A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

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A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Gregory Maxwell
On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> And
>> further reading sections can point the way for future expansions of
>> the article, or for the reader to go and find out more about the
>> topic.
>>
>> Carcharoth
>
> That is why I despise the war on external links and further reading some
> editors seem to think is appropriate.

I don't think I've seen much evidence of a "war on external links"
... what there is is, however, is pressure against an unfiltered flood
of external links.

Anyone capable of using Wikipedia is also capable of using Google,
Bing, or any of a number of other search engines.  Beyond a point
adding links reduces the value that Wikpedia provides over these
resources.

Even if you held the position that the world needed another
unselective source of links, Wikipedia isn't especially well
structured to provide it:  There is little to no automation to remove
dead or no longer relevant things,  no automation to find new
worthwhile links, and a lot of vulnerability to manipulation by
interested parties.

I think that at its best Wikipedia should be directly including all
the information available up to Wikipedia's coverage depth, linking
only for citations,  then it should have links to the most valuable
external resources which go deeper into the subject than Wikipedia
reasonably can. If you need a raw feed of sites related to some
subject area this is what the search engines do well.

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Gwern Branwen
On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 3:51 PM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> And
>>> further reading sections can point the way for future expansions of
>>> the article, or for the reader to go and find out more about the
>>> topic.
>>>
>>> Carcharoth
>>
>> That is why I despise the war on external links and further reading some
>> editors seem to think is appropriate.
>
> I don't think I've seen much evidence of a "war on external links"
> ... what there is is, however, is pressure against an unfiltered flood
> of external links.

Some editors, though, do have a thing against external links. An
example from my recent experience: edit-warring with an editor about
linking <5 reviews and official sites on _[[Royal Space Force: The
Wings of Honnêamise]]_. They apparently interpreted WP:EL as meaning
that *if* a link could be used elsewhere in the article (such as a
reception section), it *must* be so used or be removed.

--
gwern

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>>> And
>>> further reading sections can point the way for future expansions of
>>> the article, or for the reader to go and find out more about the
>>> topic.
>>>
>>> Carcharoth
>>>      
>> That is why I despise the war on external links and further reading some
>> editors seem to think is appropriate.
>>    
>
> I don't think I've seen much evidence of a "war on external links"
> ... what there is is, however, is pressure against an unfiltered flood
> of external links.
>
> Anyone capable of using Wikipedia is also capable of using Google,
> Bing, or any of a number of other search engines.  Beyond a point
> adding links reduces the value that Wikpedia provides over these
> resources.
>
> Even if you held the position that the world needed another
> unselective source of links, Wikipedia isn't especially well
> structured to provide it:  There is little to no automation to remove
> dead or no longer relevant things,  no automation to find new
> worthwhile links, and a lot of vulnerability to manipulation by
> interested parties.
>
> I think that at its best Wikipedia should be directly including all
> the information available up to Wikipedia's coverage depth, linking
> only for citations,  then it should have links to the most valuable
> external resources which go deeper into the subject than Wikipedia
> reasonably can. If you need a raw feed of sites related to some
> subject area this is what the search engines do well.
>  
Seems to me you are (precisely) rationalising a "war on external links".

Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with. Taking
the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to refute.
For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is done.
I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.

Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on the
utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all, to
help our readers find the further information that we know (because WP
does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say that
Fred's worries are amply justified.

Charles


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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Gregory Maxwell
On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with. Taking
> the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
> section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
> arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
> search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to refute.
> For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is done.
> I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
> find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.

High value links should always be provided.  Can you provide an
reference to a Wikimedian arguing that links to the most useful
additional resources shouldn't be provided?   I'll gladly go and
disagree with them.


But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:
* Readers will be inundated, no one is likely to follow more than a
couple so the very high value links will be lost in the less valuable
ones.
* Wikipedia editors are unlikely periodically review links in a large
collection (supported by the high density of dead links, and the
malicious sites I've found in prior scans of our internals links).
* Long lists provide plausible denyability for someone attempting to
profit by placement, as additions to link soup doesn't look suspect.
* Someone looking for a large collection of assorted links on a
subject can find a larger and more current list from any of the search
providers.

> Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on the
> utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all, to
> help our readers find the further information that we know (because WP
> does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say that
> Fred's worries are amply justified.

I bothered making the argument here because I believed that Fred was
likely mischaracterizing the nuanced position people have taking in
trying to balance the value of additional links vs their cost as a
simple "war on external links", when no one was likely carrying on any
such war:  Just because someone has decided on a different benefit
trade-off than you doesn't make their activities a "war on all X".

I wish there were a usable non-commercial search engine. But Wikipedia
clearly isn't that.  Wikipedia's value is in human editorial review.
A search engine's value is in enormous scale automation, "machine
neutrality" (not the google results are neutral, but it is resistant
to many kinds of bias which wikipedia is not), and automated updates.
Everyone on the internet already has access to high quality search
engines. I just don't think that making Wikipedia into a poor search
engine at the expensive of diluting the selectivity is a net positive
for the reader.

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Carcharoth
On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:

Sometimes, if you prepare a proper bibliography for an article (those
notes people should write before they write an article, so they know
the sources they are working with) you can end up dumping 50 or more
links onto the talk page of an article for more thorough discussion
and sorting through stuff before adding it to the article. It is that
sort of helpful dumping that I think people don't want to see removed
from articles. Or at least it should be removed to the talk page. I
think what happens is that some people (those who get too involved
with sweeping through many articles looking for external link farms)
lose perspective and instead of moving the links to the talk page for
better integration to the article, they just remove them completely.

Carcharoth

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with. Taking
>> the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
>> section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
>> arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
>> search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to refute.
>> For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is done.
>> I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
>> find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.
>>    
>
> High value links should always be provided.  Can you provide an
> reference to a Wikimedian arguing that links to the most useful
> additional resources shouldn't be provided?   I'll gladly go and
> disagree with them.
>
>  
I have had a look around WP:EL and its Talk, and I believe it is clearly
not the case (given the 20 reasons not to include a link, starting with
a catchall) that the guideline is in the hands of those who have that as
credo. See below for more.
> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:
>  
<snip>

OK, reductio ad absurdum.

>> Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on the
>> utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all, to
>> help our readers find the further information that we know (because WP
>> does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say that
>> Fred's worries are amply justified.
>>    
>
> I bothered making the argument here because I believed that Fred was
> likely mischaracterizing the nuanced position people have taking in
> trying to balance the value of additional links vs their cost as a
> simple "war on external links", when no one was likely carrying on any
> such war:  Just because someone has decided on a different benefit
> trade-off than you doesn't make their activities a "war on all X".
>  
But what I see around WP:EL is quite different. Basically it now stands,
in relation to linkspam, as WP:N can be considered to stand in relation
to cruft. But it has clearly gone further down the deletionist road, and
(I presume, just as you jumped to sections of 50 extlinks) anyone who
objects is supposed to love linkspam. It seems apparent that a working
concept of "justifiability" has been introduced, analogous to
"notability"; that the onus is on anyone adding an extlink is to show it
is "justifiable", and your third point is parodied (I hope it is only a
parody) as "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what
the article would contain if it became a featured article" (WP:ELNO).
What you wrote is "I think that at its best Wikipedia should be directly
including all the information available up to Wikipedia's coverage
depth, linking only for citations,  then it should have links to the
most valuable external resources which go deeper into the subject than
Wikipedia reasonably can."

Obviously the word "unique" is just bad drafting  - should be replaced
by "distinctive" or something that doesn't mean if two web pages have
the same essential content we can't have either as extlk. But "deeper
into the subject than Wikipedia reasonably can" and "what the article
would contain if it became a featured article" both make our criteria
for "justifiability" be driven by a state of affairs that is not only
hard to define, but actually in practical terms applies only to 1 out of
1000 articles, with no prospect of this proportion changing soon.

In short, while no one can be for linkspam or including long lists of
duplicative exlks, since "Wikipedia is not a web directory", the
guideline has gone over to "necessary to inclusion" by a general
criterion (so worse than WP:N) and at the same time junked good sense
and "weaving the web" at the basic, nodal level. Not good at all. I
don't see the trade-off. What I see is that WP:EL is now a battery of
arguments for winning arguments about what is linkspam, with complete
disregard for the cost on the majority of topics, which are neither
likely to be spammed seriously, nor enjoy the  "incorporation" cycle
whereby extlk content is written into the article in a timely fashion.

