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It was recently brought to my attention that part of our Manual of Style states that no external links are to be placed within the body of article. My assumption is that this policy exists to ensure that external links (which would be considered out-of-universe) are not placed within in-universe information.
Now, whilst I agree that this should be the case, I do not believe this policy should apply to out-of-universe information that is still part of the body of the article. The sections that particularly come to mind are the Connection sections on fauna pages and also the bending arts pages. To my mind, these section still comprise "the body of the article", but I don't see why we should be restricted from adding external links in these sections. The information within those sections is already out-of-universe, so there is no problem of having in-universe information mixed with external links.
Now, my proposal, which comprises of two possible ways to remedy this:
- We make an addition to the policy which makes an exception for Connection sections.
- We redefine what "the body of the article" means more explicity. The policy could be rewritten to something along the lines of:
- Do not use external links in the body of an article, which is considered to be any sections which do not include out-of-universe information. Articles can include an external links section at the end, pointing to further information outside Avatar Wiki as opposed to citing sources.
My preference is probably leaning more towards #2. I do not consider Trivia sections to be part of "the body of the article", and thus exempt from the policy, but other users may believe otherwise, so I think explicitly defining what is meant by this phrase is better, to ensure there isn't any confusion as to what is and is not included. HAMMEROFTHOR 13:27, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- I support the proposal. As we are drawing real-life comparisons in with the connection and trivia sections, we are drifting OOU by this point. Thus, the MoS should be refined into that second idea as that will eliminate any confusion as to whether they belong or not. PSUAvatar14 Want to have a word? 13:40, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- I oppose. There are more reasons for the ban on external links in the body text of an article than some arbitrary distinction between in-universe and out-of-universe. External links in the body text confuse the reader because they expect an internal link to another page, but instead leave the site. We don't wish to encourage people to leave the site. Sections comprising external links are distinguished from this situation because they are specifically flagged as links leading away from the site. The 888th Avatar (talk) 13:47, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- Oppose. That may be so, but this policy is analogous to that found on the Wikipedia MoS for a reason. Whatever definition you attempt to put out will still not change the fact the "Connections" section is still part of the body of the article. Making exceptions to this policy does nothing for consistency with our linking and where this type of linking should occur; it is doubly important since links to Wikipedia more or less function in line with our internal links. It should remain done the way it is in Wikipedia and most other derivative wikis; by creating the appropriate "External Links" section after Trivia and References, if I am not mistaken. KettleMeetPot • wall 13:51, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- The wikipedia MoS also has under "What can normally be linked":
- Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that is relevant to an encyclopedic understanding of the subject...
- Part of our MoS states that links should be made when they are helpful and useful in the context. If this wiki does not have an article on a particular subject, but we can link to a wikipedia article, then providing a link to this page is helpful to the user in expanding their knowledge of the Avatar Wiki article as well. Taking gilacorn as an example, the connection section mentions the Oviraptor. Now, I have absolutely no idea what one of those is, and having a link to a wikipedia page for this creature is helpful to me in aiding my understanding of the gilacorn itself. We might be able to include this in a section at the end of the article, but is it not better to have the link where the point is mentioned as opposed to at the end. Since wikipedia links function as our own internal links do, the paragraph still looks tidy (that is, doesn't have this in the middle), and the link is provided where the information is given. I also disagree with your point about consistency; if we explicitly define the phrase, then we achieve greater consistency with where those links can occur, rather than allowing different interpretations of what the phrase refers to.
- Firstly, if you do not see a problem with linking such things at the end, why even argue the point of "is it not better" when it is the tried and tested way of accomplishing these things on sites like Wikipedia, under which we normally model ourselves. And for your information, that part under "What can normally be linked", is what can normally be put under the External links section, not just anywhere in the body of the article.
- And like I said, just defining stuff does not achieve consistency. What you're doing is not just "defining" what goes into which body segment, you are making an exception for one body section as opposed to all other with no logical basis for change. How is that meant to confer consistency? Like it has been said before, and will be said now "Exceptions breed inconsistency", and this is a prime example of that. KettleMeetPot • wall 14:54, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
Hammer: You misunderstand Wikipedia policy. The sentence you mention refers to what may be included as an external link, but the page also very explicitly states that such links may not be in the body text of the article: "External links should not normally be used in the body of an article." Our policy is similarly explicit.
