Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking

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Wikidata and the English Wikipedia's stylistic integrity[edit]

Fellow editors,

It's likely that we'll be living with increasing amounts of Wikidata-generated text on the English Wikipedia. Yet it's being generated in Berlin by developers and programmers in the German chapter without reference to the stylistic consensus that has painstakingly evolved on this site over the past 14 years.

I believe we should be taking more than a little interest in the style and formatting of Wikidata outputs. I've sounded a warning at the Wikidata state of affairs discussion that has been playing out during September. That page contians many expressions of caution, dismay, and alarm at the potential pitfalls of Wikidata's ability to roll out text at its whim, and at the lack of control we will have over the inevitable encroachments on en.WP.

Wikidata is an important project that will be riding the transition from biological algorithms (that's us, as creative editors) to electronic algorithms (that's machines that generate and read WP text). It's the latter that will slowly grow to dominate WMF sites from the mid-2020s onward, in a process that will be occurring in the economy at large in the first half of the century.

I urge editors to keep abreast of the developments, and to be ready to insist that Wikidata consult us on style and formatting before releasing on our site each displayed text that it proposes. This should be a matter of established protocol, in my view.

Tony (talk) 10:24, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

@Tony1: Just for those who are not fully aware of the current state of affairs (like me), could you give a few examples of where this Wikidata-generated text appears on en.WP? I am only aware of infoboxes (where there is no text, just snippets of information). Thanks! − Pintoch (talk) 12:01, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
The worrying thing is that general editors, like you and me, find it hard to know what Wikidata is all about. But it's comin' soon, I can assure you. See my query here. Tony (talk) 06:09, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
I am actually fairly active in Wikidata, so I do understand how these things work − I just suspect that there isn't any text generation from Wikidata in enWP at the moment. A few editors here are trying to spread the idea that a "Wikidata Crusade" is going on, and that Wikipedia should fight for its life against Wikidata. That is a bit silly, so I think it would be good to back all these claims with solid examples instead of just spreading rumors. But I agree that a lot more has to be done to explain how Wikidata works, why it is useful, how to use it in Wikipedia, and how not to use it in the running text of articles. − Pintoch (talk) 08:07, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@Pintoch: I've been reading and mostly avoiding directly participating in that drama, and feel that you're mischaracterizing it. The primary concerns are that a) WD doesn't have policies or procedures that match en.WPs (or a means of applying ours to WD data imported here); and b) WMF itself seems hot to promote integration of WD into other projects, quickly, and has not been responsive enough to concerns of these sorts. That's hardly a crusade or an accusation of one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:18, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: I totally agree that the concerns that you point out are legitimate − but some of the arguments I have read are a bit less pragmatic and a bit more emotional. For instance, I think we should avoid considerations of "electronic algorithms" endangering "biological algorithms" and other things like that! − Pintoch (talk) 12:39, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Sounds like weirdly geeky wording and a flair for the dramatic, but even that concern is valid when you boil it down: an automated machine process is exercising inflexible pseudo-judgment, and can interfere with human real judgement that has done something else or is trying to do something based on the specific contextual needs. Modern life is kind of overflowing with this problem. WD-in-WP has been raising this concern at almost every turn (some exceptions seem to be interwikis and TemplateData, but issues can even arise there).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:28, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Pintoch you asked could you give a few examples of where this Wikidata-generated text appears on en.WP? There is an active dispute over articles containing descriptive text taken from Wikidata when viewed on mobile (currently disabled for browser-based-mobile on EnWiki-only, but Wikidata text is still placed on articles in app-mobile). The same wikidata text is attached to articles on search results, in the link-tool inside Visual Editor, and likely elsewhere. There is also hot battle over replacing refs with {{Cite Q|Q######}} which completely replaces the ref with Wikidata. Not currently live on Wikipedia, the VillagePumpTechnical MAPLINK request you just supported involves full Wikidata database queries to retrieve arbitrary batches of Wikidata items to construct a map. If Wikidata displays Ohio shaped like a penis, approximately zero-point-zero-zero percent of editors will be able to read that raw database query to find the Wikidata edit that needs to be reverted to fix that vandalism. Alsee (talk) 16:03, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
@Alsee: thank you for this survey! As this is the talk page about a part of the Manual of Style I was thinking about some auto-generated sentences in main text of articles (I would certainly oppose that). I can add to your list the proposal to add Wikidata identifiers to CS1/2, with the plan to integrate the functionality of Cite Q in CS1/2 on the long term (I have opposed that). Finally (and this is probably not the right place to discuss that), I am puzzled by your account of the mapframe extension: as I understand it, the extension itself only displays OpenStreetMap data. Why don't you voice your concern directly at WP:VPT? − Pintoch (talk) 16:34, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Pintoch, I didn't yet post at VPT because proposals are supposed to be posted on Pump Proposals. (Which is where I and others watch for proposals.) I didn't discover it on Technical until it was too late to effectively respond before closure. I posted the above-comment to you while trying to think through what, if anything, I wanted to post there. Regarding the Wikidata integration in mapframe, it was misrepresented in the discussion. You can see a wikidata-query example at Kartographer#GeoShapes_via_Wikidata_Query. Alsee (talk) 17:19, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

