Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking

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Relax duplicate linking rule[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This RFC was rather well laid out. It asks a number of specific proposals:
  • Status quo. vs Relax somewhat. There is rough consensus that there needs to be some relaxing of the guideline.
The next two questions looked at specific changes to be made.
  • Once per section. There was no consensus on once per section. The arguments were good, but the responses were split pretty evenly.
  • When far enough apart. There is consensus for allowing when far enough apart. Some of the oppose arguments, which was the minority opinion, even included that this is already possible with the existing wording. AlbinoFerret 17:34, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Many editors feel that the rule about duplicate links is too strict as currently written:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. Duplicate links in an article can be identified by using a tool that can be found at User:Ucucha/duplinks.

I would like to poll the attitudes of the MOS community on this topic, so that I can draft a suitable proposal to change this rule. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Notes: I've canvassed both proponents and opponents of duplicate links, from the discussions that I found in the archives. It's possible to support or oppose more than one of the options below, as I have done.

General question[edit]

A strict interpretation of this rule implies that a link to an obscure term that appears in section 19 of a long article should be removed if it occurs in section 2 as well. If you support this interpretation, please explain why.

Support status quo:

  • I think the actual cost of this is minimal, but I feel that most articles are more threatened by overlinking (where multiple low value links create a sea of blue, making it harder to identify valuable links) than by underlinking. The "rule", such as it is, can already be interpreted to include extra links in situations where this will be helpful to a reader, but to relax it or delete it would be to encourage the continuation or worsening of overlinking. --John (talk) 21:44, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Comment: the current rule as written does not allow a term to be linked twice in the text of an article (excluding the lead section).--Slashme (talk) 22:12, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John, and see my fuller response under the When far enough apart option. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I feel the current rule is loose enough to allow for exceptions where truly warranted, but in my experience, as John noted, overlinking is a far more prevalent problem than underlinking. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I have been invited to participate in this discussion on my user talk page, presumably because of my participation in prior discussions on point. My current thinking is succinctly embodied by Jayaguru immediately above. I think the current phrasing already permits editors to use a modicum of common sense and to resolve particular instances of repeated links to key topics in very long articles by compromise and article-level consensus. Given that over-linking is a far bigger problem than under-linking, IMO, I suggest we leave the current guideline as is. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It is disingenuous to argue that the existing language "can already be interpreted to include extra links...", and (comment below) that "[t]he existing guidance already allows for this", as this is at variance with the practice of some editors (and I believe the duplinks tool) of removing all duplicate links on sight, without discussion, which they justify on a strict interpretation of the existing language. Strictly speaking, the last paragraph at WP:OVERLINK does say "only once' per article", the "generally" and "common sense" qualifications rarely allowing any exceptions with those who a fear a sea of blue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:30, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It not only is disingenuous, it is illogical. Suppose we assumed that we had only honest editors who never interfered with the the proper function of articles that depended on links (this you understand is purely hypothetical) then what we have is a set of debatable rules based on the personal aesthetic tastes of a few people, for controlling the functional design of didactic articles??? This puts the editor or author into the position of looking guiltily over his shoulder and thinking up his justifications every time he stretched the envelope, never knowing when someone who does not understand his links might come and remove them without notice, and start a fight at an advantage if he corrects the mutilation.
    The style guidelines should be to support production of superior products, not for permitting them to be extruded painfully through a picket of stonewallers who, let it be said in case you haven't noticed, do not hesitate to interfere, and do not hesitate to do it on a basis of Zero linking as one of them asserted elsewhere on this page.
    When the rules are based on counting links rather than on the function of links, then you should not have to ask what is wrong; the system is wrong. It is nonsense to argue that the flexibility is adequate, because that flexibility does not extend as far as the functional requirement, but as far as the whim of a luddite who not only wishes to control what HE sees in an article, but what anyone else is permitted to see as well.
    Furthermore note that dirtlawyer and Jayaguru-Shishya are typical in stating flatly that the flexibility is "sufficient" -- a quantitative assertion, please note. And who determines the quantity? Not their opposition! And who justifies the argument for that quantity? Nobody. The closest we have got to a quantitative argument is that if we have two links on a page the thin end of the wall of blue will nip us all in the bud.
    And when they have finished asserting that the flexibility is adequate and have gone back to their own affairs and the old guard have continued with their old habits uninterruptedly, where are they to protest the inflexibility? Certainly nowhere that they can do WP or anyone else a scrap of good.
    Where is the integrity, let alone the flexibility then? JonRichfield (talk) 19:18, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, the rule should be left as it stands. In fact, "rule" isn't the correct word, as others have pointed out; it's a guideline which is somewhat strongly encouraged. Sure, an overly-literal reading of it could be detrimental to some articles, but the responsibility for that lies with the reader.-RHM22 (talk) 22:58, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Not merely could, but actually is detrimental. The underlying problem that drives all this that some editors do take a strict interpretaton of this "guideline" as if were an absolute rule. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:21, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I understand that, but that's the fault of the editors who misread it, and not the policy, which begins with "[g]enerally." I agree with the others who suggest above that articles are more often harmed by an overabundance of links than a lack thereof.-RHM22 (talk) 23:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry to hear that some editors are acting against the guideline we have. However, like RHM22 well put it[1]: "that's the fault of the the editors who misread it". In such cases, I think the issue should be first taken to administrative attention by dispute resolution or an administrative noticeboard instead of attempting to change the established WP guidelines straight away. As I have strongly understood, the phrasing of the guideline is not the problem itself, but the misreading of the guideline by some editors. Therefore, the right way to handle this problem would be to bring the guideline violations to administrative attention, and then to impose sanctions for these sanction if seen necessary. Has there been a case about aggressive misreading of the policy on hand, could one please bring it to our attention since it'd the most helpful! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
This gets back to my comment above about disingenuousness. You claim that "generally" ameliorates the black-letter text that says "only once", and shift blame for any problems that ensue on editors who "misread" the text. I say the bolded "once" beats the snot out of "generally", and that editors who take a strict view of "once" are supported by the actual, literal, and least interpreted meaning of the text.
However, the underlying problem here is not how this "guideline" should be interpreted, it is this bogeyman of "overlinking". Until we deal with that there will be no progress on this issue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:03, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I support the status quo: The existing guidance already allows for common sense addition of extra links where these would be necessary. Relaxing the guidance would result in articles peppered with repetitions of links "because they are allowed". Apuldram (talk) 21:02, 22 April 2015 (UTC)


Relax somewhat:

  • An over-strict interpretation of this rule gives the situation where readers need to hunt for the first occurrence of an obscure or technical term, or else use the search box, instead of having a convenient link to the article. The cost of having something linked two or three times in an article is far outweighed by the benefits. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Maybe change "Generally" to something more instructive. Perhaps something along the lines of "Unless separated by a substantial amount of text." Regardless, we should put a period after "in an article" and remove the "But" following the period. In fact, I may just boldly do that last suggestion. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:21, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The rule is written on the assumption that articles are read as though they are novels - that is we start at the lead and go through in the exact order to the end as though this were a pleasant read. An encyclopedia, however, is a reference tool - sections allow readers to go just to those sections which matter to them. Readers may go straight to the section they require, missing out the lead, and the section where the term is first linked. We have redirects and anchors which go straight to sections, missing out on previous links in the article. Each section needs to be treated for what it is, an independent section that readers are highly likely to read independently of the rest of the article. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I strongly favor relaxation, but it seems futile to argue for it. Based on prior history (e.g., see Archive 16) this proposal will not get anywhere without dealing with the main concern of the opposers: overlinking. Part of that concern is this fear of immediate inundation in a sea of blue. if any link should appear in an article twice. I find this fear to be absurd, but that is beside the point. The point is that as long as they adhere to that fear we will not get anywhere.
I suspect this sensitivity to overlinking arose from the WP:Overlink crisis of 2007-2011, when "many thousands of articles" were loaded up with navboxes and infoboxes that in turn accumulated hundreds of links. So perhaps it is about time for some of you folks to WAKE UP and note: 1) the overlink crisis is long over; 2) there are three orders of magnitude difference between a single duplication of a link, and the thousands of links some articles had back then; 3) neither retaining nor relaxing the "only once" rule has any affect on that kind of massive linking because it exempts infoboxes and such. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:36, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I also strongly favor relaxation. I am a new editor (Oct. 2014) and I was really surprised when told I can only link to another page once. This shocked me because for lengthy articles this seemed really counter-intuitive. It was good to know that I am not meant to link every time this word occurred (this is what I thought at first!), but about once per visible page would be fine in my view, or once per section if people prefer that. - I often don't read an article from start to finish but I use the table of contents to jump straight to the section that I am interested in. What I also do now is to insert this, for example:
    Further information: compost
    which is in a way a blue link to another page but a more prominent one which I can place at the beginning of a section if it is appropriate. EvM-Susana (talk) 22:54, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Per SilkTork - in longer articles, especially, multiple links to obscure or precise terminology would provide a useful resource to readers. Perhaps relax the "per article" rule to a "per major section" rule. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:24, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • There is nothing worse than having to hunt for a link that appeared earlier in an article, especially if linking the term would make more sense in the current instance than in the first. Linking should anticipate readers, not Wikipedia guidelines. Betty Logan (talk) 07:39, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The first thought I had reading the question was precisely what SilkTork stated! I will add that this is especially important in articles dealing with long articles and technical subjects. After noticing a comment further down this discussion, I will add that people who follow a wikilink to a specific section of an article will have to hunt through the previous sections of the article to find an appropriate wikilink. Another problem would be if the first link is piped, obscuring what the reader is looking for. AHeneen (talk) 08:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Relax the rule - why don't we just leave this up to an editor's discretion (as we do for example with choosing British/American English)? Sometimes linking more than once is appropriate, overlinking can be annoying. Editors in my experience are generally smart enough to make up their own minds without a prescriptive rule.--Jackyd101 (talk) 17:52, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Comment; we do not leave choosing British/American English to editor discretion. In most cases this is determined by WP:ENGVAR. --John (talk) 09:56, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
In some cases national connection determines the ENGVAR used but in many cases it is left to the first (major) editor as per WP:RETAIN. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:33, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto, Slashme and SilkTork. The current guideline and common editor practice (i.e., more than one link of the same term in an article is overlink) is counterintuitive. Previously linked terms that would aid the reader in another section should be linked as well. As mentioned by others supporting a change, the guideline does not explicitly allow for repeat links in an article as the last sentence (Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. Duplicate links in an article can be identified by using a tool that can be found at User:Ucucha/duplinks.) does not concern the prose. --Lapadite (talk) 17:10, 8 March 2015 (UTC)


Comment:

To point out a few misunderstanding related to this RfC (in a chronological order):

  • Slashme[2]: You said that the current guideline dows not allow a term to be linked twice in the text of an article excluding the lead section. This is not true. As explained by many users, a term indeed may be linked more than once in the article (excluding the lead section, of course). Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • The guideline actually doesn't allow double linking as currently written: let's parse the text:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, (general rule)
but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated (exception, valid when?)
in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. (exception is limited to these cases)
So if I understand you correctly, you interpret that sentence to be equivalent to the following:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but may be repeated if helpful to readers, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.
@Jayaguru-Shishya: Would you be comfortable with this wording (without the bolding of "for example", of course)? --Slashme (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Slashme: Thanks for your suggestion. At this point, I'd give a "cautious yes". The wording you are suggesting might be a good solution, but I am still thinking that many editors seemed to have problem with the wording "once" (yes, with the bolding). I was also thinking of 1) removing the bolding, or 2) giving the bolding for word "Generally" instead of "once", since some editors feel that the word "Generally" is sometimes neglected by some editors. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:02, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • J. Johnson (#1)[3]: You said that the duplicate links tools do remove all duplicate links on sight without discussion. This isn't true either. Actually, the Ucucha script only highlights the duplicate links. All the removals must be done manually, though. And that's where every editor using the tool is responsible for using personal discretion rather than removing the highlighted links blindly. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Not quite. I was referring to "the practice of some editors ... of removing all duplicate links on sight, without discussion". A practice assisted and even encouraged by the duplinks tool, which I mentioned parenthetically. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • SilkTork[4]: I agree with Tony1. The WP articles are structured so that the text unfolds in a logical and sequential manner. Well said. Also, talking from my personal experience, there are lots of articles where the same terms have been redundantly linked all over and over again. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't think that that is a clear case of a misconception that you are correcting, but rather a difference of opinion. Wikipedia is full of links to article sections because, for example, someone might need to be referred to the history of Germany or the geography of Germany for a better understanding of a certain point, without needing an introduction to the country. --Slashme (talk) 21:12, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • J. Johnson (#2)[5]: Many of the links are already apearing twice, or even more. That's perfectly in line with the current guideline, and there's nothing wrong with that. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding over what's being voted here, I think. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Of course there is nothing wrong ("generally") with a second ("duplicate") instance of link. That in some articles some editors have tolerated such instances misses the point: other editors strictly remove even a mere second instance as "overlinking", as if "twice" is only one step removed from the evils of thousands of links. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • EvM-Susana[6]: You said that you were "really surprised when told" that you can only link another page once. I am sorry to hear that, but that's not actually how it is: You can indeed link to a page more than once. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • JonRichfield (#1)[7]: I think the problem concerning the excessive usage of technical terms is already covered by Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable, according to which we should strive "to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers". This is also consistent with WP:LINKSTYLE on "nested links". Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • JonRichfield (#2)[8]: "Furthermore note that dirtlawyer and Jayaguru-Shishya are typical in stating flatly that the flexibility is "sufficient" -- a quantitative assertion, please note." Actually, that's a qualitative assertion; it emphasizes users' personal discretion, and the current guideline doesn't have any fixed quantitative rule even. Just to correct the misunderstanding. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Jayaguru-Shishya My apologies; I missed your responses here.
  • "to make each part of every article as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers" is certainly a worthy objective, but in technical topics it involves conflicting constraints and there is no fence to sit on between them, only a ditch. To use technical terms as opposed to abusing them whether in technical writing or not is because they are efficient. To abuse them means using them when they serve no purpose, and that is not competent writing; it is pretentiousness. But consider say:
"...hypopharynx varies greatly with the nature of the insect. Commonly it is a tongue-like structure attached to the floor of the preoral cavity between the other external mouthparts, just below the opening of the pharynx and above or anterior to the base of the labium. The salivary duct then emerges between the labium and the hypopharynx. In this form it assists chewing and swallowing, much as a human tongue does. It forms part of the floor of the cibarium, and in sucking insects, such as the Siphunculata, sucking lice, it forms part of the muscular suction apparatus, the cibarial pump. In some insects, such as many Diptera, the hypopharynx forms a stylet through which the salivary duct passes, and..."
That I think you will agree contains a generous helping of technical terms (bolded for this demonstration) for anyone unacquainted with the subject, but which of the terms do you suggest should be omitted, and what service do you suppose it would serve the reader to omit them? Why do you suppose that he would have been reading the article in the first place? JonRichfield (talk) 18:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
@Jayaguru-Shishya You please note, it is a thoroughly quantitative decision in that someone must decide how much flexibility or linkage is desirable or permissible. The discretion you refer to has nothing to do with quality, just whether you will suffer torments in the afterlife if ever you put in a link too many, not which kind of link. JonRichfield (talk) 18:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Once per section[edit]

Since 2006 there have been proposals to allow linking once per section, proposed in July and November 2006 (unanimously supported both times), and again in 2013 and 2014 (no consensus).

