Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4


Overlinking: guideline "more links than lines"

I think that the rule that an article is ovelinked if it has more links than lines (in the section Overlinking) is not very useful as the length of a line can vary depending on the browser, browsersettings and the resolution of the screen. I think it should be deleted or changed. --Galadh 13:23, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it seems rather arbitrary; and if it means sentences, it seems like it could be reasonable to have more than one link per sentence. —Centrxtalk • 18:35, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Furthermore, I don't think it's a linear relationship. A very short article with more than one link per sentence might not be overlinked at all, but an extremely long article with only one link per every three or four sentences might nevertheless still be drastically overlinked. Xtifr 09:21, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I removed the guideline --Galadh 10:48, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I have put it back. I do not think this was properly discussed for enough time by enough people.
I agree that it is affected by screen width and article length. However, it is useful because it is simple. I have not heard of anyone involved in a dispute where this guideline was challenged. If you think it could be made more effective without being overcomplicated, feel free to make a suggestion. Perhaps we could look at examples of overlinked articles to see what their characteristics are. bobblewik 16:04, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
I see that Centrx has removed the guidance again with the comment If you disagree with an edit, explain why; there does not need to be a month-long discussion with a quorum for minor change to the MoS on links.
The explain why bit is in my previous contribution here. I respect your good intentions, Centrx. But rather than removing the guidance a third time, can you please say why you disagree with what I said? bobblewik 19:59, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Just because you don't know of anyone using this provision in a dispute does not mean it is not a bad provision. Every one of the last 4 articles featured on the main page have more links than lines in the introductions. It is an arbitrary, wrongful provision; why is it justified and what is wrong with the reasoning above in this section? —Centrxtalk • 21:36, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

I agreed with Centrx. I also thought I should cut away the whole section( Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)#Overlinking and underlinking: what's the best ratio?), because ordinary readers can never behave like such. All article pages should be full of links as many as possible, even year and date, because it makes readers easy to read articles and to find the link(s) readers want to read. It is very very obvious fact for ordinary readers! -- by PTNFromm 16:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC), 04:11, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

In addition, e.g., when all "ant" in an article are linked by [[]], it is easiest for ordinary readers to distinguish the word(s) automatically in an article. -- by PTNFromm 16:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC), 17:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I, therefore, erased the whole section lying to ordinary readers about ordinary readers, because such an unkind and nonsense regulation would never get Wikipedia:Consensus esp. of ordinary readers. -- by PTNFromm 17:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't agree with the removal. There needs to be some type of guidance on how many links should be contained in an article, and I disagree with the notion that every word should be linked. I also disagree that incomplete dates should be linked, but that is for another discussion. Cacophony 05:41, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
How many links should be contained in an article depends on what kind of links are contained in each article. Therefore, it is impossible to have objective rules on how many links should be contained in an article. How many links should be contained in an article? The objective and collective answer is "from one to not every." It's nonsense. If you need a guidance, first, show your objective logic on what kind of links should or should not be allowed. If you do it, you will notice that there can't be objective rules with objective reason and that it depends. -- by PTNFromm 04:11, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
In addition, I didn't say that "every word should be linked." I myself have never done and seen such a crazy editting. Where did you see such a crazy editor? I just said, All article pages should be full of links as many as possible, even year and date, because it makes readers easy to read articles and to find the link(s) readers want to read. It is very very obvious fact for ordinary readers! To put it simply, "The more links each article has, the easier it is for each reader to read, click and find." What's problem with this objective reason? -- by PTNFromm 04:11, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Proposal: Multiple linking in tables

On a related note, what about items in tables? I've come across tables of lists of TV episodes, with their respective writer or director listed. Many writers/directors appear multiple times in a table, and the editors have painstakingly ensured that each writer is only linked for their first episode, and no subsequent ones. Or indeed not linked at all, if that person is mentioned elsewhere in some previous body text. I believe this to be a waste of effort on their part, and positively unhelpful for the reader. Having found the entry in the table I'm interested in, and seeing the writer unlinked, I'm then left to do a search of the page to find a functioning link for that writer. Can I suggest a recommendation that all such entries in tables should be linked, even if repeated, due to the "random-access" nature of tables? --KJBracey 14:33, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

One extreme example of this I've come across is List of Doctor Who serials. And that suggests I mean to include "lists" as well as actual "tables" in my proposal. -- KJBracey 14:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I agreed with KJBracey completely (as well as others?). And apparently no objection. So, I erased the nonsense sentence in question. -- by PTNFromm 17:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Context: example

The paragraph which instructs to use the most precise target uses an example which doesn't make sense to me: "V8 engine" rather than "V8 engine" while V8 redirects to V8 engine. This example seems to address an evident case that you don't label a link foo if the article is named foo bar and you refer to foo bar as foo bar in your text. In that case, foo bar is not more precise, it's just the canonical name. I tried to fix that, but was reverted by User:Centrx. Is there anyone else that thinks like me, or am I missing something?--Chealer 22:24, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Why shouldn't the link be labelled "V8 engine" instead of plain "V8"? —Centrxtalk • 04:37, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
You misunderstand me, sorry if I was unclear. A link to V8 engine should be labelled as V8 engine. What I'm saying is that this is obvious, and does not exemplify what the paragraph talks about.--Chealer 11:07, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I see; okay. I don't think Debian is well-known enough to be a helpful example. —Centrxtalk • 05:20, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Maintenance with multiple links

There is a problem with multiple links on a page. It makes maintenance of the page difficult if the links change (as the link count is only given once in the what links here), which is why multiple links to the same page has been discouraged in the past. Revision as of 05:28, 16 June 2006 Nscheffey ← Older edit, Revision as of 22:34, 6 July 2006 Centrx --Philip Baird Shearer 12:44, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand the maintenance problem which you refer to. Could you please this link count thing? -Freekee 01:28, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't see that this would be a significant problem, and the quality of the encyclopedia and its usefulness to readers should be sacrificed for this rare back-end issue. —Centrxtalk • 01:08, 22 September 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to see guidance on redlinks here. - Stephanie Daugherty (Triona) - Talk - Comment - 07:58, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

I am curious about this as well - Should an article have red links (with the hope that some one might create an article off it) or should you remove thos links? Markco1 05:02, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I think, it depends. See Wikipedia:Notability. -- by PTNFromm 18:18, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Numbered links and footnotes

An increasing number of articles are using automatically numbered footnotes to cite references. This practice is apparently being encouraged, because it is especially prevalent in Featured articles. In my opinion, inline numbered external links (such as [], which displays inline as [1]) should not be used in an article with footnotes. Having two overlapping number series (inline footnote calls numbered 1–x and inline external links numbered 1–y) is confusing and also ugly. In my opinion, the better practice in an article with footnotes is to put external links in footnotes with a descriptive title, such as: <ref>[ Blather]</ref>, which displays inline as [1] and in the Notes section as shown below. What do others think? Finell (Talk) 06:02, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

  1. ^ Blather

Piped links with phrases instead of variations on the name of the target

I'm seeing more and more links of a new type. Instead of having the link reflect the name of the article, it's a verb phrase or something. For instance, the article Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has the link: considered very inefficient' which is just horrible and could be replaced by: considered to have a low efficiency (or something similar). This links to the same section on weapon efficiency. I think too much was put into the talk archive, as this page is really small now. I still stand by my comments about multiple, directly adjacent links. They're real ugly and clumsy because you don't know what you're getting, if it's one link or many, by simply reading an article without moving the mouse over every link. It spoils all multiple-word links that way. Usually this form is unnecessary and one of the links amounts to a sort of dictionary-definition link. It's a scourge on the whole enterprise if you ask me. --Howdybob 14:25, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Possible addition to the instructions for creating links

I am not sure about the form for suggesting this so I am posting it here. I have been working away at fixing the links in filmographies and award pages over the last few months and I would like to recommend that we try to teach wiki editors to check and make sure that the link that they create goes to the wikipage that they mean it to go to (I would have typed this in all caps but I know that that is considered rude).

A good example that comes to mind is if an editor is linking The Three Musketeers to an actor who is in it and all they do is create a link around these three words anyone who clicks on that link is taken to the page about the book by Dumas. Then they will click on the disambiguation note (if they haven't given up) and will be taken to a page that lists several of the film versions from over the years. If they have an idea which is the one that they are looking for one final click takes them where they wanted to go originally. In this example it has taken three clicks to do what one should have. My example is for a filmography but the same idea applies to all areas of wikiP.

I suggest that we recommend to editors that are creating links that:

  1. They click on the 'Show preview' bar first then
  2. Click on the links that they have created and see where they go. If they go where they want then
  3. Click on 'Save page'. If they don't
  4. Fix them right then so that they do. then
  5. Click on 'Save page'

All of the things that need to be typed in like (film) or (1935 film) or (TV series) or changing the link to avoid redirects can be done right then and there. Now I am not trying to get out of the work that I am currently enjoying (more on that below), but, Wikipedia is a powerful and fun learning tool. That power is diminished when links lead to areas that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Much of what I have mentioned also applies to creating external links but I have found very few of these that went somewhere unintended.

This was my main topic but I do have a further suggestion for anyone that is fixing links the way that I have been. I have found that opening two windows to a page that is being worked on makes this job much easier.

For example today I was fixing the links on Bela Lugosi filmography. I had window number one in the editing mode and number two on the page as it was. I could then click on the links on two, see where they went and if they needed fixing then bring back up number one and fix them right there. If you try to do this on just one window you have to go forward to the linked item and then back to the editing page and this always resets the page being edited to the top (at least in the original editing mode, if you click on 'Preview page' and then go back and forth this doesn't happen) which means a lot of scrolling on a page like the one mentioned.

In this example it was still important to click on the 'Show preview' and check that my corrections went where I wanted them to.

Again my apologies if these are in the wrong place. To anyone who might read these I hope that they are useful suggestions. Also, if I have posted them in the wrong place please feel free to move them to where they might to some good for other editors. MarnetteD | Talk 02:03, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

One thing I forgot to mention last night. Please, Please, Please tell new editors that when they are copying filmographies from IMDb don't include the roman numerals in dates i.e (1987/I). This is simply a way that they differentiate between two titles, names etc that occurred in the same year. They are meaningless here at wikipedia. MarnetteD | Talk 00:07, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Apparently nobody's opposed to your proposals, MarnetteD. Congratulations!
I'm one of new editors and I accept your first suggestion.
As for your second suggestion, now, I can't confirm the necessity of having the same two windows, unfortunately.
With regard to your third proposal, thank you very much, but what can I do? Here is not the place to explain how to upload images. -- by PTNFromm 19:34, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I added your first suggestion to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links) on the basis of no opposition to it. -- by PTNFromm 20:13, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

URL protocol limitation

The protocols are listed at Meta:URI schemes#Current settings. Peahaps this link should be given in the article? Secondly, what is the reason to restrict the protocols; that is, why not just to convert everything in square braces into external link? I was looking on how to insert ed2k links. --Javalenok 19:08, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

templates and linking in them

I've been editing using the Template:Infobox Writer and a user changed the Website field from the way I had it (example) Official website to [2] citing WP:MOS. I personally think it looks better as official site especially since being in a template, or heck even would do but the WP:MOS-L only says However, you should add a descriptive title when an external link is offered in the References, Further reading, or External links section. Is there any policy on this someplace that I'm not seeing? The template itself says nothing about the prefered style of choice. I bring this up here because I don't see it elsewhere and since that's the case perhaps it should also be on here, plus I don't want to get into an edit war. All other authors that I see using the Website field either have Official website or so perhaps clarification for templates is needed? Anyway any answers are appreciated. Thanks. --ImmortalGoddezz 01:12, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

It's been a few days since I posted this and since there haven't been any answers I've went ahead and posted this on the WP:MOS talk page instead. --ImmortalGoddezz 00:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
The pages in question are this, this and this. Obviously no problem. Congratulations! -- by PTNFromm 21:35, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Link once per section

Policy proposal: Link technical terms once per article section. Another editor (AySz88\^-^) and I have been discussing the proper number of links for the same technical term in a technical article. For example, how many times to link invariant mass in a longish article on mass in special relativity? His suggestion is that every time is too many, and I think just ONCE at the beginning is not enough (since it can be missed and have to be searched for). A good compromise seems ONCE per article section. That won't please everyone, but this is an issue where you can't please everyone. Linking EVERY time a phrase appears drives some people bananas with multiple colors per line, and yet I still say that for some articles, once isn't enough. So the logical number is just do it in the first paragraph of any section (or first use of it), so that it's unlikely that anyone reading it the second time won't have run over it the first time, and have it at hand. Again, I'm only suggesting this as a general guideline for technical terms in longish technical articles which use them more than few times. What say you all? SBHarris 01:16, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

This is already at least mentioned, "These links should be included where it is most likely that a reader would want to follow them elsewhere — for example, in article introductions, the beginnings of new sections..." & "...however, duplicating an important link distant from a previous occurrence is appropriate...". See also [3]. However, it may need to be more explicit or specific. —Centrxtalk • 03:18, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it needs to be more explicit. Okay, given that the optimal number of links (for the same term) has been already been previously discussed "from both ends" in the context of "not overlinking" and also "Is appropriate to duplicate links for new sections" then, yes, let's make it more explicit in the guidelines. I'll make a first attempt. SBHarris 20:18, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
The proper number of links for the same technical term in a technical article?
I answer, "ALL !" -- by PTNFromm 20:24, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Titling external links

I was searching this page for naming conventions for external links but found very little. In my opinion, if your article is, say, "Foo History Museum of Foo County", then if you have an official link to the museum, you can put that as the first link and simply call it "Foo History Museum of Foo County". I find it redundant to say "FHMoFC website", or even "Official website of FHMoFC", because I think "official" is overused and sometimes used to legitimize links that are anything but official. When Wikignoming articles I generally change the official link's title to the title of the entity or organization in question, but if at some point someone sees fit to change it back, I leave it that way since it seems to only be my opinion and not codified anywhere. Does anyone know if this has been discussed somewhere? Any thoughts? Thanks! Katr67 18:09, 26 November 2006 (UTC)


One thing not mentioned is where the 's goes when the possessive is not part of the name itself. I think the 's belongs outside the link. Compare:

