Wikipedia talk:External links

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Adding crowdfunding sites to ELNO 4[edit]

WP:ELNO#EL4 addresses the problem of GoFundMe sites in the generic, but they weren't really 'a thing' the last time we went through ELNO with a fine-toothed comb. I propose expanding it this way:

The target here is cyberbegging sites whose main purpose is to ask people for money. I do not intend this to cover typical non-profit websites, even though they doubtless contain opportunities for people to make donations, nor typical social media pages, even though someone could post a request for money there. Do you think that this is sufficiently clear? Do you support this expansion? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:16, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

I support this addition. Did we not already blacklist some of these? --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:09, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
I like the idea, but how do you craft the wording to make an exception for non-profits without making it too wordy or too subject to wiki-lawyering? - Donald Albury 12:20, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
Why should non-profits be exempt? --Izno (talk) 12:39, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
We want links to charity websites such as (even though that site probably contains a page for making donations) but we don't want links to (even if we're certain that it's the same charity). The point is "no GoFundMe" links, rather than "no sites that ask for donations on any page, in any way, shape, or form". WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:59, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── How about, with the exception of a single link in the article about an organization to the official website of an that organization, be it for-profit or non-profit, allow no links to any webpage that offers advertising or solicits donations? - Donald Albury 19:57, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

Are you here talking about the WP:ELOFFICIAL exemption? --Dirk Beetstra T C 00:19, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess I am. - Donald Albury 01:10, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Because that's a major change to the guideline, and editors won't stand for it.
  • "No links to any webpage that offers advertising" means that you'd be banning any page that has any advertising on it, e.g., newspaper articles – not just pages with "objectionable" amounts of advertising.
  • "No links to any webpage that solicits donations" means that you'd ban every content-heavy non-profit webpage if they add a tiny little note that says "Click here to donate". We don't want to say that otherwise excellent external links, such as should get invalidated if they have a discreet link to a donation page, or if they add a banner that says you can donate. The point isn't to exclude anything on any normal website. The point is to exclude all pages on cyberbegging websites.
WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:18, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Which, to me, means that except for the official domain link on the subject page of the crowdfunding Wikipage and some related primary references there, NO other links on Wikipedia should appear, not even as primary references (with very limited exceptions). That is similar to the situation with petition sites (which are blacklisted), which cannot be used anywhere, even not as primary references. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:54, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
So, do we make a distinction based on identity, restricting access to web sites for organizations identified as crowd-sourced funding and petition sites, or do we base it on behavior, restricting access to web sites based on the presence of solicitations for sales, donations or signatures (i.e., some form of support)? Whatever we choose to do, the policy/guidance needs to be clear and easy to apply consistently. On the other hand, this is Wikipedia. There will be RfCs. - Donald Albury 12:27, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
We restrict links based upon what you call "identity" when a given site has become a problem. (And by "we", I mean "Dirk and the few other admins who maintain the spam blacklist").
Otherwise, we're looking at the content of the exact page that gets linked. For example, there is a critical difference between linking to "" and linking to "". We have thousands of the first type, but we should have none (or almost none) of the second type. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:41, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
To go back to petition sites (that is, sites that host petitions, it was seen that a vast majority of the additions were of the 'Sign our petition NOW [here], to push (x) to do (y)', and the rest of them 'a petiotion was opened to ...(ref to active petition)' None of that is what Wikipedia is for. Hardly ever the remark is neutral and encyclopedic when direct links to petitions are involved. And that is still the case if you look at attempted additions (as many are blacklisted). Most of these are, even when added in good faith, abuse and unneccesary. However, most of the organisations behind it are decent, notable organisations (who, themselves, do not spam!).
Here, with crowdfunding, I feel it is similar. I don't think that there are many exceptions where linking to a page that solicits money is warranted, and therefore I would consider to enforce not linking to them, like blanket disallowing sites that are designed for carrying such pages. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:06, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree with you that it's similar in nature to the online petition sites.
I think we are generally agreed that this is the overall desirable goal for now:
  • Ban external links like and (except in truly extraordinary circumstances, no plausible examples of which have occurred to me yet)
  • Very strongly discourage links like and, just as we have for years (although that's technically a matter for a different ELNO criterion).
  • Encourage links like and, just as we have for years, even if those pages contain a small/non-objectionable amount of donation requests, offers to sell something, etc.
  • Still accept, in the articles about Respectable Organization and New Widget, Inc., the official links to and (standard, well-established practice), just as we have for years, even if those pages say "Donate now", "Buy now", "Contribute to us on GoFundMe", or anything else.
Since there have been no objections (and some desire for an even stronger statement), I'll make this change now, and we can adapt it later as needed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:15, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
There have been objections. I have not commented because it’s obvious it shouldn’t be added because it’s too broad. It should not be included. Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:17, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
What is too broad, the permitted sites, or the exclusions? If the problem is that the 4th pt is too permissive, I think it can be improved by changing it to
  • Still accept, in the articles about Respectable Organization and New Widget, Inc., the official links to and (standard, well-established practice), just as we have for years, even if those pages incidentally say "Donate now", "Buy now", "Contribute to us on GoFundMe", or anything else DGG ( talk ) 20:39, 16 September 2018 (UTC)
    • The proposal was to add only these three words, not to add the four long bullet points. Walter, it would be helpful if you would explain exactly what you think is "too broad" about those three words. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:47, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
      • As was stated earlier, we do not want to preclude websites where they appear. If a valid EL is removed because somewhere on the front page is a link to a crowdfunding campaign, the changed guideline has failed. I understand it's direct links to such pages, but I've seen it argued that references are actually external links so not everyone gets it. Walter Görlitz (talk) 17:46, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
        • Sure, people vary in both their competence and their motivation to willfully misinterpret any rule. But I don't think we're likely to end up with a consensus of editors agreeing that "a link to a crowdfunding site, located somewhere on an otherwise valid site" is the same as "a crowdfunding page" itself – especially if they read this discussion, which will be available in the archives. It is clear from this discussion that everyone accepts links to even if that webpage (at any given point in time) happens to contain a link to a Go Fund Me crowdfunding page. It is only the direct link to that is prohibited. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:04, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

