information offers the best/clearest guidance for WP editors, not on some personal or political accusations. --Kotniski (talk) 09:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Ah! Nothing was demoted in your opinion! Which, unless there is some unusual semantic subtext to that statement, would appear to mean that you are conceding that "Build the Web" is an established Wikipedia guideline in the same fashion that "Assume Good Faith" is as I mentioned directly above in this thread. (Not to draw any similarity between them other than the fact that they are both established Wikipedia guidelines.)
Funny how you failed to mention this during the great many occasions you raised objections to the inclusion of a statement affirming it into Wikipedia:Linking previous to now. An oversight, I would imagine. But if this is some measure of assurance that your future action on material you designate as a pollution of the Wikipedia namespace will not involve excisions of language identifying BTW as a guideline from other policy pages, I find it agreeable.
And thank you for the advice on how to argue rationally. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 10:31, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
No problem. The page you mention, WP:AGF, is another one you might like to take a read of. As regards that sentence, I've explained at WT:Linking#Another plea for a practical upshot why I don't think it should be there (more to do with the semantics than any deep agenda). --Kotniski (talk) 10:40, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
And there it is in your response under what you linked to: a statement that the word "guideline" ought not to be linked to Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines when it is used to refer to "build the web".
So the thing that in this page was labeled as a guideline with a link to Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines did change in such a way that it ought no longer be referred to as such during the course of your merge, but that isn't being "demoted" in the way you used the word on that occasion in that sentence. This would be the unusual semantic subtext I had anticipated above: you just coincidentally chose to use the word "demoted" in a completely different way than it was used in the rest of this thread, when you were responding to my statement about this guideline being demoted out of guideline status.
Where would I ever get the idea that you intentionally try to deceive people? --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
SB has done that already. And like many of our bad faith specialists he wasn't content with just reading. [2] [3] (I agree with the first edit, although that, too, seems typical.) See also WT:AGF#Diplomacy (especially Admins). --Hans Adler (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Just a small, teensy-weensy point: when is someone—you or another supporter of this page—going to respond to my invitation to justify any one of the sentences of which it comprises. In the total absence of any such justification, this page remains on the prime list not just for being solely an essay, but for deletion (unless someone wants to take it into their userspace). Tony (talk) 10:37, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
    • This would be appropriate when a significant number of editors manage to actually disagree with one of these sentences. If some editors find this useful guidance, and nobody disagrees with it, it should stay; those who find it anodyne need not mention it at all. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:22, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
On the prime list for deletion, eh? Gosh, it sounds like someone ought to make a proposal for its deletion! But oddly enough I keep suggesting that and no one seems interested. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Having watched the whole debate since well before the merge, I can say that Kotniski did the merge in good faith. I feel bad that some assumed the contrary. We all have different opinions about linking (I personally don't believe WP has an overlinking problem), so we have to work together towards reaching a consensus. Having 2 or 3 separate pages about links will not lead to any consensus. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:36, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I at first also assumed that Kotniski was operating in good faith and I went along with his merge and worked on the merged page. But if you're going to assert Kotniski's good faith here you must account for why he followed up the "merge" with eliminating any mention that "there is a Wikipedia behavioral guideline that editors should build the web" from WP:Linking and you must also account for why, when repeatedly and directly asked if he thought that BTW shouldn't be a guideline and if this was what he was trying to achieve, he simply replied that he was "tidying up". (He has since stated that he does not think it should be a guideline and that this is connected to why he pursued eradication of anything mentioning that.)
Also, this is not some simple misunderstanding of the difference between a guideline and a project namespace page: I repeatedly invited him to discuss that but he avoided discussion of it and he and others continued pursuing the deletion of phrases like the one above. This is not behavior that is consistent with good faith.
I personally do think that WP probably has an overlinking problem with dates now that I've looked at it a little bit. But I am not involved in that issue and trying to eliminate guidelines like BTW - much less doing so with no transparent discussion - definitely would not be the solution. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 02:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Sod the intent and the edit history, can we get to the point?[edit]

My impression is that people lean towards merging - at least enough that the onus is on those who want to keep it as a separate guideline to explain why the status quo is better than the whole shebang being made a section of something else. Complete with shortcut, if required. Rd232 talk 12:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

