DrumCorpsWiki is not a web directory; no page should consist solely of a collection of external links. DrumCorpsWiki always prefers internal links, even to non-existent articles, over external links. However, adding a certain number of relevant external links is of valuable service to our readers. See also Mediawiki:When should I link externally.
In DrumCorpsWIki, it is possible to link to external websites. Such links are referred to as "external links". Many articles have a small section containing a few external links. There are a few things which should be considered when adding an external link.
- Is it accessible?
- Is it proper (useful, tasteful, etc.)?
- Is it entered correctly?
- Articles about any organization, person, or other entity should link to their official site, if they have one.
- Sites that have been cited or used as references in the creation of an article. Intellectual honesty requires that any site actually used as a reference be cited. See DrumCorpsWiki:Verifiability.
- An article about a book, a musical score, a webcomic, a web site, or some other media, should link to the actual book, musical score, etc. if possible.
- On articles with multiple Points of View, a link to sites dedicated to each, with a detailed explanation of each link. The number of links dedicated to one POV should not overwhelm the number dedicated to any other. One should attempt to add comments to these links informing the reader of their point of view. If one point of view dominates informed opinion, that should be represented first.
- Sites that contain neutral and accurate material not already in the article. Ideally this content should be integrated into the Wikipedia article, then the link would remain as a reference, but in some cases this is not possible for copyright reasons or because the site has a level of detail which is inappropriate for the Wikipedia article.
- Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as textbooks or reviews.
- For albums, movies, books: one or two links to professional reviews which express some sort of general sentiment. For films, Movie Review Query Engine, Internet Movie DataBase, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic offer especially large collections of reviews.
- Web directories: When deemed appropriate by those contributing to an article on Wikipedia, a link to one web directory listing can be added, with preference to open directories (if two are comparable and only one is open). If deemed unnecessary, or if no good directory listing exists, one should not be included.
- Fan sites: On articles about topics with many fansites, including a link to one major fansite is appropriate, marking the link as such. In extreme cases, a link to a web directory of fansites can replace this link. (Note: fanlistings are generally not informative and should not ordinarily be included.)
- Very large pages should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Worldwide, many use Wikipedia with a low-speed connection. Unusually large pages should be annotated as such.
- External sites can possibly violate copyright. Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page. Whether such a link is contributory infringement is currently being debated in the courts, but in any case, linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on us (see DrumCorpsWiki:Copyrights and in particular Contributors' rights and obligations).
Links to normally avoid
- Any site that contains factually inaccurate material or unverified original research, unless it is the official site of the article's subject or it is a notable proponent of a point of view in an article with multiple points of view.
- In general, any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article here would have once it becomes an example of brilliant prose.
- Links that are added to promote a site. See External link spamming.
- Sites that primarily exist to sell products or services.
- Sites with objectionable amounts of advertising
- Sites that require payment to view the relevant content
- Sites that require external applications (such as Flash or Java) to view the relevant content unless (1) it is the official site of the subject of the article (2) the article is about those media, or (3) the site is being cited as a reference.
- Bookstores. Use the "ISBN" linking format which gives readers an opportunity to search a wide variety of free and non-free book sources.
- A website that you own or maintain (unless it is the official site of the subject of the article). If it is relevant and informative, mention it as a possible link on the talk page and wait for someone else to include it, or include the information directly in the article.
NOTE relating to items #3 and #9: Because of neutrality & point-of-view concerns, a primary policy of wikipedia is that no one from a particular site/organization should post links to that organization/site etc. Because neutrality is such an important -- and difficult -- objective at wikipedia, this takes precedence over other policies defining what should be linked. The accepted procedure is to post the proposed links in the Talk section of the article, and let other - neutral - wikipedia editors decide whether or not it should be included.
As remarked above, there is a strong presumption against linking directly to rich media. It is all right to link to a straight HTML, PHP, ASP, etc. pages that, in turn, link to rich media.
- Interview (along with Lenny Kaye) November 11, 2005 on KEXP; 53 minutes, includes three songs. (Windows Media Player, RealPlayer).
In the above example, note the explicit indication of the technologies needed to access the content. Similarly, in the common case where a PDF must be linked directly as a reference:
- Berkowitz, Joel, Avrom Goldfaden and the Modern Yiddish Theater: The Bard of Old Constantine (PDF), Pakn Treger, no. 44, Winter 2004, 10-19.
External links to dead URLs are of no use to DrumCorpsWiki articles. Such dead links should either be removed or updated with archived versions, which may be found at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
Note that some dead links are caused by vandalism (for example, a vandal disabling links to products competing with vandal's favorite product). It may therefore be worth checking to see if there is a working link in earlier versions of article. Some vandalism of this type is quite subtle, e.g., replacing ASCII letters in the URL with identical-looking Cyrillic letters.
Generally, it is best to avoid using URL redirection sites in external links. Such sites include tinyurl.com and makeashorterlink.com. The reasons to avoid using them include:
- the URL is not visible in the rendered page - so there is no danger of the length of the URL messing up the layout.
- having a direct URL allows readers of the page to more easily determine the site they will go to if they click on the link
There have been problems with vandals changing redirection URLs to point to shock sites. Modifications of direct URLs are more obvious.
Permanent URL sites, like purl.org, may be a different case, as sometimes the PURL version is considered by the site owner to be a more offical URL than the direct URL - in that case, the PURL should be used.
There are two basic formats for external links. The most common is to add a list of external links at the end of an article. Put here, in list form, any web sites that you have used or recommend for readers of the article. The standard format for these is to have a level 2 header (i.e. == Header ==) named "External links" followed by a bullet list of links.
If an article has a large number of external links, it may be helpful to use subheaders to classify them. This can be done using another level of section heading, which will then appear in the table of contents, or with the "semi-colon" syntax, like this:
; Sub-header of links * [http://example.com/link_1 Link 1] * [http://example.com/link_2 Link 2]
- Sub-header of links
If you link to another website, you should give your reader a good summary of the site's contents, and the reasons why this specific website is relevant to the article in question. If you cite an online article, try to provide as much meaningful citation information as possible.
Some editors use the header External link if there is only one link, but others use External links in all cases. There is currently no consensus on the preferred style. Editors who always use the plural form may prefer it for any of the following reasons:
- Experience shows that future editors often add links without changing the section heading.
- Some contributors may be dissuaded from adding links to a section titled External link, since it seems to suggest that there should only be one link.
- Using External links gives greater stylistic consistency to Wikipedia.
- Changing a heading breaks any links directly to the External links section.
The converse arguments are:
- Wikipedia's community-editing usually leads to prompt correction of such oversights.
- There is no evidence to show that a significant number of contributors may be dissuaded from adding links to a section titled External link.
- In one sense, the use of External links to head a section containing a single link is gramatically incorrect.
The second format is for sentences or paragraphs that require specific references. This form of link can be placed in the body of an article at the end of the relevant sentence or paragraph. These links have no description other than an automatically generated number.
'''Frankton''' was one of the names considered for the state of Franklin. [http://www.next1000.com/family/GRUBB/sullivan.tenn.html]
would render something like
Frankton was one of the names considered for the state of Franklin. 
However, because links often die without warning, use of more complete citations is recommended.
For more detailed information regarding DrumCorpsWiki policy toward and appropriate syntax for external links, see:
- DrumCorpsWiki:How to edit a page#Links and URLs
- DrumCorpsWiki:Manual of Style (links)
- Mediawiki:When should I link externally
- DrumCorpsWiki:Guide to writing better articles