  1. William Shatner's toupee
  2. William Shatner's toupee

I think the first one is much better, because the 's has nothing to do with the article linked to. On the other hand, Macy's definitely needs the 's on the inside, because the 's is part of the name (as the MoS currently says). - furrykef (Talk at me) 02:06, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone have an opinion on this? I assume that "Keeping possessive apostrophes inside the link" means go for option 2, but to say it "..makes for more readable text and source" seems incorrect, certainly on the source? Surely [[William Shatner]]'s is more readable than [[William Shatner|William Shatner's]]. --Stormie 06:14, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
For all examples, see the code.
Personally, I think this is a matter of consistency. If we use plural terms (like blimps and couches, we add an "s" or "es" at the end of the link. For other instances we may add more letters: "Japanese aggression in World War II" is done by adding "ese" to the link to Japan. All of these instances result in the entire word being linked and not merely the part that is linked to.
I believe it is more important to show consistency in the article than in the code.
Accordingly, I have altered the MoS slightly to indicate that difference. If anyone disagrees, please give your answer here or clarify. — BQZip01 — talk 23:17, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, I disagree with including "'s" in the link. The almost-imperceptible aesthetic improvement is far outweighed by the wiki-code and editor effort required to turn a straightforward [[William Shatner]]'s into the ugly [[William Shatner|William Shatner's]]. If anything, this is another issue looking for a solution in code: why can we extend a link by adding an "s", but not an "'s"? Moreover, let's not have people who review for MoS issues start maligning articles that don't use "'s" within their links. Wikipedia has made it this far without this over-attention to minutiae. –Outriggr § 23:29, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
I concur that this is a shortcoming in the wiki code. No doubt there, but I feel "ugliness" is in the eye of the beholder. While I certainly concur that it is more cumbersome to write all of that out for a simple "'s" addition and the code looks much more cluttered, the outputted text is much more readable. Would it be fair to say that either form is acceptable until the software is fixed? I would certainly agree to that. — BQZip01 — talk 00:00, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Yup, definitely either is acceptable. I wonder if there is a reason the code doesn't format it as a link already. The apostrophe is a special character (italics, bolding) which may explain why. –Outriggr § 00:04, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Internal links

Would it be good to change: "The use of links to other Wikipedia articles, for example, [[Ant]], is encouraged." into "The use of links to other Wikipedia articles, for example, [[Ant]] (resulting in Ant), is encouraged." Or something to that extent. Or would this only add to the confusion? kabbelen 04:25, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

It is kind of you to notice and propose such a thing. You are right and it is also clear that there is no objection. I accept your proposal. -- by PTNFromm 20:35, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I see someone made the change. kabbelen 00:22, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Underlined links

What's the deal with links being underlined without rollover? I'm not sure where this is/was discussed, but it's really annoying. Sure, there's some merit to the change, and it's a bit more "proper," but it looks like shit on pages with many links (i.e. the home page). Compare the elegant rollover underlines on the menu panel. Anyone know why this was done? Max 15:38, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Amen to that. It took me a while to realise what's making everything look so cluttered all of a sudden. Hardwick 17:17, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Links Within a Link

Please, can anyone tell me the proper format to create a link within another link? (Or, is this even possible?) For example, let's say that I want the text to read exactly: Arnold (The Governator) Schwarzenegger. What is the proper linking format that would create this exact text so that it links to both the "Arnold Schwarzenegger" article and the "The Governator" article? Please help. Thanks a lot! (JosephASpadaro 05:21, 13 March 2007 (UTC))

Well, you could do Arnold (The Governator) Schwarzenegger as [[Arnold Schwarzenegger|Arnold]] [[(The Governator)]] [[Arnold Schwarzenegger|Schwarzenegger]]. That's a little weird though. Max 16:54, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes, I thought of that -- but it's certainly not an elegant way to achieve what I need. Furthermore, it's not quite accurate to have the text of the person's first name only (e.g., Arnold) link to his full name (e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger). These types of nicknames happen all the time (e.g., Michael "Air" Jordan, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, etc.). I would think that there is an easy way to accomplish this. Any ideas? Thanks. (JosephASpadaro 03:00, 16 March 2007 (UTC))

Dead and red internal links: not abominations, but rather how and where Wiki grows

Policy in a nutshell: A red link is not an emergency and it is not a promise. (It's not a baby that has stopped breathing, and it's not an engagement ring). (This is a proposed policy page, to be summarized in shorter form, as a subsection under "linking") Terms which are given link parentheses, but do not presently link to a wiki, appear in the default user settings, in red. This may have been an unfortunate choice of color, since red to many people signals danger, or something not working, or which needs immediate fixing. This is not necessarily the case with non-working internal (red) links, however! A non-working link does *not* mean that something is wrong in Wikipedia, and despite the color, it actually is NOT begging to be immediately fixed, either by removing the brackets, or by creating a page which expands upon it. These things may be done later. Nature and the Heavens will not cry out if these things are not done immediately. In fact, a good healthy wiki article will probably have a certain amount of nonworking links, so long as wikipedia grows properly. Nonworking links may be perfectly normal things, like twig buds on a plant. They are markers for places where an editor has essentially commented, using brackets, that he or she would like to see a Wiki on this topic, but found that it didn't exist. That's okay. If the editor didn't have the immediate time or knowledge to expand upon a term, the mere marking of interest may stimulate another editor with more time or knowledge or initiative, to begin work on the article at some later date. This is a good thing. In the meantime, it's best if the non-working link is left alone. There is nothing wrong with such links. Editors who are offended by the violent RED color are encouraged to go back to their user settings page and change it for their own reader, so that they themselves can read articles in more peace, and thus leave these variety of links in peace. They are important, (which is to say, in the direction of writing articles on terms-of-interest which don't have them). Editors may notice that some nonworking internal links really are pathological. For example, they may link to words that don't need links because they aren't likely to ever be the topics of Wikipedia articles. But note that links in the preceding sentence-- this is not always easy to figure out. In such cases, though, it's perfectly fine to remove the brackets. Also, editors may notice that a link is not working because somebody has mistakenly included the plural s inside the bracket, or the word is misspelled, or some obvious problem of this sort. Again, these can and should be fixed. Finally, an editor who knows enough about a nonworking link to write a stub on it, can click on it, and start the page by doing it. This is always preferable to removing the brackets on a non-working link, if the link is to a word which will EVER be worth a Wiki. Probably the best of all solutions involves figuring out that the non-working link is actually a variant of a term which already has a wiki, so that the link can either be changed to the existing wiki, or a redirect page can be created (creating a redirect is the better option if the non-working term is a very common but not technically correct one, for example transistor radio battery vs. PP3 battery) What a nonworking internal link is NOT, is a promise, or a deadline. So it need not be treated as an engagement ring, or a notice from the IRS. The person who made it is under no moral obligation to come back and expand it into a stub or article, even if they once intended to. And you, the editor, are under no obligation to watch a non-working link for some period of time, to make sure that somebody eventually "attends" to it, as though it were a parking ticket. Nonworking internal links are not wet babies; unless the nonworking link is a pathological link (see above) there's no particular hurry for anybody to attend to it. And if the color of it is bothering you, again you know what you can do about it. But leave the link itself ALONE. It's serving a purpose and function, like a bud, and what it needs most from you the editor, if you're not going to create the article, is not to be bothered by you, until somebody else can do the job. SBHarris 21:50, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

This needs to be put through summary style, it's a complete essay written and riddled with personal opinions. Example: "and need to remain if Wikipedia is to grow naturally and in the best way". Quadzilla99 06:23, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I removed it because it's essentially an essay which is fine if you want to create one. Or you can add it to WP:RED, I don't feel it belongs here, feel free to comment. Quadzilla99 00:07, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
You've deleted my essay, but the motto of Wikipedia is don't delete, improve. Clearly something needs to be said about red links in the link style page. Would you like to suggest a place to put a short synopsis of the existing WP:RED in the present article (THIS article), referring to WP:RED as the MAIN article? Then I'll add whatever I propose as missing over there, on the WP:RED TALK page. You see, I didn't even know of the existance of WP:RED, largely because THIS essay on link style doesn't even MENTION it, so far as I can tell. Am I wrong? That needs to be fixed (no?), as well as a summary made of its main points. I see, BTW, that the writers of THAT article have come to many of the same conclusions I have about red links, independently. So, "essay" on proposed policy or not, it looks like I'm on the right track as a lot of other people who've thought about this. Thanks for pointing out where that was happening. But might you have thought to connect the dots yourself, since you knew of the other Wiki, and I (obviously) didn't? SBHarris 05:56, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
You could just cut and paste your essay:[4] and say link it to WP:RED LINKS. You could summarize WP:RED here shortly. I just felt it was a little out of place. Also, although I liked a lot of it, it did read like an essay. As for why there's no mention of WP:RED here that's anybody's guess. Quadzilla99 02:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll do something along your suggested lines. But do remember that although this is an essay, there's a reason for that. NPOV and NOR don't really apply to making wikipedia style policy. It's ALL "opinion," and once upon a time, it was all "original." Like how much linking is too much (10%? who says?). Opinion is how sytle matters start out, and (here's a shocker) that's how they remain. Some opinions and original thought are older than others, of course. However, that's the point of TALK pages like this, to gather concensus OPINIONS. This is all completely different from the rules that must apply to articles on the real world in the mainspace. You see the point? Anyway, it's one reason I'm a little irritated that these suggestions have been here for so long without comment from anybody, but are being tagged as "opinions" when added to the article. But no matter how long we wait, and how many opinions we gather, everything in this article is more or less like that. This is stuff we like, and that we think will make Wikipedia look good. Although perhaps it's not all as exuberantly expressed as I did it. SBHarris 01:29, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Linking for places with multiple division levels (such as city, province)

I have read a number of articles where placenames are referenced with separate links to the city and state/province. e.g. John Smith was born in [[White Plains, New York|White Plains]], [[New York]]. This construction seems bulky and quite unwikily to me. Is this some sort of standard I don't know about? Am I out of line if I edit these links to [[White Plains, New York]]? Surely readers who want to read about New York state can find a link to it or enter it in the search box. I find myself somewhat of a deletionist with regard to links, particularly those which result in bulky wikitext. MKoltnow 21:24, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


I came here to check the advice about overlinking in order to explain things to another editor, only to find that it had disappeared. The History showed that it had been commented out because of lack of consensus, but I can see no recent (or any) discussion here about most of it, and no indication that there's lack of consensus. I've uncommented it (aside from anything else, it's really irritating to continue editing in line with the MoS, referring to it in editing disputes, and then to find that it's suddenly been radically changed).

Is there any opposition to the section in principle, or to any of the specific parts of it? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 11:59, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I object to the "More than 10% of the links are to articles that don't exist". If you want to cull pointless red links you could suggest "there are links to articles that are not likely to exist or if they did would have little significance in the context of the article". The 10% suggestion is biased away from niche areas, as it is far more likely that mainstream articles will have blue-linked articles than it is for areas where only a couple of people work. However, in a niche area with many red links, it is easy to game the 10%: I could create some pointless one line stubs to make them blue or I could link some more words in the article to push the ratio down. Aside from that, if more than 10% of the links haven't been created yet, why would I want to choose which 10% of the uncreated articles to link to? All that does is a)mean I have to be checking constantly to see if the unlinked articles have been created so I can add the link, whereas if I'd linked it earlier that connection would be made automatically and b)cut the chance of a new article being linked to all the pages where it is relevant (the creator of every new article can't be expected to know all the other topics that might have a connection to it and dutifully travel round adding in the links). Yomanganitalk 23:12, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree with Yomangani, and on the whole, I object to the current "overlinking" and "underlinking" section. I have to say, "The current overlinking and underlinking section seems to have been only increasing meaningless histories(pages). It is clear that some editors just want to have the reason to unlink, though it is obvious that unlinking only makes the editors who make the links unpleasant and cannot help anybody." -- by PTNFromm
  • To begin with, there cannot be found any objective and logical reason why the current overlinking and underlinking section was created. There are only subjective(personal) feelings. Therefore, it is clear that there can't have been any reasonable Wikipedia:Consensus to be respected. I guess, many people felt it's too ridiculous to say something reasonable, and left to avoid losing their time. As for other reasons why I object to the "overlinking ..." section, please see my logics in #Overlinking: guideline "more links than lines" and #Overlinking and primary links. -- by PTNFromm 07:46, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Authoritativeness of non English sites

I added a clause mentioning that non English sites are acceptable if they provide an authoritative information. I'm thinking, for instance, of legal matters: if we discuss a law of country X, then we should always have a link to the original version of the law in the language of that country, for there is usually no authoritative translation. David.Monniaux 06:49, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you in principle, but I have four questions.
  • What kind of information is "authoritative"?
  • Who and how determine whether this site has been presenting an "authoritative" information?
  • Is an "authoritative" information always reliable as the truth?
  • Is an "authoritative" information always reasonable as the truth?
Today, since 19c. at latest, for example, neither political authorities nor religious ones are blindly believed that they are "authoritative" enough to be blindly believed. "Authority" and "Authoritative" just means the social position. Therefore, I think, "reasonable" is better than "authoritative". After all, Good job ! Is there any opinion? Objection? -- by PTNFromm 06:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Overlinking and primary links

Perhaps it should be explicitly mentioned that primary links to resources should not be avoided because of concerns about overlinking. With primary links I mean for example the main link to an album in an artist's discography, or the primary link to a track in an album track listing, even if those resources have been linked earlier in the article. This is being discussed at WT:ALBUM#Linking track names in track listingWikipedia talk:WikiProject Albums/Archive 16#Linking track names in track listing. My interpretation of this guideline is that linking them is fine, as long as the links are in a separate section, which they will most often be, but it might be worth making this explicit. Opinions?--PEJL 18:27, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I think, for example, all album titles that could(should) have an article separately should be linked in an artist's article. The more links an article has, the easier it is for a reader to read, click and find. It's clear. I think current overlinking section is nonsense or harmful for ordinary readers and editors. If a reader is color-blind, it is no doubt that current overlinking section is not only merciless but terribly harmful. Therefore, link, link, link as many as possible within your common sense. Objection? -- by PTNFromm 04:50, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm not arguing for more links in general, just that "primary links" shouldn't be unlinked because of overlinking concerns. --PEJL 22:11, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Do the guidelines discourage "primary links"? I'd have thought it was implicit that no one ever regarded them as overlinking. But once only in an article, please, unless one is important enough to repeat-link much further down. Tony (talk) 23:22, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
That's good enough for me. --PEJL 23:56, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Confusing wikilinks - avoid adjacent links

I'd like to propose a guideline that, in situations where it is felt necessary to put multiple links in proximity, editors take care to avoid making adjacent words part of different links. As an example, these two alternative forms of the same fragment contain the same text and links, but the second is clearer:

SheffieldSteel 17:25, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and put an example in the section on overlinking. Any problems, you know where to find me :-) SheffieldSteel 21:45, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

MOSNUM overhaul

In re-organising the structure of MOSNUM, there's a proposal to move the information about the linking of chronological items to here. Does anyone have an opinion on this? Tony 04:31, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


Couldn't find anything to change ! thisisace 01:01, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Should we suppress the #-prefix on intra-page links?

In HTML, the #-prefix of an INTRA-page link is suppressed. See the (rendered) TOC for example. It seems that in Wiki-markup, this is not so, as the 5th example under Wikipedia:How to edit a page#Links and URLs shows:

[[#Links and URLs]] is a link to another section on the current page.

#Links and URLs is a link to another section on the current page.

Should articles really be speckled with stray #'s before certain words and phrases (that link to matching headings) ?, or should we all work together to manually suppress them with pipes (by duplicating the word or entire phrase, thereafter) ?

