Proposal for dead links

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A proposal from: Jeroenvrp 16:29, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)


On the Dutch wikipedia the default for non-registered users/readers is to have all dead-links to show like this?. On the English Wikipedia, as you all know, the default for non-registered users/readers, is a red link.

There are both pros and cons for both options. A discussion was started on the Dutch Wikipedia and after doing some thinking, I came up with a new linkstyle for deadlinks: like this+. A plus in superscript, same as the ?, but than a +. A very subtile change, but with large pros.

I know this requires a small change in the software, so I'm asking you all to comment in the discussion section below. Don't forget that I want to keep all style-options. So users and/or individual Wikipedias can choose between all options.

Pros and Cons[edit]

Lets make a list of pros and cons of the three options, according my opinion:

Red links[edit]

Pros[edit]

  • Shows people that the link is "dead".
  • Better for printing (if you print black and white).
  • Conforms with the original design of the WWW as a hypertext medium.
  • Makes better sense because links should always have meaningful link text.
  • Increases accessibility for people who want to (or have to) use the keyboard to follow links (i.e. type in the link text).
    • Why should that be needed for deadlinks. They still can use tabs.
  • Increases usability in cases like the "Jump to" window in Opera, or the GetRight Browser, which lists the links on the page by their link text.
    • See cons +-link
  • Makes it more obvious to see the extent of the linked text. (While the ?-method is unambiguous with the square brackets around multiple words, it is pretty confusing before you're used to it, and the square brackets are (warning: POV) ugly anyway.)
    • Sorry not true. There are no square brackets around multiple words with ? or the proposed +.

Cons[edit]

  • Bad for colourblind people
  • Colour red has not the same meaning all over the globe (but then again, it doesn't really have this meaning in Western culture either)
  • People are clicking on the link, not knowing it's a link to add content. Results sometimes in vandalism or people are getting frustrated and leaving the Wikipedia (again a future user gone).
  • Not default Wiki-style

?-Links[edit]

Pros[edit]

  • Default wikistyle
  • Good for colourblind people
  • Small, so people don't click on it to fast. We want people to click on something if they really want to click on it.

Cons[edit]

  • Looks very cluttered for people who don't know wiki, but are only caring for the content.
  • Makes people think they can find an answer on the subject when they click the ?. The opposite is the case.
  • Makes people think they can ask a question when they click the ?.
  • ? stands for a question, not a answer.
  • Small to click on
  • Bad for printing. The ?'s are making the printed page less readable.
  • Kind of defies the original design of the WWW as a hypertext medium.
    • see cons +-links.
  • Links would not have meaningful link text, and in fact, many links would have the same link text.
    • see cons +-links.
  • Decreases accessibility for people who want to (or have to) use the keyboard to follow links (i.e. type in the link text).
    • see cons +-links.
  • Decreases usability in cases like the "Jump to" window in Opera, or the GetRight Browser, which lists the links on the page by their link text.
    • See cons +-links
  • In case of single-word links, makes it less obvious to the newbie that it refers to only one word. In case of multi-word links, adds ugly square brackets; makes things look as if they were parenthetical when they're not.
    • see cons +-links.

+-links[edit]

Pros[edit]

  • Makes people think they are going to add something when they click the + link. So it gives where it stands for, + = add more.
  • Doesn't look cluttered.
  • Good for printing, +'s are not making the printed page unreadable.
  • Good for colourblind people
  • Not normally part of end-of-sentence punctuation for English and other European languages.
    • This seems to stop? the sentence in the middle.
    • This does not seem to stop+ the sentence in the middle.
  • Small, so people don't click on it too fast. We want people to click on something if they really want to click on it.

Cons[edit]

  • Not default wikistyle.
  • Small to click on
  • Kind of defies the original design of the WWW as a hypertext medium.
    • I'm talking about deadlinks, not normal wikilinks
  • Links would not have meaningful link text, and in fact, many links would have the same link text.
    • Sorry, but this makes no sense. Please, see ?-links.
  • Decreases accessibility for people who want to (or have to) use the keyboard to follow links (i.e. type in the link text).
    • Not true. They are still links.
  • Decreases usability in cases like the "Jump to" window in Opera, or the GetRight Browser, which lists the links on the page by their link text.
    • but is that a good thing? Why should deadlinks be listed in a linklist?
  • In case of single-word links, makes it less obvious to the newbie that it refers to only one word. In case of multi-word links, adds ugly square brackets; makes things look as if they were parenthetical when they're not.
    • Same with ?-links. With ?-links, square brackets are not there with multiple words.

Discussion[edit]

If you combine the red Link with the superscripted + you combine the pros of each single possibility and in addition you eliminate some of the cons, as i.e. the small to click on -- de:Benutzer:Sansculotte 131.246.94.16 02:45, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Not a bad idea, but it still makes the text somewhat less readable. -- Timwi 02:54, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I don't see how... (See below) --IsaacFreeman

A superscripted + is similar to a footnote or asterisk which is standard mark-up. (Especially since wik- ipedia/tionary is being approached as an iterative drafting process.) I also think that a combination of sorts would work, if the bad link page was a little bit more intuitive and newbie-friendly. I.e. have an immediate (but brief) explanation of what they just clicked on, and a short summary of WikiNature (something along the lines of "Being as Wikipedia is a collaberative... ...you could contribute by..." etc) and some links to various "help on editing" and "Wikipedia style" pages, etc... Just a few so as to not clutter the page up. But then at the bottom have a link "Create this page" or something... (I'll post some of this on a few other relevent pages...) --IsaacFreeman

Why not have both? i.e. we currently let logged in users choose between underlines and ?. Why not allow a third option of a superscripted +? Nanobug 12:47, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)