Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard

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Welcome to the external links noticeboard
This page is for reporting possible breaches of the external links guideline.
  • Post questions here regarding whether particular external links are appropriate or compliant with Wikipedia's guidelines for external links.
  • Provide links to the relevant article(s), talk page(s), and external links(s) that are being discussed.
  • Questions about prominent websites like YouTube, IMDb, Twitter, or Find a Grave might be addressed with information from this guide.
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BBC INfax links are 404[edit]

Links to :- seem to be generating 404's, are these internal intranet links? (They should ideally be marked for archival replacement)[edit]

We have many links to this site (>5,000). I looked in particular at

which is dead. I found no useful archive on Internet Archive.

Another link from the same article is also dead.

Maybe we should deprecate this site?

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 12:43, 30 October 2018 (UTC).

@Rich Farmbrough: what is the function of this site? It looks like a search-engine (-result)? --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:25, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes I think so. Looks like the results expire, probably fairly quickly, making it of limited use.
E.G. is effectively an abstract of - which would make a better reference.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 15:31, 31 October 2018 (UTC).
@Rich Farmbrough: we discourage linking to search results ... forcefully replace what canbe replaced, remove the rest andblacklist? --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:14, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Checking a few out, this seems to be a full article, and successfully archived. So it looks like a manual process. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 11:34, 2 November 2018 (UTC).

External links to CSPAN coverage of federal hearings not uploaded by CSPAN[edit]

I am working on an article related to 1993/1994 congressional committee hearings across two sessions. If I could point to transcriptions of the hearings, I would use those instead but this was before Congress was digitally enlightened. Fortunately, both sessions were filmed by CSPAN. There are YouTube versions of these recordings by non-CSPAN uploaders. Per CSPAN's terms, its recordings of federal transactions like congressional hearings can be posted online non-commercially as long as they are credited. In other words, these two videos are technically legal uploads. (They don't directly credit CSPAN but CSPAN's logo all over the videos and CSPAN says that's sufficient).

Obviously, these videos are non-free but I would like to include the Youtube links in this article. Are these fair ELs? --Masem (t) 19:42, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

Do we have a guarantee that those uses on YouTube are non-commercial? AIUI the addition of advertisements is a reasonable interpretation of commercial... --Izno (talk) 23:02, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Good point. But fortunately I just discovered C-SPAN offers these videos too on their archives, so I'll just use those. --Masem (t) 13:32, 2 November 2018 (UTC)


I refer to the recent history here. The external link does not seem compliant to me. And see talk. Is anyone able to offer a second opinion, either way? Aoziwe (talk) 12:39, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

Seems inappropriate, and I've responded on the article talk page.
I also removed the link to the video, as being a video example for coursing, rather than a reference. --Ronz (talk) 16:19, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Ronz. Aoziwe (talk) 11:15, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Sweet Adelines International chorus competitions, 2010–2019[edit]

I'm wondering if the embedded links to YouTube videos added to various sections of this article are appropriate. There seem to be some templates being used for the individual competitions which is embedding links to not only videos, but also to pdf files to various sections of the article, which generally is not really something allowed per WP:ELLIST or WP:CS#Avoid embedded links. The use of embedded citations has been deprecated, so the pdf links might be able to be converted to regularly formatted inline citations, but not sure how that will affect the functioning of the templates. Moreover, most of the links to YouTube are to the competition's official channel and it seems that one link to the channel's main page in the "External links" section should be suffiecient per WP:ELOFFICIAL. -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:20, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