Any thoughts? 06:58, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

  • They can always be piped; many of them, in articles, should be piped with above or below. I find that I mostly use this feature on talk pages, where the # is helpful information that I am linking within the page, not beyond it. Is an extra step for the interpreter worth it? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:53, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Lone years

Would editors be able to clarify the guidance regarding the linking of lone years. And debate between myself and another editor (see my TalkPage for details, under "Dates of birth etc"). I think the MoS is quite clear that lone years are not linked. User:BrownHairedGirl argues that the MoS does not say this. She believes that when in sentence saying Ruth Dalton's husband was given a life peerage in 1960, it is relevant to link 1960 to 1960 in the United Kingdom, because 1960 is two years after the Life Peerages Act 1958 creating life peerages. That to me is linking for the sake of it. There are other examples on Ruth Dalton's page where BrownHairedGirl has done this, linking other lone years (and she only did this after I removed all the links in the first place and pointed out the MoS). I believe that this totally unnecessary over-linking which the MoS clearly forbides. Could other editors settle this. Much appreciated. --UpDown 17:44, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Could I just point out that:
  • WP:MOSLINKS is a guideline, not a policy;
  • That in any case WP:MOSLINKS#Overlinking_and_underlinking:_what.27s_the_best_ratio.3F does not "clearly forbid" that sort of link, just notes that it should be used sparingly and only where relevant, problematising articles where "low added-value items are linked without reason". Phrases such as "without reason" and "low-value" are not blanket bans, they are criteria for assessment.
We could have a useful discussion about how much value there is in the links concerned, but I do object to relative concepts such as "low value" being interpreted as absolute, and to "without reason" being intrpreted as "there is never an acceptable reason to do this". These are judgement calls, not breaches of a hard-and fast rule such as WP:MOSDATE's ban on writing a date as 26th February 1999. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:05, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
It is generally undesirable to link lone years. Piping, as mentioned above, is possible, but carries the significant disadvantage that your readers are unlikely to hit a (seemingly useless) year-link, and thus will not know that there's a focused destination embedded in the link. Tony 11:48, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
It may be worth including a recommendation that piped links of this kind include several words (in 1960 here). If they are clearly longer than article title would be, an experienced reader will suspect they are piped. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:48, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Editing problem

I am editing the entire page because the edit link on the section above goes to the no such section problem page. Is anyone else having problems? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:48, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

The software is consistently having the edit tags edit one section below where they are placed. This sometimes happens with a repeated section title, but I don't see one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:55, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:15, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Links in quotations

Former text:

Words in quotations should not be linked for context. The text should remain in the same form and with the same emphasis as it did in the source. This is especially true for linking dates which, if linked, are changed according to readers’ date preferences.

I strongly object to the absolute prohibition of links in quotations, while agreeing that we should be very careful. The following quote seems perfectly harmless:

"Whether a little farmer from South Carolina named Tillman is going to rule the Democrat Party in America - yet it is this, and not output, on which the proximate value of silver depends."
  • Not explaining Tillman at all leaves the reader uninformed.
  • Adding a bracketed [Ben Tillman] is difficult to link, given how the software works, and changes the flow of the quotation at least as much as the link.
  • A footnote would change the flow too, and is less helpful than a wikilink.
  • The quotation is from 1890, well before wikilinks.
  • The subject being discussed is, as it happens, the phrase "Democrat party", not Tillman at all.

This is encouragement of bad writing, like some other provisions of the MOS; by the same reasoning, we would not be able to add italics, even when helpful to the reader and clearly indicated. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:48, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

I favor a slightly stronger wording, between your "extreme caution" and the original "should not":
In general, do not include links in quotations. Links can alter the form or emphasis of the original. Dates should never be linked; if linked, they are changed according to readers’ date preferences. Linking is often preferable to footnotes or bracketed text to give context; exercise caution when adding such links.
That's not very polished -- can someone else suggest a wording?
CRGreathouse (t | c) 13:28, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
This would be perfectly acceptable. WP:MOS is a guideline; this is a reasonable way of reminding people of the fact. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:26, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Mandy, you're at it again, launching in unilaterally and changing policy text before achieving consensus. You know very well that editors disagreed with your in-principle similar proposal at MOSNUM, so you're trying to pull a swifty here. It won't work. I'm happy with the text as it is. Tony 14:49, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, you know I disagreed with your guideline change, and explained why. This is a long-standing guideline; don't change it without consensus. I oppose your change. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:16, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Oppose change. Original guideline has long-standing acceptance because the reasoning behind it, as stated in the guideline, is sound. Terms in quotation can always be linked adding a sentence below the quotation that uses them; if a link would help the reader, an explanation would help even more. Finell (Talk) 08:28, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Why is this such a big deal? The difference between the two wordings is exceedingly minor, and since the manual of style is never intended as the One Rule To End All Rules, individual articles can make exceptions to it (with good reason) regardless of whether the page says "never". It's interesting to note that several of the responses here don't discuss the substance of the change at all, instead asserting that some kind of procedure wasn't followed in making them. This bureaucratic attitude isn't helpful, as such a procedure doesn't exist in the first place. >Radiant< 08:44, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

MOS says:

Unless there is a good reason to do so, Wikipedia avoids linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader.

There seems to be no good reason that the text here should be different. This submanual and MOS should not be inconsistent. Tony 10:43, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

  • You're still not commenting on the actual change. This simply means it should be changed in both places rather than here. This page is just as much the MOS as the page you mention; I'm not sure where you found the term "submanual", but such things don't exist on Wikipedia (come to think of it, I believe it's not even an English word). >Radiant< 11:15, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear: please take a look at heading 28 at MOS before you aggressively criticise. Both pages need to be consistent, yes, which means that a change to MOS's wording will need to be raised at MOS talk (it would be controversial). Tony 02:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Wikilinks are not stable, nor are Wikieditors; Wiki is a dynamic environment and is not a reliable source. Because of its dynamic nature, many Wiki articles are factually inaccurate. Article X that editor Y links to today can change to Article Z long after editor Y who inserted the link has left Wiki and ceased watching the article, and the context of a quote can be affected and misinterpreted. And even if Editor Y thinks Article X provides the correct context even when linking, the Wiki article can still be wrong in ways that cause the quote to be mischaracterized. It is not up to Editor Y to interpret context of a direct quote via a link. Because Wiki is dynamic, editors change, and Wiki is not a reliable source, I continue to be opposed to changing a long-standing guideline against wikilinks in quotes. We need to let direct quotes speak for themselves, independently of dynamic Wiki article possible misinterpretation of what the original author intended. Linking within quotes borders on original research. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:07, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

This is an argument, possibly a valid one, against making any direct quotations at all. Any quotation can be altered by subsequent editing, and editor Y will have to check the original in any case to ensure verbal accuracy. The presence of a link does not change this; Y will find Tillman's name on the same page he finds the original. If he cannot find the original, he has two choices, as everywhere: he can revert to the wording of the original editor, or he can delete the quotation, which is a loss to Wikipedia; these apply whether there is a link or not. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:30, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
  • And what if, as in some circumstances, there is no possible misinterpretation of what the original author intended? >Radiant< 13:11, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
  • The example this started with is an example where no misinterpretation should be possible. The text quoted goes on to discuss the silver situation at some length; it even names Ben Tillman. But to include that would be off topic in the article, which is about the phrase "Democrat Party"; but it is reasonable to satisfy the reader's curiosity about which farmer Tillman this is, rather than having him guess. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:26, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Then link it outside the quoted material. Not hard to wind the item into the surrounding text. Tony 02:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Please do not make flat statements that are not the case. Of course it would be hard; it would mean adding an OT sentence on Tillman. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:23, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Um ... just what part of my comment was an "error"? Can you link to the context, please, so I can see for myself. Tony 15:32, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I like it. Why? Because it helps the encyclopedia. Why? Because it potentially helps the reader. How? By providing context they might need to understand a quote. Why else? Because, in the spirit of ignoring all rules, it eliminates a "never" prohibition, and replaces it with a "use extreme caution" guideline. Does it violate the policy against original research? No, that policy remains in effect, and can be used on a case-by-case basis, rather than using it as a tool to bludgen this proposed change. Does it loosen restrictions on editing? Obviously (yes this is a good thing). Can an individual linked quotation be disputed? Obviously (this too is a good thing). Are we all discerning enough not to link if it means original research? Perhaps not. Is this okay? Yes, this is a wiki. Things can be altered (or disputed) by the next editor to come along. It's not the end of the world. I support this change. Mahalo. --Ali'i 15:42, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Still waiting for that link. And what is wrong with MOS's wording (Unless there is a good reason not to do so ...); isn't that going to cover your case (if, indeed, it's awkward to link outside the quote—convince me)? Tony 15:57, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
E kala mai, but I think you lost me. What link are you waiting on? Were you replying to me? My apologies. --Ali'i 16:06, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
No, waiting for Manderson to come good with the slightly larger context of his Tillman example, to determine whether it's easy to link the item outside the quotes. Tony 06:31, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
"Democrat Party" has been used from time to time by opponents of the Democratic Party and sometimes by others. The earliest known use of the term, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was by a London stock-market analyst, who wrote in 1890, "Whether a little farmer from South Carolina named Tillman is going to rule the Democrat Party in America - yet it is this, and not output, on which the proximate value of silver depends." The term was used by Herbert Hoover in 1932.... Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:02, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This is like putting words in the quoted person's mouth, and is much more appropriately done with commentary on the quote. ←BenB4 01:41, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
    • No, again; the OED's source says Ben Tillman; just not in the sentence of interest. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:04, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Support change. I agree with Ali'i's arguments. I think we need to put the reader first. The addition of additional material outside a long quotation can be at once disruptive to the flow of the main text AND not help the reader who needs to understand material in the quote as s/he is reading it. The knowledge in the link may have been common knowledge for the audience or readership, but is not now. Links are a substitute for that background knowledge, helping make the quote more intelligible to the WP reader. DCDuring 23:20, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I've added a version of Greathouse's text, since he thinks it a stronger warning; I would consent to detag this. Let's see what happens. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:22, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

  • I support a change. I see no reason for a "never link in quotations" prohibition. As in many other areas, editors should use their judgment. I can just as easily misconstrue a source I'm not quoting, as I can the meaning of the text I'm quoting from it. Here are three quotations I chose to link in an article on a poem:
    • It has been called the "first … postmodern pastoral"—a type of poem. I'm not going to explain it in the article, but the reader might not know the term.
    • He views the poem as an attempt to "rediscover the sacramental quality of nature, a quality still animate in the 'under-developed' regions of the Mediterranean South—in particular Italy below Rome, the Mezzogiorno—..."—a geographical term is linked, a proper noun that most will not have heard.
    • "I hadn't realized how like Italy is to my 'Mutterland,' the Pennines"—likewise.
  • On the other hand, I recently copyedited an article that contained the following, which is more obviously a problem: He noted that "the laboring and middle classes already at that time had a pretty correct idea of America, and the fate that awaited emigrants there; but the ignorance, prejudice and hatred toward America and everything pertaining to it among the aristocracy, and especially the office holders, was as unpardonable as it was ridiculous. It was claimed by them that all was humbug in America, that it was the paradise of scoundrels, cheats and rascals, and that nothing good could possibly come out of it."
This topic falls under the category of "editors need to make individual judgments and we can't legislate everything". –Outriggr § 03:56, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree with both of Outriggr's points, and think this a perfectly good example of why caution is warranted. One symptom here is that, if this weren't a quotation, we would never link prejudice; it's a common word, and the link doesn't really add anything. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:57, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Oppositely, if I had paraphrased one of those quotes instead of quoting, I might have written, "In a letter, Auden noted how similar Italy was to his homeland, the Pennines." The issue has not gone away; if Pennines is incorrect as a link, its due to my misunderstanding of the material. This risk is built into the wiki approach and is not unique to linking within quotes. Also, we have to assume a reader can figure out that the wikilink was not part of the original quote, just as the 10 point Arial font wasn't. If we said, "if you need to wikilink a word in a quote, paraphrase the quote instead", we'd only be increasing the chance of inaccuracy, and it wouldn't address the underlying question of whether the wikilink is accurate or not. –Outriggr § 22:13, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
  • The Tillman example: it's simple. Either Tillman is just not worth linking here—it's on the boundary of relevance here—or it is, in which case the item is important enough to restate outside the original source:

... who wrote in 1890, "Whether a little farmer from South Carolina named Tillman is going to rule the Democrat Party in America - yet it is this, and not output, on which the proximate value of silver depends." The term was used by Herbert Hoover in 1932, referring to the US politician Ben Tillman (1859–1914) ....

Or something like that. You just can't mess with the original source. Still opposing. Tony 01:13, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

    • Tony's "solution" lacks both accuracy and common sense. The rest of the paragraph is: The term was used by Herbert Hoover in 1932, and in the late 1930s by Republicans who used it to criticize Democratic big city machines run by powerful political bosses in what they considered undemocratic fashion. Republican leader Harold Stassen said in 1940, "I emphasized that the party controlled in large measure at that time by Hague in New Jersey, Pendergast in Missouri and Kelly-Nash in Chicago should not be called a 'Democratic Party.' It should be called the 'Democrat Party.'"
  • Hoover was not talking about Tillman; he was talking about that very different Democrat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The dates alone, being 42 years apart, should have warned even the most provincial that this was a change of subject, which is why I did not quote further. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:48, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
See if you can debate without putting the other person down (no common sense, lower than provincial); I'll constrain myself from putting you down. It's not worth linking Tillman, then. If the reader is that interested, let them type the name into the search box, which will take all of five seconds. Tony 05:43, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
I accept the deal.
Tillman (try it) will get you to a dab page. It is, I think, possible to deduce that if the author quoted intended one of them, it must be Ben Tillman, but that is rather more than five seconds work, and offers no guarantee.
  • Nor does this address Outriggr's three positive examples, none of which change emphasis, and which would be clumsy to add. WP:MOS should not demand bad writing. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:04, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
So if which Tillman is the issue, why not just the traditional square brackets within the quote? "... [Ben] Tillman ..."? Tony (talk) 16:23, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Because it changes the emphasis and cadence more than a simple link, and provides less help in answering the next question from the reader: who is this Ben Tillman? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:19, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Questions for Tony1

I picked a paragraph from George W. Bush that has links within quotations:

In the televised Republican presidential debate held in Des Moines, Iowa on December 13 1999, all of the participating candidates were asked "What political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why?" Unlike most of the other candidates, who cited former presidents and other political figures, Bush responded, "Christ, because he changed my heart". Bush's appeal to religious values seems to have aided him in the general election. In a Gallup poll those who said they "attend church weekly" gave him 56% of their vote in 2000, and 63% of their vote in 2004. During the election cycle, Bush labeled himself a "compassionate conservative", and his political campaign promised to "restore honor and dignity to the White House," a reference to the scandals and impeachment of his predecessor. (references removed)

I don't necessarily doubt your abilities, but I know I would have a tricky time writing this paragraph using the context outside of the quotations. Perhaps de-link philosopher? But what about Christ, compassionate conservative, and White House? You already know that I support linking withing quotations, but this is a serious question (especially for the "compassionate conservative" label). There are just some times when a link makes more sense than trying to write complex sentences (where the reader might lose focus of the subject and point). Mahalo, Tony. --Ali'i 15:56, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