YouTube licensing (again)[edit]

The video which ends watch?v=nXiQtD5gcHU is a video of the 1972 song "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by US soul group "The Temptations". The video description says this:

"Licensed to YouTube by: UMG (on behalf of Universal Music); SOLAR Music Rights Management, EMI Music Publishing, CMRRA, UBEM, and 9 music rights societies"

This suggests to me that it has been published legally by YouTube and is not in breach of copyright law. In which case it can be legitimately linked by Wikipedia. Is this correct? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:57, 29 September 2018 (UTC)

WP:COPYVIO does indeed not seem to apply here (nor it's representative section in WP:EL). The rest of WP:EL may have other implications, still. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:19, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. Personally, I can't really think of a more appropriate External link. If there are no clear objections I intend to add it. Of course, it might also belong in the infobox. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:03, 30 September 2018 (UTC) p.s. 8,692,564 views says something, I think.

Using the Internet Archive version of an official website as EL[edit]

Steming from a minor dispute at Acclaim Entertainment, how wise is it to use a Wayback Machine-archived version of a defunct company's website as "Official website" in the ELs section? In this case specifically, the wildcard (*) is used, so that users may explore the previous versions of that website as well. Personally, I see no use in this for one because the company is defunct and the old website no longer represents a company's current state, values, news, an so on. Some comments would be appreciated, and if there is a consensus (for whatever side) it should probably be added to the ELDEAD section. Lordtobi () 07:45, 30 September 2018 (UTC)