Support:

  • If this is approved, it must be made clear that it is not required to link once per section, but allowed in long articles. This is a reasonable way to relax the strict rule described above, and solves the problem that one can be linked to a section of an article, and will therefore not have seen previous links. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, of course, it's quite bizarre that such a rule (as opposed to a set of general suggestions) should exist, and even worse if people are thoughtlessly enforcing it, as seems sometimes to happen with Wikipedia's rules. W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, this is sensible, for the reasons given. Andrew D. (talk) 22:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Each section needs to be treated for what it is, an independent section that readers are highly likely to read independently of the rest of the article. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I made a similar suggestion a while back, with allowance for more than once per section for very long sections. This has to be tempered though. The real goal s not a link every so often or per section, it is to make links as meaningful and convenient as possible. Those tow needs conflict sometimes. So links=good except where it results in a link density that is too high in the article, in a section, or in a particular run of text separate from its section structure. To me, this means there should be an overall statement of goals, with any other "rules" (guidelines) being subordinate to that statement. Dovid (talk) 16:57, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • For long-ish articles only. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:27, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We should permit with a caveat i.e we shouldn't blindly link a term once in each section, but I can imagine a scenario where we link the first occurrence in an article for those that read from "start to finish" and maybe any section where the term is "context relevant" and might be sought by someone who has jumped straight to that section. Betty Logan (talk) 07:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support unless and until someone shows me real objective evidence that it would harm readability or usefulness, as in something vaguely resembling a scientific study. Here at Wikipedia, unsubstantiated statements of fact are also known as opinions. I've seen too many links removed on the basis of the current language to put much stock in the "it already leaves room for discretion" argument. I try to live in the real world, and I think our guidelines should live in it, too. ―Mandruss  08:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Oppose:

  • The existing guidance already allows for this and this proposal is based on a misreading of the existing guidance. To relax the guidance would encourage currently overlinked articles to stay bad or to become worse. The status quo is just fine in this instance. --John (talk) 21:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I'm reading it exactly the same way as the proposer, i.e. that the list of exceptions is a closed list, and thus we have an apparent (and ridiculous) prohibition on the use of repeat links anywhere else than the places listed. If the list is not supposed to be closed, then something should be added to indicate as much. W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:51, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John, and see my fuller response under the When far enough apart option. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Let's not replace one rule that isn't working with another that won't work. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Per my statement above and per John. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
    • @Jayaguru-Shishya a repetition of the uncalibrated quantitative argument (...relaxed enough... yes? "Enough" being how much?) The guideline " generally" amounts to handwaving, giving NO indication of when enough is enough, so some geniuses have seen fit to create tools to remove repeated links automatically. Could you even hypothetically support a "guideline" that can be interpreted as support for such vandalism? JonRichfield (talk) 08:15, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • While I am receptive to applying common sense to repeated links to the same topic in the main body sections of a very long article, I am also mindful of the mindless over-linking that often occurs in relatively short articles of a few hundred words, where the same topic is often linked in an infobox, one or more tables, a navbox, the lead, and then each of four or five brief one- to three-sentence sections. Again, I view the problem of over-linking in the typical Wikipedia article as a far more relevant concern than that of under-linking. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:00, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps you would provide us an example or two of "mindless over-linking that often occurs in relatively short articles of a few hundred words", so we could see just what the real problems are? Keep in mind that tables, infoboxes, etc., are entirely irrelevant here, as the current rule exempts them. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
JJ, see my comment below. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:02, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Comment:

  • We should probably state explicitly whether (for the purpose of "once per section") a "section" means only the top level, ie (defined per MOS:SECTIONS) ==Section==, or whether it is intended to include sub-sections eg ===Sub-section===. Some articles may have many small sub-sections, so we may want to limit duplicated links to once per top-level section. Mitch Ames (talk) 07:27, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • By overlinking, we'd lose the opportunity to display intelligently selected and rationed links to readers. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk)
  • I want to read and discuss the proposed language for any "relaxation" of the present guideline; propose it, and then let's discuss it. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:00, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
"When far enough apart" is not the kind of statment one can support or oppose. More appropriate would be discussions of how frequently constitutes "far enough", such as "once per section" (like the section above), or per "20,000 words" (below), or even no definite rule. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:24, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
JJ, I edit a lot of American football sports bio articles, many of which consist an overly long infobox, a lead, one or two sentences about the athlete's college career, a sentence about his NFL Draft outcome, and another two or three sentences about his pro career. Links to common words and phrases like National Football League/NFL, team names, positions, touchdown, quarterback sack, tackle, etc., are often repeated in every one of the lead and three or four very short sections. In my experience, this happens in many different sports articles, but it certainly is not a sports-only problem. I keep about 1,000 of 20,000+ such NFL bio articles on my watch list; given human time constraints, it's impossible to track them all, let alone fix the over-linking in all of them. So, you do what you can, and you try to educate other editors through WikiProject discussions and the BRD process. If you really want links, I can start digging out examples. FYI, in my six years on-wiki, I've gone from linking virtually every meaningful term in articles, to being something of a link minimalist. I really believe that it is better to emphasize 25 meaningful and relevant links in a Good Article rather than three times that number which include commonly understood terms as well as those that are not really central to an understanding of the article topic. Of course, that requires a command of the subject material and some measure of editorial judgment in prioritizing what gets linked. I am sympathetic, but I am unwilling to further qualify the general rule without specific language to review. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:02, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Please link to a specific example to review, so that the rest of us can what you are talking about. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:22, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1: Again, please link to a specific example showing how merely duplicating (repeating) a link more than once in the text of the whole article (but no more than once per section) leads to any kind of "overlink" problem. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:51, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Dirtlawyer1 We all are here for the purpose of improving the function and functioning of WP. In this matter however, we have had years and years of irrationally counterfunctional organised resistance to any constructive improvement of a pernicious point of view legalistically supported by what I have previously referred to as uncalibrated quantitative guidelines. The consequence has been a disservice to users, authors and editors.
"Over" linking in most terms is no more than a minor irritation of little functional importance. Rationally real overlinking only matters when it would be reasonable to call someone in for disruptive editing or the like. Occasionally there will be a slip certainly, and occasionally a novice could be gently admonished for overdoing it, but generally an extra link does less harm than a missing link.
Note that the very concept of overlinking is ambiguous, including personal aesthetics of some editors who apparently don't like blue and are willing to cry holy war on anyone with a link that they personally think unnecessary (even in cases where they don't understand the subject matter and don't realise that they have misunderstood
  • a technical term that looks everyday, but really does need linking, such as mandible or spigot or labium, or
  • a place name that they have thought to refer to someplace familiar to them, such as Trinidad or Cairo). So they unlink such items, possibly even automatedly.
  • One even can find occasions where the same word in different contexts needs re-linking to different meanings, such as gravity in physics or engineering
  • What about where different words link to the same article, such as dorsad, distal, distal, sagittal or occusal, sometimes in the same sentence, never mind on the same page?
So you want "specific language" that will permit definitive rulings on each link in each article? No, sir, these, I protest you, are too hard for me. Such language would fill books about it and about I reckon, though I freely invite you to demonstrate me mistaken by providing counter-examples. I reckon rather that things should be the other way around and that we should permit people to write more or less as they please, gently admonishing beginners who do ridiculous things, as most of us do in our original innocence. Like linking to New York repeatedly in the same sentence or short paragraph. If it isn't ridiculous leave it for procedures similar to English/American spelling and so on.
We might have a list of hints such as:
    • Are you sure your reader needs this link? When in doubt don't link, any more than you would include other unnecessary distractions.
    • Better link than explain something that an informed reader might be expected to know already; remember that any parenthetically helpful explanation that you include might well go out of date causing confusion, will irritate most readers much worse than a link will. By reserving explanations for linked articles that are in themselves coherent, you aid in keeping resources up to date, consistent and precise. This applies especially if your explanation assists readers in matters outside your sphere of professional competence.
    • If you already have the same wording for the same concept linked where the reader still can see it immediately, whether he is already following a link or not, eg in the same sentence, or the same short paragraph, you really need not link it again, and when you do not need to, the chances are that you should not; always avoid unnecessary distractions for the reader. In fact, if the same link is still visible to most readers on the same page, avoid repeating it unless in a caption, table, box, footnote or the like.
I suggest that quite a short list of such rules of thumb would be sufficient for the average newby after a few helpful admonishments, rather than umbrella "guidelines" that are so simple, clear, adequate and adequately flexible that we still are exchanging ink bombs and spitballs after how long now???. Furthermore I reckon that quite modest technical facilities for links to be user-hideable, user-specific, ad hoc searchable by pop-up, and user-invocable ad libitum, are easily practicable, which should render this precious waste of time unnecessary as being totally obsolete. JonRichfield (talk) 08:15, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

When far enough apart[edit]

A common suggestion is to allow duplicate links where the term is far from a previous occurrence, for example in this proposal. This addresses the basic issue that we face as readers, namely that one can see a term after reading two pages of an article, and have no idea where it was linked above. The question then becomes how frequently one can link. If this position gets significant support, we can draft some options.

  • There used to be a long-standing bullet point "where the later occurrence is a long way from the first". This was removed on 27 November 2011 by User:Maunus; subsequent edits restored some parts of that radical cut. Maunus' edit summary refers to this RFC which he closed against consensus. Should we simply restore the previous bullet points? I think that would reflect common practice. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:35, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Support:

  • It's hard to make a fixed rule in this case, but I'd say that anything that is more than 20 000 words away is sufficiently distant. The question remains whether we need a hard rule, though. --Slashme (talk) 21:24, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Did you really mean 20,000 words...? We shouldn't really be producing 20,000 word articles anyway under WP:TOOBIG, let alone articles in which links are frequently 20,000 words apart. Hchc2009 (talk) 21:43, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, User:Hchc2009 - that was in fact a typo! But I didn't mean it as a serious suggestion anyway, just an example of how one might frame a rule. --Slashme (talk) 17:14, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Oh? I thought it was a subtle point. I.e., if 20,000 words is not sufficient distance, then how about 40,000 words? Is there any "distance" sufficient to permit replication of a link? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:19, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
That's a very good point to raise, but it's not exactly the point that I was making :-] --Slashme (talk) 08:24, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, obviously, and there should certainly not be any hard rule. It's rather disturbing that we appear to have developed "legislation" in matters like this. Editors' judgment should be trusted.W. P. Uzer (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Generally, this would be roughly once per section. This is rather vague, and sure, there can be dispute about it. I suggest banning anyone who edit wars over this. I think that'll be a win-win situation. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 21:52, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Links seem cheap and so we should be quite flexible in accommodating this where it seems helpful. Readers should never be required to hunt for a link. Andrew D. (talk) 22:17, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Supporting on the basis that this is what policy does imply (acknowledging John's point below), but more formalization as to describe "far enough" should be considered. As well as the aspect of how links in infoboxes and tables affect this. --MASEM (t) 23:59, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • More guidance is good. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Duplicate links, when far enough apart in the article text, are permitted if needed, is sort of the idea I would prefer, and what even the opposers below say they want. Once per section is a MAXIMUM, that should hardly ever (never?) occur. Once per article body is the goal, but I would like to see it broken frequently for odd and little-used terms and long articles. I do not agree that the language we have (below, from WP:REPEATLINK) is crystal clear. If our policy is that once per article is the general goal (to avoid the dread sea of blue), however duplicate links to the same term in the body, for odd words, are permitted in certain dire situations, then repeat that caveat right after the controlling paragraph below. Those people here saying it's already clear, are wrong, or else we wouldn't be having this long discussion. It's not clear until you put ALL the exceptions right where the reader needs to see them, which is not the case here. SBHarris 02:05, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree with Sbharris. SilkTork ✔Tea time 07:14, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree with the principal of "permitted when far enough apart". As has been mentioned by others, readers do not necessarily read entire articles, from the top, and nor should they have to. We probably need some specific guideline about what is "far enough" (editors will probably disagree over it otherwise), but I have no suggestions for now. Mitch Ames (talk) 07:53, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I made a similar proposal some time ago. I believe my suggestion was some approximation of 1x-2x per printed page for long sections. Dovid (talk) 16:53, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I propose that no more is demanded than a rule of thumb,and that apart from the current "captions, sections, tables etc", we should aim for about a page apart, so that one is likely to find just one hideous blue link per page. I also reckon that the whole thing could be averted by a change in technology, but that has been shouted down repeatedly by link-haters in the past. JonRichfield (talk) 07:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The bold text suggested above by Sbharris seems right to me. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:05, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Definitely. I feel like objections to this are rooted in the desire for wikipedia to be "proper" and look nice, at the expense of being as useful to our readers as possible (which is obviously more important). Links that aren't very relevant shouldn't need to be duplicated, and I agree that there should be a reasonable gap, but useful/relevant links should be duplicated after a while. We don't know which section of an article a reader may be looking at, e.g. they may jump straight to a "Legacy" section, where there won't be any links to that individual's important works because they will have been linked earlier in the article. The reader would have to scroll around looking for the link, which isn't right. And I disagree that the current wording is flexible enough as people are always removing/telling others to remove any duplicate links. --Loeba (talk) 21:50, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I like Sbharris's choice. While I think "once per section" would still be a useful guideline, it's a distant second choice to this. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think that User:Sbharris's proposed language would best serve the purpose of making it clear that 'only one link in the text' is not an absolute rule. 24.151.10.165 (talk) 22:27, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Oppose:

  • The existing guidance already allows for this and this proposal is based on a misreading of the existing guidance. To relax the guidance would encourage currently overlinked articles to stay bad or to become worse. The status quo is just fine in this instance. --John (talk) 21:46, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
The current text is "if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead". This does not allow links to be repeated in the body of an article, no matter how far apart. --Slashme (talk) 22:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Slashme, the current guideline is just that, and per the heading does allow for "common sense" and "occasional exceptions". I'm with John on this matter. As a FAC coordinator, one of the last checks I make on an article before promoting to FA is a duplink check using Ucucha's script. If the article is detailed and the links are some distance apart, I've always given the main editors some discretion. What I think we do want to avoid is a sea of blue, and the status quo helps us achieve that while still permitting some duplicates if they can be justified. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:14, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree with Ian - exceptions can be made, but what we already have seems a good general rule. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ditto John. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:41, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the current guideline is already relaxed enough and leaves room for personal discretion. It does indeed allow for links to be repeated in some circumstances. As the current guideline begins, "Generally..." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:12, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
    • @Jayaguru-Shishya, John, Nikkimaria, Hchc2009, and Ian Rose: if I understand you properly, you do not say that a link to an obscure term should be removed from a paragraph at the bottom of a long article simply because it occurs near the top, but you all believe that the current wording makes this clear. I don't think this it does: the list of exceptions to the rule only includes non-body-text examples. --Slashme (talk) 12:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
      • Yes, the word "Generally" right at the start already implies this. --John (talk) 13:07, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
        • It actually doesn't: let's parse the current guideline:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, (general rule)
but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated (exception, valid when?)
in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. (exception is limited to these cases)
So if I understand you correctly, you interpret that sentence to be equivalent to the following:
Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but may be repeated if helpful to readers, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.
@Jayaguru-Shishya, John, Nikkimaria, Hchc2009, and Ian Rose: Would you be comfortable with this wording (without the bolding of "for example", of course)? --Slashme (talk) 18:44, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comfortable invocation of the "sea-of-blue" catch-phrase comes easily, much as the Aussies used to speak of the"yellow peril" and the NATO nations of the "red peril", but it is no substitute for practicality or responsibility. In reality "sea of blue" so far amounts to what? An article in blue punctuated with the occasional redlink or conjunction? I have never seen such, and correcting one if we found it would be trivial, probably even leading to grounding someone on the grounds of disruptive editing. What I certainly HAVE seen are articles full of obscure terminology with linked terms that occur less than once per page. I have seen sea-of-blue nazis removing links close to each other, where the linked word happened to be the same, but the articles linked to were different. I have seen editors virtuously removing links to commonplace words in ignorance of the fact that they did not refer to commonplace concepts. I have seen links removed because of the "everyone-knows-that" syndrome when what they mean is that the local usage is familiar in his town, his discipline, his patois, or even in his personal youth, but where it is not easy for others to guess what he is on about. The function of links at a density of at least one per screenful per linkworthy concept is a real and daily re-confirmed service to the reader who needs guidance, whether he is familiar with the subject or not, and who might have entered the article in the middle for reasons good, bad, or indifferent. As against that we are to be concerned with the convenience of what? A minority of people who dislike blue??? How much more of a service to our readers is it for a blue-hater to be spared skipping a visible link than for a reader who needs a link to be sent searching for one in the hope that there might be one somewhere, or to abandon an article in which he is lost in terminology without any hint that a given term could easily have been found if he had only known where to find a link? The very principle of confining a sound practice and requiring editors to go out of their way to justify links that the majority of readers at worst don't mind, and that readers in search of support actively need (the ones we write for -- remember them?) just to gratify the personal tastes of the blue-haters is wrong-headed. If as a matter of taste some people would like to see less blue, but still would condescend to permit the occasional link, then there are technological alternatives that they could agitate for to hide the blue and extend the linkage function instead of demanding the retention of guidelines that militate against practicality on the grounds that if the editors only would spend extra effort working round them, then maybe no one will descend on their work and devalue it. Similarly if naive readers only would repeatedly interrupt their reading to check for whether there is a link somewhere that might help them, then maybe they wouldn't need links anyway. And neither would we, right? It is no good speaking of benignly flexible guidelines when in the next breath one mentions duplication detectors; that bespeaks a destructive misunderstanding of function when constructive alternatives could achieve more for the same effort. "Allowing for common sense" is when you find some real sea of blue and correct matters, not when you grudgingly admit that an editor might have a point in stretching a "guideline" that wikilawyers are happy to use in justifying their habitual disruption. JonRichfield (talk) 12:43, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Lengthy, but I fully concur. It is a bit of a farce to claim that the rule is permissive, when in actuality some editors use it non-permissively. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:58, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Strong oppose. I don't agree with Silk Tort's contrast with reading a novel. Of course it's not the same as reading a novel, but WP articles are structured in the standard way, on the basis that the text unfolds logically and sequentially. In the minority instance where someone parachutes in via a section link, they can expect to encounter terms, concepts, ideas, information that are dependent on the previous text—whether by glossing, expansion, or unfolding context. Same for acronyms and initialisms: should we start expanding them several times during an article, just in case someone has forgotten? Well no—a reader might have to revisit the previous text if they forget. Reps of "National Science Foundation (NSF)" would be irritating to many readers.

