Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

External Link in a New Window

How do I add an external link which loads into a new window?

This does not work in Wikipedia. Frankly, it may be worthwile to change the software so that every external link automatically opens in a new window. You wouldn't want to lose the focus of that Wikipedia page, would you? JFW | T@lk 20:39, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The W3C agreed position is that opening external links should be the users choice, that's why XHTML 1.0 onwards doesn't support the 'target' attribute, it's against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines see: --DuLithgow 21:35, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

"External link" versus "External links"

I have seen this topic mentioned here and there on Wikipedia, but wonder if there is a recommended standard for this situation. I would like to know whether the "External links" header should be in singular or plural form when there is only one external link. I have come across many articles that use the singular form in this situation, and fewer that use the plural form. Personally, I have been using singular form, but I think that the plural form might be better for consistancy's sake, as well as encourage the future addition of more external links.

It should be "External links". Using "External link" somewhat implies there can only be one external link. Besides as you say consistancy, just like always using "References" even if there is only one reference. —Mike 05:13, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
The actual article contradicted what you wrote, and what I have seen as the actual practice here for the last year and a half. It was changed by an anonymous user less than a month ago, so I changed it back. Now another editor reverted my change claiming that "the 4 months it was there" (?!) means it must be policy, ignoring the much longer time it wasn't there. I personally suspect it's that people missed it. DreamGuy 22:14, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)
I've put in yet another version, noting simply that different editors do it different ways. I don't think we've yet had a knock-down, drag-out battle, with a vote and an array of comments, to establish a policy on this subject. JamesMLane 23:34, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Can we please being a knock-down drag-out battle on this subject? "External link" irks me. Lupin 02:23, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I feel just the opposite. "External links" sections with only one link irk me. It is not good grammar. As an encyclopedia, we should use good grammar. The name of a section is as easily modified as the contents of he section. There is no reason to not use good grammar. - UtherSRG (talk) 11:27, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
  • Persoanlly i always use the plural form, and will change the singular form to the plural when i am editing a page which uses the sigular form, for both External links and References. There ought to be more than one in a well developed article, so using the plural encourages adding more. And haveing only a single standard wording acn make searches easier, and adds to teh consistancy of the look of wikipedia articles. DES (talk) 13:47, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
    • I do the exact opposite, changing the section heading to match its contents. Good grammar encourages users to use good grammar. Bad grammar encourages sloppy article writing. - UtherSRG (talk) 13:52, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
  • "External links" with only one link makes my eyes bleed. Stewart Adcock 18:29, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I disagree that External links is incorrect when there's only one link. Headlines often don't follow the strict rules of grammar that running text should. It's reasonable to think of the headline External links as being shorthand for The set of external links, or The section where external links are displayed, in which case the plural form is correct regardless of the number of links that actually exist in the set. Same with things like References, Table of Contents (would you call it Table of Content if there was only one entry?), etc. As an example, the New York Times has a section called Automobiles. Today's paper has but a single article in that section. Would you have them change the section head to Automobile when this happens? Likewise, would you have the Sports section change its name to Sport on those days when every article is about baseball? --RoySmith 14:28, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I think that External links (and References) with only one link should be changed to the singular form because it's correct grammar. We don't use plurals for other things where we should (and do) use singulars just because "people might add something to it later" now do we? —Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 14:34, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Sure we do (use plural when there's only one thing). A couple of examples:
    • Vatican City, the Official languages box lists only Latin. In fact, I'd venture a guess that for most countries, there's only a single official language, yet the template still says languages, plural.
    • Category:150 deaths has only a single item in it.

What makes those work is that, in general, countries have some number of official languages, and years have some number of people who died that year. The fact that those two examples happen to only have a single entry doesn't matter much. It's the same thing with "External links". In general, there are some number of external links for an article. On occasion, an article will have exactly one, but that doesn't mean the name of the section should change.

There's another reason, that that's because sections of articles are linkable, and you don't want bookmarks to go stale. Let's say I save a bookmark (or make a wikilink, or deep-link from another web site) to Elbonian toenail clippings#External link and then later somebody comes along and adds another one and changes the section title to External links. My bookmark/wikilink/deep-link is now broken. We get away with renaming articles because a rename generates a redirect to keep old links from going stale. No such mechanism exists with section titles --RoySmith 21:34, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

That's a good point RoySmith. I think that changing things to "External link" is wrong because it is a section heading--the name of a section should define what it to be found in a section (here, a collection of external links, which sometimes only consists of one link). ~MDD4696 17:59, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm firmly in the "External links" camp as well, and since there's no consensus as to what's correct, anyone who changes "External links" to "External link" (unless they're also removing links and leaving just one), is committing the same type of act as someone who changes spelling from British to American or vice versa. -- OsgoodeLawyer 20:21, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

What External links are allowed?