Charles


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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
I think the point is to use editorial judgment with respect to what
external links and further reading are worthwhile.

My experience is that very good links regularly get axed. And there is
little you can do other than to fork the project if you don't like it.

Fred Bauder

> On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with.
>> Taking
>> the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
>> section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
>> arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
>> search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to refute.
>> For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is done.
>> I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
>> find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.
>
> High value links should always be provided.  Can you provide an
> reference to a Wikimedian arguing that links to the most useful
> additional resources shouldn't be provided?   I'll gladly go and
> disagree with them.
>
>
> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:
> * Readers will be inundated, no one is likely to follow more than a
> couple so the very high value links will be lost in the less valuable
> ones.
> * Wikipedia editors are unlikely periodically review links in a large
> collection (supported by the high density of dead links, and the
> malicious sites I've found in prior scans of our internals links).
> * Long lists provide plausible denyability for someone attempting to
> profit by placement, as additions to link soup doesn't look suspect.
> * Someone looking for a large collection of assorted links on a
> subject can find a larger and more current list from any of the search
> providers.
>
>> Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on the
>> utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all, to
>> help our readers find the further information that we know (because WP
>> does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say
>> that
>> Fred's worries are amply justified.
>
> I bothered making the argument here because I believed that Fred was
> likely mischaracterizing the nuanced position people have taking in
> trying to balance the value of additional links vs their cost as a
> simple "war on external links", when no one was likely carrying on any
> such war:  Just because someone has decided on a different benefit
> trade-off than you doesn't make their activities a "war on all X".
>
> I wish there were a usable non-commercial search engine. But Wikipedia
> clearly isn't that.  Wikipedia's value is in human editorial review.
> A search engine's value is in enormous scale automation, "machine
> neutrality" (not the google results are neutral, but it is resistant
> to many kinds of bias which wikipedia is not), and automated updates.
> Everyone on the internet already has access to high quality search
> engines. I just don't think that making Wikipedia into a poor search
> engine at the expensive of diluting the selectivity is a net positive
> for the reader.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

David Goodman
There are other things to do short of that.
1. try to change the interpretation of NOT DIRECTORY and the EL policy
to permit a section of links with more generous standards.
2. try to get a policy for  adding a subpage for links to articles
3. run a mirror of the project, with  links added, which is easier &
better  than a true fork where the articles diverge.

David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG



On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 9:17 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think the point is to use editorial judgment with respect to what
> external links and further reading are worthwhile.
>
> My experience is that very good links regularly get axed. And there is
> little you can do other than to fork the project if you don't like it.
>
> Fred Bauder
>
>> On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Charles Matthews
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with.
>>> Taking
>>> the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
>>> section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
>>> arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
>>> search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to refute.
>>> For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is done.
>>> I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
>>> find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.
>>
>> High value links should always be provided.  Can you provide an
>> reference to a Wikimedian arguing that links to the most useful
>> additional resources shouldn't be provided?   I'll gladly go and
>> disagree with them.
>>
>>
>> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
>> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:
>> * Readers will be inundated, no one is likely to follow more than a
>> couple so the very high value links will be lost in the less valuable
>> ones.
>> * Wikipedia editors are unlikely periodically review links in a large
>> collection (supported by the high density of dead links, and the
>> malicious sites I've found in prior scans of our internals links).
>> * Long lists provide plausible denyability for someone attempting to
>> profit by placement, as additions to link soup doesn't look suspect.
>> * Someone looking for a large collection of assorted links on a
>> subject can find a larger and more current list from any of the search
>> providers.
>>
>>> Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on the
>>> utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all, to
>>> help our readers find the further information that we know (because WP
>>> does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say
>>> that
>>> Fred's worries are amply justified.
>>
>> I bothered making the argument here because I believed that Fred was
>> likely mischaracterizing the nuanced position people have taking in
>> trying to balance the value of additional links vs their cost as a
>> simple "war on external links", when no one was likely carrying on any
>> such war:  Just because someone has decided on a different benefit
>> trade-off than you doesn't make their activities a "war on all X".
>>
>> I wish there were a usable non-commercial search engine. But Wikipedia
>> clearly isn't that.  Wikipedia's value is in human editorial review.
>> A search engine's value is in enormous scale automation, "machine
>> neutrality" (not the google results are neutral, but it is resistant
>> to many kinds of bias which wikipedia is not), and automated updates.
>> Everyone on the internet already has access to high quality search
>> engines. I just don't think that making Wikipedia into a poor search
>> engine at the expensive of diluting the selectivity is a net positive
>> for the reader.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Fred Bauder-2
> There are other things to do short of that.
> 1. try to change the interpretation of NOT DIRECTORY and the EL policy
> to permit a section of links with more generous standards.

