Forum:Should we link to hate sites?

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This is a discussion that was relocated from the Saloon Bar.

The existing policy states:

External links to websites purely devoted to hate (Neo-Nazi, Christian Identity, Metapedia and so on) should be avoided per longstanding community consensus.

Linking to Nazis and other odious people[edit]

We have a general rule against linking to Nazis and other odious personages. Thing is, we're not giving them linkjuice, because our MediaWiki installation has rel=nofollow switched on by default. Is there another reason, other than that they really, really suck and it frequently feels icky even to link to them?

(I'm not worried either way personally, though, e.g., European Union Times has a lot of links to said neo-Nazi site for reference purposes.) - David Gerard (talk) 16:29, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Seems sensible as long we're setting the correct context and offering a warning in cases where the content could be NSFW. --ConcernedResidentomg ponies!!! 16:47, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Thing is, we're giving them the time of day just by having the articles, so in principle, I don't see a problem with linking to it (usual NSFW type caveats applying). The link/ranking thing is something I've never totally understood as search engines work in mysterious ways. Undoubtedly we're one of the biggest culprits for linking to Conservapedia, which can be just as vile on the right day so it might be hypocritical not to lead directly to the source. Scarlet A.pngmoral 16:49, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
We're not actually giving Conservapedia link juice either, though we probably give them almost all their traffic. The Wikipedia viewpoint is to link to the odious in an academic manner where useful to discussing the topic for educational purposes, i.e. don't be gratuitous. (That said, shock sites get a link in plain text, being too icky for a direct link even for WP.) A link with an image capture is probably a good thing, then. IMO. And our article on EU Times is about the most coherent summary available on the web - David Gerard (talk) 16:54, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
(EC) We don't want to raise the profile of hate sites, & that doesn't just mean in terms of search engine ranking. Once or twice I've randomly found racist sites while surfing the net & wondered whether to write a RW article on them, but decided against it since they were fairly obscure sites & deserve to remain so, so it's better not to point at them. On the other hand, sites like GodHatesFags are pretty well-known, so as long as there's some kind of NSFW/not-for-the-easily-offended disclaimer, I think linking to them is OK. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:55, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Yuh. EU Times got links from a few Libertoonian/teabag blogs because it looks good at first glance, and Jpatt linked it from the CP front page. But we're not an encyclopedia of Nazis except as otherwise apposite. I've just tarted up the references on EU Times with captures for everything - captures are a nice way to archive references, after all. (I doubt Network Solutions would change a site 'cos someone was linking to it, but the Nazis might when people star`t noticing their domain reg, for instance) - David Gerard(talk) 17:37, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
So, I propose new statement of our position: don't link gratuitously, do your refs properly, apply good sense, etc - David Gerard (talk) 17:39, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, it's an interesting debate, this. Sometimes I'm with you guys, and then sometimes I'm in the "sunlight/disinfectant" camp. I'm definitely conflicted on this idea that we should pretend scumbags don't exist. DogPMarmite Patrol 17:42, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
It sorta started informally with an early edit I made at metapedia where I said "we don't link to racist garbage" or some such. Although that was by fiat, it seemed to become accepted over time, but was never really discussed in depth, IIRC. What was funny is for a while, the racist scum would come here and add the EL to the site, to be rapidly reverted. You raise an interesting point in that in order to assure the reader that we are telling the truth about these places, we have to link to things on their sites. Metapedia is an extreme enough example that there is no need for that, every page there screams "racist assholes" to any sane reader. It's hard to think of what a good guideline would be, considering reporting on garbage like this is totally on-mission. Perhaps a NSFW/sensibility warning on pages like this? ħumanUser talk:Human 01:43, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
This came up because of the question of why we have a bunch of links to the Fred Phelps websites, whether the best way to link them was through etc, and also because I had (mistakenly) assumed we don't link to hate sites so as not to drive up their search engine results. Since the latter is not the case, I'm not so sure what the reason is for not linking in the first place, especially when there are tens of thousands of links to Conservapedia here. Most hate sites, Phelps included, are so over the top that almost everyone who visits is only going there for the Poe's law or shock value, or because they are diametrically opposed and want to see what "the enemy" is up to. Secret Squirrel (talk) 02:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Like I said, maybe a small warning banner is the solution. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:44, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
The Phelps article was originally the same, but we had one repeated troll/vandal who inserted the links in and it it so many times that people just gave in and added them. As a result, we've found it more acceptable to add these links. As Human said, it's just a de facto thing that started from the Metapedia article (I'm not totally against site policy working like that, that sort of thing works for the UK legal system just fine...), at least now we're talking about it sensibly. Scarlet A.pngmoral 06:10, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Okay to alter our help page policy thing?[edit]