Once you start giving the green light to multiple linkings of the same item in an article, there will be no end to it. People will argue about what constitutes "enough distance", for example. If you want a link to something that is unlinked, either scroll up till you find it (which you probably should do anyway) or type it into the search box.

Please protect our linking system from dilution by repetition: the more blue patchiness, the less "selective" value each link has. That's basic reading psychology. Tony (talk) 06:51, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Strongly oppose Strong oppose. There is no merit to "strongly opposing" (if that expresses passion). Passion is no substitute for logic,and logic in this case says that the interests of the reader who needs it most come first, and that if what the reader who needs it most is irksome to passionate parties, then the latter are the ones who should make the concessions (if we could call that a concession at all). If their aesthetic preferences cannot be satisfied by the current system,then the proper course is to request an option that will suit them, while permitting busy researchers and novices to make the best of the available tools most effectively. Telling users not to follow links into the middle of articles, or to scroll up and down until with any luck they find the link they want and trust that it does in fact link to the intended concept as the word that they had found unlinked, is the sheerest arrogance. Who on Earth has the right to tell people how to do their research, or more precisely, to do without it because you don't like the way links look? To demand that readers read entire articles because notionally "articles are structured in the standard way, on the basis that the text unfolds logically and sequentially" is a travesty. They might sometimes, and it might be nice if they did so more often, but to conclude that only lesser life forms might need to read limited sections in contexts different from those intended by the authors cannot have much sense of the nature of research -- or of browsing. The function of the encyclopaedia trumps personal tastes, and again I repeat, to impose one's personal tastes at the cost of function is unethical as well as illogical. And as for the slippery slope into the thin end of the wedge of solid blue, that argument is an embarrassment. JonRichfield (talk) 19:52, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Editors who refer to a "sea of blue" are reminded that we have specific WP:SEAOFBLUE, aka WP:Sea of blue, which (so far as I can tell from its location) applies only to "links next to each other so that they look like a single link". This is quite distinct from WP:OVERLINKING: "an excessive number of links". Some of the contexts in which participants here have used the term "sea of blue" suggests that they are referring to "too many links" (WP:OVERLINKING), rather than "links next to each other so that they look like a single link" (WP:SEAOFBLUE). One could reasonably favour either one of those policies while disagreeing with the other, so it might be helpful to the discussion if participants are clear about which of those two distinct concepts they refer to. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:27, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Mitch Ames, I was one of those you described and unaware of the distinction. FWIW the substance of my objection, plus the bulk of the controversy concerns fuzzy thinking about "overlinking", with "sea-of-blue" as in essence a term of abuse handy for those opposed to reform, but shorn of any basis for rational argument. The real sea-of-blue problem is not a major issue anyway, as no serious editor to my knowledge approves confusing concatenation of links. That guideline as I see it is more of a heads-up than a prescription anyway. The guideline also recognises that concatenated links are very hard to avoid in some technically dense topics. We might think about an appropriate tool for dealing with such situations, but then, they are not very common, are they, though I certainly have encountered situations of the type in my own writing. JonRichfield (talk) 07:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
"Once you start giving the green light to multiple linkings of the same item in an article, there will be no end to it"? Bullshit. If we allowed a single instance of link in each section, there would be no more links than sections, and there is the end of it. There is no slippery slope. "No end of it" is totally bogus.
Ohc: If "less is more", why don't we go for zero instances? (Haven't we had this discussion before?) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:45, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
"Zero instances" is actually what we practice. We don't go linking every single word, although this is a technical possibility; we don't link every occurrence of every less common word. We link only to articles that are relevant to aid and guide readers, without causing them to leave the article prematurely, before they have understood what they came to understand. In fact, when editors link, we carefully ration linkings of those words within an article.

I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors. -- Ohc ¡digame! 03:09, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

OHc: you have misunderstood what I said. The current language says that a link — not a duplicate link, just a link — should occur ("generally)" "only once". By your "less is more" criterion zero instances of any link should be better. And indeed, simply eliminating ALL links certainly would put an end to all overlinking and sea of blue problems. If you reallly want to go with such an inane criterion you should apply it consistently ("down will all links!"), not just in special cases. Another thing: you misstate the proposal. Your mention of "linking every single word", and "every occurrence of every less common word", is more bullshit (more precisely, those are straw man arguments), because the proposal has nothing to do with those. Please stay on topic. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:29, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I actually want the rule to be slightly less prescriptive, not more: my problem is not that the current frequency of linking is insufficient, but that some editors interpret this rule strictly as it is written, namely as a complete ban on linking a word more than once in the body text, and I would like the rule to reflect what I see as the consensus in good articles and in this discussion, namely that duplicate links in distant parts of a long article are helpful to readers, and should be allowed. --Slashme (talk) 07:52, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
However proper it may sound to claim that "We link only to articles that are relevant to aid and guide readers, without causing them to leave the article prematurely, before they have understood what they came to understand", that is unrealistic and patronising. Our job is to make sure that the readers have the tools they need to discover what they wish to know and are assisted to find and use those tools. It is not to penalise them for wanting to know anything but what authors and editors decide that they should know,and in the sequence and context that they should know it. For a reader to wish to know what an unfamiliar word or usage might mean in context, instead of waiting till he has read uncomprehendingly from the beginning, is entirely reasonable and practical; some of us may remember having actually paused in reading a paper book to consult a paper dictionary or a paper encyclopaedia for clarification on anything on spelling or the meaning or usage of a word or on any matter of technical fact, history,or opinion. Who is to claim that such practice is in any way pernicious or undesirable because it detracts from the benefits accruing from reading the book in the manner that the author had intended?
Nor does it support that "Zero instances" is actually what we practice. It might be what Ohconfucius would prefer, but in practice we link-heads are spared the occasional link as a sop no doubt, and that is different from zero instances; note that in spite of the apparent triviality of the point, if partisans insist on appealing to the concept, it becomes necessary to refute it.
Then again we are reassured that "In fact, when editors link, we carefully ration linkings of those words within an article." Pardon those of us who thought we were editors and thought that we were doing nothing less, but there would seem to be room for debate on our delusion, given that this squabbling about the concept has continued for years, with the same team stonewalling constructive practices, constructive discussion, and constructive technology, without the slightest material justification.
For example: "I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors." Someone is of the personal opinion that everything is hunky dory, so nothing must be adjusted even if other users have repeatedly demonstrated that improvement is desirable, even though someone else passionately pleads with us to "protect our linking system from dilution by repetition: the more blue patchiness, the less "selective" value each link has. That's basic reading psychology" and asserts "In the minority instance where someone parachutes in via a section link, they can expect to encounter terms, concepts, ideas, information that are dependent on the previous text—whether by glossing, expansion, or unfolding context".
"Minority instances" is an unsupported opinion in the first place; when did that participant, or anyone else quantify the instances? Secondly, how small must that minority be to matter? I am likely to read several thousands of words before having to refer to a dictionary or encyclopaedia (or a link) even once, even in a long article; does it follow that the dynamic function reference function is only a several-thousandth as important as the rest of the material?
And if the linked reference drops me into the middle of a twenty-page article (or a two-page article FTM) then I must go back to the start and read an extra few thousand words of no relevance when reading just a few dozen plus a click or two would completely satisfy my needs without wasting my time and dividing my attention?
And "reading psychology"???? Someone had better go back and learn a bit about reading psychology before making such claims in public. The "dilution" effect is over-use of a particular format, punctuation, cliched text or expression, or other demands on a reader's patience, emotions or attention, it has nothing to do with links, which are no more "dilution" of the text than necessary paging up or down might be. He would not, I hope, urge that we chop up our articles into single-page slices to render routine paging unnecessary.
Am I alone in smelling red herring in "I think that the currently guideline is well-balanced – it is sufficiently firm, yet leaves sufficient leeway for the editor to link as required. And I don't feel that we need for it to get more prescriptive because the general frequency of linking is deemed insufficient by some editors." Veeerrry subtle. Great courtroom tactics. The prescription is all on the other side. Persons agitating for more constructive linking practices are NOT the ones requesting prescription, they are the ones wanting more constructive freedom for competent editing aimed at assisting users in need of assistance. It is the blue-sea bigots who use the guidelines as a basis for wikilawywering. "The guideline says... so do it MY way, even if I don't know what you are talking about and don't care!" JonRichfield (talk) 07:32, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, lots of red herrings. Also straw man arguments, non sequiturs, and entrenched emotionalism, all of which impede rational consideration. To make any headway in this I think is is necessary to first identify the arguments and sentiments in opposition, reject the spurious ones, and then we can see what remaining objections merit consideration. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:44, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

My proposal[edit]

Current text:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.

My proposed text, with the change in bold:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, links may be repeated, for example in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. [Slashme's edit]

Alerted WikiProjects and other related pages to this discussion[edit]

As seen, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, I alerted WP:Med, WP:Film, WP:TV, WP:LGBT, Wikipedia talk:Good articles, Wikipedia talk:Good article nominations, Wikipedia talk:Featured articles, Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates and Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style to this discussion. I alerted those WikiProjects because those are the main WikiProjects I am involved with these days, and I alerted those other pages for obvious reasons. Flyer22 (talk) 21:36, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Review of opposing opinions that need demonstration[edit]

Discussion (speaking loosely) on this issue has (again!) ground to a halt, showing a general tendency of editors to repeatedly declare opinions without actually grappling with the basis of those opinions. I am going to list some of the opinions that have been declared here which I think lack a demonstrated basis. (Note: I do not say they lack a basis, only that such a basis is not adequately demonstrated.) If anyone has anything useful to say about any of these please open a separate subsection at the bottom for discussion.

1- "Relaxation not needed, as already allowed."
"Generally" yields before, and the quaint notion of "no fixed quantitative rule" is contradicted by, the actual, explicit, and bolded text of "only once per article".
2- "The problem is with editor's who 'mis-read' the rule/guideline."
The fact is that those editors explicitly cite "per WP:OVERLINK", and their interpretation is a fair reading of "only once ...."
3- "A 'sea of blue' would be created that makes valuable links harder to identify."
In fact, WP:SEAOFBLUE refers to sequences of links that appear as a single long link, what would be more accurately called "dribbles of blue", and there is no credible showing that duplicate links contribute to this specific problem. The "would be created" is entirely a speculative anticipation of an undemonstrated and unlikely prospect.
4- "Needed to protect our linking system from dilution by repetition."
There is no showing that "our linking system" needs protection, of how having (say) 103 links in an article instead of only 100 dilutes anything. It also completely overlooks that the utility of the "linking systen" is diluted if the reader is to hunt for a relevant link.
5- "Relaxation would encourage the continuation or worsening of overlinking."
None of the proposed alternatives have encouraged "overlinking", nor is there any showing of exactly what would be worsened. (See the following.
"Overlinking" has been repeatedly invoked as if that phrase alone is a complete and adequate justification. As far as I can tell, that concept includes the following objections:
5- "It would bring the severs to their knees."
News flash: the WP:Overlink crisis of 2007-2011 is over. And it involved instances of articles having thousands of links - a problem three orders of magnitude greater than any mere "duplicate link" problem. Also, these involved links in navboxes, and thereby would be exempted from the current "overlink" rule. Invoking "overlink crisis" in this discussion is entirely a red herring, as it is entirely irrelevant.
6- "Loses the opportunity to display intelligently selected and rationed links."
How? It is the current formulation that is relied on the deny the "opportunity" to "display intelligently selected" links.
Certain other arguments have been made that are so inane that listing them seems tantamount to trolling; I won't address them unless they are raised.

If anyone wants to discuss these please open a new subsection below here. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:52, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

P.S. A lot of the so-called discussion here has been declarations ("arm-waving") that there are (have been, will be) problems if the "guideline" is relaxed. What we could use are links to specific articles that demonstrate definite problems. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:07, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Why does this have to be a "relaxing" of the rule (which carries implications of broad new freedoms), instead of specifically approving (but not mandating, in technical RFC-speak: SHOULD, not SHALL) particular secondary links such as inside of a table or list which hosts entries with links to items that are similar in nature to the link in question. An example of this are the names of real persons without links in the list of Secondary Characters in the novel American Tabloid. I find it ridiculous to have been corrected for wanting to make a table like that one contain links for all real persons, regardless of whether the article had mentioned them earlier. It makes a wonderfully functional table into a piecemeal jumble. Spawn777 (talk) 15:01, 9 May 2015 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Once[edit]

"Generally, a link should appear only once in an article" That is annoying, especially when you are directed into the article to a specific section. Why can't it be linked in each section? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 02:36, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

The same reason style guides and standard practice is to expand and provide (initialism) only once, and subsequently to use the initialism only. The "I parachuted into a section" argument would have us insist that "National Rifle Association (NRF)" be spelled out in every section—tedious. It's generally accepted that if you do parachute into the middle of an article, you might need to scan back earlier to extract context, structural information, and links. Thank you. Tony (talk) 02:47, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I concur. Certain kinds of list articles, like glossaries are an exception; it's nearly impossible to find the original mention of a term in a large glossary without doing keyword searches in the pages (not always easy with a mobile device), and the glossary articles are almost entirely linking to specific entries like mini-articles, then going back to the article you came to the glossary from. Hardly anyone literally reads glossary articles as articles, from top to bottom.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:29, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

A question from an editor about linking nations[edit]

It's not here though, it's at Talk:Brian Sylvestre#WP:OVERLINK. Please comment there. Walter Görlitz (talk) 18:17, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

It's better to move discussions like that to the guideline's talk page where it'll become part of the guideline talk archives. Users are free to simply delete entire conversations off their own talk pages.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:22, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Looks as if you scanned that namespace in a hurry, SMcC -- it's an article talk page, not user talk page. :) It does perhaps make sense to broach the issue here, even so, but bear in mind it is a matter which has been discussed here before (and indeed, countless other spaces across the project). You'll see when you take a look there; it's an old issue that has no broad community consensus and upon which local consensus usually varies considerably, both as a consequence of editorial perspective and the particular context of the article in question. Snow let's rap 05:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
D'oh! Need better glasses, I guess.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:20, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) discussion[edit]

Started a discussion regarding this part of the MoS at the Village pump. Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#RfC: Should the holder of a political office be linked within an infobox more than once (i.e. as the successor), when they have already been linked (e.g. as the vice president, predecessor, lieutenant, etc.)?. Godsy(TALKCONT) 06:35, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Linking in lists and references[edit]

How should the policy be interpreted when linking in lists and references?