Good faith requires an attempt.

> 2. try to get a policy for  adding a subpage for links to articles

That is what they did on Citizendium.

Fred

> 3. run a mirror of the project, with  links added, which is easier &
> better  than a true fork where the articles diverge.
>
> David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG
>
>
>
> On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 9:17 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> I think the point is to use editorial judgment with respect to what
>> external links and further reading are worthwhile.
>>
>> My experience is that very good links regularly get axed. And there is
>> little you can do other than to fork the project if you don't like it.
>>
>> Fred Bauder
>>
>>> On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Charles Matthews
>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> Of your three points, I don't really find anything to agree with.
>>>> Taking
>>>> the attitide that "External links" is the name of a "Further reading"
>>>> section for reading that happens to be online, what exactly _are_ you
>>>> arguing? That trawling through the first hundred hits on well-known
>>>> search engines will always produce those links? That is easy to
>>>> refute.
>>>> For many sites of high academic value, precisely no (zero) SEO is
>>>> done.
>>>> I can easily think of examples. Very good links can be very hard to
>>>> find, unless you have a good reason to suspect they are there.
>>>
>>> High value links should always be provided.  Can you provide an
>>> reference to a Wikimedian arguing that links to the most useful
>>> additional resources shouldn't be provided?   I'll gladly go and
>>> disagree with them.
>>>
>>>
>>> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
>>> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:
>>> * Readers will be inundated, no one is likely to follow more than a
>>> couple so the very high value links will be lost in the less valuable
>>> ones.
>>> * Wikipedia editors are unlikely periodically review links in a large
>>> collection (supported by the high density of dead links, and the
>>> malicious sites I've found in prior scans of our internals links).
>>> * Long lists provide plausible denyability for someone attempting to
>>> profit by placement, as additions to link soup doesn't look suspect.
>>> * Someone looking for a large collection of assorted links on a
>>> subject can find a larger and more current list from any of the search
>>> providers.
>>>
>>>> Given your style of argument, which is that we should be relying on
>>>> the
>>>> utility of commercial entities over which we have no control at all,
>>>> to
>>>> help our readers find the further information that we know (because
>>>> WP
>>>> does not aim to give complete coverage) they will need, I would say
>>>> that
>>>> Fred's worries are amply justified.
>>>
>>> I bothered making the argument here because I believed that Fred was
>>> likely mischaracterizing the nuanced position people have taking in
>>> trying to balance the value of additional links vs their cost as a
>>> simple "war on external links", when no one was likely carrying on any
>>> such war:  Just because someone has decided on a different benefit
>>> trade-off than you doesn't make their activities a "war on all X".
>>>
>>> I wish there were a usable non-commercial search engine. But Wikipedia
>>> clearly isn't that.  Wikipedia's value is in human editorial review.
>>> A search engine's value is in enormous scale automation, "machine
>>> neutrality" (not the google results are neutral, but it is resistant
>>> to many kinds of bias which wikipedia is not), and automated updates.
>>> Everyone on the internet already has access to high quality search
>>> engines. I just don't think that making Wikipedia into a poor search
>>> engine at the expensive of diluting the selectivity is a net positive
>>> for the reader.
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
>



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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
On 29 March 2010 10:58, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> But I do believe that  a list of, say, 50 links tagged onto the end of
> an article typically has negative value for the following reasons:


Yeah. 7-10 is IMO the absolute limit for non-reference links, and I
can hardly think of an article that can reasonably justify more than
three or four. (I'm sure someone will weigh in with counterexamples,
I'm speaking in the general case.)