"United States" is not a geographic feature[edit]

It's a political entity.--Prisencolin (talk) 05:55, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

And your point would be ...?  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:08, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
So what's that big thing between Canada and Mexico?
I believe he's referring to WP:OVERLINK Walter Görlitz (talk) 14:58, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
The wording gave the US as a location, not a geographical feature; anon was mis-reading. That segment was a big mess though, so I boldly rewrote it [1]. Hopefully it will stick.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  19:39, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
That big thing between Canada and Mexico is also to the northwest and in the ocean to the southwest and southeast of Canada. Tony (talk) 07:38, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
My original re-draft didn't include "United States" [2]; someone else added it again later. I have no objection to its re-removal. Not every single example of everything in MoS has to make reference to the US or the UK, anyway. People who live in Canada and Australia probably get tired of it. I guess France should not be included, either, since one of its departements is in the Caribbean. It kind of stretches the meaning of "location" in the sense meant in that passage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  08:19, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

Books are not people, right?[edit]

Apologies if this is overly elementary, but I have not happened upon specific guidance yet: Recently I've seen several cases of plays being linked to the person represented in the title. As an example, Nathaniel Lee wrote a play called Mithridates (which has no Wikipedia article) and it is currently linked to Mithridates VI of Pontus. Now, that's indeed the guy the play is about, but surely this is bad practice, right? The reference in Nathaniel Lee is unambiguously to a play, and it links to a person. By-the-bye, Mithridates VI of Pontus does not even mention Lee's play (though it mentions other works, e.g. by Jean Racine) -- I could imagine that if a work of art (without its own article) featured very prominently in a biographical article, then maybe such a practice could be condoned (although I'd still find it far from ideal), but broadly speaking such links should be de-linked with extreme prejudice, shouldn't they? Thanks. Phil wink (talk) 03:36, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it would be way more sensible to link a non-notable (or notable but presently redlinked) play to the playwright. We should never confuse a historical figure with a fictionalized work about that figure.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  08:20, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

Quotations, redux[edit]

The current policy, "Items within quotations should not generally be linked; instead, consider placing the relevant links in the surrounding text or in the "See also" section of the article." from MOS:LINKSTYLE is overly restrictive. This policy has been discussed on a number of occasions previously, but petered out inconclusively. See, e.g. Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Archive_186#Proposed_revision:_links_within_quotes (warning, LONG)

My proposal, in the light that discussion: "Be conservative when linking within quotations; link only to targets that correspond to the meaning clearly intended by the quote's author. Where possible, link from text outside of the quotation instead – either before it or soon after. (If quoting hypertext, add an editorial note, [link in original] or [link added], as appropriate, to avoid ambiguity as to whether the link was made by the original author.)"

NPalgan2 (talk) 07:58, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

Does need to happen, but it won't without a specific proposal subjected to an RfC.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  08:21, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

RfC about linking in quotations[edit]

MOS:LINKSTYLE currently says:

Items within quotations should not generally be linked; instead, consider placing the relevant links in the surrounding text or in the "See also" section of the article.

Should this be changed to

Be conservative when linking within quotations; link only to targets that correspond to the meaning clearly intended by the quote's author. Where possible, link from text outside of the quotation instead – either before it or soon after. (If quoting hypertext, add an editorial note, [link in original] or [link added], as appropriate, to avoid ambiguity as to whether the link was made by the original author.)

