In American politics as usual, Canadian politics as usual and British politics as usual, the phrase linked to means a vague allusion or inference or allegation that one person or group is associated with another person or group, has been made:
- "George W. Bush claimed that al-Qaida was linked to Saddam Hussein"
- "Stephen Harper said Paul Martin was linked to the sponsorship scandal but would be cleared by the Gomery inquiry anyway."
This usage often shows up in quotes and in articles.
Some proposals for naming conventions try to minimize words by using linked to as a header tag to explain why some page explicitly links to another page.
This is analogous to the political usage, but, can be confusing to beginners:
In the technical usage regarding explicit hypertext links (not vague political ones), headers for the page describing the convention use the phrase linked to to preface the page name of the convention, as follows:
- "Pages linked to as of 2005-11 describe ongoing events that will most certainly change, and so require attention at all times until all such as of tags can be safely removed."
- "Pages linked to Craig Hubley should be those that discuss or describe him, not those that are authored by him. If he is sole author the page must be linked to by Craig Hubley, and if he merely edited it then the page history should be linked to User:Craig_Hubley."
This usage is extremely convenient to instruct users in link ethics and the rulesets of the open politics web. However, it can be confusing, as:
- "links to" is also the present tense and can be misinterpreted as a plural noun also.
- Worse, wiki software uses its own conventions for this:
It is a main purpose of open politics itself to turn vague political allegations and linkages into very clear claims and the evidence for them.
Accordingly, fusing the political and technological usage of "linked to", despite its confusing nature for beginners, may be a necessary step to achieving the clarity and rigour of claims required for issue/position/argument statements.
It is commonly the case that people who debate by edit will try to link or delink pages that describe people to which they want to, or don't want to, be compared or associated, or ideologies, or phenomena. For instance no politician wants to be compared to Hitler and no party to the Nazis. Groups that are trying to influence government do not want links to al-Qaida or quotes from its founders on pages that describe them, even if those quotes are about operational matters where al-Qaida is provably competent.
It is obviously very necessary to explain not just technical but political reporting conventions, and this blurs the line between technical and political uses of the phrase linked to, even as a header tag. For instance, an article on al-Qaida might need to have the following header to reflect its potential rhetorical use:
- "Pages linked to this page on al-Qaida do not endorse that group's methods or program. They are purely descriptive and if any normative claim is made, i.e. that any other group should be mimicking al-Qaida, it is confined to their proven success at some technical organizing problems such as propaganda, keeping secrets, and low-budget operations. We apologize to persons harmed by al-Qaida if such usage offends and ask for alternative examples wherever they make the same point."
This is obviously not as clear-cut as the as of header, but, it is equally useful.
Typical guidelines that apply to the technical usage also apply to the political:
- Pages linked to a page are as important as those pages that it links to. Every wiki page is part of one or more reading paths through the entire corpus and before making substantial change to a page, it is wise to review the pages linking to it, to ensure that the page will still serve the function those other pages require.
- If it will not, make sure the pages currently linked to it are edited.
convert external links to refer links
Where an external link is found more than once from pages in openpolitics.ca itself, it will be advisable to create a single internal refer link - or cite link if it is to a credible source, i.e. not Wikipedia - so any such outlinks can be easily discovered to be referring the same source. This is very important when assessing evidence.