External Redirects

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Create a list of External Redirects that lead to docs that should be migrated into the wiki.

What is the reason you decided to put use the external redirects instead of direct links here? I know it's less convenient for me, because the title of an article usually tells me much less than its URL. Just wondering, what are the advantages of this method? --Nickolay 08:48, 15 September 2005 (PDT)

  • It allowed us to include those articles in the Category pages by categorizing the redirect pages, freeing up the need to have separate Topic subpages for listing both internal and external links that would have to be maintained by hand. -- dria 10:35, 15 September 2005 (PDT)
    • I understand that. I guess I should have been more clear: why do we link to external redirect pages in wikitext ([[An external redirect]]) instead of linking directly to the page ([http://... title])? --Nickolay 10:51, 15 September 2005 (PDT)
      • Oh, I see...I did that so if the URL changed we would only have to change it in one place, but I'm no longer convinced this was the best thing to do. Would you propose we change all links to External Redirects to be direct links to the external URLs, and have the External Redirects only exist for the purpose of categorization? My fear is increasing and/or confusing maintenance issues, right now. -- dria 12:24, 15 September 2005 (PDT)
        • Yes, I think the external redirects should only be used for categorization purposes.
          • If an extension can hook into the parser "we" may be able to manage auto (external) redirect links, should someone link directly to an external redirect page. and add a Template ({{ ExternalRedirectHelp }}) near it, which would contain simply a comment note about going to an _actual_ help page on editing external redirects. The thought of actually using external redirects for things which should at some point move to the wiki itself would be very beneficial, since then we can simply see what links to the (external) link, and then remove the (external) link. Or some such. IOW, I'm ok with the final thought for now, and in the future perhaps we should investigate a means to "force" (external) uses when they are available. --Callek 20:05, 15 September 2005 (PDT)

About external redirects' usefulness for fixing broken links. The whole WWW uses plain URLs, and while you encounter a dead link once in a while, most links do work. It's not like URLs of documents are changing on a regular basis. We certainly can live without using external redirects in place of regular URLs. The question is, what are pros and cons of using external redirects:

  • Good: Easy for MDC editors to fix when the page is linked from many articles (via redirect).
  • Good: Consistent links across Category pages and article pages (if we try hard).
  • Bad: It's harder to tell the articles just by their titles, without seeing URLs (not sure it applies to "Regular People")
  • Bad: Hard to fix for regular people (need to know the &action=edit trick) => wiki magic won't help with fixing broken links (all broken links will need to be fixed by an involved editor).
  • Bad: Possible inconsistence, when a single document is linked (from different pages) using a redirect and a direct link, or, even worse, two ext. redirect pages, linking to the same URL.

I'd vote for leaving existing redirects in place, as it's no big deal, but trying to use "real" links when possible. --Nickolay 13:56, 15 September 2005 (PDT)

  • The only time an external link should be added to the wiki as an external redirect is if we want it to appear in the wiki Categories. Regular external links that do not need to be indexed in the categories should be done as regular links, not as redirects.
  • Linking to external redirects was something I started doing when I was trying to very quickly get the new topic pages finished in time for "beta", and was a mistake.
  • In order to facilitate linking simplicity for "normal" folks, we should use regular external links everywhere instead of linking to the external redirects. The only people who should have to think about external redirects are the "editors" who understand what they're about, and how to create them and edit them.
  • For the time being we will leave the existing links to external redirects as they are, but only because I don't have time to switch them all back to regular external links at this time. -- dria 05:46, 21 September 2005 (PDT)

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Contributors to this page: Dria, Nickolay
Last updated by: Dria,