If the intent is to eliminate there being a Wikipedia behavioral guideline that says that editors should "build the web" (and that, by the way, is exactly what happened in this recent "merge" - scare quotes intentional) that policy change is what should be proposed. Trying to accomplish the same thing through something advertised as a merge is a subversion of process. That's the only kind of merge I am opposed to.
(And I'm perfectly fine with it if eliminating this behavioral guideline is what everyone wants to do, I just think it needs to be above-board rather than on the sly as handled by the individuals conducting the merge.)--❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and also rd232 - what you're talking about there "Complete with shortcut, if required" sounds a whole lot more like an actual merge than what occurred under the auspices of Kotniski, Tony1, and company. (Assuming of course that I properly understand what you mean.) --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 13:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
It's coming, but I want to give supporters a fair chance to justify the statements in this quasi-essay. And we need a final check to ensure that nothing in it—no smidgeon of a point or idea—has not been transferred to WP:LINKING. Tony (talk) 15:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I do not believe that. If you guys are out in Wikipedia:Linking actively hunting down and deleting any mention that BTW is a wikipedia behavioral guideline with vague reasons like "it's inappropriate" in response to direct questions on why a Wikipedia guideline can't be labeled as such, I simply do not believe that everyone just needs to wait because what you're really doing is working on a clear, unambigious new version of the merge "Complete with shortcut, if required". What rd232 proposes there you are actively working to prevent and I believe your intent from the beginning was to eliminate anything like that.
This "final check" you speak of is nothing of the sort: it's an attempt to trick people into saying they're supporting a "merge" in such a way that you can claim you have support for elimination of BTW as a behavioral guideline from Wikipedia project pages everywhere. If the situation "Complete with shortcut" rd232 describes does not fit into your plans - which I believe it does not at all - cut the deceptive dissembling and say so. There's no reason your "final check" would have to be conducted as a pre-condition to creating content like that in Wikipedia:Linking. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 10:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
If I'm understanding your concerns right, I think a little assumption of good faith and clear thinking might resolve them. This is what happens when you merge a number of (say 3) guidelines: you start with page A, page B and page C, all tagged as guidelines. You end up with a page D, now tagged as a guideline in place of A, B and C. The guidance given by D is substantially the same as that which was previously given by A, B and C (of course, not necessarily expressed in the same words). There is no reason at all why page D needs to contain three statements of the form "[title of former page A/B/C] is an (important/...) WP guideline". The absence of such statements is not a sign that those working on the merge have attempted to or succeeded in changing the substance of the guidance in any way. If page C had some valuable pithy message (as some people apparently consider "build the web" to be), then it is enough that that message be part of the text of page D - there is no point in saying "[message] is a (...) guideline", since everything on page D is a guideline anyway, by virtue of that page's being so marked. So when people started talking about how they liked the "build the web" wording, we listened to them and included it (or gave it more prominence - I think it was originally there anyway) in the merged page. But that doesn't mean we have to say "build the web is an important guideline/rule/etc." - even the original Build the Web page didn't say anything like that. If you keep in mind the logical distinction between the words "build the web" and the page titled Build the web, you'll see I hope that no-one has any dark intentions in objecting to the inclusion of your sentence in WP:Linking - I just don't think it contributes to the clarity of the guidance. Anyway, this is my last attempt to convince you of my good faithedness - if it hasn't worked, then too bad.--Kotniski (talk) 14:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I am glad to see this is Kotniski's last effort to justify his disruptive meddling. By this argument, we need not have any separate guidelines at all, but can have one massive unreadable WP:Guideline containing all our guidance. It will be unreadable, unreferrable, and useless, but apparently that doesn't matter. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Why do you do this, PA - have I offended you in some way? Why do you feel the need to insult people when they do something you don't agree with? What do you want to achieve by making such obviously absurd arguments like that one? Do you even know what we were discussing? --Kotniski (talk) 17:54, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec) That's just rude. Take a step back, and a deep breath, before hitting save. Please! I am a supporter of closer scrutiny of this merge, and you are not helping any of us see your points by stooping to personal attacks and mischaracterizations of intent, and using ludicrous slippery-slope arguments. Let's just drop that now, please. If you cannot say something constructive, say nothing. -- Quiddity (talk) 17:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm fairly satisfied with the bold and emphatic description of build the web as currently incorporated into WP:LINKING. I do however think more of the wording from this guideline should be copied exactly to the Linking guideline. For example the section on redlinks as Piotr points out above at #View from the sidelines - "Don't be afraid ..." is an important reminder of WP:BOLDness.
These wordings were discussed and honed and argued over for years, which is why some of us oldtimers are protective of the page (and implicitly its choices of phrasing). I don't have time to read more of the threads, or suggest more exact changes, but hopefully you get my meaning, and can extrapolate the changes that will make us all happy. Thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 17:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Wow, thanks! I guess there has been constructive criticism of the merger or the way it has been attempted somewhere here or on WT:LINKING, but I don't remember any that I could understand. Finally something to act upon and even an explanation why this conflict happened. I hope that in a few hours' time I will get some time to work on a proposal at WT:LINKING. (WP:LINKING is currently protected.) --Hans Adler (talk) 18:59, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Piotr is referring to Wikipedia:Red link, a separate guideline which in my opinion should also be merged into WP:LINKING. The "Don't be afraid" sentence needs balancing like the rest of BTW. I think I am going to think about this a bit more. Perhaps BTW can be expanded to discuss all the motivational and less technical aspects in depth (and in a balanced way), and then serve as a subarticle of WP:LINKING? --Hans Adler (talk) 22:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, a prime example of the advantages of explaining even what seems to be obvious. Everything Quiddity says has been implicit in the counterarguments since before I got here; but it has not been seen. I would add that WP:BTW and WP:Build the web should link to any merged section, like the links to the clauses of MOS. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:31, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
As a detail, this should not be a subpage of WP:Linking; this and WP:OVERLINK are the principles which WP:Linking attempts to implement. It would be a useful exercise to expand WP:OVERLINK and make it a separate page which would answer this one point by point. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:31, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
That's not at all what I meant. Do you see the parenthetical "and in a balanced way"? I don't believe in having two guidelines that contradict each other, enabling extremists who don't agree with the consensus (which of course lies somewhere in the middle) to cherry-pick. If I get support from everybody but you I will be happy, but I simply don't expect you to agree with any solution that makes sense. --Hans Adler (talk) 08:15, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
These "contradict each other" exactly as much as WP:UE and WP:UCN. Both BTW and don't overlink are true, which is why we have two pages; if the merger had been kept, and they were two sections, they would still be quoted tendentiously. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Kotniski, your "it's redundant" explanation is a completely new one, different from all of the other explanations you've given for eliminating mention that there's a BTW guideline from the WP:Linking page. (And as I've pointed out folks, previous explanations included things like defining it as pollution.)
Your willingness to discuss the distinction between a guideline and a Wikipedia namespace page is completely new in the last few days - well after the point where the page was locked and the statement in question can't simply be deleted or altered - despite the fact that for weeks and weeks I was asking questions and making points about this and linking to the page where Wikipedia guidelines are defined to make it clear what I was talking about.
This behavior, and things like concealing your desire to remove BTW as a guideline when directly, repeatedly asked as the author of the merge whether you had such intentions, is not remotely consistent with good faith; in fact it's plainly disingenuous and deceptive. WP:AGF is not some sort of mental hygiene requirement that compels Wikipedians to not think about bad faith or prevent them from recognizing and talking about bad faith behavior. I granted you the benefit of the doubt, the assumption of good faith, and over the course of weeks you completely and totally forfeited it. You can't consistently, repeatedly, and openly act like this and expect to get away with it in a place like Wikipedia where diffs showing exactly what you've said and done and the history of every page can be presented and examined by anyone. So I am very well justified to not simply trust you on this and to insist that very explicit and above-board mention that BTW is a guideline be included in any merged page; my concerns and the things I'm insisting on are not nonsensical or inappropriate at all as has been repeatedly asserted.
And one other point: the original BTW page most certainly did say "this is a Wikipedia behavioral guideline" right before the "merge" - that's something which only appears to have been changed recently. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 03:16, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
For the last, last time: BTW was a page which was marked as a guideline page. "Build the web" is a phrase. If you merge BTW with something else, it isn't a page any more, so it doesn't make sense to say "Build the web" is a "guideline", meaning the page BTW is a guideline page. It might make sense to say "build the web" (phrase) is a guideline (useful maxim to be followed) - you can argue for that, but that exact phrasing (particularly since it never appeared on the BTW page before the merge) isn't essential to making the merge an unbiased merge. Just because we disagree about whether that particular sentence makes the Linking page clearer guidance or not is no reason for these heaps of abuse that have been poured in my direction - it's hardly a matter of any consequence (and you seem to have got your way about it anyway). No further replies from me here; with the possible exception of the Brandt debacle, this is the most ridiculous thing I've encountered in my time at Wikipedia so far.--Kotniski (talk) 07:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Proposal: merge WP:BTW into WP:linking by adding the following paragraph at the top of WP:linking#General principles:

Wikipedia is based on hypertext, and aims to "build the web" to enable readers to find relevant information on other pages with just a click of the mouse. Therefore in adding or removing links, consider an article's place in the webin the knowledge tree. Make upward links to categories and relevant contexts (Charles Darwin was a biologist; Sahara is a desert in Africa, etc. Make sideways links to neighboring articles (for proton see also electron, Oregon borders on California). Introduce links from related articles to avoid orphaning the article; and don't be afraid to create links to articles which don't exist yet.

That's shorter than I expected; I'd written another para based on BTW but I've found all the parts of it are already in that target section (apart from the bit about category trees which I couldn't make sense of and doesn't seem to belong here). Comments? Can we do this merge now? Rd232 talk 03:56, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Revised to replace "web" with knowledge tree. Rd232 talk 12:36, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Revised to strike ref to categories implying linking to categories, which is deprecated. Rd232 talk 15:23, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support revised version per Tony below Ohconfucius (talk) 04:57, 27 April 2009 (UTC) Ohconfucius (talk) 03:30, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I support the idea of remerging (i.e. making this page a redirect to Linking, as it was always agreed it would be), but what's the point of including this text? We already say all of this at WP:Linking. The stuff about upward, sideways etc. isn't helpful - you'd have to define a hierarchy for this to make sense (a web is specifically not a hierarchy).--Kotniski (talk) 06:25, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I support in principle just to end this dispute, not because I find anything useful in the paragraph. However, the merge would require a few things to be changed in the para.
    • First, is there a source for the concept of "upward" and "sideways"? It's not intuitive to me that "desert" be upward of "Sahara".
    • "Desert" is just the kind of trivial link that is now discouraged as a dictionary-type word. At the very least, you'd want to link to the appropriate section of the desert article, but that brings in another point about focusing links as much as possible (covered elsewhere in MOSLINK, I think), and we don't want to confuse issues in the one example. The same goes for "Africa", which is starting to be trivial, like linking "United States" or "the UK" or "Europe". These conflict with the well-established practice to use links selectively so that the higher-value ones, whether vertical or under the seat or left or right, are more likely to be clicked on.
    • Rather than the imperative "Make upward links to ..", it would be more appropriate to simply explain the concept of upwards, etc. Tony (talk) 07:12, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
      • These comments piqued my curiousity about the way we currently use categories. What's a better link: Charles Darwin is a biologist or Charles Darwin is a biologist? I appreciate that's an easter egg link we like to avoid, but when you think about it, currently, we have categories stuck all the way down the bottom of the page. Is that making the best use of categories? If the purpose of some of these links is to "build a web", well, isn't the category structure that web? After all, the "Build The Web" guidance predates category implentation by a long chalk, doesn't it? I doubt we've ever reviewed the implications categories had for this page, given the text currently used. Hiding T 09:37, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Interesting, so here is my guess: Imagine X is a foreign speaker not knowing exactly what a biologist actually does. In case X wants to know more, X clicks on the wikilink. I guess X would rather read an explanation about the different kinds of biologists and what biologists spend their days doing, than a list of articles that are similar to the one he was reading. Nicolas1981 (talk) 10:03, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
          • Doesn;t really address the wiser points, does it. We could all have anecdotal evidence of what a particular user or group of users is expecting. But what do you think about the broader points, that this guidance hasn't been updated to reflect the introduction of categories. That probably speaks to its current utility. Hiding T 13:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support The Sahara example makes much sense to me, it seems obvious to me that the Sahara article should begin like this: Sahara is a desert. If only one wikilink should be to remain in the article, that would be this one. Nicolas1981 (talk) 09:40, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
    • I think we can agree about that - but can we not phrase it in a way that makes sense to everyone? (At the very least we must make it clear that it's the Sahara article we're talking about; at the moment it looks like we're talking about some other article in which this sentence appears, because it says Sahara instead of Sahara. But we must also explain more explicitly what we mean by "upward" links to "categories" and "contexts".)--Kotniski (talk) 11:04, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. "Desert" might be a dictionary word, but the article "Desert" contain more info than just a dicdef, some of which might be interesting to someone reading an article about the Sahara. Maybe it's slight too generic and one could link hot desert instead (but so far it happens to be a redirect). Likewise, the Darwin article now links to naturalist which is more specific than biologist. As for North Africa, yes, everyone know where it is, but someone reading an article about the Sahara might want to read more about it, so the link from "Sahara" to "North Africa" is not pointless. So I'd change the examples to "Sahara is a hot desert in North Africa; Charles Darwin was a naturalist". --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 11:19, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this is far more the direction to go in. I don't think this text has much to add in terms of general principles - largely because BTW already has been merged into WP:Linking, so anything that means anything here is already there. What might be worth adding (though it would need to be written out properly, with legible examples) is the idea that we are more inclined to link to things which directly contain the thing we are writing about, or are classes containing that thing, or are similar to that thing, or are examples or components of that thing. (I guess that's what the upward/sideways/etc. language is supposed to mean.) But this wouldn't go at the top of general principles - it would get quite detailed and technical, and would probably go somewhere in the list of principles, or maybe better in a separate subsection.--Kotniski (talk) 11:44, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
The North Africa link is justified in my opinion. Today I was pointing Africa on a map and asked a group of 5 koreans what this continent was and they had no idea. So we shouldn't take it for granted that everybody knows what we learnt in primary school. And these koreans can speak English. Nicolas1981 (talk) 15:25, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment. I've just taken the existing language from BTW and some of the criticisms made of the result are clearly valid. I agree that "upwards" and "sideways" are not necessarily clear, but if you visualise a web of knowledge with the more general topics at the top and the more specific at the bottom, that seems to be what the terms relate to. I'm not sure if we can find clearer terms, or if we should just put in a sentence to explain that; or else drop the concepts entirely, but that would mean deletion rather than merger, because just putting the shortcuts in the target section without explanation would be confusing. Rd232 talk 12:02, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
    • By shortcuts, do you mean WP:BTW, WP:BUILD, etc.? These can simply go to WP:Linking, not to any section of it (since the web-building principle is already mentioned prominently there); but just point there, not be advertised there. And we must avoid mixing metaphors - the World Wide Web (or any web I can imagine) is not hierarchical. The metaphor I'm used to for the sort of structure you're describing is "tree". So yes, we can try to develop this concept, AND we can retain the references to WP's place in the Web, BUT these should be treated as two quite separate issues (and the second one is already addressed, I think satisfactorily, at WP:Linking).--Kotniski (talk) 12:21, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
      • You're right, it's a "knowledge tree" thing; linking these points to "building the web" is confusing because of that. I've revised the proposal accordingly. I hope this is clearer. Rd232 talk 12:35, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
        • OK, I would still make some improvements to the wording and positioning, but I guess those will be discussed further once we see this paragraph in place on the target page. Support this merge.--Kotniski (talk) 12:53, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. The exact formulation of the paragraph is somewhat problematic, but I don't really mind that too much. I don't agree with Tony that linking from Sahara to desert or Africa is wrong; I agree with A. di M. that linking from Darwin to naturalist would be better than to biologist. The most important thing is that all the basic instructions about what to link and what not to link are in a single place, rather than spread over several guideline POV forks. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:29, 27 April 2009 (UTC) [Edited 14:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC) after Tony's protest.]