While I see there is some consensus on relaxing the duplicate linking rule, I am still seeing it somewhat strictly enforced and it seems to me that both lists and references should be treated somewhat differently than regular prose. It's more common for people to pick out specific items to read in more detail, and especially with reference sources, it's probably relatively rare for someone to sit and read straight through the references section.

What do other editors who are more expert on this topic think? --ProtectorServant (talk) 13:18, 9 June 2015 (UTC) (signed later)

I think the question should be split:

Linking in lists[edit]

I'm a bit puzzled by this. Surely an item is not repeated in a list? Apuldram (talk) 16:48, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

The example linked to is a List of cases of police brutality in the United States and department names (such as the Los Angeles Police Department) are linked to when those departments are involved.
Another example which has been handled differently might be the list of killings, where argument along the lines of "we don't need another link to the city of Albuquerque (as the location where a killing happened) because the police there also killed somebody else at another time in the month" doesn't make sense. --ProtectorServant (talk) 13:17, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Most times, duplicate links are not helpful in lists, but we should allow that if consensus at an article determines that they are in that context, that this is permissible. Editors do this whether we "allow" it or not anyway, per (usually unspoken) WP:IAR. Many do it outside of lists too, e.g. when several sections have gone by since the last link. This is really okay, too. Some of what we don't want to see is over-linking in lists just to make entries consistent. This argument is sometimes actually valid in a table, but I strongly question it in a list. Another is a list of redundant links in "See also". I'm utterly merciless with those. If something has been linked in the article already, I nuke it from the see-also list, and give myself a pat on the back when I can totally eliminate a see-also section by working the links in it back into the main prose of the article. Duplicate links in any but the longest and most detailed infoboxes are ponitless and browbeatingly redundant. Back to lists: I don't have any specific wording to propose at this point, but generally I wouldn't re-link unless the last link to the same ting was more than, say, 10 list entries away. Big exception: Glossaries. It's routine to cross-reference, by linking, every occurrence of every term that has an entry, except is very short glossaries. Glossaries are a special case where people are not bothered by a sea of blue, and expect terms to be maximally linked; such article are entirely about the words as words. See Glossary of cue sports terms for one of the best-developed ones (if I may say so myself; I worked on it a lot, but so did various others). Finally, the nature of the list matters in other ways. In a list expected to be read top to bottom, don't re-link at all. If it's a list we expect people to be looking for one item in before moving on to something else, link every occurrence. More usually, our expectation is between these extremes, so re-link when it's thought this will be helpful and not annoying.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:11, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
I think that duplicate listing in links is permissible in some cases if it significantly facilitates the reader gaining pertinent information- unlike prose, a list may not be read from start to finish, and especially in lengthy lists and/or sortable lists, such that the "first" instance of a link may not be such when sorted differently. It can be left to editors of particular lists to decide whether multiple linking in lists is a deterrent or aid to readers, but I think certainly a place where WP:IAR can apply. I also think that in some instances it is OK to repeat a link in a "See also", especially if the body link is somewhat buried: by giving additional prominence to a well chosen article in a See also, the reader is more likely to increase their understanding of a topic. --Animalparty-- (talk) 21:52, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I would highly discourage that. For example, would it be smart to duplicate a link for 142 times only because the link keeps occurring in a list[9]? Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 23:47, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I've tried to encapsulate this discussion into wording in the guideline, here. Also added coverage of glossaries, here. I think these should be uncontroversial. The first explains when it may be appropriate to re-link in lists (without recommending that it be done, just permitting), while the second describes actual practice in glossaries for years now (8 years or longer, probably longer).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:16, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

    PS: Lists are difficult to generalize about. Another such case (which we probably don't need to specifically mention in the guideline, since how they work is obvious) are the Wikipedia outlines; like disambiguation pages, these are supposed to have links on every entry or they fail their navigational purpose. We can't really generalize much about lists, because lists are just a presentation format, for radically different kinds of content. Some embedded lists have no links at all, but just lay out facts presented by a cited source. Others are entirely navigational. Others like glossaries present discrete fragments of content that don't form much of a narrative. Long articles of the "List of fictional universe here characters" sort are another case similar to glossaries (and are often best formatted as such; a "glossary" in HTML and WP terms is not necessarily something of the character of a list of dictionary entries). Its unhelpful to readers to not link repeatedly in those, just as it's annoying to them to keep re-linking in traditional, narrative-flow articles.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:31, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Linking in references[edit]

I see no problem in relaxing the rule for references. The sea of blue problem doesn't arise there. (but see below) Apuldram (talk) 16:48, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

To the contrary, I find that it applies more there, and I delink a lot of things, especially city names in |location= parameters and other such trivia. I remove all redlinks from refs, and duplicate links for authors/publishers. And links for publishers that are just general publishers (I keep them for organizational publishers tied to the content or field; no one needs a link to Houghton-Mifflin, but one to an institute or whatever may be relevant for determining bias or reliability.) When the refs section is a sea of blue, it's very hard to find which blue item actually takes you to the source you want to examine. That said, many of the citation templates just relink stuff every time they are used, e.g. ISBN. Nothing we can do about that. But this fact isn't justification for linking like mad in refs sections; that's a WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS failure.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:17, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
You've changed my opinion to don't relax. I now see the problem. Thanks. Apuldram (talk) 17:12, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
 :-) I guess I should load up on coffee like that more often. Heh.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:48, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Each citation should stand on its own. If an article cites ten stories in the New York Times, there should, even must, be ten links to The New York Times. If a location link is appropriate in one citation, it is equally appropriate in every citation where the location is named. DES (talk) 16:55, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
There doesn't actually appear to be a consensus for that. There's not even a consensus that New York Times "must" be linked at all. There's no requirement that citations have to be formatted in any particular way (see WP:CITEVAR and WP:V). URLs to actual sources are obviously of 100% use to readers (or at least those who link to sources). It's also obvious that links to notable authors helps establish that the source is reliable. The benefits of other linking is debatable. Are links to institutional publishers useful? Probably. To journal titles? Very probably. To everyday publishers like Penguin? Questionable. And so on.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:45, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Linking to drafts from articles[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere

Please see Wikipedia talk:Drafts#linking to drafts from mainspace? for a discussion that might add content to this MOS subpage. --Ahecht (TALK
PAGE
) 16:58, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to permit redlinks in nav templates[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere

Please see Wikipedia talk:Red link#Proposal to permit redlinks in navigation templates  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:48, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Main points deleted?[edit]

Why have many of the main point of the subpages deleted? I think having all the main point here is much better then having to run all over to find them. I suggest a revert and a discussion of reworking of the page. -- Moxy (talk) 20:35, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

In this edit this edit I removed the statement that links should not be given special colors, because (a) there's already a general prohibition on coloring text, and (b) I've never see this happen in eight years anyway. Certainly if others think it should remain it should be put back. Other than that, can you provide one or two diffs where the "main points of the subpages [were] deleted"? Thanks. EEng (talk) 21:09, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
link colors happens all the time.... and is a main point for accessibility for our readers. All the main points on linking... the do's and don'ts should be listed. Best not to make our readers have to run around to 12 sub pages just to get the main points on linking.
Based on what you're saying the don't-color-links warning should remain. But I don't know what you mean about the 12 subpages. Can you list a couple of diffs to illustrate what you mean? EEng (talk) 22:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
In particular, people are apt to monkey with link colors in colored-background table cells if we don't "forbid" this.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:46, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

For each proposed change, EEng, can you please open a discussion, and give your rationale and explain why these changes would be necessary? As I stated in my Edit Summaries, many of your edits removed a lot of relevant material, changed the tone of the guideline, or moreover, changed the meaning of the guideline. For bold changes like this, it'd be important that they are discussed, especially after being reverted for obvious reasons (see WP:BRD). WP:EW is no way to go, I am afraid. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:52, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Changes don't have to be "necessary", and the idea of opening separate discussions for edits such as [10] or [11] or [12] is ridiculous. Each edit is self-explaining via the change it makes to the text itself plus its edit summary. There's nothing I can add until you point to something you specifically object to, but you've refused to do this despite multiple requests (e.g. [13]). There are 12 edits, and you say they're all inappropriate, so it should be very easy for you to supply diffs for two or three you object to, with a short reason. EEng (talk) 23:23, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Discussion of individual edits (1)[edit]

"No substantive objection"? Are you kidding me? As you can from above, there is objection to your bold edits. Instead of discussing your bold edits, trying to explain your rationale and to establish consensus, you have been WP:EDITWARring instead.
  1. Why did you change the tone (and even the meaning) of text?[14] The original version was not about "accidental linking" but about "confirming that the context is helpful". This can be the case even if the linked article was from the same subject area, but if it didn't deal with the context of the wikilink at all.
  2. Why did you remove this passage[15]? Self-supporting per Edit Summary again? Please see WP:REVTALK.
  3. Why did you remove this one as well?[16] As explained in no. 1, those two are different things. Therefore, it is completely reasonable to emphasize this aspect as well.
  4. In this edit again you keep going on about that mantra of "mistakenly linking".[17] The previous formatting was very descriptive, really well-written, had a nice tone... Now it's all changed, why?
  5. Why were these step-by-step instructions removed?[18] Although you and I might not need that sort of instructions, there's a whole variety of people editing Wikipedia. Have you ever followed WP:TEAHOUSE discussion? Trust me, there's a lot of people volunteering to answer questions that might seem obvious for the most of us.
  6. Although not entirely wrong[19], I don't understand the tweak as the former version was way better English.
  7. Here you changed the whole meaning of the former two passages (!)[20]. The previous version clearly said "do not unnecessarily make a reader chase links" and "as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence". You changed it into "should be not only linked, but briefly glossed (if possible)...", as if linking is something one is supposed to do and explaining the term is just something additional to that. No, that's not what the original version said.
  8. Why did you remove this well-prosed passage and replace it with some clumsy parentheses? How does this help to capture the original essence of the guideline?
  9. Why did you move this passage?[21] It was there for a reason. Please see WP:SEAOFBLUE above, something it is strictly related to.
  10. See what I just wrote above[22], they might demand a higher density of links (see WP:SEAOFBLUE), not often have a higher density of links. This is a guideline, and our guideline is "might".
  11. Again, this is a guideline[23], therefore "Do not" instead of "The function of".
  12. And again, what's with this?[24]
EEng, this is the first and last time I will give you a detailed explanation about "WHY NOT" to keep the changes you made, instead of you explaining "WHY" to keep the changes you made. Remember, you made the bold edits, you are ought to discuss the changes and seek consensus, and the WP:BURDEN is on you. Besides, this is not just about some individual edits. Nobody is able to catch the original essence of the guidelines if you remove all explanatory material around them, for no reason. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:31, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── No, I'm not kidding. Any old vague "objection" isn't "substantive objection", and generalities such as "many of your edits removed a lot of relevant material, changed the tone of the guideline, or moreover, changed the meaning", without specifically saying where you see that happening, are nonsubstantive. And please stop linking to policies and guidelines you don't yourself understand e.g. BURDEN applies to article content, not project material.

1. The old text's image of "a physicist speaking of" something made no sense in a discussion of article editing, and "what the system offers" was a bizarre way of saying "the linked article". I see your point about the linked article being "helpful in context", but I think it's not a useful criterion: if the linked article is the one intended -- e.g. a physics article linking to barn (unit), not barn -- then it's hard to see how it could fail to be helpful to many readers in context (no matter what its actual content) because even a stub would be helpful to a reader who'd never heard of that unit. And even if one argues that Article Y, linked from Article X, omits the very thing the reader of X wants, a properly developed version of Y would include that material, and we wouldn't not link from X to Y just because Y isn't properly developed yet. I'd be interested to hear what other editors think about this.

2. This bullet point was restored (see edit summary here) as a result of discussion earlier in this thread. The fact that you don't seem to know this raises serious question about how carefully you've considered the changes you're complaining about.

3. As you must have noticed, the very next edit (i.e. #4) reinserted this material elsewhere, so your complaint here is nonsense.

4. I don't believe in mantras. Editors don't need to be told it annoys readers when a link goes to the wrong article, that article titles need to be exactly right, that there are often multiple articles with similar titles, or other obvious and/or unimportant stuff that made this bullet point twice as long without giving editors any clearer idea what they're expected to do. The important point is to encourage editors to verify that links go where they think they're going; once that's pointed out the reader will readily understand why that's important without talking down to them. I'll be interested to hear from other editors whether they think my revision does or does not do that as (or more) effectively than the old text; it certainly is less tiresome to read.

5, 6. (These two adjacent edits are best evaluated as a single diff [25].) No, it was badly written, with a tin ear for calibrating instructions to what the reader can or cannot be reasonably expected to know already.

  • Editors don't need to be told to key in links "carefully" -- that's useless advice that applies to everything.
  • "display mode" -- that's not a term we use on WP to my knowledge -- why not "preview mode" (though I don't recall any talk of "modes" at all)? And even assigning it this reasonable meaning, what other "mode" would you be in after clicking "Preview"? So what's the point of saying it at all?
  • Telling editors to "check [links] go where you intend" is fine, but can you possibly think it necessary to then say "if they do not, fix them"??? Well, duh! Everybody knows that, and to bother saying such a thing is a beautiful example of completely unnecessary instruction bloat.
  • Similarly, everyone knows that a redlink should be checked to see if adjusting it will turn it blue (assuming they know what a redlink is -- and if they don't they won't have understood 80% of anything else being said in this guideline anyway).
  • What's an "internal link"?
  • "When there is not yet an article about the subject, a good link will make the creation of a correctly named article much easier for subsequent writers." Blah blah blah blah. Once you remind editors to use good naming conventions, that's all that's needed. If they don't see why good naming conventions should be followed, then they're not going to understand the naming conventions anyway, so all this motivation is just so much instruction bloat. In fact, I've made a further edit [26] along those lines.

7. You seem preoccupied with whether new text says exacty what the old text said, but that's not what matters. What matters is whether the new text as effectively, or more effectively, induces the behavior in editors we want to induce. Technical or specialized terms should be linked (at least on their first appearance in any given article) plus if possible they should be glossed where used, so that the reader might be able to skip chasing the link and still generally understand the passage -- he or she can follow the link or not depending on the level of understanding desired. The new text makes it clear that glossing is in addition to, not instead of, appropriate linking. As elsewhere, I look forward to other editors' thoughts on whether this is an improvement or not.

8. (You're talking about [27]). I look forward to whether other editors agree that the old text --

Don't assume that readers will be able to access a link at all; remember that it is not always possible. For example, a reader might be working from a printed copy of an article without access to facilities for following links.

-- wasn't bloat rightly reduced to the new text:

Note that readers working from hardcopy cannot follow links at all.

BTW, the idea that parentheses are inherently clumsy is the kind of mindless rule relied upon by people who don't know how to make stylistic decisions for themselves; parenthesizing this motivating aside is completely appropriate.