"Compassionate conservative" is the only link worth having (well, possibly the little-known Des Moines, too); certainly don't autoformat the date: that will make it plain wrong in some settings, and we have to go to the edit box to find the original. I'd leave it to the reader to type the town's name into the search box—no big deal; I'd either leave "comp. cons." or succinctly explain what Bush meant by the term (referenced, if possible) before or after the quote, if it's important to the gist. I note that the com cons article has "quality compromised" and "no references" tags, and may well be misleading: there's nothing to say that that article is exactly what Bush meant. It's a classic example of why we should not tamper with people's meanings by linking within quotes. Thanks for your comment on my sig (I go for plain, and was sick of straining my eyes to find it in threads); I'll look at your next example later. Cheers. Tony (talk) 01:25, 20 September 2007 (UTC) PS I note that I've contradicted my opening statement—the meaning is clear overall, though.
Also, in the section Cindy Sheehan#Sheehan officially ends activism, what would you do with the "'Checkers' moment" reference? Again, mahalo. --Ali'i 16:00, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your note on my talk page, Ali. It's 2.20 am and I'm off to bed; please wait! Tony (talk) 16:21, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
ʻAʻole pilikia... No problem. I am interested in a answer not marred by sleep deprivation. :-) Like the new sig, by the way. --Ali'i 16:29, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Here's an example of an article ever so slowly inching its way through FAR: United States Congress#Enumerated powers. Opinions on whether historical concepts in these quotes relate to the current concepts they are linked to; some of them seem problematic and demonstrate the problem with linking in quotes. A lot of those links may confer POV or may not be reflect original language intended. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:15, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Some do seem problematic; I would not link to the chart of the public debt myself, but that should be fixed by fixing Public debt of the United States. But linking "forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings." to Fortification, Magazine (artillery), arsenals, and shipyard seems simple reader service. Some readers will be helped by the link to magazine (artillery); those who know what magazine means in this context need not face an explanation. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:16, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
If an English speaker—native or non-native—doesn't know what "shipyard" and the others mean, they should look it up in a dictionary or just type it into the WP search box. Why irritate some readers just for those few? However, I do believe that children and non-native speakers typically don't read English-language text that way: they're more likely to pick up the sense through through a word's repeated contextual use. Linking just on the off-chance sacrifices readability and dilutes the high-value links. The more they stand out among the choices, the more likely a reader to follow it. Presenting huge choice, as marketers have found, is not a good idea. Tony (talk) 00:23, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Linking dockyard is in itself unimportant, although harmless; the justification for it would be that linking magazine, which is not the current primary sense of the word, without linking shipyard, might conceivably be the shift of emphasis which Tony is so worried about above. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:30, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Easter eggs

I added a section called "Intuitiveness" as a sub-section of "Internal links". What do you think about it? A.Z. 20:46, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Part of the section seems to conflict with the text of WP:MOSDATE. I've initiated a thread about it here. – Black Falcon (Talk) 03:03, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
A.Z. is indef blocked. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:40, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


The box style of link is a bad idea, and should not be encouraged here. First, the idea of using a box is apparently promotional, and serves to encourage open wikis over other sites. I see no reason why (for example) {{Databank}} should be any different than {{Wookieepedia box}}. Secondly, the primary use (and the name of CSS style it uses) is for sister sites run by the Wikimedia Foundation. Using this box gives the false impression that external wikis are approved by or affiliated with Wikimedia. Superficial changes such as color don't make it clear that this is an external link. There is the idea that Wikipedia should encourage free content, and it does that by example, not with something resembling a banner ad. --Phirazo 06:07, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I recognize that you dislike them, but they've survived mutliple attempts to delete them, which does indicate an acceptance for their existence. And they seem on track to survive another one. Phil Sandifer (talk) 13:37, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

IMDb links are often in infoboxes, as well as other such links. Usefulness and the nature of a link does have a factor in how we display links. Something to think about. -- Ned Scott 17:26, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

There's also many ways we can work with this kind of box. For example, this box that I made just now in my sandbox shows how a single box could be used for all wikis (that pass WP:EL) could be used, taking up less space when there is more than one. It also helps to imply that the box is simply noting both wikis that are not related to Wikipedia, as well as making them seem less "important" and more a matter of organization. -- Ned Scott 17:33, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that a single box is a superior solution, especially with regard to standardizing the look & feel, and it also makes clear that there are third-party wikis, not affiliated with Wikipedia or the WMF. Your example is a good improvement, especially if we can add the right code to allow everything to be done in the call to the template, e.g. {{Third party wiki|Wookiepedia|Tacopedia|Foopedia}}.
Even with the improved presentation & differentiation, I still worry that we're promoting (for lack of a better term) those third-party wikis over other off-Wikipedia content providers. Fly United, the official airline of WIkipedia and all that. Star Trek is a good example: The Trek fanbase have been establishing useful online repositories of information for decades, on LISTSERVs, Usenet, the Web, etc. We like wikis. Is that enoug to elevate their status over other resources? --SSBohio 19:11, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I can understand that. Though, if a link is useful, then I don't have much of a problem with giving it its own box. We kind of do that with IMDb links in some infoboxes. -- Ned Scott 03:55, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Consensus to change the way this guideline reads

I'm looking strictly at the issue of consensus here. To be frank, I'm not particularly exercised about whether the Memory Alpha links look one way or another, although the box format does have more of an advertising feel to it, which is (to me) a problem.

I don't think that the fact that some or all of these boxes have survived TfD necessarily demonstrates consensus to add text to this guideline, especially considering that the addition has been reverted by multiple editors. I think the issue needs to be resolved here first. Would an RFC or third opinion be useful? --SSBohio 17:03, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Given acceptance for their use, commenting on their acceptability for use in the relevant guideline seems to me straightforward. Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:42, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I can see where you would hold that view, based on the argument you've advanced. Can you see where I hold a different view, based on the argument I've advanced? --SSBohio 19:30, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but your capacity and right to hold a view does not inherently lend it any status as a correct or useful view. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:40, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Again, that's an assertion equally applicable to your view as mine. Whether you render my view invalid[5] or merely incorrect and useless, your holding a different view doesn't render it any more valid, correct, or useful than mine. Arguing from specific TfD results to a general policy is no more logical a construction than any other attempt to argue a generality from a specific case, or to argue a precedent from a consequence. My only assertion is that you haven't demonstrated consensus.
Some of your peers disagree that there is a consensus to make this change. Inherent in that is a demonstration of lack of consensus. Multiple editors have reverted your addition to this guideline and you, as the editor wishing to make an addition, have the burden of establishing consensus to change the text of this guideline, not only that other stuff exists. --SSBohio 16:54, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
The templates exist. They are in measurable use. They have survived TfD. This is evidence that they are a part of our external link system. Barring any actual evidence that this section does not accurately describe an aspect of external linking on Wikipedia there is no reason to remove it. Policy and guideline pages are descriptive. As it stands, these are existent. You cannot get them out of the policy page without actually creating a demonstrable lack of consensus for their use. Given their repeated survival at TfD, this does not seem to be present. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:59, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
So far, all we have is your statement, which isn't, in itself evidence of anything other than your belief. It serves no useful purpose to overlook your attempts to insert this text into the guideline and only describe our attempts to restore the status quo. It's the inserting editor's responsibility to establish consensus for the change they wish to make if it is disputed. Arguing (without evidence) that this or that example survived TfD does not establish existing policy. It only establishes that those particular templates had no consensus to delete according to the standards of TfD. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You assert the claim that the way you want to change this page has consensus. Your argument, however, is that the templates have consensus to stay. Even if you're right about the templates, you haven't shown that there is consensus to change the text of this page. --SSBohio 18:55, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it sure sounds like you're accusing me of lying about the TfDs. Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:04, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Wow. Looking at my comment in light of what you just wrote, I can see where it looks like I could have been implying that you were lying. I'm sorry; Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe you, but, without knowing what TfDs you're citing as evidence, I can't make my own evaluation of your statement that there's consensus for this change to the guideline. --SSBohio 20:28, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not have the links handy - presumably they're linked on the talk pages of the relevant templates - if not you'd have to dig through TfD history for them as they were apparently archived poorly. Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:33, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
That's fine. Until you have the links handy, could you give me some examples of templates to check? I gather that FreeContentMeta is one? I'm not above doing a little digging to get at the evidence. Let me know which ones to look at and I'll check them out. --SSBohio 20:42, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 May 31, Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 May 26, Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 May 29 are the three I can quickly find. A similar TfD happened at Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 July 16 in which a couple of FCM templates were nominated in with some other templates - I removed the two FCM templates for reasons explained in that TfD, and this did not meet with any protest. Phil Sandifer (talk) 20:54, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Important links: Bold

<scratches head> On this page, I can't find the MOS guidance/convention which states that links of key importance should be bold, even though the page uses that convention itself, nota bene!

I grepped the talk page archives for the word "bold", but couldn't find a relevant discussion on inclusion or removal. Where did that go, and/or what happened and/or where should I be looking?

--Kim Bruning (talk) 20:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

What sort of key importance? Some links are bold due to their being menu labels, but I can't think of other examples right now. –Pomte 15:32, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
For instance, in List of Law & Order characters, active cast members are bolded to differentiate from former. This usage is also sometimes used in sports lists to show winners of matches. MKoltnow 16:07, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Date retrieved for external links

It has been stated that this is the best practice. But it doesn't help with fact checking like for links in citations. If the external page goes down, then Internet Archive can be used to find the most recent version regardless of what the date retrieved is. –Pomte 02:03, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to formalise the relationship between MOS and its sub-pages

Dear fellow editors—The idea is to centralise debate and consensus-gathering when there are inconsistencies between the pages.

The most straightforward way is to have MOS-central prevail, and to involve expertise from sub-pages on the talk page there, rather than the fragmentary discourse—more usually the absence of discourse and the continuing inconsistency—that characterises WP's style guideline resources now. If consensus has it that MOS-central should bend to the wording of a sub-page, so be it. But until that occurs in each case that might occasionally arise, there needs to be certainty for WPians, especially in the Featured Article process, where nominators and reviewers are sometimes confused by a left- and right-hand that say different things.

Of course, no one owns MOS-central, and we're all just as important to its running as other editors. I ask for your support and feedback HERE. Tony (talk) 12:19, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Linking to other wikis

Requesting comments for a new style proposal for wikis listed in the EL section is at Wikipedia:Linking to other wikis. Everyone is encouraged to leave feedback. -- Ned Scott 05:38, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Linking of abbreviations

Should abbreviated units be linked or not within an infobox. CorleoneSerpicoMontana (talk) 08:53, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Wikilinking within an article?

Is there anything in the MoS or in WP in regards to a wikiling that directs readers to another section of the same article? Butterfly0fdoom (talk) 05:54, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm curious as well. I find it annoying -- what do you think of it? CRGreathouse (t | c) 04:59, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I remember hearing that the MoS said not to, but I couldn't find it when I read through the MoS. I think we ought to make a clear case that it should not be allowed. Butterfly0fdoom (talk) 06:01, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Are there any examples you have in mind? I'm not sure when someone would want to do that, but it's hard for me to imagine it really being an issue. -- Ned Scott 06:24, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
The issue where someone said the MoS was against wikilinking within an article was a while ago; I've forgotten what the article or problem was. Recently, in the SFO article, someone made a wikilink to the next subsection, arguing it was necessary or readers could get lost, but people can easily scroll if they feel the need to, and there is a table of contents at the top of the page. It also then reaches the point where if people start feeling that wikilinking to locations within the same article is necessary, then it'll be an overabundance of links; a lot of people already over-wikilink as is. Butterfly0fdoom (talk) 17:55, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Intuitiveness and year by subject pages

I have taken the liberty of moving this topic to Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Intuitiveness_and_year_by_subject_pages because of the cross-over with discussions there and that is the more active of the two pages. I hope nobody minds. Lightmouse (talk) 23:07, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Should external links be distinguished from internal links somehow?

I was working on the Ian Stewart article and was surprised by the external link regarding his work on coupled oscillators in the Biography section. I had a feeling that external links were usually inserted as references, and only links within Wikipedia are inserted as inline text (perhaps because the few articles I have been focusing on seem to do that). Is that the convention? If not, are external links distinguished from internal ones in any recommended way, or is it standard style not to distinguish them? DiderotWasRight (talk) 22:42, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Wait, that's what that little icon I didn't notice after the link is for, right? Duh. DiderotWasRight (talk) 22:44, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Bracket in link name

Is it possible to add a bracket ] inside a link name (so it does not close the link)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Knakts (talkcontribs) 17:54, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Links to categories

I haven't seen any comments about which is preferred for a "See also" section—using a piped link to hide the Category namespace name, or not:

I think the second item looks cleaner, but it hides the fact that the link is to a category and not a list article as one might think. Is there any MOS guideline for this situation? — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

user:Beeblbrox wants to get rid of all red links

user:Beeblbrox has proposed to get rid of all red links as a matter of policy. That is directly contrary to Wikipedia policies and the whole spirit of Wikipedia. I was quite shocked to find someone unaware of this. Getting rid of good red links is destructive. Please help this user: user talk:Beeblbrox. Michael Hardy (talk) 04:38, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Well we should modify the policy.. red links means that the article may need to be created. I believe the reason for that specific term is linked is to be created.. although I never write anything on an article with a link to a non-existing article. --staka (TC) 00:32, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Michael Hardy as to the destructiveness of proposals to remove redlinks as policy. It's not even like they are a neutral; red links are an overwhelming net gain for Wikipedia. Ford MF (talk) 13:46, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Language icons

Do language icons such as {{en icon}} have to be before the link or after? The section does not talk about where it needs to be placed. --staka (TC) 00:32, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Normal usage seems to put the language icon at the end of the rendered citation although Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(links)#Non-English-language_sites doesn't make it clear. Some editors, myself included, have used the language icons with inline translations as well, although they don't render particularly well.
e.g. "Piaf's rendition of la Vie en Rose ((in French): Life in Pink) still is played regularly on the radio."
I'd appreciate a no-bracket option for this kind of usage.LeadSongDog (talk) 22:43, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikifying a rare word?

