Wikiversity:External links/draft 0.1

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You can help develop this proposal, share your thoughts, or discuss its adoption as a Wikiversity policy, guideline, or process. References or links should describe this page as a "proposal".

An external link in Wikiversity generally refers to a link to a webpage outside of any Wikimedia project. Wikipedia articles, are not considered "external links" and can be linked easily by simply placing w:article name on the page. This provides a handy initial reference to the topic you are referring to. All Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Meta-Wiki, etc.) are thought of as "internal".

This page covers a Wikiversity proposed policy on external links. If you are looking for information about creating and editing links, you may wish to consult these help pages: creating links, piped links, interwiki linking, URL's.

Broad principles[edit]

This page is fairly long. If you want some quick rules of thumb which save you reading the rest, then try to remember these points:

  • External links must make Wikiversity a better place; they must be of value to ordinary Wikiversity users. Do not attempt to interpret this point in a patronising fashion - "good for other users" does not mean what you consider good because of any beliefs you might hold.
  • Wikiversity is not a place to advocate or market other websites, nor is it a traffic redirection facility. Good content belongs on Wikiversity, not at the end of a pipe leading from Wikiversity.

General policy on external links[edit]

The general policy of Wikiversity follows that of Wikipedia. Some exceptions are necessary for Wikiversity and are listed below. The most important Wikipedia guides and policies are these:

As the Wikipedia policies and guidelines are very long, a shortened version of the main points is supplied here.

Links which are not allowed under any circumstances[edit]

  • Links to sites which violate the copyrights of others.
  • Links to sites that match the spam blacklist without being whitelisted.

Links normally to be avoided[edit]

The following is a shortened version of the Wikipedia list, combined with points made elsewhere on the same page. Detailed interpretation of some points is made on the original Wikipedia page.

  1. Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research.
  2. Any site that attempts to surreptitiously install malware on a visitor's computer.
  3. Links mainly intended to promote a website.
  4. Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services. For example, instead of linking to a commercial bookstore site, use the "ISBN" linking format.
  5. Links to sites with objectionable amounts of advertising.
  6. Links to sites that require payment or registration to view the relevant content.
  7. Links to search engine results pages and aggregated results pages.
  8. Links to social networking sites (such as MySpace), discussion forums/groups (such as Yahoo! Groups) or USENET.
  9. Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority.
  10. Links to open wikis, except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors.
  11. Sites that are only indirectly related to the article's subject.
  12. Sites with non-English language content.
  13. On pages with multiple points of view, the number of links dedicated to one point of view should not overwhelm the number dedicated to other equal points of view, nor give undue weight to minority views.

Conflicts of interest[edit]

Avoid, or exercise great caution when:

  • Editing pages related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with.
  • Participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors.

When to remove a link[edit]

In general, one should assume good faith, but this does not mean that an editor's good faith links must be accepted. An editor, even an experienced one, may be blinded by political, moral, religious or other beliefs on a specific topic, or be blinded by conflicts of interest. Remember that removing other people's edits may well hurt their feelings, so if an editor is likely to return, then it may be better to ask them to remove their own edits and be exceptionally nice about this.

The following are indications that link removal may be appropriate. An indication is no more and no less than an indication or ground for suspicion. An indication is not a criterion. When deciding whether to remove a link, decisive criteria rarely exist - it is up to the remover to put together the various indications and other circumstances and make an overall judgment.

  • The link is on the list of disallowed links or links which should be avoided.
  • An editor's entire contributions to Wikiversity consist primarily of external links.
  • An editor is editing anonymously as a IP editor or has only recently signed up (but this is most likely to indicate an inexperienced editor who needs help, so be especially nice about removing the links).
  • An editor's contributions to a specific page consist only of external links.
  • An editor has been adding links (1) to the same small group of sites (2) during the same editing sessions (3) across a wide range of pages on Wikiversity.
  • The full list of external links on the page is excessively long.
  • The full list of external links on the page lacks balance of perspective or neutrality (some links should be removed to restore balance or neutrality).
  • The full list of external links on the page gives inappropriate weight to minority views (a minority is not entitled to equal air time).
  • The site linked to is already linked to in disproportionate quantities, taking Wikiversity as a whole into perspective. You can use Special:Linksearch to run searches across the whole of Wikiversity for links to specific sites. This is one method of tracking down long term skewing or spamming of Wikiversity. The general principle here is that a high diversity of external links is good, and a low diversity or domination of certain sites is bad.
  • The link is in the Wikiversity, School, Portal or Topic namespaces, or on the main page; generally these namespaces and pages exist to help people around Wikiversity, not to help them away from Wikiversity, so an external link would only be justified in exceptional circumstances.

Reinserting removed links[edit]

If someone removes a link which you are very fond of, please also assume good faith and engage in dialogue with the person who removed it. Try to reach a bilateral agreement. Simply reverting a removal without entering discussion could be seen as provocative and might lead to an "edit war" which damages the reputation of both parties.

Special exceptions relating to Wikiversity[edit]

Media and the sandbox server[edit]

Audio and video media of many formats are much more essential to educational resources than they are to encyclopedia articles. The Wikimedia Foundation may not yet be technically in a position to allow the hosting of these files. Wikipedia specifically advises against linking to outside media. It is not obviously in Wikiversity's interest to do the same. A separate policy may have to be developed to cope with this problem. See sandbox server.

Minor educational sites[edit]

Many Wikiversity participants are educators with previous experience of using the internet for their educational projects, and it is likely that many participants have educational materials on other sites when they first come to Wikiversity. It is not practical to expect Wikiversitarians to import all their materials immediately, nor is it kind to ban them from linking their fledgling learning projects to their outside materials.

  • It would seem fair to make temporary exceptions for Wikiversitarians with pre-existing external educational resources, when adding external links to learning projects primarily authored by themselves. Otherwise we would be discouraging educators from moving to Wikiversity.
  • Wherever possible, materials should be imported in the course of time onto Wikiversity and the external links removed.

Link directories[edit]

Wikipedia strongly discourages pages which are mere lists of links. It is conceivable that on Wikiversity, an editor might include a list of external links as a separate subpage within a learning project. If an editor has created such a subpage as part of a bona fide learning project, the mere fact that it is a page consisting only of external links should not be used as a reason for deletion - other factors, such as the quality and diversity of the links, should be taken into account. An example: School:Film/External links.

Wikiversity Outreach[edit]

The Wikiversity Outreach programme invites people to add external links and information relating to their own organisations to a specific page on Wikiversity. This programme should not be misunderstood.

  • Wikiversity Outreach is not a licence to spam. Outreach sites may not regard themselves as privileged to pepper the rest of Wikiversity with links to their site. Nor can the Outreach programme be developed in this direction, as it would breach the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to neutrality. The Outreach programme exists for purposes not opposed to neutrality, such as coordination of metadata formats for learning objects or jointly conceiving of new methods of using the MediaWiki software for educational purposes.
  • For pages about Outreach sites, subpages of the the Outreach project can be created (recommended: one page per site). The pages should adhere to neutrality principles, or present a balanced view. Advocacy and marketing are not permitted.
  • If your site is on Wikiversity Outreach, this is equivalent to a declaration of a potential conflict of interest. Please observe conflict of interest rules.

See also[edit]