I didn't say that linking Darwin to "biologist" was wrong: please read again. But does the "biologist" article really explain how Darwin was the father of modern biology? I don't think so; the field has changed so much, and the link is a potential distortion rather than an aid to readers' understanding. This example is also precariously close to an encouragement to link "actor", "novelist", and just about any occupation or artistic field, in the opening sentence of biographical articles.

What I did say was that "desert" is a dictionary term; however, after Nicholas's comment, I re-consulted the "desert" article and found it to be better than I'd recollected. Unfortunately, the subsection "Types of desert" doesn't clarify which type of desert the Sahara is: this is the type of value-added I'm always looking for in linking, and I'm concerned that the example will give a green light to the linking of every second word in, for example, the Geography and Climate sections of country articles. While the Sahara example might just be doable, it's an unfortunate example. "Africa" can't possibly go into MOSLINK as a link: this is sending the wrong signal after the project has moved away from the automatic linking of every geographical or political entity that ever occurs in any article.

Inserting some of these examples into MOSLINK is the wrong way to go; if better examples can be found that do not risk a return to thoughtless linking by analogy, the paragraph would be less unsuitable. Tony (talk) 13:32, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for misrepresenting your words. I hope I have fixed this to your satisfaction. – Perhaps we have just found a genuine point of BTW: I do happen to think that while links to articles such as desert and Africa should be used very sparingly, Sahara is an excellent example of an article where they are appropriate because superficial readers of the article are likely to find them of interest. The article actually links to North Africa instead, which is even better. --Hans Adler (talk) 14:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

"Don't be afraid to create links to articles that don't exist yet" ... red link spattering? Some are OK, but we don't want to encourage newbies to go about creating links that remain red for some time. I tell people who create red links to go there and at least write a stub; then it's not red and shows at least the beginnings of what will become an article. I'm also unsure that linking items just in the fear that their destinations might become "orphaned" is a good reason (alone) to link, yet it could be construed this way. Tony (talk) 13:39, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

This is already in the target section. I'd rather we didn't get into a big discussion, as we seem to be, about the precise wording and policy implications. The only thing that really matters, as far as I can see, is the first two sentences, plus the shortcuts. The rest is naturally subject to future post-merger revision and clarification (which I think the target page could do with); these two sentences are the core idea which is worth merging, I think, the rest is detail, and is precisely why the merger should be done. Rd232 talk 15:18, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I guess I stand against the proposed text, because it is quite clear Wikipedia practise has changed. With the implenetation of category space, we stopped making inline upwards links to categories. That was one reason why category space was implented, and realistically, when you think about it, category space is the web. Just deprecate this page. Quietly. Next year. Hiding T 13:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Have you been misled by the discussion? The proposal says nothing about linking to categories. Rd232 talk 14:10, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Have you read the text you appear to have proposed? "Make upward links to categories and contexts". My emphasis. Hiding T 15:13, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
 :) clearly I haven't!! Removed the ref to categories. Rd232 talk 15:20, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Rd232 that the first two sentences are what matter at the moment. Tony (talk) 15:27, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Here is a revised example. The sentence about red links has gone, since they are treated in more detail already and many editors would query that their creation should be so strongly encouraged (while not objecting to the occasional red link). The sentence about orphans has gone, since linking articles for the sake of linking articles is not now encouraged. Links to so-called orphan articles are best made because they are useful to the readers; the knowledge tree is not strengthened by low-value links. Given that the examples of "upward" and "sideways" links are almost entirely devoid of a larger context with which to judge the relevance of links, they have been replaced by items about which there can be less doubt as to the usefulness of their linking to most English-speakers. (Isn't "lateral" a better word than "sideways"? But if not, someone reinstate "sideways", please.) Tell me your thoughts:
In adding or removing links, consider an article's place in the knowledge tree. This tree comprises "upward" links to relevant contexts ("Charles Babbage was one of the great cryptographers"; "Antarctica is the largest polar desert"), and "lateral" links to neighboring articles ("Protons, along with electrons, are the basis of electrical charge within atoms"; "Mauritania shares a long border with Mali").