What level of wikifying is expected for a great article. If an article contains a word that is very rare would you expect the article to wikify the word so the reader could understand what it means? If further more the rare word had no article on wikipedia to explain it, what should happen? Should it be redlinked, left without being wikified or something else? SunCreator (talk) 16:58, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

If the word is specifically relevant to the topic of the article, then a link makes sense. If the word is simply an ordinary English word that happens to be uncommon, Wikipedia is not a dictionary and diluting links is unhelpful. Note that some "rare" words may not be so rare to many speakers; and that other "common" words might be considered "rare" by a non-native speaker, or by people who don't read books. Also, it is possible that the rare word may be inappropriate in the article, a more common word might be better; "portmanteau" is a good example: somehow this word is inserted all over Wikipedia--and then linked because few readers know what it means, or because whoever added it is goofing off--when the word is not even used accurately and a word like "combination" or "blend" suits the purpose more understandably and accurately: the rare word was in fact bad. —Centrxtalk • 03:46, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
It is possible to link to wiktionary when you want to point people to the definition of a word like portmanteau. The link should show up a slightly lighter blue. Carcharoth (talk) 23:16, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Internal links to non-articles

Should text within articles have links to non-articles? An example of what I'm asking about is in Hiroshima#Transportation: "... two are still in operation as of July 2006 ([[:Image:Hiroden-hibakudensya PICT2443.JPG|Hiroden Numbers 651 and 652]])." In the article, the text "Hiroden Numbers 651 and 652" is a link to the image file. The brief discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (links)#Links to categories shows an example of a link to a category, not in running text but in a "See also" section. Does anyone have opinions about when and where links from articles to non-articles are appropriate, or what sorts or purposes are good or bad? Fg2 (talk) 02:37, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Seems fine to me as an alternative to putting too many images on the article, while still directing a specific image to a specific portion of the article (rather than a Commons gallery, etc). -- Ned Scott 04:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikilinked dates

What's the rationale behind thoroughly WL every date that appears in an article? I understand why, for example, it would be good to WL Einstein's birth and death dates but I don't know what purpose is served by WL every date that appears in the article about him. The "what links here" feature is almost unusable with indiscriminate linking of dates, more helpful WL become lost articles where every word is a wl, and I find it difficult to believe anybody ever really clicks them. I don't go to an article on Einstein and find myself suddenly curious what events happened to fall on the same day that he visited New York for the first time or his divorce papers became final. We're even wl "retrieved on" dates for external links in article references. This obsessive date linking mystifies me. Professor marginalia (talk) 20:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

The purpose is unrelated to linking. It's a formatting tool. Linking the day-date and the year results in displaying the complete date in the format the user sets in his or her preferences. This should probably be a template or some other formatting device, but it's now in a couple of million articles along with other relics of the earliest days of Wikipedia such as the words "move" ("to rename an article") and "stub." Fg2 (talk) 22:11, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Now I see. It would be better to use a template, and maybe a bot could do the monster clean-up job.Professor marginalia (talk) 15:14, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for raising this issue, Professor. Full date autoformatting is a different concept from that of linking, but unfortunately was set up technically to use the same coding and display as linking. This is one reason that autoformatting is no longer encouraged (see MOSNUM). The other major reason (apart from a list of other technical inadequacies) is that autoformatting doesn't work for the vast majority of readers, who are not registered users and have not chosen a date "preference". There is an increasing feeling that the differences between the two major formats (and the apparently disliked ISO format) is about as trivial as the US/UK spelling differences that we've learned to manage and accept on WP. The within-article rule applies for date formats, whether autoformatted or not. Note that almost all readers see inconsistencies that are hidden from WP editors by the autoformatting mechanism. TONY (talk) 02:52, 4 July 2008 (UTC)


I'm not sure if this is already part of the policy or a guideline, but I'd like to suggest that, while normally only the first occurance of a term should be wikilinked, sometimes it makes a great deal of sense to subsequently link; and there are a couple of situations where it is common.

One is when you have, for example, a film or TV show. The header might say "Title is a 1928 movie starring Actor and Actress", with the two names wikilinked. However, it seems obvious that it is ideal to also wikilink the actors names in a listing or table of cast, or a subsection on cast, so that links to all of the cast are together. Similarly, an article about a music album might mention specific songs in the lead or history section, but should still include a link in the track list/table. Basically, I would say that it should be noted that even when a term is linked in an article, it should be re-linked when included in a list or table within the article. I give media examples, but it can occur anywhere (a list of cabinet ministers in an article about a state leader, for example).

The second example that I see when there is an article that, in a way, discusses more than one subject (for example, if there is a TV series article that covers more than one revival or version of the show, it makes sense to re-link in the section on the second version/revival, as people may start reading about that section and not realize that the people involved have already been mentioned as associated with the first version (or might start reading only about the 2nd version). TheHYPO (talk) 04:46, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

What you're proposing is, as far as I know, pretty much the common practice already, although I'm not sure whether the change should be made to MOSLINK, WP:CONTEXT, or both.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 20:41, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
It's already covered in WP:Manual of Style (links)#Overlinking and underlinking: "this is usually on the first occurrence of the term, although the subsequent linking of an important item distant from its previous occurrence in an article may occasionally be appropriate in a table or in a subsection to which readers may jump directly, either within the article or via a section-link from another article."
There used to be a more encouraging and explicit (albeit awkward) guideline: "Generally, where it is likely that a reader may wish to read about another topic, the reader should not have to hunt for a link elsewhere in the page."
AmaltheaTalk 10:10, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Interwiki links?

I haven't seen a MOS guideline that either permits or discourages interwiki links. I'm specifically thinking of instances where the native language name of something is linked to the article in that language's wiki. For example:

... Munich (München) ...

Should there be a note about interwiki links like that from the main article prose or table text? — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 04:27, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

IMO, the German-WP article should be arrived at through the Eng.WP link (via the side-bar). Tony (talk) 10:39, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Tony. I can't think of an instance where a language interwiki link is appropriate in the prose of an article. In particular I'd find linking the native München in the LEAD of Munich to be very unexpected, and unnecessary. --AmaltheaTalk 10:54, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be great to have a Interwiki link go green (or another color other than red) when, in the language being written, there is no link in this language available, but in another there is? The link would then go to a page listing all the various languages available for this topic. eg. I'm writing about New York and I list a musician who worked there for a while but who spent most of his life in Mexico. As he spent most of his working life in Mexico there is only an article on him in spanish, which, unfortunately doesn't show up as a blue link when I'm writing in English. I've tried adding normal links but they get removed by others higher up. In some of my articles this has happened several times. German musicians, because they emigrated to the USA, sometimes only have biographies in English. How do I get this information on a German page? --Ebrownless (talk) 23:03, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I sometimes stick interwiki links into disambiguation pages where one of the disambiguating terms (usually a person) is a redlink here, but there is an article on another Wikipedia. Sort of a lazy placeholder pointing people to an article that could be translated at some future point, and to flag the other article up for those who (a) write the stub and will want to know about this in order to add it to their stub, and (b) think that no article is necessary for the person in question (the link showing that an article exists on another Wikipedia language version usually makes people stop and think again). Carcharoth (talk) 23:10, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of which, is linking to wiktionary acceptable? Something like portmanteau. I'm guessing that like the links to commons and wikisource, links to wiktionary should mostly be through "sister project" templates at the bottom (or top) of an article, not in the main text. Is that right, or can you link to wiktionary in the main text of an article to help explain terms? Carcharoth (talk) 23:19, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

It's not common practice, but I can see where it would be useful. If you think it would improve the article, then do it. WP:IAR.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 04:02, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Possessive apostrophes revisited

In the manual of style, I found this:

Keeping possessive apostrophes inside the link, where possible, makes for more readable text and source, though either form is acceptable for possessive forms of links such as George Washington's or George Washington's.

We have discussed such things before (here and here), but I disagree with this solution. It makes things inconsistent. As before, I argue that allowing links such as "William Shatner's toupee" causes a visual ambiguity: are we talking about a person named William Shatner, or a place, like a café, called William Shatner's? Of course, the context resolves the ambiguity, but my eyes still parse "William Shatner's" such that the 's is a part of the noun, which is jarring. I know that before it has been argued that it's similar to how links like [[banana]]s shows up the same as [[bananas]], but in that case the effect of leaving the S outside the link would be more jarring since there is no punctuation to break it up, so I don't think the analogy really works. Considering that, on top of all this, my way is also the easiest one to write in code, I think we should just stick to this rule. If consensus disagrees, we should probably stick to the other rule, because otherwise whether or not the 's appears in the link is significant or not becomes essentially random, which I think is silly.

Also, I remember at one point Wikipedia's software enforced the other rule, such that [[William Shatner]]'s still put the 's inside the link, but this was quickly undone. What was the deal with that? Was there a software problem, or did somebody think it was just a bad idea? - furrykef (Talk at me) 16:18, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I prefer the first option. "George Washington's" makes it clear that you are going to the article on George Washington. George Washington's could be a pub. As Furrykef says, the context should make it clear, but it shouldn't really need to. We should be fitting wikicode around the writing, not the other way around.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 17:46, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
If nobody's going to contest this, then I think I should put it in the MoS. I know it's better to establish consensus first, but if nobody's going to debate the matter, nothing's going to get done otherwise. - furrykef (Talk at me) 08:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I prefer the "'s" inside bracets. Similar to a way you would put link a whole phrase when appropriate rather than stopping part way through, the same should be applied here, but even moreso. the "'s" is a part of the word.Jinnai (talk) 13:33, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Jinnai. Plus, there was no consensus for the change made by furrykef. Tennis expert (talk) 07:53, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
No, there wasn't, but how can we develop consensus in any direction if nobody cares? Nobody spoke up (except for one person who agreed with me) until I threw my hands up and made the change. - furrykef (Talk at me) 14:57, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
See? Now nobody cares again. - furrykef (Talk at me) 07:02, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Changes to "Overlinking" section

I've commented out some text in the "Overlinking" section regarding "commonly known" nations, etc:

"The names of geographical locations that are likely to be well-known to English-speakers should generally not be linked where, in the context, they are unlikely to be confused with other locations of the same name, and the linked article would not specifically add to readers' understanding of the topic at hand—this includes the names of: countries such as United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, India, Russia, China, Germany, France and Italy, and the associated demonyms; major cities such as New York City, London, Moscow and Paris; the continents and the major oceans and seas; commonly known languages, particularly English; large-scale historical events (World War II); familiar astronomical objects (Earth, Moon, Sun); as well as common "dictionary" words."

It was added back in July, and is being used as justification for the removal of said links, but I see no discussion of it here. I've also seen some opposition to the removal of these links from articles, so... thoughts? --Ckatzchatspy 23:49, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

That section is a direct copy from WP:CONTEXT, which is the controlling guideline on things like that. If you think it should be changed, take it up at the talk page there.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 05:06, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I'm glad you pointed that one out. From what I can tell, the text was first added here on July 4th. 21 hours after that post, it was added to WP:CONTEXT with the description "Pasting in bit from MOS (links)". In fact, CONTEXT's "What generally should be linked" section was rewritten that evening to change from:

"Geographic place names, since many places have similar names, and many readers may be from a distant place."


"Geographic place names that are unlikely to be well-known to English-speakers"

Again, after that change, the text from MoS (links) was copied to CONTEXT's "What generally should not be linked" section. I don't see a consensus here or there for what is, effectively, a reversal of that part of the guideline; if there is, apologies, but it isn't apparent. --Ckatzchatspy 07:12, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
That is truly bizarre and contradictory. My advice: be bold and revert those sentences (in both guidelines) back to the original if you feel that's the way it should read. If no one says anything, then we're good. If there are any objections, then we have an opportunity to have a real discussion on it and find out where consensus lies.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 07:45, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
The current wording is now unsatisfactory, and will need to be changed when we sort out the wording out CONTEXT. Tony (talk) 04:54, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

new advice

I intend to add two points (not this exact wording):

  • Where a section is more specifically related to the article in question, pipe-link to that rather than to the whole article.
  • Do not force the reader to click a link to learn the basic relevance of an item. For example: "In 1909, a member of India House Madan Lal Dhingra assassinated Sir W.H. Curzon Wyllie", in the lead of India House, where who the hell Wyllie was will be known only to a select group of experts. Tony (talk) 04:52, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that your second point is already covered by WP:Lead section#Provide an accessible overview, so I wouldn't support a duplicatory point here. That's just an example of bad writing, not bad linking. Whether or not Wyllie is linked, the reader still has no idea why he was important. I agree with your first point, though. The second paragraph of the Context section currently reads:

Links should use the most precise target that arises in the context, even where the target is a simple redirect to a less specific page. Do not use a piped link to avoid otherwise legitimate redirect targets that fit well within the scope of the text. This assists in determining when a significant number of references to redirected links warrant more detailed articles.

I'd insert a few words: (my additions in bold):

Links should use the most precise target that arises in the context, even where the target is a simple redirect to a less specific page. Do not use a piped link to avoid otherwise legitimate redirect targets that fit well within the scope of the text. This also applies when the redirect leads to a section of the article. This assists in determining when a significant number of references to redirected links warrant more detailed articles. In fact, the creation of such redirects is encouraged.

The last addition was my own idea. If we're discouraging piped links in favor of redirects, then a redirect with possibilities should be even more encouraged.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 10:51, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
  • (1) This involves far more than lead sections; it concerns linking in general. The lead section does not refer explictly to links. This point does need to be made somewhere, and MOSLINK is the obvious place. Bad writing it may be in the Wyllie case, but it interacts with wikilinking. Editors have been known to think they can rely on linking, thus avoiding the need to explain something on the spot. This is a regrettable practice. The link is still justified, though.
  • (2) In the CONTEXT wording, the use of "redirect" leaks into the WP meaning of "redirect", does it not? A different wording is required. And "less specific" than what page? I can't make sense of that whole paragraph—every sentence needs unpacking or clarifying, and if I can't understand it, what hope do many of our editors have? Can you explain it all? I think I need an example that explains every point. [Genuine plea ...]

