Wikipedia talk:Linking to other wikis

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For the original proposal on linking to other wikis, see Wikipedia:Linking to other wikis/old proposal

Display as normal external links[edit]

There's nothing wrong with displaying links to other wikis as normal external links. There's no clear advantage in distinguishing them from the other external links, as the reader could miss the box with its smaller font altogether, thinking it's the usual meta stuff. There is not much aesthetic or organizational value in shoving them to the side either, since most articles only have a handful of external links. –Pomte 04:28, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Then there's something to explore, if it actually helps or not. -- Ned Scott 06:27, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

The old proposal[edit]

I think it was a good idea to junk the old proposal entirely. Despite any opinions on what style the links should be, the odious bureaucracy proposed there is a bad thing. I have made it plain I dislike the boxes (I'll write a more in-depth explanation later), but I would dislike even more a "system" for deciding "who gets a box". --Phirazo 17:41, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I think the criteria could be simplified to: 1. Is a wiki, 2. Passes WP:EL. I also listed "is a benefit to readers and editors", but really that can be covered in EL, since a useless link won't be included in the first place. -- Ned Scott 03:29, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
If the criteria really ought to be that simple, and I don't see why anyone would disagree, then this is completely covered by WP:EL already and there's no need for discussion on the criteria. –Pomte 03:55, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
A good point.. I've removed that section from the proposal. -- Ned Scott 04:01, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

My proposal[edit]

It is considered helpful to the readers of Wikipedia for articles to link to wikis that are not part of the Wikimedia Foundation (such as Memory Alpha, the TV IV, and Wikitravel), since many of these sites host content that many would be interested in reading and contributing to, but is inappropriate for Wikipedia. For example, Wikitravel is an openly editable travel guide, while Wikipedia is specifically not a travel guide. Also, external wikis such as Memory Alpha, Wookiepedia, and the TV IV have details on fictional works that, while inappropriate for a general encyclopedia, are of interest to many people. However, when linking to external wikis editors should review the guidelines on External links. Also, remember an openly editable wiki can be a target of vandalism, so care should be taken when linking an open wiki, especially in biographies of living persons.

Style Many external wikis are in the interwiki map and therefore are easier to link to. Instead of full external link, editors can instead use a link with double brackets. For example, [[Wikitravel:Rome]] gives this link: Wikitravel:Rome, which links to Wikitravel's article on Rome. In an External Links section of an article, the generally accepted style of link looks like this:

If an external wiki does not have an article in Wikipedia, the last link can optionally point the main page of the external wiki.

As an exception to this general rule, Wikimedia projects appear in boxes to the far right of the screen in the External Links section. However, to avoid confusing readers, only Wikimedia projects should appear in boxes, while projects run by other organizations (including Wikia), should appear in a bulleted line format.

My 2 cents. --Phirazo 05:39, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

From the readers perspective.... now as an editor...[edit]

Before becoming an editor, if I saw an "external" wiki, like Commons, Books, media or a Portals under an External link section I did not have a tendancy to use it. But if the link was in the See Also secton or Related content section, I used it or investigated futher. To me, all "external" wikis are Wikipedia, or could be referred to as the "Greater Wikipedia". The use of See also, is to link to related wiki aritcles not mention in the text, but give added depth to the article (and the reader) and stay within Wikipedia.... and the Commons, Books, Portals, etc. are no different.

  • I propose that all "external" wiki links be no longer referred to as "external" but as part of the "Greater Wikipedia" and be referenced or applied in the See also or Related content Sections. And have a piped switch in the template to "left" justify the template, if needed.
    • Respectfully submitted. LanceBarber (talk) 19:06, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Good suggestion. A weird complication though is that most navboxes are situated at the very bottom of each article, making them look like external links as well. –Pomte 20:34, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
      • I concur with you Pomte. A slight re-think of our MOS? Lance...LanceBarber (talk) 05:59, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  • First off, this is about linking to wikis not run by the Wikimedia Foundation. They have nothing to do with Wikipedia. Many run the same software as Wikipedia (MediaWiki), but they are run by separate entities. Wikia, which runs the majority sites with boxed links, is a for-profit corporation. Secondly, sister sites such as Wikitionary and Wikinews have different goals, different policies, and for some projects, different copyright licenses (Wikinews is licensed under the Creative Commons). The Wikimedia Foundation runs all these projects, but they are still separate projects. --Phirazo 18:56, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Why wikis?[edit]

