How useful is it to edit posts and add Wikipedia-links to (probably) well-known things like PowerPoint, Mac OS X, Python or YouTube? Or to (probably) less-known things like Norton and Avast! antivirus?


3 Answers 3


For common terms, I'd say it is not necessary - quite the contrary, it adds clutter to the edit history, and unnecessary distractions in the question's or answer's word flow.

If you don't know what Python, Mac OS X, or Youtube are, you can always look them up in Wikipedia. If you don't know how to do that, you're probably in the wrong place anyway.

I'd add links only for lesser-known terms that may need explaining even to the intended audience of the question or answer.

  • 1
    If SO teaches us one thing, then that people are unable to google. And you expect them to look something up in Wikipedia? You are such an optimist! Mar 29, 2010 at 10:45
  • 2
    @Lad, I wonder if those people click a link then, and read?
    – Arjan
    Mar 29, 2010 at 10:51
  • @Ladybug killer I don't think that argument is valid. People don't use Google because SO makes it so easy to just ask a question - which is part of its concept, and success. But even the laziest user knows that asking "What is OS X?" or "What is YouTube?" will get them beaten up on every one of the three playgrounds, so I think they actually will look it up themselves. :)
    – Pekka
    Mar 29, 2010 at 10:56
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    I correct myself: You are a hopeless optimist! Mar 29, 2010 at 11:03
  • @Arj: Nope! They will ask on SO why text is underlined on the Internet. It will get migrated to SU and there close as too localized. Mar 29, 2010 at 11:04
  • Hehe, the history of authors on CW posts fooled me again -- thought you had a new sock puppet with a lot of reputation...! (Also wondering why I ever made the question CW, long ago.)
    – Arjan
    Aug 30, 2013 at 12:44

It is completely unnecessary.

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    I didn't follow that. Can you go through it once more, and slowly?
    – mmyers
    Mar 29, 2010 at 13:24
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    @mmyers: it - the thing we're talkin' 'bout... is - the present-tense "to be"... completely - entirely, in aaaallll... which will bring us back to unnecessary !! *grabs shotgun, shoots the Sound of Music soundtrack* Mar 29, 2010 at 13:44
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    @random - how could I forget the full-stop. Mar 29, 2010 at 15:18

As useful as the articles that you are linking to are and will be in the future. I try to avoid linking to anything undergoing a serious edit war, or articles that have serious issues (i.e. not a single citation when citations are possible).

If the article in question can potentially drastically change to the point that its meaning contradicts, not supports your post, don't link to it. But then again, that goes for any external link.

  • 1
    It is possible to link to a specific revision of a Wikipedia article.
    – TRiG
    Jun 12, 2012 at 1:27

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