And why, again, is CONTEXT separate from this page? You might ask why this shouldn't be discussed there; I rest my case. Tony (talk) 12:42, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree, that paragraph is really hard to decipher. It needs examples. Embedded in it somewhere, I think, are a few important points.
  1. The mention of "the most precise target" is covered by the example elsewhere of linking to flag of Tokelau rather than flag of Tokelau
  2. Piped links are for hiding information that the software needs to have spelled out, but the reader knows from context. For example, in an article about the kings of England, you might mention Henry II. You only want the reader to see Henry II, because s/he knows from context that you mean Henry II of England, not any other Henry II, but you have to spell it out in full for the software.
  3. Redirects are for transparently going from a specific term to a more general one. As such, they're valuable for future-proofing. If there is no specific article for a topic, just create a redirect to the most appropriate current article (or section within that article). Then anyone who wants to create a more specific article in place of the redirect can do so and all the existing links will automatically lead to the new article, with no changes needed. There are a couple of examples in the discussion below. Colonies Chris (talk) 14:31, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Linking only part of a word

In chemistry articles sometimes I see links such as "tetrachloride". An article is mentioning a tetrachloride, but since we don't have an article called tetrachloride people link to chloride instead. Sounds reasonable in principle, but I think it looks hideous to have a word that is half black and half blue. Are there any guidelines for this? An alternative would be to pipe the link or create a redirect, as in tetrachloride ([[chloride|tetrachloride]]), but it could be considered misleading because the target article doesn't say anything specific about tetrachlorides (usually there's not much to say about these words that are composed using a multiplicative prefix). --Itub (talk) 12:01, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this. I agree that the black and blue thing is ugly, and worse, will cause many readers to pause and wonder WTF. This is bad formatting. The piping of the whole word is better. Anything is better. Question: does the article "Chloride" add to the readers' understanding if tetrachloride isn't even mentioned there? Tony (talk) 12:32, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The chloride article can be helpful if the reader knows the relevant Greek prefixes, or has learned the rudiments of chemical nomenclature (hopefully taught at the high school level or so). Basically just knowing that tetrachloride is the same as "four chlorides". If the reader doesn't know what tetra means, then the article won't be helpful. --Itub (talk) 12:42, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
To my mind, definitely the best solution for this sort of case - where you want to link to a generic article from a specific term - is to create a redirect: tetrachloride --> chloride. Then if anyone ever decides to replace the redirect by an article specifically about tetrachlorides, all the articles that link to tetrachloride will point to the new article without requiring any changes. Using a piped link would then require a difficult search for all articles that mention tetrachloride but pipe link it to chloride. Here's a real example: a while ago I noticed that the play London Assurance was redlinked - despite being quite well known - from several articles. In order to provide some sort of useful link, I created a redirect to the author, Dion Boucicault. A few weeks later, someone came along and replaced the redirect by an article specifically on that play; so now all those articles point to the right place without any further changes being needed. Colonies Chris (talk) 13:26, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
In this particular case, another option would be to create a sort of 'annotated redirect'; a stub article which explains the 'tetra' prefix (and links to numerical prefix to explain the general principle), then links to chloride. The choice depends on whether you think readers would be better served by a transparent straight-through redirect or by an explanation followed by a click-through. Colonies Chris (talk) 15:48, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I love the idea of annotated redirects. The problem is that this kind of article often ends up listed at Articles for deletion, accused of being a "dictionary definition" or a "substub with no possibility of expansion". --Itub (talk) 15:57, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
An "annotated redirect"? Isn't that what is known as a link in a footnote? :-) Seriously, you can either send people to a page which has a brief explanation and then sends them (via a link) to another page, or you can send them to a footnote at the bottom of the page with a brief explanation and then send them (via a link) to another page. The number of clicks is identical, but you have a tidy footnote at the bottom of a page instead of a stub page that will annoy people. The downside is when you have lots of these footnotes on many pages, all saying the same thing. At that point, it might be best to create a stub page to accommodate all the incoming links. But footnotes work surprisingly well if you want to briefly explain something without interrupting the flow of the article too much. Carcharoth (talk) 23:27, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I think this is a bad example, since any time you see tetrachloride, there will be another element in front of it, i.e. "<element name> tetrachloride" describing what the four chlorine atoms are attached to, and those two words, together, are a chemical that should be linked to if it satisfies MOLINK and CONTEXT. So, for example, we get carbon tetrachloride, which, if it did not have its own article, would be better as a redlink, since someone would probably come along later and create one. Linking it as carbon tetrachloride does nothing helpful for the reader, as neither of the linked articles will tell them anything relevant. So I would actually object to any method which suggested linking the anion and cation separately, just in general. Link the whole chemical name, or not at all. I think this a good general rule for chemicals, but I couldn't speak to other examples or partial-linkage, since I think this is the first time I've seen one.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 19:56, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it's not the best example, but it is the type of example seen in the wild. In some cases the sentence can be recasted to refer to a specific compound, but this is often seen when the article as about an uncommon element with an even less common tetrachloride that is unlikely to have its own article anytime soon (and I think "perma-redlinks" are a bit annoying). But to give a more specific example from Germanium#Chemistry:
Four tetrahalides are known. Under normal conditions GeI4 is a solid, GeF4 a gas and the others volatile liquids. For example germanium tetrachloride, GeCl4, is obtained as a colourless fuming liquid boiling at 83.1°C by heating the metal with chlorine.
Here the two-color word is tetrahalide, and is not referring to any specific compound. --Itub (talk) 06:35, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That is a better example. :) In this case, I would advise either: a) unlinking it, since the target article doesn't talk about tetrahalides, only mono- and di-, or b) piping the link and expanding the target article to encompass tetrahalides. Either way, the two-color word is aesthetically unappealing, and almost guarantees the link won't be relevant to the context, so I think that something should be added to the guideline specifically saying this.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 07:53, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I would guess that the typical reader of the articles that mention tetrahalides (about a dozen mentions in WP) understands the significance of 'tetra' but might want to get more information on halides in general. If there's a prospect that someone might one day write an article about the common characteristics of tetrahalides (if there are any? - I'm no chemist) it'd be better to create a redirect: tetrahalide --> halide, that could be expanded into an article later. It would also be less work to create a redirect than to pipe any existing links. Colonies Chris (talk) 11:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Point. I still think that if you're going to create the redirect, though, you should add something to the target article that gives a clue why you were redirected there, so you're not wandering around an article on halides wondering where your tetra went. ( lives in the Orphanage 16:04, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

different links in consecutive words

I frequently come upon consecutive linked words, most often where the first term is to the far more directly relevant term while the second one goes to a parent article. The most recent example and the reason I'm finally posting here was from Gamma Cassiopeiae, where the consecutive words Cassiopeia constellation were linked to Cassiopeia (constellation) and constellation, respectively. I changed the link, as I sometimes do when I come across examples like this to one unified piped link to [[Cassiopeia (constellation)|Cassiopeia constellation]].

Personally, I regard such consecutive word links to be highly confusing, especially for non-editors who may not even realise that there are two different links. I also know that sometimes, linking from consecutive words can hardly be avoided. But imho the MOS should state that such links should be avoided wherever possible. Everyme 23:48, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

It does state this. Third bullet in "Overlinking and underlinking". Tony (talk) 01:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh. Ahm. Right. Sorry & nevermind. Everyme 04:02, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if there's any aesthetically unobjectionable way to make it clear that the two links are not connected.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 05:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I'd argue that in cases where consecutive links are valid, it is more or less obvious that they are different links. The main problem comes with things like my example, when the two links are closely related, most often in a subtopic-parent topic way. Everyme 05:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

WP:Build the web

As recently discussed at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive_55#Redundant guidelines, there are 4 different pages giving 4 different sets of advice on what to link: Wikipedia:Build the web, Wikipedia:Only make links that are relevant to the context, Wikipedia:Wikipedia doesn't use Allwiki and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links). I remember Aervanath was working on this a while ago, and I'm glad to see that some progress has been made: User:Mr.Z-man recently demoted WP:ALLWIKI. But we're not home yet; I see that WP:BUILD still has sentences like this one: "George Washington should be linked to from President of the United States". It is very uncommon for a page on a particular public office to link to all the individuals who have been holders of that office. The style guidelines have ignored WP:BUILD and WP:ALLWIKI for a long time, and it looks like further work and negotiation is going to have to happen if we want to start linking to WP:BUILD. Better yet, it's probably time to get rid of at least one of the 3 remaining pages, and maybe 2 of them. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 23:07, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I just noticed there's some relevant discussion over at WT:CONTEXT; I'll move my thoughts over there, and bring in the chat from WP:VPP, too. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 03:15, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't see what's wrong with linking George Washington from President of the United States. He was the first and probably the most famous president, wasn't he? Whether every president should be listed in that article or only in the "List of..." is a different question. --Itub (talk) 08:39, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't aware when I wrote this that there was already a thread on merging and linking among the (now 3) relevant pages ... I'll answer over at WT:CONTEXT. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 13:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Underlinking not explained

I'm looking at Wikipedia:MOSLINK#Overlinking_and_underlinking, but there is nothing in that section on underlinking or how to avoid it. Should there be? No mention of what underlinking is on the whole page. Carcharoth (talk) 00:03, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! Carcharoth (talk) 06:55, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

No one has convinced me one iota that underlinking, as Aerdavath claims, is rife. When I ask for examples, I get lists of shambolic stubs. Tony (talk) 05:58, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

And yet, while I have at least attempted to provide evidence to you, you have made no attempt to provide evidence to me.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 07:00, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Moving links to footnotes

Would there be any interest in noting on this page that one way to add links of secondary interest is to move "editorial aside" comments to a footnote and link to the articles there. i.e. instead of putting an aside in brackets, put it in a note at the bottom of the article instead. See here for the original post. Carcharoth (talk) 00:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

RfC now open on linking dates of birth and death

For anyone who hasn't yet seen it so far, there's an RFC currently open at WT:MOSNUM on whether dates of birth and death in the first sentence of a biography article should be linked or not.

This is an issue that has recently come to a head, with the new deprecation of date auto-formatting, and recent bot-driven de-linking sprees. Jheald (talk) 19:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

To correct this blatant POV, read "effort" instead of "spree". Dishonest language will get you nowhere, Jheald. Tony (talk) 05:57, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Question about internal links in Template titles

Hi, in MOS:LINK under the "Internal links" section, it states: "Do not link items in the title or headings.". Does this apply to Templates such as Template:Anglican Cathedrals in the British_Isles as well, or only to article titles and headings. Thank you. --HighKing (talk) 16:05, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

No, it refers to section headings. I'd think that most navbox headings should contain a link to the main article, e.g. {{Johnny Cash}} or {{Sugababes}}. In {{Anglican Cathedrals in the British Isles}} however there appears to be no such main article, so I would not link Anglican or British Isles there. --AmaltheaTalk 16:15, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
"Do not link items in the title or headings" confuses me though. How can I link an item in a title? --AmaltheaTalk 16:32, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I think it really means "in the repetition of the title in bold text in the lead of the article", but that's a little cumbersome. David Underdown (talk) 16:33, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

(outdent)Any other opinions on this? Or put another way - is there an actual policy that explicitly deals with links in template headings? I perhaps misunderstood the MOS:LINK policy and assumed... --HighKing (talk) 16:48, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

I think Amalthea and David Underdown have stated the consensus view quite capably, HighKing. While I'm not aware of any specific policy or guideline that addresses the issue, current practice certainly follows what they've said. Anything else you'd like cleared up?--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 17:00, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, now I'm confused... Amalthea says not to link. David doesn't say here, but on the template Talk page he says that linking is OK. So which? Is there a policy? Links in template headings or not? Thank you. --HighKing (talk) 18:21, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Amalthea is only saying not to link in cases where the title of the template is not also the title of an article. While I doubt this is written in policy anywhere, it makes sense to me. So, since there is no Anglican Cathedrals in the British Isles article, I would not link that in the template heading. However, to answer what I think is your underlying question: There is no specifically written policy or guideline for linking templates and headers in templates. Still confused?--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 04:39, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
P.S. This means you should be bold and design it as you think best.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 04:40, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

← Having had a look at the template in question and its talk page boldness has been tried. Also note that my opinion doesn't reflect current practice: Looking only through the templates of the same category I found {{ECUSA Provinces}}, {{Anglican hierarchy in the United Kingdom and Ireland}} and {{Province of New Zealand}} which link several items in the navbox title.
We have, BTW, the essay at WP:NAVBOX, but I don't think it says anything about it at the moment.
So I guess further opinions are still welcome. --AmaltheaTalk 10:24, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Conducting copy-edit from start to finish

No lead?

It's strange that there's no lead. This is an initial draft. Does anyone have ideas on how it can be improved?

Wikilinking is one of the most important features of Wikipedia. It binds the project together into an interconnected whole, and it suggests closely related and useful pathways between locations both within the project and to external destinations. The four basic types of link—internal and external, piped and unpiped—are explained on this page in terms of their mechanical aspects and the contexts in which they are used.

Tony (talk) 15:07, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

You should probably start with "Linking is ..." instead, as external links are not wikilinks. I think the "four types" part could be improved—it makes it sound like there is such a thing as a piped external link. I also wonder if this page should cover interwiki linking as well. Pagrashtak 13:33, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Pagrashtak—that is very helpful; I'd wondered about those things myself. At the Help page (linked to in the first section, these things are explained, although in very technical terms and too much detail for MOSLINK. But yes, I think they should be briefly explained here, and exemplified. I also think that the opening "How to create links" should go further down, when they know what they're creating. It's kind of empty at the moment. Tony (talk) 14:57, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I'm not too keen on the "how to" section. It's good advice, but not really a style issue. It seems like a better fit for Wikipedia:How to edit a page, or something along those lines. Let's be honest, by the time an editor is reading a MOS subpage, he already knows how to create and check a link. As for interwiki, this page should include at least a mention of a special type of overlinking that I've employed in this sentence. Pagrashtak 17:04, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Opening section: "How to create links"

The sequential points were very strange at one point (save, then fix?). Very messy, unexplained, makes assumptions I can't understand, so our newbies will be totally confused. Does this para refer to piped "Year-in-X" links? If so, they need to be introduced properly in their own subsection. It's strangely informal at the end—"we did a little research and came up with useful info for you" is the implication. I've removed it because it's misleading and confusing. External links are treated under their own section further down. Why here fleetingly??

All of the things that need to be typed in like (film) or (1935 film) or (TV series) or changing the link to avoid redirects can be done right then and there. Wikipedia's charm is diminished when links lead to areas that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Much of what we have mentioned also applies to creating external links ( [ ] ), but we have found very few of these that went somewhere unintended.

Tony (talk) 15:07, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Opening to "Internal links"

This statement can't possibly be what is intended:

These links should be included where it is most likely that readers might want to use them; for example, in article leads, the beginnings of new sections, table cells, and image captions.

The implication could be that these are the only places one should link in. Another implication might be that you should probably link in captions and table cells. I think it probably needs to be replaced with something less ambiguous and more helpful. Unsure as yet what to write. Tony (talk) 15:07, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


I'm perplexed as to what this following paragraph means. It's kind of like a little "how to" guide, but I don't see how it would help anyone. It repeats what was in the "How to create links" section above, badly.

Link a word or phrase to the proper page. Use Preview to check a link, and follow it by opening the page to which the link directs. If that page does not seem to exist, do a quick search to find out whether the article may have a differently worded title or if the subject is included in a section of another article.

