Wikipedia talk:External links/Archive 22

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Archive 21 Archive 22 Archive 23


Recognized authority.

It says we're allowed to use a blog as an external link, but only if it's from a recognized authority. Who has to recognize them for them to be "Recognized"? Shadowsdrift (talk) 15:04, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

In the first instance an editor who thinks it's appropriate can add it and see what the reaction is, but if there is dispute then there needs to be a consensus on the article's talk page in order to include it. The example that has been used here in the past is that we're really talking about putting Einstein's blog on a relevant physics article and not much else should get through... Personally I think that might be setting the bar a little high, but not by much. -- SiobhanHansa 15:12, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks alot for filling me in! Shadowsdrift (talk) 15:18, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Also, note, a blog is a medium, and not a source. A blog is solely a tool to publish information. It happens to make it easy for anyone to publish information. But, the tool or medium used to publish information, be it blog or video, should not effect the validity of the source. If this page suggest that the source is determined by medium of communication used, then this page should be edited. —Slipgrid (talk) 15:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Blogging is also an activity. The guidelines says under links to be avoided 14: Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority.
In the context we expect users to understand that it is about the material presented - i.e. generally informal, often personal opinion, frequently changing and not normally subject to much in the way of editorial review (any one of which makes a link less suitable for Wikipedia) and is not simply dependent on the fact that it uses a blogging software platform. I don't know of the wording leading to any good links being deleted though it's possible poor links may have been deleted with "blog" as the reason rather than "crummy content." -- SiobhanHansa 16:06, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Blogging is the activity of using weblog software. Sure it can be used as personal tool, and that's not a good source, but not because of the software medium. Having guidelines on mediums is instruction creep. Administrators then use those guidelines to remove good sources.
Take for example, The Blotter. It's a blog, but it's also ABC's outlet for investigative journalism. But, these guidelines cause admins to say silly thinks, like "if user comments are allowed, 'they cannot' be referenced in our articles." But, every article on ABC's News site allows comments.
Guidelines for media platforms should be removed, and only the sources reliability should be at issue. —Slipgrid (talk) 16:56, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Blogging is more generally understood to be regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video usually maintained by an individual (taken from our article blog). It's this everyday understanding of what a blog is that we mean when we refer to a blog in the guideline.
I don't think your example supports your assertion. First, the discussion appears to be about sources not external links. These guidelines do not apply to citations used to source an article. If you are actually talking about references not external links the emphasis (and the location of this conversation) need to change. Anyway, I read Arthur Rubin's statement if user comments are allowed, 'they cannot' be referenced in our articles. to mean that the user comments cannot be used, not that the webpage content the comments are attached to can't. This is not blog specific. The circumstances under which referring directly to comments posted by the general public would be acceptable are exceptional - regardless of whether the page is a blog or some other platform. Also, despite the wording on this page, Rubin doesn't seem to be confusing the content with the platform in respect to blogs. He explicitly states that if a blog platform itself is being used to host acceptable content then it can be used.
The community has found that blogs (in their everyday definition) are overwhelmingly inappropriate as external links so providing that guidance in some form to editors is exactly what this page is supposed to do. If you believe there is a better way to word the guideline please suggest it. Personally I have some sympathy for the position that our wording should be more about content than platform, but I think the general intent is pretty good. Also using the blog wording makes the guideline shorter than it would otherwise need to be, which I think is no small thing :) -- SiobhanHansa 18:55, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the response. I fear that you are reading Arthur Rubin's comments incorrectly. It's discussions with administrators like him that make me want to clear this issue up. It seems like it's such a mess. Examples of when comments should be used as sources seem very unlikely. It seems to me that he's saying that YouTube should not be used, because it allows comments, and copyrighted material could be in the comments, which is just absurd.
Perhaps I'm confusing references or sources with external links, and I should be trying to change a different policy. That being said, there is no reason I can think of that Wikipedia should have an external link policy for any given or specific site. It seems like a policy driven by some admins who want to push a specific agenda. —Slipgrid (talk) 19:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

SiobhanHansa is correct: there is a strong consensus for banning at least the vast majority of blogs from external links. Additionally, blogs, used in the slightly narrower sense of personal and professional diaries published online (as opposed to "a regular website constructed using blogging software"), are deprecated largely because of their nature: They change frequently. The perspicacious, relevant, and enlightening post that you find at today may be buried tomorrow by something utterly unrelated. So you list a blog today at, say, Syphilis because of its excellent historical information, and tomorrow you check the blog and it's talking about cats. Or car problems. Or clothes. The rule may be a bit ham-fisted, but it's widely supported by many editors. Slipgrid has failed to garner consensus for his desired relaxation of the existing rules.

As for the 'recognized expert': The exact bar to set is determined by the regular editors of an article, in discussion on the talk page. Ideally, they will understand that the Wikipedia-wide consensus is that the bar should be "high". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:21, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Recognized expert is basically the notability guideline. If good quality sources say someone is a recognized expert, then we presume that person is. If nobody says a person is an expert, then they are not. The fine lines can be addressed by editors of an article, but in general recognized just means the person has been noted as an expert, either explicitly (the New York Times say "John Smith is an expert on space travel") or implicitly (some reliable sources quote John Smith on the issue of space travel with a context making clear he is reliable rather than a crackpot). 2005 (talk) 22:13, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I want to apologize for stating that user comments are a reason for not allowing a link. Unedited user comments should be disregarded in considering whether a link is relevant. And I did specifically define a blog by content, rather than by software. A blog (software) might be usable if the the blogger is a recognized authority (to the extent that his word is reliable). — Arthur Rubin (talk) 06:21, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, if the comments are largely spam or otherwise inappropriate, then that should be considered by the editors making the link, just like we consider advertisements, images, and other content on every link. We're linking to the "page as a whole", not just to a single part of a page, after all. You'd hardly link to a page with a great explanation of a mathematical if "just happened" to have pornographic photos on it, to give an extreme example. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:53, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

"Official" blogs by notable people

I'm not sure if this is a natural extension of the discussion above, but I wanted to see exactly what "recognized authority" covered. Specifically, I wanted to know if content created by the article subject is appropriate in EL sections.

For example, a lot of professional athletes have their own content on Yardbarker. And clearly, Baron Davis is a "recognize authority" on all things Baron Davis. However, athlete blogs are often ghostwritten by their publicists, and I don't think Kendrick Perkins even pretends to write the Perk is a Beast blog. Steve Nash's content on is entertaining, but I'm not sure if it has any content that is particularly encyclopedic.

Which gets me to my point - as "official" as these athlete-sanctioned sites might be, they're not helpful in understanding the subject the way a corporate website would be, i.e. About Us or IR information. Plus, athletes already have official profiles with their teams or sanctioning bodies that are generally more informative. So my thinking is, they're basically glorified MySpace profiles and they don't belong in the external links list, and I'd like to hear others' take on this. --Mosmof (talk) 13:57, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

We have a tendency to give leeway to "official" sites that we wouldn't give to others. Take for example. We have a direct link to the home page, which gives pretty much no encyclopedic information about the company. If it were on a different article we'd insist on a direct link to whatever buried page actually contained encyclopedic information. But I don't think it should be removed or altered. I think it's reasonable to expect readers to be interested in exploring the public face of the subject of the article.
I don't edit many articles about entertainment stars (which is how I'd classify the sorts of athletes you've mentioned) but I believe Myspace pages are frequently included. I doubt I'd add many of those links if I did edit those articles but I think inclusion generally reflects community consensus. The times I have argued against these types of links are normally when the whole external links section has become a PR fest and is out of balance with the article content (either because of size or NPOV). -- SiobhanHansa 15:40, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, though a couple of things:
I don't think the Amazon example works here, since is itself the subject of the article, which isn't the case with celebrity/athlete sites.
And I haven't edited many non-athlete entertainer pages, but at least with sportspeople, MySpace links are usually removed. The difference could be that with musicians or actors, "official" sites and MySpace profiles are often serve as news sources, whereas athletes have teams and sanctioning bodies doing that for them.
I think I agree with your reasoning for the most part, but I'm still comfortable with the official blogs, that I think are more about driving traffic to portals than actually providing substantive information. --Mosmof (talk) 21:35, 3 August 2008 (UTC)


I've brought this up several times recently, but it doesn't seem to catch anyone's attention. ELYES4 was essentially a Frankenstein's monster built from ELYES3, ELMAYBE1, and ELMAYBE4. It gave too strong a recommendation to include every good website. (Remember that ELYES is often interpreted as ELALWAYS by less experienced editors.) I have removed it, and added three words from it to clarify ELMAYBE4. If you disagree, please explain here why we need to list links to reviews twice in these sections. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:15, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

They are completely different points, with one group being reliable sources, and the other not. The two things shouldn't be lumped together. If anything should be dealt with the second "Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources..." has never made much sense. That line should just be removed. 2005 (talk) 10:03, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
So 2005, do you read the ELYES links as only applying to links that would meet our WP:RS criteria? -- SiobhanHansa 15:46, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
No. But the other line only refers to sites that fail RS. ELYES includes both. 2005 (talk) 21:54, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Let's do the easy bit first:
  • ELYES4: Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews
  • ELMAYBE1: For albums, movies, books, and other creative works, links to professional reviews
User:2005, please explain to me why a link to a critical review needs to be authorized under both of these statements. Don't you think that saying it once is good enough? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:17, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
getting rid of ELMAYBE1 would be a good idea. 2005 (talk) 06:09, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Is it important to you to dump ELMAYBE1 instead of ELYES4? Do you think that every book with a Wikipedia page "should include" links to professional reviews? How about these links just "be considered"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:38, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
I think ELYES3 and 4 are joined at the hip. It's always seemed to me that we 'consider" everything besides official sites, so I'd support moving both ELYES3 and 4 down to ELMAYBE, but not just 4. To oversimplify it, 3 is detail, and 4 is generally reliable material that could have POV, like obviously someone's interview comment about himself. I could see moving ELYES3 and ELYES4 to ELMAYBE... while deleting the current ELMAYBE1 and ELMAYBE4. (I also have no clue what the current ELMAYBE2 is supposed to mean, so I'd support deleting that, but if it means something to other people I have no problem with it.) That would leave two items in ELYES and three items in ELMAYBE (plus the "very long pages" thing if that makes sense to anybody to keep.) 2005 (talk) 22:22, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Would you be satisfied with merging ELYES3 and ELYES4 to read "Sites that contain relevant, meaningful, neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons."? (Note that "reviews" are already mentioned at ELMAYBE1, and "interviews" are already included in ELYES3.)
There are a lot of references to these pages in discussions, so I'd like to minimize the "structural" changes that we make. Dumping ELMAYBE1 means that we introduce the complications of renumbering. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:14, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Acceptable links for compilation album

For a compilation album, are links to the official sites of the contributing artists generally considered acceptable or are they linkspam? -- The Red Pen of Doom 12:03, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

That's probably best asked at WikiProject Music to see if they've already addressed it but I would tend to say it sounds like a directory listing which is inappropriate. I personally would think even for a single artist's album that an external link to the artist (rather than to a page on the album itself) would be inappropriate. We should wikilink to our articles about the artists (giving readers encyclopedic information first). There will be external links on those pages if readers need more info about them. -- SiobhanHansa 12:27, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Deprecating the format field in citation templates for rich media recognized by MediaWiki

Can anyone think of a good reason why one would use the format field with a document type recognized by MediaWiki, such as PDF? I consider it junk. --Adoniscik(t, c) 22:53, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

What does this have to do with WP:EL? Shouldn't this question be taken to Wikipedia:Citation_templates? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

It's already there. They told me to come here. Where's customer service?! --Adoniscik(t, c) 18:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

It's all self service here! You do seem to be being given the run around a little. This guidelines simply say that links to rich media should clearly indicate the type of software required to open them. Whether that is through the MediaWiki's built in recognition, a field in a template, or simply noting in text after the link is not specified in this guideline. So there appears to be no good reason, according to this guideline, why one would use the field with a document type that's recognized by MediaWiki. However not all format types are recognized so deprecating the field doesn't seem like a great idea. The format field isn't required by the template so just ignore it if the display is good without it. I assume the examples using pdf on the citation template page are a holdover from days before MediaWiki automatically displayed the little adobe pdf gif for such a link maybe they should be updated to something more obscure. I suppose theoretically there may be some argument for inclusion to enable easier meta information parsing. I don't know anyone who's arguing for that though I could see it being useful long term, possibly to help with accessibility. -- SiobhanHansa 18:37, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Adoniscik, I'm sending you back. WP:EL doesn't even mention this field. Furthermore, citation templates are almost never used in the ==EL== section. I've left a note at the citation template page. It might help if you explained what you actually want: "permission" to ignore the field in appropriate circumstances, or a change to the docs that suggests that everyone ignore the field. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:46, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Adoniscik touches a more fundamental question than how to use a field: Should the format of a link be indicated in writing if MediaWiki already displays an icon? (Whether in a template or manually formatted.) IMHO this is the right place to discuss this question because the use in the template is supposed to follow this guideline. --EnOreg (talk) 04:19, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
If I understood Adoniscik's original post, he's talking about citation templates - and this guidelines does not cover citations. People developing and maintaining the citation templates should be looking at WP:CITE for guidance more than WP:EL. In general I don't see anything in this guideline that should be used to imply that redundant information is necessary. As I read it for this guideline, if the software already makes the format clear to readers then you're covered. -- SiobhanHansa 11:32, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
That sounds good. Unfortunately, this guideline demands that "an explicit indication of the technology needed to access the content must be given" and gives an example where the PDF format is spelled out in spite of the fact that MediaWiki diplays an icon. If there are no objections I would like to constrain this to non-recognized formats. --EnOreg (talk) 15:59, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
People are writing bots that add a format field in cases such as this, where I believe it is unnecessary. I was hoping to build a consensus to deprecate this practice. --Adoniscik(t, c) 20:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm all with you. No need to indicate the format when MediaWiki does it already. --EnOreg (talk) 04:19, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
In case my comment above went unnoticed: I would like to add an exception to the guideline that recognized formats that MediaWiki marks with an icon need not be annotated, e.g., PDF, MP3, AVI and MPEG. Opinions? --EnOreg (talk) 23:01, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Based on the responses here, I don't feel like we're being sufficiently clear: You are asking this question in the wrong place.

The Wikipedia:External links guideline is different from the Wikipedia:Citation templates instruction page. To achieve your stated goal, you need to change the instructions at WP:CITET. You cannot change the rules at WP:CITET by posting at message at WT:EL (hereinafter "the wrong talk page"). You could change these instructions by bolding editing the instructions, but if you expect to encounter opposition (which I personally doubt), then you could discuss it first at the the correct talk page.

If you think it will help your case, you can tell them that nobody at the wrong talk page cares one way or the other. You can also assure them that we have no desire to create an entirely new section here about using citation templates for the sole purpose of adding half a sentence to deprecate the unnecessary use of one particular field in one particular template. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:08, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't know how I can be more clear than in my post from July 30th:
"Adoniscik touches a more fundamental question than how to use a field: Should the format of a link be indicated in writing if MediaWiki already displays an icon? (Whether in a template or manually formatted.)"
This is about any external link, whether it is in a citation or not. Don't general questions about external links belong here? --EnOreg (talk) 08:35, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll try to be clearer. An external link that is part of a citation is not covered in any way by this guideline. The fact that it links to an external web page is irrelevant; if it's part of a citation this guideline does not touch it. Obviously taking a lead from a similar guideline is no bad thing for consistency's sake but WhatamIdoing seems to sum things up well by saying that no one here cares one way or the other on the matter. -- SiobhanHansa 12:17, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
For the non-template-dependent question: Even when an icon is displayed, the file type should be named in a manually formatted link, just like this guideline says. The reasons are: (1) icons are invisible to those who can't see, whereas "PDF" can be read to them and (2) we cannot expect every single one of Wikipedia's millions of readers to recognize every single file type icon. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:43, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Your second argument doesn't hold water. (Readers would rather recognize cryptic format acronyms than icons?) But the first point is a good one. Why doesn't MediaWiki provide an alternate text for non-graphical browsers? That's what they teach in accessibility 101. --EnOreg (talk) 01:15, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
In rejecting my second argument, you've overlooked the obvious response by a confused reader: I can do an internet search on the file format's name if I don't recognize it. I can't do that with an icon. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:45, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

The question doesn't belong here, but I'm going to answer anyway. Often ... when I travel, I'm forced to use older computers (not always mine), slow connections, different browsers. I have been on many configuations (sorry, don't know what they were) including my old laptop that didn't display the PDF icon on Wiki. Worse, because they were slow computers, clicking on the link, not knowing it was a hidden PDF, would result in a hung computer. Very frustrating, when you're on a slow connection, to have to restart. I always use the format field on PDFs because I know what it is to be on older configuation, unknowingly hit a PDF, and get hung. This absolutely should not be deprecated. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:52, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

External link

I've just spotted this non English language external link:- The Weekly Chattan - Urdu Daily since last 27 Years on the Jammu and Kashmir article. Could someone advise if it is permitted or a spamlink please. There is nothing to indicate if it is (eg editors note) or not. Richard Harvey (talk) 00:33, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't see the relevance of the link—a newspaper is too generic. If that's not enough to remove it, item 7 on the list of links normally to be avoided should do the job:

"Sites that are inaccessible to a substantial number of users, (...)"

A website in a language other than English is certainly inaccessible to a substantial number of users. --EnOreg (talk) 01:04, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Nonsense. A web site in a language other than English is probably appropriate in an article about the country where that language is spoken. That being said, a general newspaper (which this appears to be), is not an appropriate link. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:44, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
WP:EL#Non-English language content seems the appropriate comment to that. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:47, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
None of the exceptions there apply here which pretty much confirms my point. Please consider wording in a way that maintains a pleasant atmosphere here. Cheers, --EnOreg (talk) 17:31, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
This website is inappropriate to almost any article. However, your statement "A website in a language other than English is certainly inaccessible to a substantial number of users.", although possibly accurate, is clearly not the intended interpretation of the of WP:ELNO #7, per WP:EL#Non-English language content. An Urdu (or the primary language of the area, if different) website relevant to the area, can certainly be listed. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:31, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Both WP:ELNO #7 and WP:EL#Non-English language content fundamentally make the same point: Links should be accessible to all readers. The latter rule only defines three specific exceptions for other languages. However, you certainly have a point that WP:EL#Non-English language content is the more accurate pointer for the question at hand. Ultimately, we seem to agree that the link in question is probably not appropriate. Cheers, --EnOreg (talk) 20:12, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Arthur I disagree with (what I think is) your interpretation - for the article in question the only non-English links I can think of that would be appropriate would be the local government site (and then only if it wasn't available in English) since that could be considered official or possibly ones with good graphical information that would be accessible to English speakers. I don't think it stretches to any website relevant to the area.-- SiobhanHansa 20:16, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
The guideline is clear that non-English content is almost never appropriate. If there is no official site in English, then a non-English link should be used. Just because a site is in the language of the area or relevant to the area is no criteria, and in fact completely irrelevant, to whether it can be linked. The ideal article will never have a link that is not in English, since an ideal article will have an official site English link. If there is an official site English link, there likely will never be a reason for any non-English link, except for a page with only a few words and lots of graphics or maps. 2005 (talk) 21:42, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
While I have no real concerns about the occasional non-English link (if labeled and no good alternatives exist), there's no good reason to include a newspaper in an article about a region. It would be like linking to The Chicago Tribune in the article about the State of Illinois. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:51, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

YouTube and Google Video Section

Some of the language on this section should be removed. In fact, the whole section should be removed.

The words "as long as the links abide by the guidelines on this page," should be removed, because it goes without saying.

The words "(which would happen infrequently)," should be removed, as it is POV.

The rest, which says, "See also Wikipedia:Copyrights for the prohibition on linking to pages that violate copyrights... Therefore, each instance of allowance is on a case-by-case basis," should be be removed, because it goes without saying.

In fact, the whole section should be removed, because YouTube and Google Video are not sources, they are mediums to host sources. Each source should be taken at face value. Wikipedia should not give up any rights. No US law says that linking to Google Video and YouTube are a violation of copyright, unless the person doing the linking knows for a fact that the site is violating copy right. Under US law, the burden of researching copyright is not on the person or site doing the linking, but once a copyright violation is discover the link must be removed. Under US law, if you are not sure if the copyright is being violated, then the link can stand.