Assuming a site isn't being linked for pure shock value, such as Goatse, and is relevant to the article; any objections to the existing policy being altered to allow for linking but only when it's required in order to illustrate a point? i.e. linking to the writings of Fred Phelps may be relevant in an article that discusses his whacky views, but adding a random link to a porn site would seem unnecessary if it's simply there to say "wow, here's what porn looks like!!!" Also, perhaps the mention that links to sites considered not safe for work should probably carry some kind of warning - as Human suggested. Also, it could be worth asking that services such as TinyUrl be avoided, since wiki formatting takes care of hideously long links anyway. Bear in mind that our linking will not increase Google rankings for these nutjobs. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 10:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)


  • It's difficult to back-up what we say without providing references. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 10:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I was all set to go change the help page myself: "As a general guideline, we don't tend to link to Nazis and other odious hate sites - the sort of thing where your browser wants a shower afterwards - except as on-mission." Note the careful lack of the word "necessary" there - David Gerard (talk) 13:47, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Looks good. I wonder if it's worth adding the warning though, if the content is particularly odious and unsafe for work. Something like a link to ED comes to mind as an example of a site we might link to, but by Odin, it would not be a site I'd like to load at work. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 20:45, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes. Not linking to them doesn't stop them existing.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes. Do you think they'll shut down if we don't link to them. In fact, not linking to them makes us look nearly as stupid as CP refusing to refer to us but dancing around the issue. I would also hope that no-one here is pathetic enough to go along the sixth-form student route of "OMG you link to xxxxxxx!!!!1! you guys are supporting xxxxxxxxx you even link to it on your website!!!1!" DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:38, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Not opposed to changing the rule. In fact it may be helpful in some limited cases to say "go see for yourself" as long as we're critiquing them. Include a NSFW or shower-after-reading warning where needed. Secret Squirrel (talk) 01:11, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Change rule if this is a shameful and futile attempt at thought control. Same with this politically correct cliche of labeling racism, etc, "hate" instead of addressing their arguments as they would present them. Lumenos (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmm..good point there. Simply saying something is a "hate group" or "hate site" is a political neologism and a weasel word, and tells us nothing specific about what they promote. Better to get their actual argument out in the open, and then refute it. Secret Squirrel (talk) 03:51, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

There is a way to protect us from them. If we do link I would make sure we add nofollow to the link, because that way search engines will not increase their rating - ratings of sites go up with the number of links and the rating of pages to those links. If you place nofollow to the link then you are telling the search engine that you do not want the search engine to crawl through the link you provide. That way we link it, but they don't come up higher in search results. That way we have a link to the information, but we do not benefit the sites we link to.— Unsigned, by: Ile / talk / contribs

They're all "nofollow" anyway by default. The thing is it doesn't stop them from knowing where we've come from if we go there. 18:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
How do they know that? Lumenos (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Maybe because we start at a certain page? Well I don't know, if it protects privacy that is another matter, but who cares if they might guess where we came from? How much does that tell them about us? Lumenos (talk) 07:18, 16 June 2010 (UTC)


Just putting this here for "balance". The original idea was simply not to link to their main pages in ELs. Obviously we have to footnote claims about what these sites say. These are two entirely separate concepts. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:31, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

That's a very good point. ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 09:48, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

As a relativist I would be wrong to assume that my opinions are any more valid than those held by others[edit]

Proposed wording[edit]

This is based on David's suggestion. If there are no objections I'll make this change on Friday.

"As a general guideline, we don't tend to link to Nazis and other odious hate sites - the sort of thing where your browser wants a shower afterwards - except as on-mission. If the link is to a particularly nasty or pornographic site then please include a warning to that effect. For example: An image of Ted Haggard (This image is disturbing and not safe for work)." --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 08:12, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

maybe not this line though the sort of thing where your browser wants a shower afterwards. Acei9 07:23, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I like the proposed change as it is. Lumenos (talk) 08:30, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
A straightforward template: {{sitenolink|description<sup>reason</sup>}} where the options could be "NSFW", "Hate site" and so on.
e.g.: [ A jolly good read]<sup><font color = "red">NSFW</font></sup>
{{sitenolink||A jolly good read|NSFW}}
A jolly good readNSFW
07:35, 16 June 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
I think this should be discussed at the talk page of the page that would get changed. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:27, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
It will probably get archived quicker over there, but [ here ] is the location of that discussion. Lumenos (talk) 01:07, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
No it won't. But a random forum many people might not read is not the place to discuss changing a different page. The page's talk page is where to do it. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:32, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
It is listed at the top of the box in the Saloon Bar. The Bar may be more popular than the CS talk page. I still contend that the best place to link to a poll is from each individual "community standard". That way when one is reading the community standards, they can easily find the poll. Lumenos (talk) 07:49, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Irony anyone? It just got archived. Same night. :) Lumenos (talk) 08:22, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Gawd, Lumenos, you are a moron, sadly. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:25, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I second what Human said. It is not irony, it is causal. The issue has been forced to the point where it is better to start the conversation afresh and build a consensus rather than trying to work out what people are saying. - π 10:42, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm missing something here (that often happens, sadly) but I was merely pointing out that Human's strangely dubious claim, that it would not be archived quicker, is now shown to be false. Since we've started a sub-conversation here, I might add that another problem with putting everything on that community standards talk page is that we can't put a single issue of interest, on a watchlist, without getting email alerts for all the issues we are not interested in. I support the FOUR BUREAUCRATS who participated in this poll. You might notice also that Lumenos is not resorting to insults, merely stating certain apparently objective facts for the community to consider. Lumenos (talk) 18:02, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
While I don't think that archiving still-live discussions to start over was a great move, it looks like the revamp might make some progress, while this discussion here does not currently appear to be going in a productive direction. Anyway, I have removed the Nazi clause from the CS for now, as it should have been discussed before being added in the first place, & something will get agreed on it in the revamp. BTW you can easily disable email alerts in your preferences. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:14, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to the archiving. I'm opposed to Human's idea that that talk page is the best place for all these discussions. If many of them become active it increases the need for archiving if we wish to support slower internet connections or maybe some PDA's or devices with problems with huge pages. I don't wish to disable email alerts. I want email alerts for this topic and not others. I could have swore there was something that automatically merges comments instead of there being edit conflicts, so maybe edit conflicts aren't a problem.
You did indeed remove it. Hum. Hope that goes over well. I thought a day ago the community standards was linked from the left column, but that seems to be gone now as well.
Lumenos (talk) 19:46, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

