External Linking in Docs Policy

Documentation at WordPress.org has a large number of external links mostly added to Codex and then copied to all other/new parts of docs. We have to decide on policy for external linking. Do we allow it and, if so, what is the criteria?

Even though external linking, as an idea, should be used for more in-depth explanation of the subject, things to consider:

  • External links need to be reviewed by our team members which is more work but more importantly, could cause our members unwanted situations when link is rejected
  • External links tend to be outdated (sooner than we expect)
  • We have no control if content on external link gets changed after approval, regular checking is highly undesirable another task for docs team
  • External links have been (and will be) used for gaining traffic and/or marketing own services
  • There’s probably more

We have to decide “yes” or “no” for external linking. Let’s keep in mind that documentation should be self sustained; our team members are not responsible for the content outside of WordPress.org but are responsible for the content inside of it.

Please leave your thoughts, as well as pros and cons in comments. Thank you.