- d.

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Angela-5
I made this page a few years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Angela/Links_study

Updating it for 2010 doesn't provide any evidence that there was a war
on external links any time recently. Maybe there was one in 2006?

Total links in the external links section of 8 articles (Russia,
marketing, Star Wars, SEO, TVR, medicine, Jewellery, and Tamagotchi):

2010 = 48
2009 = 46
2008 = 40
2007 = 50
2006 = 81
2005 = 51
2004 = 50
2003 = 10
2002 = 2
2001 = 2

Angela

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Carcharoth
That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
that, I don't think.

Carcharoth

On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:06 AM, Angela <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I made this page a few years ago:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Angela/Links_study
>
> Updating it for 2010 doesn't provide any evidence that there was a war
> on external links any time recently. Maybe there was one in 2006?
>
> Total links in the external links section of 8 articles (Russia,
> marketing, Star Wars, SEO, TVR, medicine, Jewellery, and Tamagotchi):
>
> 2010    = 48
> 2009    = 46
> 2008    = 40
> 2007    = 50
> 2006    = 81
> 2005    = 51
> 2004    = 50
> 2003    = 10
> 2002    = 2
> 2001    = 2
>
> Angela
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Charles Matthews
Carcharoth wrote:
> That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
> almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
> that, I don't think.
>  
Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have few
actual rights.

Charles


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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

David Gerard-2
On 30 March 2010 12:49, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Carcharoth wrote:

>> That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
>> almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
>> that, I don't think.

> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have few
> actual rights.


I'm not at all convinced there's an actual problem here.

Prospective useful links and references can (and should) go on the talk page.


- d.

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Fred Bauder-2
> On 30 March 2010 12:49, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Carcharoth wrote:
>
>>> That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
>>> almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
>>> that, I don't think.
>
>> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
>> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have
>> few
>> actual rights.
>
>
> I'm not at all convinced there's an actual problem here.
>
> Prospective useful links and references can (and should) go on the talk
> page.
>
>
> - d.

Yes, that disposes of them. The point is to have external links and
further reading available to users of the reference at the foot of the
article. The consensus to routinely remove such material arose a few
years ago and it diminishes the utility of Wikipedia as a reference work.

Fred Bauder


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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Matthew Jacobs
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
> Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 12:49:26 +0100
> From: Charles Matthews <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher
>        Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?
> To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
>
>
> Carcharoth wrote:
> > That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
> > almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
> > that, I don't think.
> >
> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have few
> actual rights.
>
> Charles
>

And why should links have any particular "rights"?  External links should be
justified in the same way as any addition to the article.  They may not
require the same verifiability standards, but they should be judged to be a
recommended place for further reading.  In some way or another, they should
add content the editors judge to be useful, and not simply be about the
subject.  Considering that for every good link I've seen inserted, I've also
seen one that was useless or even misleading or libelous, why would they
need any special protection?

I see no reason why we need additional policy and bureaucracy specifically
for links.

Sxeptomaniac
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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Charles Matthews
Matt Jacobs wrote:

>> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
>> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have few
>> actual rights.
>>
>> Charles
>>
>>    
>
> And why should links have any particular "rights"?  External links should be
> justified in the same way as any addition to the article.  They may not
> require the same verifiability standards, but they should be judged to be a
> recommended place for further reading.  In some way or another, they should
> add content the editors judge to be useful, and not simply be about the
> subject.  Considering that for every good link I've seen inserted, I've also
> seen one that was useless or even misleading or libelous, why would they
> need any special protection?
>  
The point would be no different from (say) unreferenced content: there
the distinction between "may be removed" and "must be removed" is quite
important. And there is the "right", not of the link but the editor
adding it, to have "good faith assumed": other things being equal,
assume that the link was added to help develop the encyclopedia. The
onus is not always on the editor adding to an article to "justify"
additions: that is a very unwiki-like attitude, if I may say so.
> I see no reason why we need additional policy and bureaucracy specifically
> for links.
>
>  
For one thing, the page WP:EL is very bureaucratic as it stands; the
good part of it is the "maintenance and review" section, where templates
for tagging links regarded as potential problems are mentioned.

