Krista's Coding Corner

18.07.2012

Offtopic: linking

I have now posted about webpages quite many times with some advice how to do and what. But I started thinking about the content. I have tried to add links as much as possible without making it really irritating. I add link where ever I think that I would copy the word / phrase and put it into Google or Wikipedia. I do that a lot and it takes time, so I try to make this easier for other people.

Naturally others may not behave like I do, and it could be really annoying that there are links that you have to check just in case there is something cool / important –and there isn’t (and going through all links in every page means you probably would never stop surfing). Can’t please all but it would be nice to have (general) rules on how things should be done. Of course there always will be exceptions but still.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the developer of WWW, had an idea that every word in the Internet could be a link (how ironic: I just can’t find any link about this. If you find some source for this, please inform me!). That seems quite extreme from today’s point of view but there is some sense in it.

We talk a lot about media literacy and how people should get more education on that field. One important point in media literacy, in my opinion, is that check the source. You should always be able to check if someone is just saying things or if there really is basis for the things he is saying. In the Internet this could be easy as linking is quite effortless. Still we do it way too little. And people don’t demand to get the real raw information. That’s a shame.

I have a master’s degree in engineering, so I have had my part of making citations. When you read stuff in the Internet, the citations come more and more important. It seems that many have “heard” that this is how the things go –and you can easily see that really isn’t the case. So, there are huge amounts of MISinformation going on in the Internet. If we would get more used to reason (and proof) our thoughts and beliefs maybe –just maybe- the amount of misinformation (that can be really dangerous) would decrease.

My point? Linking is great. Linking to reliable sources is even greater. And as an engineer I crave for specific rules / guidelines on how I should do things, so they would serve others better because I don’t believe that I do hold the best answer for that.


PS. Why Wikipedia cannot be used as reference with schoolwork? Because its texts changes over time, some inconsiderate person might have put there some misinformation on purpose, or someone just has misunderstood things totally and it is written there as a fact. If you have a book or scientific article as your reference it can be easily verified and everyone else are able to see what you saw when you took a citation from there.

Wikipedia isn’t infallible but it is a great place to start your search or just to check something.


PPS. Should linking be automatic? Like, I link mostly to Wikipedia, and I have to do the linking myself. Would it be nice that a machine would just go through my words and link everything that matches Wikipedia articles? And some open source projects would automatically be linked to their homepages…. Well, maybe it would make things unclear: now I can highlight some things by adding a link. And the links should be correct. But sometimes I forget to do the linking :/


PPPS. I just hate it when watching documentaries on TV you can't easily check their information. It could be interesting to see how someone would solve the reference problem with videos :)

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