I'm a little weirded out by the entire concept here. Why are we singling out wikis for special treatment? Why would an external link to something as useless as (say) Wookieepedia get a big box, while an external link to something as useful (say) Project Gutenberg would not? Jpatokal (talk) 17:47, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

At first glance I'm a bit against this sort of idea. If we define a Wiki as a site that permits user-submitted data, thats very broad. If we define it as a site using the MediaWiki software, we lose lots of other good generated user sites that are at least as reliable as a non-Wikimedia wiki (IMDB, PG, etc). MBisanz talk 05:49, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I would consider adding the stipulation that the external wiki, to be treated "special" to warrant a box outside of an EL, should at least conform to the GFDL; meaning that content from WP could have been moved to there, or vice versa. --MASEM 05:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
That could work, but I'm still wondering if we'd create a feedback loop, other site takes wikipedia material, tweaks it adding an error, we then use it in EL, someone ventures upon the EL and brings the error back as a sourced fact. MBisanz talk 06:27, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I find that very unlikely. It's more likely that we will get improvements back in such a loop. -- Ned Scott 06:59, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think limiting to GFDL is a sensible criterion — not even all Wikimedia projects (eg. Wikinews) use it. Jpatokal (talk) 19:09, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not convinced it should be limited to GFDL sites, though I do understand the argument (in that Wikipedia does have an interest in specifically promoting the concept). There are many situations that I can see the same logic being applied, regardless of the licensing being used. My comment to Mbisanz was simply directed at his specific comments about when content does loop back to us. -- Ned Scott 00:04, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
(to Jpatokal) I'm actually starting to believe that we should give other links some form of distinction as well, simply as a matter of navigation and utility. While this started as a proposal for just wikis, we certainly don't have to stop there. We're not talking about flashing lights or distracting styles, but things that might be as simple as a word that is bolded, like "Review: external link". -- Ned Scott 09:47, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Wikis are very, very seldom acceptable as an external link, so a guideline or policy for calling them out separately is an incredibly bad idea. When something meets the criteria of an external link, it should be an external link. There is no reason to call out a certain software. This is an encyclopedia, not a political platform for a type of website. 2005 (talk) 07:27, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Also, to state what should be obvious, any "special" treatment suggests that thing is in fact special. Wikis have no special value, purpose or desirability as external links, so they should not be treated that way. Garbage wikis getting spammed in external links would increase drastically if the spammers thought their lil' wiki was "entitled" to an external link moreso than any other website. 2005 (talk) 07:33, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Right now, there is a large push in several areas to try to move large amounts of content that are generally considered unencyclopedic, typically involving fictional works, to external wikis where they are better suits (due to the limitations imposed by the five pillars) Part of this move is that it should be reasonable to find this additional information once it's been moved off, so linking to wikis that contain information once on Wikipedia makes sense.
I also think that calling it a wiki and "more information", instead of specifically calling it an EL helps to distance the wiki link as being 100% reliable , and thus shouldn't be taken as authority as listed in the ELs, but also is another wiki, which anyone can edit, thus extending the wiki-ness of WP to these other sites. --MASEM 07:44, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
This proposal only applies to wikis that pass WP:EL. If you want to ignore the utility arguments, go ahead, but please try to pay attention to what is actually being proposed. -- Ned Scott 09:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
And also, 2005, why do we have links to IMDB or CD review sites in infoboxes? (which are a heck of a lot more distinct than some of the proposals here) -- Ned Scott 09:44, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I did pay attention, but you did not, so please read more carefully. Such a distinct link is 1) not needed for any good reason, and 2) encourages a sense of entitlement for wikis to have external links and in the vast majority of cases they won't deserve such links, so giving that sense of entitlement is a terrible idea. There is no reason to do this and clear reasons not to. (And the fact templates may exist for a specific SITE like the IMDb has nothing at all to do with making a structure for a type of html document like a wiki or blog or whatever). 2005 (talk) 11:07, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
We have several templates that already do this for external wikis, and many of which have survived TfD. There are clearly several good reasons to do this, and even if you disagree with those reasons, please be respectful enough to not say "not needed for any good reason".We have thousands of drive by editors that add ELs because they think their review site is entitled to have a link, regardless of any style issue. In the past year or so that we've been using box style links, little to none problems you've described have popped up. We don't have a flood of crap wiki ELs being added. Most of these ideas involve templates that require being added to the interwiki map, making the link have to pass the Meta criteria as well as our WP:EL. -- Ned Scott 23:58, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
You really need to get some perspective on this. You need to be respectful. There is no good reason to do this. that is MY opinion. Your opinion is yours. There is no reason to do this. None. there is no need. No demand, and no problem that is solved. External link templates in general survive deletion review because anytime a significant minority supports something it stays alive, not because such templates are a good thing or have universal support. Such templates have been used to spam thousands of COI links. But worse, good faith editors see such templates and add external links to any article where the domain with the template has a plausible page for a link. Virtually blank IMDb pages should not be linked just because an IMDb template exists, but many novide editors think they are being helpful by adding such links. That though is one step beyond this. there is no reason to treat one type of html delivery over another. Wikis are not superior creatures to non-wikis, though some politically motivated editors here wish it was so. In any case, there has been no demand for this over a long period of months, so it would seem logical for you to give up. Wikis that deserve links will get them. That is what an encyclopedia does. Prioritization because of web software is not the mission of an encyclopedia. 2005 (talk) 00:37, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
I see no reason why wikis are specially called out, other than these boxes seem to come with lots of rules on when you can and can't use them. I think WP:EL is complicated enough without another layer of rules deciding when a site can get one of these silly banner ads. --Phirazo 14:55, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
This proposal wouldn't touch WP:EL, it would be an addition to WP:MOSLINK. Several non-English language ELs already do something similar to "In-line EL with WIKI icon" (which is where that idea came from), and you might have missed my response above where I can see this easily being applied to other links (i.e. "*Review: Official Board review of product features something something ")
I was really hoping people could actually talk about the different proposals, instead of writing off the entire idea simply because it's different. If this proposal needs to be a general style proposal, and independent from the site being a wiki or not, great, I'm all for it, but lets discuss that. -- Ned Scott 23:58, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