9. No, SEAOFBLUE is specifically about immediately adjacent links that appear visually to be a single link. The text we're discussing is about the overall density of links in a particular kind of article as a whole. I therefore moved it to the section on over- and underlinking, which is where it belongs.

10. Saying techincal articles "might demand" more links is effectively no different from saying they "often have" more links -- one is a statement of what the article "needs" and the other states what editors typically "give them". Either way the reader understands that more links are appropriate. You have extremely rigid ideas about the way ideas should be expressed.

11. Contrary to what you imply, the new text says "do not" just like the old text does.

12. What's with it is that this text specifically regards linking in the lead, so I moved it to the section on linking in the lead (with a very slight change in wording). If you'd actually looked at the edit in context you'd know that.

EEng (talk) 04:22, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Of course, I am also interested to hear what other editors think about the changes. You must be familiar with the WP:BRD cycle (bold, revert, discuss)? You made a series of bold edits, you got reverted, but instead of discussing your bold changes, you decided to re-revert. And not just you ignored the discussion part, you started demanding other editors to explain why your edits do not satisfy (!). So you recently made bold changes to the stable version of the guideline, and now you are defending it as it'd be the long-term consensus.
Besides, you first criticized that "the objection was vague, not substantive". In your later response, however, you admit that the bold changes did indeed change the tone and meaning, but now you argument that the changes are an improvement in your opinion. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 00:01, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
No, I did not admit that "tone" was changed, nor meaning (except in a very narrow sense as explained in my response "1." above). If you have further comment on these changes then please offer it, instead of yet again rehashing your rigid ideas about who should have done what, when. EEng (talk) 00:48, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I just looked at the page, it was a very big edit to a guideline page without any discussion. That much change should have had at least a discussion of not an RFC to determine if there was consensus for making it. It appears an edit war happened to keep the changes. Thats not how WP is supposed to work. This isnt an article, but a guideline that will affect tons of articles. AlbinoFerret 01:01, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
It wasn't a big edit -- it was 12 small edits, each linked and discussed above. Do you have anything specific to say about any of them? EEng (talk) 01:37, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
You are aware that edits in succession without another editors making an edit are counted as one for most purposes? In this case it makes substantial changes to the page. Can you point me to any discussion before making these changes to a guideline? AlbinoFerret 04:59, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
That's not the point. With minor exceptions each change is small and independent of the others, so it can be easily understood and discussed. Instead of obsessing about protocol why don't you step through the changes and comment on any you think are problematic, or boldly fix or improve them? EEng (talk) 12:17, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Let's get this straight, EEng: if you want to make substantial changes to the guideline, you start a Talk Page discussion, explain your proposed changes and try to convince other editors and gain consensus. Not the other way around. And I don't see consensus for your changes. You've already been formally warned about WP:EDITWARing, so please make sure that won't happen again. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 15:52, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Let's get this straight, JS. We're having the discussion right here in this very thread, and your vague concerns have been answered, with no response from you. You've already been warned about obsessing about process instead of substance, so please make sure that won't happen again i.e. engage the explanations I (and now Boson, below) have given you. EEng (talk) 16:34, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, it is a little rude to edit a guideline page at all without discussion, but 67 times in one edit!?!That's so outrageous, seriously, al editors should propose even the tiniest changes on the page first, and wait for a reasonable consensus to develop first. IMO, BOLD, had no place on guideline pages. LesVegas (talk) 14:03, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Discussion of individual edits (2)[edit]

To get back to the content ...

Short version: I agree with all the edits being "discussed".

But let's discuss the individual edits, if we must:

  • No. 1: This edit changed

    Beware of linking to an article without first confirming that it is helpful in context; the fact that its title matches the concept you wish to link to, does not guarantee that it deals with the desired topic at all. For example, a physicist speaking of barns is highly unlikely to wish to link to Barn instead of Barn (unit), and any reader needing to click on such a link almost certainly will struggle to make sense of what the system offers.

to

Beware of mistakenly linking to the wrong article among a group of articles with similar titles. For example, in a physics article discussing "barns", a hasty link to Barn (instead of Barn (unit)) will puzzle the reader.

which is much more concise and gets the point across better.
Preliminary approve -- Boson.
Oppose The original version was not just about "accidental linking", but also about "confirming that the context is helpful". This can be the case even if the linked article was from the same subject area, but if it didn't deal with the context of the wikilink at all; or moreover, if the linked article was from a different subject area, but only so tangentially related that it fails to deal with the context. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Please review my response in the prior subthread, and if you're still not satisfied, please give a concrete example of the situation you're talking about. EEng (talk) 23:53, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Would the following be an acceptable compromise?
"Check that you are not inadvertently linking to an inappropriate article or disambiguation page. For example, in a physics article discussing "barns", a hasty link to Barn (instead of Barn (unit)) will puzzle the reader."
--Boson (talk) 21:05, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that addresses JS' concern, but until he offers an example of what he's talking about I doubt there's anything we can do. (I did reword slightly [28] prompted by your suggestion.) EEng (talk) 00:21, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No. 2: This edit then removed the text completely from that location because it was redundant. As the edit summary said "already handled in its own section ". It is indeed handled elsewhere, and more appropriately, in the section WP:TESTLINK.
Preliminary approve -- Boson.
Oppose Per No. 1 Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No. 3: In the separate section referred to above, this edit then replaces the prolix

    One of the most common errors in linking occurs when editors do not check to see whether a link they have created goes to the intended location. This is especially true when a mistake is not obvious to the reader or to other editors. The text of links needs to be exact, and many Wikipedia destinations have a number of similar titles. To avoid such problems, which can be irritating for readers, the following procedure is recommended, especially for editors who are new to creating links.

with the (already quoted) more concise text

Beware of mistakenly linking to the wrong article among a group of articles with similar titles; for example, in a physics article discussing "barns", a hasty link to Barn (instead of Barn (unit)) will puzzle the reader. To avoid such errors the following procedure is recommended:

Approve. --Boson (talk) 14:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose The original entry is not just about the "mistakenly linked" ones. For example, at one moment there might be a working link to, let's say, a sub-section of an article. Later, however, the sub-section might get deleted, merged into the rest of the article, or merged into another article. Therefore, it's not just about "similarly named" ones.
The text needs to get the idea across, not be absolutely general and precise. Rewording to incorporate the generalized concept of location (i.e. maybe just an article, or maybe article#section) would complicate things to the confusion of novices, without telling experienced editors anything they don't already know. Editors sophisticated enough to use the # syntax know without being told that, when testing new links, they should check that the # took them to the right section.
  • No. 6: This edit changed

    Do not unnecessarily make a reader chase links: if a highly technical term can be simply explained with very few words, do so. Do use a link wherever appropriate, but as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence

to

Technical or specialized terms in nontechnical articles should be not only linked, but briefly glossed (if possible) as well, so that the typical reader won't need to follow the link to understand the surrounding passage.

Good copy edit, so
Approve. --Boson (talk) 14:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Strongly oppose This changes the spirit of the whole passage. The proposal says "...should be not only linked..." (compulsory), whereas the stable version says: "Do not unnecessarily make a reader chase links: if a highly technical term can be simply explained with very few words, do so. Do use a link wherever appropriate, but as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence" (optional, case-by-case discretion). Also per WP:JARGON: "Avoid excessive wikilinking (linking within Wikipedia) as a substitute for parenthetic explanations such as the one in this sentence." Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I adjusted the text to address your concern [29]. EEng (talk) 23:19, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No. 7: this edit changed

    Don't assume that readers will be able to access a link at all; remember that it is not always possible. For example, a reader might be working from a printed copy of an article without access to facilities for following links.

to

(Note that readers working from hardcopy cannot follow links at all.)

Much simpler, so
Approve. --Boson (talk) 14:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose While I agree there is something redundant (e.g. "without access to facilities for following links", I'd like to propose something like this: "Don't assume that readers will be able to access a link at all. For example, a reader might be working from a printed copy of an article, and therefore be unable to follow links" Descriptive, good-prose, not too bloated, IMHO. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
That's essentially the same as the old text and, like the old text, squeezes lots of words into very little meaning. EEng (talk) 23:35, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose The sentence was located there for a reason. See, when it comes to WP:SEAOFBLUE, that usually occurs with technical subject articles. Therefore, that serves as a sort of relieve (a strong relieve) for the WP:SEAOFBLUE rule. The IT-articles for example, we might have three lengthy terms following each other, but all being very relevant to the actual article. Does it break WP:SEAOFBLUE? Yes, it does. Could you just zoom to the most specific article, or link to the most specific one already dealing with all three? No, unfortunately no. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
The moved text was originally inserted by this edit [30] after this [31] short discussion; from this it's clear that what you're saying is simply untrue -- this text is about link density, period, and nothing to do with SEAOFBLUE. SEAOFBLUE happened to be the last thing on the list as that moment, so when this text was added it naturally came next. SEAOFBLUE already says When possible, avoid and consider rephrasing, making it clear that eliminating immediately adjacent links may not always be possible. EEng (talk) 23:03, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No. 9: This edit then changed

    Articles on technical subjects might demand a higher density of links than general-interest articles, because they are likely to contain more technical terms that general dictionaries are unlikely to explain in context.

to

Articles on technical subjects often have a higher link density than nontechnical articles, because they are likely to contain more terms and concepts unfamiliar to the general reader.

Good copy edit, so
Approve. --Boson (talk) 14:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Not a "declaration of the current state", not all "technical articles" demand a higher density of links. Sometimes they might demand higher density of links, therefore might. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Often communicates "sometimes but not always" the same as does might. EEng (talk) 00:51, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • No. 12: This edit removed the redundant text

    Refrain from implementing colored links that may impede user ability to distinguish links from regular text, or color links for purely aesthetic reasons.

As the edit summary said:

Coloring text is a general no-no anyway (Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Text_formatting#Color) & this seems like a warning against something not actually seen in the wild

Approve. --Boson (talk) 14:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose I think the proposer even himself already discarded this change after the comment by user Moxy[32] (although the series of subsantial changes were questioned, this one was able to been recovered) Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hello there, Boson! I already left my reply above. Anyway, I think an RfC might be the best way to proceed, don't you think? Especially now when there's a lot of editors from the northern Hemisphere enjoying their summer holidays and the editing activity is rather slow, it'd give enough time for editors to have a look at the proposed changes.

I was hoping that the original proposer could start an RfC, but I am ready to do that also if needed. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:09, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Sure, yeah, right. There are some 400 editors watching this page -- you think they're all on vacation? The idea of an RfC when you don't yourself engage in meaningful dialogue is a complete misunderstanding of what's appropriate. Please respond to what Boson and I have said. EEng (talk) 16:34, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
I most definitely do not think an RfC would be the best way to proceed, sans any attempt to resolve the content dispute (if there is one). Since the changes are just copyediting rather than substantive, I don't see any reason to make a big deal of it. And an RfC for a lot of small copyedits can be very messy. I have deliberately signed each change, so that others can express their opinion on each change. If you oppose any particular change, I would suggest you add your opinion, starting with Oppose this change, followed by a short reason explaining why the previous version was better. If you want to add anything in addition to a short reason for opposing the change, I would suggest adding a section entitled "Discussion" at the bottom, where the concise reasons can be elaborated, and discussion of those reasons can be conducted. --Boson (talk) 22:27, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
So two editors find the changes substantive, and two editors do not. Interesting, especially if the proposing party is not in favor of an RfC. I thank you for your reply on the individual edits Boson, but please note that I've already given my response above that explains the problematic nature of these edits changing the tone/meaning, or removing plenty of good descriptive material. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:27, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
The number of editors taking a given position isn't relevant, rather the quality of their arguments is. Your "explanations of the problematic nature" was to ask, over and over, "Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?". I answered your questions, and you have ignored those answers, just as you have ignored Boson's comments. It's not a discussion if you don't respond to what we've said. EEng (talk) 22:23, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
If you really want to start an RfC, I believe it would be useful if you use my format of including a link to the individual edit but also quoting the before and after text, and allowing comments on each edit. We could even just add an RfC template with an introductory explanation at the beginning of the section I added, along with a couple of additional section headers. Otherwise it is difficult to understand what exactly you are objecting to in terms of content and it is harder for a newcomer to the discussion to assess if a particular edit made the text better or worse. It is also much harder to follow the discussion if each participant repeats the same structure or makes statements that are difficult to assign to a particular change and and other participants' comments on that change. I am not sure if we are using substantive in the same way. What I meant was that the changes were not intended to tell the editor to do anything substantially different but rather to improve the way in which the advice was expressed. --Boson (talk) 01:21, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I wonder, Boson, if an RfC is really appropriate, given that JS has been failed to engage in meaningful discussion. It seems like an enormous waste of many editors' time just to accommodate one editors misunderstanding of the concept of substantiveness; the fact that he opposes every edit—​even those clearly appropriate—​underscores the problem here. EEng (talk) 01:50, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest that I was in favour of an RfC. As I said before "I most definitely do not think an RfC would be the best way to proceed ...", but if Jayaguru-Shishya wants to conduct one anyway, I think it would be essential to show exactly what the content differences are and present the reasons against disputed individual edits, rather than presenting editors invited to participate with more general statements. I would prefer those currently engaged in the discussion (and any other page watchers) to look at the individual edits and think seriously about whether each edit is an improvement. I can understand editors' consternation at finding several edits made without prior consultation, but I also recognise that guidelines need to be constantly reviewed to remove the accumulated cruft that results from the way Wikipedia is edited, with no real co-ordinating editor, and that it is difficult to perform such copyedits aimed at greater "clarity and grace" by committee. If separate discussion of each edit is not desired, I would have to say that the overall effect of the edits is positive, so it would be more productive to accept the edits (without prejudice) and continue the discussion on the basis of the new version. --Boson (talk) 08:12, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Agree with EEng that an RfC is not reqruied. I don't find anything undesirable with the general thrust of these edits. I like the concision. Just as long as nothing is being let through that weakens guidance for smart linking practice. Tony (talk) 09:09, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Hi Boson and Tony1! I left my response above[33], hopefully I could express myself more clearly this time :-P I tried to focus myself on the most substantive issues in my opinion, and explain which ones need further improvement. I don't think the exact wording is important, as long as the original spirit of the entries remains. Other opinions of wording I shall leave in the hands of the others (except I commented an instance or two).
We're still missing the rationale of the proposer, however. EEng, could you please explain the original intention behind your edits? Everyone else seems to have given specific commentaries except you. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:18, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I explained them very carefully already [34]. And exact wording is important, because a page like this has thousands of readers, and much depends on getting the key ideas across without boring or confusing editors into just giving up and navigating away. Per the suggestion of Tony and Boson, I'm reinstalling the changes, after which I'll make a few changes to address some of the concerns you've expressed. Please wait until I'm done with that, then let me know what you think. EEng (talk) 22:35, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You have continued to WP:EDITWAR over the additions even, 1) you have not bothered to explain your edits (the diff above focuses more on attacking those views disagreeing with you), 2) you have been warned not to edit war but explain your rationale at the article Talk Page instead[35], 3) and you clearly do not have consensus here at the article Talk Page as three editors find your edits more or less problematic.
Instead of discussion, you decided to edit war over the content just after two hours[36] a major input to the discussion[37]. Again, you don't have consensus for the majority of your edits (except for a few), and you reverted before any serious Talk Page discussion had really taken a place. I'd like to WP:ASSUMEGOODFAITH, but as you have keep reverting over the material to your own preferred edit instead of discussion... Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 23:35, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