If there are relative external links to the article what are the rules regarding them? In addition what are the rules regarding removing other links. It appears that links are just getting removed is there a way to report this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:08, 9 February 2006

Hi, GraemeL has explained on your talk page why the links were removed; see What should not be linked to for further guidelines. If you disagree with the removal, your best course of action is to mention it as a possible link on the talk page and attempt to build consensus for adding it. --Muchness 03:53, 9 February 2006 (UTC)


If the subject of the article is an author, is it inappropriate to link to the author's articles? This is the article I'm referring to. — goethean 17:59, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

That list was just excessive... DreamGuy 04:49, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
In this example, I think the links are too much. A list of books is okay, and maybe articles in scholarly journals or other very well-known and notable publications. isn't notable and this particular list of articles is too excessive. Better yet, is a link to the author's C.V. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 04:58, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Alexa Internet ranking

I would like to propose adding the following to the "What should not be linked to" section: "If the domain is not one of the top 100,000 websites, as determined by the Alexa Internet ranking, then the content on that site may be indistinguishable from original research. Links to websites without significant traffic should be discouraged when alternative resources are available." Any objections/feedback/thoughts? --Arcadian 12:53, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Strong objection: many authoritative sites have low Alexa rankings because they are not of general interest. For example, an academic site dedicated to 19th century Yiddish-language literature is not going to have a high Alexa ranking, nor is the official site of a small town in Colombia. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:26, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
True enough. What should, I think, be said is that before adding a link you should check to see if it is a good and widely recognised authority for that particular point of view (and preferably the best and most widely recognised). If it is the sole authority, or if there are already links to sites covering the same material, take it to the talk page first. Some pages have truly insane numbers of links, probably because they have crept past the Spam Event Horizon. Some articles appear to be little more than link farms! - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] AfD? 22:44, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jmabel, that we can't limit sites to the top 100,000 (or any set limit). For more obscure, specialized topics, there might not be websites that are ranked in the top 100,000. For more notable topics, I prefer reputable links that rank well in Alexa and Google (there are always exceptions), but also judged reputable with many other criteria and by consensus of editors of the particular article in question. Though, in cleaning external links, (say a list of 50 links), a higher Alexa ranking is one indication that a website is reputable and should be kept. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 22:48, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
I think we all actually are almost completely in agreement with each other (but forgive me if I'm putting words in anybody's mouth.) I think we all agree that terrible Alexa rankings are not a problem for obscure topics, but that they should be avoided when sites with much better Alexa rankings are available. Does somebody want to try coming up with a sentence that captures that? --Arcadian 05:16, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
I very much doubt that sites with "better" Alexa rankings are at all likely to be better sources even if the articles are on the same topic. Encyclopedia Mythica, for example, is quite popular with a lot of traffic but has very poor information. In academic topics, at least, worse Alexa ratings could very easily (I almost said "almost always are") be much better sources. True academic scholarly sites are not going to be the popular ones that people with the Alexa toolbar installed fo see, largely from Google ranking bias (going to ones that are already popular) and from the bias towards entertaining sites instead of scholarly ones. Any attempt to link quality of sources solely to Alexa ratings should be resisted most strenuously. Alexa, on the other hand, does provide a resaonable guide for determing popularity. DreamGuy 23:46, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Use of Alexa rankings is just *one* quantitative factor, among many. For more obscure or academic topics, good external sources indeed might not rank highly in Alexa. Comparing links on one article to another is like apples to oranges. Rather, I use Alexa to help compare a list of links on one particular article on a more popular topic such as Podcasting, where excessive links are a problem. I also might look at to see if the site has been bookmarked. Of course, subjective jugdment if the quality of the site is most important, as is adherance to the external links guidelines. Finally, I'll defer to the consensus of editors of the particular article in question. I think the key in what Jmabel says is "Links to websites without significant traffic should be discouraged when alternative resources are available". --Aude (talk | contribs) 01:07, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Merely having an alternative that has more traffic doesn't mean the site is any better or more authoritative or reliable. If you are just picking a link for a fan site, fine, Alexa is useful there, but if it's a quality of information question Alexa should be a negative indicator, as the kinds of people using the Alexa toolbar and the sites they go to are completely different. DreamGuy 23:05, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with linking to OR. Rich Farmbrough. 22:12, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Sites selling products (or services)

I propose changing "Sites that primarily exist to sell products.", listed under "What should not be linked to", to:

  • "Sites that primarily exist to sell products or services."

I was just about to revert Findbgs's adding of a tour operator site to Grand Canyon, [[1]], and refer them to the External links guidelines. Though, the guidelines don't explicitly include "sites that primarily exist to sell services".

Seems logical to me to make this change, but I want to suggest it here first. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 04:30, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Logical and uncontroversial -- go for it. DreamGuy 04:44, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Made the change, though I don't mind further discussion here if others wish. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 04:50, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
On this topic - how do we determine if a site exists to sell products or services or has objectionable amounts of advertising? I'm having a debate with another editor over a link to the following site [2] from the Female Bodybuilding page. To me this site is a corporate online magazine that relies heavily on web traffic to pay for advertising and for conversions to sales of videos and memberships Adding a Wikipedia link will increase this site's search engine ranking and indirectly increase the revenue the site can generate. The link has been removed in the past, yet is being consistantly re-inserted into the article. I think the site does have valuable material, however I don't think it contains anything that can't be added to the current article. Thoughts? Yankees76 17:51, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Just to be clear, the actual URL linked to on the Female Bodybuilding page is, not Also, this issue is already being discussed on the Female Bodybuilding talk page. fbb_fan 03:13, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Affiliate marketing

Is there a policy concerning external links that contain relevant content but also include affiliate links (e.g., Amazon Associates links to products)? This could be construed as borderline linkspam, especially if the link is being added by the website owner. --Muchness 06:58, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

At What should not be linked to, point #2 is "Links that are added to promote a site, by the site operator or its affiliates.". Some judgement is involved of course, but if ads are prominent (for example, a signal-to-noise ratio of worse than ten-to-one), it is usually appropriate to remove the link. --Arcadian 16:36, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Affiliate links should never be allowed, period. If the link somehow makes good encyclopedic sense, make sure it goes direct to the source instead of through an affiliate link. The affiliate code itself is always spam, no matter what, because it is someone diverting a link through an extra hop in the hopes of that person making money. DreamGuy 23:37, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

What's a good way to respond?