Also, this discussion thread reveals fairly clearly that there are
differing views on the matter.

Charles



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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 6:10 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> On 30 March 2010 12:49, Charles Matthews
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Carcharoth wrote:
>>
>>>> That probably misses the flux. How many links are added and then
>>>> almost immediately removed? That won't be picked up in something like
>>>> that, I don't think.
>>
>>> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
>>> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have
>>> few
>>> actual rights.
>>
>>
>> I'm not at all convinced there's an actual problem here.
>>
>> Prospective useful links and references can (and should) go on the talk
>> page.
>>
>>
>> - d.
>
> Yes, that disposes of them. The point is to have external links and
> further reading available to users of the reference at the foot of the
> article. The consensus to routinely remove such material arose a few
> years ago and it diminishes the utility of Wikipedia as a reference work.
>
> Fred Bauder

I don't think there's such a consensus, site wide.  I have seen
articles where someone OWNs it and there is a local consensus.

Keep in mind that we risk ending up with our articles web link farms
which is are not maintained in any consistent manner.

I support good links, and add them.  But there's a downside there too.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Fred Bauder-2
> On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 6:10 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> Yes, that disposes of them. The point is to have external links and
>> further reading available to users of the reference at the foot of the
>> article. The consensus to routinely remove such material arose a few
>> years ago and it diminishes the utility of Wikipedia as a reference
>> work.
>>
>> Fred Bauder
>
> I don't think there's such a consensus, site wide.  I have seen
> articles where someone OWNs it and there is a local consensus.
>
> Keep in mind that we risk ending up with our articles web link farms
> which is are not maintained in any consistent manner.
>
> I support good links, and add them.  But there's a downside there too.
>
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]
>

External links and further reading are content like any other content.
They require maintenance and sound judgment. What I object to is the
meataxe approach to editing with respect to external links and further
reading as well as article content. We all understand the problem when
it's done with article content.

Fred Bauder



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Re: A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?

Matthew Jacobs
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
>
> Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 16:33:36 +0100
> From: Charles Matthews <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] A war on external links? Was: Inside Higher
>        Ed: Does Wikipedia Suck?
> To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
>
> Matt Jacobs wrote:
> >> Anyway, the point is not that external links are systematically
> >> persecuted (they may be patchily persecuted); but that they now have few
> >> actual rights.
> >>
> >> Charles
> >>
> >>
> >
> > And why should links have any particular "rights"?  External links should
> be
> > justified in the same way as any addition to the article.  They may not
> > require the same verifiability standards, but they should be judged to be
> a
> > recommended place for further reading.  In some way or another, they
> should
> > add content the editors judge to be useful, and not simply be about the
> > subject.  Considering that for every good link I've seen inserted, I've
> also
> > seen one that was useless or even misleading or libelous, why would they
> > need any special protection?
> >
> The point would be no different from (say) unreferenced content: there
> the distinction between "may be removed" and "must be removed" is quite
> important. And there is the "right", not of the link but the editor
> adding it, to have "good faith assumed": other things being equal,
> assume that the link was added to help develop the encyclopedia. The
> onus is not always on the editor adding to an article to "justify"
> additions: that is a very unwiki-like attitude, if I may say so.
> > I see no reason why we need additional policy and bureaucracy
> specifically
> > for links.
> >
> >
> For one thing, the page WP:EL is very bureaucratic as it stands; the
> good part of it is the "maintenance and review" section, where templates
> for tagging links regarded as potential problems are mentioned.
>
> Also, this discussion thread reveals fairly clearly that there are
> differing views on the matter.
>
> Charles
>

 I see nothing unwiki-like in suggesting that a person should defend their
additions to an article when disputes arise.  That's a pretty standard
expectation in any collaborative environment.  There's no lack of assumption
of good faith involved in an editor removing an addition if they have reason
to believe it is not beneficial to the article.

Sxeptomaniac
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