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Bad Editing Habits : Pages lacking crosslinking

This is an article that explains often recurring issues with pages on the wiki that lack crosslinking.

Starting point info

Crosslinking is simply linking the various pages on the wiki together in a manner that makes navigation throughout the wiki easy. Obviously, like any other wiki (or website, for that matter) on the Internet, the Wiki needs crosslinking to be an efficient community project.

Explanation of the issue

Though this isn't the biggest potential issue most newcomers to the wiki might face, it's still something worth looking at. Effectivelly used linking between different articles on a wiki is its lifeblood, Having a good grasp on which linking is necessary and which is more optional can make finding things on the wiki much easier and much more efficient.

Especially in the Wiki's early days, some AH.commers contributing to the wiki had a bad habit of starting new articles rather willy-nilly, without including even the most basic of links for elementary wiki usage (such as navigating it without the use of the search function, etc.). To date, it isn't completely surprising when occassional orphaned articles from that early era still pop up every now and then, rediscovered. Many of them with little content and with no links to other articles. To avoid all the bother with orphaned articles that lack crosslinking, we're going to talk a bit about how to tackle linking in the following two sections.

Good idea:

  • Linking to AH.commer pages of the author(s) of a TL, plus people with cameos in the TL.


Not so good idea:

  • Creating more than one link to the same page (at least, when both links are on the same screen). You can overdo things.


Useful tips for effective but non-excessive linking

Most articles can be divided into several sections with different useful functions, and this pertains to crosslinking as well. For instance, outside of the main body of the article (and its own possible divisions into further subsections), a good article should also include some navigational linking at the end, at the very least. Another good addition is a section that serves as a signpost of sorts to other established pages, pages that are content-relevant to that particular page.

Let's say you start an article/page about a timeline you wrote. First comes the main heading, after it comes a small lead-in section. It is exactly the lead-in section where you might want to (but don't have to) feature your first few crosslinks in the article. Recommended choices would be to include crosslinks in key words or parts of sentences that appear in the lead-in, and these links should jump logically to some other article related to the basics of the timeline. If, for example, your timeline is a 17th century one, the first instance of “…17th century timeline…” in the lead-in section can include a link to a page which has a list of 17th century timelines. It doesn't even have to be that exact content in the strict sense, since maybe the closest equivalent will be an index of early modern timelines. The important thing is that you crosslink logically and try to make clusters of linked words fairly short. Another important crosslink in any lead-in section should be one to a page about the author of the work. (Though if the page doesn't exist yet, you don't have to force this, of course.) Aside from crosslinking between the wiki's own articles, lead-in sections for works also tend to include external links to the work itself, on the forums. But that's a whole other topic in this “Manual of Style” overview.

Moving on… After the aforementioned lead-in section comes the main body of the article. Here, there isn't much strictness involved with crosslinking. As this section can vary a lot in content and structure from author to author, so can the frequency and placement of crosslinks vary. You should just keep in mind to keep linking logically and avoid crosslinking just for the sake of it. Also, if you're including a link to a subpage for the work (i.e. one devoted to a timeline's maps, characters, story updates, etc., in addition to that main article), you should always write it and format it in such a manner that a reader can easily find it. Hiding it behind short or hard to see words burried in a load of adjacent sentences (e.g. “here”) is a recipe for viewers overlooking your link to that other wiki page.

Don't be worried to put bold formatting (with the use of "**text**") around important links on the page. The crosslinks that can be considered the most important are the ones under “See Also” and “Navigation”, at the bottom of the page, as well as the ones leading to a work's or project's own subpages.

When it comes to the “See Also” section, keep in mind that less is more. While some crucial articles on the wiki (writing advice pages, etc.) have a higher-than-average list of related articles inluded, most pages don't need overwhelming lists. Recommend two or three of the most relevant related pages in the “See Also” section (or just one, if you can't think of more) and it'll do just fine. The wiki needs to be informative, but not at the sake of making its pages user un-friendly.

See Also

Stop spamming the Wiki Landshark! - A somewhat funnier older thread, where the outrage in the title is more amicable than serious. Landshark was criticised here (years ago, during the wiki's infancy) for creating too many unfinished subpages, too many red links on pages, and too many pages without adequate crosslinking.

manual_of_style/pages_lacking_crosslinking.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:14 (external edit)