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1. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 5y

There are two issues about external I'd like to highlight.

Firstly, as of late, I noticed more and more articles, under the Introduction section, where the title/topic name is linked to the official government website of the place. And in some articles at the end of the Introduction, a paragraph is added to ask people to check the official tourism website of the place.

While I'm not against providing links to the official government and tourism sites, I'm not so sure about the strategy of linking it straight at the beginning. This, in my opinion, has the possibility of leading people away from the guide and site right from the start.

The guide has slowly made exceptions in certain sections. For example, transport companies. It used to be linked in an External Link section, but then got to become a reference link, and then changed to become direct link. All this for the convenience of the readers, which I think is justifiable. A few other exceptions are the visa/immigration sites and food/drink sites.

I personally do not think readers would expect official government site and official tourism site links in an intro. They kind of fall in the "additional info / references" kind of section. One generally do not come here for links to official government/tourism sites, so let's not distract them away so soon! :)

For example, in the Malaysia article, I've followed (to a certain extent) the convention in Wikipedia of providing an External Links section, for the purpose of these external links (you can find official govt/tourism links there). This is placed at the bottom of the article, which is great as a central place to get useful links for the destination. In line with the 'evolution' of this guide mentioned above, I've also made exceptions for transportation companies by linking them directly. So now, a few sections like Getting There, Getting Around, Red Tape, Drink, Eat are linked directly from the content.

Secondly, we need to make clear what kind of external site we can link to, especially in those sections where we are linking directly from the content. I personally think that ONLY official sites can be linked to legal names. Third party sites like blogs, personal/commercial sites, travel agents should not be allowed in representing the legal names/phrases that are being linked to. This is mainly to prevent the possibility of misinformation/misrepresentation by the non-official sites, or worse. For example, a flight price aggregating site should not be linked to an airline name; or a non-official site of an airport should not be linked directly to the airport name.

So, that is my five pence (inflation!). Let me know what you guys think of the above two issues.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Nov-2009, at 13:59 by Hien ]

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5556 posts) 5y

I guess I am the main person who added the first external link you mentioned.

I will stop this from now on (linking right at the beginning) as I can find myself in your explanation why we shouldn't do that. Personally I thought at first it is just a great link, only if it is the official governmental website. But hey, if we decide not to and explain this in the 'about wiki' section I am fine with that.

I do think however that giving an external link about the tourism website at the end (not beginning) of the intro section could be of some use. Or maybe in the sights/actvities section. Preferably intro section though.

About the other link (official site, not other ones) I guess you are right: only official sites can be linked to. I did add some external links not directly to the name of the hotel/pub/airline/site etc, but I tried to avoid it as much as possible, unless it was a very useful website and not an airlines search or hotel search program. Mainly with some sights to encourage reading about a place which has a lot to tell, but is too much to incorporate in the travelguide section.

Mike

3. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5579 posts) 5y

Yep, I guess I am in agreement on both points as well, although I am pretty sure I have also linked to official sites right off the first word(s). Should there be an area for external links in the templates too then? Or do we go case-by-case basis?

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5556 posts) 5y

Quoting Sam I Am

Yep, I guess I am in agreement on both points as well, although I am pretty sure I have also linked to official sites right off the first word(s). Should there be an area for external links in the templates too then? Or do we go case-by-case basis?

We can have both: there are external links which are of no use in the article, except for some extra info at the bottom. Wikipedia does this as well.
Still, some direct linking to airlines should be kept in my opinion. Also, changing over 3000 articles is a bit too much, even for me

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 5516 posts) 5y

I don't think I'm actually that fussed about those links up front, but I can see your point. And the main important thing is that we have a standard that we agree to.

On one point though..

Secondly, we need to make clear what kind of external site we can link to, especially in those sections where we are linking directly from the content. I personally think that ONLY official sites can be linked to legal names.

I think this is a correct approach, with two caveats. Internal links would be excluded though I guess (don't think that's what you meant, but just to be clear!). There's also been some cases where I've linked to a guesthouse that has a page on a site and that's pretty much the most official thing that exists for that guesthouse. But the site itself doesn't belong to the guesthouse. An example of that can be found on the Bellona article, where there are several links to avaiki-connection. We're actually pretty lucky to have any links out to any guesthouses at all for such an obscure location really, which is why we end up with ones like that. And that site operates as a "de-facto" official site for the island, so I think it's ok.

6. Posted by dr.pepper (Moderator 316 posts) 5y

I'm definitely opposed to the linking of the first title mention to the official government website. It just doesn't really make sense sending people on their way so quickly, especially when the link text doesn't really indicate they're going to the official government website.

I think part of the problem with having the link there is that it's confusing for users. Most of the time when a place name is linked, it's going to another guide article. I think we should keep it that way, and when we want to link to official sites, spell them out as such (ie. Official tourism website for Paris, instead of just Paris).

Regarding what kinds of links we allow, I'm hesitant to go with a hard-and-fast policy of only linking to official sites. Sometimes, the best sources of information are not official. Why limit ourselves and deprive our readers? I am aware of the potential spam issues, but at the end of the day it's hard to avoid having to deal with that. I'd suggest measuring every external link for a place against the official website for that place: if it provides more information than the official website, keep it; if it's re-hashing the same stuff, ditch it.

Eric

7. Posted by Santia (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y

:)Hi
I know this thread is very old and I know I'm very new here so haven't "earned" my right to speak up but I will anyway. When I'm planning a trip I find so much wrong into on websites that I always go to the source (official site of the museum, city, attraction, airline) so as far as I'm concerned these kinds of links are very useful. And it is frustrating to read an interesting article only to find you can't get further info anywhere online. So I'm pro-links. I have found external links to commercial tour companies included in the text of the guides, and then when I tried to add another tour guide link that I thought was relevant it was removed a few days/weeks later. So my question is why some and not others? 7I look forward to learnign more about this site as I go along.
Santia

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5556 posts) 1y

Quoting Santia

:)Hi
I know this thread is very old and I know I'm very new here so haven't "earned" my right to speak up but I will anyway. When I'm planning a trip I find so much wrong into on websites that I always go to the source (official site of the museum, city, attraction, airline) so as far as I'm concerned these kinds of links are very useful. And it is frustrating to read an interesting article only to find you can't get further info anywhere online. So I'm pro-links. I have found external links to commercial tour companies included in the text of the guides, and then when I tried to add another tour guide link that I thought was relevant it was removed a few days/weeks later. So my question is why some and not others? 7I look forward to learnign more about this site as I go along.
Santia

First of all, there are no official set of rules here on TP as to which links are allowed or which aren't.
It has more to do with what kind of links are added in which part of an article. For example, links to official bus and train or plane companies are allowed, official governmental or tourism links (at the end of the article under external links) and the occassional sleep/eat/drink sections. Also links to events/festivals or sights/activities are allowed.
Then also it depends on the fact if it is a link by a new member or one that has earned some credits here on TP. Also a very vague description.

Bottom line: in your case, being a new member and adding a link to a tour company (not a buscompany like Dan or Egged, which might have tours as well, don't know) it not something we allow.

Cheers
Mike

9. Posted by Santia (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y

great thanks for the speedy and informative reply. I get it. By the way Egged and Dan do have tours.