I'm sure Tony1 and Boson will be happy to set you straight on whether this is anything like an edit war. Are you ever going to engage anyone else's comments on the edits themselves? For example, on "No. 1" I asked you for an example of what you're talking about. [38] Will you do that, please? A enormous amount of time has been spent attending to your vague and largely unintelligible complaints. EEng (talk) 05:44, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
I value the input of both Jayaguru-Shishya and EEng to this page. Can we identify the specific points of disagreement? Tony (talk) 14:09, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Jump back to the head of this subthread i.e. #Discussion of individual edits (2). The collapses are stuff on which there's no dispute. (See also earlier attempts at #Discussion of individual edits (1).) EEng (talk) 14:18, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I have undid the changes, there is no consensus for any of it. If EEng wants to make these massive changes I invite them to start an RFC to judge community consensus for making over 3k in changes to a guideline. AlbinoFerret 21:35, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed a triumph for collaboration and common sense. It's been a week since I ask you to participate in discussion of the changes. Will you be doing that, or are you satisfied with just insisting that everything needs an RfC? EEng (talk) 02:10, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
If you think a consensus of 3 or or even 5 or 6 editors is enough to change a guideline that will affect almost every page in wikipedia I dont know what to say. AlbinoFerret 02:55, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, I know what to say. These are meant to be non-substantive changes that affect only the organization and presentation of the guidelines, not what they tell editors to do. Both Boson and Tony have opined that that's exactly what they do, and to the extent they're right, no big falala is needed. If, inadvertently, I did something that really did change the substance of the guidelines, then please point that out, or just go ahead and fix it yourself if you want.
You seem to think no changes at all can be made without a big discussion, and that's just not true. Between January and May 2014 I made some 350 edits to MOSNUM, almost completely rewriting it from top to bottom. (Search the string EEng here [39].) There were no calls for RfCs and so on, because other editors there took the time to actually look at what I was doing. Now and then someone reverted or modified an individual change, and there were a few areas on which we had long discussions. Any issues were resolved amicably, and that's remarkable given the high-tension disputes that break out at MOSNUM regularly. The reason my work could go on in such an environment is that I wasn't changing what MOSNUM said, just how it was said. Where I slipped up on that, others noticed and set it right. What they didn't do was block progress by wielding BRD like a club. (At this point I modestly ask Tony1 and Boson to opine on whether my work at MOSNUM did or did not vastly improve its organization and presentation.)
This page has 400 watchers, and (not counting you and JS) the other 398 seem to have no problem with what I was doing. You and JS just keep saying, over and over, "RfC! RfC! RfC! RfC! RfC! RfC! RfC! RfC!", as if the bare fact that you can block change is a reason for blocking change. You've said nothing specific at all about how my edits change anything they shouldn't, and JS' comments, while at least somewhat substantive, show that he has language difficulties that cause him to misinterpret things. Why don't you discuss the actual changes, like we're supposed to, so we can move forward to improve the page? You can start by responding to my, Boson's, and JS' comments, found in the thread above. EEng (talk) 04:01, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Let's see:
  1. Out of the first 12 edits[40], 7 are being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking#Discussion of individual edits (2), so better stop saying that I've not participated in discussion. Actually, we're still waiting for your contribution to explain what was the primary motive behind your edits. Was there something wrong with the original wording? Was there a reason to change the tone of the guidelines? Did altering the tone improve the guidelines in some manner?
  2. As you well know, this guideline page is under Arbcom's discretionary sanctions, and according to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Article titles and capitalisation#All parties reminded: "...parties are encouraged to establish consensus on the talk page first, and then make the changes." You actually failed to do that, and waited for other people to start discussion instead. So far, you've been picking on other editors' comments, whereas it's you who should explain your own edits. Nobody else can do that for you.
  3. Although not all of your edits are substantive, it is highly misleading to say that "none of them is substantive". For example, why did you remove an essential part of WP:LINKSTYLE[41]? That's a guideline that I've referred to tens of times in my copy-editing. Your Edit Summary said: "...this explanation is severely in need of improvement in its presentation", and then you just removed it. Are you seriously telling me that it isn't substantial? Or this edit[42], brought up by PBS: "This is a big issue and usually would be discussed in a section on the talk page before such a change was made. In this case you made the change in a series of consecutive edits without clearly stating in the edit history what you were doing -- which is misleading."
  4. According to WP:CONLEVEL: "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. [...] Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of pages. This is because they reflect established consensus, and their stability and consistency are important to the community. As a result, editors often propose substantive changes on the talk page first to permit discussion before implementing the change."
Anyway, comments like: "A enormous amount of time has been spent attending to your vague and largely unintelligible complaints.", "your complaint here is nonsense", "Blah blah blah blah", "JS' comments show that he has language difficulties", those aren't really helpful. I will restore the unproblematic edits in the next few days. After all, there's WP:NORUSH. After that, user EEng is the most welcome to give his rationale for the substantive ones. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:10, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Ps. "enormous" begins with a vocal, so the article should be an, not a ;-)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Let's see:

1. Over and over the same thing has happened: you post some comments, others respond, and that's it -- you go stubbornly silent. Most recently [43] I reminded you that you hadn't responded to my comments posted six days ago, and you've simply ignored that.
2. The edits have been explained to you over and over. I explained them [44]. Boson explained them [45]. I explained them again [46].
3. Your most recent complaints demonstrate, again, that you're not taking the time to look at the actual effect of the edits.
  • You asked --
Why did you remove an essential part of WP:LINKSTYLE[47]? That's a guideline that I've referred to tens of times in my copy-editing. Your Edit Summary said: "...this explanation is severely in need of improvement in its presentation", and then you just removed it. Are you seriously telling me that it isn't substantial?
I removed the example because it was completely redundant to another example on the page. At the same time I moved the LINKSTYLE shortcut to be next to the remaining example. You only quote part of my edit summary, which actually read "Merge (this explanation is severely in need of improvement in its presentation)" i.e. merge the two examples, and (by the way) the explanation in the remaining example needs severe improvement. (And I made that improvement in later edits). So no, it's not a substantive change to the guidelines. (And you're getting the words substantial and substantive mixed up.)
  • Same with your second complaint, about [48]. I removed one of two duplicate statements (my edit summary said, "maybe 10 yrs ago people needed hypertext explained to them, and more than enough pep talk about building the web is in the lead") and moved the shortcuts from the location of the deleted material to the location of the other text (which happened to be the page's opening paragraph). This is perfectly obvious if you take the trouble to look at the text surrounding the changes -- don't you realize you can't just look at the diff??? PBS obviously didn't trouble to look either.
4. The higher-level-of-consensus standard applies to substantive changes i.e. changes to what the guideline tells editors to do, not changes to how it expresses that advice. Both Boson [49] and Tony [50] believe they meet this test, and as seen over and over (most recently in point "3." just above here) your attempts to show the changes are substantive have shown only that you don't grasp what the edits actually do.

As for the rest, I stand by everything I've said:

  • an enormous amount of time has been wasted on your vague and largely unintelligible complaints;
  • I said your complaint (about an edit which deleted something) was nonsense because it was nonsense (because if you'd actually looked at all the changes like you said you had, you'd have known that my very next edit reversed the deletion);
  • My blah blah blah blah expressed exasperation at the page's flabby and prolix verbiage -- nothing to do with you;
  • And lastly, you really do have serious language difficulties which hamper your ability to comment usefully. The typographical error of mine you so absurdly point out ("a enormous" instead of "an enormous") is nothing like
  • [51] "And not just you ignored the discussion part, you started demanding other editors to explain why your edits do not satisfy (!)."
  • [52] "Other opinions of wording I shall leave in the hands of the others (except I commented an instance or two)."

plus the fact that you don't seem to know what substantive, substantial or tone mean.

Please don't restore any of the edits. I prefer to clear up your procedural confusion first, because it will be impossible to proceed in this ridiculous way. Now for the love of God (referring to #Discussion_of_individual_edits_.282.29) will you please ...

  • (No. 1) Give the example I requested here [53], so we'll know what you're talking about?
  • (No. 3) Propose a modification that would fix your concern?
  • (No. 6) Say whether the modification I made to the text (linked in the discussion) is acceptable?
  • (No. 8) Say whether you still think the text I moved was related to SEAOFBLUE, given the links I laid out?
  • (No. 9) Explain how "Articles on technical subjects might demand a higher density of links" is any different from "Articles on technical subjects often have a higher link density" (or propose alternative text)?

EEng (talk) 05:40, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Jayaguru-Shishya, if you want to continue to claim you're discussing in good faith, you need to respond to reasonable requests by your fellow editors. The above points have been pending for almost two weeks now, and you've ignored repeated requests that you engage them. EEng (talk) 03:33, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Another arbor-treeish break[edit]

EEng you wrote above "PBS obviously didn't trouble to look either". I took the trouble to look at that edit and the other you made. It would have been irresponsible for me not to have done so before I placed a notification of Arbcom MOS discretionary sanctions on your talk page. I think perhaps you misunderstand why the links in the {{style-guideline}} are there. It is so that editors have a few common short-cut names to use in place of the rather verbose page name. But so that the links are familiar to other users, not only are they short but also descriptive and kept few in number. As such, not all of all the redirects to a page will usually be listed in the {{style-guideline}} template, and changes to the list ought to be discussed on the talk page first -- or at the very least. if you wish to be bold, to add a meaningful edit comment stating that you had changed the short-cuts at the top of the page. In this case for example why do you think that "WP:BTW" "WP:BUILD" should appear in the {{style-guideline}}? Your answer will be of interest to others who are actively editing the page, but I am not interested in getting involved in the content of this page and I am disinterested in whether those two links appear in the template {{style-guideline}}. It is however an example of an edit you made that prompted me to place the notification of Arbcom MOS discretionary sanctions on your talk page and highlight a paragraph of its content along with another paragraph in WP:CONSENSUS. -- PBS (talk) 12:20, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Explaining in scrupulous detail[edit]

Let me explain this as carefully as possible. Here's what the opening of the page looked like before the edit in question [54]:

Linking through hyperlinks is an important feature of Wikipedia. Internal links are used to bind the project together into an interconnected whole. Interwiki links bind the project to sister projects such as Wikisource, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia in other languages, and external links bind Wikipedia to the World Wide Web.

Appropriate links provide instant pathways to locations within and outside the project that are likely to increase readers' understanding of the topic at hand. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Principles
Shortcuts:

Wikipedia is based on hypertext, and aims to "build the web" to enable readers to access relevant information on other pages easily.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The opening paragraph of the page, and the start of the Principles section, both say essentially the same thing about what links are for. Therefore, in this edit [55] I removed that bit from the Principles section, and also moved the WP:BTW and WP:BUILD shortcuts (which had been in the Principles section, associated with the text being removed) to the opening paragraph of the page, i.e. moved them to the other place discussing building the web and so on:

Linking through hyperlinks is an important feature of Wikipedia. Internal links are used to bind the project together into an interconnected whole. Interwiki links bind the project to sister projects such as Wikisource, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia in other languages, and external links bind Wikipedia to the World Wide Web.

Appropriate links provide instant pathways to locations within and outside the project that are likely to increase readers' understanding of the topic at hand. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Principles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

My edit summary was:

maybe 10 yrs ago people needed hypertext explained to them, and more than enough pep talk about building the web is in the lead

While not a model of clarity, that's certainly enough for a editor to understand what was done and why: Hmm... This bit at Principles was deleted. How come? Oh yeah, edit summary says "more than enough about building the web is in the lead" -- yeah, I see that stuff there in the lead -- so he deleted this redundant part in Principles. But why did he move these shortcuts? Wait, I see, those shortcuts went with the deleted bit, so he moved them to the other place that said the same thing.

So this is not, in fact, a "big issue" (as you said on my talk page), though there was a slight flaw in the edit. Here's how a helpful editor, wanting to build on the work of others instead of just reverting everything he doesn't immediately understand, might open the discussion on that flaw:

Hey, EEng. I see you moved those shortcuts. How come? --Helpul Editor
Well, I deleted some redundant text on building the web, so I moved the shortcuts to the other place where building the web is mentioned. --EEng
I saw that, but the problem is, you moved it into the {styleguide} box. The shortcuts there are meant to apply to the whole page not just one part of it, even if that part is right at the beginning. --Helpul Editor
Darn, you're right. I'll move those two shortcuts to a separate box now:
Shortcuts:

Linking through hyperlinks is an important feature of Wikipedia. Internal links are used to bind the project together into an interconnected whole. Interwiki links bind the project to sister projects such as Wikisource, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia in other languages, and external links bind Wikipedia to the World Wide Web.

Appropriate links provide instant pathways to locations within and outside the project that are likely to increase readers' understanding of the topic at hand. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Principles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

So with all due respect, PBS what I said is true: you did not look at the edit, at least not long enough to understand what it was meant to do. The edit summary explains the text deletion, and the reason for moving the shortcuts is therefore obvious (the minor error in where they landed notwithstanding). And even given what, in your haste, you thought you saw, why didn't you just ask me—​if you had, we'd have had the little discussion narrated above (leading to the simple fix) instead of the ton-of-bricks AE Enforcement notice, including the outrageous statement (on my talk page) that my edit summary was "misleading"?

So, can you point to an edit of mine which really is a "big issue" (as you also said on my talk page) requiring advance consensus, instead of normal copyediting (possibly to be followed by discussion and improvement)? You said above "I took the trouble to look at that edit and the other you made", but I have no idea what "other edit" you are talking about.

This is important. A great deal of hard work has been discarded, on your say-so based on your mistaken characterization of one edit. It's worth noting that Albino Ferret has completely declined to engage in discussion, and JS has still, after nine days, refused continue discussion of the 5 edits still at issue (see #stillwaiting, above). Don't you see what's going on here?

EEng (talk) 02:18, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

  • The most obvious problem with this change is that it eliminated the key phrase "build the web". This is a "stock phrase" on Wikipedia, like "follow the sources", and mustn't be eliminated willy-nilly. Doing so also made the WP:BUILD and WP:BTW shortcuts meaningless and confusing. There's really no point at all in having shortcuts go directly to the lead of the page. That's irregular, confusing, and serves no clear rationale. The larger, more general problem is that, as with all Wikipedia leads, the intro to this page is an overall summary highlighting the most important points that can be found within; every point in it should be redundant with more detailed material below. Yet this edit mingles in some of the principles material, and then removes it as one of the principles! MOS:LEAD as a set of "rules" doesn't technically apply to non-articles, but we do in fact write the leads of policy/guideline pages (and well-constructed essays) in the same way. It's just "the WP way". This page's lead is an overview. The "Principles" section is not, its a listing and explication of principles we apply, one of which also happens to be mentioned in different wording in the lead.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:21, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, actually, WP:MOS, WP:MOSNUM, and WP:LEAD (just random pages I grabbed) don't seem to have "leads" in anything like the sense you're talking about. But that's really not important, and is beside the point right now—​I'm happy for any individual change to be reverted or modified if they're problematic. The problem is that two editors are blocking all copyediting by insisting that even minor changes be subject to RfCs in advance, instead of just making changes in situ and reverting/adjusting the few that need it. They recruited PBS to their cause, who managed to turn the fact that I accidentally moved two shortcuts into the {style-guideline} box (instead of their own {shortcut} box) into an AE notification. That's what my above ridiculously overdetailed explanation is about.
Since to my recollection you're generally sane, I'd really appreciate it if you'd add your comments to #Discussion_of_individual_edits_.282.29. (If there's some flaw which you can see how to fix, please just give the wording you'd prefer rather than flat-out "opposing".) EEng (talk) 07:04, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I'll try to take a look at it, but have a lot on my plate. As for MOS and LEAD, they have pretty "rich" leads that do their job well. I would like to improve LEAD's lead (and actually have, more than once), but people editwar about that one a lot. MOS/MOSNUM literally must have a different kind of lead, more like that of a glossary or list article, because MOS pages are just lists of do/don't items that cannot be summarized, really, other than as a long outline (which is what the ToC is already). In a case like that, the lead has to lay out what the approach is, not what the content can be summarized as. (But more to the point, you can't disprove a general best practice by hunting down an exception or three; this doesn't work in the real world, and it doesn't work on WP either, where we call that the WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS argument. :-) I think what is really happening here (and it's happened to me for similar reasons) is you're being strident, and it's annoying people, who filibustering you out of frustration at your debate tactics. If you put yourself in an adversarial position, you get blockaded. My edits are not being blockaded, because I've not pissed anyone off lately (among other reasons; my addition of glossary and list-related observations reflects a prior discussion and reflects actual WP practice being observed, while the changes you're making mostly seem to be about restructuring, in ways that not everyone sees as helpful).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:42, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Procedural commentary[edit]

I concur with Jayaguru-Shishya's summary of the issue: "many of [EEng's] edits removed a lot of relevant material, changed the tone of the guideline, or moreover, changed the meaning of the guideline." It can be unhelpful to make so many different kinds of edits without much explanation and then vent about objections. On the other hand, it can come across as disrespectful and lazy to mass-revert someone's changes instead of revert the specific portions you don't like; WP:BOLD is policy, and "I'm not sure about all of this" (however worded) is not a rationale for reverting all of it. WP grows and evolves by people adding material, others reverting what they don't agree with for certain, and letting the rest of other editors' changes stand, and be improved over time by other editors. This applies as much to guideline pages as to articles, though we need to be careful with guideline pages, as we would be with featured articles, or widely-deployed templates. So, both sides of this dispute need to rethink their approach. You know guideline pages are going to be resistant to change, so make discrete edits with their own edit summaries that adequately describe the changes. This helps other editors evaluate what the changes and their rationales are, and more easily only revert what they definitively object to.

Update: I posted a detailed analysis of the 12 edits, in #Discussion of individual edits (3), below.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:53, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Wow! This is way more time and trouble than I meant for you to invest. Thanks much. You hit the nail on the head with, "It can come across as disrespectful and lazy to mass-revert someone's changes instead of revert the specific portions you don't like"—​or, of course, just fixing whatever you see as wrong. I went to a lot of trouble to do exactly what you're suggesting i.e. make each edit a discrete quantum [56], exactly to invite that approach, but repeatedly found everything simply mass-removed for vague reasons. As mentioned earlier I made overhauled MOSNUM completely last year (in presentation, of course, not content), in hundreds and hundreds of edits [57], with absolutely nothing like this kind of reaction.
What I'd like to do is reinstall the changes we all seem agreed upon, then continue from there, but more slowly this time, with other editors modifying, fixing, and (where necessary) reverting in a targeted way. Are we all on board with this? EEng (talk) 14:49, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable, and it's even what WP:BRD would sanction, if you put any stock in that essay. (I no longer do; I don't need an essay to tell me that discussion is sometimes needed, nor to tell me when it's WP:FILIBUSTERing and should be abandoned in favor of just being WP:BOLD again.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:46, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Hi SMcCandlish. I restored the uncontroversial edits[58] with some modifications that you suggested! Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:44, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Jayaguru-Shishya, given that this bit I restored is widely practiced/standard on Wikipedia, how is removing that non-controversial? Flyer22 (talk) 23:14, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Actually, it wasn't deleted, just moved. (Search the string as is typical in the diff JS just gave above). But since Jayaguru-Shishya jumbled it all up with many other changes in a single edit, it's not your fault you couldn't see that. See also my post to JS just below here. EEng (talk) 00:51, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Hi Flyer22! Sorry, I must have been staring too closely at the Talk Page discussion (Discussion of individual edits (2)). The edit was originally made by user EEng[59], which I only restored. If you find the edit controversial, we can leave it out and discuss it first. Sorry for the inconvenience. It's been self-reverted by the original proposer now. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:16, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── JS, though I didn't say so at the time, part of the reason I asked you not to restore any of my changes is I feared you'd mess them up, and here we are. Didn't you get anything out of the long discussions in this thread (above and below here), and especially sroc's and SMcCandlish's comments about appropriate ways to proceed?

What I've always done is to make small, discrete changes that others can follow, understand, and build on, fix, or (if really necessary) revert individually. You refused to take advantage of that structure, over and over reverting everything wholesale, leading to the long pointless round-and-round we see in this thread. Now to cap it off, you've done exactly what no one should ever do on a high-visibility page like this, which is to make a large number of changes bundled up in a single edit -- especially where some of those changes move material from one place to another, so that others easily fall into mistakenly thinking something's been deleted. Jeesh! Will you get a clue at long last?

I've reverted your edit. When I'm ready I'll proceed as agreed i.e. restore the changes at a slower pace (omitting some and modifying some, per the discussion so far). And hopefully you will proceed as SMcC, sroc, Boson, Tony1, and others have all counseled:

  • Don't revert an edit because it is unnecessary — because it does not improve the article. For a reversion to be appropriate, the reverted edit must actually make the article worse.
  • Build on, modify or fix if at all possible, reverting only when there's no other choice
  • Don't invoke BRD as your reason for reverting

EEng (talk) 00:51, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

The I feared you'd mess them up comment isn't called for. I think it's fine to edit the non-controversial stuff back in a bit at a time, though. There is no hurry, and it gives people time to digest each one. A downside of it, though, is you lose people's attention if it's done too slowly (with the risk that someone comes back a month later and mass-reverts a bunch of stuff over a small objection, and the whole thing starts all over again).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:10, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
As mentioned, I didn't express my fear when it first occurred to me, only when it was so vividly realized. For someone who lectures so freely on how things should be done, he seems to have not a clue about it himself. It's incredible.
Actually, I don't think the 12 edits already discussed (some omitted, some modified, as mentioned) need the snail's pace. It's the further editing of the page after those that I'll try to dish out in bite-size pieces. And if someone comes back a month later to mass-revert over a small objection, I'm relying on you to be here to tell them that's not appropriate. EEng (talk) 01:48, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
'he seems to have not a clue' is another case in point. Address the edits not the editor, please. I looked over J-S's changes and most of them seemed adequate. I would suggesting doing less violence to this passage in the original: 'By following naming conventions, an internal link will be much more likely to lead to an existing article. When there is not yet an article about the subject, a good link will make the creation of a correctly named article much easier for subsequent writers.' The shortened version is too telegraphic. It can be shortened, but it makes two distinct points that need to remain clear, including to brand new editors who don't know what "redlinks" means by itself. There were two typos: 1) At '... emphasize: do ...' the "d" should be capitalized, because what follows the colon is a complete sentence. At '... use Show preview and ...' it should read '... use "Show preview" and ...'. The rest of J-S's edits seems OK to me, but some alternative wordings are probably OK, too. Relying on me to be here: LOL. I watchlist a lot of stuff and my attention wanders. I also take wikibreaks at random intervals, for 1-12 months.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:47, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
You miss the point. The problem (and it's an absolutely fatal one) is that JS wrapped all these changes up in a single edit, so that a newcomer won't understand what they're meant to do in some cases, particularly where text is moved from place to place and reworded at the same time (so that, even if you search for a characteristic word from the old text, you might not find it, and would conclude that the old text/bulletpoint had been deleted -- this must be what happened to Flyer). This goes exactly against everything we've been just saying -- make discrete changes, with explanatory edit summaries, that are individually easily understood, diffed, discussed, and modified. As to edits-not-editor, there comes a point when the contrast between harangues about procedure and right and wrong ways to edit (on the one hand) and lack of clue in one's one and only attempt at actually contributing anything since this sad affair began (on the other) becomes too much to ignore.
I didn't miss the point. I just don't agree that it's as significant as you do. I'm much more concerned about the exact wording that who made it in what edits. I agree that it should be done with individual edits that identify each change, and it should not include undiscussed changes. But it doesn't require angry finger-pointing to get this message across. (J-S can individually make his bold move of a passage from one section to another and see if it sticks, of course, and also see if revised wording sticks, but if he does both in the same edit again he should not be surprised to be reverted.) If the stress/irritation level has gotten to the "too much to ignore" stage, just walk away a while. A few days do wonders.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Now, before the comments and comments-on-comments get completely impossible to digest, I'll try to get started this weekend. Those interested can thus discuss, fix, modify, and improve changes in situ instead of here at arms' length. EEng (talk) 12:49, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The uncontroversial edits were restored in 16:33, 23 July 2015[60] per discussion at Discussion of individual edits (2) with few modifications suggested by SMcCandlish. However, the original edits were self-reverted in 00:56, 24 July 2015[61] by user EEng, the one who first introduced the edits.
EEng, re-inserting material that has already been reverted by several editors, even though done "at a slower pace", still doesn't make it any better. Actually, that can be considered as slow edit warring. Before forcing the edits of yours that have been already reverted, I'd suggest you to discuss and seek consensus for those first, just like many users, such as AlbinoFereret, PBS, LesVegas, and SMcCandlish have already told you to do.
I guess you read the policy pages that an administrator told you to read?[62] Or does your answer to him, "What a load of officious bullshit" mean "no"? Well, in a nutshell: It is your job to seek consensus for your edits first, edits that many editors have already disagreed with. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:16, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
What you're saying has nothing to do with what I proposed. What I said I'd do (endorsed by both sroc and SMcCandlish—​the only other two editors actively commenting recently) is "reinstall the changes we all seem agreed upon, then continue from there, but more slowly this time, with other editors modifying, fixing, and (where necessary) reverting in a targeted way." Since you have trouble following and understanding discussions, let me repeat in one things other editors have said to you:
  • it can come across as disrespectful and lazy to mass-revert someone's changes instead of revert the specific portions you don't like; WP:BOLD is policy, and "I'm not sure about all of this" (however worded) is not a rationale for reverting all of it.
  • Don't revert an edit because it is unnecessary — because it does not improve the article. For a reversion to be appropriate, the reverted edit must actually make the article worse.
  • Build on, modify or fix if at all possible, reverting only when there's no other choice.
  • Don't invoke BRD as your reason for reverting.
EEng (talk) 23:45, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Not quite. What he said was: "We have some stuff we've agreed on the 12-points breakdown below. Let's add them, individually, and build on that, without introducing any other changes until done with that part."[66]. I agreed with that.[67] Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 23:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Damn, guys. We were actually making progress here. Several of the changes actually do have consensus. I agree that J-S reverting EEng's original string of individual and clearly identified edits all at once was unnecessary, but that some of the changes reverted were necessary to revert. The discussion that ensued was a pain in the butt by being a huge list of points hard to examine and discuss. But we did it. After we have consensus on a few items, and several of us at least think introducing those points one at a time is wise, it wasn't helpful for J-S to use his own wording to insert all of them at once, and mingle in other undiscussed changes (moving material around, excessively compressing several pieces). See WP:KETTLE. Both of you need to stop accusing each other of bad faith. If you like, consider that all of your bad-faith-assumption looks to third parties like bad faith itself, a desire to WP:WIN on the WP:BATTLEGROUND. As I reviewed above, I think some of the J-S wordings of the points we do have consensus on were okay, and some were not. The move of material from one area to another did confuse people but now that it's understood, it doesn't seem objectionable. EEng wants to make the changes step-wise so other editors (meaning way more people that the ones in this discussion) understand what is going on and why, and can identify on the talk page where there's consensus for the changes. I strongly concur with this. Unclear changes to MOS are almost always reverted, but not always when you think; it might happen a month or more later, after the rationales have already been archived and are hard to find and defend. Get it right the first time, so it sticks. Also, this or that editor's conduct in an unrelated matter like binary prefixes on another page is not relevant here. Both of you are making bold edits to MOS pages that others are objecting to. We have some stuff we've agreed on the 12-points breakdown below. Let's add them, individually, and build on that, without introducing any other changes until done with that part.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree, those edits can be carried out piece-meal. Just one correction: moving the text was originally made by EEng[68], I just restored that very edit. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 23:42, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Christ, you really don't get it, do you? Yes, I moved the text, but I did it in a discrete edit (i.e. the very diff you link to) that made it obvious it was a move, not a delete. What you did was bind it up with ten other changes, in a single edit, so that no one could tell what was going on. Glad to hear you've finally agreed to get with the program. I'll probably start tomorrow. EEng (talk) 23:52, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
If you wanna make these edits individually[69], be my guest. Those have already been discussed in detail at Discussion of individual edits (2), so it should be very easy to follow. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 00:00, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, but I won't be following your edit, but rather making my own evaluation of the discussion points and making a series of edits based on that. This will leave us exactly where we would have been the first day had you not mass-reverted everything, but instead selectively corrected, modified, and built on the work of another, as you now apparently understand you should. And after only 200K of discussion! EEng (talk) 00:29, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
EEng, you seem to be missing the main point here: you did not revert my edits, you reverted your own edits. And you are not objecting to my edits now, you are objecting to your own edits :-) I added nothing of my own there, they were all yours (aside from few minor tweaks suggested by SMcCandlish.)
"...after only 200K of discussion"? When you make substantive edits that get reverted by multiple editors, it is your responsibility to discuss the edits at the article Talk Page and to gain consensus. The sooner you do this, the sooner editors can move on. As it's been said, enumerating the edits "was really EEng's job".
Anyway, the edits have already been discussed extensively at Discussion of individual edits (2), and most editors seem to agree with them (Boson, SMcCandlish, and I). Should there be need for any tweaks, modifications are the most welcome! Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 17:18, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── According the Talk Page discussion, I'll start restoring the edits that have gained consensus one-by-one.[70] Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:19, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

For crying out loud, will you please have the courtesy to let me do that, in my own way? EEng (talk) 23:40, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Take turns or something. Let's just start doing that productive work instead of further arguing. Please?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:18, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
EEng No, I won't have the courtesy. Or do you WP:OWN the guideline? Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:27, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Not worth it[edit]

I give up. In my eight years of editing I've only once before encountered such determinedly self-confident cluelessness (see Dunning-Kruger effect) and faux civility. But that was in the context of a page I really cared about, and to which I was in a unique position to contribute. Not here. I'd hoped to do something to clean up what has obviously been years of accreted excess verbiage and organizational disintegration, but it's not worth my time to deal with such nonsense. Perhaps someone will review the edits I made over the last month and be able to make some use of them. (Here's [71] the final version of the page as I'd left it, just in case anyone might take inspiration from what they see there.) EEng (talk) 23:55, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

More procedural commentary[edit]

Re: "WP:BOLD is policy ..." (it's actually a guideline, but that's neither here nor there) "... 'I'm not sure about all of this' (however worded) is not a rationale for reverting all of it" (see: Wikipedia:I just don't like it). Note also that WP:BRD:

  • is not a policy or guideline either: "BRD is not a policy, though it is an oft-cited essay. This means it is not a process that you can require other editors to follow";
  • is not a licence to revert anything you don't like: "BRD is never a reason for reverting";
  • is not "a valid excuse for reverting good-faith efforts to improve a page simply because you don't like the changes. Don't invoke BRD as your reason for reverting someone else's work or for edit warring: instead, provide a reason that is based on policies, guidelines, or common sense."

See also: Wikipedia:Revert only when necessary. In particular:

Don't revert an edit because it is unnecessary — because it does not improve the article. For a reversion to be appropriate, the reverted edit must actually make the article worse. Wikipedia does not have a bias toward the status quo (except in cases of fully developed disputes, while they are being resolved). In fact, Wikipedia has a bias toward change, as a means of maximizing quality by maximizing participation.

Even if you find an article was slightly better before an edit, in an area where opinions could differ, you should not revert that edit, especially if you are the author of the prior text. The reason for this is that authors and others with past involvement in an article have a natural prejudice in favor of the status quo, so your finding that the article was better before might just be a result of that. Also, Wikipedia likes to encourage editing.

