5

Most people who link to Wikipedia on Stack Exchange sites do so with the regular en.wikipedia.org links, but occasionally you also find www.wikiwand.com/en or en.m.wikipedia.org versions – which have exactly the same content, but a different interface.

Whatever one's preference for an interface, presumably everybody values consistency. I personally prefer the standard Wikipedia interface (well, actually with a bit of my own CSS tweaking). Others evidently prefer the other interfaces, but in any case this should be the choice of the one clicking on the link, not the one who posted it – in particular, links posted by different people shouldn't lead to a mash of different styles.

So could we agree on one canonical way how Wikipedia links should be posted on the Stack Exchange network, and perhaps even something that automatically converts all posted links to that convention?

6
  • 6
    Consistency for the sake of consistency is certainly an argument, but for something this small I'm not sure it's worth it...
    – bobble
    Aug 8, 2021 at 17:52
  • 5
    www.wikiwand.com/en points to a 404 for me - which might just be your point I guess.
    – W.O.
    Aug 8, 2021 at 17:52
  • 8
  • @ARogueAnt. It appears to just be the base url for all articles in English Aug 8, 2021 at 21:39
  • @CaveJohnson Yes, and they want me to add yet another browser extension - I'm running out of space on that menu bar.
    – W.O.
    Aug 8, 2021 at 21:53
  • 2
    I think using the desktop version over the mobile version of any given site should be encouraged specifically for the reason mentioned in Journeyman's answer. I also prefer the classic Wikipedia site over Wikiwand (which I've never heard of until now). That said, I don't think we should dictate what version of the site they should link to (if they both look fine on desktop and will/can redirect to mobile view). If someone prefers one over the other, that's their choice. I don't think the consistency argument is valid here because people link to a zillion different sites, not just Wikipedia.
    – 41686d6564
    Aug 9, 2021 at 2:51

5 Answers 5

16

I guess it's a question of the longevity of the links and ease of use

Wikipedia isn't going anywhere, and if we're unfortunate enough to lose it, it's important enough that it would be mirrored somewhere. We could fix the links - even point it at Wikiwand, if that ends up being the replacement of record.

I'd favour Wikipedia links over the mobile site because the 'main' Wikipedia link will redirect to the mobile link, but not vice versa, and the mobile view is quite difficult in 'proper' computers.

That said, I'd discourage folks from going out and trying to 'fix' all these links. It would/should be preferred to use Wikipedia over mobile Wikipedia, and Wikipedia over Wikiwand, but I feel trying to 'fix' folks usage of the other options is probably going to be unwelcome and cause friction. It should be fine to do it alongside other 'routine' fixes, but getting into rollback wars, or going out to fix just these links should be avoided.

6

Wikipedia is the wikipedia, and all links should point to it.

This still allows for people who prefer alternatives to have their way: e.g. the Wikiwand app automatically converts Wikipedia links into Wikiwand ones, so those using Wikiwand should be just fine with en.wikipedia.org too. The other way around, it shouldn't be expected that somebody who wants just the plain old Wikipedia interface has a plugin that converts Wikiwand links (and a theoretically unlimited number of other alternative interfaces!) back into the standard form.


Note: this answer does not propose an automatic conversion Wikiwand→Wikipedia or something like that (though it would certainly a possible next step), just agreement on that en.wikipedia.org is the canonical domain for linking to a Wikipedia article, and that Wikiwand links may always be manually edited into Wikipedia ones.
If you disagree, then please write an answer with what policy you would prefer.

1
  • 8
    Might also be worth noting that en.wikipedia.org redirects to en.m.wikipedia.org if you are on a mobile device. But en.m.wikipedia.org does not redirect to en.wikipedia.org if you are on a desktop computer or equivalent device. This is another reason to prefer en.wikipedia.org since you will get the appropriate interface based on the device you are on. Aug 8, 2021 at 21:55
5

I think one of the answers in the linked question is correct in that it should be a system wide rewrite by the community user and a filter at time of submitting new posts.

But I also think this post is correct in calling for a consensus that serves as reference for editors. Changing a link alone could be considered a minor edit, but in the scope of an overhaul edit having a consensus on the best form of the links would desirable.

I'd expect it to be the mobile browser's settings to resolve en.wikipedia.org to en.m.wikipedia.org. I dislike the later .m for being more verbose and redirecting to a limited interface.

EDIT: Expanded after Oleg Vatler's feedback.

do we have anything on editing links network-wide? I don't recall any prominent FAQ-style Q&As

  1. The faq + hyperlinks gives a notable result How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?.

  2. This answer by Glorfindel is awesome (why isn't this a FAQ btw?) Documentation for Stack Exchange engine URLs?

  3. This one is worth mentioning and should go without saying Ban URL shortening services.

  4. And of course, use SSL when you can Network-wide HTTPS: It's time. (This one is perhaps the most notable example of the community user rewriting URLs.)

3
  • Agreed, a consensus between editors on that part could also be part of editors' FAQ (btw, do we have anything on editing links network-wide? I don't recall any prominent FAQ-style Q&As) Aug 9, 2021 at 0:56
  • @OlegValter see edited answer.
    – bad_coder
    Aug 9, 2021 at 1:12
  • 2
    nice, thank you! I totally missed the one about adding external resources, btw Aug 9, 2021 at 1:18
2

I think it's safe to say you shouldn't link Wikipedia mirrors ever. At best they're less durable links, at worst they're malware.

For example this is a typical Wikiwand experience (WARNING: explicit content). There's often ads, and embedded related content that's NSFW

1
  • Many mirrors are useful, of course. For instance certain mirrors helped people access Wikipedia during the Turkey block. Everyone can/should use the access method they prefer, and they can do so when given the canonical link to the main wikipedia.org domain.
    – Nemo
    Apr 19, 2022 at 10:13
1

There is already a policy that supersedes the policy that is being asked here: Content on SE sites should be self-contained, meaning, they should be complete without depending on external content.

Considering the above, IMHO, a policy for Wikipedia content links is not worthy to be set for the whole Stack Exchange Network. Perhaps such policy could be relevant for some sites that rely Wikipedia in a particular way, and if that is the case, this policy should be discussed on the corresponding per-site meta.

Related

1
  • 6
    That's a concern completely orthogonal to the question topic. Sure: posts should not rely on information only reachable from a link. But especially Wikipedia links are usually posted for a term that some readers may just be unfamiliar with. Because these terms are also explained in other encyclopedias in case Wikipedia should ever go down, that is fine with the self-contained policy. But the whole point of making it a link is that it provides a quick and convenient way to look up on the term's definition. That's subverted if the link sends me to some weird interface. Aug 8, 2021 at 22:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .