Wikivoyage:External links

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External links are links to websites other than Wikivoyage. In general the Wikivoyage policy is that external links should be kept to a bare minimum, and only links to primary sources should be used. There should be no external links section in any article.

What to link to[edit]

External links should point to primary sources. For example:

  • The official tourist office or government website for a destination
  • The official website for a hotel
  • The official website for a restaurant or bar
  • The official website for a museum, park, or other attractions
  • The official websites of cultural and educational organizations offering programs of interest to travelers, such as foreign language instruction or cooking classes.

Using only primary sources makes our guide more succinct: while there is usually one, or sometimes two, primary sources for any subject, there can be hundreds or thousands of secondary sources. We also avoid subjectivity and conflict. It's difficult to decide collaboratively which of the thousands of English-language newspapers, magazines, and websites has done the very best travel article about New York City, but it's quite easy for everyone to agree that http://www.nycgo.com/ is the official city visitor's guide. If the destination has both an official visitor's guide and a general government site, include only the visitor guide.

What not to link to[edit]

Avoid linking to secondary sources - for example, avoid links to:

  • Hotel or travel booking services or aggregators
  • Nightlife guides
  • Restaurant guides
  • Blogs, forums and social networking sites (Facebook, etc), with the exception of when a business has no other official web presence
  • Lists of links, service directories (including Wi-Fi directories)
  • Price comparison websites
  • Map services
  • Newspaper and magazine articles
  • Personal image galleries and photo/video sharing websites (Flickr, Webshots, YouTube, etc)
  • Personal travelogues
  • Search engine results (e.g., http://www.google.com/search?q=Montreal)
  • Wikipedia articles, except articles on the same topic as the Wikivoyage article, which are a special case and have their own form of link
  • Other travel guides, including audio guides, audio tours, virtual tours and webcams
  • Vacation rental agencies that do not meet Wikivoyage's rental listing criteria
  • Tour operators that do not meet Wikivoyage's tour listing criteria
  • Rental car operators in cities where they are common (10 or more operating in the city). Typically we don't provide details of national car rental chains in local guides. Providing details at the national level, and mentioning the name and location at local level is sufficient, if required.

We should avoid links to other travel guides, to ensure we have travel information in Wikivoyage, not linked from Wikivoyage. 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, one of our goals is to produce a guide useful for printing or offline use, and therefore we need information to be within the article rather than linked to at another site. See also the "Avoid references to third-party ratings and rankings unless they are truly exceptional" rule in Wikivoyage:Don't tout.

We also do not provide links to source information or provide references—travel guides do not use footnotes! If a source looks like it could be of use to subsequent editors of a guide, mention it (or link to it) on the talk page – not in the article itself.

External link format[edit]

There are three possible formats for "external" links. For the sake of consistency, we only use the first:

Good[edit]

  • Front-linked example. To create such a link, use the syntax: [http://www.example.com Front-linked example] (with caption)

Note that "http://" must be included in the link. The software won't recognize a link if the "http://" is missing.

Bad[edit]

Don't use these:

The predefined listing tags (see, do, eat, drink, buy, sleep) use the {{listing}} template, which frontlinks the listing name in the standard format if a target is specified in the url field.

External link usage[edit]

There are three possible uses for external links:

  • Links in listings: Please include primary source links for listing establishments (e.g., museum website, restaurant website, hotel website, etc.).
  • Official destination links: If an official website exists for the destination, it should be linked to only once, from the name of the destination in the first sentence of the article. Only primary links should be used; a website 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 website is appropriate.
  • In-article text links: 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

Further guidelines[edit]

Don't mislead[edit]

What the reader expects to be at the end of a link, should be at the end of the link. A link to a service provider web page, where permitted by policy, should always be preceded by a mention of the service providers name in the text.

Use short readable links[edit]

Remember that for print versions of Wikivoyage, 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 Kuala Lumpur can be found at http://kualalumpur.lemeridien.com/ as well as http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1840&EM=VTY_MD_kualalumpur_1840_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.

Don't use links to redirection services, such as tinyurl, just to make the links shorter.

Languages[edit]

This version of Wikivoyage is for English-language speakers, so links should go to English versions of sites when possible. However, official primary links should always be added, even if they're not in English: some travellers can read the local language or decipher it with online translation, other travellers will still find pictures, maps, schedules, prices handy, and they may be updated to include English in the future.

Many sites have the information in several languages, e.g., the local language and English. They handle this in different ways:

  • Some use the browser's language preference in which case you just use a link to the main page. This has the advantage that if a non-English speaker uses the English Wikivoyage and follows a link to a page also available in his/her language, the right version will be displayed. You will have to set your browser's language preference to English to test if there is an English version or you can enter the URL in a proxy such as Proxify. You can check the language preference of your browser also.
  • Some sites have an English version with a good permanent URL, such as: http://travel.example.com/english. Use that URL.
  • Some sites have a main page in a non-English language with a cryptic link to an English page, such as http://travel.example.com/fff?349sdshd.asp. This might not be a permanent link, so it is better to use the URL of the main page and let Wikivoyage users find the current link to the English version.

Unpack links[edit]

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.

Print version[edit]

When Wikivoyage articles are printed the Wikivoyage stylesheets are set up so that the full URL of a link will appear in text enclosed in parentheses immediately after the link text. For example, an attraction listing would print as:

  • Asian Civilisations Museum (http://www.nhb.gov.sg/ACM), 1 Empress Pl, ☎ +65 6332 7798.

Special cases[edit]

Government travel advisories[edit]

See the documentation for Template:Warningbox

DMOZ[edit]

We have a special format that features links to DMOZ in a special part of the page – see Links to DMOZ.

Weather forecasts[edit]

Providing a link to a weather forecast for the destination is okay. Such links are often placed in the text field of Template:Climate. You can use Template:ForecastNOAA to link to the NOAA forecast if the destination is in the United States.

Wikipedia[edit]

We have a special format that features links to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons in a special part of the page - see Links to Wikipedia.

See also[edit]