I'm tired of getting into the same long drawn-out discussion every time I remove fan sites and promotional links from an article, and somebody reverts and says "external links are useful, WP:NOT only says that links shouldn't dwarf an article and these don't, I like links to forums and fan sites and related products, I don't want to have to use an open directory because those have crap links." Until the guidelines are rewritten to be more clear against these things, I could use some suggestions for effective ways to respond to these arguments. - Brian Kendig 15:22, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Try "Encyclopedia vs. Web directory" --Pjacobi 15:44, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Links to MP3s

Is a link to a highly relevant MP3 a violation of Wikipedia's rules? In this case, I am referring to a link to a radio interview given by the subject of an article. It was removed because the link required an MP3 player. Thoughts? 19:22, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:External_links#What_should_not_be_linked_to, which specifically includes "Sites that require external applications (such as Flash or Java) to view the relevant content". I would consider an MP3 player to be an "external application". —--Aude (talk | contribs) 19:50, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm. Even pdfs? - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] AfD? 23:04, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
I think external links to formats requiring external apps are acceptable in a References section to substantiate information in the article. But they should be avoided in the External links section, unless we're linking to the subject's official site. --Muchness 23:48, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
In the case of pdfs, if they are used as reference then I think they are okay, provided that it's noted with the link that it's a pdf file. Better yet, is a link to an html page, which in turn provides the media links. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 00:51, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
What's the point of the style guideline which says that "rich media" should not be linked to? Seems pretty daft to me - sometimes the best online resource will not be HTML or plain text. Lupin|talk|popups 13:36, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. See my other comment with respect to Java, Flash, etc. However this isn't to say that I don't also see other potential problems. Particularly in the case of MP3s, there may be intellectual property issues. Would it be defensible to link to a MP3 of a substantial reading from a popular novel such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, or a copy of the single of Good Vibrations? MP3s of works released on free licenses or released into the public domain, where relevant to the subject, should always be acceptable, however, though I would prefer that local copies of such works be uploaded to Wikipedia or to Commons for this purpose. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 14:22, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps the external applications clause should be replaced with a follow-up note, something like: "Sites that require external applications (such as Flash or Java) to view the relevant content should only be linked to if they qualify under the 'What should be linked to' criteria and no HTML alternatives are available." --Muchness 14:36, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Added to policy - your own website

I boldly added "your own website" into things not to link to. Please review and revert if you believe this is not widely accepted as consensus already. Hipocrite - «Talk» 17:01, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

While "# Links that are added to promote a site, by the site operator or its affiliates. See External link spamming." seems to cover this, I think it's fine to say it twice to emphasize it. And, how you say it sounds more straightforward. I hate spam and dealing with external links. —--Aude (talk | contribs) 17:06, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The argument I would present - if you did not agree with the inclusion - is that links added to promote is a motive-oriented question vs. "do not add your page, propose it on talk" which is a rock-solid "don't do it." If people believe it is ever appropriate to link your own site as opposed to asking someone else on the talk page of the article in question to link your site, then that person should revert my change and we can discuss it here. This is the same construction that we ask for people on their biographies, and it works fine there. It's a "presumption of guilt," I suppose. Hipocrite - «Talk» 17:10, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm not wholly sure I understand your perspective here, Hipcrite; are you saying that you think the talk-page-first proposal is right or wrong? - JzG 17:18, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I believe you should never link to your own website - that there is the presumption of guilt. Hipocrite - «Talk» 17:42, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, and I completely agree. - JzG 17:57, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Never is a bit strong. Obviously, there do exist some web links that are valid. Thus, we might be invoking the genetic fallacy here. For instance, suppose a non-owner of the web page adds link X. The link could in principle be a valid addition. Now suppose the actual owner proposes the same web page. Under Hipocrite's plan, the web page now cannot possibly be added, even though we are dealing with the exact same web page. So now we're judging the link based on the person who adds it rather than the actual web page itself (confer ad hominem fallacy). Discussing whether to include the link in the talk section seems like a more logical policy. --Wade A. Tisthammer 19:03, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
In case anyone is afraid the above is a principled critique, Talk:Ontological_argument. If the owner of the website can't convince any regular editor that his website is interesting, perhaps it's not. Please review policy as it is currently written. Hipocrite - «Talk» 22:32, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
It seems to me that there are always some exceptions to the "what should not be linked" guidelines, such as some legitimate Flash, Java content sites that I'm sure are linked on Wikipedia. Maybe these should be suggested on the talk page too? And if the consensus of editors of that article agree, then the exception can be made. Maybe never is a bit too strong? But, I'd rather err towards the language being too strong (and providing some way to allow some exceptions to the guidelines). I think it merits more discussion on finding the best way to discourage linking to one's own site, while allowing exceptions on a case-by-case basis. --Aude (talk | contribs) 23:37, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of edit by User:Tony Sidaway on Flash, Java, etc

On what should not be linked to, there was a general clause about "Sites that require external applications (such as Flash or Java) to view the relevant content."

