Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel:External links"
Revision as of 15:37, 6 January 2008
External links are links to other web sites besides Wikitravel. In general the Wikitravel policy is that external links should be kept to a bare minimum, and only links to primary sources should be used. There should not be an external links section on any article - see Where did the "External links" sections go?
External links should point to primary sources. For example:
Using only primary sources makes our guide more succinct: where there is usually one or sometimes two primary source links for any subject, there can be hundreds or thousands of secondary source links. We also avoid subjectivity and conflict. It's difficult to decide collaboratively which of the thousands of English-language newspapers, magazines, and Web sites has done the very best travel article about New York, but it's quite easy for everyone to agree that http://www.nycvisit.com/ is the official city visitor's guide.
Avoid linking to secondary sources - for example, avoid links to:
In particular, avoid links to other travel guides, including audio guides and audio tours. We should have travel information in Wikitravel, not linked to from Wikitravel. This is an incentive issue; if we have lots of links to other travel guides, we lose the impetus to create our own. In addition, many users print copies of Wikitravel articles, and therefore need information to be within the article rather than linked to at another site.
Also, do not link to sites/pages that have no English language content.
There are three possible formats for "external" links. Only the first one is acceptable for listings:
Note that "http://" is included in the link. The software won't recognize a link if the "http://" is missing from a link.
Links in listings
In this example, a primary link would be the web site of the hotel, bar, restaurant, or attraction that is being linked to. A primary link would not be a hotel guide, restaurant review, or booking agency. Thus, while the attraction listing for the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas should include a link to http://www.luxor.com/, any other link would be inappropriate.
When listing specific attractions, restaurants, bars, and accommodations, the link must go after the contact information, before the description. The name of the attraction must not be hyperlinked, because this looks bad if the list is printed (the URL pushes back more important info like the address) and also looks strange if not all attractions have homepages.
The nitty-gritty details of formatting location listings can be found in the following pages:
For Wikitravel articles (such as Clark in the above example), if an official web site exists for the destination then it should be linked to within the first sentence of the article, immediately after the name of the destination. Only primary links should be used; a web site that is not maintained by the destination would not be appropriate. For example, in the Disneyland article, a link to http://www.disneyland.com/ and only to that web site is appropriate.
Links within the article text
Links within the article text should be kept to a minimum and should point only to primary sources. Examples of valid links might include airline companies, bus companies, and sites offering daily updates and warnings about a destination's condition (for example the Death Valley Morning Report). For external links in text outside of listings the name should be linked.
Use boldface to call out important topics: don't use boldface for every link.
Remember that for print versions of Wikitravel, links will be presented in all their URLish ugliness. Readers of the print versions will have to type in by hand the URL that you add. For this reason, try to use the shortest URL possible for links, even if it means a little more work on the part of the reader when they click through a link. Where possible, try to trim out "housekeeping" stuff from the URL. You can almost always leave off "index.html", "index.htm", "index.asp" or "index.php" from a link, for example.
If http://www.example.com/ redirects automatically to a home page like http://www.example.com/home/index.asp?id=384&lang=en, use the shorter version, even though it's "really" going to the long version. Similarly, if http://www.example.net/ has a "splash screen" which eventually takes you to http://www.example.net/index2.htm or something, leave the top-level link in, even though the "real information" is located elsewhere.
Tip: For many hotel chains, location.chain.com works as quick and easy redirect. For example, Le Meridien Singapore can be found at http://singapore.lemeridien.com/ as well as http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1844&EM=VTY_LM_singapore_1844_overview, and the short version will not break when the chain changes its reservation system (which seems to happen every few months).
Of course, if the page you're linking to isn't at the "root" of the site, it makes sense to leave the path part of the URL in. Don't change http://examples.org/scottish-country-dance/ to http://examples.org/, since that top-level page probably doesn't have the same dance information.
This version of Wikitravel is for English-language speakers (but see language versions of Wikitravel). With few exceptions, it's preferable to include only links to English-language sites or pages. Sites don't have to be exclusively in English, but they should provide some English-language information that will be valuable to the traveller.
Many sites have the information in several languages, e.g., the local language and English. They handle this in different ways:
A link is not a substitute for actual information. Our goals include creating pages useful as printed guides. So, we need to include information that's at the other end of a link, even if it may seem redundant for on-line use.
For example, in a restaurant listing, get the address, phone number, hours, and prices for the restaurant, even if it's right there on an external Web page. Someone using a printed guide won't have access to whatever's on that page.
Be aware that when Wikitravel articles are printed the Wikitravel stylesheets are set up so that the full URL of a link will automatically appear in text enclosed in parentheses immediately after the link text. For example, an attraction listing would print as:
Open Directory Project
We have a special format that features links to the Open Directory Project in a special part of the page - see Links to Open Directory.
We have a special format that features links to Wikipedia in a special part of the page - see Links to Wikipedia.
As Wikitravel is merging with World66, we have a special relationship with it that justifies an exception to the rule against linking to other guides. We have a special format that features links to World66 in a special part of the page - see Links to World66.