Again, these sites are not sources, but mediums or host for potential sources.

Slipgrid (talk) 22:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I have to agree. Google is fanatical about removing copyrighted videos from YouTube so any that remain can be assumed to be no different than referencing a television program. Especially since the media have no problems with airing YouTube videos themselves. Another point is that videos are on average far more reliable than print media such as newspapers. Wayne (talk) 16:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Google is far from fanatical about removing copyright violations. It's trivially easy to find thousands of copyright violations, and most of them stay up for months at a time, some for years already. We don't have any reason to link to YouTube, etc., by Wikipedia standards to begin with. DreamGuy (talk) 22:29, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
On the different points you raise: 1) The words "as long as the links abide by the guidelines on this page," were found to help clarify the meaning of this guideline for some readers and were deemed useful. I'm generally in favor of shorter guidelines so I wouldn't be averse to a rewording - but I don't think you can simply remove those words from the guideline without changing the emphasis of the statement. So it needs a more detailed proposal than simply removing that sentence. 2) Our guidelines are allowed to be POV. They aren't articles they're an expression of the way in which the community believes articles should be written. That is in essence a point of view. 3) Wikilinking to other relevant guidelines and policies and putting them in context is generally accepted as a good way to write guidelines. It reminds users that this page does not stand alone, as well as providing for quick and relevant navigation. 4) If you want to argue to change our policy on linking to copyright violations you need to do so at the copyright page. If you do so you might want to consider that our position has historically not been based simply on a desire to avoid being sued but also on a general desire to uphold copyright and a recognition of its role in underpinning many open content licenses (feeding in to an explicit part of Wikipedia's mission - to promote open content). 5) This guideline is about external links not sources. So the point that youtube is a host rather than a source itself (and Wayne's questionable assertion that video is more reliable than print media) is not really relevant. In any case convenience links to hosted copies of documents that do not violate copyright have always been permitted when better than the original. In terms of media there is a general presumption that plain text is preferable to rich media - but this is for accessibility reasons and not specific to the host of the content.
On an historical note - the section was added because there were a lot of inappropriate links to youtube being added at one time. Addressing it specifically was thought to be beneficial. Personally I think a look at xLinkBot's reverts shows that this is still the case, for newer users at least. -- SiobhanHansa 17:35, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, let not say the words "(which would happen infrequently)" are POV, but that they are meaningless. It depends on the edits made.
The words "as long as the links abide by the guidelines on this page" is instruction creep. There is absolutely no need for them. Remove them.
Then the worlds "See also Wikipedia:Copyrights for the prohibition on linking to pages that violate copyrights... Therefore, each instance of allowance is on a case-by-case basis," is also instruction creep. It goes without saying. Making pages with instruction creep link to other pages with instruction creep, when the material goes without saying, should be removed.
Furthermore, having a bot to determine the reliability of a source is not good.
You say, "the point that youtube is a host rather than a source itself... is not really relevant," but it is, because the copyright issue is used as a reason to that nonsense like "which would happen infrequently" is added to this.
If this is going to mention YouTube, it only needs to say that sources hosted on YouTube are acceptable. But there is no reason to call out one host.
This policy is complete nonsense that contradicts itself. It seems to be written by people who do not have a basic understanding of the technology they are policing. —Slipgrid (talk) 17:56, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Talking of a basic understanding - the xLinkBot does not "determine the reliability of a source". It reverts - for new users only - against a list of domains decided on by people. It is a dirty and inexact, but ultimately beneficial, way of keeping down inappropriate links of many types. My mention of it was to point out its list of reverts - which when checked by hand show that the vast majority of YouTube links added are still not good links. I did not mean to imply that because the bot reverted they were defacto inappropriate.
You keep using the word "source" and I just want to make sure we understand each other - do you mean a source on which an assertion in an article is based (i.e. a citation or reference). Or are you more generally referring to a source of information?
On instruction creep the article says:
For proposed new instructions, instruction creep can be avoided if all of the following hold:
1. There is a good indication of an actual problem (as opposed to a hypothetical or a perceived problem)
2. The proposed instructions truly solve this problem (as opposed to treating symptoms or making symbolic gestures)
3. The instructions have little or no undesirable side effects (such as false positives, overcomplexity, or unnecessary prohibitions)
I have some sympathy with the CREEP essay but I contend in this case that 1) there was an indication of a problem - many inappropriate links were being added to an extent greater than for most other sites. And that those links were considered to be breaking a policy (copyright).
2) Editors found that changes to this guideline specifically addressing YouTube did make it easier to point users to the community standard without having to discuss ad nauseum how they applied in a particular case. In particular having the link to the copyright policy allowed for users who were sent here to understand the copyright issues without them having to go back and say "I don't get it - I copied this bit of my Starwars DVD especially to link to for this article. It's the real deal why do you think it isn't relevant." (ridiculous example chosen for clarity of meaning only). Pointing to the copyright issue also means that issues about the reliability of a non-official copy did not have to be addressed - an area that can get more heated when editors have provided the copy.
3) There are comparatively few undesirable side effects. I think this is the weakest in respect to the YouTube issue - when the guideline was first added comparatively few official "channels" existed on YouTube and I think for a while some good content was removed before people realized how much non-copyright content was available. But for the most part editors are now aware that copyright holders including mainstream media do host some appropriate content on YouTube and the problems with inappropriate removal on for those have died down.
So I don't agree with your assertion in this case that this is instruction creep. I believe your suggestion of simply removing the section (or the parts of it you've specified) would lead to a greater number of inappropriate links being posted, a harder time for editors trying to clean up those posts, and would not lead to a significant increase in appropriate links being added.
It's also not the case that people don't understand the technology - I don't think anyone who regularly posts to this page is unaware that YouTube simply hosts video uploaded by users. But the focused here isn't on the technology - it's on understanding the community and using wording that works in practice for as large a swathe as possible.
You seem to be focusing on the wording here without attempting to address the intent of the words. And I wonder - especially from the post you linked to in the other conversation - if you are more interested in getting the general meaning and intent behind these guidelines changed. That is, that you would prefer to see external links to YouTube (and presumably blogs) be more generally accepted than they currently are. If this is the case we might have a more productive conversation if you pointed out some examples of links that you think are generally not accepted now that you think should be and tried to summarize what you think Wikipedia has to gain by accepting them. --- SiobhanHansa 19:46, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I see no good reason to remove the existing guideline as currently stated. Particularly with newbie editors and SPAs, most of the wikilawyering that I've encountered has involved a few types of obviously banned external links. It has been helpful in a few cases to have the guidelines be painfully explicit -- because what seems "unnecessary" and "redundant" to an experienced editor has proven to be "just barely sufficient" for a determined agenda-pusher.
I also support a blanket ban on video links as being inappropriate for our worldwide audience. A person who is reading from a microbrowser over a very slow dialup connection cannot view videos. A general ban (which can, of course, be overridden by WP:IAR in truly important cases) respects the parts of our audience that aren't editing from a high-speed connection. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:02, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
To SiobhanHansa, I'm trying to get the intent changed, or just the whole thing removed. It's so simple. I focusing on the wording, because the wording is complete nonsense. And wording that is nonsense leads to policy that is nonsense, and administrators that quote nonsense policy. The wording is the policy. You change or remove the wording, then the policy is changed or removed.
I'm sure the original intent was pure, but good intent does not make good policy.
And then having robots that edit articles based on this policy is even more baffling. Sure, there is stuff that shouldn't be added, and it should be removed. But, having a bot remove every link to a specific source is not acting in good faith. It is the opposite of acting in good faith. It's not bold, and it's not careful. It is reckless, though I'm sure very efficient.
The wording, the policy, and the bot are all wrong. That leads to administrators who are wrong, and articles which are factually wrong.
Sorry if I seem over dramatic, but I can't imagine who someone can look at this policy, and not collapse at the absurdity of it.
As for examples, less say there is a subset of videos on YouTube that is reliable and good quality, and lets take the subset of reliable and appropriate videos on YouTube as an example. Most administrators will not let them on the articles they administer. Some of them won't even allow sources that have comments on their page. Regardless of intent, it is not good for this site. —Slipgrid (talk) 20:30, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
To WhatamIdoing, a blanket ban of video removes many good sources and for that reason, is a bad idea. There are easy ways to deal with users who have slow connections, or a browsing on a cell phone or other technology. That is, to mark a link as going to a video. You should not only do this for videos, but PDF, and Flash content. —Slipgrid (talk) 20:30, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
The current section isn't creep as it explains a guideline in plain language that needs explaining, which is exactly what is needed because these links are usually added by inexperienced editors. Google is nowhere near fanatical about removing copyvio videos. they aren't even anywhere near adequate. The current wording is very good. It discourages such links without completely prohibiting them. As for the copyvio part, this guideline follows policy so any discussion of that should go on the copyright policy page, but in general Youtube videos are either made by random individuals and thus are not authoritative and thus not meritable external links, or they are copyvio TV show clips. There are a few exceptions, but this guidelibe should be clear that any Youtube links should be scrutinized and meet the criteria of this guideline and copyright policy. 2005 (talk) 22:05, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm forever reading complaints in forums of Google deleting videos after a copyright complaint is made, mostly that they go overboard and delete related videos even if it is not copyright which is why I said fanatical. I doubt the current wording is adequate as in controversial topics they effectively end up completely banned if they favour the "wrong" side. I fully support allowing YouTube if the video is in context and relevant to the article or claim made and is not stand alone in the article. I only have a 28kbps dialup connection so don't check them however, I have no problem accepting what they say/show if it has consensus for inclusion. Wayne (talk) 05:21, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
On controversial topics the issue you're coming up against isn't so much that it's a YouTube video - it's that the provenance can't be rigorously established and hence there is no reputation on which to judge the reliability of the information. One of the problems with YouTube and most user generated content sites is that they have no significant editorial control - they are effectively personal publishing platforms and equivalent to a personal website. And when the identity of a poster cannot be established or where the publisher is not a known expert in the field we cannot consider it a reliable source. When a claim is controversial the reputation of the publisher (i.e. the person/institution posting the information) in the subject area is paramount. This is a problem for non-controversial subjects though it's often overlooked on non-controversial articles when editors agree the content itself is good. But on a controversial subject - video or text - a link to a user generated content site will almost never be acceptable.
Wikipedia is not the place to be trying to include the "wrong" side if that side does not have a respected voice within the accepted experts in the field - that's a well established part of our WP:NPOV policy. If it have a respected voice, use their material. If a respected voice has published a video on YouTube (and you can establish it is that person/institution that has posted the video - some guy from London saying that it's such and such person's video is not sufficient provenance - no one can be sure the video hasn't been doctored) then that might be an acceptable link for a controversial article. -- SiobhanHansa 10:12, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
When speaking about YouTube, you say, "they are effectively personal publishing platforms and equivalent." That's where you are wrong in your beliefs, and this policy is wrong. It is nothing more than a video hosting platform. You say they don't have editorial control. It's not a media outlet! It's a place to host videos; that's it.
Now, many media outlets host their videos there, and they have editorial control. In the US, many local news stations host all their videos from every broadcast on the site. That's a great resource. This contradictory and insanely worded policy says that would happen only very infrequently, but that's not the case. It happens every night at 6PM and 11PM.
This policy has to be changed; it's dribble by people who don't understand the difference between a medium and a content producing media outlet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Slipgrid (talkcontribs) 12:49, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that there are respected sources who publish through places like YouTube which is why I pointed out that "If a respected voice has published a video on YouTube (and you can establish it is that person/institution that has posted the video - some guy from London saying that it's such and such person's video is not sufficient provenance - no one can be sure the video hasn't been doctored) then that might be an acceptable link for a controversial article." This will need to be decided on on a case by case basis - it will be dependent on the actual link being suggested. -- SiobhanHansa 14:04, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. So, lets remove the disjointed policy, and decide on a case by case basis, as we do for every other source. —Slipgrid (talk) 15:46, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Remember, this is for "External Links". If we are using YouTube/Google video as a reference (knowing as stated that the submitter of the video is the person they claim to be, have the right to release that material, and so forth), then we can cite that appropriately. That's an issue at WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:CITE.
When it comes to External Links, however, I find it very hard pressed to find a situation where a video link needs to be included if not already located in the references for the article. If per all other aspects of what External Links should be about, the video is important to include, it should be included via referencing, being that it is a "single" piece of information where typically ELs are sites with many pages of information. --MASEM 15:55, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Slipgrid - All links are decided on a case by case basis. This is a guideline that assists editors by pointing out the common issues the community has already confronted and developed a consensus on. Any link that is in contravention of these guidelines can still be recommended for the page - all you need is to gain a consensus from editors of the page that it makes the article better. That's the case for all our article content. We have found that few YouTube (and similar) links meet the requirements and that is explicitly stated for editors' benefit. The guideline specifically states that they are blanket banned - it just emphasizes the need to apply our standard requirements because we have found that useful. You haven't countered this point or pointed out instances where good links have been rejected because of the guideline. And until you do you're unlikely to gain any traction in an attempt to change it. -- SiobhanHansa 20:37, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

(Undent) Slipgrid, the word source is a term of the art. If you're trying to assert that YouTube links should be permitted as references for the purposes of satisfying WP:V, then you are in the wrong place entirely.

I'm with User:2005 on YouTube's failure to enforce copyrights. This whole discussion reminded me of my only use for YouTube: watching Apple Inc.'s advertisements. Dozens of them are posted, and have been for at least two years. This is hardly "fanatical" enforcement of obviously copyrighted material.

Contrary to Slipgrid's assertion, YouTube really is the video equivalent of or Anybody -- not just reliable sources, not just named people or companies -- can upload whatever they want. If we exclude copyright violations, then what's left is largely amateur videos. Amateur, as in "not made by a notable person or reliable source". Those YouTube-hosted videos which are published by professionals are typically linked from official sites maintained by said professionals, and we can link to the official site instead. I do not support removing this blanket statement against YouTube videos in external links.

Slipgrid has not shown a single benefit to Wikipedia by allowing YouTube videos -- just his personal pet peeve that an entire class of media has been found wanting by so many editors for such a long time. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:36, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't think anyone is asking for open slather on amateur videos. As I said before...context and relevance. One area that YouTube shines is the "he said, she said" arguements. Someone makes a statement then denies what he said or says it was out of context and this denial gets put in the article as fact because the source said it was. Along comes YouTube with either video proof he was taken out of context or that he is lying his A off. It doesn't matter how professional or legitimate the video is (or even if it's from a RS), atm it wouldn't be allowed. Wayne (talk) 03:56, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
As I said before...context and relevance. Which is what our guideline says: Therefore, each instance of allowance is on a case-by-case basis. Do you have any examples of external links that would otherwise be acceptable being excluded simply because they are hosted by YouTube?
As to One area that YouTube shines is the "he said, she said" arguements. Someone makes a statement then denies what he said or says it was out of context and this denial gets put in the article as fact because the source said it was. Along comes YouTube with either video proof he was taken out of context or that he is lying his A off. It doesn't matter how professional or legitimate the video is (or even if it's from a RS), atm [?] it wouldn't be allowed. That is specifically about verifiability and this guideline does not apply to such links. Use of published video as a source is not banned under our verifiability policy so long as it is reliable, though there are additional issues (such as interpretation) that can make their use inappropriate in some contexts. There is a reliable sources noticeboard for help with individual cases. -- SiobhanHansa 11:16, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

The YouTube section stays as is, because it's been bult with a clear consensus, as the complaints baout the way it's currently written are anemic at best and completely bogus at worst. DreamGuy (talk) 22:29, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Linking to source summaries

Hi all, we really need an EL noticeboard. I've a question about the EL section of satanic ritual abuse but it has implications for many pages. Should there be links to bibliographies, literature summaries, abstracts and possible sources for pages? I've been removing them when I've found them for the past several months - my reasoning is if the sources are appropriate for the page, having a list of them isn't really helpful. The good ones should be integrated into the page as inline citations and the bad ones should not be linked to at all. In my interpretations I've also beein removing links to single-item news stories (i.e. those that do not cover an entire controversy or take a broad approach, the "man bites dog" stories) for the same reason - if it's got relevant information to be added, in a footnote. Per the policy, here are the points that I'm using to inform my decision:

  • WP:ELNO # 9, we don't link to search engine results; a bibliography is essentially the same as a search engine result in my mind, except it is static rather than dynamic
  • ELNO # 1 - a featured article should contain the sources that are appropriate and not use the ones that are not.
  • ELNO # 15 - all the documents could be linked via wikipedia's sourcing tools if they are available on-line in some fashion.

The couter-argument has been made per WP:ELYES # 3 of "should be linked". I believe this argument is illegitemate as the list itself should not and could not be sourced as a reliable source (making it eligible per this point) but since it's merely a list of individual citations, the content of the list can be linked on a case-by-case/citation-by-citation basis. So overall the bibliography is an excellent source of references and citations for the page itself (and is potentially of great service to the page editors) but less helpful as a link for readers. WLU (talk) 19:52, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi WLU. This page does get used as a sort of noticeboard. Which I don't think is a problem when an editor's in need of assistance but personally I'm not sure this is normally the best place to come for input on specific links. Subject area knowledge is frequently a better qualification for judging links than intimate familiarity of these guidelines (not policy) and I think we'd be better off channeling people to appropriate WikiProjects for more informed input. Perhaps WikiProject Sociology in this case. Not that outside eyes hurt once in a while - helps keep things more consistent across the project.
Occasionally on articles that seem to have an over abundance of links that are potentially useful for editors but not great for readers I have moved the links to the talk page as an "Editor Resource" section. I haven't had much traction from others in using it but it has let me clear up the page for readers without actually losing the links. Unfortunately I don't think that will help much in this specific case because what I'm guessing you have is a disagreement between editors about what is appropriate and NPOV content for the article.
The problem I have with enforcement of a guideline removing external links that are citable but not "whole stories" (I hope I've understood the thrust of your suggestion here) is that it doesn't seem to allow for organic growth of articles. It seems like a pretty good idea for controversial subjects - to counter the tendency towards promoting fringe ideas through the EL section. And it's always better to encourage good content than links to external websites. But for non-controversial articles the EL section can be a good place for an editor to turn for fodder for improving the article. And encouraging the removal of links that can be useful ends up making it harder for the article to be improved. I think there's a need to balance our need to protect articles from undue weight and agenda pushing with a recognition for how most of the encyclopedia develops. -- SiobhanHansa 21:10, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:GTL, you can put usable links that aren't yet used for footnotes/citations into a "Further reading" section, where they are (as is typical) inappropriate for the EL section. I do this all the time, and haven't gotten any negative feedback so far. (Can't say that I've consistently checked back to see if the "Further reading" section survives as is, but my sense is that it no one objects to this.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:57, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
A bibliography isn't really a good example of "further reading", but for actual sources, I think this approach is good. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:51, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Specific link

The website in question takes an unabashedly survivor position on a very controversial, now fringe issue (though I don't know if the list of abstracts is blatantly polarized or quite even-handed; it doesn't include books, which has been the main source of information for the most recent changes to the page and the skeptical literature in particular). In addition, the source is a senior technical writer and the career history does not mention abuse or rituals. I could see perhaps on an exception basis a link to an NIH compilation or possibly a bibliography by a recognized scholar, but 'some guy's website' seems more dubious. As a domain-specific hair-split, the page also discusses ritual abuse, which is connected to satanic ritual abuse, but in sometimes complex, often confusiong, nearly always undefined ways.