Since we do have articles about websites whose purpose is the showcasing of such media (which are not really regarded as exotic), I have appeneded: "unless the subject is about items using those media." I don't see the point of forbidding reasonable links to the subject of an article on the grounds that the subject is not HTML. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 13:05, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Adult Content

One query. On the websites for some celebrities who merit inclusion into Wikipedia there is 'Adult Content.' Should we avoid linking to external websites where there would be adult content or is it deemed not suitable in these cases for an encyclopaedia? Ben W Bell 13:42, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I would argue that a link from an all-audiences celebrity Jennifer Aniston, to pull a name out of my hat, should not link to restricted-audiences information *WITHOUT A WARNING*. A warning nearby the link would alleviate all of my concerns. Hipocrite - «Talk» 20:09, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

External links do not replace references

I think this policy should state clearly that the "external links" section is NOT to be used for references. At present many articles are unreferenced, with some potentially relevant material in the external links section (but nobody knows which link is actually a reference). JFW | T@lk 20:32, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Links to different parts of same site

What are other editors' views regarding cases like this (leaving aside the absence of information about the links)? My view was that the one link to an index page was enough, and that four links to the same site was excessive; the editor concerned replaced the links, as you see. Has this been discussed before? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:33, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Four links is clearly excessive and spammy. I tend to think two links to the same place is excessive without a damn good reason. DreamGuy 01:55, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree. (I came to this page looking for a policy statement on this issue, in fact, because I'm about to delete a link to a site's subpage that was added directly underneath the link to the main page, and wanted to cite it.) There may be some exceptions, but generally the link to the main page is enough. -- ManekiNeko | Talk 22:53, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Is there any reason why this isn't specified in policy, or should it be added? --Nema Fakei 10:43, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Links as examples

A long-running dispute at Double degree concerns a list of examples. The article concerns a specific sort of degree programme, largely confined to Universities havign a U.K.-style degree system; many editors have found this concept difficult to grasp, and have confused it with other sorts of programme (such as a credits sytem, degrees taken in sequence, etc.). I added a short list of links to university pages concerning genuine examples of the subject. One editor insists (against every other contributor to the discussion) that this is "linkspam", and keeps deleting it. Discussants are divided over whether the list should stay; I think that there's a small majority in favour, though I may have miscalculated. Do people here think that this sort of list is acceptable?

My main reason for keeping it is that the information provided by the Web pages concerned is too detailed to be appropriate for the Wikipedia article, while at the same time giving the reader an idea both of the variety of approaches and of the type of programme involved. The list is clearly labelled as a sample, so that no suggestion is made that these courses are special or recommended (though, again, some editors seem unable to grasp this).

If anyone here has a good reason to remove the list, I'll be happy to do so; so far no good reason has been given, but the debate (largely because of one editor who seems emotionally involved with the need to remove the list won't give up) drags on. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:48, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The problem seems to be, as Mel says, that another editor has become obsessional about removing them, often with abusive edit summaries, and almost invariably referring to them as spam. I have looked at the links, and they are certainly not spam. Some people seem to think they are useful; others think they are unnecessary. Nobody except the editor referred to above thinks they are spam. I missed this message when it was first posted, but came here now because I saw another edit summary saying, you got zero support on Wikipedia_talk:External_links, it is now clear nobody on Wikipedia agrees with you. I have been following this for some time, and I think I can say that nobody agrees with User:Howardjp that the links are spam. It's also true that several people seem to be confusing "double degree" with other kinds of degrees, which I suppose is one reason for keeping the links. However, it's not the most passionately interesting debate I've ever been caught up in at Wikipedia. AnnH (talk) 12:33, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Is the number of people who own the website relevant?

Take for instance link proposed for the ontological argument Wikipedia entry. The website appears to be a owned by a single individual, Raul Corazzon. Despite its ownership, it contains no actual vanity content and so would it be right to call it a "personal web page"? Or can this be considered a valid external link? To me it almost seems like a fallacy to reject it based on the number of people who own the website, particularly since it contains some useful information for researchers. --Wade A. Tisthammer 22:36, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Of course this would have nothing to do with you failing in trying to insert a link into the Ontological argument article to your own website... FeloniousMonk 22:49, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
First, let it be known that I was not the one who originally inserted the link there. Some other user found the web page useful and added the external link to the ontological argument. I had a dispute with ScienceApologist, who has subsquently went on a campaign to remove the link. I am of course not pleased with ScienceApologist's efforts, but that doesn't change the logic of the circumstances or the question at hand. Is the number of people who own the website relevant?
And FeloniousMonk, your behavior is bordering on harassment. Already today you have reverted my removal of a challanged material (I removed the challanged material because it did not cite a source as per Wikipedia policy). And after this small revert war, and your ignoring of the Wikipedia policy I cited, you removed the RfC I put up on this issue. This kind of behavior has got to stop. --Wade A. Tisthammer 23:15, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
What a fortunate coincidence then. I wonder who this mysterious "some other user" might have been?
Your contributions to the project have consisted of little other than a long, sad list of disrupting Talk:Intelligent design, Talk:Second law of thermodynamics/creationism and Talk:Ontological argument with literally weeks of specious, long-winded objections that yield no positive results and promoting your own original research found here. It's your own behavior as seen in that history that has established that your presence often demands admin intervention to keep the ensuing disruption from spreading to the point that all progress on the article is halted. FeloniousMonk 23:36, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't know who the other user was, but that person wasn't me. Get over it. Since you’re so quick to make accusations, how about you back them up? Yes, you have found my website. Now, can you point to even one example of my alleged original research in any of the Wikipedia entries? I suspect not. In contrast, you yourself have been guilty of entering original research of the straw man kind e.g. in the intelligent design article (which I pointed out in certain Talk:Intelligent Design sections). You call my efforts to remove straw men, original research and enforce the Wikipedia citation policy disruption? Well, that's your business. But this is not the time or place to continue your harassment of me. Feel free to go to my user talk page for that if you feel it is truly necessary to continue this. --Wade A. Tisthammer 04:04, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