I think I would find it informative for an article to have a clearly marked internet archive copy of the official website linked (so not calling it 'official website', but 'archived copy of the official website at <date>' or something along the lines. The wildcard option I am less thrilled about, for a still working official website we only link to the current version, and do not provide links to previous versions (and I think that is outside of the scope of why we have WP:ELOFFICIAL). --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:15, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
@Beetstra and Lordtobi: By chance, I had just run into this on a page earlier. As a result of the above conversation, I decided to use {{webarchive}} template, so now it looks like this: Philippa Urquhart. Thoughts? Mathglot (talk) 08:42, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
I think formatting-wise "Official website" should just be the title instead of the article title. Lordtobi () 09:04, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
I thought about doing that, but I'm usually loathe to change what a website says about itself as far as its title (except for stylistic things, like changing all-caps). That's why I put 'Official website' as a plaintext description following. I don't feel that strongly about it and would go with consensus, but that was the reason. Mathglot (talk) 09:12, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
Lordtoby said: because the company is defunct and the old website no longer represents a company's current state, values, news, an so on.
True, but then again we are dealing with a defunct company so it can't be put in the same category as a company that is still active, and the reasons for looking at the website aren't the same either. For example, I can't imagine anyone interested in viewing a 2002 version of Walmart's website save for a few enthusiasts who enjoy browsing old webpages (and these people already know about Wayback and wouldn't need Wikipedia to pursue their hobby anyway). But I can certainly see many reasons why the average common readers would want to check a 2002 version of the website of Acclaim Entertainment or any company that no longer exists as a source of information. While I personally see absolutely nothing wrong with the wildcard, Mathglot offers an alternative with the {{webarchive}} template to preserve a trace of the website of a defunct company. I would use it on the last working version of the company's website (probably late 2004 in Acclaim's case) if the wildcard is really that problematic.
At the end of the day, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and it's perfectly normal for an encyclopedia to provide information about the website of a company (even a defunct one) regardless whether it's through the wildcard or the webarchive template. (talk) 09:54, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
Module:Official website should probably support archived items like Module:Citation/CS1. --Izno (talk) 14:12, 30 September 2018 (UTC)
As for star links rather than specific links, I don't really support that approach. Pick the most-representative (first? last? etc.) for the archive page. --Izno (talk) 14:13, 30 September 2018 (UTC)

WP:ELNEVER/ WP:ELNO Should explicitly indicate not to link sites which contain 'illegal' content.[edit]

In light of proposed law changes in the UK [1], which extend various anti-terror powers, it is suggested that WP:ELNEVER and WP:WLNO should be extended to include additional clauses as follows:


"3. Links to material or content which would place Wikipedia readers at unacceptable legal risk, due to such material being considered to be criminal or unlawful in certain jurisdictions. Examples would be extremist or obscene material, or links to "secret" material which has not been formally declassified."

In WP:WLNO amend clause 2 to : "2. Sites containing malware, malicious scripts, trojan exploits,Suspected malware sites can be reported by following the instructions at Wikipedia:Spam blacklist."

And insert new clause ( renumbering the list appropriately): "Sites that contain extremist, obscene or other material that is unlawful or illegal to access in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. Such links should be reported to ???? for removal"

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:30, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

So, which jurisdictions are we going to care about and which are we not? How do we justify such bias? – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 12:49, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Depends on where the servers are , so generally US, UK and EU I think. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 12:53, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
What do the servers have to do with any of this? I thought this was about what's illegal for the readers, not us. But as far as we are concerned, we obviously shouldn't burden ourselves with responsibilities that are not ours. Is it even illegal (where our servers are) to link to illegal content (besides copyvio)? I don't know. Our TOU only mentions one specific case: "Posting or trafficking in obscene material that is unlawful under applicable law". – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 13:29, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
On what basis will we decide what an "unacceptable legal risk" would be? Given that we (for the most part) aren't lawyers, how are we to determine which links are or aren't unlawful (except in the cases where a reliable source has declared one to be so)? Nikkimaria (talk) 12:53, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. And this is confusing. The heading reads "sites" while the prose you supplied is "content". If the page being linked to is clean, but there is "illegal content" on other pages, would that acceptable?
This is also problematic as sites are now dynamic. When we check an EL on the day it's added, might be perfectly fine, but if the site is updated, whether intentionally or by a malicious agent (read: hacker), to have a sidebar that inserts "illegal material", we are still liable.
In short, we should not have this discussion in isolation here, it should involve a larger community, and likely legal counsel. Walter Görlitz (talk) 18:09, 13 October 2018 (UTC)