NPalgan2 (talk) 18:08, 26 October 2017 (UTC)


If you Yankees can send a tamping bar through a fellow's brain and not kill him, I guess there are not many can shoot a bullet between a man's mouth and his brains, stopping just short of the medulla oblongata, and not touch either
– why in the world shouldn't I link medulla oblongata? Similarly, when I quote someone saying
He is the index case for personality change due to frontal lobe damage
–what's the problem with linking index case? How am I supposed to somehow "[place] the relevant links in the surrounding text"? I've told that linking is "changing the quotation", but that's stupid. If the source is hypertext, then obviously that's a special case, well handled in the proposal. EEng 22:13, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Why would you need to link it in the first place? Is the quote in an article on the effects of weapons on the brain, I'm sure the various parts of the brain are already linked. If it's in an article on the thoughts of physicians, does the actual body part matter? So again, in what context does this quote appear and why does it need to be linked? The same questions can be asked about index case. And similar questions could be asked about why "Yankee", "tamping bar", "brain", "personality change", "frontal lobe" or other terms are not linked. Where do you stop the linking? Walter Görlitz (talk) 22:26, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
The article is [3], and you can answer your questions yourself there. It's irrelevant to ask why editors judged certain links to be useful or not useful in a given passage – that judgment is exercised all the time. The question here is: If editors would have linked these terms had the text been not a quotation, why shouldn't they be linked just because it is a quotation. EEng 01:42, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Good point. There are way too many links and way too many quotes on Wikipedia, and anything that may encourage well-meaning editors to add them in combination is a terrible idea. --John (talk) 22:29, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, Walter Görlitz, what about this example: the article Tian Qilang quotes Pu Songling's postscript: " If Jing Ke had been capable of this feat, he would have left no regret to linger on for a thousand years." The comparison to Jing Ke is mentioned in passing and has no connection to the rest of the article, inserting a mention of Jing Ke in the article would disrupt the flow. There would be no problem with paraphrasing Pu as "Pu compared Tian to Jing Ke." Why not make the link in the quotation instead? It's not as if the reader would be confused as to whether an 18th century Chinese author was using hyperlinks. John, I agree that WP:OVERLINK is a problem, but that is a more general problem. We can always say that editors should be *especially* sparing with links in quotations. NPalgan2 (talk) 22:46, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
A few issues. I think you mean WP:SEAOFBLUE and not OVELRINK. Removing an overlink would be obvious.
Why are you not breaking back-links? Each of those topics you linked is now linked to this discussion.
I'm watching this page. There's no need to hail me. Thanks.
Why not link the quotation? If it's not appropriate in the note, why would you imagine it's appropriate in the quote? Walter Görlitz (talk) 22:51, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
I won't hail you if you prefer not. SEAOFBLUE is "avoid placing links next to each other so that they look like a single link", I meant OVERLINK. I don't understand your other points. NPalgan2 (talk) 23:02, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Collapse digression in which A scolds B for trivially altering C's post – and C doesn't care
@Walter Görlitz: Why did you add colons to the links in this edit? How was doing so permissible within WP:TPO? --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:02, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
It's a manual of style not a policy. How was it a violation of TPO? How is it that you have no clue about breaking backlinks? Walter Görlitz (talk) 14:10, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
What on earth do you mean about "breaking backlinks"? If you mean that by putting a colon into the link it somehow removes this page from "what links here" for those two pages - well, it doesn't. WP:TPO allows modification of other people's posts in certain circumstances: inserting those colons is permissible for file links and for category links; but neither of these circumstances applied to the links which you altered. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:57, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Will you two simmer down? It was my post that got altered, and while I have no idea why it was altered, it's a trivial change and doesn't bother me. If someone wants to explain some subtle significance to the change, please do so on my talk page. EEng 21:26, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Yeah; the colons didn't break anything or affect the visual rendering, so WP:DGAF. WP doesn't need people micro-policing each other's editing down to the character. Seriously, no one cares.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:32, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose; wikilinking changes the sense of a quotation. It's lazy editing to use a link to explain a term anyway; our articles should work when printed. An explanatory footnote (incorporating a link if desired) is far more elegant. --John (talk) 22:21, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
    "Our articles should work when printed" is an argument against links in general, whether or not they're inside quotations. NPalgan2 (talk) 22:57, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, per nom. John, it still says "conservative", and I would still avoid it. - I have a question open at Classical music (BWV number), where footnotes are opposed, also discussed in the peer review of BWV 80. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:26, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as per Phineas Gage's brain damage link above... "Does my Rs look big in this"? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:27, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Well-meaning but misguided. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 22:45, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, as reflecting years of actual practice. I suspect some copyediting will occur later, but this proposed version is good enough.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:15, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Loose links quash quotes.