proposed change


and 01:18, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

If you can't be bothered to explain what kind of changes you intend to introduce, why should we take it seriously? A few diffs or a cogent presentation? It's up to you. JFW | T@lk 01:21, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Fine, goodbye then. 01:31, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

foe sites

Does the prescription of ok-to-add for fan sites apply to also Foe sites? By Foe sites I mean a site which has negative views of the subject of the article.

As a specific case, is it allowed to include the link A collection of materials by detractors dedicated to criticism of Derek Smart in the article ?

Arguments for are that it is the number one site for a google query of the article's subject and that it contains a large amount of information.

Does a high google page rank for a search reflect its notability?

Arguments against are that the information is mainly usenet posts and private emails and is therefore non-verifiable and also that the author seems like an internet stalker.

Does non-verifiability disqualify an external link.

Note that the site is very one-sided and consists mainly of excerpts (with headers) of usenet posting and private emails with the site author's comments and conclusions. The conclusions do appear (to me at least) to follow from the referenced postings, except perhaps for the author's attempt at psychoanalysis.

Note, this specific instance was under mediation until one of the participants withdrew with no consensus, but a general opinion on the propriety of external links to foesites would be appreciated. And requirements that would qualify/disqualify a site from being and external link would be appreciated.

"Fan sites: On articles about topics with many fansites, including a link to one major fansite is appropriate, marking the link as such. In extreme cases, a link to a web directory of fansites can replace this link. "

Let's tighten up the guidelines against fan sites

One of the problems which seems to always raise tempers on Wikipedia - and one of the most-often-discussed problems on this talk page - is External Links. Specifically, I keep on finding articles with twenty links to fan sites and reviews and discussion forums, and when I delete them, I often get angrily reverted by people who say that was useful! I don't want to have to go find them on my own! In the interests of rewriting the guidelines to more clearly state that Wikipedia is not a place to link fan sites, let me ask first: are there any circumstances you can think of, or examples you can remember, for when an article's External Links section should link to anything more than one or two fan sites or discussion boards? - Brian Kendig 15:24, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

There should never be twenty. Wikipedia is not a web directory. In some cases it may be necesary to have a handful of links to fan sites, when there is no single site that is clearly most representive or complete. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 16:46, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Unless anyone feels that Wikipedia's guidelines on linking to fan sites should be vague, I'm going to go back through the proposals that other people have submitted here and try to come up with a new "Fan sites" section to add to the guidelines. - Brian Kendig 13:09, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

External links for Bible verses

I just noticed on Lilith that somebody came and changed an external cite link to a Bible verse from one odd-sounding outside URL to another... and it got me thinking. Seems to me that Bible verses have no good reason to be linked to an external site at all, and that it's all too easy for spammers just putting up the verses to go around and put in links, or fight over them. I don;t really think these things need clickable links, as it's easy enough for someone to look up a verse on its own, but that if we do have a link it should go to either a Wikipedia article or like some of wikibooks sort of thing and not -- has this been discussed anywhere? Should it be written up? Do we need to go undo a bumch of spam? DreamGuy 11:59, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I'd say that if you can link to the verses on some authoritative and non-denominational site containing the full text of the Bible, then go to it. I agree that linking to verses on fly-by-nite sites isn't good. - Brian Kendig 13:12, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Hager Twins Web-Link embeded in Hee Haw inquiry

please consider providing a link >< on your Hee Haw info page. It has a lot of content that those who are fan's (and why would they look it up at Wikipedia?) would find very entertaining and informative.

Thank you.

Hee Haw Cast Members,

Jim and Jon Hager The Hager Twins


Is there ever a time when a fanlisting is appropriate in an external link? I can't see that it would ever add anything to an article. All these have ever done is disappoint me by turning up when I was looking for more information.

These don't appear to be covered under any of the (currently six) points under "What should be linked to." I'd like to consider modifying point 3 under "Maybe OK to add" to say:

Fan sites: Links to informative fan sites may be appropriate, but not to sites which provide no information, such as fanlistings. On articles about topics with many fansites, including a link to one major fansite is appropriate, marking the link as such. In extreme cases, a link to a web directory of fansites can replace this link.

