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new wikipedia-link^ notation style July 13, 2006 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I, for one, welcome our new wikipedia-link^ notation style.
posted by mwhybark to MetaFilter-Related at 8:05 AM (105 comments total)

Part of me doesn't think this all is that new. But, well, search engines don't like it when you search for ^.
posted by Plutor at 8:17 AM on July 13, 2006


Also, some people don't like it.
posted by Plutor at 8:20 AM on July 13, 2006


Oh, so THAT'S what that is!

Too lazy to hover me mouse over the ^s
posted by antifuse at 8:22 AM on July 13, 2006


Yeah, it's a bitch to click on those links. I don't welcome this notation at all. I will scowl at it.
posted by chunking express at 8:24 AM on July 13, 2006


That is one fine rant!

I have a friend who actually has devoted a fair amount of time to working on a citation-oriented markup system called "purple numbers." As I recall the use of superscripted links was one approach that was considered early on.
posted by mwhybark at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2006


My votes: No for carat links. (Too small.)

Yes for hover-text. The possibilities are endless. Howdya do that, anyway?
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2006


Previously.
posted by Gator at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2006


I join with chunking express in scowling.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:33 AM on July 13, 2006


Whatever it is, I don't like it. And I don't like not liking it either! All hyperlinks should be handled through a firefox extension, or possibly some sort of Greasemonkey script.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:33 AM on July 13, 2006


New things and ideas are scary.
posted by interrobang at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2006


New things and ideas that are not an improvement on old things, and that are harder to use, are annoying.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:39 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


My votes: No for carat links. (Too small.)

Seconded, or fourthed or whatever.

+ or ] or } or # or | or something would be better-- rarely-used, full-length, easily accessible characters.

Let the word go forth from the land: }.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:43 AM on July 13, 2006


What Kirth said.
posted by keswick at 8:46 AM on July 13, 2006


I don't see how this is any different then a superscript number. The numbers were used to indicate a number in reference page, and since we don't have a reference page we dont need the numbers.

So it could be any number of these ways.

dog
dog (wikipedia)
dog1
dog^
dogwikipedia
dog}

and they are all ok with me.
posted by bigmusic at 8:50 AM on July 13, 2006


Link test should be descriptive. Not a random character.
posted by chunking express at 8:55 AM on July 13, 2006


I don't. And it conflicts with wikipedia's own usage of the caret as a "return UP to the text from a footnote" marker.

I think I don't like it because it moves the front page closer to looking like "geek speak" than literate English, making it less attractive to people who don't think having line noise strewn through their reading material is normal practice. Also, the meaning is not clear unless your "in on it" already. I know; there are already lots of unwritten rules & practices here, but - why add another style quirk?

Upshot? Some folks really like it and will use it according to their taste.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2006


Too small and easily skipped when skimming.
posted by mischief at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2006


YouTube on Wikipedia^
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2006


So it could be any number of these ways.

You missed one: dog.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:00 AM on July 13, 2006


See also:

Bit Torrent on Wikipedia^

Wikipedia on Bit Torrent^
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:04 AM on July 13, 2006


I, for one, welcome our new wikipedia-link^ notation style.

Well drag this ^ to your bookmarks bar and leave the rest of us alone.
posted by cillit bang at 9:04 AM on July 13, 2006


meh. And that's my final answer!
posted by OmieWise at 9:04 AM on July 13, 2006



posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:05 AM on July 13, 2006


Some folks really like it and will use it according to their taste.

We'll scowl at them, too.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:06 AM on July 13, 2006


It gets tiring on the brow, you know - maybe I need an AutoScowl extension.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:11 AM on July 13, 2006


[^][]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2006


Fonzie!ω
posted by boo_radley at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2006


MetaFilter and Wikipedia go together like fpps and carats.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:17 AM on July 13, 2006


^_^
posted by absalom at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2006


Why bother? The traditional way of linking is more intuitive to the reader (hey, this text is yellow, it must be a link). And why single out Wikipedia to have its own special link-character? Will every online reference site have its own special character? Which sites are special enough to rate their own special characters? Imagine the temper tantrums we could throw! (I demand a special character for my blog because it's awesome!)