The discussion cites WP:ELYES #3 as a reason to include. As I state, I see no reason why it should be linked - the page adds no analysis or discussion, basically just the abstract. Many appear to be in low-impact journals and some are tenuously related to the subject ("A skeptical reflection on the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder" in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine; "Child molestation: Assessing impact in multiple victims"; citations to Treating Abuse Today which is a non-peer reviewed news letter discussion). In addition, several don't actually include summaries making them just references with no context except the title. WLU (talk) 19:52, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

In general I don't think a link with a good list of further reading/research is always bad for an article, providing it is balanced and does a good job on selecting the most relevant links. It sounds like the discussion needs to center around whether the content is NPOV and trustworthy, and whether it is actually helpful to readers. But from your message you don't seem to think it's high quality. I think that's something you really need subject area experts for and again suggest WikiProject Sociology as probably the best place to seek people who can give informed input on that subject.
I did do a little looking at the technical side of the site and some of this may help your discussions: the site is Hosted by Nemasys a San Francisco based IT services company. It is also available via its own domain name at They don't seem to be a registered 501(c)(3) charity. The site is registered by the hosting company - but that's not unusual and doesn't mean it's necessarily a project of one of their staff. I didn't see anything that specifically stated that Wolf was anything other than a Nemasys staff person - it does not mean he is the author of the content. They do host at least one other site. But since they don't say who they are and the only contact address is an anonymous email it's hard to tell if this is a legitimate group or effectively a personal website. I searched for links to and while most were fairly low value directories of links that mean little I noticed a couple that may add some credence to the site being a reasonable source [1] and [2]. Of course how relevant these are depends on a careful look at the context and their own reputations with in the field. Again I really think you need input from subject matter experts. -- SiobhanHansa 21:57, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
How useful to the general reader do we think this link will be? Note that "general reader" explicitly excludes not only "true believers" and "debunkers", but also the regular editors of this particular page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:57, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Seems to be a very partisan site used to push a POV. If it does get listed it should be clearly spelled out in the link description what the viewpoint of the page is so as not to ambush people or confuse them, but I can't see a good reason to link to it. DreamGuy (talk) 22:35, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Links to Site with rich information...

I have been contacted by one of the editors, Mr. Beestra, regarding a few links that I placed. The site that I placed external links to,, features well known experts debating major issues, such as the death penalty, right to die, and other topics that we also cover here in Wikipedia.

I have read all the wikipedia guidelines and policies, including everything to do with spamming, and have no idea why links to this site from relevant articles would not be correct. Specifically, links from: - Articles on the names experts that have links to their written and video debates on important topics (such as the Heritage Foundation or NRA) - Articles on key consumer debates, such as the Death Penalty.

In both the cases, the content on Opposing Views digs deeper than the encyclopedia content that is well written on Wikipedia. It is directly related to the topics, provides a deeper dive, and would not belong in Wikipedia.

In addition, in all the articles that I am looking at, both the organization articles and the issue articles, there are many external links that are in place that have far less relevant information.

Per my reading, all of the links I have placed comply perfectly with the policies, and do not violate ANY of the link spam rules at all. And, most importantly, a reader wanting to learn more about one of these organizations and/or issues, would be well served visiting this site.

How do I go about white-listing these links, and/or can someone please explain to me if they are in violation... what they are violating ?


MisterFine (talk) 05:54, 5 August 2008 (UTC) Russell

MisterFine (talk) 05:54, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I have given a reply on my talkpage, I am copying it here:
Well, accounts who are only performing linkadditions are generally in violation of our spam guideline (spam in a wider context, 'link-pushing' etc.), and as you say above, you are connected to the site, so you are in that way also in 'violation' of our conflict of interest guideline. Generally, we are writing an encyclopedia here, not a linkfarm or a internet directory. Links can help in the understanding of an article, but generally, and I would argue that that goes especially for your site (as has been discussed somewhere else; err .. here, I think), they are often better as references (see the citation guideline and the reliable sources guideline) (see also the external links guideline, somewhere in the top "... but Wikipedia's purpose is not to include a comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a Wikipedia article unless its inclusion is justifiable.").
Opinion sites can be a problem, and some of them are blacklisted (so they can not be used anymore at all on wikipedia), and others are on the revertlist of User:XLinkBot, because there are often (not always) concerns with them (in terms of WP:NOT#SOAPBOX, WP:COI, WP:SPAM). I hope this explains. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:50, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Russel I appreciate you believe your site is valuable but I do not agree that it is appropriate for an encyclopedia. Debates around a topic are not inherently encyclopedic information. Dozens of sites similar to your own have tried to add their pages our articles and have also been rejected. Also our external links guidelines directly state that editors with a connection to a site should not add it directly to an article. Instead if you still believe it is an appropriate link that will add value you should suggest it on each article's talk page and allow non-connected, regular editors of the article to decide if it is appropriate. Note however that if all your editing appears to be to promote this site - even if on talk pages - that is still not appropriate. As Beetstra stated editing Wikipedia simply to add links to a particular site (especially one you are connected to) fits our definition of spamming. We are not a platform through which people may promote their websites. You are encouraged to add neutral well sourced content to our articles. Simply adding external links does little to fulfill our mission to build a GFDL encyclopedia. -- SiobhanHansa 11:56, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Beetstra and SiobhanHansa are correct. You personally may never add links to your own website to any article because of WP:COI. Additionally, the links will most often be rejected as unencyclopedic. Thank you for asking for clarification. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17
11, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Don't see any encyclopedic value to the site, so I agree with what the others said here. DreamGuy (talk) 23:40, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

External links to replace redlinks

Kinston eagle (talk · contribs) is adding external links to another wiki to replace red links of subjects who do not meet Wikipedia's notability standards (see examples here and here). Putting aside the fact that it is suggested to avoid links to other wikis that aren't necessarily reliable, is this okay to put links to other sites for red links that will never be blue links? Also, should external links be used in templates like he has been doing? Thanks, Metros (talk) 01:11, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

My reading of the guidelines is that such links are not appropriate - especially if they link to a website that is not necessarily reliable. In general links that aren't citations should be about the subject of the article - not some associated subject or an item mentioned in the article. Some articles have exceptions to this, and if there is a general agreement by editors of the page that it is a good source and the links are useful rather than distracting or overwhelming for readers then they can stay.
There are no rules about external links in templates. We have several well used templates that do have external links. But given that templates are a form of meta-editing it is particularly important that the link be a good one and well supported by the community. -- SiobhanHansa 01:23, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I have always found Baseball Reference to be very reliable. I'm not alone in this assessment. Many baseball related lists that have been promoted to Featured List status have used baseball reference links as their primary reference source. (See for example: List of Major League Baseball players from Puerto Rico). The links are to articles that are directly on point to the article, and they are only used for articles that would fail Wikiproject:Baseball's narrow definition of a notable baseball player. You conclude that "if there is a general agreement by editors of the page that it is a good source and the links are useful rather than distracting or overwhelming for readers then they can stay". Me and User:Nick22aku are the primary contributors to that template and the articles it's included in. I obviously have no objection and I don't believe Nick does either or he would have taken them out long ago. Kinston eagle (talk) 01:37, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to imply I had taken a definite position on the particular link myself - just give an outline of my understanding of our guidelines. I have no real experience with baseball sites so can't evaluate them well myself. But consensus is an ongoing process not a one time thing so if new editors arrive that consensus might change. The specific link is probably best discussed on one of the articles it is being added to or at WikiProject Baseball. If you can't all come to a consensus between you then you should follow the usual dispute resolution. -- SiobhanHansa 02:03, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
If a player doesn't meet the notability requirement for an article, making an external link instead is extremely inappropriate. External links are not a way to circumvent guidelines, and by any measure something should be more notable to merit an external link. We don't link to trivialites if they don't meet the criteria for a guideline. sYou should revert any such links you have added. Baseball Refernece is and excellent reference and source, but it is not the Wikipedia. If something does not merit an article, it should never get an external link instead. A red link may be approiate though if the subject might merit an article in the future. Additionally, external links should be at the end of an article or in an info box, never a template. 2005 (talk) 05:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
For the record, the links we removed were links to the baseball-reference bullpen, not the main baseball-reference site. The bullpen is editable by anyone and it's unusual to find references at all. But for the record, I believe we shouldn't have external links instead of red links at all, even if they are to the main BR site. —Borgardetalk 08:51, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
If it's editable by anyone at all it should never be a link on any Wikipedia page, in the body of the article or the external links section... the only exception I can think of is if there is a Wikipedia article about the bullpen site, then that article can of course link to it as the "official website". Otherwise, no, never. DreamGuy (talk) 14:15, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
That should never be done. Redlinks are useful both for the future and because it shows essentially something hasn't demonstrated notability. Using an external link instead is totally wrongheaded, and often used to circumvent this and other guidelines. The whole idea vioates this guideline multiple ways, if only because external links should not be in the body of an article. Any such links should be removed or revrted on sight. 2005 (talk) 05:46, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Simply violating this guideline is not sufficient if editors have come to a consensus that in the circumstances it builds the encyclopedia. Those instances may be rare but this is only a guideline. It's perfectly acceptable for good editors to try and gain consensus for something different if they believe in the circumstances it would be better to ignore the rules. -- SiobhanHansa 11:22, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
You have it backwards. It's not enough for two or three editors of an article to come to a consensus to ignore a guideline and then have that be the end of things. Any editor can follow the guidelines anytime they want, and stand on firmer ground than anyone else quoting that last refuge of a scoundrel, ignore all rules, since that always works both ways. Violating a guideline is always sufficient reason for an editor to act in good faith and make an article come into compliance with the guideline, and on the vast majority of articles that action is all that is needed to prevent a IAR consensus. It's a guideline; "only a guideline" means there can be exceptions, but anytime an editor thinks an exception is not called for they can make an edit to make the article follow the guideline. 2005 (talk) 13:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I do not have it backwards. I wasn't suggesting either that an editor could not initially revert in good faith nor that editors should rely on simply ignoring all rules. I was saying that consensus trumps guidelines. These guidelines are not some kind of master list of how articles have to be. They are simply advisory in nature and reflect the general practice that Wikipedia editors have settled on. Editors that disagree in a particular case are not being unreasonable in trying to build a consensus for something different. And where such a consensus has been developed an incoming editor will need to change that consensus. I'm not trying to say that in the particular case above such consensus has (or hasn't) been reached. I was taking issue with your absolutist approach to the application of a guideline. -- SiobhanHansa 14:09, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
You do have it backwards. Guidelines are a broader consensus than what some people on an article decide. If they want to have a consensus to change a guideline, they need to go to the guideline page and argue their case, not ignore it. DreamGuy (talk) 14:14, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Your position is in fact backwards. A consensus certainly does not automatically trump guidelines. That is totally silly because once consensus exists a consensus is required to change it. So no, an existing consensus contrary to a guideline never trumps the guideline. That would be an absurd way to run a railroad. Consensus can lead to a current exception being made to the guideline, but any good faith editor can make an edit that abides by the guideline. Guidelines have broad consensus and that always trumps the consensus three editors might come to without the knowledge of the broader community. What you are suggesting would lead to chaos. Guidelines are not "advisory". They are the consensus of how things generally should be done under normal circumstances. They are not policy so exceptions can be made, but when there is a conflict, the prior consensus a small number of editors does not trump a guideline. 2005 (talk) 22:13, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

To confirm any of the comments above, we absolutely do not replace red links with external links. First up, as stated, red links are there to indicate that an article needs to be written. If the topic isn't notable enough to have an article, remove the wikilink entirely so there is no link. Absolutely do not go to an outside link. It's Wikipedia or nothing. Furthermore we do not put external links in the body anyway (except when it's appropriate in citing a reliable source, and then as a ref, not a standard link). We are not a web directory. And further on top of that, other wikis almost always never qualify as external links even in the External links section, per our rules on not linking to unreliable sites (if anybody can edit that other wiki, it's unreliable) and also, frequently, on not linking to sites that would have no information other than what our own Wikipedia article should have. We never ever EVER link to other wikis in the body of the text (again, except as a ref to reliable source, and they almost never are), and a couple of editors on an article or groups of article can't just overrule that because rules and policies are set by a wide consensus and can't just be ignored by a couple of people. If we encourage people to ignore this rule we make it way too easy for a single person (or a couple, or one and a sockpuppet or meatpuppet or two) to make massive COI and spamming violations and try to wikilawyer up an excuse. DreamGuy (talk) 14:12, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Potential for serious misinterpretation of WP:ELYES?

A discussion at Talk:Mission Mountain School#"Testimonies" from former students suggests to me that it is possible to seriously misinterpret WP:ELYES if it is read in isolation from the rest of the guideline. One of the four items listed in WP:ELYES specifies "if none of the "Links normally to be avoided" criteria apply," but the other 3 items do not include that caveat, with the result that literal thinkers can conclude (or at least argue) that WP:ELYES entitles them to link to almost anything. In the Mission Mountain School situation, another user apparently interpreted the item "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article" to mean that almost anything can be linked in an article, as long as it is "meaningful and relevant."

Obviously, people should read guidelines in their entirety. However, to avoid this kind of situation in the future, I propose that WP:ELYES should be revised to clarify that the caveat "if none of the "Links normally to be avoided" criteria apply" applies to everything on the WP:ELYES list. --Orlady (talk) 20:51, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Seeing a resounding lack of objections to my proposal (or perhaps just a resounding lack of interest in it), I moved the language about "Links normally to be avoided" criteria into an introduction to WP:ELYES. --Orlady (talk) 19:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I reverted this as the longstanding consensus here is the official aspect of sites trumps any of the links to avoid reasons, so this line should not go above the official sites line. 2005 (talk) 22:47, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I see the problem. This was just not the right place to fix it. I think what needs a clarification is WP:ELMAYBE #4. IMHO the types of links to unreliable sources that are justifiable should be well defined. The current phrasing, in contrast, can be interpreted to allow almost anything. What types of unreliable sources should be allowed? Official websites. Fan sites? Watchdog sites? What else?
The unverifiable wiki-testimonies that triggered this thread should certainly not be linked. --EnOreg (talk) 04:52, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Putting "further reading" sources into the EL section if they involve online links

The Wikipedia:Layout guideline has been modified, in the Further reading section, to include the following sentence:

Websites and online publications should be listed in the "External links" section instead of in this section.

This means that any article or source of information that is (a) online and (b) not used in a footnote should, per the revised guideline, go in the EL section. The "Further reading" section is limited to offline sources.

I'm posting this because my sense is that those who have worked on the WP:EL guideline don't have agree with this position (because it would lead to a lot more links in the EL section), but I admit that I can't seem to find specific wording in the EL guideline that actually says that - so I could be wrong. I'll let others decide if there is indeed a conflict between the two guidelines, and, if so, what to do about it. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:51, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

I've personally always considered this guideline to apply to any external link that was not actually a citation regardless of where it actually sat on the page. -- SiobhanHansa 19:06, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
This "new" text seems to bring the layout guideline in compliance with this guideline and with common sense. Things that are links go in a links section, and things that can be read offline go in a reading section. I'm not sure the initial post means to mean what it says since this doesn't impact or lead to a lot "more links" in the external links section. If some small number of articles have been badly constrctructed to have external links in more than one place, that's just been a problem with those articles. External links being kept to a reasonable minimum is a general widespread consensus. If external links are currently spread into two sections, that still should never lead to more external links in total than if they were in one section. 2005 (talk) 21:28, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
As the person who drafted that sentence, let me state for the record that a book that happens to be available online (say, through is not an "online publication". IMO, whether to list such a book in ==Further reading== or in ==External links== is your choice. However, a publication that is solely available online (say, an online-only magazine article from belongs in the ==External links==. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:17, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Examples of links moved from "External links" to "Further reading" sections

Perhaps examples of articles that I've encountered in the recent past would help clarify the current situation. In these cases, I've moved links because (a) they seemed to make the "External links" sections of articles way long, and/or set a bad precedent (encouraging other editors to keep adding links to articles) and (b) I didn't want to delete the links, since they seemed useful.

If other editors think I was mistaken in moving the links, then it would be helpful (to me) to know if they think the mistake was (a) the EL section really was okay as is, or (b) most or all of the links should have been deleted. Or, to put it differently, are editors okay with moving the external links out of the "Further reading" section, to the EL section, in these articles:

-- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:52, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

I would tend to think if you're going to have a separate external links section then the reading that is available online should go in it. On the other hand I don't think there's awful about the articles the way you formatted them and I know we have plenty of featured articles that have online texts in the further reading section - so I don't think there's a consensus about doing this in one particular way. -- SiobhanHansa 22:03, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't have made the changes that John did, although I generally support separating books or very long publications (but not short newspaper articles) from websites. I haven't been happy about the WP:LAYOUT suggestion to combine them under the "Further reading" headline, although I suppose it would be silly to have one "Further reading" offline book and one "External link" to a website. I haven't changed it because I wasn't sure whether looking at actual practice would indicate a consensus for removing that suggestion.
Certainly if the external links take you to a non-reading website (e.g., a calculator, a database, a map), then it would be silly to call those links "Further reading". WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:08, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Mixing the two doesn't make sense to me, and is just plain ugly, so I don't see why anyone would do it. Still, I won't lose sleep over the fact that there is not a fully standardized way to do this. I'd prefer the standard way of no external links in further reading or only a single further reading section, since this mixed up way has no apparent logic behind it, but the content is more important than the structure of presenting it. Only the Pablo Ganguli article seems like a way, way, way over the top terrible link farm though. Half those links (regardless of what section they are in) should be deleted. 2005 (talk) 23:13, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Link names

I've noted that on many articles, there's an ongoing slow-motion edit war over how external links should be named in the text that overwrites the URL itself, but this policy doesn't seem to address the question at all.

For example, which would be the proper way to display the external link to CBC Radio One:

If there's no policy at present, I'd like to suggest that there should be one so that edit warring of this type can be minimized in the future. Thanks. Bearcat (talk) 17:05, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

What the guideline does say is this:
"External links should identify the link and briefly summarize the website's contents and why the website is relevant to the article."
Isn't that enough to argue for #3 (CBC Radio One official site) as the most complete link description? --EnOreg (talk) 19:44, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
WP:CREEP. If the editors on a page can't reach consensus on something as minor as this, then they're doomed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:10, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

A trivial point. I would support all forms except the last, which is useless. If there is only one link in the section I would prefer the second. If there is room for confusion, I might use a longer form. --Adoniscik(t, c) 17:16, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Would someone kindly add a link for me ..

Under the subject of 'East grinstead' (West sussex), we would very much like a link to go on which contains the following:

The East Grinstead & District Dog Training Club

We have been part of the East Grinstead Community for very many years and use the council halls for our training. We are the only Kennel Club Registered Club in the area and offer extremely resonably priced dog training for the local community.

We hope you will agree to add this link. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:28, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your contribution but I personally object. Next will be the veterinarians, doctors, scientists, engineers, and so on. --Adoniscik(t, c) 17:18, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This is the wrong place to propose such a link anyway; such requests should be posted to the talk ("discussion") page for the specific article in question. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:35, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Are these appropriate? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:52, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

They seem to be self-published reviews by some guy called Scott Morrison. IF this guy is a well known critic then they may be appropriate. But if not it seems highly unlikely. I don't know if Wikiproject TV have any recommendations for reviews - but these wouldn't fit under WikiProject Music's. The editor's actions - in editing pretty much only to add external links to a particular site - appear to meet our definition of spam. You might try posting to their user page and pointing this out. -- SiobhanHansa 01:40, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Discrepencies with Layout guideline

Thanks to John Broughton's note above I noticed there are a couple of things in the layout guideline that don't entirely reflect what's on this page.


The layout guidelines says This section follows the same formatting rules as the "References" section. The references section then says about formating: a bulleted list that should usually be alphabetized, any books, articles, web pages, et cetera ... You may use a generic citation template; this practice is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Example:

* "Wikipedia Reaches 1,000,000 Articles". Slashdot (March 1 2006). Retrieved on June 7 2007.

The use of abbreviated titles for items included in an anteceding bibliography section is permitted; for instance, you may list "Smith 1957, p. 35", and give a full reference in the bibliography.

We show a few ways to externally link and then say the standard format is to place them in a bulleted list under a primary heading at the end of the article. External links should identify the link and briefly summarize the website's contents and why the website is relevant to the article. The heading should be "External links" (plural) even if there is only a single link listed. If several external links are listed and the subject of the article is a living person, organization, web service, or otherwise has an official website, it is normal practice to place the link to that site at the top of the list (if it is not already in an appropriate infobox).

If you link to another website, you should give your reader a good summary of the site's contents, and the reasons why this specific website is relevant to the article in question. If you link to an online article, try to provide as much meaningful article information as possible. With some very generic examples. Then Do not use a citation template in the external links section.

