Help:Linking style

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This article may have a content or subject overlap with Help:Links. The pages could be merged. You can discuss this at RationalWiki:Duplicate articles.

This article is an adjunct to clarify an item in RationalWiki:Community Standards.

When referencing material on another wiki (or any website) please try to use permanent links or diffs. Links to the more volatile "live" versions are likely to become outdated soon after linking.

Websites in general[edit]

The useful style when linking to another website is to make a note of the date and time when it was "retrieved", that is, when you read it and copied the URL. That way if it is changed or deleted, it may still be possible to access the old version, or find where it was moved to.


Most "blogs" have links that say "trackback", or "permanent link", so that a section on their front page can still be readily accessed at any time in the future. On blogs that don't have links marked as such, a link to an entry's comments will frequently act as a permanent link; if the link ends with "#12345", or "#comments" or something similar, you may wish to remove everything from the "#" on.


When referencing other "Wiki" websites, which, like this one, allow continuous editing by participants, it is even more important to make a note of which "version" your link goes to. Luckily, the MediaWiki software used by many Wikis provides two convenient ways to do this.

One is the "permanent link". On the left side of every Wiki page you will see a link, usually in the "toolbox", that says "permanent link". If you click on that, the exact same page shows up, except the URL (the http:etc junk that is in your browser's location bar at the top) will say "&oldid=654321" at the end. This refers to the exact version you are reading. You can also simply right click on the "permanent link" link and "copy link location" to paste it in your work here.

The other is what is called a "diff", or "difference". These are mostly useful when you want to show what a given editor typed in an article at a specific time. One way to genereate these is from the article "history", which is one of the tabs at the top. Although I could struggle to explain how to do this in detail, it would make this style sheet far too wordy and needlessly complex. A Diff link is like a permanent link, except it has two extra numbers tacked onto the end of it, and when you follow it, it shows the changes that were made at one time, and the resulting version of the article.


It's always a good idea to test your link after saving it, to make sure it goes where you want it to, and if possible, test it again some time later to make sure it is still there.

Get help if needed[edit]

If you are in doubt as to how to do this, ask any other editor who seems to be proficient for help - it is much better to ask them, use their time, and learn a bit, than to discover later that your brilliant article's sources have all vanished into the ether. One way to find a relatively experienced editor is to go to the User List and pick an editor whose handle says "sysop" after it. Go to their "talk", or discussion, page, and create a new section explaining to them what you need to know, with as much useful information as you can give them right there (like links of some sort, a link to the article you're working on, etc.).