I don't actually have a blog, but I want a special character just in case I decide to start one someday.
posted by Quietgal at 9:21 AM on July 13, 2006


This space intentionally left blank.^
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:21 AM on July 13, 2006


From the previous thread on this very topic:

You know who else had positive opinions about carets?

That's right, Hitler.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:13 PM EST on June 20 [+fave] [!]

posted by GuyZero at 9:23 AM on July 13, 2006


and they are all ok with me.

Yeah, me too. As I responded to jack_mo: You can't win. When people link to Wikipedia as you suggest, others yell at them for a "lame link to Wikipedia." The ^ was developed to ward that off. I agree with you that a superscript 'w' would be a tad more comprehensible, but hey, it's just a convention. No need to let it ruin your day.
posted by languagehat at 9:31 AM on July 13, 2006


It fucking sucks, for the reasons I gave in the second thread linked above. Anyone who uses a '^' to link to Wikipedia in a post is a parrot-cocked, goat-lapping oaf. Fact.
posted by jack_mo at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]



posted by cellphone at 9:40 AM on July 13, 2006


On not-preview: yeah, I get that, languagehat, but there's no need to reinvent the sodding conventions of linking in a way likely to bewilder the majority of readers. If you're worried about folk moaning about Wikipedia links, put them in a [more inside].

Is that siren off a van coming to take me away, cellphone? Sorry, have gone mad after having to research and write a 2, 000 word piece on iPod rumours through the ages. If you ever want to generate a barely-repressible rage, try reading a hundred-odd posts by hooting Apple fanboys in response to inept Adobe® Photoshop® mockups of MP3 players.
posted by jack_mo at 9:44 AM on July 13, 2006


I only like it because it stresses the point that links to Wikipedia generally don't make great FPP content so if (IF) people started using it, we might see a drop-off in the number of filler Wikipedia links that sometimes prop up bad posts. ^
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2006


cellphone has the right idea:

Fonzie!
posted by boo_radley at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


What are you saying, GuyZero? I pre-Godwinned this thread?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2006


Since people complain about wikipedia links in FPPs, and now people are complaining about the carats, we must ask ourselves the question - do wikipedia links belong in FPPs at all? Maybe people should put them in their [more inside]?

Alternately, should it just be assumed that people can look things up on Wikipedia on their own, without any help from us?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2006


You know who else liked Fonzie? Godwin
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2006


You know who else had positive opinions about carets?^
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:20 AM on July 13, 2006


I didn't know peak words would be upon us so soon. Soon will we have to make words out of soybeans and our own poop? Holy crap, I'm wasting words. In this new word rationing system EB and Loquacious will be like the dudes who drive Hummers to the corner for milk. If we act quickly we can still turn off the internet in time and resort to telegrams.


JUST USE WORDS DAMMIT FANCYPANTSES!
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:27 AM on July 13, 2006


My pants are USB-enabled.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:29 AM on July 13, 2006


How about: Volapük (Wikipedia)?

Afroblanco: Alternately, should it just be assumed that people can look things up on Wikipedia on their own, without any help from us?

For really obscure topics, I think Wikipedia links can be useful.
posted by russilwvong at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2006


Oh, the caret signifies a wikipedia link. I just learned that from the latter part of this thread, thinking that they were just normal links.

That makes the answer simpler: wikipedia links do not belong in fpp's; they are superfluous. ;-P
posted by mischief at 10:39 AM on July 13, 2006


Why not add a javascript button on each post to make wiki links of all the words in that FPP that have articles in wikipedia?

Then people will never have to include a wiki link in a FPP again.
posted by empath at 10:43 AM on July 13, 2006


Divine_Wino, I've been hoarding words for decades. I now have a massive stockpile. When you run out, come and see me; I'm sure we can work out some arrangement. For instance - do you have children?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:45 AM on July 13, 2006


I have one but she's tough and stringy.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2006


jack_mo writes "Anyone who uses a '^' to link to Wikipedia in a post is a parrot-cocked, goat-lapping oaf. Fact."

I'm going to need to see a reference.
posted by OmieWise at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2006


jack_mo served in Nam with me. I can't recommend him highly enough.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:51 AM on July 13, 2006


Don't think I've forgotten the night you all fragged me! My phantom legs still itch.
posted by OmieWise at 11:12 AM on July 13, 2006


I pre-Godwinned this thread?