I think here we should get both guidelines on the same page on this issue. I personally believe our page reflects current usage more accurately (except for that bit about not using citation templates - I don't recall that being there before) and is better suited to the nature of much online content - though a more formal style is probably appropriate when online journals are being linked. I would support removing the do not use a citation template from the EL guideline and asking the layout guideline to change their note about EL formatting to point here. -- SiobhanHansa 19:25, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

If there is a "guideline fork" the layout guideline needs to brought in conformance with this one. Some of that text doesn't make sense. A non-citation using a citation template is not just obtuse, it would be confusing to new editors, who we certainly want to understand the difference between cites and external links. 2005 (talk) 21:33, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
The prohibition against using citation templates was added less than two weeks ago with no corresponding agreement on this page that it should be put in. There's nothing about our current guideline that suggests links should not follow follow that formatting. Templates are just a way to format text. We could make a redundant set of external link templates if you're worried about confusion over the wording (though even then there would be no good reason to actually bar editors from using the others). -- SiobhanHansa 21:48, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
It took me a few minutes' thinking -- but the reason I added that was because I'd been cleaning up citation templates again. External links should not have "Accessed (date)" at the end, nor should they begin with the author's name instead of the link. We definitely don't want the two styles mixed together -- it looks awful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:23, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree the accessed date is inappropriate in external links sections but the author coming first is just a style preference. Both fields are optional and as with using the templates in any section - you don't fill in the ones that aren't appropriate. That people need to learn to use templates well is a good reason for educating them on how to use them. But it's not a good reason for putting your own preference in a guideline when others might find their correct use handy. -- SiobhanHansa 23:04, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
We have a heck of a time getting people to keep straight the difference between citations and external links so using the same template is masochistically nutty. Sure, there could be an external link template, without a access date for example, but that's like creating something just to have a fight over. Wikiprojects can determine ways to make articles consistent in their article space, and we can reccomend a general format (like we do), but newbies will never use twmplates, so there is no point in having a rigid rule about how external links should be written -- no easy consensus will occur, and no novices will obey, so don't go through the motions. (But again, my main point here is suggesting using something called the "citation template" is a very, very bad idea.) 2005 (talk) 23:20, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Also, this page has (for a very long time) specified the format for external links:
* [ Name of site]
This style cannot be easily created using any of the citation templates. It's therefore silly to attempt it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
This page has shown people how to link using Wikipedia markup and it has shown an example of linking in the * [ Name of site] format but it has never specified that that is how links should be formatted. And as you said in this discussion "If the editors on a page can't reach consensus on something as minor as this, then they're doomed." -- 01:24, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
2005 - recommending using the citation templates would not be a great idea on this page, but that doesn't mean we should prohibit their use just because some people get confused about our use of terminology sometimes. -- SiobhanHansa 01:24, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
That's the point. if some editor uses it somewhere, fine. It but it should never be reccomended, either here or the layout guideline. 2005 (talk) 03:30, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
So you agree there's no consensus to have this guideline specifically prohibit it? -- SiobhanHansa 18:04, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I would agree that there is no current consensus that would prohibt someone using the citation template in external links. I don't know of anyone who advocates it, and have only seen it done twice in my years of editing, and there probably should be a line saying not to use the citation template, and I'd change any links I found like that. 2005 (talk) 21:21, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Siobhan, I think you're the only person that is concerned about the prohibition. Everyone agrees that using a citation template is a very uncommon approach for external links -- according to the consensus of actual practice, it's "not done". No one supports actually using them.
I'm willing to have a softer statement, like "Avoid the use of citation templates, because they are needlessly complicated and often include extraneous information, such as the date that the editor added the link." if that would address your concerns. In practice, though, I'm with User:2005, and when I find them, I often reformat them into plain old links. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:36, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

(Unindent) It annoys me more than it might because it seems to have been added without consensus (or even discussion) so I'm really unhappy about just leaving it in. When I dislike something that seems to have general consensus I don't tend to bring it up or hark on about if it's just me that disagrees. But I'm also generally against our guidelines being proscriptive (or prescriptive) when they aren't addressing an actual problem - it's instruction creep, it's kind of insulting to our editors and it has a tendency to stop innovation. -- SiobhanHansa 00:53, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

We can, if you like, soften the language. Even as it stands, the statement reflects the true consensus of thousands of Wikipedia editors, who have what we might describe as a very strong tendency to avoid {{cite web}} for external links (>99% of relevant articles). Talk page discussion is not the only way to determine consensus: for guidelines, the actual practice by the mass of Wikipedia editors also matters.
And, of course, I added it in plain view of the many people who watch this page, and at the time, no one thought there was any need to discuss it. I'm a fan of the Bold, revert, discuss cycle as being more efficient in many cases -- especially when a reasonably experienced editor can reasonably expect no one supporting the opposite view. (And we still have no one supporting the use of those templates in ==EL==.)
Now if you seriously think that "Do not use complicated citation templates here" is WP:CREEPy, then let me know. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:08, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
If you prefer the BOLD REVERT DISCUSS cycle I'll go ahead and revert. I just find this page in particular has had a history of editing in that style and it doesn't seem to have helped much in encouraging collegial discussion.
I do seriously think it's instruction creep. I really don't see why we mention the templates in this guideline. It's not something I routinely use. (I may have used it where it was the predominate pattern for ELs on a page but that's just to respect the formatting of previous editors. I wouldn't start using it where others hadn't.) But the fact that most editors don't use something is not at all the same thing as most editors believing it should not be used. We have a lot of different styles being used in the external links sections - most of them do not have a super majority following and several are probably used by very few people - but we aren't listing all those as being methods that are not to be used.
If others think the citation style is often misused and really does need specific mention I suggest wording more along the lines of:
Most external links should present different details than citations. For instance a concise description of the contents and a clear indication of its source is more important than the actual title of the page; and access dates are not appropriate in the external links section. If using citation templates in this section editors should be careful to ensure the resulting description is appropriate for an external link. Which could (with much tweaking no doubt) be used to replace the paragraph just above as well. -- SiobhanHansa 12:54, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
That more or less works for me. I might add "Because citation templates were not designed for use in the External links section, editors that are using citation templates in this section should be careful...", primarily to avoid any hint of suggesting their use here. I wouldn't bother replacing the existing information above it, which has simplicity to recommend it (especially for newbie editors). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:04, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I like the "Because..." addition. As you say avoids hinting that they're recommended. If others have no objections I'll change the guideline. -- SiobhanHansa 21:59, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Suggest "that use" over "that are using". 2005 (talk) 23:05, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I've incorporated those suggestions and made the change. -- SiobhanHansa 22:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Combining with further reading

The layout guidelines says External links may be listed in the section "Further reading", as suggested in Citing sources, instead of having a separate section specifically for external links. We simply say include appropriate external links in an "External links" section at the end and/or in the appropriate location within an infobox or navbox.

I think this is more minor but it wouldn't hurt for them both to say the same thing. I think this sort of decision is probably best left to the editors of an individual article so would generally support amending the EL guideline -- SiobhanHansa 19:25, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Fan sites

WP:FANSITE redirects to this page, but this page says nothing about fan sites. Should it? Could it?--Shantavira|feed me 16:38, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Fansites should follow the guidelines that apply to all links. Is there anything else that you think should apply? -- SiobhanHansa 20:09, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
The must follow the standard rules, and almost all of them would fail WP:EL quite dramatically. We aren't a web directory. DreamGuy (talk) 17:11, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

External link vs. references

Some articles contain a general list of sources consulted, without inline citations. I do realize that inline citations are preferred, but there are many articles that use just a source list, usually under "References".

If an external site was used as such a reference, should it be listed under "References" or under "External links"? Marc Shepherd (talk) 14:28, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

""References". And it is best to use in-text citations rather than just listing the reference in the reference section. UnitedStatesian (talk) 15:44, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

That's fine for short articles with few references. For longer ones, I immediately stick a {{nocitations}} tag. --Adoniscik(t, c) 16:04, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Need third opinion on links

Over on Meiling Melançon -- an editor whose only edits are to that article is insistent upon leaving two links I think should be removed. One is just a rumor page about an "upcoming" appearance in an X-Men movie that came out years back and the other is just a photo gallery/fan site. Editor insists that "an actors work is their image therefore it is. Please refer to other actors wiki pages i.e jessica alba". As few people look at that article and as determined as this editor is it won't be resolved without some people coming in from outside to take a look. DreamGuy (talk) 02:54, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

External links in article text

I think we need to refine the language that prohibits external links in the article text (and that instead requires they reside only in the EL section at the bottom, or in an infobox or navbox). My reason: we have many templates that contain external links (all of which are reliable and well-known); see Category:External link templates for the full list, but one example is that nearly every WP article on a public company has a ticker symbol template in the first sentence of the article, which links to the website of the primary exchange on which the company's stock trades; this is true even if the same link is also in an infobox fro that company. Another example is the geographic coordinate template {{coord}}, which also has external links. Overzealous editors are reading this guideline as prohibiting these templates from residing in the article text, which I don't think is the intention. Does anyone have an objection to adding a carveout allowing RELIABLE template-generated links in the text of articles? UnitedStatesian (talk) 14:10, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

That's backwards in several ways. Many external link templates were made by COI editors to spam their personal-interest websites. All of them should be deleted, and then have a process that requires a strong consensus to allow one. In general external link templates should not be in the body of an article, and any that are should be removed and put at in the external links section, duh, where they belong. The language of this section needs to be strengthened to say external link templates should only appear in the external links section at the end of an article or in infoboxes. A reverse of that would encourage more of these trashy things, and more blatant abuse. As a guideline external links should never be in the body of an article, period. Template spam in particular is why this needs to be clearly stated in the guideline. (Also, these spammy templates are often used in an attempt to bypass this guideline by linking a word externally that would not be linked internally, with that word not being the subject of the article -- and such links are prohibnited ny this guideline, which says external links should only go to websites directly related to the topic.) 2005 (talk) 23:36, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
What is your basis for saying that "Many external link templates were made by COI editors to spam their personal-interest websites"? Can you give me an example of even one from the category? (I know there have been some in the past, but in my experience they have been rapidly deleted, or the COI link removed). UnitedStatesian (talk) 16:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Hardly. Mobygames, four BGG templates, mtgcard (not in the category, but an external link template nonetheless), Find_A_Grave are a start. Some of these have been brought under control more than others, but "rapidly deleted" is silly to assert. Templates that even are egregiously COI-spammed survive courtesy of a a few socks and ILIKEIT defenses. However that is not the subject of this guideline. This guideline simply guides people to proper usage, and there is zero reason for a templated external link to ever be treated differently than a non-templated external link. The ease of creating templates and difficulty in deleting them is just a minor aspect of why this is a terribly upside down idea. If anything, a case could be made that non-template links might occasionally be useful in articles, but templated ones should go where they are designed for, the external links section. Otherwise we end up with horribly junked up articles like Magic: The Gathering where individual cards are external linked in the body of an article, even though they would not merit external links at the end of the article, and even though they don't merit wikilinks. 2005 (talk) 22:14, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Also the geo hack coordinates are an internal link, so there is never any excuse for one of these templates to be anywhere except where other external links go. Templates don't make something special, and should never be treated as such. 2005 (talk) 23:48, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
The template {{coord}} links to How is that not an external link? UnitedStatesian (talk) 16:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I thought we had consesnsus that the geohack coordinates were to be used in articles? Why would any other thing be used, let alone have a template? But again more to the point, if it is an external link not in the "external links" section??? Seriously, is there anything more of a common sense slamdunk in the entire encyclopedia? 2005 (talk) 22:14, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
You mean templates like {{ISSN}} and {{Cite patent}} and {{CIA World Factbook link}} and {{PubChem}}? Could we be just a little less ham-fisted here? Individual inappropriate templates can go to WP:AFD. User:2005's personal prejudice against link templates is entirely insufficient to delete hundreds of templates.
UnitedStatesian, most articles about companies should begin with an infobox that lists basic information about the company, including a link to a stock ticker. See Apple, Inc. for an example.
Otherwise, I agree with User:2005's comment that the existence of a template does not change the fact that it's an external link, or that external links should generally ("treated with common sense and the occasional exception") not appear in the text of an article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:00, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, those are other good examples: reliable links (that would otherwise be allowed by this guideline). Those, and the stock ticker templates, are used so frequently within the text of articles that I don't believe they are "occasional exceptions." UnitedStatesian (talk) 16:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
UnitedStatesian, Just to clarify: I don't think that the stock ticker templates should appear in the text of the article. I think stock tickers should be linked in the infobox and removed from the article's text. Linking to a stock ticker twice (four inches apart on the screen) is not desirable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
That's fine in theory for the company articles with infoboxes; what about the many, many more that do not (yet) have infoboxes? We are working at WP:WikiProject Companies to get a consistent style across ALL company articles. UnitedStatesian (talk) 19:25, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Then the ticker symbol should be in the external links section. ALL arrticles, companies an otherwise, then have a consistent style. 2005 (talk) 22:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Your hamfisted comment doesn't make sense. Let's try and stay focused please. The existence of some useful templates should be totally irrelevant, as is the fact that some templates are spam crap. (And AFD is similarly pointless to bring up here as a few socks can keep a spam template once its been created). Templates themselves are not the issue. Good templates or crappy templates should be used in the external links section like other external links. This should not even be slightly controversial, and is as common sense a thing as we have around here. A templated link doesn't make it better than others and is no reason to circumvent or violate this guideline. Citations should be in articles; external links should be in infoboxes and/or at the end of an article. That concept should be spelled out as clearly as possible in this guideline. 2005 (talk) 07:54, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Deleting several hundred external link templates (and you wrote, All of them should be deleted) is a ham-fisted solution to the presence of the occasional spam template, as in "lacking dexterity or grace, heavy-handed". WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Your comment was deliberately unproductive. I said some templates are fine. Others aren't. Suggesting I objected to the ISBN template as one of the COI spam templates is ridiculous. I do believe that templates should exist by gaining a consensus to exist first, rather than avoiding a consensus to delete them. You may disagree that there should be a strong consensus before a template can be made, but calling that "ham fisted" is just rude so please keep such comments out of it, especially since it's not the central point here. 2005 (talk) 22:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree in principle with 2005, in that I have almost never seen an external link in the text of an article that belonged there; of course, they should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but the wording here is fine. External links go in external links or citations almost all the time. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:04, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Sandy, 2005 and WhatamI above. We do not need to change the wording to in any way encourage MORE external links in the body.
As far as templates created by people with COI to spam the encyclopedia, we see it all the time. Current ones I see there now that appear to be likely examples include Template:Drinkboy recipe, Template:Eliteprospects, Template:Halopedia, the six different INDUCKS templates, all the templates that start with the word "Game", Template:Wipipedia, Template:Spunk, Template:Megalithic Portal and a bazillion more. FindAGrave and, especially, Notable Names Database are two more that should not have templates and generally should never be linked to per WP:EL rules but were everywhere. DreamGuy (talk) 17:09, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Then I encourage you to send them to WP:AFD. (I suggest one or two at a time.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
don';t you mean WP:TFD? DGG (talk) 18:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Some may also qualify as speedies per criterion {{db-g11}} UnitedStatesian (talk) 19:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
That is not just the tail wagging the dog, but the fly on the tail wagging the dog. There is no logical reason to treat templates differently in terms of what should be in the body of an article, but the idea that we should make guidelines that lead to endless wikilawyering is terrible. A simple one sentence understanding is the way to better articles, not a process of tfd's, sockpuppets and lawyering. External links go in two places of an article. This doesn't prevent things from being linked; it keeps links organized; it is far, far more user-friendly in that people will find things consitently throughout articles, and it makes spam maintanence easier. 2005 (talk) 22:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
The Template:Eliteprospects was a template that was discussed and approved by WP:HOCKEY prior to being created. It is not a spam link. It was decided to be a reliable link by the hockey project. -Djsasso (talk) 15:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I find useful links within COI articles, but the useful ones almost always can be converted into a reference, or turned into a conventional external link at the end. It is one of the characteristics of authors with COI to link to their site as much as possible (it goes along with mentioned the company name as much as possible), and can be dealt with by normal editing. It is usually possible to make their articles not just encyclopedic, but more effective-- I usually tell them about our Business FAQ, a comprehensive guide to these situations prepared by Durova DGG (talk) 18:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Chat boards

An editor at People's General (a video game?) has objected to the removal of his internet discussion forum from the external links. In addition to wanting his own site listed, he adds that other potentially objectionable sites are also included (downloads, and until recently, another chat board). If any of you have an interest in this, please consider reviewing the remaining links in the article, or putting this article on your watchlist. -- WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:04, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

what the article would contain if it became a Featured article.

I objected some time ago to the criterion

"[one should avoid] Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article."

The discussion then was inconclusive. My interpretation of it is that

  • those favouring the wording
    • want to encourage people to add citation references rather than external links
    • want to prevent editors dumping extra links willy-nilly
  • while those opposing it
    • do not want editors trying to incrementally improve low-quality articles to be held to the standards of featured articles
    • want to make it easy for readers to get access to more information about a topic, even if that means going outside Wikipedia

I propose the following rewording to address these concerns:

"[one should avoid] Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what is already available in the article or in existing links in either the references section or the external links section."

Once the article itself reaches FA standard, the new wording is equivalent to the old one. In an article's earlier stages, it offers more room in what I believe to be a sensible restrained manner. The introduction to this page already states "If the website or page to which you want to link includes information that is not yet a part of the article, consider using it as a source for the article, and citing it." Perhaps this advice could be made stronger or more prominent to allay the other concerns raised in the previous discussion. jnestorius(talk) 10:08, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I think if we can emphasize the request to build content this might be a good change. Apart from anything else I don't think it really reflects current practice (and hence consensus) as it reads now. - SiobhanHansa 15:49, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I have used this link to justify the removal (over objections of website owners) of links that at best contain the same information as the article does, and frequently have substantially less information than the Wikipedia article. I would be sorry to lose this provision.
Editors in substantially incomplete articles have successfully invoked WP:IAR in the service of readers. I'm not really seeing a problem here. I do not support removal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:25, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
No, this is an important provision that must be kept as is, to avoid external link farms and to encourage addition of cited content to our articles, rather than a dump of external links. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:40, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Wording should stay as is. We are not a web directory. Links should be to good quality ones. If not, what's the point? DreamGuy (talk) 23:38, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
How does my proposed rewording fail to address these concerns? I am all for favouring adding cites over adding links, but this intimidating text does not do so: it encourages doing nothing over adding links. There is no equivalent "do not add an image to an article that is unsuitable for a featured article" because a small blurry picture is often better than none at all. jnestorius(talk) 16:29, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Your version says, "Hey, don't bother expanding a short article: you can put just about any informative link in the external links section." The existing version says, "We reject the lazy approach of dumping information in external links. If you really want that information to reach the reader, then put it in the article itself (i.e., use is as a ref, so that WP:EL doesn't apply)."
So far, it hasn't seemed useful to clutter up ELNO with yet another explanation that this policy doesn't apply to refs, or to advertise to potential spammers that using a link as a footnote is a good way to work your website into an article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:34, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Here's the rub: if someone adds to EL a link to a site that installs malware, an inaccurate site, a promo site, or any other of types 2–17 on the list, the proper response by another user is a simple "rv WP:ELMO". If someone adds to EL a link to a good site with extra info, I don't believe the proper response is "rv WP:ELMO", unless another link covers it already. The more links there are already, the more likely that is to be the case. Demanding a minimum level of contribution, and calling any lesser contribution "lazy", is not how a Wiki should work. Suppose you find an interesting PDF in a university document store that's relevant to about 20 Wikipedia articles, all of which are curently short. You're not currently in "Wikipedia edit" mode, but you can easily take 2 minutes to add an EL to all 20 pages. Adding a ref to all 20 would take maybe 20 minutes. Saying that you're "lazy" because you don't have the extra 18 minutes to spare right now is crazy. Maybe you'll get back to it in a few days to tidy it up properly when you have time; in the meantime, the link is a lot better than nothing. jnestorius(talk) 09:07, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
No it isn't, and it certainly is not true if you add the link to 20 articles! What you are doing is making more work for other editors who will have to check if the link is spam, or is useful, or is redundant, etc etc. If you think the link would be useful as a reference, then add it properly, not in a way that wastes the time of other editors, even if it saves your time. Save it to your bookmarks or favorites on your own computer, and add it properly when you have time. 2005 (talk) 10:38, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with User:2005. You've got a userpage; stick the link there until you have time. Drop by Wikipedia:WikiProject Universities and leave them a note about it. Add it properly to one or two pages. Does it really take you that much longer to add <ref></ref> tags around a link instead of square brackets? (Although if you really can identify, load, open, add, preview, and save an external link to a page every six seconds for two minutes straight, then I'm impressed.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:24, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

User replacing all external links with single link to DMOZ category.

