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Archive:The Big Link

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This is an informal Initiative to add copious, relevant links to all the articles in the Citizendium. See this discussion for the rationale.

Take credit for linkifying here

Write your name and "finished" (type ~~~) after an item to take credit for linkifying the set of articles there. Write "started" after your name if you want to tell others that you've started, but you aren't finished.


The density of possible relevant links is much higher than what is seen on many of our article pages. Adding links is easy and fun, and you can do it to any article, not just articles you happen to have started. This is much more important than many people realize. When you see an article with many wikilinks (i.e., "internal" links, links to other articles on the wiki), whether the linked-to articles exist yet or not, it's more exciting and interesting. When someone reads an article with many links, the natural reactions are: "I could learn more about this, or that, or that; what a wealth of knowledge!" and "Oh, they don't have an article about this; I could write something up quick." Meanwhile, when one reads an article without wikilinks, or with only a few wikilinks, one gets the sense that one is at a dead end. The article authors haven't facilitated your passage on to other relevant information, which is mildly depressing. "Hey," a thoughtful reader notices, "an article about such-and-such must exist, so why aren't they linking to it from this mention of the topic? Are they embarrassed, or what?" Wikilinks are crucial to building the wiki.

Some people say they don't like copious wikilinks, even if they are relevant, especially when the linked-to articles don't exist yet. They say that links to nonexistent articles are "ugly" and potentially confusing. Well--not really, not enough to matter. If you say this, consider that in the early days, most of the links were "red links." Indeed, the early Wikipedians were bothered by those links. But instead complaining about their lack of aesthetic appeal, they were motivated to create new articles. Red links were instrumental in building Wikipedia. CZ must follow the same strategy if we are to succeed.

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