I haven't read through the entirety of the above discussion, as many and varied as the particular edits were, but I have perused it and tend to agree that EEng's were sensible and not evidently harmful. For example, #1 makes the text more succinct and seemingly clearer. In fact, the original wording is confusing in that it talks about links being "helpful in context" but then provides an example where a link is clearly to an inaccurate target ("Barn instead of Barn (unit)"): if the intention was merely to check links point to the intended article, EEng's edit makes this clearer; if the intention was that links should be "helpful" and not just provide links to every conceivable topic for no good reason, then it was an inappropriate example to illustrate this point and it should have been re-written as two separate points so this distinction was not lost. In either case, the original text was verbose at best and confusing at worst, and EEng's edit successfully made it clearer. It may be valuable to add another bullet point saying that links should only be used if they provide additional useful information (although this is covered in § Overlinking and underlinking). However, simply reverting EEng's edit to the original wording makes the guideline worse which is a justification for reverting the revert. sroc 💬 14:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

"WP:BOLD is policy" is not the same statement as "WP:BOLD is a policy"; see WP:POLICY for the distinction. The rest of your policy points mirror mine. The "links should only be used if they provide additional useful information" idea isn't workable, because the person adding the link has no control over what the linked article will say five minutes from now. Rather, we link terms that should and hopefully do or someday will (they may be red right now) go to a location that provides addl. useful info.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:46, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you're drawing a distinction between "is policy" and "is a policy" , but that's not important right now.
I don't think "confirming that [a wikilink] is helpful in context" is analogous to "points to the desired article", so the wording prior to EEng's edit was poor and the wording after much more clearly and succinctly explains the latter. I think we're in agreement on this. sroc 💬 10:46, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
@Sroc: Yes, I agree that the wording before EEng's was crappy on this point and his was a improvement.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:09, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Complaint about canvassing[edit]

WP:CANVASSing is no way to go:
EEng to sroc (23:40, 19 July 2015): "Please comment on the individual edits, if you care to, but more importantly on the question of whether the best way to proceed is to leave the edits in, and modify the few that may be problematic"[72]
sroc to EEng (14:34 22 July 2015): "I have added my support on your edits to the Linking guideline and hope this helps get your eminently sensible edits reinstated."[73]
Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 08:41, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Again with the quoting of guidelines and policies you don't understand, and WP:ASPERSIONS is no way to go, I'm afraid. A neutrally worded request for a third opinion, made to an editor who has most assuredly not always agreed with me, is not canvassing. Here's a more on-point diff [74]:
Adjwilley to Jayaguru-Shishya: I think it would be best if you went back to focusing on content rather than on other editors, and quickly.
Cheers! EEng (talk) 13:18, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Follow me to join the secret cabal!

Plip!

Follow me to join the secret cabal!

Plip!

Peanut gallery comment: Youse both should stop the tooth-gnashing. This isn't clearly canvassing, since it wasn't recruitment to support one position or the other, or recruitment of parties who are part of the same WP:FACTION and who will auto-support the requester. It's routine for us to notify people previously involved in a discussion that further input may be warranted. That's why the {{Ping}} system was added to the software semi-recently. In J-S's defense, the post wasn't totally unbiased; "modify the few that may be problematic" is an assertion that some are not problematic, and that maybe none of them are. The larger statement also suggests which question is more important. So J-S isn't acting in bad faith in bringing up the concern. Assertion that canvassing is taking place, rather than suggestion that it may be (or asking if it qualifies) seems like an accusation of bad faith though. So, one trout for each of you.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:44, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Discussion of individual edits (3)[edit]

Alright. I took almost two hours to go over this mess. This thread is a perfect example of why not to try to put a whole bunch of unrelated proposals under a single banner. It makes it exceedingly difficult for anyone to follow and reply to the proposals. I'll do my best to get at them all, and in the order Jayaguru-Shishya (J-S hereafter) outlined them (and I concur with him that enumerating them was really EEng's job):

  1. The radical change in meaning, from linking when it's helpful to the reader, to something about accidental disambiguation failures was an inappropriate change. As it was self-reverted later, I consider this one a probably moot point. The use of similar, more concise new text, to replace old text elsewhere that is all about "mistaken linking" is okay.
  2. Multiple editors have given rationales for retaining the rules about not changing link colors. "No one seems to be doing that" means the rule is working, not that we need no rule! It's OK for this MOS page to reiterate, concisely, a rule given in more detail elsewhere, when it's also relevant in this page. EEng even argues for doing this for a point already covered in WP:LEAD; can't have his cake and eat it too. :-)
  3. This point was just someone confused about the self-revert, and can be ignored.
  4. This revision of the "Checking links as they are created" section has noble conciseness motives, but goes too far. The original is better, clearer wording that makes at least two points EEng's revision missed entirely (it's not always about "articles with similar titles", and such errors may be hard to notice for others, inside and outside the editorial pool, so it's important to get it right the first time. That said, the original's "which can be irritating for readers" point was kind of unhelpful, and EEng's "will puzzle the reader" is more to the point. Puzzlement is a description of confusion introduced by doing something, well, confusing. "Irritating" refers to an emotional reaction which we're not in a position to be certain about.
  5. EEng is correct that we don't need baby-steps instruction creep here. MOS pages are not "Help:" namespace pages. His specific objections to the original wording are cogent. But ...
  6. "Strive to remember to use" is logically correct (though "strive" is hyperbolic; just use "Try"). "Strive to use" makes no sense; the tools are not difficult to operate. Regarding the second part that changed here: well both versions are poor. The original rambled, but "to maximize the chance that when the" is awkward and blathery. That section does need tightening, but that first attempt at it fails.
  7. Same story here. I don't share J-S's view that the edit "changed the whole meaning of the former two passages (!)"; it's just too much of an awkward rewrite, in about 5 ways, which I can enumerate if necessary. But the original "chase links" stuff is just someone's personal jibberish, and doesn't meaning anything concrete. Somewhere between the two version is the good one.
  8. This point is missing a diff link, so I don't know what it refers to. Oh, I found it in later discussion. It would be a good edit for conciseness, if the original made sense. It is really making two important points both of which should be retained, and the confusion cleared up. Try this: 'The text needs to make sense to readers who cannot follow links. Users may print articles or read offline, and Wikipedia content may be encountered in republished form, often without links.'
  9. Agreed with J-S that the original location of this passage was important. Not everything that has something to do with technical/specialized writing has to be grouped; in this case it is not the more important relevance criterion; the relation to SEAOFBLUE is.
  10. Disagree with J-S's view that a guideline can only say "might"/"may". MOS makes many quite specific recommendations. And this isn't even one of them; EEng's edit clearly reflects reality. The ironic thing is that it's the original wording that's objectionable for prescriptivism. It doesn't say "might", it's says "might demand", which is just daft. It implies that after some unspecified criterion is met that it becomes mandatory to have a sea of blue! EEng's "often have a higher link density" is perfectly apt. The overall wording of EEng's change is helpful in other ways, from concision to removal of irrelevant crap about "general dictionaries". Keep that whole edit.
  11. J-S makes another "just a guideline" point that seems self-confused (both in itself, and in contradicting the last one). He even objects that the wording "do not" was removed, when it was actually just moved. EEng's edit here is spot-on. It makes exactly the same point in half the verbiage.
  12. Keep the sentence, without the footnotes. All of that is covered at WP:LEAD, to which we're already linking in the first half of the edit. It's perfectly fine to re-summarize this rule from LEAD, since it's relevant, but only one policy/guideline should ever define the full scope and rationale of a rule, or POVforking inevitably results over time. This has been a recurrent problem for MOS.

I reviewed Boson's comments, above, on the same points in series, and frankly the only criterion that editor appeared to apply at all was whether the new version was shorter; I don't consider that a useful analysis, sorry. I think what I've said above already clearly indicates which of PBS's points I do and don't concur with.

Later, there's a whole second set of numbered points:

  1. EEng demands "evidence" posts, in a timely manner. But this is not an article, and we don't have to source it or any of our views about it. This inter-personal pissing match isn't helpful to anyone or to this page. If either of you questions the other's faith again, you should get slapped with a {{Trout}}. Update: As, as you can see above, this has in fact happened. >:-| [sigh]  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:38, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
  2. EEng responds to complaints of lack of explanation by diffing the fact that detailed explanations have been provided twice (can't count someone else's review as an explanation, though). Valid point: It's WP:FILIBUSTERING and WP:ICANTHEARYOU to keep demanding re-explanations.
  3. EEng correctly defends his edit summaries. That doesn't make them non-controversial changes, but the complaint that seems to suggest bad-faith editing on EEng's part isn't justified.
  4. A note about "higher level of consensus" that is obviously correct, or these pages would never even get typo fixes. However, many of EEng's edits in this round do in fact trigger a higher level of consensus being needed, because they're substantive.

This is followed by EEng repeating various demands. Badgering other editors isn't helpful. Nor is picking on people's use of words like substantive and substantial. See WP:WIKIQUETTE.

I also note that AlbinoFerret reverted the changes, making multiple editors objecting to them, at least pending discussion and resolution of the issues raised. I think there's a consensus for a couple of these edits right now, but the rest either need substantial (and sometimes substantive) revision, and a few are just not workable because they misapprehend the nature of the original material.

I concur with Boson that an RfC is a terrible idea. This is too unfocused, too mixed a bag of unrelated changes. We can probably proceed with a few of these changes, tweaked a little (even J-S agreed with some of them). For the more controversial changes, take them one at a time for separate discussions (RfC-able if necessary), after the non-controversial ones settle in a bit.

Please don't nitpick at my responses. Producing this review was a huge pain; just take what I'm saying at face value, and don't inspire further debate. It just raises resistance levels. We need more input from more editors willing to pore over that list of a dozen proposed changes, not more argument about what their opinions are (I feel it's fair to argue pro and con both EEng's and J-S's enumerations of the 12 issues, since they're the two who've defined the entire debate. I'm not going to reply point-by-point to Boson or PBS, though).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:45, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Greetings SMcCandlish! One tiny little question: considering No. 12, would you prefer keeping the original wording ("Links should not be placed in the boldface reiteration of the title in the opening sentence of a lead."), or the suggested wording ("If, as is typical, the lead contains a boldface reiteration of the title, the reiteration should not contain links.")? Both omitting the footnotes, of course. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 22:12, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Non-recognition of naming rights and linking[edit]

Under anti-ambush marketing rules instituted by their organizers, some major sporting events (such as Olympic Games) require naming rights on venues to be suspended, and sponsored names replaced by generic names for the duration of the event.

There have been disputes related to this subject on 2015 Pan-American Games. How would this interact with the link clarity rules? ViperSnake151  Talk  06:13, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

I don't see how it relates at all. Last I looked the International Olympic Committee doesn't tell WP how to write. The subthread below illustrates pretty clearly what the problem is: These temporary renames are basically meaningless to almost all readers. While WP:COMMONNAME is an article titling policy, the rationale behind it includes a lot of WP:COMMONSENSE applicable to content sometimes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:23, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Clarification on LINKCLARITY and SPECIFICLINK[edit]

An editor continues to claim that articles that relate to locations cannot be piped and is using LINKCLARITY and SPECIFICLINK as the grounds. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2015_Pan_American_Games&diff=670953885&oldid=670950789 is one example. As was discussed in the article's talk page, talk:2015 Pan American Games#Renaming of venues in Games-related internal links, other large tournaments rename venues that have commercial sponsorships. We have traditionally piped them as in See 2010 FIFA World Cup#Venues where Soccer City was piped and a redirect was even created, while for 2014 FIFA World Cup#Venues where Arena de São Paulo was piped: [[Arena Corinthians|Arena de São Paulo]]. Does this violate either LINKCLARITY and SPECIFICLINK? Walter Görlitz (talk) 00:23, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Do you think Magnolia objects to the piping per se, or the terms that are used in the pipe? Tony (talk) 05:45, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't know, that's a good question, but based on this edit,this edit, this edit, this edit, this edit, this edit and this edit, I think it's that the names are piped out. That has been the editor's objection on the article's talk page as well. The linked names are correct based on the venues article, or when not mentioned in it, the games website itself: http://www.toronto2015.org/venues. Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:15, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
As a compromise, why not just link to Arena de São Paulo, which is a redirect to Arena Corinthians (and create {{R from alternative name}} redirects where needed for other examples)? I would think a redirect would be preferable to a piped link because it could be later redirected to a specific section or even expanded into its own article. --Ahecht (TALK
PAGE
) 22:13, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
The question isn't about the other articles but about whether piping should be used. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:13, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
  • @Walter Görlitz and Ahecht: I would concur with Ahecht as a general matter: There's usually no compelling need to pipe the links, just create redirs that do the job; all those redirs should exist anyway. But context is key. In this particular case, the temporary renames are essentially meaningless to almost everyone. The encyclopedic thing to do is actually to use [[BMO Field]] (renamed to Exhibition Stadium for the games), etc. [note the lack of "scare quotes" around the rename]. The renaming verges on trivia that could safely be deleted from the article (as long as the rename wasn't kept after the event); for later readers, in a month or a year or ten years, "BMO Field" is the important point; it's quite possible some entirely different venue by that point will be called "Exhibition Stadium" for some other event! Always try to remember that WP content can be printed and otherwise reused, without links to other WP articles. The text has to make encyclopedic sense as stand-alone content, or it's a failure. Both [[BMO Field|Exhibition Stadium]], and [[Exhibition Stadium]] redirecting to [[BMO Field]]. fail in this regard.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:39, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
You've entirely missed the point, but let me address your tangential comment. The compelling need is that observers of the games are reading the temporary names in the results, news and hearing it in other media. It has been common to do so in recent FIF World Cup tournaments. That is my motivation for doing so.
The original question was, is it against LINKCLARITY and SPECIFICLINK to pipe? Walter Görlitz (talk) 14:57, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
And you were given an answer: 'as a general matter: There's usually no compelling need to pipe the links, just create redirs that do the job .... But context is key. In this particular case, the temporary renames are essentially meaningless to almost everyone. The encyclopedic thing to do is actually to use [[BMO Field]] (renamed to Exhibition Stadium for the games), etc.' If you still feel this somehow does not address your question, then you need to restate it more clearly. If you simply want a "rule-mongering" answer, then: The piping in this case fails the criterion "the link must be as intuitive as possible" of WP:LINKCLARITY, for reasons I already explained: These temporary names are essentially meaningless to almost everyone and will be forgotten soon enough. WP can be read offline, without access to linking, so the content needs to make sense to the typical reader. Mention of temporary pseudonym of a venue will convey no useful information to offline readers. There does not appear to be a WP:SPECIFICLINK problem; there is no more specific link for the "Exhibition Stadium" than for BMO Field. If we had a BMO Field rename controversy article that specifically focused on the Exhibition Stadium name and [hypothetical - I'm making this up] controversy about it, then that would be a more specific article to which to link. In a different sort of context, a piped link might be appropriate. If they kept the name Exhibition Stadium permanently, e.g. because BMO was no longer paying to have its name attached, but "BMO Stadium" remained the WP:COMMONNAME for some time (entirely likely), then during that time a [[BMO Field|Exhibition Stadium]] pipe would satisfy both guidelines, though I think most editors would argue for a redirect and just use [[Exhibition Stadium]], the expected eventual name of the article. If the Exhibition Stadium material was just a subsection in the BMO Field article, then a [[BMO Field#Exhibition Stadium|Exhibition Stadium]] link is better than an Exhibition Stadium redirect to that section, unless the section was expected to become its own separate article via WP:SUMMARY process, soon.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:36, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

A few tweaks[edit]

I've been time-poor lately, and will continue to be so until 10 August. So I'm sorry that I haven't read through the long debate here about recent edits (which mostly seem to have been reverted). A few spot checks show that EEng made some welcome improvements, although I didn't agree with all of his changes. Here is my edit, made a few minutes ago, made on a comparison of late April until now. I think there's nothing controversial in it. Please let me know if there is. Tony (talk) 08:48, 20 July 2015 (UTC)