(Cross-posted with WP:ANI) A new user has been replacing lists of external links to the relevant DMOZ category page "since Wikipedia is not a directory of links." This is new to me; is this what we're doing now? It hardly seems likely since doing this removes relevant links to issues discussed in articles, and since we have no control over what's selected at DMOZ. At Border Terrier, for example, there was an external link to a page concerning Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, which affects BTs and is discussed in the article; there is no such information in the DMOZ category. If this is undesirable, and it seems to be, then perhaps DMOZ should be specifically mentioned in the guideline. Exploding Boy (talk) 16:02, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Long lists of random links are undesirable. We want citations, not linkfarms. A few relevant links, to "official" pages and the like are fine. I often move linkfarms to the talk page myself. --Adoniscik(t, c) 16:06, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I know that, but that's not the issue here. Exploding Boy (talk) 16:09, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
On that particular example I don't think there was anything wrong with Dogtrainernyc's edit. The clubs don't really meet our guidelines and having more than one makes it a directory. Using a DMOZ link seems like a reasonable compromise (I'd probably have deleted the links without adding a dmoz link personally). The link that supposedly provided information on Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome didn't link directly to the CECS page and when I followed the links to get there there was no information. So it doesn't seem that anything appropriate to the section was lost. If Dogtrainernyc refuses to discuss their changes when asked then their editing is problematic from a collaborative behavior point of view - but I don't see a problem with them being bold initially in this way. It looked like a good change to me. -- SiobhanHansa 17:06, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Border Terrier linked to several terrier clubs. I think the substitution for DMOZ was pertinent in this case since the links were not about terriers in general, and presumably held limited appeal to people not in the vicinity of the club. If it had been links to scientific articles about terriers I would have objected, but not in this case. --Adoniscik(t, c) 16:45, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
It's standard practice on dog breed articles to link to a selection of breed-related clubs. However, this is not an issue solely restricted to this particular article. Anyway, this conversation should, I think, be restricted to the ANI page, where a much more detailed and relevant discussion is taking place. Exploding Boy (talk) 17:07, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Linking to breed clubs is standard practice and well within the guideline. Anyway, as mentioned, the conversation is taking place primarily at ANI. Exploding Boy (talk) 18:31, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
That appears to be the problem. Looking at the new user's edits, some of them like Siberian Husky very appropriate as the external links sections were a mess of basically redundant links. It's pretty much a textbook case where a Dmoz link should be used. Any of these articles with more than five external links to similar organizations probably should get a Dmoz link instead. More than ten should for sure get a Dmoz link instead. That's just way too much overkill. 2005 (talk) 21:52, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
"Linking to breed clubs is standard practice and well within the guideline." It may be done on some articles currently, but it's clearly a violation of WP:EL and WP:NOT. They should be removed. The DMOZ link is a nice compromise. DreamGuy (talk) 02:39, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Replacing external link farms with a dmoz link often is a sound application. Linking to dog clubs seems to be a good example of a sound application for a dmoz link. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:12, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Exploding Boy, between ANI and here you should now be fully aware that your interpretation of how things should work is not the consensus view of what Wikipedia policies say. The ANI thread was closed because the conversation never should have been there in the first place. We are not a web directory... got it? DreamGuy (talk) 02:46, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

On the ANI page there seemed a fair amount of opposition to replacing all external links sections with a link to the DMOZ category, with a preference for keeping spam out of external links sections and keeping relevant links in, for several reasons. It was suggested that this might be a way to deal with heavily link-spammed EL sections, but none of the articles edited by that user appeared to have that problem, so no, it's absolutely not as clear-cut as you are trying to make it, and I'm not sure your reversion of another user's restoration of the external links on the Border Terrier article was appropriate. It should be noted that the user in question is suspected of being a sockpuppet who was replacing external links in an attempt at search engine optimization, and this matter is now being investigated separately (not by me). The ANI thread was closed, but probably prematurely: it was never a content dispute. Finally, it may not have been your intent to be rude, but your post immediately above certainly comes across that way. Exploding Boy (talk) 03:22, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
And in response to your comment above, DreamGuy, I see nothing in either WP:EL or WP:NOT that prohibits linking to breed clubs. EL specifically allows links of this nature (see the section What should be linked). Exploding Boy (talk) 03:39, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
A Dmoz category is not a solution to spam links. Spam should just be removed. A Dmoz link is a solution to multiple good links. For example, while a link to an Arizona breed club may look good in the abstract, links to similar good breed club sites in each of the 50 US states, plus all the Canadian provinces, plus Aussie states... etc., that would just be a link farm mess, even if all those similar sites individually are fine. There are many very broad topics that have dozens or even hundreds of possible high quality links. This is where a Dmoz link is an obvious solution. With dog breeds, in many cases a Dmoz link will be a good idea, but in other cases where there are very few quality sites (or even no Dmoz link) then a few club links would seem a good idea. So, replacing three links to add a Dmoz link when there are no other good links is not a good idea, but replacing a dozen (or especially 20 or more) similar links with a Dmoz link is the right thing to do. Spam is not the issue; the fact that Wikipedia is not an extensive link directory for quality websites is. 2005 (talk) 03:43, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
That's all well and good, and may be a good solution in cases where there are dozens or hundreds of links. But in this particular case, other issues seem likely to have been at work, as mentioned above. As regards the Border Terrier article in particular (which I'm mentioning because it's the article that brought my attention to this issue and it's the one I'm most knowledgeable about), the DMOZ category does not appear a good solution. The information on CECS, for example, which was linked in the original external links section on that page (albeit with a broken link) is not included in the DMOZ category. Additionally, most of the dog breed articles edited by the user in question seem only to have had a small handful of links. So, perhaps some clear statement needs to be made regarding the appropriate use of DMOZ. Exploding Boy (talk) 03:52, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Exploding Boy and 2005, DMOZ is not a solution here. Nor are such drastic changes without discussion on the talk pages first a sensible way to do things. Doug Weller (talk) 04:35, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Dmoz is a good solution for some of the articles, and very generally is a good solution for any article with more than a dozen external links. And in response to Exploding Boy above, if some site is such a great resource on the subject, then it should be able to generate some useful sentence that can be sourced in the article. The fact that these are not used as sources in the articles means there is no major loss if they are simply deleted. Just to glance at one, the Border Terrier article is a pretty poor article. Only one reference. If the five current external links could not manage to generate one reference from them, then basically by definition they should be deleted as being essentially useless. I suspect though that is not the case, and those links probably could be converted to sources. 2005 (talk) 06:44, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

[undenting]Ai...We're going around in circles. As I said above, DMOZ may be a solution for some articles, but of the 8 external links sections replaced by the user I originally mentioned, nearly all had 5 links or less.

2005: you may be right about deleting sources not quoted in the articles, but you may be wrong. A look at WP:EL confirms that "Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail . . . or other reasons[, and] Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article [should be linked]." The fact that the Border Terrier article isn't in great shape is no justification for deleting its small and relevant external links section.

But let's take a closer look at the Border Terrier DMOZ category. Whereas our article contains 5 external links, it contains:

  • 14 breeders' websites (specifically prohibited per WP:EL)
  • 2 breed clubs (one of which was already in the external links of the article)
  • 5 personal "pets" pages (basically sites with photos of people's pet dogs: specifically prohibited by WP:EL)
  • 2 rescue/shelter sites
  • 1 link to a different DMOZ category in English
  • 46 links to the same category in other languages (to be avoided per WP:EL)
  • 1 link with stories about Border Terriers (prohibited)
  • 1 link to the American Kennel Club breed standard
  • 1 link to a Border Terrier webring (prohibited)

The above, plus a look at our own article on DMOZ raises some very good questions about the suitability of that project as even a temporary solution (WP:EL says: Where editors have not reached consensus on an appropriate list of links, a link to a well-chosen web directory category could be used until such consensus can be reached) to external links section problems on Wikipedia. On the whole, I fail to see how linking to DMOZ is any better than, or in any practical sense different from, linking to a Google search result, which is specifically prohibited by WP:EL.

The upshot of all this is that I'm more convinced now that the 8 dog-breed articles whose external links sections were replaced with DMOZ links should have their external links restored (and possibly pruned), and that we need to reexamine DMOZ as a suitable external link on Wikipedia. At the very least, the guideline makes it clear that web directory categories are to be considered a temporary solution in cases where there is disagreement on which links to include. Exploding Boy (talk) 15:33, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Exploding Boy, can you tell me why a reader of this international encyclopedia cares one way or another about a club with 100 members in Northern California? How about a small club in Northeastern America? Furthermore, don't you think that WP:ELNO #13, "the link should be directly related to the subject of the article" might apply? The article is on the dogs, not on clubs for dog owners. I think the existing links should be replaced with these two:
In general, though, the other editor is right. Links to local and regional dog clubs are inappropriate. I'd just delete them, but a DMOZ link is sometimes seen as a more "friendly" option. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:46, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Links to the clubs are given, I presume, because their websites contain good information about the breed that isn't suitable for use in the article, not because the clubs themselves are important. I think the links you give above are fine. I didn't create the links for that article (aside from the one about CECS) and am not concerned with them particularly (that is, I'm not arguing that all of those exact links should be kept): it's fine to prune them down to the best links. But simply replacing them with a DMOZ link was clearly not appropriate in these 8 situations, per WP:EL, which states that web directories can be used in cases in situations where there is disagreement about which links to include: that was not the case here. Exploding Boy (talk) 19:54, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, you are just indiscriminately removing links because they are to 'regional', ie national in most cases, dog clubs. The first Gold Retriver club site I looked at had a lot of information about the breed, which is what I would expect of a nationwide American dog 'club'. It would be more sensible to deal with such links on a case by case basis. Doug Weller (talk) 20:21, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Exploding Boy, most of the small clubs don't provide breed information -- they link to the AKC (or equivalent) pages for information. Their own websites often provide very little original information. Doug, we don't need to provide advertising space even to national clubs -- but I'd be thrilled to have "Golden Retriever Club of X" links turned into "Health information from the Golden Retriever Club of X" links. That sort of link (and label for a link) is much, much more useful to a general reader than "Here's a club website, and there might be some information there, or maybe not." WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:15, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
You are missing the point. Wikipedia is not a link directory, period. Dmoz is. Sometimes its categories are great, sometimes they are horrible. In either case we are not Dmoz. The point is when there are many quality links to link to a link directory instea of 15 or 50 or 500 links ourselves. It's not our business if volunteers at the link directory don't make a good category or not. We have a general policy of what we are not. Really, you should focus on what is the problem here -- poor quality articles. If these sites have valuable information, then show this is case by using them as sources. If they are just copies of a national site, or have nothing original to say, they can't be used as either sources or external links and they should be removed. Some of the articles do not have an excess of external links, but those should be sourced better. The articles that are out of control with external links should have a Dmoz link replacing the link farm, and if any of those external links removed do have something unique of importance to say, then they should be sourced. Either way you cut it, the way these articles are external linked is not good. Improve the articles. The external links section is not a place to dump relevant sites. Lots of sites are relevant to the topic. External links are for a small number sites that meet the criteria of this guideline. When there are many such sites, a Dmoz link should be used because we the policy is we are not a link farm. 2005 (talk) 22:30, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
All of which, again, does not apply in this specific situation. We seem to be talking at several cross purposes in this thread. We agree that, per the current guideline, in situations where there is disagreement regarding which specific links to include in a given article, we can temporarily use a web directory instead. (Whether or not DMOZ is a good choice is another matter, and one which should probably be discussed; the current evidence is that it might not be). Web directory links are a temporary solution to allow for consensus building, which suggests that it is better for us to have control over what specific sites we're linking to from Wikipedia articles. In this specific situation there was no disagreement about the external links, no discussion of or attempt to determine consensus regarding external links, and therefore, per the current guideline, no reason to replace the existing links in 8 dog-related articles with a DMOZ link, even temporarily. Whether the articles and their external links sections need improvement is, again, another matter. Exploding Boy (talk) 22:45, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
In this particular instance (ignoring the fact this editor may have been a spammer making point-y or strategic edits [3]) we have an editor who made a bold edit in keeping with the spirit of this guideline (at least as far as many editors here have seen it). If other editors disagree they should revert and discuss. But there's no good reason to rain criticism on the editor's head for the action they took if no attempt has been made to request they discuss the edit. It's quite clearly within the broad range of actions that many editors find acceptable. Wikipedia has long worked on the basis that you should go ahead with what you think is right and stop to discuss if others disagree with you. -- SiobhanHansa 23:02, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
With respect, I don't think anyone has been raining criticism on the user's head. We have been trying to determine a point of policy. I have purposely avoided reverting for this reason, and because it is clear that this type of change is expressly intended to be temporary anyway (although there has been some reverting back and forth, by other users). And in this case, the user's intent is important. Although it has yet to be determined whether they were acting maliciously, it is clear that they themselves should have discussed prior to making that change, or at very least made an attempt to clean up the external links sections on the relevant pages, if they perceived them as problematic. Exploding Boy (talk) 23:15, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
You've created some false realities. A Dmoz link is not a "temporary solution". In it's best use it is a permanent one. Secondly, a Dmoz link is not something to be used only when there is disagreement. This guideline suggests no such thing. Third, long discussion have taken place and there is a broad consensus both that Dmoz should be the directory linked and that other directories in general shot not be linked (though an exhaustive non-commercial niche directory might be appropriate very rarely instead of Dmoz). And following on this, discussions on this guideline talk page are about this guideline, not specific articles. We make guidelines to broadly cover all the articles in the encyclopedia. Specific articlesmay need more care, or could merit an exception, etc. You have a spcific issue about the dog articles, and hopefully now some clarity. The other editor's actions were not terrible, and was clearly correct for a couple of the articles, though probably not the best action for five or six of the articles. Revert the edit and start a discussion on those talk pages. The articles that had 12+ links, either leave the Dmoz link or start a discussion on the talk page that creates a criteria for external links for that page that cuts the links down to three or four -- and improve the refeneces on these articles, likely by converting some of these external links to sources. of course nobody says you have to do any of this since we all just volunteer, but that is the path to get those articles in shape and have their external links comply with this guideline. 2005 (talk) 00:04, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
We are discussing the guideline, and I think you are mistaken about what it says. WP:EL#Links to be considered says:
"Long lists of links are not appropriate: Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links. If you find a long list of links in an article, you can tag the "External links" section with the {{External links}} template. Where editors have not reached consensus on an appropriate list of links, a link to a well-chosen web directory category could be used until such consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the links/Archive 22 External links/Archive 22 at Curlie (based on DMOZ) template." [Emphasis added]
In other words, as I have said, where disagreement exists over which links to include, web directories can be used temporarily until consensus is reached. I see no indication that it is desirable to use DMOZ as a permanent solution. Exploding Boy (talk) 00:17, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
The fact it is suggested for use where disagreement exists does not mean it cannot be used where there is no disagreement.
PS - Sorry I misunderstood your intent above. It really isn't clear to me what you're trying to achieve on this talk page. Could you perhaps explicitly state what it is you're hoping to get out of this? -- SiobhanHansa 00:45, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

[undenting] I posted here because I wanted to get a handle on the guideline before proceeding with a particular case of a user replacing external links sections in several articles -- I wasn't about to start reverting her additions without being sure of the guideline. That user seems not have to continued doing this, but it seems that discussion of the guideline is still helpful, since clearly several users are disagreeing on its specific intent. For instance, I see nothing in the guideline that suggests that it is preferable or acceptable to use DMOZ in cases where there is no disagreement instead of a short list of external links. Indeed, everything I see in the guideline strongly suggests to me that it is preferable to have a small number of carefully selected links relevant to the article content. Exploding Boy (talk) 00:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I'd agree that overall the guidelines is aiming for a small selection of good links. There's nothing to say a DMOZ link should not be one of the links in an article. I think the area of disagreement that really exists here is that very few editors on this talk page think the links originally on the dog articles were good ones while you apparently do. It doesn't seem like the issue is really about DMOZ. As I see read this discussion the real disagreement is about whether the club link are appropriate. If the editor had removed links most editors thought were good that would probably receive a different response - regardless of whether they added a DMOZ link. -- SiobhanHansa 01:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
We've been discussing several different issues at the same time, so it has been...busy. The first issue was whether or not the user had removed the links inappropriately; this now seems to have been the case, whether for malicious reasons, or perhaps in a good-faith but over-zealous attempt to follow WP:NOT. An issue that emerged from that is whether DMOZ is to be used as a replacement for external links sections. My understanding of the current guideline is that can be, in certain circumstances, and temporarily. You are right that there's nothing in the guideline that prohibits DMOZ being one of a (small) number of external links, but from my reading of the guideline, and from looking at the DMOZ article and the Border Terrier DMOZ category, I would say that DMOZ is not an ideal external link candidate, because they provide links to the types of sites Wikipedia prefers not to link to. As for breed club sites, I think some clubs are better than others: The American or British or Australian X-Breed Club: probably ok. The Middle of Nowhere X-Breed Fancier's Society: probably not so good. So, the upshot is: aim for small sections of good links; prune when necessary; discuss if problematic; replace with a web directory link--possibly DMOZ--temporarily in cases of disagreement, until consensus can be reached. Exploding Boy (talk) 03:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Again it seems you want to tailor all reality to your circumstance. A small collection of links that has consensus is the ideal. That really is obvious. Sometimes this is not possible to achieve -- sometimes because of disagreement over whether a link has merit, and sometimes there is disagreement between dozens or even hundreds of meritable links. In the latter case there is nothing "temporary" about the disagreement. There will never be a consensus about three or four non-Dmoz links for the gambling article. A Dmoz link there is not temporary. It's a permanent solution (at least till something better than Dmoz comes along). Some topics like politics even forego the Dmoz link, but obviously there is similarly nothing "temporary" about the vast amount of great poltics sites and the vast divergence of genuine opinion about what are the best three or four. But then we have much, much, much smaller topics like a dog breed where on one hand three or four links could gain a strong consensus, but on another there could be say 30 similar sites. A Dmoz link is a good compromise if consensus can not be reached (and maintained) either temporarily or permanently. The breeds articles simply need to be improved, with better citations and better control of the external links. In the cases of some breeds consensus on a few links may be impossible and a Dmoz link called for. In others, a few links might gain consensus and a Dmoz link not used. (A Dmoz link should seldom be used with other links; rather any meritable sites in the category should be linked directly.) 2005 (talk) 08:48, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree. It just isn't the case that all breed club sites are spam, as was suggested by at least one editor. There are breed club sites that I think should be in articles and others that clearly shouldn't. Doug Weller (talk) 08:13, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Dog WikiProject be encourage to develop guideline?

  • I'd like to make the point that someone really should go to the dog WikiProject and try to make this a project guideline. Almost every dog breed article I've seen has been stuffed with external links to random breeders. Most are certainly not of encyclopedic value, and it would be nice if the dog project specifically asked people to justify their inclusion on grounds of informational content before adding them. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:06, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
I've put something on the project talk page linking to this discussing and saying that the project should have a clear guideline on external links
Could someone explain (non-technically) what DMOZ is and what it has to do with links? I followed the link at the top of this section and it took me to Open Directory Project, where a power outage is is one of the topics. I'm mystified.
Also I have not seen the breed articles stuffed with external links to random breeders. Could you provide links to those, so I can understand the objection? Thanks..--Hafwyn (talk) 19:47, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
DMOZ is sort of a Wikipedia-for-external-links. There are a billion categories, and anyone can add links to any website in any category. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:58, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Hafwyn I have rarely seen the articles stuffed with links to individual breeders myself - the main focus above was on multiple links to breed clubs - the problems some people saw with them being that the links often simply repeated information already provided or were only relevant to readers in a particular geographic region. The links here (since edited significantly) are the example that was the focus in the discussion above. -- SiobhanHansa 14:48, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
You mean there is just one link that a category of article allows, you click on that and it takes you to the approved list of websites? Is there an example of this I could see somewhere? I really don't understand what this is. --Hafwyn (talk) 14:29, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Maybe I don't understand what you don't understand, but this is dmoz for one breed. (There are 87 links in the category, including ones to beeders, clubs, etc.) 2005 (talk) 00:30, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
You can also see how it's used in Wikipedia here. The first two links are DMOZ links. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:12, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Ah! Now I see, thank you. I was under the impression from the discussion that using "DMOZ" was a way to limit additional references in Wikipedia articles, but I see that it is actually a way to provide even more information. Thank you for the Wikipedia example, that made the usage clear. The Airedale one only references the American Kennel Club, though.--Hafwyn (talk) 18:31, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Re-drafting ELMAYBE 3

ELMAYBE 3 has bothered me for a long while. Under "Links to be considered," we say, "Long lists of links are not appropriate". Um, did we notice that "not too many" is not really a description of a link to be considered?

