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I edited this question, adding the usual links and auto-links to Gatherer. I opted to link each unique card only once, Wikipedia-style, to not overload the text and distract the readers with multiple identical links. Compared to Wikipedia, SE typically has short texts, so missing out on links because of long subsections is very unlikely. Shortly after my edit, all other occurences of mentioned cards have also been linked, which I disagree with for the above reasons.

Do we have a style policy regarding multiple identical links on BCG, and if so, what does it look like?

  • 1
    I suppose this is meant to address not only "do we have a policy...?" but also what that policy should be, assuming it doesn't already exist. Right? – David Z Mar 29 '16 at 12:58
  • @DavidZ See the title of the question, which is not the same as the question in the body of the post. I assume the OP wants that question answered as well. – Rainbolt Mar 29 '16 at 12:59
  • Well yeah. Do we have a policy on that, and if we do, what does it look like? – Hackworth Mar 29 '16 at 13:04
  • There is a de facto convention to link a card just once, mentioned for example here, which was also edited into the mtg tag wiki after that was posted. – Cascabel Mar 30 '16 at 4:03
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Your edit did more than just add links - you fixed other issues with the post.

I cannot say the same of the next edit. I would love to hear why two high reputation users approved an edit that adds redundant links and nothing else. How does that improve the post? I think you did the right thing by rejecting that edit.

Now, to actually answer your question, I searched around on meta, and I could not find a policy. Then, I searched around on Google, and could not find a best practice from a user experience standpoint. I went with the third option: find a similar site and see how they do it. I checked Wikipedia, and found their style to be extremely inconsistent. Fortunately for us, Wikipedia has a style guide for underlinking and overlinking. Here's an excerpt:

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, a link may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead. [...] However, in glossaries, which are primarily referred to for encyclopedic entries on specific terms rather than read from top to bottom like a regular article, it is usually desirable to repeat links (including to other terms in the glossary) that were not already linked in the same entry (see Template:Glossary link).

Duplicate linking in lists is permissible if it significantly aids the reader. This is most often the case when the list is presenting information that could just as aptly be formatted in a table, and is expected to be parsed for particular bits of data, not read from top to bottom. If the list is normal article prose that happens to be formatted as a list, treat it as normal article prose.

I think we should adopt Wikipedia's policy. Our rule of thumb should be to link once unless adding a redundant link would significantly aid the reader.

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I think there are a couple of quick points that will let us deal with these easy.

  1. If the post already has duplicate links, don't edit them out unless other edits to improve the post are also being made.
  2. If the post is being edited to include duplicate links and no other significant edits are being made the edit should be rejected/rolled back.

In the long run I don't think it will be helpful to edit posts just to remove the duplicate links but if we edit them out while fixing other issues and work to prevent them from being edited in it will keep the numbers better.

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I don't think we need a policy on how often a link is included in a question or answer. That sounds like overregulation (which IMO is awfully common on Wikipedia).

What should be prevented is unnecessary edits, like the one you're pointing out. If someone edited the question in its current form, just to remove the duplicate links, that would be as bad as the edit that added them.

But since the question was only a few hours old, and this SE tends to get maybe a handful of questions a day, cosmetic changes like this are relatively harmless. I didn't give it much thought when approving the edit, it didn't occur to me that anyone would disagree with adding a few mtg tags.

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