I was looking at the review queue and I got to vote on this suggested edit. The author of the edit removed noise and fixed the uppercase of acronyms like "HP" (great modifications) but also included 3 links to Wikipedia pages related to the hardware the OP is using.

Now I feel a bit confused and I don't really know what to do. Peter has a very positive history of very valuable contributions on the network, especially on SU where he was also editor in chief. There is clearly a case of good faith and desire to provide a contribution, no doubts on that.

What confuses me is whether three links pointing to Wikipedia are really needed. This user is also a very active participant in the Wikipedia community, so it might be that his love for the project has lead him to add a bit too much links to it.

My points are:

  • This is definitely not spam. But could it be considered a bit too much "affection" for Wikipedia by adding links that might not be relevant?
  • Are those links actually relevant? Do they improve the post?
  • Should these kinds of edits be:
    1. accepted without caring too much about them?
    2. encouraged because they provide useful background?
    3. rather rejected to avoid cluttering the post?

For Peter: I hope you don't feel bad at me for pointing out your edit, I am just trying to understand the rationale. Nothing personal here.

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    I know the tl;dr of the answer: no. – Braiam Aug 17 '16 at 22:09
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    Use Wikipedia links in your own answer? sure. Some research. In edits? No. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 17 '16 at 22:31
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    The Wikipedia links in this particular edit look redundant to me. Why should "Ubuntu 14.04" point to a Wikipedia page instead of a Canonical page? There are no good reasons why Wikipedia should be considered the canonical source of information for the hardware in this edit/post. – edwinksl Aug 17 '16 at 23:20
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    OK then I guess I am not the only one sharing this opinion. :) – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 17 '16 at 23:42
  • Meanwhile, the suggested edit got approved. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 17 '16 at 23:56
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    @AndreaLazzarotto Oh well, I guess we all have different opinions on this. :D – edwinksl Aug 18 '16 at 0:16
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    It would be nice if you guys could post your answers as answers. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 20 '16 at 17:41
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    @edwinksl So is Canonical or Wikipedia the true "canonical"? – TheWanderer Aug 21 '16 at 5:00
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    @Zacharee1 that depends. Canonical is more canonical because information is likely to appear there first, and then someone adds it to Wiki. But on the other hand, Canonical's pages could have too much marketing bullshit (though note: I'm saying from a general experience of *any* companies' sites), then Wikipedia is better, because it holds a cleared information about a topic. – Hi-Angel Aug 21 '16 at 21:01
  • OMG it happened here as well: academia.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/41697 – Andrea Lazzarotto Sep 18 '16 at 17:38

In my opinion, links should only be added if they are immediately relevant to the question, regardless of where the links point to (can be Wikipedia or Canonical or whatever that is most useful and relevant). Also, adding a hyperlink does in fact affect the readability of a post because it causes the hyperlinked text to be colored differently from the unhyperlinked text. For a post on the main site (but not the meta site), the hyperlinked text also gets underlined when you mouseover it. This means adding hyperlinks will draw attention to them, so we want to make sure the attention expended is worthwhile.

For this particular edit, the links to the Wikipedia articles for Ubuntu 14.04 and HP Pavilion notebooks are not immediately relevant to the question. Therefore, such links, when clicked, have drawn attention to information that is not useful and wastes time. The proposed Wikipedia links are therefore harmful to the post and the edit should be rejected if the addition of the Wikipedia links were the only modifications in the edit.

Unfortunately, we can't reject or accept parts of an edit. For this edit, I think the good from fixing grammar and punctuation and removing noise outweighs the bad from adding the Wikipedia links. Therefore, I would have chosen "Improve Edit" and then remove the Wikipedia links.

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    «we can't reject or accept parts of an edit» Technically speaking, that's what "Improve edit" is for... you can keep only parts of the edit and revert the rest. :) – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 22 '16 at 11:45
  • Also, I didn't mention it explicitly in my question, but the edited post was very old... not a recent one. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 22 '16 at 11:46

I would typically improve the edit by "removing the cruft" AKA deleting information that doesn't have a direct bearing on the question or answer. Related sources for an answer should be left as is. I think replacing an original dead link with an active one is a good idea.

I don't see the point in adding links to an edit unless they serve to support the original post or the edit you made.

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  • This is definitely not spam. But could it be considered a bit too much "affection" for Wikipedia by adding links that might not be relevant

Addition of links wasn't sole purpose of edition, he fixed grammar; they're rather bonus, not hurting the post, so if the editor likes it, why not?

  • Are those links actually relevant? Do they improve the post?

In the particular case it's subjective (anybody not knowing HP here?). So, I'd approach from the opposite side: they doesn't harm the post.

