Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style/Linking

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

Appropriate links provide instant pathways to locations within and outside the project that are likely to increase readers' understanding of the topic at hand. Whenever writing or editing an article, it is important to consider not only what to put in the article, but what links to include to help the reader find related information, as well as which other pages should carry links to the article. Care should be taken to avoid both underlinking and overlinking, as described below.

This page provides guidelines as to when links should and should not be used, and how to format links. Detailed information about the syntax used to create links can be found at Help:Link. The rules on linking applicable to disambiguation pages are set out in the disambiguation style guide.

Principles[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia is based on hypertext, and aims to "build the web" to enable readers to access relevant information on other pages easily. The page from which the hyperlink is activated is called the anchor; the page the link points to is called the target.

In adding or removing links, consider an article's place in the knowledge tree. Internal links can add to the cohesion and utility of Wikiafripedia, allowing readers to deepen their understanding of a topic by conveniently accessing other articles. Ask yourself, "How likely is it that the reader will also want to read that other article?" Consider including links where readers might want to use them; for example, in article leads, at the openings of new sections, in the cells of tables, and in image captions. But note below that as a rule of thumb editors should only link the term's first occurrence in the text of the article.

General points on linking style[edit source | edit]

  • As explained in more detail at Help:Link § Wikilinks, linking can be "direct" ([[Riverside, California]], which results in Riverside, California), or "piped" ([[Riverside, California|Riverside]], which results in Riverside in the text, but still links to the article "Riverside, California"—although the pipe trick is an easier way to create this particular link).
  • Section headings should not themselves contain links; instead, a {{main article}} or {{see also}} template should be placed immediately after the heading.
  • Links should not be placed in the boldface reiteration of the title in the opening sentence of a lead.[nb 1]
  • Be conservative when linking within quotations; link only to targets that correspond to the meaning clearly intended by the quote's author. Where possible, link from text outside of the quotation instead – either before it or soon after. (If quoting hypertext, add an editorial note, [link in original] or [link added], as appropriate.)
  • When possible, avoid placing links next to each other so that they look like a single link (a "sea of blue"), as in [[Ireland|Irish]] [[Chess]] [[Championship]] (Irish Chess Championship). Consider rephrasing the sentence, omitting one of the links, or using a single, more specific link instead (e.g. [[Irish Chess Championship]]).
  • Articles on technical subjects might demand a higher density of links than general-interest articles, because they are likely to contain more technical terms that general dictionaries are unlikely to explain in context.
  • Beware of linking to an article without first confirming that it is helpful in context; the fact that its title matches the concept you wish to link to does not guarantee that it deals with the desired topic at all. For example, a physicist speaking of barns is highly unlikely to wish to link to Barn instead of Barn (unit), and any reader needing to click on such a link almost certainly will struggle to make sense of what the system offers.
  • Do not create links to user, WikiProject, essay or draft pages in articles, except in articles about Wikiafripedia itself (see Self-references to avoid).
  • Do not unnecessarily make a reader chase links: if a highly technical term can be simply explained with very few words, do so.
  • Do use a link wherever appropriate, but as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence.
  • The text needs to make sense to readers who cannot follow links. Users may print articles or read offline, and Wikiafripedia content may be encountered in republished form, often without links.
  • Refrain from implementing colored links that may impede user ability to distinguish links from regular text, or color links for purely aesthetic reasons.

Overlinking and underlinking[edit source | edit]

What generally should be linked[edit source | edit]

An article is said to be underlinked if words are not linked and are needed to aid understanding of the article. In general, links should be created for:

  • Relevant connections to the subject of another article that will help readers understand the article more fully (see the example below). This can include people, events, and topics that already have an article or that clearly deserve one, so long as the link is relevant to the article in question.
  • Articles with relevant information, for example: "see Fourier series for relevant background"
  • Articles explaining words of technical terms, jargon or slang expressions/phrases—but you could also provide a concise definition instead of or in addition to a link. If there is no appropriate Wikiafripedia article, an interwikimedia link to Wiktionary could be used.
  • Proper names that are likely to be unfamiliar to readers

Do not be afraid to create links to potential articles that do not yet exist (see § Red links below).

If you feel that a link is relevant to the topic of the article, but does not belong in the body of an article, consider moving it to a "See also" section.

What generally should not be linked[edit source | edit]

An overlinked article contains an excessive number of links, making it difficult to identify links likely to aid the reader's understanding significantly.[1] A 2015 study of log data found that "in the English Wikiafripedia, of all the 800,000 links added ... in February 2015, the majority (66%) were not clicked even a single time in March 2015, and among the rest, most links were clicked only very rarely", and that "simply adding more links does not increase the overall number of clicks taken from a page. Instead, links compete with each other for user attention."[2]

A good question to ask yourself is whether reading the article you're about to link to would help someone understand the article you are linking from. Unless a term is particularly relevant to the context in the article, the following are usually not linked:

  • Everyday words understood by most readers in context.
  • The names of subjects with which most readers will be at least somewhat familiar:
    • This generally includes major examples of: geographic features (e.g., the Himalayas, Pacific Ocean, South America), locations (e.g., Berlin; New York City, or just New York if the city context is already clear; London, if the context rules out London, Ontario; Japan, Brazil, Southeast Asia), languages (e.g., English, Arabic, Korean, Spanish), nationalities and ethnicities (e.g., English, British, Chinese, Turkish, African-American, Hispanic), and religions (e.g., Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism)
    • Counter-examples (should be linked): Lake Xochimilco, mid-Atlantic Ridge; Aberbeeg, Puntland; Frisian languages, Middle English; Prussian, Tohono O'odham, Afro-Cuban; Zoroastrianism, Shinreikyo.
    • These are two ends of a spectrum with a grey area between them, which varies by context; exercise common sense.
    • However, try to be conscious of your own demographic biases; what is well-known in your culture, age-group, profession or country may be unknown to others, and vice versa.
  • Common occupations
  • Common units of measurement, e.g. units relating to currency, time, temperature, length, area, or volume. If both non-metric and metric equivalents are provided, as in 5 centimetres (2.0 in), usually neither unit needs to be linked, because almost all readers will understand at least one of the units.
  • Dates

Do not link to pages that redirect back to the page the link is on (unless the link is to a redirect with possibilities that links to an appropriate section of the current article).

The function of links is to clarify, not emphasize; do not create links in order to draw attention to certain words or ideas, or as a mark of respect.

Duplicate and repeat links[edit source | edit]

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, a link may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. Citations stand alone in their usage, so there is no problem with repeating the same link in many citations within an article; e.g. |work=[[The Guardian]].

In glossaries, which are primarily referred to for encyclopedic entries on specific terms rather than read from top to bottom like a regular article, it is usually desirable to repeat links (including to other terms in the glossary) that were not already linked in the same entry