I've removed it. Tony (talk) 14:14, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Good God no. Please rephrase that and put it back in. It is warning people against one of the most common mistakes (OK, I can't prove that, but I do see it time and time again) made by editors (or new editors at least). They wikilink and then save and don't check to see whether the link goes to the correct article. I found that on the Royal Medal article. With this edit (on 11 July 2008), someone added three links to the three award winners this year. That was fine for Sir Alan Fersht (a redirect created in 2006, to an article created in 2004). It was also fine for Philip Cohen (an article that was created in 2007), though it was piped to appear at "Sir Philip Cohen", which was not a redirect (Sir Philip Cohen - I just created this) - possibly the editor previewed "Sir Philip Cohen" and when he found a redlink he changed it to the piped version pointing at Philip Cohen, and then saved. If so, he should have just created a redirect, which I have just done. But for the final award winner, the edit in July 2008 created a redlink (this is the point where I apologise to the person who made the "Royal Medal" edit, as the mistake was not theirs). Things get complicated now, but bear with me. A month later, in August 2008, someone created an article with the title "Robert Hedges". Not the scientist, but a 19th century colonial administrator. Unfortunately, they made a mistake that is also very common - they forgot to check "what links here" to make sure that their new article wasn't linked from the wrong places. The article creation is here. I recently moved that article to Robert Hedges (colonial administrator), changed Robert Hedges into a disambiguation page, changed the link on the Royal Medal page to Robert Hedges (scientist) (which I will try and write later) and did a completely pointless (and untidy) expansion of Hedges. The point is that with common names, it is vitally important to check, both when creating links (that you are linking to the right place), and when creating articles (to make sure that any pre-existing incoming links, which were red and which you've now turned blue, are pointing to the right place). Phew. This is standard stuff to most people, but difficult to explain to new editors. I'm sure most of this is explained somewhere already, but do you think something concise can be put in about this? Carcharoth (talk) 21:55, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
It's already pointed out in the numbered sequence of how to create a link, currently at the top. I think that section comes too early, though. We certainly don't want this point to be made twice, and telling people to link "to the proper page" isn't helpful—who would do otherwise intentionally? It's a mechanical thing. Tony (talk) 02:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I think it is one of the most important points. It is far more important that people link to the right articles than making sure they link only the important stuff. If you emphasise that they need to take care checking each and every link, and checking to see if you are linking to a disambiguation page, for example, then people are more likely to take it slowly and think about it and only link the important stuff. You say it is mechanical, but I fear many people hit "save" or "preview" and when they see the link appear blue, they assume they've linked to the right article, but don't follow it. I mean, obviously if you know what the article is, that's fine. But if you are linking "in hope of finding an article", then you must check what you've linked to. It is also important (though goodness knows where) to encourage people to check links in articles regularly (where-ever they are) - that is the only way link-vandalism is detected and repaired, and it is the only way incorrect links are spotted and corrected. The final point is to be aware that creating an article may turn existing redlinks to that article blue. Hence it is important to check not only outgoing links, but also incoming ones. i.e. Whenever someone creates an article, they should check "what links here", and if there are any incoming links, to check that they are correct. You aren't going to say that is a mechanical thing? It is something that people only do if they are told about the need to do it. It is also one of the tragedies about the pollution of "what links here" with template-cruft-links. "What links here" used to be a good tool for checking and maintaining the network of links interconnecting articles. That whole philosophy, of carefully checking links (in both directions, in and out of an article) and repairing disambiguation pages, and creating redirects where needed, and creating redlinks where needed. That is the whole philosophy of careful care of links that needs to be communicated either here, at MOSLINK, or at a subsidiary essay (either CONTEXT or BUILD). A dry style guideline doesn't quite communicate the care and attention needed. Carcharoth (talk) 02:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Now you've explained things that I wasn't quite aware of and that probably need to be succinctly dealt with in MOSLINK; but it doesn't change my first point, which is that we don't want to refer to these issues in two different places. What about renaming "How to create links" --> "The importance of checking links", and expanding its scope to include maintenance? It should definitely go further down. Tony (talk) 10:25, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Please take a look now at these two new sections—Checking links as they are created and Link maintenance, which have subsumed the previous opening section ("How to create links"). Are they what you had in mind? Tony (talk) 11:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Perfect, and very nicely done! Thanks for taking the time to do that. Now it's just a case of finding the other pages that talk about this and making sure they are directed here, or what they say is consistent with this! You'd be surprised how quickly different pages get out of synch. See the section I posted below about interlanguage links. I'm sure there are different pages saying completely different things about interlanguage links: WP:MOSLINK (does it mention it?), WP:REDLINK (what was written here about article creation impacting possibly existing redlinks probably need to go there as well), and WP:Interlanguage. All those are to do with links, quite separately from WP:BUILD and WP:CONTEXT, so it all needs tidying up! Carcharoth (talk) 11:25, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, one thing. You say "adjust or reconceive the link". I think people may be confused by "reconceive". Are you trying to cover the options of: (a) removing the link entirely; (b) leaving it as a redlink? My thoughts here are that even after searching and failing to find some article, you might, during that process, change your mind and realise that there is unlikely to be an article (the temptation is always to look anyway - it is amazing what obscure topics you can find really good articles on), and thus to change your mind about link and remove the square brackets. The other option is that you might think - there should be an article on this and leaving it as a redlink (while still wondering in the back of your mind if you missed an obvious location for the article you were looking for). Too far off topic here, but it is articles on people with the same names, from different centuries and occupations, that are hardest to track down sometimes. But to give an example of "reconceiving" a link, I recently, while updating Sir Robert Muir, linked to bacterial pathology (the name of the subject he lectured on in the 1890s. There was no direct link, not surprising because that is an archaic name for what was then a new speciality. It really needs an expert to be certain what the equivalent subject is today, but after a bit of reading around, and rejecting bacteriology (he was a pathologist more than a microbiologist), I settled on linking to medical microbiology, while piping the text to display "bacterial pathology". That might confuse some people, and some people would have left that as a redlink, or linked bacterial and pathology separately, but I'm happy with the decision I made there. The other example is "St Andrews University (Dundee)", which I'm torn on. At the time, this was a college of St Andrews University, but located in Dundee. It later became Dundee University. I could (and maybe should) have explained this in the article, but instead went with a piped link to "Dundee University". Readers will see the "Dundee" qualifier in the piped text of "St Andrews University (Dundee)", and hopefully the lead section of Dundee University will always make clear its St Andrews origins. Examples of explicit side-explication in the article include: "Trivandrum is today known as Thiruvananthapuram, and is the capital of the Indian State of Kerala, but then it was the capital of the Indian Raj of Travancore, and part of the British Empire." (John Allan Broun), and "Schumacher edited the journal at the observatory in Altona, then part of Denmark, later part of Prussia, and today part of the German city of Hamburg." (Astronomische Nachrichten). The final example (from Sir Robert Muir again) is "blood cell disorders". I rejected blood cell as a hopeless article (though some would say that by linking to it, you increase the chance someone will improve it), and rejected haematology as too modern in tone. I eventually linked to hematologic disease, er, because it looks impressive. That's also a modern classification of blood disorders, but by that time I was completely unable to get my head around what sort of blood cell disorders were studied in the early 20th century. Ideally, the article will later explain that. Possibly I should have just left the term unlinked. But there you go. Three examples of "reconceiving" links. Of course, most people don't analyse to that level of detail, and are far more cautious. Some just link-and-go, some leave things unlinked and vulnerable to others coming along and incorrectly linking later. My view is that getting a fairly accurate link in early can avoid problems later. If, later, there are sections or articles specifically on the state of "bacterial pathology" in the 1890s and "blood cell disorders" in the early 20th century, and on the early history of "St Andrews Unversity, Dundee" (thought I think the history section of Dundee University works well, there is also material in St Andrews University article), then the links can be updated. Carcharoth (talk) 11:58, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
  • (1) Can you suggest a better word than "reconceive", then? (2) I've had a look at WP:REDLINK. It's rather short, and why on earth can't it be merged into MOSLINK? Tony (talk) 12:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
    • "Repurpose"? :-) No, I think "adjust" and "change" covers nearly everything. The only thing it doesn't cover is leaving it as a redlink. Talking of which: WP:REDLINK. There are over 500 links to Wikipedia:Red link. Three from articles! (some interesting reasons there). There are tons of links from user talk pages, so Wikipedia:Red link is being used directly to educate editors about what redlinks are. Whether that is a plus or minus for a merge, I don't know. You also have to consider the history. There is a fairly extensive talk page: Wikipedia talk:Red link - that would have to be archived somewhere. The page itself has been around since 2004. First version here. So I would be wary of merging without discussion. Carcharoth (talk) 12:50, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Can someone explain what this means?

Automated processes should not replace or pipe links to redirects. Instead, the link should always be examined in context.

It needs to be spelt out for newbies. Tony (talk) 15:18, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like WP:REDIRECT#NOTBROKEN. Pagrashtak 13:23, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
One thing I would like to clarify here is what to do what you are listing, say, a list of prizewinners, and the official source refers to them by a different name to the title of the Wikipedia article. Here is a simple example. At the Royal Society's list of winners of the Royal Medal, the second medal in 1894 was awarded to Joseph John Thomson. Our article used to say, in this version, "Joseph John Thomson". When I expanded the article (which was incomplete, back in January 2007), I added the names of the winners as on the Royal Society website (in this edit) and wikilinked them. In this case, the redirect had existed since 2005. For other examples, I went through the list of redlinks and turned them into redirects to where our articles where (quite tricky at times). In some cases, this helped fix redlinks that had existed in other articles, turning them blue (always need to check this when creating a redirect, otherwise you could be misleading people who read other articles). But my question here is whether it is best to leave such redirects in place, or pipe the source text to appear over the redirect. I've used this example because someone recently came along and changed the redirect to the name of the article. I have (just now) changed this so that piped text shows the name as given by the Royal Society on their website. One point is that in this case there is little chance of confusion, but in other cases (more common names and less famous people) there is real chance of confusion. The way I see it, there are four options:
  • (1) [[John Joseph Thomson]] - use a redirect that is the same as the source text
  • (2) [[John Joseph Thomson|J. J. Thomson]] - use the redirect, but pipe the target title
  • (3) [[J. J. Thomson|John Joseph Thomson]] - link to the article, and pipe the source text
  • (4) [[J. J. Thomson]] - link to the article with no piping
  • (5) John Joseph Thomson - [[J. J. Thomson]] - give the source text followed by a link to the article
One of the disadvantages of using any redirects (options 1 and 2) is that if someone vandalises the redirect, and you are only watching the article, there is no way for the editor to know that the vandalism has occurred until they click on the link (in fact, I can't believe that in over 3 years here, I've never thought of that before). The advantage of options 1 and 3 is that the reader sees what the source said. The possible advantage for options 2 and 4 is that the reader might be more likely to recognise the name "J. J. Thomson" than "John Joseph Thomson". Finally, a slight disadvantage of options 2 and 3 is that the mouse-up (when you hover over the link with your mouse cursor) is different to what the text says. Overall, I think option 3 is slightly better, but option 1 is also OK. I don't think options 2 or 4 are that good, but I'd like to hear what others think. An alternative to linking exactly what the source says is to quote the source in one column of a table, and to provide the link in another (option 5 above). This is the approach I took at Frieze of Parnassus, partly because the monument inscriptions use archaic 19th century spellings of medieval names, something I wanted to preserve for the reader and for the integrity of the source (in this case the monument inscriptions and the official listing of the names - in another column). This might seem incredibly pedantic, but if there is any reason to favour one or other of the five options above, I'd be interested to see which one is best (if any). Carcharoth (talk) 21:35, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Option 3 looks best to me, but I am certainly no expert on navigation. If using Option 5, I'd be piping "J.J. Thomson" without the space, anyway! Tony (talk) 11:29, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Inline interlangauge links

Goodness. I just found (via WP:Red link), the following: Wikipedia:Interlanguage#Inline interlanguage links. It seems there is a school of thought that favours inline interwikilinks. I think the presumption is that people follow the link, see a foreign language, and are inspired to translate it. I think a better approach would be to leave it as a redlink, but have some way of saying to people "X number of articles on this exist in other language: link, link , links" (maybe in a footnote), and to say "please translate one of them for us. Or maybe not. The other point is that some people use a large number of existing redlinks to work out which articles are most "in demand" and to write (or translate) them. Use "what links here on a redlink to see what I mean: e.g. this allowed me to find out that William Henry Lang won the Linnean Medal and worked with Isabel Clifton Cookson. There is a William Lang (US football team coach). An examination of "what links here" for that William Lang shows us that someone has linked a William Lang in John Struthers (poet) - this one is a 19th century printer (could be notable, don't know. As a side point, Tony, what links here for William Lang is polluted with overlinking from a template. Namely, Template:Maryland Terrapins football coach navbox. Use of templates like that is responsible for huge amounts of overlinking. But I've gone way off-topic again. What should be done about inline interlanguage links? Carcharoth (talk) 22:19, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Feedback requested on "Capitalization"

Currently, MOSLINK says:

There is no rule as to whether "See also Train" or "See also train", but consistency is required for multiple links. Linking never forces the use of an initial capital letter, so you can leave the initial letter lower case if you so desire, in the interest of readability.

Um ... I've always corrected examples of the former, since wikilinking was made to be flexible enough to take either upper- or lower-case initial, and it seems wrong not to integrate links into the grammar of their context.

Is there any objection to changing this to encourage editors to use upper or lower case according to which fits the grammar of the context in which the link is used? Tony (talk) 14:44, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

None from me. I routinely switch between lower and upper case depending on the context, remembering to keep proper nouns capitalised of course. It might be querying what the style should be in a "see also" list in the "See also" sections. Stand-alone lists of links should have capitalised initials, right? But I think that what you quoted was referring to inline links in an article sentence. Or is it referring to "see also" hatlinks? Carcharoth (talk) 15:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


Earlier this month, Avearneth added a statement that "many articles suffer from underlinking" (proceeding to balance this by adding "overlinking" to the sentence). I've now made the prose neater and removed the negative "suffer". Apart from this, I've asked for justification of this assertion about underlinking, as has another editor above. I really haven't received a proper answer to this query. Can we have better examples than the list that was previously provided, to support this quite recent addition to the text? Tony (talk) 15:16, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I think people mean articles that are not wikified at all. Category:Articles that need to be wikified (a bad example is The Guild of Cornish Hedgers, a better example is Gregory J. Harbaugh). What I think should be discussed is whether mature articles, considered to be good, are sometimes found to be missing links. Sometimes that is more because the missing text is not there (and so can't be linked). At other times, there may be huge bits of rambling prose with no wikilinks. I think there is a direct reaction opposite to the "sea of blue" reaction, which is to react with horror to a "sea of white" (or whatever colour people see unlinked text as being). Carcharoth (talk) 15:44, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Tony, in fairness, you have yet to provide sufficient proof of overlinking. If you could please do so, that would be great, so that we could get a complete picture of the over/underlinking environment on Wikipedia. Not only is there Category:Articles that need to be wikified, but also Category:Dead-end pages (which, yes, does have some articles which are not actual nonsense), Wikipedia:Dead-end pages, and most importantly (in my view) Category:Orphaned articles, which has 144,668 members (and counting). All of these, in my opinion, point to a certain issue with underlinking.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 16:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Another point is that some people, when deciding what to link, indiscriminately link as much as possible (within reason) and preview it (this is what I do), and then examine the context some of the links provide, and remove some, and correct some redlinks, and so on. Eventually, I sit back and look at the article as a whole and see if I've got the balance right. The other approach is to only link stuff that you know we have articles on, and not to link other stuff. When I first started on Wikipedia, there were certain classes of things that it was rare to find articles on. Now, three years later, it is possible to find obscure articles on things you wouldn't have dreamed of being articles back then. I should do a list of really obscure stuff (where the articles are good) to prove this point. One point is that poeple might not think of linking journal articles, or the names of old books (a discussion I've been having elsewhere today, see here). You might expect to have On the Origin of Species, but not everyone would think of linking Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, or De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, or De sphaera mundi, still less Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, or On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances. You really don't know unless you try. I think both points should be made: look for key points as articles, even if you don't think Wikipedia has an article - you might be surprised. However, even if we have an article, it is not always necessary to link it. Try and get a good spread of possible links, and then winnow them down. Carcharoth (talk) 16:44, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
So Aevernath responds by refusing to provide evidence, and instead demanding evidence from me of "overlinking". I didn't think that was in contention; and it's a "you go first" stance, is it? But you were the editor who recently added the angle about "underlinking". The issue of underlinking, whatever your strategy here, remains undemonstrated. You are the only person I've ever seen to make such a fuss about it, framing it as a major problem. There's an army of WPians I could gather (if I wanted to bother them over what they'd see as a trivial, foregone conclusion) to attest to overlinking. I simply see no evidence that underlinking is a significant problem, and all you've provided is a list of stubs. Stubs are highly likely to lack a lot of things, including proper linking: that doesn't demonstrate that underlinking is this large problem you're suggesting. Tony (talk) 04:58, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:OVERLINK as a main-article for just the over-underlink section of WP:MOSLINK

I've also left a note one the WP:OVERLINK talk page. There has been much argument on this, but having read OVERLINK, I find it's almost entirely about over-AND-underlinking, and it's all valuable, but too long to be all crammed into MOSLINK. Thus, it serves as a valuable main article for just the section on over and underlinking in MOSLINK. So I've listed it that way. There are a few bits in OVERLINK to move, but really, that classifies all this info nicely, now. What say you all? SBHarris 18:17, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

FYI, I've just tweaked the link slightly to reflect that "OVERLINK" is a redirect to "Wikipedia:Only make links that are relevant to the context". --Ckatzchatspy 20:01, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't see the point of linking there, since that page desperately needs to be merged into this one. Tony (talk) 04:44, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Why so? It's way too long to be merged into here. The MoS links section is fairly short, and really doesn't need to be the size of OVERLINK. And yet OVERLINK has much useful discussion of both under and overlinking. Let it stay as an expansion article on a subset of policy. SBHarris 08:35, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Overlinking/underlinking: why the negative angle, why in two locations?