In-line EL with WIKI icon[edit]

While I personally find most of these proposals acceptable, if I were to give a prediction on which one that would be most likely to get support, I would have to go with Wikipedia:Linking to other wikis#In-line EL with WIKI icon. It's a small step, less intrusive, and seems to be a likely "middle ground".

Depending on how it's presented, I also think having the link in a nav template could get support as well. This would have the added benifit of being a single dynamic link that would always point to the appropriate article on the external wiki when viewed on a given page. -- Ned Scott 09:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I, too, think the icon version is the best solution presented. My second choice would be one of the sister project-like boxes. MediaWiki.org already uses icons to link to other projects (within Wikimedia) in their Public Domain Help pages... Tuvok[T@lk/Improve] 04:07, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I proposed a few other labels that could be used, like Libre, Free, or the specific license (Heckert GNU white.svg and Cc.logo.circle.svg). The GNU logo is hard to make out at 20px, but the Creative Commons logo looks good. --Phirazo 03:49, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I think this is the way to go. It accomplishes the goal of promoting free content (especially if the tag makes a note that the content is free), and it isn't as big and annoying as the boxes. --Phirazo 18:13, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I like the idea of a small inline icon that indicates free content (though I think using different ones for different licenses might be a more noise, less information sort of thing for most of our readers). Free content is apart of the Foundation's mission and an inline icon that isn't too distracting seems like a good way to support that. Unfortunately this page is a proposal about indicating Wiki content - which isn't necessarily free. As far as I'm aware neither Wikipedia specifically, not the Foundation in general has a mission to promote Wikis, the Wiki is simply a tool used to help collate and distribute free information. So I'm not sure why we'd go out of our way to promote Wikis. -- SiobhanHansa 23:58, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, editors will likely find it interesting, which is why one of the suggestions is to make the links on talk pages. But I am getting the feeling that this proposal should change gears and explore this inline icon concept for all free-content links. -- Ned Scott 04:15, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
A generic icon would be good too. Copyleft.svg reduces nicely. --Phirazo 02:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Interwikilinks look different to wikilinks[edit]

Compare these examples

Note that the English link is darker than the French link.Mjroots (talk) 18:05, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

IIRC, that's a setting in MediaWiki:common.css. -- Ned Scott 03:43, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Next step[edit]

Not a lot of attention / activity was seen here. I'm not sure if some ideas are rejected or dormant, due to that lack of activity, and I'm not really sure what should be done for existing templates that use a sister-box style, but I would like to explore the inline-icon idea for general ELs, and not just wikis, as mentioned above. If no one beats me to it, I might hit up WP:MOSLINK and try to promote this idea, maybe making another proposal page or something. -- Ned Scott 06:30, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

If no one has any objections, I'm going to change the FreeContentMeta templates to this style in a few days:

--Phirazo 21:45, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Phirazo, could you make the image clickable so that instead of taking people to the image itself it takes them to some explanation of what copyleft content is? I don't think this image is very widely known outside more activist populations. And I don't think many of our readers (yet!) really understand copyright let alone the various free licenses and their benefits. -- SiobhanHansa 22:31, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Took me a while to figure out how to do it, but here is a version with a clickable copyleft symbol.