Yes? No? Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 19:33, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

As I understand them fanlistings are bascially just lists of fans of a particular subject, unless the sites have other content that is actually useful I personally can't see the point in listing them. Shiroi Hane 23:48, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm editing the guide to clarify this. If anyone disagrees and reverts me, I won't get my feelings hurt. Unless they cuss me out over it or something. :) Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 20:04, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you. I'm removing some myself. Thanks for the suggestion. JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:36, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Language indicator for external links

There is a discussion going on Template talk:Languageicon about what style the language indicator should be. I suppose there may also be room to debate whether template is even desireable. -- Netoholic @ 22:52, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

The following is ridiculously strict and I will remove it

"Standards are just as high, or even higher, for material linked to externally as it is for content added internally. Pages that are factually inaccurate or which contain unverified original research should not be linked to. (See WP:RS for further information on this guideline.)" Andries 06:27, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I can see that there is a lot of merit in this rule for general subjects, such as basic physics, basic history, and basic mathematics, for which there is scholarly and scientific agreement, but not for a obscure comic books series in case there is a great website available. This has to be re-written and specified. Andries 07:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I question Andries motive in rewriting the original standard as it appears that Andries is rewriting the standard to promote his POV on controversial articles:

View Reference One

View Sathya Sai Baba Article

SSS108 06:43, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe even the rewrite is too strict. It would prohibit linking to "creation science" websites on the creation science article, for example. Or to Gene Ray's timecube website. In general, for any subject where the scientific consensus is that the subject is pseudoscience, this guideline prohibits linking to sites that actually promote the pseudoscientific view. I don't think that's acceptable. Any alternative proposals? Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 12:23, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Sites on creation science are acceptable under What should be linked to guideline 4; the timecube website is acceptable under What should be linked to guideline 1.
How about something along these lines? – "Any page that contains unverified facts or original research should not be linked to, unless it is the official site of the article's subject or it is a notable proponent of a point of view in an article with multiple points of view." --Muchness 13:46, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. Expresses the intent (we don't need original research links to viewpoints of a vanishing minority where virtually noone believes the view in question and the view is not the subject of the article) without eliminating things when relevant. Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 16:34, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
I shifted this to the article; feel free to revert / reword if there are objections. --Muchness 17:37, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Spam or not Spam?

User:Npgallery has been systematically adding external links to [[3]] to every article about a national park on wikipedia. The site is suspicious, it has no links to actual national park sites, just a large amount of links to adverstising and seems to be run by a sporting goods group. The pictures are low resolution, and there is no clear identifier of the owner of the page. The user name even makes me suspicious. Additionally, whenever the link it removed, the user cries Revert Vandalism! and has made some false claims about another user questioning him. His talk page is beginning to be a discussion about this as more than one wikiperson is suspicious of this activity. Can anyone with more experience weigh in on this one? The link is nominally valuable, but it may be a site designed specifically to link to online stores and if someone else has some super secret high tech snooping ideas to figure out the true nature of the page and the owner, or if these should be included it would be appreciated. Oh and now my questioning of the link has prompted some personal attacks on me too. Please help. Pschemp | Talk 07:39, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

It looks like classic spam to me. I've removed a bunch of them, given him a final warning, and I'll follow up in a few days.-08:13, 6 February 2006 (UTC) User:Gadfium
User:Pschemp has engaged in libel, defamation, personal attacks (see User:nationalparks's talk page) and this appears to be her personal vendetta. The links to have existed in Wikipedia for a long time. She is clearly degrading and abusing Wikipedia. The claim that the site is "suspicious" is laughable. So what if it doesn't contain links to actual national park sites? Is that a requirement? Her claim that it contains a large amount of links to advertising is false too. As is her claim about low resolution photos (is that a requirement too?). Owner of a page? Also, admin User:Gadfium has completely one-sidely helped her in her cause. Finally, I have made NO personal attacks against Pschemp.
I will refer you to Wikipedia:External_links#What_should_not_be_linked_to. Given that these are encyclopedic entries about National Parks, it would seem reasonable to have links to National Park sites. The only reason the links have exisited for so long, is when someone removes them, you revert, saying rv vandal (see [4] this example]). Nationalparks 21:18, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Again you make false assertions - the site DOES include links to national parks sites. And that's NOT the reason they have existed for so long - it's only in the past few days that's it has been necessary to defend against malicious editors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Npgallery (talkcontribs)
People have reverted many of your links 2, 3, 4 or more times. They just never went to admins about it. Fine, maybe your site includes links to NP sites, but those links should already be in the relevant pages of Wikipedia (though on another page, you did question whether that was needed). Nationalparks 21:27, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, it's nice that you're finely admitting that you've made false assertions. Those previous reverts were due to anti-ad zealots who finally acquiesced after their realization that they were making up their own Wikipedia policy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Npgallery (talkcontribs)

I have blocked User:Npgallery for 24 hours not only for spamming after giving multiple warnings, but for disruption by wasting the time of Wikipedians by trying to argue that his spam is justifiable. Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 21:44, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Look at Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2006-02-06 Pschemp. Nationalparks 21:51, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
This material looks strongly like spam. I endorse its removal. Continuing to add spam is a blockable offense. -Will Beback 19:52, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Fan sites