No, I just liked your totally specious^ (or, perhaps, meretricious^) objection. And it's only fair to attribute it. Crap, I mean attribute it^. No, wait, I mean attribute it^.

For good posts, the caret is gilding the lily. For bad posts, it's polishing a turd. But don't let me stop anyone from doing either of those things. I'll take carets over someone not posting something worthwhile.
posted by GuyZero at 11:44 AM on July 13, 2006


I prefer my turds gilded, thank you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:49 AM on July 13, 2006


I don't much care for the caret. A bigger issue than what I do or don't like, however, is that a single character link is difficult for folks with mobility issues to click on.

You guys may all be young, with perfect bodies, but not everyone on the net is.
posted by QIbHom at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2006


Fonzie!
posted by Rhomboid at 11:56 AM on July 13, 2006


You can't win. When people link to Wikipedia as you suggest, others yell at them for a "lame link to Wikipedia." The ^ was developed to ward that off. I agree with you that a superscript 'w' would be a tad more comprehensible, but hey, it's just a convention. No need to let it ruin your day.

I don't see how the ^ wards off anything. The lameness of the link still exists, just in harder-to-click form. The only thing it seems to appease is people who don't like Wikipedia links and who aren't savvy enough to figure out where a link on Mefi is going to before they click on it.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2006


I hate it. HTML is designed so you can link words. The ^ is distracting.
posted by knave at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2006


The scowling crew is increasing. Careteers, beware!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:16 PM on July 13, 2006


I don't see how the ^ wards off anything.

I didn't say it worked, just that that's what it's for. Obviously, nothing succeeds in warding off the vicious attacks of the MeFiCops!
posted by languagehat at 1:34 PM on July 13, 2006


Fonzie
posted by cellphone at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2006


fuck^ wikipedia^
posted by quonsar at 2:23 PM on July 13, 2006


^^
posted by hydrophonic at 2:23 PM on July 13, 2006


I like the caret
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:25 PM on July 13, 2006


It's a little more work, but I like the superscripted WW
posted by adamrice at 2:57 PM on July 13, 2006


Nobody cares what you think, Haughey.

(just kidding please dont ban me again)
posted by keswick at 4:10 PM on July 13, 2006


It fucking sucks, for the reasons I gave in the second thread linked above. Anyone who uses a '^' to link to Wikipedia in a post is a parrot-cocked, goat-lapping oaf. Fact.

HEY WAIT A MINUTE
posted by oaf at 5:00 PM on July 13, 2006


We saw you with that goat, oaf.

MetaTalk: just kidding please don't ban me again
posted by languagehat at 5:02 PM on July 13, 2006


I'm not fond of the caret notation, because it's just too arbitrary. Is something being raised to a power? Is a spelling error being corrected?

Superscript Ws are cool. I'm partial to daggers, though. Or we could use interrobangs, so long as we don't run afoul of the cartel.
posted by Eideteker at 5:28 PM on July 13, 2006


@^: fuck off and die.
posted by fleacircus at 5:40 PM on July 13, 2006


I too hate the caret. Hate it, I say, hate it. I support [wiki].
posted by dhruva at 5:46 PM on July 13, 2006


I made a post recently which had wikipedia carets all over it, for practical reasons: the nature of the topic was such that I assumed that many readers would be unfamiliar with many of the key players, so I used the circumflexes to provide readers with a quick way to get up to speed with who's who. I would never do this in cases where I'd think most readers would know what I'm talking about. (Unsurprisingly, the post was just as quickly met with all kinds of off-topic comments about the carets.)

Personally, I have no strong opinion about the practice one way or the other, but I would like to know about people's opinions. Also, bonus question: where did the SHIFT+6^ thing come from? I'd be happy with any symbol, but who first used the "^", and where?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:50 PM on July 13, 2006


dhruva: I think the point is to be non-intrusive and brief, so do you think [wiki] would accomplish that?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:52 PM on July 13, 2006


"...so I used the circumflexes..."

Someone must have gotten a "word-a-day" calendar for his birfday.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2006


Dude, I'm Dutch. We say circumflex^ all the time, you antediluvian abecedarian.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:15 PM on July 13, 2006


I like the caret

Good lord, why, Matt? That Wiki-caret thing is completely distracting and unnecessary, even more useless than emoticons. Why on earth should Wikipedia - which, as Jessamyn says, is only rarely worth linking at all on the front page - now the one site on earth that requires a special notation there?