I don't think the links were included to intentionally flaunt the guidelines. I agree they are not included in the best manner. The summary links could be converted to source citations for the adjacent scores. Similarly, the competition video links could be modified as source citations for a "video availability" table column. The single-link suggestion to the associated YouTube channel page has merit, though with so many different targets, I expect specific links would better serve interested readers. As you indicated, the "Sweet Adelines International Competition year table" template usage complicates modification. —ADavidB 09:43, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
I've updated the associated table row template to reformat external links as source citations. Conversion of template calls is underway for the scoring column. —ADavidB 13:10, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Adavidb for taking a look and then doing all of that cleaning up of the links. I'm assuming that I can apply what you did to Sweet Adelines International Harmony Classic competitions and Sweet Adelines International quartet competitions, 2010–2019 as well. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:24, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
You're welcome. Some of the tables in other SAI articles use the same templates, while others do not, but I expect changes can be applied in the same way to all of them. I already had the 2000–2009 chorus competition and 2010–2019 quartet competiton articles on my informal 'to do' list as well, but don't know when I'd get to them. —ADavidB 17:42, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Hello Marchjuly and Adavidb. Sorry I didn't reply to this earlier - I appreciate the conscientious effort you've both gone to in thinking about this particular case - and for the time you've taken to discuss, then modify, the tables thus far. If you don't mind, I think this might be a case where IAR might apply given the repetitious and single-source nature of these external links. In short: I'm not sure we are "solving" any particular problem by moving the external links from being 'inline' to 'references' format. Instead I think we might be making it harder on the reader, and making the references section needlessly hard to use.
With regards to the two policies cited above by Marchjuly:
  1. It is my reading that the specific purpose of the policy to Wikipedia:Citing sources#Avoid embedded links is written to address the issue of such links being "highly susceptible to linkrot" - as well as for aesthetic reasons.
  2. While, the Wikipedia:External links#Links in lists policy is about ensuring "lists themselves should not be composed of external links". It goes on to state, however, that "This section does not apply if the external link is serving as a citation for a stand-alone list entry that otherwise meets that list's inclusion criteria."
As mentioned there are several articles to which this discussion applies (two "chorus competition" articles, one "quartet competition" article, the "harmony classic" article, and also the overarching article about all the competitions [which has some other tables and transcludes some sections from these aforementioned articles]). But, for the purposes of this discussion let's stick with discussing the The most recent quartet competition table only. Any consensus about it can also serve for the rest.
Whereas before any given cell in the "video" column had the words "Semi-finals - Finals" as blue links to their respective videos. Now it says "Semi-finals[244] - Finals[245]" with references to the bottom of the page, where it then says "244 > Class Ring SemiFinal. Sweet Adelines International - Via Youtube. 245 > Class Ring Final. Sweet Adelines International - Via Youtube." This footnote format doesn't give any extra information to the reader, and is not any more resilient against linkrot, but it does make them click a second time AND it now means that footnotes 130 to 295 on that page are a solid stream of repeated information line after line. This is neither pretty nor useful (in my opinion). Yes it is true that this is more in alignment with the policies cited above (footnotes preferred instead of external links) - but not for the reasons those policies cite: anti-linkrot, aesthetics, avoiding lists-of-links.
By comparison, if we are concerned with the "video" column, we should equally be looking at the "regional:summary" column - which is also a list of external links - in this case to PDF (scoresheets from individual competitions) rather than youtube videos. They too could be converted to references format at the bottom of the page, but I equally don't believe that would help. The website that publishes these scoresheets is not the original publisher and so it has no explicit authority as a source - it is merely hosting them (in fact - it is a more reliable web-host than the official organisation itself who doesn't even host the PDFs of the regional competition scoresheets, only the international competition!)
Thank you for your time in reading this commentary. I'm also going to ping @Pigsonthewing and RexxS: who built the template in the first place for their opinion. Wittylama 17:26, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
The 2010–2019 quartet competition article has thus far not been fully 'converted'. The article's only related changes in appearance – which you described – are due to an update to the table header template; no change has yet been made to the parameters given when calling it. I adjusted the header video column to represent what videos are available, with a source citation, as opposed to direct external links to those videos. While I also updated the associated table row template, a change in parameters would be required for visual differences in the regional score/summary columns. The chorus competition articles do have these changes already applied, likewise using the summaries as source citations for the regional scores. Readership is available at this external link. —ADavidB 19:33, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