An anon IP changed the wording from one site to a few, I can't see any firm decision on the talk page for this and i think the wording needs to be made clearer as fan site lists just get longer and longer. Perhaps something like "As few sites as possible linking to only the most informative" or "only linking to more than one fan site when none of them are clearly larger or more informative". Perhaps something could be said for fan-made wikis? If theres a large informative fan-wiki on say wikicities I would consider it a seperate case from fan sites, but perhaps it should just be said that established fan-wikis are the preferred fan site link? Discordance 18:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Why do we link to them at all? The ones I've looked at have been full of just gossip and speculation, mixed with some press releases and pirated photos. Once one is allowed in, they all want to be included and it is hard to find a cogent reason to include one but not another. -Will Beback 20:57, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Official sites

The guideline, "Articles about any organization, person, or other entity should link to their official site, if they have one", is useless. Not all official sites are appropriate for viewing. Not all of them are factually accurate either. Ergo, the guideline is void. Further explanations are available. Marcus2 | Talk 17:30, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree completely, I can't think of an instance where we would ever exclude an official site from a page. By their very nature official sites are POV and promotional, so excluding ones for this reason would mean excluding all of them. - SimonP 17:36, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Okay, but I disagree completely with you. It's true that official sites are POV and promotional, but I can think of an instance where a website is not appropriate. Sure, official sites may be added, but they shouldn't be required. Marcus2 | Talk 17:43, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
In what cases would you say that a site is not appropriate? For instance I'm certain that David Irving's official site is quite horrible and filled with deep factual errors, but it should still unquestionably be at the top of the external links section of his article, where it is. - SimonP 17:56, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I respect your viewpoint, and I now agree with you to some point. Maybe I'll E-mail E.G. Daily about her website instead! Marcus2 | Talk 18:08, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the normal custom is, and should be, to link to the official website. Sure, there'll be exceptions, perhaps in the case of a child pornography site. But for the overwhelming majority of topics we should link to the subject's website. -Will Beback 22:22, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia better than Google

I've been contributing to WP for a few months, and lately I've been using it for tasks that I would formerly have Googled. The external links from articles can yield relevant information far more readily than an ordinary search, cutting out the need to click on sites containing minimal info. Is WP the search engine of the future?--shtove 22:38, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a web directory and should not try to be one. It sounds like you may want to try using Yahoo or Open Directory instead of Google. - Brian Kendig 15:11, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Policy on fansite linking

I am in a debate right now with someone who felt the need to create a template to link his favorite eight fansites from all 72 articles about his favorite anime. I believe that we really need a better-defined policy regarding links to fansites. To this end I've drawn up some rough ideas at User:Brian Kendig/Fansite links; would you please visit there and give me some ideas on the Talk page for how it could be refined? - Brian Kendig 15:11, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Way to not include the External.png image?

Is there a way to exclude the said image from showing up after EL's? Are there any templates that do this? I am just curious because my username looks ugly with that image after the link to make a new comment on my talk page. Thanks. --J@red [T]/[+] 00:13, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

External links of local relevance

Articles on outdoor activities get a lot of links such as "multiuse trails in Anchorage, Alaska." These links are very useful for some readers, but completely useless for others, depending on where people live and plan to travel. Do we allow these kinds of links, or not? --Smack (talk) 05:23, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Every article is very useful for some readers but completely useless for others. If the links are relevant and useful to the article, there should be no reason not to include them. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 18:04, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Of course no link is useful to every reader, but these are useful to fewer readers than most. Also, since there's an endless supply of these local websites, they can fill up articles with scores of external links. Wikipedia is not a link repository.
Wikipedia is not a repository for "me too" links that don't add anything new to the article or are there only because of name association (such as a band having the same name as the subject). This does not mean representative links related to the subject should be removed because they're "useless" to some people. The links are not for those people, they're for the ones who will find them useful. A link on multiuse trails in Anchorage, because it is very useful for some readers of an Anchorage article, should stay. IMO, it's a no-brainer to keep. Any additional links on multiuse trails should go, or the best one kept. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 16:39, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the answer depends on the article in question. A link about multipurpose trails in Anchorage would probably be nice in an article about trails in Alaska. As a link in an article about Anchorage or trails it would be more dubious. If the article has a local focus, then local links can be a positive contribution. If it covers a wider context, they're probably not appropriate, IMO. - EurekaLott 02:46, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I guess I'll try to move these links to more specific articles. --Smack (talk) 03:54, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Bolding Official Sites

Some pages have A LOT of links! (See PHP.) Usually, the first link is the subjects offical link, if it has one (MercyMe's (band) official site is, but the article Nudibranch shouldn't have a official site because it's a mollusk/animal). I propose that all OFFICIAL LINKS should be bolded for easier useability. Just being BOLD here. Alvinrune TALK 03:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Some articles have a lot of links because they have passed the spam event horizon :-) Just zis Guy you know? 18:29, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Official sites should be first, shouldn;t need to bold them, because being first makes them stand out already... and of course should be labeled as the official site. And if you see a page with so many links that you think you need boilding to tell the good ones from the bad ones, just remove all the bad ones. There's no reason to have more than, say, ten links. DreamGuy 20:01, 30 March 2006 (UTC)


