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A Pot Hole uses "hidden" links, phrases linked to pages whose actual titles may not appear in the text. Tropes Are Not Bad. This is okay when done correctly, allowing links to relevant articles without disrupting the narrative flow.

Sinkholes occur when potholing goes wrong, featuring links that are irrelevant, inappropriate, or both. In a wiki, it's better to pot hole words which represent the article they are linked to. Here are some bad sinkhole practices:

Misleading links

Consider Mark Hamill, who both portrayed Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and voiced The Joker in the DC Animated Universe.

In an example about Star Wars, potholing Mark Hamill's name to The Joker like this...

... creates a sinkhole — the fact that he voiced The Joker is completely irrelevant to his role in Star Wars. More importantly, he has a page, so potholing his name to another page is odd. The reader has to maneuver around the sinkhole to avoid being knocked off track. It adds nothing to the wiki except the likelihood of confusion, as Hamill's page already provides readers with a list of his other roles, and clearly specifies that he voiced The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series (and other works), while the sinkhole only implies he has some kind of relation to The Joker. Such sinkhole links should be changed to point to what the text is actually about or un-linked altogether.

Chained sinkholes

These are when potholes are chained with sinkhole characteristics. There's only one sentence, but many pages linked to. Instead of proper structuring, careless editors divide the sentence into multiple parts and link adjacent parts to separate articles. That way we'll get a mess that turns an unnecessary amount of text blue like this:

The reader has no clue there are multiple links there. If they do discover all the links, it is a pain following all the links. Don't do this, please.

Covert opinions

Too many times sinkholes are used to bury a YMMV in an example or description. These are bad. If you see one of these, remove the unnecessary links and/or restructure the necessary ones.

All-Blue Entry attempts

This is an attempt to create an All-Blue Entry under the pretense that it's witty or novel. This is not the case. Gratuitous sinkholes should be removed from such examples.

Linking a common phrase to a trope of the same name

For example, linking a statement that someone "got better" in some way, shape or form to the trope I Got Better. That is part of why the trope was renamed to Unexplained Recovery and why No New Stock Phrases are allowed.

Changing the display text of a trope in a list

This is used to make a trope specific to a situation, e.g. changing Sealed Evil in a Can to Frozen Evil in a Lake. However, doing this messes up alphabetization (does that example go under S or F?), makes it harder to find tropes, causes confusion over what the trope's actual name is, and encourages Zero Context Examples and Square Peg, Round Trope. Just list the trope under its normal title and then expand on it properly.

Trope potholes in page quotes

Quotes do not have potholes in their original medium, and extraneous bluelinks above the trope description just distract the reader. If potholes are not necessary to understand the quote, then they are redundant. If potholes give context that is needed to understand the quote, then the quote does not truly illustrate the trope. Page quotes thus should not have any trope potholes in them, although it is okay to pothole to a work or genre which is referenced directly.

Joke Fulfillment Links

Please consider that for tropers or readers who have been frequenting the wiki for even a few days, there is nothing remotely original or new about potholing understatements to Understatement, stealth puns to Stealth Pun, running gags to Running Gag, overused running gags to Overused Running Gag, and so on. It has been done to death. It has become repetitive and predictable, and repetitiveness and predictability kill humour. In other words, don't require a link jump to make the joke work. It doesn't. Ever.

Hiding work names in the examples on trope pages

Potholing the name of a character, location, or creator to the work's page, which specifies the work's actual name. This is both a misuse of potholes and a form of Fan Myopia. Always clearly state the source, preferably at the start of an entry.

Reaction potholes

Some moments in a work may elicit strong emotional reactions from you. Many of these reactions have tropes for when they happen in fiction. However, potholing to a trope that represents how you personally reacted to a scene, such as potholing to Oh, Crap! for a scary scene, or to Flat "What" for a confusing one, is not relevant to most readers and should be avoided.

Linking to an Article Within the Article

An article should never be linked to within itself. It's easy to see if it's in Wiki Words, but sometimes people pothole the article within it, causing the reader to look at the link to avoid going to that same page. Related, do not pothole any lines in the page to a redirect of that page, since it has the same end result.

Check out Weblinks Are Not Examples for more on how to avoid using links irresponsibly. See this thread if you need help with fixing sinkholes.

Alternative Title(s): Chained Sinkholes, Chained Sinkhole, Chain Of Sinkholes, Pothole Abuse