Please, please reconsider. It makes the front page ugly as hell.
posted by mediareport at 6:19 PM on July 13, 2006


Why Why Why? There's another one now, and it's every word! If I didn't know what those drugs were, couldn't I look them up myself? Am I supposed to be proud of this wee user who knows how to type wiki/barbituate? Ahhhh!^
posted by muddgirl at 6:27 PM on July 13, 2006


I think the point is to be non-intrusive and brief

It's brief, but definitely not non-intrusive. I suppose one would get used to it in time, but right now, it's jarring. And besides [wiki] is instantly understandable- I always find myself mousing over the ^ thinking that it might not be a wikipedia link, but maybe that's just me.
posted by dhruva at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2006


Thanks, dhruva. So, everyone, is it worth trying for a consensus on this one? Me, I'd gladly settle for a w or wp, and me I'd only use it where it wouldn't seem patronising to me.

*still wants to know about the origin of the caret usage*
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:39 PM on July 13, 2006


Oh geesh. Look, if there's no hyperlink on the word, there's no need for a hyperlinked caret. Gah. It's like one Metafilter post is trying to undo the decade and a half of the development of actual hypertext systems. What would Kant do? Not use carets besides un-hyperlinked words. What a mess that would make of the web.
posted by GuyZero at 6:44 PM on July 13, 2006


Shit. This is really the direction the site's going? Fucking encyclopedia entries? Ugh.
posted by mediareport at 6:45 PM on July 13, 2006


goodnewsfortheinsane, why do you feel Wikipedia links should be singled out? Wikipedia simply isn't that special, and it's pages are often problematic enough that shouting "here's a Wikipedia link!" from the rooftop is absurd. Just stop adding extra notations here that aren't needed anywhere else on the net.

Please.
posted by mediareport at 6:49 PM on July 13, 2006


Oh my God, please no.

We're not writing theme papers here (well, most of us aren't). Superscripts of any flavor aren't even necessary. Write the post and add any relevant and necessary wiki links in small text at the end, or inside, or something. (Emphasis on necessary.)

I can see where one might be afraid that people won't click your links if they don't know what you're on about, and you might feel the need to provide some context, but more often than not they really don't seem necessary, and the little gizmos, whether they're carats or crosses or tiny nimated Oolongs, are irritating.

Well, actually, I would think it would be pretty funny if somebody used tiny animated Oolongs. Once.
posted by Gator at 6:56 PM on July 13, 2006


mediareport, have you read my post? Because if you have, I will masturbate furiously.

Seriously though, if you have, did you instantly recognize everyone I was on about in there? Surely one could look up all of these names all by oneself, but don't you feel that it is handy to have clearly marked quick links on a post that deals with lesser-known things and people (among the general Mefi-reading public) just to provide the reader with a quick reference, regardless of perceived wikipedia standards?

Surely, if any of the people careted in that post were the main focus of the post itself I would have just linked to a non-wp article which addressed their person and relevance, but given the amount of players in this story and the fact that the story *didn't concern the key players themselves* as much as it did a chain of events that somehow involved them, I thought it would be nice to provide some sort of quick lookup for the casual reader.

Is that so wrong?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:08 PM on July 13, 2006


The drug/barbituate/whateverthehellitwasabout post just killed the wiki caret for me. When a stylistic affectation becomes the noticable aspect of a post, at the cost of the overall readability and accessability of the material you are ostensibly trying to present, it's time to seriously rethink your use of the affectation.
posted by yhbc at 7:55 PM on July 13, 2006


Another CaretSpotting.
posted by dhruva at 8:02 PM on July 13, 2006


No, no, no, and no.

I am a little sympathetic when this is seen in the context of the problem of implicit vs. explicit hyperlinks. There is a use/mention ambiguity about the use of hyperlinks—when I link a word, am I talking about the link, or the word?

The Wikipedia links discussed in this thread are, mostly, intended to be useful as references, and are not the actual content being presented. This is why some people want to signal this, um, "referential" use of a hyperlink as being distinct from other hyperlinks.