A big help in combatting link rot (being able to repair a link that is no longer functional) is to have a title and other information that may still apply to a working link. Also, the Internet Archive regularly archives websites used as source citations on Wikipedia; I don't believe it does this for Wikipedia's direct external links. —ADavidB 20:14, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
I can't see any benefit of embedding external links like Report and Stats over using a fully and properly formatted inline citations even though this seems to be commonly done is sports season articles, etc. which are basically long lists of game results (statcruft in my opinion). It would work OK if there was information about the link/source added to the "References" section, but that is almost never done. That seems to be one of the main reasons the use of embedded citations has been deprecated; editors would add a citation like this [1] and then wouldn't add any information about the source to the "References" section. This might have been acceptable back when Wikipedia was still beginning, but these days there are so many different citation templates which can be used and formatted citations can be added by the software itself that there's no reason not to do so when citing a source. If there are concerns that the syntax will be hard to figure out or accidentally damaged by editors if it's included in the body of the article, then the formatted references can all added to the "References" section and WP:REFNAME or a WP:SRF style can used to add the footnote markers to the article body at the desired location. -- Marchjuly (talk) 13:34, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • These lists are simply not Wikipedia material. They are sourced to Yahoo groups, fan wikis and other unreliable sources. Virtually all the listed groups have no articles, and almost certainly never will. This stuff belongs on the fan wiki, not here. Guy (Help!) 21:37, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
    • I wasn't sure, but the articles reminded me of the type of statcruft/fancruft you kinda find in lots of sports season articles. I agree that the individual entries in the lists are almost certainly never going to be considered notable enough for stand-alone articles, but perhaps the individual competitions might be. The lack of reliable sources is, however, a problem as well as the way non-free logos for each incarnation of the competition are being used (my opinion is that they event logos are not WP:NFCCP compliant), but none of those things were really related to the external link use; so, I didn't mention them in my OP. -- Marchjuly (talk) 13:41, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
      • I understand that these three articles listing the historical scores are borderline in terms of third-party reliable sources, because there are only secondary-sources from fan-sites or primary-sources (the scoresheets themselves) which give the detailed information being listed. This is however, not a discussion for the EL noticeboard and more for a discussion of deletion re. notability. While it would be disheartening to me to see this work of mine deleted, objectively I do realise that this is a valid discussion and could be argued both ways. HOWEVER, Marchjuly & JzG, I do resent having my work described merely as "fan/sport/statcruft" and summarily dismissed as "simply not Wikipedia material". As Wikipedia:Fancruft#Usage states: "Some users consider this a pejorative term and see it as insulting to well-meaning contributors. They might likewise consider use of the term in forums such as articles for deletion inappropriate, but it is, nevertheless, in common use there. However, this usage is not a substitute for a well-reasoned argument based on existing Wikipedia policies." We can have a sensible discussion about inclusion of the information in these pages, but you can clearly see that I have put in many many hours of work to them - and dismissing that effort offhand is very demotivating regardless of what you think about the articles themselves. Please be considerate of this when critiquing the validity of my work. Wittylama 12:52, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
Resent away, it doesn't change things, I'm afraid. I find it very distressing when people go to a lot of work in good faith but the result is simply not compliant, I feel for you, but the fact is that this is lists of trivial information about non-notable groups sourced to websites that fail WP:RS. You really should know that fan wikis, for example, are not reliable sources. Guy (Help!) 13:07, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
@Wittylama: It wasn't my intent to make light of the time and effort you put into the article(s), so I apologize if I came off as if I was. The point about the sources made by Guy, however, is sort of relevant because one of the ways to resolve embedded external links is to convert them to inline citations, and in your first post above you seem to suggest that these links were intended to be seen as citations. A detailed discussion of the reliability/quality of the sources themselves is perhaps probably a discussion better suited for WP:RSN, but a cursory discussion of that here seems fine since there's kind of no point in converting links to citations if the sources aren't RS's. As for the cruft comment, your point is well taken; however, the way the links were/are being embedded and the way templates are being used do remind me of a similar things I've seen used in sports teams individual season article, which tend to be one long table or series of tables (or templates) of competition results with lots of external links being used. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:02, 13 November 2018 (UTC)