As this has become about the Community Standards I have started a proper discussion here. - π 07:58, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

The improper discussion can be found here (see table of contents for section "Not linking to Nazis"). Rest assured, those who participated will be dealt with. Lumenos (talk) 06:18, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Current state of play[edit]

  • GodHatesFags & other WBC sites - now linked to (with NSFW warning) in the Fred Phelps article; probably not linked from other articles.
  • Metapedia - we make a point of refusing to link to it in the Metapedia article, but it was recently linked to from the Saloon bar without this being controversial. We used to link to it via tinyurl in the days of WIGO the Fourth Reich, which we now know is redundant.
  • Stormfront - we don't link to it the article. Used to be linked with tinurls in the WIGO 4th Reich days.
  • Ku Klux Klan - we don't link to their website, but then we barely mention it either, since our article is about the various klans, past & present, more than their online activities.
  • Jew Watch - not linked.
  • European Union Times - linked to in the subject article.
  • Council of Conservative Citizens - linked.
  • Nation of Islam - linked.

The main thing that shows up is that we don't mind linking to homophobic sites - GHF & its sister sites, Conservapedia (not exactly a hate site, but still homophobic) - but we're squeamish about directly linking to explicitly white supremacist ones (Metapedia, Stormfront, Jew Watch). Does this need to change? If we try to be consistent, maybe we should add links into these articles. Or maybe we should carry on linking or not linking on a case-by-case basis, rather than trying to form a uniform policy on this issue. Your thoughts? ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:18, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm neutral these days on this. We should just use good sense. The occasional "RW does not link to racist garbage" can be fun, but let's not construe it as "policy" anymore (since it isn't - it was just a joke, sort of). ħumanUser talk:Human 02:39, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it's better to drop those statements. If we choose not to link to these sites in an article, just leave it without a link, rather than having an "external links" section pompously announcing that we won't link to them. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:42, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I have not big on "policy" per say; consistency and consensus is what I prefer (are they then the same thing?). It is better to discuss it on a case-by-case basis. Vile shit come in a continuum and I don't think we can establish a clear cut off point on what we do and don't want to link to. Nobody wants to link to Metapedia saying "check out this cool site", but if a link is appropriate than one can be placed. I notice on RationalWiki:Webshites#Racist nutters that we have a defense of policy, but that is fairly recentish. Again, I prefer case-by-case discussion over uniform policy. - π 07:45, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Likewise. The statement on that Webshites page needs to be amended as it's still promoting the fallacy that our reasons for not linking to these sites are to do with not giving them web ranking hits. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:37, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Oid, we did drop the general statements. If you mean the case by case "RW does not link to racist hate" type statements, again, they can be taken case by case. I hope. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:13, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I was thinking particularly of the external links section at the bottom of our Metapedia#External links article (although there are similar statements on one or two others) where we state "RationalWiki does not provide links to racist garbage". This seems rather high-handed when in fact we are providing links to comparable sites in other articles. We should either add a link to Metapedia there, or leave it without one but take out that whole unnecessary section. Having an external links section just to declare that we won't provide an external link is quite a strong statement unless we do try to do this consistently. If we decide on about linking or not linking on a case-by-case basis, which I'd prefer, then we shouldn't make these kind of sweeping statements. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:37, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

As a matter of sourcing claims[edit]

If we are making claims about what someone says, perhaps we should cite the source? Wouldn't it be rather easier, otherwise, for anyone to rattle off a bunch of claims that no one can verify? ~ The Undecider (an anarcho-librarian) 22:17, 3 July 2010 (UTC)