I don't accept that external links are helpful or useful in the context you wish to use them for. It is expected behaviour that any links in the body text of a article on any wiki are internal links, since this has been the practice on Wikipedia for many years. Readers can't intuitively "know" that links work differently for in-universe and out-of-universe sections. The issue, which in your "response" to my point you did not really address other than restating your point, is that external links in a context normally used by internal links will make users clicking through leave the site. This is especially the case when there is no visual differentiation between internal links and links to Wikipedia. From a site management perspective, where we wish to have readers spend as much time as possible on the wiki, that is an impending disaster. The 888th Avatar (talk) 14:58, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- @KMP - if I did not see a problem in linking things at the end, why would I bother arguing against it. My reasoning (which I thought I'd already mentioned above) is placed below in my response to 888. That may be the way it is done on wikipedia, but there are several differences between wikipedia and this wiki. Wikipedia has a far greater number of articles to link too, and as such only rarely has a link within an article which cannot be linked to internally. We, however, do not have as many articles covering such a wide breadth of themes/topics, and so there will be a far greater number of occasions when we might wish to include an external link, particularly within sections of an article which contain out-of-universe information. We should not simply accept what "wikipedia does" as what will be best for this wiki.
- As for the consistency issue, I still don't understand what the problem is. The rewrite would explicitly state that external links would only be acceptable within sections that contain OoU info. The policy as it stands is open to debate on what constitutes "the body of the article", and anything which can be interpreted subjectively breeds it's own inconsistency. I consider this to be a logical basis for changing this policy.
- @888 - maybe I misunderstood what was written there (I read it through several times, and that was the conclusion I came to) but how does "...should not normally..." explicitly state that "...such links may not be used...". As I read it, the policy does not completely exclude their use. I do not believe it is expected that links around out-of-universe information (like the Oviraptor for instance) in sections which it is well known detail out-of-universe information are internal. If a user wishes to click away from the site, they will do so. If that link to Oviraptor was placed at the bottom of the page, and I wanted to click on that link, I would click on it. We cannot stop people from doing this, and we do them a disservice by placing the links away from where the information is placed. If our aim is to provide the best encyclopaedic information on the Avatar world, and providing an external link within the sections I have outlined does this in the best way, then I believe we should do so. Putting high value links away from the information they are linking to does not help anyone reading the article. HAMMEROFTHOR 20:10, September 15, 2012 (UTC)
- Their use of "should not normally" refers to the exception they hold for the rule, which allows linking to their own sites such as Wiktionary. These links are fine, not only because they are in a different colour, but also because they are used in a context that would demand a dictionary link. That is not the case here. We have pages for both in-universe and out-of-universe content. It is much more difficult to tell links if in out-of-universe sections we have both internal and external links, much less entire pages with internal and external links in the body text. That is what is referred to as inconsistency.
- You continually protest that you "don't believe" that it would be expected behaviour for users to treat body text links as internal links, but you provide no evidence that this is the case. Instead, you treat everyone as being as smart as you are and being able to somehow tell between in-universe and out-of-universe. The evidence is strongly to the contrary. Internal links only in body text is standard practice not only on Wikipedia, but also on other major wikis, such as Wookieepedia (where it remains unwritten since it's so obvious), and major encyclopedia websites, such as Encyclopedia Britannica. Deviating from other sources on this one thing, which has become expected behaviour, is therefore a bad idea. (And so much for this being needed to "provide the best encyclopedic information" – I'm yet to see a reputable online encyclopedia do what you're proposing.)
- This is the point where you also contend that what constitutes the "body of an article" is debatable, and indeed, this is a core premise of your entire case. You think that, here, we have a difference with, say, Wikipedia, and you use this as justification. The problem is that what the reader will understand as the "body of an article" is not debatable. If you take the view of the average reasonable reader who has an idea of what is a "body of an article" from previous experiences, they will take that to mean "everything in an article that's in prose", not "everything in article that's in prose, minus this little section here because it's somehow different from the other sections". (Evidence? Refer to the practices of the sites I mentioned previously.) Your proposal would only inform editors with knowledge of the policy. It will not inform the average reasonable reader who won't get your rather technical definition from experiences on other sites.
- Ultimately, you haven't been able to justify why readers will actually "get" your definition without having read it first. The evidence to the contrary, combined with the obvious disadvantage we give to ourselves by allowing people to unconsciously leave the site, suggests that this proposal is detrimental to the wiki. The 888th Avatar (talk) 23:53, September 15, 2012 (UTC)