The full text is this:

Long lists of links are not appropriate: Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links. If you find a long list of links in an article, you can tag the "External links" section with the {{External links}} template. Where editors have not reached consensus on an appropriate list of links, a link to a well-chosen web directory category could be used until such consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template.

I'd like to redraft it to suggest a category of links to be considered, thus:

  • A well-chosen link to a directory of websites or organizations. Long lists of links are not acceptable. A directory link may be a permanent link or a temporary measure put in place while external links are being discussed on the article's talk page. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the [Template: dmoz] template.

The particular example I have in mind is a list of direct service agencies like AIDS hotlines. If our international encyclopedia chooses to provide a link to any AIDS hotline, it should provide a link to something useful to all its readers, not just those that happen to be in a particular place. But (telephony being what it is) there isn't any single AIDS hotline that is actually useful even to all of the English-speaking world, much less the rest of it, and we absolutely do not want dozens and dozens of links. IMO, a single link to a (fairly complete) list of agencies is the best choice here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Did you mean to include the first part of the paragraph in your amended version? This is rather a big change in meaning, and it seems to privilege DMOZ. As I've mentioned above, DMOZ may be problematic in terms of content. Also, while you've brought up a good point (that "not too many" is very vague) your proposal doesn't address this problem. Exploding Boy (talk) 19:33, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I propose exactly what I have placed in the bulleted item. I propose that exactly the words following the * be used to replace all of the existing #3 at ELMAYBE.
My point above is not that Long lists of links are not appropriate is vague as to the number of links. My point is that Long lists of links are not appropriate does not describe a class of links that should be considered for inclusion. WP:ELMAYBE is supposed to list classes of links that should be considered for inclusion. Items in it should not begin with a restatement of general principles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
That seems fine. It would be nice if there was a way to say that a Dmoz link should be used in this circumstance, except when none exists or there is strong consensus to use something else. 99% of link directories are pathetic and should be prohibited from ever being linked, so we should not encourage them to be spammed. A Dmoz link should be used unless a strong consensus exists to choose soemthing else. If no Dmoz category exists, then there is no easy solution no matter what. 2005 (talk) 23:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
It depends on the subject area. For example, I'd probably pick any list by the National Organization for Rare Diseases over DMOZ. But otherwise I agree: DMOZ makes an acceptable default, and from there the editors need to use their judgment. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:38, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I see no particular reason to promote DMOZ. It has been demonstrated above that it may contain undesirable links. Your proposed version also removes some valuable information about tagging. Exploding Boy (talk) 01:47, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
The {{Linkfarm}} template is already listed in ==See also==. Ideally, editors will remove inappropriate links, not just tag them. But if you think it's valuable, I'm willing to have an entire section dedicated to maintenance and review. I'm not willing to have it stuck in the middle of an item in a list of links that you might want to consider.
I don't mind recommending the DMOZ directory -- it is often a suitable choice, especially since you can add all the existing WP links to it -- but I also don't want to say anything that indicates that it's the only choice. Thus we start with the general statement of "a well-chosen link to a directory", and later suggest DMOZ as one example among many possibilities. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:03, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
 Done WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Sister links templates for Wikia wikis

See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#External link templates to (mainly) Wikia sites and ongoing discussion at Template talk:FreeContentMeta. Is there a standing consensus to use stylized boxes (very similar to, say, {{commons}} or {{wiktionary}}) to link to some other sites, primarily to other wikis, and mostly to wikis hosted by Wikia? – Luna Santin (talk) 08:52, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

So far as this guideline is concerned, these things should be deleted on site whenever they are spammed. They are never appropriate. Wikis not only should rarely get linked at all, they should even more rarely get external link templates, and the idea they should get deliberately misleading stylized boxes is ridiculous. 2005 (talk) 11:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
User:2005 seriously overstates the guideline. Links to wikis are not encouraged but are technically permitted under certain circumstances, which have nothing to do with the organization hosting them. To the extent that a special box would both give them official-looking sanction and take up unnecessary space (see Muffin#External links), I'd oppose this approach. What's wrong with using a normal external link format, or a one-line template (along the lines of {{MerckManual}})? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I didn't overstate anything. Please refrain from being confusing. These templates are not approved by, mentioned, or recognized in any way by this guideline. The basic issue here is somebody made some templates for some external links that are different than other external links templates, and these things are treated differently than other external links. There is no mention in this guideline about double-super-special external links getting special treatment. All external links should follow this guideline. Any external links or structures or HTML that don't meet this guideline should be removed. There is no point to a guideline if someone can just make a template for any sort of external link they want, and place that template anywhere they want on a page. 2005 (talk) 21:40, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
To answer the original question, no, there absolutely is not a standing consensus to use stylized boxes to link to other sites or other wikis... those boxes are generally not even used to things we do link to, and we do not generally link to other wikis per our rules on "Links normally to be avoided" points 1 and 12. DreamGuy (talk) 22:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
No consensus has been established either way, for the record (of this talk page, that is). -- Ned Scott 04:58, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
This is false. There is a longstanding consensus on this page that "the standard format is to place them in a bulleted list under a primary heading at the end of the article", plus infoboxes at the lead of the article. The bulleted list concept has been in place for basically forever, as the history of the guideline attests. 2005 (talk) 06:45, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
WP:LAYOUT#Links_to_sister_projects mentions these templates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:55, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
It most certainly does not. These are not sister projects! Wikitionary and Wikibooks are sister projects. The topic under discussion involves links to websites that are not a part of the Foundation. These are links to wikis unrelated to the wikipedia. 2005 (talk) 06:47, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Considering the *very poor quality* of the information in most of the sister links, it's surprising that we allow them at all anywhere, unless the info in one of them specifically meets WP:EL. They should routinely be removed as the unreliable spam that they often are, or at best, they should be closely scrutinized. When stuttering lost its featured status due to spam/adverts, the advert/spam info simply moved over to and was apparently welcomed at Wikibooks. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:18, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

The same could be said for some of the Wikipedia articles we wikilink to though :-) I agree more scrutiny of sister links would be advisable though I also see why there is a desire within Wikipedia to promote them and I don't think it's unreasonable. Promoting external wikis takes things much further though. I don't see benefit to the project in promoting wikis in particular and it certainly isn't condoned by this guideline. -- SiobhanHansa 07:38, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Just to try and clear up the mistaken title of this thread, the topic under discussion has nothing to do with sister links to stuff like Wikibooks. The issue is 'fancy' templates were made that violate this guideline that link to completely unrelated wikis with zero "sister" affiliation. 2005 (talk) 07:49, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance and review

Per one of the above discussions, I've started a new section, Wikipedia:External links#Maintenance and review. My goal was to provide some practical how-to-review information to someone that would like to become an anti-spam warrior, without specifying that a specific procedure needs to be followed. Please expand and revise it as you see fit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:12, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comment - The Ross Institute Internet Archives

Please see Talk:Erhard_Seminars_Training#Request_for_Comment_-_The_Ross_Institute_Internet_Archives. Thank you, Cirt (talk) 01:42, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Style or content?

Is this guideline better classified as a style guideline or as a content guideline? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:19, 3 September 2008 (UTC)


Do external links need to be vetted for authenticity before inclusion? What would that process be? I wary of "official" sites simply being fan sites with improper nomenclature, especially for deceased subjects. Re this, can I get input on this EL inclusion: [4]? — pd_THOR | =/\= | 02:27, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

The process is: You vet all the external links that you want to add, plus all the links that you think someone else didn't properly vet before adding. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:16, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Archived versions

I have a serious concern with some of the current wording under the dead links section:

Such dead links should either be removed, or updated with archived versions, which might be found at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

I think encouraging archives is a direct violation of or prohibition against linking to sites with copyright violations. Archive sites -- whether they be unofficial archives of news articles on personal sites or organizations who want to use the article to promote a cause or some organization specifically devoted to archiving the Internet-- do not get prior permission to duplicate copyrighted material. They just work under the assumption that they can violate copyrights until such time as they get a cease and desist. If those sites want to do that, they can decide to do that, but I think that's counter to how we at Wikipedia are instructed to deal with copyrights. If a site is down, it's down, perhaps because they site went out of business/owner lost interest (which tends not to be sites we link to anyway) or the person who had the info up decided to take it down for some reason -- and we don't have any overwhelming need or policy-based reason to have a link to it anymore that would overrule our good faith adherence to copyright laws. DreamGuy (talk) 22:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I never understood this line. is a copyvio site, but aside from that it is just obnoxious to do things like liink to an page when a website has removed an article (or put it in its pay section). There is no justification for this line in regards to external links. (We aren't talking about citations here.) The line should be Such dead links should either be updated or removed. 2005 (talk) 23:14, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If that's the accepted copyright status of sites like (and it seems reasonable - it had just not occurred to me before) I support 2005's suggested wording. -- SiobhanHansa 09:53, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I also support shortening this rule, and as that makes 100% agreement among four editors, I'll also make the change. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Comments: I revert your edit to WP:DEADLINK the changes where to a description of the {{dead link}}. I should note that it many of the link found there and with my tool are reference external links. While I tend to agree that Wayback Machine appears on the surface to be a copyright infringer. It maybe alot more complicated with US law and status as a library which might make it eligible for US copyright exemptions.
I do not think we should be tracking down the legal status of every work that we link to. An example: researcher may put a journal paper of his on his website which he does not hold the copyright to. Should we research to see that he actually holds redistribution rights?
Finally, the dead link issue is rather an annoying thing at FAC, and finding new sources because a link has disappear isn't always fun. — Dispenser 23:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
This comment is addressed to DreamGuy, and would ideally have been left at WP:DEADLINK's talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:56, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I do not believe is "a copyvio site". I believe that this change goes in the wrong direction and should be reverted. My remarks on the matter can be found at Wikipedia talk:Dead external links#No reason to link to an archive copy of a page. If someone finds it useful to copy them here or elsewhere, you have my blessing, but I think I've now said my piece. - Jmabel | Talk 03:53, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Even if it's not a copyright violation (something that reasonable people seem to be able to disagree on), the fact is that it's not really a functional website. We don't want to be recommending that people use the Internet Wayback Machine for external links. We aren't prohibiting it's use; we are just no longer recommending it as the correct response to a dead link. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:09, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Frankly, our copyright rules mean that we should outright prohibit its use. DreamGuy (talk) 20:50, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm finding it very hard to follow the thread, as this discussion continues both here and at Wikipedia talk:Dead external links.My concern is not so much the inclusion of these in the external links section as such, but with the use of them in citations. Is there a proposed substitute that will do as much to preserve the integrity and usefulness of the citation apparatus? - Jmabel | Talk 22:49, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

This guideline only deals with NON-citations. Nothing in this guideline effects or comments on what to do about citations. 2005 (talk) 23:14, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

New footnote

We end up defining "recognized authority" every few months, and it came up again at WT:CITE recently, so I thought I'd save us a bit of trouble and provide a more permanent "definition" in a footnote. Please feel free to copyedit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:29, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

I removed the excess detail that was both CREEPy and opened the door for any objection at all to make someone unrecognized. We have a notability guideline. We don't need to reinvent the wheel on that, and the "recognized authority" text means that if Michael Jordan writes on brain surgery, he may be notable but he has no recognized authority/notability on this topic. 2005 (talk) 00:27, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
The note is significant and should be in the main text, to make it more likely that readers will see it. I incorporated a trimmed version. TheSeven (talk) 18:10, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

ELNO #3?

I think that links to "[a]ny site that attempts to surreptitiously install malware on a visitor's computer" should probably be forbidden completely, rather than merely being discouraged. (talk) 18:24, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

That's probably a good idea. We probably also ought to mention that such sites should be reported to the spam blacklist on meta (though I hate to see that section get longer). -- SiobhanHansa 19:11, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that such sites should never be linked, but I wonder whether this really meets the "technical or policy reasons" that is the basis of ELNEVER? (That is, ELNO is our list, and ELNEVER is the list that was handed down from on high.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:50, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

ELs must be in full compliance with Wikipedia official policies

What does this mean? That external links must comply with WP's civility and dispute resolution policies? It's hard ot imagine any site being in "full compliance" with all of Wikipedia's policies. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:00, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

What I think this is supposed to mean is that external links should comply with the policies at Wikipedia:List of policies#Content and style. They should not be attack pages (obviously), adhere to the BLP policy (obviously, too), be neutral, contain no original research and be verfiable. I'm not sure about this, tho. I mean, Barack Obama's homepage certainly isn't very neutral, is it? I'm sure it contains lots of original research, too. --Conti| 22:11, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
It just means this guideline follows the WP:BLP policy. That policy trumps this guideline. It probably should just say: External links in biographies of living persons must be of high quality and in full compliance with WP:BLP. 2005 (talk) 00:26, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Even taking the much narrower language proposed by 2005, it still doesn't make sense. External links are held to a lower standard than source, not a higher standard. We don't require sources to be neutral, to avoid original research, or for their assertions to be verifiable. This provision is so broad it excludes almost everything. For example, newspapers all engage in original research. Many personal websites of biography subjects are not neutral. Probably the majority of all external links contain information that isn't otherwise verifiable. I'd endorse a direct statement that we shouldn't link to attack pages, but this prohibition is drawn so broadly that it excludes virtually everything. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:46, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
External links are held to a lower standard than source. Why should we link to poor sources at all? and why should we not request more scrutinity on BLPs? Of couse we should, per the spirit of the policy itself. Unless you thing that linking to sites such as should be allowed in the article about the current President of the USA, that is. Maybe extreme, but makes the point ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:56, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to a prohibition on linking to attack sites. But the NY Times engages in original research, a hypothetical "Reelect Bush" website isn't likely to be neutral, and a biography subject's blogged autobiography is going to contain unverifiable information. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
The current statement may be overly broad in an obvious way, but under the BLP heading it is perfectly appropriate to say the external links guideline must follow on the BLP policy. The point is BLPs are different than other articles, and there is a policy about it. The wording I mention above is much clearer and that (or soemthing similar) should be used. 2005 (talk) 21:01, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
But if we go with that language we'd have ot remove links to newspapers (original research), to the subject's own webpages (non-neutral, original research, non-verifiable), and to just about every other website. Do we want to have a "no external links in BLPs" policy? That's what this amounts to. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:03, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Where do you get that from? The BLP policy doesn't prohibit newspapers or a subjects own website. I think you need to reread it. It merely is saying no copyvio, etc. 2005 (talk) 21:08, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
The BLP policy says that all BLP articles must adhere to "no original research", "verifiability", and "NPOV". This language extends that requirement to ELs. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:16, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I do agree though the current wording is poor since it could be read that ELs in BLPs have to follow all wiki policies which is absurd on its face. The point is only to follow the BLP guideline, not dispute resoltion, etc. 2005 (talk) 21:04, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
That doesn't make sense either. The BLP policy sets strict standards for neutrality, verification, no original research, no undue weight, etc. We can never reasonably expect Els on BLPs to follow all these principles. Moreschi (talk) 21:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
External links are held to different standards than sources rather than necessarily lower ones. But they do tend to allow for more opinion and sometimes the core of a link is good but there is less well established information on the page as well. That can be particularly problematic for BLP articles. I think 2005's wording is a nice way to tighten up the language. But if people still find that obtuse perhaps we should change it to say something more like External links may not be used to link to material that would be considered in violation of our BLP policy regardless of whether they otherwise meet these guidelines.? -- SiobhanHansa 21:09, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I prefer SiobhanHansa's wording. Excellent. 2005 (talk) 21:12, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, guys, but if we wanted ELs on BLPs to be fully compliant with the BLP policy, we would have no ELs on BLP articles. Which is just silly. Will is essentially correct. Obviously we should avoid linking to scurrilous-cum-libellous material, but beyond that? Moreschi (talk) 21:05, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

You both seem to be jumping to an odd conclusion that you are not spelling out. 2005 (talk) 21:11, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Moreschi - why not? -- SiobhanHansa 21:13, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
So we can't link to newspapers, because they contain original research? And we can't link to the subject's own website, because it probably contains non-neutral material. And we can't link to any site that contains information that can't be verified from other sources, according to WP:V? What kinds of links are left that we would be able to link to? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:14, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Not many. Have you actually read BLP recently, 2005? It's very, very strict. Moreschi (talk) 21:17, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Much of a do about nothing. If you have a quality newspaper, use it as a source. Same applies to all other type of sources. If the EL is not good enough for the BLP, don't link. That simple. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, yes. I wish the actual wording reflected your common sense. Moreschi (talk) 21:17, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Give it a go. It should not be that difficult to tweak and clarify. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:18, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Note that we'll need to also change the language in WP:BLP#External links, on which this is based. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:19, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Will - I'm not clear on how you come to that conclusion. We can use newspapers and the subject's own site in BLP articles as sources so there's no reason we couldn't use similarly appropriate links in the external links section. Maybe I'm missing some discussion that's been brewing at the BLP page. Is this concern broader than this guideline? -- SiobhanHansa 21:19, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
All newspapers engage in original research. BLP says no original research. Therefore, if ELs must comply with BLP then we cannot link to newspapers. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Original research is original research by us. We put the original research of expeerts into our articles otherwise there's be no research mentioned at all. -- SiobhanHansa 21:27, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Exactly, which is why this policy makes no sense. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:30, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Other people seem to make sense of it without coming to the conclusion you have. Is the interpretation you're suggesting here generally used to stop reliable sources being used because they are "original research"? And if so could you point me to some cases? -- SiobhanHansa 21:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Again, that's exactly my point. This language does not reflect actual practice on Wikipedia. If we want to allow external links that conduct original research, then saying that external links must comply with WP:BLP is the wrong way to go. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:45, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Look, if you're saying "ELs must be BLP-compliant", which you are, that logically means that ELs have to be fully verified, contain no original research, contain no undue weight, and be fully neutral. Because these are the standards WP:BLP demands. Moreschi (talk) 21:21, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I see that more as each link doesn't have to be fully neutral or contain no undue weight but the balance shouldn't be unreasonable. As for no unverified claims - we shouldn't be linking to unverified claims for BLPs. -- SiobhanHansa 21:25, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
What if the unverified claims are on the subject's own website? What if they aren't neutral, or say something derogatory about a 3rd-party? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:31, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
We don't link to that page. But we could link to the home page.... I doubt it that the site of a notable BLP will have derogatory comments about third parties, and if it does we don't link. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:33, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
That's not clear from the proposed language. And what if the subject's website contains unverifiable claims or original research? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Will, you've missed the point about original research. WP:NOR prohibits an activity when it is undertaken by editors at Wikipedia. It does not say one word about what a reliable source can or can't do. Your interpretation would eliminate every single reliable source in the world. It would no longer be possible to verify anything in the encyclopedia, because every possible source would be accused of having engaged in "original research." WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:47, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree entirely, which is why saying that external links must not engage in original research is senseless. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:50, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Alternatively, and much more sensibly, external links automatically comply with NOR. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
That'd be a sensible addition to the language. The two other big policies that are left to deal with are WP:V and WP:NPOV. Must all linked sites, even the subject's own blog, only contain neutral and verifiable information? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:55, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

<< No so fast... The principle behind that wording is clear. What is needed is better wording and/or explanation of what that means. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't think we need to change the wording at all. The principle is apparently perfectly clear to anyone that isn't trying to be WP:POINTy about it. Furthermore, it's possible for an editor to violate NOR in the choice of external links. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:12, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