  • Should these kinds of edits be:
    1. accepted without caring too much about them?
    2. encouraged because they provide useful background?
    3. rather rejected to avoid cluttering the post?

That depends. If the linked edit would've made for sole purpose of adding links, I'd rather reject it, because it would add from little to no info to the post, and trivial edits are discouraged.

Another reject situation as if a post already has important links, like to bug-reports, blog posts, tutorials one used, etc; and the edition clutters available ones with those that didn't help much. As an upper bound situation imagine a post with every word linked to a dictionary.

In other cases, i.e. when edit was made for purposes of fixing (like grammar, formatting, etc), and links doesn't hurt to readability, it is fine to accept.

As for the fact that links are made specifically to Wikipedia — I doesn't see it as anything bad at all: in the end, it is an encyclopedia, the more that it is a non-commercial one.

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  • I'd notify @PeterMortensen though that their edit with link to HP notebook series is indeed overly trivial. – Hi-Angel Aug 21 '16 at 21:45
  • FWIW, I tagged him in a comment with a link to this discussion when I posted it. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 21 '16 at 22:08
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    @Hi-Angel The fact that Wikipedia is a non-commercial encyclopedia is irrelevant. We should always point to links that are the most relevant for writing questions and answers, regardless of where they point to. – edwinksl Aug 21 '16 at 22:36

Editor in chief at Superuser is a great accolade. That being said, it's always possible to learn something new, if only to avoid becoming complacent. The last new editing trick I learned was this one:

<!-- language: lang-none -->

Put this line before a code block followed by a blank line and it suppresses code highlighting. It's invisible by default, so it won't be visible on the screen if special formatting to make it visible is not added. The colors in code highlighting can be distracting if they don't serve the useful purpose of making the code easier to understand.

My suggestion is to take it easy on unnecessary links to Wikipedia hardware articles because they can be distracting too.

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We seem to be over thinking the linking.

If an answer to a question is found on a website why not link it? I've been chastised for not including a summary of the link in case the website goes down in the future--which I've done going forward.

The only subconscious trepidation is a better link exists on page 50 of the google search but I only read as far as page 2--the next person posting an answer may include a link from page 50 making me look like an inferior researcher.

Because most of us are enthusiasts / volunteers, I hope we aren't overly judgmental on links others provided out of their sincerity to help.

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  • The links we are talking about here didn't contain any particularly relevant information. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 27 '16 at 20:18
  • If you are getting back to the beginning about Peter and his Wikilove I have "no comment" :) I hope you don't find my general thoughts about using links too off-target to your original question. I see two of my down-voting fans are opportunistic :D – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 27 '16 at 23:12
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    Down votes on meta just mean disagreement. Whether that was related to over thinking, enthusiast/volunteers or overly judgmental I won't hazard a guess. – Elder Geek Aug 28 '16 at 1:06
  • @ElderGeek Personally I thought "subconscious trepidation" might have struck a nerve. Thanks for pointing out meaning of down votes on meta. Rather than votes from the dark reaches of the internet, I'd rather have a negative comment explicitly stating their rationale. Who knows maybe then I can reason with them and convert them to the light! – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 28 '16 at 3:19
  • While it's nice to receive a comment with some constructive criticism it's not required and there are those who won't. I wouldn't worry about that nor would I waste time attempting to convince those who are diametrically opposed to your point of view. Note that votes are locked until such time as you edit to improve your post. This means that even if you got down-voted by accident the only way to change a vote is more work on your part. To the best of my knowledge this applies to meta, askubuntu, and all stack exchange sites. – Elder Geek Aug 29 '16 at 12:48
  • @ElderGeek I've only down voted SPAM that I can think of. I've read some stupid things but not down-voted them and if I did I would be loathe to say "you are stupid because 2+2 = 4 and not 3 as you claim". Still I want to be a team player and want to know what I said wrong when down voted. One thing irking me is I'm still getting down votes for posts on question asked during my first week here when seduced to post a question in the first place. The question was opinion based, closed and still down-voted even today. Tempted to delete the question but I'll take my punches. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 30 '16 at 0:27
  • There's a badge... Called Peer Pressure that you get for deleting your own post that has 3 or more downvotes. – Elder Geek Aug 30 '16 at 8:16
  • @eldergeek Yes I noticed that badge and was tempted... – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 30 '16 at 14:54
  • The other option is to improve the post. – Elder Geek Aug 30 '16 at 18:02
  • One down voted answer that is possible if people posted comments. The other question is closed because it was asking opinions on best terminal commands. Deleting due to peer pressure is sounding better all the time.... – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 30 '16 at 19:44

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