User:OrenBochman/Linking Secrets

Lets start by reviewing what the the MoS has to say on linking!



  • Make links only where they are relevant to the context. It is not useful and can be very distracting to mark all possible words as hyperlinks. Links should add to the user's experience; they should not detract from it by making the article harder to read. A high density of links can draw attention away from the high-value links that you would like your readers to follow up. Redundant links clutter the page and make future maintenance harder. However, ensure that the high-value links are provided.
  • Adjacent links. Avoid where possible (often one will "chain-link" to the other, anyway).
  • Be specific where possible. Link to a target page section using the pound (hash) sign where it is more focused ([[Guitar#Types]], usually piped for ease of reading thus: [[Guitar#Types|Types of guitar]]).
  • Piped links. Linking can be either direct ([[History of Johannesburg]]) or piped for the linguistic context ([[History of Johannesburg|Johannesburg's rich history]], displayed as Johannesburg's rich history).
  • Check the target. Ensure the destination is the intended article and not a disambiguation page.
  • Initial capitalization. The first letter should be capitalized only where this is normally called for, or when specifically referring to the linked article by name: Cane toads are poisonous, but lizards are typically not (see Venom).

External links**Edit

  • Placement. Articles can include an external links section at the end to list links to websites outside Wikipedia that contain further information, as distinct from citing sources. External links are not normally used in the body of an article.
  • Rationing. Avoid listing an excessive number of external links; Wikipedia is not a link repository.
  • Formatting. The standard format is a primary heading === External links === followed by a bulleted list of links. External links should identify the link and briefly indicate its relevance to the article subject. For example:

*[ History of NIH]
*[ National Institutes of Health homepage]

The first gap triggers the boundary between link and pipe, so these will appear as:

Build your linking skillsEdit

High-quality linking is a skill like writing. Skilled wikilinking is central to achieving good articles on Wikipedia. It is only over the past few years that we have begun to realise the potential for refining wikilinking—how sophisticated decision-making is required to achieve a high standard of linking: what to link, what not to link, how and when to research more focused links, and how to integrate links smoothly into the text. In this respect, linking deserves attention just as does the prose in our articles. Please keep in mind two things:

  • your readers rely on you to guide them towards the best links;
  • it is highly likely that readers click on links much less than we think they do, especially if there is dense linking.

Overlinking. Generally, there has been an increasing realisation that overlinking damages the linking system through dilution of high-value links in the vicinity, and that sprinkling low-value links through a text degrades its professional appearance and undermines readers' confidence that links will take them somewhere relevant. Thus, there is a trade-off in linking, in which increased utility needs to be balanced against the disadvantages of diluting other links in the vicinity and of crowding the text with blue. While few editors would disagree that certain items should not be linked, and certain items should be linked, there is a grey area in the middle in which the decision to link or not link is an art rather than a laid-down, universally accepted decision.

Underlinking. We believe this is less of an issue than overlinking; it is nevertheless important to provide readers with links to target articles (or article-sections) that are likely to be focused, relevant and useful. This is particularly the case in highly technical topics, and topics that naturally refer to many closely related items, such as songs, albums, bands, artists and styles in popular music articles.

Four key tests. Applying these tests will help you to make decisions about linking:

  • Relevance: Is the link-target sufficiently relevant and useful to link? (See WP:LINK.)
  • Specificity: Does the link lead to the most focused appropriate target? (Search for daughter articles and sections at the proposed target article.)
  • Uniqueness: Is the linked topic reachable—directly or indirectly—through another link in the vicinity? (If so, consider not linking.)
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): Is the link-target clear and obvious to the reader?

The exercises: unfolding design. Each exercise below will present you with a portion of text in which you can improve the linking. They are designed to be done in your head, without typing. Each one unfolds in stages that you control: first, the problem text, then a hint to help you along; then a solution; and finally an explanation. The underlying syntax is provided in coloured text where necessary. Where an item has been linked or unlinked in a solution, it is underlined to show this. The examples are taken from existing Wikipedia articles, from which reference numbers have been removed to avoid clutter.

Pace yourself. Before attempting these exercises, we recommend acquaintance with WP:LINK, the style guide that contains advice about linking, internal and external. Feedback on how to improve the exercises is welcome on the talk page. You'll get the most out of the exercises by thinking carefully about each stage before clicking on the next one. These tasks are concentrated, so expect to stop when you've had enough, and plan to return to take up where you left off. "Distributed" practice (that is, spaced over time) will have a more powerful effect than attempting all of the exercises at once ("massed" practice). Monitor your performance for fatigue.

User:Tony1/Writing exercise box

Part IEdit

Andy WarholEdit

City of Manchester StadiumEdit

Lisa the VegetarianEdit

Fatboy SlimEdit


Link tip. Red links can turn blue (when an article is started); blue links can turn red (when a target article is deleted); the wording of target section-titles can be changed without editors' realising the effect this may have on links that are anchored to it. Link maintenance is an important part of keeping our article standards high.

Among the most valuable editorial work performed by WPians is referred to as "gnoming"—useful incremental edits behind the scenes, tying up loose ends and making articles read more smoothly. We would be delighted if more people considered doing a little link-gnoming. It can be very satisfying to choose a category of articles you like and to work through them systematically. Gnoming can involve (1) clicking on some or most of the links to check that they're optimal; (2) looking out for over- and underlinking; and (3) applying the WYSIWYG test to pipes.

Part IIEdit


Link to article

Donnchadh, Earl of CarrickEdit

Link to article

Voting ageEdit

Link to article


Link to article

World War IEdit

Link to article

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Part III—Let's look at popular entertainersEdit

John DenverEdit

Janis JoplinEdit

Bessie SmithEdit

Whoopi GoldbergEdit

Link tip. OK, here's the deal with popular culture articles: they typically need to link to the many items that refer to musical output (songs, tracks, albums), other musicians, and bands. It is therefore of great importance that common terms not be linked unless absolutely necessary, to avoid diluting these many valuable links. Unfortunately, articles on popular culture tend to indulge in the significant overlinking of trivial terms (I've seen "roses", "suicide", "divorce" and "high school" recently, which detracted from the useful links).

In popular culture articles, generally don't link these items:

  • American/US/U.S.; British/English/UK; Canada/Canadian; Ireland/Irish; Australia(n); New Zealand(er); France, Germany, Italy, Europe, China, India, Asia, etc.
  • New York (City); Los Angeles; London
  • actor/actress; comedian; singer(-songwriter); writer/author; film producer; record producer; television producer (and specify which, please); entrepreneur; businessman
  • guitar; bass guitar (don't abbreviate to "bass"); synthesizer; keyboard; drum (kit); percussion
  • film; cinema; television; radio; CD; DVD; documentary; theater/re
  • née (woman's surname before marriage); stage name; autobiography; divorce; libel; cancer; heart attack (or other common diseases)
  • game show; talk show; host
  • dates, decades, centuries
  • heroin; drug addiction; alcoholism; rape; homosexual


If you have any questions, ask them now! Or would you like to take the test?