Tony (talk) 16:44, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that's certainly an improvement (much more pertinent examples; and red links and orphaning are perfectly well covered by what already exists at WP:Linking anyway). I would still remove "Therefore", since the second sentence (about the tree) isn't a logical consequence of the first (about the web). (The first sentence could go, actually, since it is already stated at least once on the WP:Linking page as it is now.) And if the examples are supposed to be from the articles indicated by the first links, then we should show that, at the very least by replacing the links by bold type as they would be in those articles (Charles Babbage was one of the great cryptographers etc.).--Kotniski (talk) 16:56, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually maybe the Antarctica example doesn't quite work (is there such a thing as "the Antarctica"?) And the proton example never worked. But it's going in the right direction.--Kotniski (talk) 17:07, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Oops, yes, some silly mistakes. How is that? Tony (talk) 18:06, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) "The" Antarctica? Except for this, your example sounds OK to me. (But I disagree that linking "novelist" in the first sentence of an article about a novelist is overlinking.) As for "categories" in the original wording, I don't think it referred to categories in the MediaWiki sense of the word: it would make little sense to write "Charles Darwin is a [[:Category:Biologists|biologist]]". As for red links, the criterion should be whether the linked title could host an article complying with WP:N and WP:NC and relevant to the topic of the article containing the red link. So I'd write something like:

and don't be afraid to create relevant links to articles which don't exist yet, provided that the topic is notable enough to merit its own article and the linked title complies with the Wikipedia naming conventions.

--A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 18:11, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
"Sigh". I'm not getting my point across very well here. As for "categories" in the original wording, I don't think it referred to categories in the MediaWiki sense of the word. That's my point, it does and doesn't refer to categories in the MediWiki sense of the word because the MediaWiki sense of the word didn't exist when the text was written. This guidance predates category space. That's why the guidance refers to category linking, it was the only way to implement a category, by linking to "biologist" and then extracting a "category" if you will, byt using "what links here" on bilogist. That's what a vast number of people seem to be missing, that "Build The Web" hasn't been updated in seven years to reflect the way the software has changed. The way we implemented categories means the guidance as stands is written to indicate that we write "Charles Darwin is a [[:Category:Biologists|biologist]]". This is probably germane and not germane, but there was once a reason for BTW and articles being a sea of blue. It was all there was. Way back when, even "policy" was written in the main space, because it was all there was. Support the merge, but make sure it is updated to take account of the fact that this is so old it doesn't grapple with advancements. Don't get blind-sided into accepting or re-using material that has absolutely no relevance to today's Wikipedia. Hiding T 12:02, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

What if we just merge the first two sentences and the shortcuts, and then continue this discussion at WP:linking post-merger, where it will be more productive, in the larger context of that page? Rd232 talk 18:51, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Support merge There is far too much overlap of content. The subject is linking, so put it all there. As it is, this article is an essay. It needs to be merged into “WP:”-space so it is truly a guideline. As an aside, I can’t see the value in creating broken links. If someone thinks a subject is noteworthy enough to have its own article, they ought to at least have the gumption to be willing to create the stub. Just putting square brackets around some text to make it red in hopes someone else will come in later is, IMO, just being too lazy. Besides, in some cases, the actual article title may be slightly different from the pointer links and the text still won’t turn from broken-link red to link-blue even after someone makes the article. Greg L (talk) 23:28, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
    Personally, I prefer a red link to a blue link to a very short stub: that way, it can't happen that a reader follows a link and is disappointed because the stub it takes to doesn't explain the subject any better than he was able to figure out himself from the context. But maybe that's just me... And sometimes it's not laziness, but rather lack of knowledge to create the stub: for example, I once read the sentence

    In addition to this, sea quarks can hadronize via a certain fragmentation function; for instance, a sea quark hadronizing into a pion (π) does so through the fragmentation function