  • Oppose—I'm concerned the new wording will shift us toward loose linking in quotations. Tony (talk) 02:48, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The current text says "should not generally be linked", which leaves plenty (and I think adequate) scope for the cases offered in support. The proposal adds more details, which just makes MOS more complex, and offers more points to argue about. I might agree with NPalgan2 that "editors should be *especially* sparing with links in quotations", but that is not what has been proposed. I agree with John (and the current LWQ) that wikilinking changes the sense of a quotation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 02:58, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Observation: The current and proposed wording can actually easily be merged; there's very little mutually incompatible between them. It really is true that generally linking in quotes can/should be avoided; it's just also true that in a site this size, many quotes will have links in them, and we ought to offer specific guidance about how to not do that poorly.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:13, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
So that the description of how to handle the exceptions does not become more prominent than the proscription, perhaps that special guidance could be put into a box, and prefixed with: "If you must link with in a quote:". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:22, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, we don't normally use boxes, and doing so would just serve to highlight it. A more typical approach would be an indented or bulleted sub-item under the main line-item in the guideline.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:34, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral: I would prefer to see footnotes being used to provide additional information, but can understand that there may be some extraordinary circumstances in which it may be beneficial to link to an article. Sb2001 12:55, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I think the change will still ensure that links are used sparingly, but it will also avoid situations where writing can appear plain awkward – i.e. introducing a term before a quote for no other reason than to avoid linking it in the quoted text that follows. Over the years, I've come across reviewers dismissing the current requirement as impracticable. JG66 (talk) 01:30, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a style guide that I'm apt to ignore, and not seeing a better way to do it, without including a needless summary. See two of my most egregious lapses: at Peacock Throne, where I link some obsolete Indian measurements, and at Tuileries Palace, where I thought it foolhardy to try to improve on Filon's description. Dhtwiki (talk) 20:09, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Very sensible; comports with our usual practice. Neutralitytalk 22:21, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. The sea-of-blue is a question of aesthetics. Never sure why it was abolished, also not sure why it is prohibited at Wikisource. The whole point of links is to use them to give context. (talk) 05:17, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral — I'm leaning towards 'support' but would like to see the wording refined a bit. Users J. Johnson and SMcCandlish seem to be on the right track by my reckoning. --A Fellow Editor (talk) 05:32, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support (I think) – the new wording is more explanatory, which is a good thing. It doesn't otherwise change the outcome of the guidance. Tony (talk) 06:25, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • Note MOS:LWQ, which says: As much as possible, avoid linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader. If consensus is achieved to change MOS:LINKSTYLE, this may also need to be tweaked, depending on what changes (if any) are adopted. NPalgan2 (talk) 18:13, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
The violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged is the stupidity I refer to in my post in the Survey section. EEng 22:23, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
There is a certain argument for purity, though? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:30, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
  • The extra verbiage proposed introduces vagueness, which will likely be taken as carte blanche by lazy editors (like me) to pack quotations with wikilinks instead of taking the time to write encyclopedic summaries of source material. The original, more concise version still allows some flexibility (see "not generally", "instead, consider"). Those who don't like the guideline can always make a case via WP:IAR. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 22:45, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
To be honest, when I gave, in the Survey section, my super-duper support for change, I was really channeling my longterm hatred for the LWQ text (quoted by NPalgan2 above). Its over-strong discouragement of linking is what I think really, really should be changed. I'd support both the LWQ text and the LINKSTYLE text being changed to the proposed new text. EEng 01:48, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. The MOS:PMC concern is actually just the use of links that take people to misleading pages and imply a meaning not intended by the speaker, e.g. "Damned liberals make my butt hurt" in a Trump quote, or "Do it, England" in a quote from Hamlet. A side concern, of course, is trivial and distracting over-linkage of everyday words, which we shouldn't do anywhere, and especially shouldn't do in quotes. However, site-wide consensus has clearly never actually been in favor of the idea that any link at all within a quotation is an impermissible alteration, since there has never been a time when experienced, MoS-cognizant editors have not been regularly linking key terms/names in quoted material, even if the better writers among us try hard to write around the necessity to do so. (A good but unrelated reason to do this is that various editors are on a mini-mission to eliminate unnecessary quotations, and when they cut out a questionably encyclopedic one in which there are actually-important links, that just gets lost, while doing it in the surrounding prose will retain the contextual linking, with minor copyedits, if the quote is axed.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:10, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Can someone explain what's wrong with the current text, which includes an out, in "generally"? Tony (talk) 03:31, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, like I said a bit up from here, my distaste is really for LWQ's over-discouraging As much as possible, avoid linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader. EEng 03:42, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
Editors assessing articles for FA or GA status tend to ignore the out, which is why I prefer my phrasing. NPalgan2 (talk) 21:43, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
Clarify? It's my experience that editors assessing articles for FA or GA status tend to ignore almost everything except spelling and citations. Walter Görlitz (talk) 02:42, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm glad this discussion is coming to life again. NPalgan2, since you're the OP, how do you want to move this forward? EEng 04:43, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
I posted a request for closure; I think everyone's had their say. NPalgan2 (talk) 04:58, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