Can we add webrings to the list of things to link to? Webrings would provide ready-made portals for subjects that have them, and when people can't resist adding non-notable fansites to an article, we can point to the webring as a representative link for fansites. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 17:23, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I hope not. Webrings include all kinds of junk. Much better to have a few sites of known authority. Just zis Guy you know? 18:21, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Feel free to link to a good directory category instead, if one exists. We have templates for the Open Directory Project and Yahoo. - EurekaLott 02:51, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

linkspam, good links, promotion

After a two-day struggle to understand what seemed to me to be an inconsistent wikipedia linkspam policy (I now get it), particluarly the question of what takes precedence: what should be linked and what should not be linked, I added the following to the "What should not be linked" section of External_Links:

"NOTE relating to items #3 and #9: Because of neutrality & point-of-view concerns, a primary policy of wikipedia is that no one from a particular site/organization should post links to that organization/site etc. Because neutrality is such an important -- and difficult -- objective at wikipedia, this takes precedence over other policies defining what should be linked. The accepted procedure is to post the proposed links in the Talk section of the article, and let other - neutral - wikipedia editors decide whether or not it should be included."

I hope adding it to the page was not too hasty (please do with it as you wish), but having this aspect of the policy clearer would have saved much much long and circular debate. Mackinaw 16:43, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Calvin and Hobbes

I'm in discussion at Talk:Calvin and Hobbes#External links redux regarding how this policy should be implemented and I'd appreciate comments from anyone interested in this policy and its implementation. Happy editing! Steve block talk 19:22, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Blogs fansites and forums

Apologies for duplicating a some of the above, but I didn't want to continue an old discussion. My thoughts can be summed up in a 2 sentences:

There is no sensible reason for a quality source of information to reference in any way blogs, fansites or forums. They are - relative to an encyclopedia - poor, innacurate and POV.

Even the best types of these websites only provide third-hand, unverifiable factoids. The worst cases are extreme POV lies. I therefore strongly feel that we should specifically add these types of websites to the "Links to normally avoid" section. Of course there are (very rarely) specific reaons to link to these types of website, most obviously if the article is about the website itself, in which case a link would be acceptable. Martin 20:50, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Can you give other examples where they might be acceptable? What about support forums for a medical condition or a suicide prevention message board? These aren't fan sites and don't have a POV. Some are funded by non-profit organizations and provide a good resource for that topic. Would these be allowed? Gflores Talk 21:16, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Sure there are some extreme examples (e.g. a supervised suicide forum), there will always be exceptions to the rule. But wikipedia is specifically not a web directory, thus it can only be presumed that links are in some way a reference or otherwise deemed a quality source, blogs fansites and forums are almost always the opposite of what a quality source should be. Plus of course most additions of links to these kind of websites are done for purely promotional reasons. Martin 22:33, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Right, I'm not saying all forums are acceptable. In fact, I think most fansites and trivial message boards aren't valid for inclusion on WP. I just hope that someone doesn't just remove anything that has a url. Gflores Talk 22:54, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
The same applies to fansites and weblogs. Yes, the vast majority are crap, but there are more than enough good ones to rule out a guideline forbidding them. I can think of a number of fansites that are higher-quality and more comprehensive than the official site. On the weblog side, more and more, companies and organizations are using them as official communications tools. Some tightly-focused weblogs are very reliable sources of information. Charactering all of them as "poor, inaccurate and POV" paints an unfair picture. - EurekaLott 23:37, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
The section header is "Links to normally avoid" so it's not as if we would be saying that they are 100% prohibited or anything like that. It is odd that at the moment blogs and forums are not mentioned at all. Martin 23:42, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I hope I'm not derailing anything, but in the Death Star article we've run into a bit of a dispute about NPOV, verifiability, and fansites. I would particularly like to hear clarification on what we should do when the fansites are far more comprehensive on a topic than any official source (e.g., an interesting read adding enormous detail that we couldn't include in the article for space reasons), but also are controversial within the fanbase and about as far as possible from NPOV as possible. This is likely to be a recurring issue, barring a more clear policy on fansites, as a cursory overview of science fiction vehicle articles suggests. Balancer 17:52, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • To my mind it would be best to hive all information sourced from fansites into a fan speculation section, or if included in the main body, cite it appropriately as fan speculation. It should not be presented as fact, and if it is disputed then cite the opinion which disputes it too. Steve block talk 20:30, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Here's an example: I think it can be reasonable to link Mudcat. Their forum consists almost entirely of well-informed discussion of folk music and other related musics. Or The forum of Ballet Talk: moderated, and often a place of discussion for published critics (though not Ballet Talk for Dancers, crawling with teenage girls who want to be ballerinas). - Jmabel | Talk 02:15, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Website and webpages that are created or altered due to Wikipedia dynamics

What to do with websites and webpages that are created or altered due to the Wikipedia dynamics on certain articles? The webpages and website often contain criticism of these Wikipedia articles and the dynamics of Wikipedia and sometimes includes criticisms and even heavy ad homimem attacks on editors.

  • Examples
  1. created by user:SSS108 Contains criticism of the article Sathya Sai Baba and also contains heavy ad hominem attacks against user:Andries mentioning my full name. Please do not link to it.
  2. created by non-contributor, contains criticism of the Wikipedia article Prem Rawat and states that you have to be a fanatic to contribute to this article. (I am a contributor to this article and I agree with that statement.)
  3. created by user:Scottperry regarding Prem Rawat

Andries 20:02, 24 March 2006 (UTC)