    Without knowing what the hell a fragmentation function is, I could only make wild guesses about the intended meaning of that sentence. So I added a red link to fragmentation function. I then googled for that phrase in order to find out its meaning (and possibly write an article about it), but I found lots of very technical pages which assumed the reader already knew that phrase, and no page which actually explained what a fragmentation function is. So I left the link red. (And I would have been far more disappointed if the link were blue, but it took to a one-sentence article such as "In particle physics, a fragmentation function is a function describing how sea quarks can hadronize.") As for the possibility of the link staying red if the article isn't created with the exact same meaning, it is minimized if the editor who adds the red link conforms to the naming conventions, and the author of the article creates redirects from any other title also allowed by the conventions for the same title. --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 11:07, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Support This is a good compromise between those who are strongly attracted to the principle of BTW and those who want to consolidate the MOS. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:03, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Support the last version by Tony1 as well. It is no perfect (for instance I don't think "great" is appropriate in Wikipedia) but let's merge first and polish things afterwards. By the way, I am quite happy to have this healthy discussion where we are trying to reach a consensus despite our very different views. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:07, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

    • Army, your suggestion "and don't be afraid to create relevant links to articles which don't exist yet, provided that the topic is notable enough to merit its own article and the linked title complies with the Wikipedia naming conventions—can we avoid contractions in formal text (as required by MoS)? And the opening is an odd angle to take (being afraid or not ... just a little too rhetorical. Why not "and consider creating links to articles that do not yet exist, provided the topic is sufficiently relevant and notable and the title complies with the Wikipedia naming conventions."? But just how different is this from the advice already in MOSLINK? And why not put the statement in the red link section if it has to go in?
    • Hiding, sorry, I can't get my brain around your point about categories. Perhaps I'm just too tired. Tony (talk) 17:06, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
      Er, yes. I had overlooked the fact that the proposal is to put the text on top of WP:LINK#General principles, which already mentions red links. For some reason I was thinking that the proposal was to put it into its lead. (Also, I don't think that it must necessarily be "formal text": we're essentially talking to fellow editors; BTW, the contraction and the rhetorical opening (is it? I assumed "Don't be afraid" to be an idiom) were already present in the existing wording which I only adapted (as opposed to rewriting from scratch); I don't care about what specific wording is used.) --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 17:54, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal (minimal)[edit]

This discussion is still dancing around a lot. It's not that it's unproductive, just that it would be much better to do this post-merger. So can we just merge the minimum we agree on (to the top of the General Principles para), then continue the discussion about the other points at Wikipedia talk:linking? Rd232 talk 17:30, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is based on hypertext, and aims to "build the web" to enable readers to find relevant information on other pages with just a click of the mouse. Therefore in adding or removing links, consider an article's place in the knowledge tree.

Just to make it clear - what do you envisage will be at WP:Build the web when this merger is done? A redirect? A historical page or essay?--Kotniski (talk) 21:01, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I actually hadn't thought about it. And now that you ask, I'm not sure I mind either way. Rd232 talk 00:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Support I think in this case the simpler the better.. let's just get this done, complicating things is counter-productive. Have WP:BTW redirect directly to the merged section. It can be a shortcut. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 01:37, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Support I agree with OlEnglish Nicolas1981 (talk) 03:06, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

{{editprotected}} Please restore this text to the point before merger. All trace of the merged text (except the name) has been removed from [[WP:LINK}}; the above discussion approves of the merger only because the text was preserved. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:45, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit protected}} template.. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 21:04, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Request for edit[edit]

Since there now seems to be universal support for doing this (and consensus in the earlier discussions was in favour anyway, it was just prevented from being implemented), I think it's time to go ahead. Therefore:

{{editprotected}} Please replace the content of this page with a redirect to Wikipedia:Linking#General principles, at the same time as making the edit requested at WT:Linking#Requested addition, which implements the merge as agreed in the above discussions (#Merge proposal onward).--Kotniski (talk) 06:09, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

All  Done as requested. Congratulations on sorting this out. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 07:04, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I suggest further discussion about improvements to the text continue at WT:Linking.--Kotniski (talk) 07:44, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

{{editprotected}} Please add this redirect template: {{R from merge}} on the same line as the redirect. Thanks. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 21:50, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Done - Rjd0060 (talk) 23:08, 30 April 2009 (UTC)