--Phirazo 17:05, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Point[edit]

Why are we doing this discussion again? How many times is this now? Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:13, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

  • The TfD for the Muppets box ended with a suggestion to "to take this time to request that a consensus be formed on these templates in some place other than TfD before more of these templates are nominated." That is the purpose of this page - to form a consensus without a potential deletion hanging over our heads. --Phirazo 23:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

why THAT color?[edit]

Hi there, I follow the {{Muppets}} template, and couldn't help but noticing a very colorful exchange going on. I'm a fan of things that come in colors, but I'm a bit confused as I try to track down the reasoning behind this change. As best as I can tell, the Time Lords have claimed the authority to set a universal color scheme on Wikipedia, which seems like an overstepping even for them. I kind of liked how the Muppets template used to be an easy shade of green, and even as I read this page, I haven't seen any arguments for why green is a bad color. I might even go so far as to say that these external link boxes could be any color, as long as that color cannot be confused with the whiteness that is the typical color for interwiki link templates. What do you folks say? --M@rēino 16:47, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

All of these boxes (those for non-sister projects) deliberately had the same green background color. Sceptre felt that this made them too prominent (particularly when compared to the sister project boxes) and (with the exception of the Muppets template, which Sceptre apparently overlooked) switched to gray (and then a slightly purplish shade of gray). I felt that Sceptre had a valid point, but the new color seemed too similar to that used in the sister project boxes, so I switched to the pinkish gray currently in use. I have no particular attachment to this color; I simply tried to come up with one that was both subdued and sufficiently distinct.
For the record, I've never seen an episode of Dr. Who, but I am a fan of the Muppets.  :-) —David Levy 18:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
And for the record, I started with the DW box first as that's the project I'm most active on. Sceptre (talk) 20:24, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Possibilities[edit]

Of the suggestions on this page, in addition to FCM, I quite like the modified FCM, the separate external links section, and topbox, all of which seem to me to provide a needed function of making our connections with the free content movement at large explicit, and integrating us as good neighbors with other resources, which also serves to better delineate our own borders and better define what we do. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:24, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

In the article namespace, our role is to provide useful content, not to advance a philosophical "movement." —David Levy 17:01, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Untrue. Our purpose is explicitly to provide and foster free content. Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:19, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, our content. Our mission does not include rewarding/penalizing other websites because they happen to operate under a similar/dissimilar model. Being free doesn't make content good, nor does being non-free make it bad. —David Levy 18:30, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I am appalled to see that attitude. We should do what we can to help other free content resources, and help them improve. That's one of the major goals, for instance, of achieving license compatibility with CC-BY-SA. I am open to alternatives to FCM, but there are genuine advantages, which I have explained numerous times, to integrating ourselves into the larger world of free content. What do you propose to further this goal? Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:40, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


As I've repeatedly noted at Template talk:FreeContentMeta, I regard the inclusion of relevant icons next to the links as an appropriate method of identifying (and thereby increasing awareness of) free content. I oppose methods that alter our standard layout and/or create a license-based ranking system or the appearance thereof. —David Levy 20:48, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
You can be appalled all you want, but that doesn't make you correct. We are first and foremost an encyclopedia, and any desire to be a philosophical movement is fine individually but not for the project as a whole. We don't link to wikibooks and wikiwhatever projects just because they are wikis. When we link to them it's because they have an encyclopedic reason to be linked to. DreamGuy (talk) 17:11, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

This proposal is not in line with WP:EL[edit]

There is just about nothing on this page that matches up with what WP:EL has to say on this topic. We are not supposed to link to wikis with special tags to highlight them more than other links, and a good portion of the wikis that people have been linking to do not meet the normal EL rules. The claim that people wanting to write fictional details is a reason to link to a wiki is false, as there's nothing like that in WP:EL. Frankly, this whole proposal is flawed from beginning to end. DreamGuy (talk) 17:08, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

And, except for its recent mention at WT:EL, this page has been inactive for nearly a year, which suggests that it should be tagged as "historical" instead of "proposed".
I've clarified the opening lines to prevent confusion over whether this is about "we should link all the wikis we find" vs. "wikis should get a special color or symbol (like pdfs do)". WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:34, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I've tagged it as historical per this discussion. Hiding T 11:06, 1 September 2009 (UTC)