This is much ado about nothing at all, or rather an absurdly obscure reading of a sentence. I don't even know why original research is being mentioned here at all. We can't have an external link to a wikipedia article!! C'mon, this is silly. SiobhanHansa made a common sense imprrovement on the wording. if no one has problems with that, let's change it and move on. 2005 (talk) 23:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not raising this problem to disrupt - the current language has been used as an excuse for deleitng links to actual sources. Let's make the language match the actual principle, upon which we all seem to agree. I'll propose an alternative: External links in biographies of living persons must be of high quality and the selection of them must not be used to attack living individuals, or to promote original research.' That, or something like it, would make it clear that it isn't the external links themselves, but our selection of them that has to follow policy. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:12, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
That's complete nonsense. Why on Earth would anybody agree with that?? Wikipedia has nothing against original research by others. 2005 (talk) 23:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
OK, then why don't we just say what we mean? External links in biographies of living persons must be of high quality and should not include attack pages. That's what we're trying to prohibit, right? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:30, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
No, Not only that. We exclude links to blogs (and personal pages) written by non-experts, links to material that carries controversial material that would not be acceptable as a source for the article, etc, etc, etc. Basically as BLP is to V (a higher threshold for inclusion), ELs in BLPs have to be of much higher quality than for non-BLPs. Simple. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:35, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Because that is not what we mean. We mean the BLP policy trumps this guideline. We mean all external articles, not just attack pages, are judged by a higher standard for living people articles than other articles. Seriously now, what is your problem with SiobhanHansa text? What are you objecting to? Be specific please. 2005 (talk) 23:36, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Is this the SiobHansa text you're referring to? External links may not be used to link to material that would be considered in violation of our BLP policy regardless of whether they otherwise meet these guidelines. Well, what does that mean? Our BLP policy forbids original research and requires that articles be verifiable and neutral. We've already agreed here that that is not the actual standard we have for ELs, and that it would be impractical to set that as the rule. What I think we all agree here is that ELs should not be used as a backdoor way of violating the BLP policy. We just need to find language that reflects that. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
all external articles, not just attack pages, are judged by a higher standard for living people articles than other articles - Exactly. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:38, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"A higher standard" is fine, though a bit vague. "Must comply fully with all Wikipedia policies" is very specific and unrealistic. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:49, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

<<< For example, we will not add an external link to Sarah Palin, such a this Palin: Hillary Clinton's "Whining" Turned Me Off even if it is factually accurate. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:41, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

We don't link to that article because it's basically just opinion and an attack. But we do link to the McCain/Palin campaign website, even though it contains attacks on Obama/Biden. How do we describe the difference? Simply saying links must comply with BLP doesn't cover it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:49, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, though we might not link to that page, we might link to another page on the Huffington Post. We need to make it clear whether one bad page poisons the whole site. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:55, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Wait. Will, I see that you've written "the current language has been used as an excuse for deleitng links to actual sources."
This guideline has nothing at all to do with sources. External links are not sources. I want an actual example in a real article before we get any further. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:14, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
The dispute that got me looking at this is here, Talk:Lyndon LaRouche#BLP. The argument there is that we cannot link to a copy of a source, because the website that hosts the excerpt also contains information that an editor claims would violate BLP. One of the editors has pointed to this policy as a reason to delete the external link, even though the link itself is to a reliable source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:20, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
You are in the wrong place. This guideline has absolutely, positively nothing to do with links to reliable sources.
Please go back to that talk page and tell them to read the (four? five?) places in this guideline that we specify that this guideline has nothing to do with "convenience links" to reliable sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, but I know where I am. While that dispute is what brought me here, the issue is with the language on this guidline and on the BLP policy, both of which make the illogical assertion that ELs in BLPs must themselves comply fully with the BLP policy. We all agree that ELs do not need to meet the BLP policy, and it would be impractical for them to do so. We still have to fix the language so that other users don't look at the these two pages and draw the same incorrect conclusion. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:44, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
PS: I see you added :This guideline does not limit convenience links to reliable sources in biographies of living people. While that addresses the one dispute, I don't think it fixes the problem. I've asked over at WP:BLP if there are objections to adding parallel language to that policy. Since it trumps this guideline, it's even more important to get it right there. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:48, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
This is a guideline and BLP is a policy. BLP carries this same text, so you would be better served discussing this at WT:BLP ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:47, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Changed the text here to mirror what it is said at WP:BLP ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:51, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, that still leaves us with policy language that doens't reflect practice or practicality. However since that policy language is the root of the problem, it's probably best to continue this discussion at that talk page rather than here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:54, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that what several people are saying here is that there is no such a "problem" ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:56, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

<<< This guideline does not limit convenience links to reliable sources in biographies of living people. What does that mean? And what does convenience links have to do with the EL guideline?≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:17, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

It means that the endless string of statements like "The subject of this guideline is external links that are not citations of article sources" and "This guideline does not apply to inline citations, which appear in the "References" or "Notes" section" and "Note however, that the matter is different for references..." and "Sites that have been used as sources in the creation of an article should be cited in the article, and linked as references, either in-line or in a references section. Links to these source sites are not "external links" for the purposes of this guideline..." applies to BLP articles just as much as any other article. This guideline does not apply to external links that are listed in the references section.
As for Will's insistence that there's a problem: I don't see an actual problem in a real article. The fact that a POINTy editor could deliberately misinterpret the statements incorrectly is unimportant to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:13, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, there are plenty of "POINTy" editors out there. Let's make the policies and guidelines as clear as possible so they won't be open to misinterpretation. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:22, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance and review

I did a lot of redundancy reducing on this section;[5] there should be no change in content (at least, none was intended). I recommend User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a: redundancy exercises. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:52, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

About sister links

I have removed "does not apply to links to sister projects" from the scope of this guideline. It is increasingly clear to me (and I believe also to several of you) that sister projects should be addressed at least briefly here. The major reasons are these:

  • When we wrote that, "sister projects" in practice really meant "Wiktionary". I favor language here that specifically allows inline, clickable links to Wiktionary for words that might not be familiar to the average student, or to declare that this guideline does not apply to Wiktionary, but does apply to all other sister projects.
  • The sister projects have remarkably uneven quality. There are some great pages; there are some (many) disasters. An external link to, say, Wikibooks ought to be treated just like any other website: it's inclusion should be (1) listed under ==External links== and (2) justifiable under this guideline.
  • Links to some of the less, um, supervised sister projects have occasionally been used to circumvent major policies, including WP:V and WP:NPOV. If we wouldn't accept the link when published on someone's personal website, then it's beyond stupid to have the same person paste the same text into a page at a sister project and then link to that. Changing the location of unacceptable material does not magically make the material acceptable.
  • A few editors seem to link to sister projects very carelessly, possibly without even checking to make sure that the target page is worth linking to. This practice (although rare) should be discouraged.

I'd like to get reactions from other editors here on whether or not it is worthwhile introducing a short section on sister projects (perhaps after #Rich media), or whether a simple statement someplace about it applying to sister links is good enough. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:31, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

A discussion seems fine, but I don't understand the text you just added. They are not "clickable links"? But they are. Also the interlanguage links are different so they should be separated out. I don't think anyone has a problem with how the languages are listed in the lower left of pages. 2005 (talk) 10:06, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Not on my screen. Try this: Go to WP:EL. There are about 35 interlanguage "links" to this guideline. How many can you click on at the end of this guideline? I see, and therefore can click on, exactly zero. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:58, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmm? If you're using the MonoBook skin, the interwiki links appear in the column on the very left. - Eureka Lott 19:07, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
So they do! And here I've been manually editing URLs for a year to switch between wikis. Thanks. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Since removal of the text brings us into conflict with the sister projects style guideline as well as current practice I have reverted until a consensus is reached. It seems there is already a discussion underway at the sister projects talk page. It might be better to concentrate discussion there. -- SiobhanHansa 12:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
The exemption for sibling links was added on May 14 by one user with little consensus or discussion and over some disagreement.[6] It is the Sister projects page that is out of sync with most other guidelines and policy and needs to be synced. I've removed the text as it was added on scant consensus and brings this page into conflict with many other guidelines and policies. And WhatamI's change is not in disagreement with current best practice, the Sister projects page is. I agree that interlanguages are different, but I don't believe this page precludes that; if we need to address that we should, so I added that text back, but Sister projects are not exempt from our more important WP:V or WP:EL, WP:RS, WP:LAYOUT, WP:ADVERT, WP:SPAM, WP:COI, WP:NPOV and WP:COPYRIGHT guidelines and policies. That these changes have been pushed through in the last few months, and affect the integrity of our articles, is a concern. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:37, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
There was no disagreement about the exemption for sister projects voiced on the talk page - the disagreement was about the exempting all interwiki links - and 2005 altered the text to ensure reflection of the view that exemption was limited to sister projects. I don't think your reversion is justified. I definitely agree with the what I believe is the intent of the changes to improve the standards applied to sister wiki links. But I don't think this a good way to go about it. -- SiobhanHansa 14:07, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
The Sister projects page (which should be renamed to Sibling projects) is out of sync with practice and numerous other policy and guideline pages, and that discrepancy is impacting many pages and articles. I don't know of anyone with any credibility who won't acknowledge there is variable quality in the Sibling projects and some of them are quite problematic; our guidelines wrt Siblings crept out of sync, including the May change, and the big picture needs to be readdressed. Do you disagree with that? In the meantime, style guidelines are enforced at WP:FAC via WP:WIAFA, so the discrepancies and variations with best practice shouldn't be left in the page while the situation is being addressed. LAYOUT is a long-standing and off-cited guideline, and that a change here crept in unnoticed in May needs to be rectified; it is unclear why the change wasn't included at User:Tony1/Monthly updates of styleguide and policy changes/May 2008, but that contributed to it being relatively unnoticed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:16, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Encyclopedia of Alabama

User:Encyclopediaofalabama has recently added links to several articles, I believe in good faith, to the Encyclopedia of Alabama: a project run by the University of Alabama Press, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and Auburn University. User:Themfromspace has deleted all of these links as an understandable interpretation of Wikipedia:EL#Advertising_and_conflicts_of_interest. I can understand this, although Themfromspace has also been deleting Encyclopedia of Alabama links from additional pages like Harper Lee. Given Harper Lee's unique connection to Alabama and the nature of the source (article written by Nancy G. Anderson of Auburn University Montgomery and published by the three sources mentioned), I think such links should be allowed to remain (This link was added independently by User:Dystopos back in June 9, 2005). I also think instead of all the warnings it would be best to simply explain to Encyclopediaofalabama Wikipedia:EL#Advertising_and_conflicts_of_interest and that if such links are to be added, they should first be mentioned on the talk page for editors to decide on inclusion. --Jh12 (talk) 00:11, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you completely. - Jmabel | Talk 23:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Me too, it is very sad the way in which some editors and admins are so opposed to the addition of relevant, useful links. Unfortunately, our policies as they stand and are interpreted are opposed to editors with access to such useful material actually adding it to articles. DuncanHill (talk) 16:51, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

JSTOR links

Can someone clarify specifically whether links to are within policy? This is a database of scholarly articles which can be read by paid subscription only. The policy on the Citations and External Links pages reads:

The purpose of citing sources is to ensure that the content of articles can be checked by any reader or editor. ... one should avoid ... links to sites that require payment or registration to view the relevant content, unless the site itself is the subject of the article, or the link is a convenience link to a citation. ... Sites that require registration or a paid subscription should be avoided because they are of limited use to most readers. ... A site that requires registration or a subscription should not be linked unless the web site itself is the topic of the article or is being used as an inline reference.

But some people on other talk pages say it's ok to add JSTOR links as long as a citation of the original print source is also given. (Maybe the part about "inline reference" is a loophole, but I don't understand what that means.) Strawberryjampot (talk) 18:05, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia has separate guidelines for external links and references. What works well for one may not be appropriate for the other. So, while Jstor links can be very handy for references, they do not belong in an article's external links section. If you're still concerned about The Greek Myths article, the Jstor links are being used properly there. - Eureka Lott 18:41, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
"Inline reference" means that the link is being used as a citation for information. Most footnotes on Wikipedia are inline references. Citations exist to show that material is supported by reliable sources. Many reliable sources are not freely accessible, but are available via many library systems. There is no meaningful difference between a JSTOR reference and a reference to a print source — either one is verifiable by going to an academic library, where you can either check out the journal in question or view it via the library's JSTOR subscription. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:57, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


Please share some thoughts on how the External Links guidelines (what to include / what not to include), would apply to the usage of a link to "flickr tagged images of 'x'" in an article about 'x'. See, for example, the Syon House article. Thanks, Lini (talk) 12:27, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I am opposed to Flickr external links. I think Flickr is an interesting and useful web site. The biggest problem I see is that the content seems to be pretty dynamic. I have seen a number of cases where copyvio images are used there. They may be eventually caught and tagged, but there is an indeterminant window when a link to a Flickr copyvio may be available. Also, external link directly to images, rather than images in the article namespace are a bad idea. It would be used as a mechanism to get around the normal standards within Wikipedia on images. If an image is worth linking to in an EL section, then why can't it be brought into commons and go through the normal process. Even using this method from commons, I have seen where a Flickr image brought into Commons was marked initially as cc-by-sa-2.0, but goiung back to the link to Flickr, the image on Flickr says "All Rights Reserved". Sure, if it "had" been put in the public domain via cc-by-sa-2.0, it can't be put back to all rights reserved, but are we going to get in a legal battle with the photographer to force using an image? Well, that topic is outside of the scope of this conversation. The point is, Flickr images are too volatile, transient and untrustworthy. We should not be dependent on the image policies used by Flickr (which are different from our own) and the capability and efficacy of their enforcement of their policies. Atom (talk) 14:44, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Flickr is on user:XLinkBot's revertlist for these reasons, it gets often spammed, or there are copyright problems with it. There are only few cases where the link is appropriate, but often it is better to upload the images onto a wikimedia server. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:52, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like search engine results to me, and therefore inappropriate under WP:ELNO #9. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:02, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't view Flickr links as an equivalent of search engine result pages, because the site relies on a folksonomic approach. Every image is tagged by a human, as opposed to machine-generated content of SERPs. Whether folksonomic links are appropriate external links is worth discussing, but it's a broader issue than just Flickr. - Eureka Lott 17:33, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's good enough. Nearly every page that Google indexes was created by a human, too. The problem with search engine results is not just the fact that people are smart enough to run their own searches; it's that we can't evaluate them usefully because the content changes every day. It's the same problem that we have with links to blogs: a great piece today -- but next month, it could be garbage, and we'd have no way of knowing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Flikr or no, just links to a bunch of images don't have an encyclopedic purpose. Regardless of where and how these images come up, they are not appropriate per our standards, and the fact that flikr has copyright problems, etc. makes them just that much worse and inappropriate as external links. DreamGuy (talk) 20:47, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

My reaction to the Flikr link is in line with DreamGuy's observation - it does not seem to contribute encyclopedia-standard information to the article (Syon House). Thanks, everyone, for your input. I am going to go ahead and remove the link. --Lini (talk) 20:16, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Unless the article is about a specific Flickr photostream itself (unlikely, but who knows someday) I'd say avoid it for now. The only exception would be if we had an article about a notable person, and their flickr stream was involved in their notability, or it served as their principle personal website, in which case it's just any old personal site link. rootology (C)(T) 23:26, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Linking to Songs on YouTube that are uploaded to YouTube by the copyright holder

Hi! I linked songs on YouTube to their corresponding artist page on Wikipedia. I was careful to make sure that the version of the song was one that was uploaded to YouTube by the record company or artist that (I thought) owned copright to those songs. My links were reverted nevertheless. I'm discouraged. Please help me understand how to proceed on this. I believe it really strengthens an artist page on Wikipedia when there are direct links to that artist's songs. Are songs directly uploaded to YouTube by an artist or record company not legal to link to? If yes, am I okay to revert the reverts?  :-[ (Whose responsibility would that be? I'm sad at all the time I've wasted if I was operating under the wrong impression.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by RichLindvall (talkcontribs) 10:19, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

As long as you are 100% confident that the copyright holder put the work up on YouTube, you can link to it; however, it is generally the case that such songs are linked only from the individual song articles. If you only have the artist's page on WP, you may want to link to the provide that contains all their submissions instead of individual songs. --MASEM 12:25, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not seeing a purpose to link to a video, and I don't feel comfortable with people off the street deciding that the group uploaded it (because most everybody would just choose to assume they did... it'd open ourselves up to massive copyright violations). Better to link to an official site with the video, if at all. DreamGuy (talk) 20:53, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

You got an example? rootology (C)(T) 23:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)


Point 11 currently reads as follows.

Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority (as a minimum standard, recognized authorities always meet Wikipedia's notability criteria for biographies).

Blogs and personal web pages are two different things; so it seems odd to me that they are listed so closely together. The portion of the sentence about personal web pages seems fine. I question the portion about blogs though: many blogs are devoted to specialized topics, and can be very useful to know about. Is the point worded correctly? Should it instead read "personal blogs and web pages"?   TheSeven (talk) 18:16, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

The point is that blogs (of all sorts) and personal web pages tend to have very limited fact checking and editorial oversight of the sort that would make them reliable. They also tend to be more on the opinion side of things than the summary of current understanding side. So only those written by people whose general ramblings could be considered particularly pertinent (regardless of whether they had been fact checked etc.) should be included. A blog from a well respected institution and/or that uses well regarded contributor(s) and is known for the particular topic might be appropriate for instance. But a blog that is simply by, say, a minor academic, even at the same institution, probably wouldn't be. -- SiobhanHansa 19:33, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Kind thanks for explaining. I was thinking primarily about technical subjects, where there is some opinion, but the discussions are mostly about technical issues. For example, there might be a blog on R, or on some aspects of stereos, or on some special type of automobile. Such blogs can be very useful for people in getting up to speed on the subject, yet they might be run by persons who are not notable enough for a Wikipedia entry. I understand what you are saying about reliability. My view, though, is that readers of a Wikipedia article on the subject would benefit from being directed, via External links, to important blogs on technical subjects. And I thought benefit should be the main criterion.   TheSeven (talk) 20:22, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Benefit is subjective. In the end, we are here to provide encyclopedic information and not to be a web directory. Most blogs of any sort do not meet our standards. DreamGuy (talk) 20:46, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I understand your point about "encyclopedic infomation", and I agree that general blogs do not fit that. Thanks much for explaining. TheSeven (talk) 21:23, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Blogs and personal websites aren't automatically different things. Someone's blog may be their personal website. Just tossing that out there. rootology (C)(T) 23:28, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Personal web pages in external links section

The issue seems to be having personal web pages in the external link section of the article Statistics, judging by the discussion at Talk Statistics. Spam patrollers have dealt with this article repeatedly (it had close to 40 external links in Dec 06, in spite of several efforts, starting in earnest in Aug 06 [7], in order to control the problematic external links section), and it has been the target of many clean-up efforts since then, so I think it is on people's radar already. But I'm afraid I have to leave the issue of explaining how personal web pages differ from pages by authorities to other participants in the spam project, in light of the following talk page entry [8]. Afv2006 (talk) 21:16, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I see that you did not answer the question. I have undone your revert on WP:EL. TheSeven (talk) 21:23, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
During the past year or more, I have probably been the most active spam patroller on Statistics External links. I provided some evidence for that on Talk:Statistics. This is the third time today that you have commented on something that you do not appear to have read. TheSeven (talk) 21:29, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
In answer to your question: Your edit deleted part of an important sentence - the sentence that reads, "This is meant to be a very limited exception". I don't have a problem with the change of format from footnote to parenthesis. As a matter of fact, I have not authored that section, but edits to accepted guidelines that delete sections without prior discussion are often related to vandalism, which is why you were reverted. Deletions in general need to be discussed before being implemented. Regarding your personal comments to me, I'll answer you here: I monitor this page. It is always the first page I check after a period of absense, as it is important for me to keep up to speed on changes implemented here in order for me to work effectively. When something is deleted by someone without prior involvement in the project, there is usually a dispute brewing somewhere, most often due to the fact that someone has run into limitations when it comes to adding their own link. Appears to be accurate in this case as well. Regarding the spam clean-up of the statistics article, there are many, many editors who have been involved in this major clean-up task, some of them for far longer than a year, although you are of course commended for part-taking as well. Afv2006 (talk) 22:07, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
I think the very limited exception wording should stay. Without that it's easy for someone skimming the line to read it as endorsing adding the blogs of any notable person who happens to have a blog on the subject. -- SiobhanHansa 22:35, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
(See my comment below.) My main concern was to incorporate the endnote in the text. The point about notability is too easy to miss if it is in footnote. (I missed it on first reading, and another editor corrected me; so I wanted to give it more prominence--I'm pretty sure that I would not be the only one.) TheSeven (talk) 22:52, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
I have restored "This is meant to be a very limited exception". I removed it before because (a) it did not seem important to me (admittedly a non-expert on this) and (b) removing it made the grammar/sentence flow better. After removing, I put a note on this discussion page [9] and stated that I had trimmed it. (I still have a slight preference to remove it, but will not argue the point.) TheSeven (talk) 22:43, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Current Weather information

I'd like to place links to real-time, current weather information on a large number of articles in the external links section for cities, towns and villages. The links would be to the free and non-commercial US National Weather Service and they would go in the external links section. I've looked through this guideline and nothing appears to directly prohibit this, but I thought I would ask prior to starting to add the links. I'd like a specific rationale if this is not recommended / allowed. Maybe its worth mentioning if it is allowed or not allowed in the guideline. Thanks. --Dual Freq (talk) 01:56, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

WP:NOT a weather service. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:23, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
This doesn't strike me as encyclopedic information. I'm sure that WikiTravel would like to have something similar, but I'm not sure that it meets the "meaningful, relevant content" clause here. The weather at any given moment in time doesn't really tell you much about the subject of the article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:35, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

It makes sense to me that real-time information like current weather is not really that useful to an encyclopedia article. However, I've seen that John F. Kennedy International Airport#External links and a few thousand other airport articles have weather and current flight delay information linked. I was thinking that since those seem to be acceptable and relevant, then the same would apply to city articles. They seem to add nothing about the airport, only what the current weather is, but if the airports have it why not cities? Maybe a link in the links normally avoided section should recommend against real-time links like weather or travel delays like aircraft or trains. --Dual Freq (talk) 13:11, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I'd support removal of those links as WP:NOT being encyclopedic as well. I'm not sure that we really need to have a special rule about it, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:54, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
I also would remove these as nonencyclopedic. For what it's worth, city-specific weather weblinks have even been somewhat controversial at the Open Directory Project, which is a web directory (something that Wikipedia is not), in large part because there is a large number of commercial websites that provide city-specific weather links, and there is no sound basis for choosing to link to some sites but not others. (Also, over time the links have proven to be unstable, making them a maintenance headache.) --Orlady (talk) 23:54, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

This doesn't fit an encyclopedia, and all that aside and the points everyone made above, are we going to update the weather daily on each location? :) rootology (C)(T) 23:31, 20 September 2008 (UTC)


External links section currently says:

Most external links should present different details than citations. For instance, a concise description of the contents and a clear indication of its source is more important than the actual title of the page, and access dates are not appropriate in the external links section. Because citation templates were not designed for use in the External links section, editors that use citation templates in this section should be careful to ensure the resulting description is appropriate for an external link.