I've removed "suffer", but I haven't yet touched the use of the rather negative terms "overlink" and "underlink" in the title. This area of the MoS is splintered between MOSLINK and CONTEXT, and is a prime reason for rationalisation (specifically, the merging of the latter into the former). What I propose is that this be done without affecting the current substantive balance between over/under taking both pages as a whole. I hope this will avoid political disputes. But the merger needs to involve a rationalisation of the text.

In particular, I wonder why a Manual of Style has to cast aspersions on articles by starting with this:

Many articles are underlinked or overlinked. An article is likely to be considered underlinked if subjects are not linked that are necessary to the understanding of the article. An article may be overlinked if any of the following is true:

"Many" is impossible to define, and there are unanswered queries here in relation to the existence of underlinking as a "problem". I note that this angle has only been recently added to MOSLINK by Averneath, and that when asked to justify it, he responds by asking me to provide other evidence.

I think the paragraph above is unnecessary and fails to assist editors. It would be better to simply state what generally should be linked and what generally should not be linked, as CONTEXT does. Tony (talk) 05:01, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It's not articles as a whole we are concerned with, it's the appropriateness of particular links. An article may well contain examples of both overlinking and underlinking, and the two issues don't cancel each other out (like the statistician with his feet in hot water and his head in ice, or whatever it was).--Kotniski (talk) 09:48, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


I notice that the shortcut WP:EGG is no longer working. It used to link to the "Intuitiveness" section of this MOS, but I see that section header is gone as it has been merged with other topics. Would someone mind addressing this, either by restoring the header or changing the shortcut redirect? I often use WP:EGG to point other editors towards the consensus on linkn intuitiveness, and I'm sure others do too. --IllaZilla (talk) 23:29, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Fixed.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 01:01, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Unique "overlink" situation - request input

I'm currently working on a Featured List, (List of ISS spacewalks) and the only issue remaining is that the list does overlink, because every astronaut's name is linked to their page, even if they have been mentioned before. On the suggestion of a reviewer, I am posting here to get input. The issue is that most astronauts have made repeated spacewalks, some were done over a span of years. Most readers looking at this list would be looking for a specific mission where something was done, (and not reading it through from start to finish) and if the names are not linked, because the astronauts had previously done an EVA and had a link far up in the table, the readers would have to scroll or search the list to find that name, to be able to go to their article.

The same can be said for the links (and the acronyms) for modules, components, laboratories, and other parts of the station, which in the first mention, are spelled out, and linked, but not linked after that. (For instance, the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), which is linked and fully spelled out on first mention, but then years later, causes some major issues and multiple EVAs are done to evaluate and inspect it, and it is simply referred to as SARJ.) It seems that the overlinking guideline, in this case at least, is not the ideal. I would think that linking each mention of the components (or at the very least, once per mission) would be much more helpful to an average reader who may not know what the acronyms mean, or components do.

As for the astronaut names, it seems that linking them all gives the list a "consistent" look to it, if some were blue, and some black, it would be visually distracting (in my opinion), and that's why I went with linking all names. The compromise would be to link the first mention of each person per mission, so that the most someone would have to scroll would be 5 entries to find the link. I'd appreciate any input, thoughts, or suggestions. Thanks! ArielGold 22:02, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

I've had a look, and given MOSLINK's explicit exemption of tables from the recommendation against repeat links, I think it's fine. I've replied to that effect at FLC. Tony (talk) 06:40, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Links with parts of word linked

I remember reading somewhere that this was bad form to like part of a word and have the rest unlinked rather than piping it. FE: [[car]]s instead of [[car|cars]]. However, I can't seem to find that anymore so I don't know if there was a change. I had figured it would be in this article, but I couldn't find anything. The issue comes up because someone recently editing a link I piped like that.Jinnai (talk) 03:35, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Oddly, I thought I remembered the [[car]]s-style linking being encouraged, rather than discouraged, although I couldn't point you to where I'd read that. Since the final appearance is the same, I don't think the MOS should have a preference either way.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 08:40, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
So should I edit it back because that's how it originally was, or leave it? I ask because I know in other areas when there is no preference, the original is what generally goes. FE, British vs. American English.Jinnai (talk) 11:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
One of the AWB general fixes is to routinely convert links of the form [[car|cars]] to [[car]]s, which is the recommended method. Perhaps there's some confusion here with the debate over whether possessives should be inside the square backets or not - personally I prefer the look of "[[John Smith]]'s car" (John Smith's car), but some people prefer [[John Smith|John Smith's]] car (John Smith's car). There was also a debate recently over whether "tetrahalide" should be linked as "tetrahalide" - this doesn't look good and various ways of getting round that were suggested. Colonies Chris (talk) 12:30, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I do remember the part about possesives, but I guess policy changed without me knowing it because I remember before something like [[car]]s would be changed to [[car|cars]] because it was considered too distracting to a reader when reading a sentance. I also remember that something like [[Japan]]ese (when refering to the country, not the language) was told to be made into [[Japan|Japanese]] for similar reasons.Jinnai (talk) 12:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I also prefer the look of "[[John Smith]]'s car" (John Smith's car), over [[John Smith|John Smith's]] car because the output, John Smith's car, looks like it links to an article of what John Smith owns. WRT to [[car|cars]] and [[car]]s, the only thing I can find is Help:Link#Wikilinks. Matthewedwards 19:11, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Linking in quotes for List of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry

Could some of the people watching this page give their opinions on the linking done in the 'award citation' quotes at List of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry? It is currently a featured list candidate (see here - submitted by someone else, not me), and I pointed out there that links in quotes were only rarely allowed, though I think the links are helpful, and I've said before that the carefully chosen language of the Nobel Foundation is a good example of quotes where links are both: (a) helpful to explain technical stuff; and (b) rife with pitfalls for the unwary who don't realise what the citation is talking about and what the key links should be (simple plain linking without piping is usually very unhelpful). I suggested a separate column called "further reading" from which to add relevant links (my preferred solution, as this makes clearer that the links are from Wikipedia editors, and not us 'speaking for the Nobel Foundation' by suggesting what they meant in their quotes), but that 'separate column' approach doesn't seem like it will catch on anytime soon. So I'm asking here whether the piping of links and the 'easter egg' appearance of some of the links at List of Nobel laureates in Chemistry is helpful or not (despite the easter egg-nature of some of the links). Please, please, before taking a "never link in quotes" or "they are easter eggs" stance, take the time to browse down the list and see whether the links actually work for you and if you learn more about the Nobel Laureates and their work from where the links take you. There is a subsidiary issue of linking to sections vs linking to articles, so if that is a problem please say something. A permalink, in case the article changes drastically, is here. The list before the changes (so people can see what the standard of linking was before my changes) is here. I'll wait a bit for some responses, and then ping two people I recently discussed linking issues with to get their opinion (I'm hoping they watch this page). So, in short, the options for such lists with highly-technical 'citation quotes' seem to be: (a) no links; (b) piped links; (c) links in a separate column; (d) links in footnotes. Any verdict here on which is best, or does it depend on context? Carcharoth (talk) 20:58, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

My preferred format in a case like this would be: "unlinked quote" (See: [[Unpiped link]]). So, not quite (c), but closer to (c) than the others. The consensus against linking in quotes, as far as I understand it, is pretty strong. Also, as for linking to sections, you need to be careful of that. The link from the 2006 award is now broken because the section header was changed in the target article.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 07:40, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I think that would work well. I prefer a separate column because it avoids things scrunching up in an on-screen layout, or in cases with a long quote, making the quote cell too large vertically. The links at the top of each column send people to notes that would explain how this all works, so if they read those notes, they would be told that the quotes are unlinked and that links to relevant terms mentioned in the quotes (as well as terms not mentioned) are in this other column, right next-door. The point is to leave the quote to stand on its own, but still to provide guidance to readers as to what are the relevant articles. Have the links right after the quote still feels too much like us saying "what they really mean is this...". We are actually trying to say that (and it is actually easy to source this sort of thing for Nobels - less easy for more obscure stuff), but you do need to keep some distance from the quote to allow it to have its own impact. Speaking of which, an important note I haven't put there yet is that the language of the Nobel citation often uses terms that are now out of date (but were relevant at the time). Two example that spring to mind is "partition chromatography" (a term used in the early history of chromatography but not so much now), and "macromolecule" (a term used for what are now called polymers). The term 'polymer' used to mean something different. The term 'macromolecule' now also means something subtley different. The term 'free radical' has also shifted in meaning slightly as well. So it is, as I said, tricky, but if you stay aware of the pitfalls, it is mostly OK. Oh, the real pain about a separate column is adding in the extra wikicode. Anyway, I'm going to wait for more opinion at the FLC discussion, and more opinions here. I hope Tony and Greg will see this at some point, plus any other MOS regulars. Should I ping WT:MOS or just be patient? Carcharoth (talk) 08:14, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Aervanath, and with your conclusion that it would work well. Yes, the consensus is strong against linking in quotations ... WP holds dear the notion of being as true as possible to our sources. If you want a contrary view, ask PMAnderson, who was very upset about this policy at one stage. But I'll still disagree with him in relation to the issue. Tony (talk) 11:01, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, as the list just got promoted to featured status, I don't want to mess with that list much more now, but I think at some point in the not too distant future, something will have to be done about linking from quotes in lists like this, and some clearer guidance provided. Carcharoth (talk) 01:13, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposal or something

There is supposed to be a dispute or proposal or something about the wording of the section on dates. It is alleged to be at WT:MOSNUM, but I can't find it. Please can the editor who insists on having a tag here direct people to the discussion. (I'll alter the tag to point here - please indicate further where people should go to find it. Or else start it here if you want.)--Kotniski (talk) 08:56, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

RFC started on unit linking

I have started an RFC for a centralized discussion of the issue of linking units in articles. I arbitrarily chose the talk page of WP:MOSNUM, but I am also leaving notices on as many relevent talk pages as possible to attract centralized attention to this. See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Centralized discussion for linking of units of measurement. Please carry on all further discussion at that location. Thanks. 21:22, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Merge ready!

I've hacked out a merged version of WP:MOSLINK, WP:OVERLINK (aka WP:CONTEXT) and WP:BUILD, as we agreed was desirable. It's at WP:Manual of Style (links)/merged. Please comment on that talk page. I know it still needs brushing up, but let me know if I've left out anything major. If there are no objections, I'm planning on substituting it for the current version of this page.--Kotniski (talk) 19:55, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed merged wording

Please discuss the proposal below.--Kotniski (talk) 20:01, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

nice work, Kotniski - thanks! one suggestion for the date link section: it's rather contradictory to say multiple year-in-X links are unnecessary and then to suggest aliasing those links "in the main prose of articles in which such links are used heavily". a revision of this was discussed briefly on some talk page or other - i'll see if i can find it, but meanwhile it would make more sense to leave it at "However, piped links may be useful in places where compact presentation is important, such as tables, infoboxes and lists." thanks again for this work. Sssoul (talk) 20:13, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

ps: here's that discussion - i don't know if it adds much, but ... there it is. Sssoul (talk) 20:17, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the link - I see I was part of that discussion, but have only vague recollections of it... Anyway, yes, you're right, it does seem contradictory. I'll change it as you suggest.--Kotniski (talk) 20:40, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I question whether the wording on dates reflects current consensus. It certainly does not reflect the middle ground in any of the recent debates on the matter that I have seen and it seems to me that the current opinion on the issue needs to be properly tested before that section can be part of the merge.Dejvid (talk) 22:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Dejvid, that was the wording inserted by an uninvolved admin into WP:MOSNUM, you can take it up there. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:01, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Not so. The wording on WP:MOSNUM is "Linking: Dates (years, months, day and month, full dates) should not be linked, unless there is a reason to do so." But in any case the controversy of the debate does suggest we need to check exactly what the community opinion is.Dejvid (talk) 10:51, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I think we've already done that at extremely great length, in various RFCs and so on. In any case, this merger proposal doesn't aim to change the status quo as regards date linking guidance, so let's not discuss that here unless you think I inadvertently have changed something.--Kotniski (talk) 11:30, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The wording that you have taken up is a result of this edit [[6]]. As the edit description was " Practicality to avoid multiple "hidden" sibling links; re-organised bullets more logically" I think there is reason to be extremely skeptical that it reflected a change of consensus. The addition of "demonstrably" is a very significant change.
You are right there has been a very diffuse and confusing debate. What is needed is however a clear vote now we are bringing everything to the same place. Without that, I doubt anyone who claims to know what the current consensus really is.Dejvid (talk) 15:21, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The edit you refer to was four months ago; we've been through reams and reams of discussion and at least two very well advertised RfCs since then, which confirmed the status quo, so I don't see what good will come from any more voting or discussion on that issue. In any case it isn't relevant to this merger, unless you're saying that the proposed post-merge version differs in substance from the pre-merge version.--Kotniski (talk) 17:31, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The can of worms is very much open and the RfCs have not produced any kind of conclusions. What is needed is not a RfC but proper voting on propositions.Dejvid (talk) 17:41, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Kotniski, we all owe you! This has been a bug-bear for so long, and I believe you've done a superb job. Tony (talk) 01:56, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Looks good. Great job Kotsiski, this was much-needed! Dabomb87 (talk) 02:05, 10 January 2009 (UTC)