Rules to consider/Make only links relevant to the context debate

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For this rule to be accepted someone should first show how links detract from the article. I would say they add value in that they will lead to people surfing around within Wikipedia. Also, context can be flexible, so it might be hard to determine which links are and are not relevent for all cases. Tim Shell


I think this is fairly obvious. Links which are relevant add value. Links which are irrelevant detract (Walt Disney) from the article, for the same reason that irrelevant comments (it's warm outside right now, but I think it may rain later on) detract from an article. It is of course true that in some borderline cases it might be hard to decide which links are relevant, but that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the principle in question.

This is an encyclopedia, not a random collection of crap.

One person's crap is another's compost. Hyperlinks allow the reader to judge for him/her self.


The question is whether we should hyperlink terms (and things such as dates) that appear in articles but which would link to articles that are not relevent to the topic.


I'm all in favor of linking a lot of concepts, but only once per entry - the entry for Abu Bakr has, for obvious historical reasons, a lot of occurrences of the name Muhammad. Someone went through and linked every single one of them. I mean every time the name Muhammad turned up, as a subject, direct object, member of list, there Muhammad was. Not to mention all the Meccas. I can see linking

  • first occurence of linkable concept
  • subsequent occurrences that seem of higher "wanna jump there now" relevence.

O.K., so to NOT link all the possibles is judgmental (who am I to say WHEN you're going to want to go read the Muhammad article. But then it becomes a FLAW when an occurrence has not been linked! --MichaelTinkler


I agree with the two above bulletted rules. That's pretty much what I've been trying to do. Linking every instance of a name is very distracting. Putting a link in is something akin to saying, "This is important to this article. Maybe you should check this other article out." Being told that once or twice, when it matters, is great, but being told it over and over again is annoying.

I think linking dates and years is actually very cool. Eventually, those date and year pages will be a huge repositories of information about what happened then--the year, particularly, helps to put the event into historical context. --LMS

Once all the year pages are filled it will be nice to be able to see what else was going on in the world at the time, for example. Moreover, the serendipitous results which non-contextually explicit linkages tend to produce are often as useful (sometimes more so) as/than the original topic being examined. For example, a search on History of England will take you to Scotland which takes you to History of Scotland, and also other Scots related topics, whereas a direct link to History of Scotland might lead you to miss something at a higher level, e.g. the geography of Scotland. sjc


Don't forget that the fact that links are distracting when overused is only due to our current presentation of them, which is easy to change. Imagine an article where no word was indicated as a hyperlink, but people interested in a particular term/phrase could nevertheless click on it, and be taken to the relevant page, if one exists. Rather than no indication at all (and having users getting carpal tunnel syndrome due to mad clicking), one could give some feedback when the user "hovers" over a link (e.g. changing the cursor, like most browsers do now; and/or highlighting the phrase). An example that should work with modern browsers (Mozilla is fine, lynx, links, w3m are not) is on http://pluto.tuwien.ac.at/~robbe/links.html

This way there is no "check this out" advertising at all, not even once. Still, every occurance of a term (not only the first) serves as a starting point for another journey. I think I like this better than the current scheme. --Robbe

I look forward to that - I DO often choose when reading a paper text to flip around AFTER I've seen a cross reference - once the idea has had a chance to percolate the second mention sends me scrambling for the first to find out where to go. Once all the little blue words and question marks are made obsolete, this'll be great!! --MichaelTinkler

Doesn't a lot of this boil down to, "Make the topics mentioned in your entry links?

"links are distracting when overused" is hopefully not an example we'd often see in the Real Wikipedia World.

I also like the bulleted guidelines from MichaelTinkler


I like MichaelTinkler's guidelines and have incorporated them into the latest version of Rules to consider/Make links relevant.