Duplicate and repeat links[edit]

I have noticed that the shortcuts WP:DUPLINK and WP:REPEATLINK overshoot the target. I have added the section Duplicate and repeat links, and I'm hoping someone can get the shortcuts to go there. Thank you. (talk) 06:16, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Just needed to exchange the {{anchor}} and {{shortcut}} templates. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:44, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. (talk) 09:42, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Um... Did you actually try them? (talk) 09:57, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:00, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
I think anon is pointing out that there is collapsing text above the anchor points that causes the section heading to scroll off the screen when rendered. Walter Görlitz (talk) 15:33, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
In which case it's a browser issue, nothing we can fix here. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:23, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

The term "wikilink"[edit]

At present, 25 November 2017, Manual of Style/Linking only uses three instances of the term "wikilink" in the main body of text; one of which is simply as part of the title of a {{section link}} to another page (eg Help:Link § Wikilinks).

Has the term "wikilink" officially gone out of fashion in some manner? Ie was there some explicit previous discussion regarding this? Or is it just an example of a drift in taste over time? And/or ... ?

The situation came to my notice while looking into the WP:Wikilinks redirect.

Thanks for your time and attention, --A Fellow Editor (talk) 21:38, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

No, not official deprecated or anything. It's just unnecessarily lengthy when the context makes it clear we do not mean an external link.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:08, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
What with the present state of things (full term 'wikilink' out of vogue here) I'm thinking it might be better (least 'surprise', clearer for readers) if the Wikipedia:Wikilinks redirect were to target Help:Link § Wikilinks (internal links) as that section starts off with relevant terms in bold while also linking other pages offering further elaboration.
Help:Link § Wikilinks, quoted
Wikilinks (internal links)

A wikilink (or internal link) links a page to another page within English Wikipedia. In wikitext, links are enclosed in doubled square brackets like this:

  • [[abc]] is seen as "abc" in text and links to page "abc".

Use a vertical bar "|" (the "pipe" symbol — see Wikipedia:Piped link for how to type one) to create a link while labelling it with a different name on the original page. The first term inside the brackets is the link (the page you would be taken to), while anything you type after the vertical bar is what that link looks like on the original page. Here are some examples:

  • [[a|b]] is labelled "b" on this page but links to page "a". Example: b.


Basically, as things stand, Help:Link § Wikilinks seems to me more what one might expect to land on when offered "WP:Wikilinks" as a shortcut.
--–A Fellow Editor– 14:31, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Including "the" in wikilinks[edit]

What's the deal with including "the" in wikilinks?

Seems to me they should be excluded when they're not part of the title of a work. So that means, for example, we should link like this:

First: should this be covered in the MoS? (Maybe it is already and I'm missing it?)

Second: assuming I'm right about excluding "the", was I right to be reverted when I changed "the Holocaust" to "the Holocaust" on the David Irving article recently? I suspect this was done because the article title itself is "The Holocaust". I have separate opinions about including "the" in article titles, but putting those aside, does this not create an inconsistent linking style? Popcornduff (talk) 03:42, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

Sounds like overkill (policy creep) to me. While I'll concur that it's generally advisable to just wikilink the title term and not an accompanying article (grammar)—and doing so conveniently saves having to add a pipe and target in markup—I can also think of times where I've intentionally made an exception. Like when an article title being linked is very short and one wants to be sure the wikilink is readily apparent to readers ('readers', those mysterious beasts for whom we—ostensibly—do this all for). Or in cases where stretching the span of a wikilink may otherwise serve as a convenient form of emphasis.

Speaking of overkill ... Complicating a simple direct wikilink like [[the Holocaust]] into the [[the Holocaust|Holocaust]] just to satisfy one's personal pet peeve seems a bit over-the-top to me. Especially when one takes into account that the article, "the Holocaust", is presumably so titled because it conforms to common usage familiar to general readers with minimal wp:astonishment. Please stop.

