Wikipedia talk:Red link

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Are redlinks encouraged?[change source]

An experienced editor/admin has told me that redlinks are encouraged in Simple. Is there policy or guidance or even discussion in this regard? If so, the encouragement to create should be in this guidance and elsewhere. But with this first question in mind, I have two concerns: 1. If redlinks are encouraged, how does this encouragement comport with GA and VGA guidance which discourages/prohibits redlinks. 2. Do we want lots of redlinks in articles at the expense of GA & VGA creation? (A third concern is more abstruse. The guidance page refers to a 5 year old study. How applicable is that study to this project?) S. Rich (talk) 01:42, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I've never heard of this. It's sounds ridiculous. Encouraging red links is against the mission of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation, which is to provide free knowledge to everyone over the internet. Encouraging red links does not encourage the spread of free knowledge... --GeorgeBarnick (talk) 01:56, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I am the editor/admin that Srich refers to. To be clear, what I said is that we discourage removing red links. This is especially true when red links are removed in a wholesale fashion as was done in an article Srich created. To answer your points:
  1. When working on a GA or VGA nomination, the way to eliminate the red links is to create the articles. This has the added benefit of getting us more articles here, which we greatly need. The GA/VGA criteria do say that there should be few red links, but they also say that important terms should be linked. If a redlinked term is unlinked and it is important (as most probably are), it would have to be linked again before the article would pass GA/VGA.
  2. Removing links just to get an article into shape for GA/VGA doesn't really improve the article.
To address GeorgeBarnick's concern, how does the presence or absence of red links affect the spread of free knowledge? Red links indicate articles we don't have yet, not articles we don't want. This Wiki is very small and still needs a lot of articles.
To repeat more of what I said to Srich on his talk page, we discourage removing red links if the purpose is only to be rid of them. Having all the links blue is good if it means that we have the articles, but not if it means that someone removed the red links just because they were red. We use the pages that summarize red links (such as Special:WantedPages) to tell us what pages we most need. If all the red links to a particular topic were removed just because they were red, we wouldn't see that articles refer to that topic, and that therefore we could benefit from creating the article.
I know this is a tough concept for people used to working on other Wikis, but it's the way this Wiki works, to help us get more articles. The bottom line is this: when we have red links, we want to turn them blue, not remove them. --Auntof6 (talk) 04:43, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
What you've said cleared this up a ton. I fully understand the purpose of keeping redlinks on the page. What I interpreted this as originally, and what I believe Srich thought, was that it was encouraged to leave pages uncreated (as in to leave their links as red links). I understand now. --GeorgeBarnick (talk) 04:46, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Oh, dear, I'm sorry if I gave that impression! Srich, is that what you thought? This started when I saw a lot of red links being removed as an apparent cleanup task. I certainly didn't mean we shouldn't create the pages! Having the red links tells us what pages we need, is all. --Auntof6 (talk) 04:52, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
That's only the impression I got from this talk page. After reading the initial discussion you two had on the user talk page and your explanation above, I understand it a lot better. Honestly, I love red links, since it gives me something to do! Special:WantedPages can be a new editors' best friend. :) --GeorgeBarnick (talk) 04:57, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
There is one more situation which needs mentioning. When part of a page is brought over from En wiki as a starting point, it will often have a lot of red links on our wiki. Now, some of those are genuine 'pages needed'. But at least half are red links due to the vagaries of page titles. I go through a routine looking for our pages which might fix red links, often by redirects or by re-arranging the red-linked term to one which links on our wiki. We cannot match En wiki page for page, but often we do have a general page which relates to a number of En pages. Then I am left with genuine red-linked topics which should be added. So sometimes I do add them, and sometimes I don't. Also, in pursuit of simplicity, over-specialised terms may be changed to more general terms providing meaning is not changed. It's a delicate matter, actually. My feeling is that red links should never be removed routinely, but still can be edited down from the dizzy heights of some En wiki pages. (Bear in mind that I mostly edit in the natural history sciences, where I do usually understand the content). Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:19, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Redlinks are encouraged in that you shouldn't remove them just to remove them. The preference is of course for people to create the pages, but just removing the linking so it is no longer a red link is not appropriate. They are very important to let people know a page is missing and needs to be created. In the case of making a GA or a VGA you should create articles for any of the terms that are red linked. That is what is meant in the VGA/GA guidelines. -DJSasso (talk) 15:22, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment: We have 717 articles in the 'too many redlinks' articles maintenance category. That is just for pages someone has decided to flag. Everything from long-ago years to long lists. Here is an example that makes me fretful, as so many of them do: 2006 Palestinian legislative election. There is no way all those redlinks are going to be written into articles. If they were, they might get deleted as not important enough for an article here. Some that look like that article, I just want to delink all except possibly Palestinian Legislative Council and take the issue tag off. I also sometimes look and see if an article has been created with not exactly the same title as the redlink and try to match up that way. Sometimes that happens. So I am just saying, now this has been brought up, I do care about the redlinks, but honestly think most will probably not become articles here. Fylbecatulous talk 14:28, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Technically if it has an article on en it is important enough for one here. And technically we do eventually want one. But as with everything there is some common sense to be used. But the vast majority of red links should be left on the vast majority of articles. Remember there is no time limit for when those articles need to be written, it could be years and years down the road. But the red links still help signalling to people "Hey you should create this." Ironically the article you use as an example I wouldn't even think qualified to be considered too many red links on a page. Hardly has any so I removed the tag. -DJSasso (talk) 15:39, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Well then. Ironically, this brings to mind another question. What would or should be the guidelines for qualification to placing such a tag? If we have some that are needlessly placed, I can happily go unflag them. Thank you. ツ Fylbecatulous talk 16:16, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Both adding and removing of tags is totally personal opinion. Though if its something obvious like a no references on a blp tag then you should leave it if there are indeed no references. My own personal opinion is that tags should really only be used for those blatantly obvious issues. But there is a type of editor who loves just adding tags so we have a lot of tags we could probably do without. -DJSasso (talk) 16:24, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
This idea that Simple deserves or will get a match-up of every en WP article is interesting. And two thoughts come to mind. 1. Yes, in terms of important articles there is the WP:VITAL list. (And all topics listed have articles.) and the 10,000 item WP:VAE listing. (Also, en has a en:Template:Core topics.) So, shouldn't Simple focus on creating those 10,000 core topic articles? 2. Seems that many, many en articles are simple enough for Simple users. For example, the stub en:Yle TV2 has a short description and simple listing of shows. Does Simple want or need Yle TV2? Overall, I think that instead of a "Yle TV2" redlink (to be created, removed, encouraged, or discouraged for the sake of redlinks) wouldn't the interwiki link to Yle TV2 be sufficient? With these factors in mind, I'll suggest to bits of guidance. 1. Articles should have links to VITAL and VITAL/expanded articles even if they are redlinks. And, 2. Interwiki links to simple article in the English WP are allowed (or encouraged) if the English article is written in simple English. S. Rich (talk) 17:15, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
We've moved away from having interwiki links over the last year and started removing/replacing them because we don't want to send editors away from this wiki if we can avoid it and because we can't control how simple the articles are at another wiki. We used to only focus on what you would call "core subjects" but a couple years ago editors came to a consensus to remove that restriction and we now are working to eventually have everything en has. We of course have a much smaller editor base so it will take a very long time to get to that point. If the article is already sufficiently simple you can have it imported to simple as well. -DJSasso (talk) 18:25, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
I understand about the interwiki stance. How about my first proposal? It preserves the idea that creating redlinks in a sensible fashion is helpful -- in fact, it would encourage article creation. But the idea for creating redlinks for "everything" from en does not seem sensible -- encouraging creation/discouraging removal can only increase the maintenance category that Fylbecatulous mentions. A "much smaller editor base" is too kind. I'm guessing that Simple has 1% as many editors. If that is the case, then "much longer" actually means "forever". On the other hand, a much smaller editor base means much less drama. S. Rich (talk) 18:58, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
By all means I do agree people should try to link to/work on the vital articles. But being a volunteer endeavor we can't force it. If you look on the new changes link to the left hand side of the screen. On the top of that page we have a list of about 10 articles that get updated every so often from our list of articles all wikis should have which we call "Most Wanted". So we do attempt to encourage it somewhat. -DJSasso (talk) 19:15, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

I've added a subsection re basic articles, plus a link to the expanded vital articles listing. (All of the topics in the 1,000 item listing have articles.) Perhaps this will stimulate interest in creating more articles. S. Rich (talk) 23:30, 26 April 2014 (UTC)