Tolkien Gateway

Forum:Linking to redirects

Revision as of 03:27, 12 July 2010 by Mithrennaith (Talk | contribs)
Tolkien Gateway > Council > Linking to redirects

Hello all. Recently myself and Mith have been changing links so that instead of linking to redirect pages, they link directly to the location of the article. We're currently going through all pages in the redirect list, using our bots when there are too many to pages to edit manually. It would be great if we could establish a new policy to ensure that editors link directly to an article instead of linking to a redirect page, obviously this ensures that our work changing the links now isn't gradually undone (there's currently 5 years worth of complacency which we're trawling through). -- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  21:45, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

We probably need to rewrite the manual of style or disambiguation policy for that, should be no problem. As Mith noted on his shortcut list, a lot of the policies could do with reconsideration. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 21:58, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
My intention is, once I've fully analysed what's we've got (and where it's located), to completely set about overhauling and modernising the Tolkien Gateway: and Help: namespaces. I think weeding out all the hallmarks of the older standards (weird disambiguation, bad linking, old referencing system, etc.) is a really important step in taking TG from a good wiki to a great wiki. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 23:42, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
I seriously agree. Links should not go to redirect pages or to disambiguation pages, but directly to the substantive article intended. And that will need a consistent policy on naming articles and disambiguation and also on how to deal with alternative names. The last forum discussions on that last issue seem to have ended in this and this, and by the looks of it, we are not even following the conclusions there consistently.
A problem with alternative names, that redirect to the substantive article under the main name, and by extension alternative names used in other articles linking directly to the substantive article under the main name, is that the ‘layman user’ may be surprised to land at an article that does not have the name he typed or clicked (certainly in the second case where he is not even informed about a redirect) and not realise the relation or identity between the names. Even I have been non-plussed at some occasion. I think policy should state that an article redirected to should explain the relation or identity, if the redirect is not immediately recognisable as a mis- or alternative spelling, singular for plural or short form. And that if an article links to another article by a different name, either the one or the other article should make the relation or identity clear.
Actually, not linking to redirects or disambiguations is sort of self-evident to me, so when a month ago I was looking at a few related articles idly, and noticed that Edith Tolkien, née Bratt, Mabel Tolkien, née Suffield, and the two Michael Tolkiens, father and son, were linked to inconsistently and partly indirectly, I set about to put matters in order. Only for my work on the two Michaels to be immediately undone by Pinkkeith, who thought those articles (one of which still doesn’t exist, btw) should reside under different names. Now, whether he was right or not isn’t the issue here (I don’t think he is, but I will deal with that on the appropriate discussion page), but having moved a substantive article, and then turned the original title from a redirect into a disambiguation page, he should also have changed all links that ended up pointing first to a redirect and eventually to the disambiguation to point to the substantive article again. He has as yet given no response that shows that he realises he has broken something and the onus is on him to put it right. The policy on linking directly, that KingAragorn rightly says above should be established, should also make this principle and things like it clear.
I have a concern with the use of bots in overhauling matters. I have, quite by accident, already come across several cases where the bots, in replacing links, have broken things. I have already mentioned some cases on KingAragorn’s and Mith’s discussion pages, but let me point out a few problems here:
  1. Please make sure the bot is only changing the exact link one wants changed and doesn’t cast its net too wide; e.g. when changing Took into Took Family, not to change Peregrin Took into Peregrin Took Family [1].
  2. Do not change the actual text of the article, but always change links to [[Redirection Page]] into [[Direct Link|Redirection Page]]. The change of
    ..... Zirakzigil, the Dwarves' name for the mountain called Celebdil or Silvertine by other races
    into [2],[3]
    ..... Celebdil, the Dwarves' name for the mountain called Celebdil or Silvertine by other races
    actually changes a correct statement into a misstatement of fact. (This example, incidentally, also raises the need for some guidelines in what circumstances to link repeatedly from the same page to the same article.)
  3. Related to the previous point is what happens to discussion or forum pages, where the poster may actually intentionally have used two ways to link to the same page, or two alternative names or titles. Changing all the intentionally different links to the same link to the title under which the actual substantive page now is (and may in fact not have been at all when the post was written) often turns a meaningful point into an idiotic triviality that is totally besides the original point. Changing
    I think we should only use redirects in cases of singular vs. plural entries (Orc vs. Orcs), unaccented vs. accented entries (Numenor vs. Númenor), and the like.
    into [4]
    I think we should only use redirects in cases of singular vs. plural entries (Orc vs. Orcs), unaccented vs. accented entries (Númenor vs. Númenor), and the like.
    Unfortunately this would mean Aragorn II would be changed to simply Aragorn, and Boromir son of Denethor II to Boromir, etc.
    into [5]
    Unfortunately this would mean Aragorn II would be changed to simply Aragorn, and Boromir to Boromir, etc.
    seriously compromises that forum page’s role as an accurate record of the actual discussion. I think there is a case for excluding discussion and forum pages entirely from the direct linking policy, and certainly from the current re-linking project.
I’m concerned here all the more, precisely because I came to these examples by accident, and that suggests to me that many more pages have had similar (and perhaps dissimilar) errors introduced into them as yet unnoticed. I don’t want to tell you to stop using bots immediately (well, I came close ...) because I realise that bots can be a great help in such a project. But please think carefully about what your bot is doing, and what may be the unintended negative side-effects of that. — Mithrennaith 03:27, 12 July 2010 (UTC)