A cautionary note – when technically minded folk with a penchant for order, consistency, and control get caught up in the zeal of a systematization crusade unpleasantness can result. At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, if one reflects a bit they may notice an iconic example of the extremity of such already embedded in this discussion.

Thanks for your time and attention, --A Fellow Editor (talk)

I've memorialized some of A.F.E.'s wise words [4]. EEng 05:26, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
Yikes. "Please stop"? I'm not picking a fight. My change was reverted, I didn't challenge it, and checked what the consensus is.
So the logic is indeed that the article is titled "The Holocaust" rather than "Holocaust" (even though both pages go to the same place, so it's not like it disambiguates anything). I therefore don't see why the page title includes "the" when the Mona Lisa and White House articles don't; these things are also always referred to with the definite article, so why does WP:ASTONISH apply here? I also note that the Holocaust article only bolds "the Holocaust", excluding the definite article, so I'm even more confused. edit: consulting the Holocaust article archives, there was already a discussion about this. I shouldn't have brought it up here in detail.
But these are all points to be discussed somewhere else, I suppose, and not here. That is if I have the guts. I might have to find an example less likely to have me likened to a totalitarian regime that murdered millions of people. Popcornduff (talk) 05:57, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
If being compared to Nazism is the worst thing that happens to you as a WP editor, you're doing pretty well. Back to the point at hand, my gating question on additions to MOS, always, is: show me evidence that this has been a problem on multiple articles that editors have been unable to settle for themselves. See User:EEng#mossy. EEng 06:35, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
This is purely something I've wondered a few times. A MOS entry would have been useful for me to know if there was a right way of doing it. If no one else finds it confusing, hey ho. Popcornduff (talk) 07:11, 27 November 2017 (UTC)


Re: "Yikes." – Ooops, sorry, I may have been coming on a bit strong myself. "Please stop." probably could have been better phrased as "Please don't make a habit of repeating such in similar circumstances." I tend to give a fair bit of thought to formatting and would have been irked if you'd come along and reformatted an edit I'd made in such a manner.

As to The Holocaust's title choice and lead emphasis and such ... Speculating off-the-cuff I'm thinking an urge to clearly distinguish "The Holocaust" from "a holocaust" may have affected prevalence in available sources ... Perhaps a sort of 'branding-a-cause' comes into play as well. I grew up around Columbus, Ohio and one of our regional icons, The Ohio State University, can be very particular about including the "The".[n 1]

Mayhap a good way to explore the topic further would be to go ahead and post an inquiry over at Talk:The Holocaust. Relevant stuff may have come up in discussion before—and if not you've an opportunity to stimulate some reflection.

G'luck, --A Fellow Editor (talk) 07:18, 27 November 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Not trying to trivialize the former by comparing to the latter; just focusing on the use of language. And ironically I've now noticed that Wikipedia actually has the title and body usage askew for the OSU article ... It's presently titled "Ohio State University" while using "The" within.
  • Popcornduff, a discussion elsewhere (regarding WP:SHORTCUTs) brought my attention to wp:NotBroken/DoNotFixIt which—though specifically addressing a slightly different context—may offer something of value in relation to wikilinks of articles as well. Perhaps try mentally amending the section heading to § Do not "fix" links to redirects [and articles] that are not broken.

    Specifically, in regard to:  • Introducing unnecessary invisible text makes the article more difficult to read in page source form., and,  • Non-piped links make better use of the "what links here" tool, making it easier to track how articles are linked and helping with large-scale changes to links.

    Hope this helps, --A Fellow Editor (talk) 14:41, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Don't include "the" unless it's part of the title, e.g. The Lord of the Rings, or The The. "The" is often included in a piped link for contextual clarity to avoid a MOS:SUBMARINE link, e.g.: The team then published [[Report on the Progress of the Underwater Basketweaving Proposal|the report]], where using the [[Report on the Progress of the Underwater Basketweaving Proposal|report]] would misleadingly imply a link to the page Report.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:07, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
    Man, I wish we had a way to steer people away from links like that. EEng 12:37, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
    That might be a sunk proposal. --Izno (talk) 17:32, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
We could be out of our depth. EEng 19:49, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Looking forward to ... "sinking The Belgrano". Martinevans123 (talk) 19:56, 4 December 2017 (UTC)