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Administrivia / Weblinks Are Not Examples

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When documenting a trope's presence in a work, it is always emphasized that an adequate explanation describing where the trope occurs and/or how it is used be written for it. However, with media content being so easy to find on the Internet, and with video sharing sites, Wikipedia, original Internet content and comics being what they are, sometimes it feels easier to just paste a URL link to wherever else on the Internet a trope example appears, like so...

[Trope Name]: As seen here.
Happens in [Work Title], seen here.

Unfortunately, despite the convenience this practice gives an editor, leaving examples like this causes a number of problems for everybody else.

  • It's a distraction. Instead of reading through examples on a trope or work page, readers are now somewhere else, on another website, watching videos and doing all manner of activities irrelevant to the article they were just reading (and which we'd much rather prefer they stay engaged with).
  • URL links are not guaranteed to work forever. While in the short term, a video or website may be working and people may be able to view the relevant content, if at any point a video is removed or a website shuts down or puts a block or restriction on the linked content, nobody is going to be able to view it or understand the example.
  • The mere appearance of a weblink explains nothing about the example on its own. Clicking on a link is a choice; people can either do it or ignore it. For anyone who ignores the link, the remaining text is as helpful as a Zero-Context Example.
  • Moreover, nobody should have to click on a weblink. People reading trope examples shouldn't have no other choice but to leave the page they are already on in order to understand something immediately relevant to what they were just reading.

On the whole, we want to encourage editors to write out their examples and explain how any given trope is used in all circumstances. Even if a trope example is overly complex or requires a lot of explanation that a weblink to some other place can seemingly convey more easily, or even if one wants to include a weblink, anyway, one should still try to make an effort to write a sufficient, clear explanation of a trope example, no differently than if one didn't have any URL links on hand.

It is always preferable to use outside links as additional tools to clarify, enhance, or provide reference to a detailed example's content, rather than using them in place of the detailed example itself. In short, weblinks are to supplement context, but never substitute for context.

This problem isn't exclusive to leaving URL links in example spaces, either. Directing page readers to other articles on This Very Wiki where a relevant trope example has already been written out is just as problematic and ill-advised.

Any trope example that relies entirely on getting readers to visit a separate webpage for an explanation should be (a) expanded from the linked content , (b) pulled from the article and brought to its respective discussion page, or, if this poses a problem throughout a significant portion of a page's examples list, (c) brought up in this Special Efforts thread.

See Also: Type Labels Are Not Examples, Zero-Context Example, for more on the importance of providing written explanations for tropes; Sink Hole, for more on how to avoid using links irresponsibly; How to Write an Example, for more on how to make sure examples are written correctly. An overabundance of links of any sort will generally increase odds of users going on a Wiki Walk.

Alternative Title(s): URL Links Are Not Examples