I think this advise is wrong for several reasons:

  • There is no reason if the external link has an author, title, and date of publication why these should not be part of the information provided along with the publisher, just as we do for any other reliable source in any other section. It will help readers to gauge at a glance if the link provided is to a reliable source.
  • It allows the list to be sorted on author which removes one of the POVs when deciding the ordering of a list of external links.
  • It is one of the biggest obstacles in maintaining Longevity of links. If a URL becomes obsolete unless some clue is given as to the title and the author of the piece it is next to impossible to find the article again given just a general description and unless one read and remembered the link before it went missing there is no way of knowing if one is replacing like with like. But if the title and the author is know then if the page has moved it is usually relatively easy to find it.

There for I suggest that we take a lead from WP:CITE:

External links for world wide web articles (for reliable sources such as the Australian War Memorial) typically include:
  • the name of the author or authors,
  • the title of the article in quotes,
  • the name of the website (linked to a Wikipedia article about the site if it exists, or to Website's "about page"),
  • date of publication,
  • page number(s) (if applicable),
  • the date you retrieved it (invisible to the reader if the article has a date of publication),[dubious ]
  • optional concise description

Other descriptions for other types of links can be added if this template needs alteration to suit those other types. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 11:43, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Except an external link is not a reference. External links shouldn't include all of that unless it actually is being used for references. If all of that information is available, it seems like it is is likely to be a reliable source and should be used as such. Alternatively, put it in further reading. It isn't a plain, external link.-- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:10, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
No, external links are not citations, and most definitely should not always look like them. Additionally sorting external links by author is illogical and unhelpful. Sorts in external links should be the official sites first always, then in some cases by link type (interviews togetherm rich media together), jumbling them up by an irrelevancy is not helpful. the point though is this guideline makes a great effort to distinguish external links from citations, and we should continue to do so. 2005 (talk) 23:17, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I think some info is useful and expected in an external link - Name of article, name of publication or site it is on. Maybe the author if it's significant in some way (someone somebody might recognize and know what they'd be seeing if they clicked it based upon the name). That's all good so that people sort of get an idea of what they'll see if they go to the link. Maybe a short description if it's not already obvious from the title of the page or article. But things like page numbers and especially the date when you went there are completely pointless. DreamGuy (talk) 03:10, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this is ill-advised, and I oppose the proposed change to make external links look like references. Furthermore, some excellent external links can't be shoe-horned into that system very easily. Consider an external link to an online calculator: It's not an article. It has no "publication date". It probably has no visible author. It may not have a proper title. Adding the access date for something that is supposed to be working now (and can be immediately removed if the link goes dead) is silly. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:55, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Why should external links not look like citations? For many articles what is an official site? For other articles which involve entrenched political views which official site should be placed first? The section External links already list sites that ought not be included, adding author and publisher helps people judge at a glance if the site is one that ought to be in the list. WhatamIdoing please note I said "article" above and that "Other descriptions for other types of links can be added if this template needs alteration to suit those other types" which I intended to cover such things as maps, calculators Album descriptions, etc. Also what is silly in including information that informs the reader of the date when an article was reviewed for inclusion. Its contents may have changed since it was added to the list and is no longer relevant. What is silly about providing information for editors to make it possible to fix a useful link to an external article if it becomes broken? After all many URLs become broken because the a site map alters and without information that allows a search for an article on author, title or a content string, it is next to impossible to find from just a description. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 08:55, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Instead of phrasing things backwards you should be promoting your opinion. The reason that citations should not look like external links is self evident. They aren't the same. The only argument you make "adding author and publisher helps people judge at a glance if the site is one that ought to be in the list" is a very bad concept. Only a terrible editor would make a judgment "at a glance" about whether a link should or should not be there because of listed author or publisher. Since there is no reason we should confuse users or make terrible editing easier, keeping layout how it is is the best way to go. 2005 (talk) 12:27, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Philip external link descriptions should let a reader know what the link is about so they can decide if they are interested in clicking on it - titles often fail to do this well. Authors - or at least the source of the information ("Mayo Clinic article" for example) - especially when notable themselves, can help a reader decide if the provenance is such that they are more (or less) interested in looking. And dates can occasionally be useful for a reader - especially if it's an historical account or current event. But these things need considering on a case by case basis and will normally differ from that which would be used if the page were being listed as a citation.
In general we should be making sure that we focus the presentation so that it is not overwhelmed by detail that serves our editors more than our general readers. I don't see anything wrong with including the rest of the citation detail in such a manner that it is invisible to the reader, though I don't see any need to recommend the practice since in general external links are not critical to articles in the way citations are. -- SiobhanHansa 14:15, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
"Why should external links not look like citations?" Because that's not the practice at Wikipedia. In this instance, this guideline accurately documents the choices made by thousands of editors in hundreds of thousands of articles. If a link breaks and can't be replaced because "Information from the Mayo Clinic about this disease" can't be found -- then who exactly cares? It's just an external link. It's not important to the article. Dead links get deleted all the time without the world coming to an end. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:43, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Is an EL?

Template:Mpdb movie is a template for adding links to to articles.'s own article was deleted as spam and a non-notable website on February 6. The template was nominated for deletion on the same day, but somehow the discussion was never closed. It has now been renominated for deletion Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2008 September 21#Template:Mpdb movie, in part due to the feeling that this site completely fails the EL guidelines, including being a potential copyright violation as the images are all uploaded by users with no checking done to ensure they are being used within fair use requirements. To me, this is no different than linking to Flickr, Photobucket, or any other user edited image site, hence my nominating the template for deletion. Additional views are needed at the TfD regarding whether this his a legitimate link, and if the template should be kept or deleted. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 02:34, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

From their site... In late 2004 I (jayef) decided to start a movieposter database. My friend (Roman) helped me to code the whole site and it went online in december 2004! While the site was growing really fast, the site got overloaded and we had to get another server. I'd say that they are not an EL as they clearly don't own all these posters and their images. The others you mention, Flickr, Photobucket, Deviantart, or Youtube, etc., are all OK to link to if they are demonstrated to belong to the given Article subject and are also relevant. Template links to, not so much. rootology (C)(T) 13:29, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Why Doesn't It Work?

Why doesn't [] work as a link to a website? Please let me know by answering beneath this entry. Mollymoon (talk) 22:53, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

You have to include the http:// part: [10]. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

what this means

Lists of links to manufacturers, suppliers or customers —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kasaalan (talkcontribs) 17:03, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

It primarily covers links to pages that list "all the places you can buy this". Consider the iPod article. We like to because it's their product. We don't link to a page that lists all the factories that produce things like this (potential manufacturers). We don't link to a page that lists all the thousands of stores (suppliers) that sell iPods. We don't link to a page that lists all of the millions of people (or hundreds of celebrities) that own an iPod. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:38, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Link Policy?

I joined Wikipedia a few weeks ago, and yesterday I started to go through CAT:ELC. Many of the links I've removed were pretty obviously policy violations but I noticed a trend in many articles: there seems to be a division of links into oppose/support sub sections. like in Book_of_Mormon#External_links. Is there a specific policy covering this? It seems like a bad idea, because it encourages people to add sites that may not be important or useful just because those sites hold a specific viewpoint (I noticed this especially in 9/11_Commission_Report. On another note; I think that external links in general rarely make the encyclopedia better, it’s so easy to find information with a search engine that listing other sites seems almost redundant.→(SpeakMorgothXHavoc) 01:33, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your efforts. You may want to put Wikipedia:WikiProject External links and Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam on your watchlist so you can stay in touch with other editors that do similar things. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Would that be a better place to ask my question?→(SpeakMorgothXHavoc) 18:08, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
There is no policy against organizing links by subject or POV. In fact, we encourage the identification of non-neutral websites, so the reader knows what s/he is getting into. To the extent that one link attracts another, it's just necessary to weed the linkfarm periodically. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:40, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Subsections are usually a no-no. Policy is that external links should be used sparingly. If a resource doesn't add particular descriptive value beyond that provided by the article (for instance it is a link to a group which promotes a certain viewpoint, but where the site itself is of no real additional value) then it should be removed. That normally suffices. YMMV on how well the article's regalars take such pruning on controversial subjects of course. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:56, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
That may depend on exactly what you mean. I avoid ===Subsections===, but fairly often use Subsections to organize links. (See Solar cooker#External_links for an example of what I like; see Lymphoma#External_links for what I don't like.) Usually, this is a preparatory step to deleting one or more of the Subsections. If we can all agree that these links belong in Information and those links belong in Charities this week, then it reduces the confusion when we decide next week that we don't need to provide links to any charities at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:57, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
If an EL list is too long, but the links are potentially useful (i.e. could lead to or become cited-references for the article's content), it is often a good idea to move them to the talkpage, instead of just deleting them. Particularly in the case of stubs, where well-meaning non-writer editors will often add links in the hope that someone else will turn the linked information into article-content (e.g. lists of academic papers, news-articles, interviews, reviews, etc). -- Quiddity (talk) 17:50, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Style or content?

I think this guideline includes both style and content information. It certainly tells people what they may and may not include, which is content. It also tells people where to put the list of links and how to format them, which is style. What shall we pick? Is it possible to list it in both categories? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:50, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to know if can be considered as a valid external link. The site hosts legally obtained content from various film and television studios available public viewing, and is currently linked in over 100 articles. However the site content is not accessible outside the United States, thus a violation of item #7 under 'Links to be avoided'. There has been a discussion on WikiProject Films that resulted in favor of the site and even a separate template has been created for inclusion of site link. LeaveSleaves (talk) 15:50, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Not only that, but the actual content (shows, vs. promotional materials) are only available for a limited time. It seems like a bad, but not terrible, idea to link to Hulu or any other site with the same lack of content stability. The non-US restrictions seem like a valid as well, so I see no reason to contravene item #7. Jclemens (talk) 16:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I've gotta agree with Jclemens; Hulu fails WP:ELNO #7 and #16. Showing the link with a disclaimer that it's useless outside of the US might get you an exception to #7, but the temporary nature of Hulu listings is unavoidable. At least the advertising isn't horrible though... from what I'm seeing it's not much worse than most ad-supported video sites. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:48, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Hulu links are certainly not ideal, but I suspect that they're often the only legal source for the video content. So, which is worse: an external link that doesn't completely comply with the guidelines, or having no links to the material at all? - Eureka Lott 19:16, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
It's much worse to have a link that doesn't comply with the guideline. We don't add copyvio or malware links just because they offer information not available elsewhere. 2005 (talk) 20:47, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
On the other hand, if its noted via a source that the show is available at, I see no reason why this can't be included in the article (not the link to the hulu video itself, just the note about availability). --MASEM 22:07, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I do not think that a sentence that says, "The video is available at"[ref] is really the sort of thing that you want in an encyclopedia article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:54, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
If the video just happens to be there, and there's no third-party source that goes into more detail, I agree, just saying an episode is onl Hulu (w/o Hulu link) is not worthwhile. But, say, take Dr. Horrible, there are third-party sources to say it appeared on Hulu (such as this), so we can state that this is the case as it's notable coverage of the topic. --MASEM 17:46, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
No: Blogs are not reliable sources. Even if a reliable source said such a thing, it wouldn't matter. This guideline does not apply to references. You cannot link to under ==External links== just because a cited source (under ==References==) mentions the website. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:50, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

I also agree that links to this site violate 7 and 8 (and 16). I don't see how having a link to view the episodes adds any extra value to an article. Before the site, it was never needed...people primarily watch episodes on TV or video. We don't link off to the channels to find the next air date, nor to stores. This, to me, would be no different from adding iTunes and YouTube links to all series/films that have legal content on either. We also don't generally link to movie trailers because, again, seeing the video isn't so necessary or providing such rare information that its worth an exemption to the guidelines. If its agreed here that it is not an appropriate link, I think it would be appropriate to have the template deleted, as has been done in other such cases. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 21:35, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

I think an exception should be made for Hulu. When the link goes dead, it can be removed. If there is an online version of an article topic, without copyvio and other issues, we should link to it. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 17:31, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Why? What encyclopedic value does it add to warrant an exception? -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:34, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
It could potentially aid in making some primary-source references more easily verifiable. Of course, ideally, we'd have secondary sources for everything, but for things like the plot of a television episode often the primary source is the best reference.
Consider a hypothetical non-video example: a novel, with established encyclopedic notability, is made legally available online, but only for a limited time, and to readers in one region. I think that in that circumstance, we would say that there is encyclopedic value in letting readers in that region know that they can read the novel at such-and-such an address. I don't see how telling readers that they can view a television episode or film at such-and-such an address is any different.
The BBC makes its programmes available for a limited time on its iPlayer service, which is available only to UK IPs. Do we have an established policy about that? It seems similar. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:52, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
The primary source is actually the release of the film or first airing of an episode. This is just a reproduction. And I agree with Josiah, if this is agreed on, there would be requests for iPlayer as well. A similar condition can be said about the network site themselves that allow full episode access based on region. LeaveSleaves (talk) 18:03, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there certainly seems to be a need for a precedent that spans beyond One question: Are any of the dead-link determination bots able to find inoperable rich media links? If one exists or could be coded adequately for each such site where content is somewhat ephemeral, it would somewhat reduce the mess of having dead links to removed content. Jclemens (talk) 18:11, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That, to me, falls squarely in with WP:NOTNEWS. Its one thing to mention, where sourcable, that episodes were released to iTunes, or whatever, but I do not think we need to link to every last possible online viewing method, particularly if they are primarily temporary links. If people want to view them online, they can follow the relevant links from the official sites (and if the official sites aren't linking to Hulu, to me that tells me we don't need to be doing it either).-- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 18:16, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps slightly off point, but WP:NOTNEWS doesn't seem to have the clout it once did, else we wouldn't have the current political coverage that we do. There are a large number of editors who don't seem to think recentism or lack of enduring value are large problems, and I perceive this to be a symptom of that shift. Jclemens (talk) 18:26, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
So what, we should put in some sort of disclaimer that says the content of the site might change, as is done on current event articles? Or at least try and find out what is the shelf life of a media on that site? LeaveSleaves (talk) 18:30, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Let me expand on AnmaFinotera's point: Wikipedia is WP:NOT#LINKS. If a reader wants to find something online, the reader can ask Mr Google. Our purpose is to write an encyclopedia, not to provide a comprehensive list of links to the original source for a variety of formats, locations, and times. Providing a link to a television show is not a requirement for an encyclopedia article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:50, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

I love Hulu, but Hulu absolutely does not meet our requirements for external links. We are not a web directory, period, and the links serve no encyclopedic purpose. DreamGuy (talk) 02:45, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Is there a bright line which distinguishes an external link which serves an encyclopedic purpose from one which does not? It is reasonable for an article about an author in a printed encyclopedia to list all his or her works; it seems reasonable for an article about an author in a hyperencyclopedia to list links to all his or her works and to rich media where he or she discussed the works. If an article about a playwright says "she spoke at the Actors' Studio," it would make sense for there to be a reference to the video of the speech; and if the video is on Hulu, that is what should be referred. Eustace (talk) 03:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

That might not be a bad argument if Hulu content was going to be available 1) indefinitely, or 2) worldwide. As of now, Hulu is neither, and that pretty much puts a stake in its encyclopedic value. Jclemens (talk) 03:53, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Once again: This guideline has nothing to do with links to reliable sources that are used to support information in an article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:06, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
There considerable barriers to clearing the rights to worldwide distribution of conventionally-licensed material make "available worldwide" much too severe a standard. Indefinite availability is highly desirable, but more so for a static reference work such as a printed catalog than an adaptive one such as Wikipedia. It is not hard to see how a breadcrumb trail of legitimate sites which hosted a work would be of use to someone in the future attempting to locate that work, and during the times when there is a host, an active external link to the work will be of immediate value to typical users. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eustace Tilley (talkcontribs) 13:39, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Such a link addition would require constant monitoring whether the content is still available or has the link gone dead. This can't be a desirable situation, particularly when the link has already been added to a number of articles and granting it to be valid would lead to its inclusion in more articles. Plus in terms of availability of TV shows, major network sites host full episodes that are accessible for a much longer time. LeaveSleaves talk 13:54, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
At this moment, at least one of the major networks offers a distinctly lower resolution version of their content through their site than they do through Hulu. All links, internal as well as external, suffer from decay risk. Monitoring and healing decay are a special strength of wiki. We should not deprive users today because we may not be able to provide for users in the future. Eustace (talk) 17:40, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Deprive? Please. We don't link to Google, nor do we link to pirate sites of copyrighted content, even though both of them would unqestionably help some users find what they're looking for. The more I see the arguments in favor of Hulu links, the less I like the idea. Hulu is one specific commercial enterprise that benefits financially from viewership--it's something Wikimedia in general and the English Wikipedia have no business supporting, any more than we link books to Amazon. Jclemens (talk) 17:54, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
This is the case of death of a link, and not decay. And the only possible way of monitoring these links that I can think of, is to actually know when are this videos are removed from Hulu, of which I can find no record. And there's also the matter of access of the content to limited users. If the content is only accessible in US, where the show has been aired for mass audience, who also have a direct access of the content on the network site, I don't see what additional contribution does Hulu make. Other than perhaps, better quality of video, something that bores no importance in regard with addition of the link. LeaveSleaves talk 18:10, 10 October 2008 (UTC)