External Linking Policy – “Commercial blogs”

During discussion about external linking policy, we came to conclusion that we won’t allow, at least in the beginning and for the time being, any commercial blogs. So before you start arguing that some popular pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party’s blogs have valuable information, let me stop you right there.

Allowing “popular plugin’s/theme’s/services’ etc blogs” and all other commercial blogs will put us in a position to protect documentation from being abused as marketing media, to protect ourselves from accusations of being biased and to defend every decision we make along the way. And still, there will be dissatisfied sides claiming we weren’t fair and did them wrong. The idea of allowing external linking will become its own purpose.

Additionally, this will completely move focus from initial idea which is:

Benefit for the documentation user.

If this process should cost Documentation Team too much of a time for weighing, deciding and defending made decisions, then there’s no time for actual contributing and there’s no benefit for anyone.

So any WordPress plugin official blog, theme’s official blog, market’s or shop’s (with themes, plugins etc) official blog, hosting’s official blog, other service’s official blog etc regardless if they are selling anything or not, is not allowed. This is why word commercial is wrapped into quotation marks.

This is in accordance with HelpHub’s (end user documentation) practice that no plugin, theme, hosting etc will not be promoted or recommended. In HelpHub we are documenting only what’s in coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. or will be in core.

The same applies here. If the website is dedicated to a specific WordPress product (free or not), it is not allowed. These sites usually have the product name in domain name but we are not going to limit the criteria there. I’m sure some cases will be unique and decision will have to be made specifically for it.

The bottom line is: we haven’t figured out the best way to  deal with commercial blogs or sites in a fair manner and thus our focus is going to be on links that don’t drop into that grey zone. We do expect to eventually get towards discussing how we can safely include commercial blog links (if this even is possible).

Now that that’s clear

We need to determine what is not “commercial” website but doesn’t go under personal blog either, which can be allowed. For example, Stack Overflow or any of the Stack Exchange websites. This is not really non-commercial website but its completely neutral towards appearing on WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/. This is not to say that being “neutral” in this regard is a requirement but merely pointing out that they have no interest in trying to abuse the opportunity for getting their link appear at wp.org.

Some tutorial websites also comes to mind but it seems we are stepping into a gray area here. Perhaps allowing websites with only free tutorials? Are those even exist?

Let us hear your opinions in comments. All examples, ideas, questions etc are welcomed.

If you have an opinion on the subject now is the time to share it. This is important initiative and we want to make the best possible decision that will benefit the users of the documentation. Thank you. For whole discussion follow #external-linking-policy tag.