But it's a kludge that solves only a narrow subset of this kind of problem—and is especially ugly, to boot.

Personally, I turn off link underlining in my browsers because I think it makes text difficult to read. I'd prefer a implicit/explicit link distinction where implicit links are invisible (unless hovered over, for example), while only links which are actually the subject of the text are self-evident.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:06 PM on July 13, 2006


Your post was ridiculous, goodnewsfortheinsane - an offputting disaster case with no internal logic to the caret use whatsoever, which caret use only served to draw attention to the act of posting instead of the content, and whose Wikipedia links only served to detract from the content of the post itself.

Of course I didn't read it.

Please stop adding useless distracting gimcrackery [^^LOOK AT ME I'M RIGHT HERE^^] to front page posts. Thanks.
posted by mediareport at 8:32 PM on July 13, 2006


I thought it would be nice to provide some sort of quick lookup for the casual reader.

Basic html links (perhaps in the thread after a "more inside") have worked for years here to accomplish just that. Why do you need to introduce a new convention to do the same thing? Are you that special, or are your posts? I doubt it. Matt's just wrong on this one. Please stop.
posted by mediareport at 8:45 PM on July 13, 2006


What would Kant do?

Act according to maxims that he could rationally will to be universal laws.
posted by moss at 9:11 PM on July 13, 2006


I don't think there's anything wrong with a Wikipedia link as a supplemental link in a front-page post, and I don't think there's any reason for Wikipedia links to be indicated differently in any way. Even if they did need to be marked differently, the carets are ugly, and shouldn't be used because they're being used differently here than they are there.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 PM on July 13, 2006


Every time I see one I stop reading and look up. One day I'll learn.
posted by cillit bang at 10:03 PM on July 13, 2006


Haha, blight's too late to the party for anyone to care.
posted by cellphone at 10:10 PM on July 13, 2006


can we please have more animated gifs on the front page?
posted by casconed at 10:43 PM on July 13, 2006


You goddamn whoresons! You whinging, mewling little crybabies!

Which would you rather have?

The caret? Or the stick!?

DON'T MAKE ME MAKE YOU GO GET ME A HITTIN STICK.

Now go fetch pappy a beer and quit yer snivelin or I'll make ya wash grandma again.
posted by loquacious at 10:58 PM on July 13, 2006


actually, every time a see this dumbass wikipedia caret notation, i flag the post as noise. i hate that stupid convention more than youtube links, flash friday fun, and whoresons. whoever thought that up should be dragged through the green and black, and strung up to freeze in the cold, grey sun.

this place isn't about fun, people. THE INTERNETS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

but, no, really - what was ever the problem with simply linking to wikipedia? why the caret? why not put (wp) in parens or something? ANYTHING?
posted by casconed at 11:03 PM on July 13, 2006


There is no carat*.
posted by Iamtherealme at 11:48 PM on July 13, 2006


Goddamned chickenshit poltroons?
posted by moss at 11:51 PM on July 13, 2006


mediareport:
Your post was ridiculous [...] an offputting disaster case [...] useless distracting gimcrackery

casconed:
THE INTERNETS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

Indeed. I appreciate your feedback, mediareport, but I am not going to engage with you anymore on this issue until you have something constructive to say instead of "OMG Wikipedia links are evil and must be stopped you mass-produced snowflakes".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:48 AM on July 14, 2006


I mean, jeez, go grab a coffee or something.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:48 AM on July 14, 2006


Good lord, why, Matt? That Wiki-caret thing is completely distracting and unnecessary

"How can you disagree with me? Anyone who disagrees with me must be INSANE!!"

I kind of like the caret but don't really care. I'd be fine with a superscript w or just a plain link. I see nothing wrong with Wikipedia links for obscure references. And I think those of you who get so riled up about either Wikipedia links or carets that you froth all over the gray and threaten to zap offending posts until they scream for mercy are INSANE!! Or perhaps just need to get out a little more.
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on July 14, 2006


scowlingcats are watching you.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:59 AM on July 14, 2006


excellent work, people! first-class brawling!
posted by mwhybark at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2006


Wikipedianot a caret
posted by jimfl at 6:17 AM on July 16, 2006


I like the caret, now that I know what it is. I may start using it in my own blog.
posted by grimmelm at 6:07 PM on July 22, 2006


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