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.

#external-linking-policy

External Linking Policy – Trusted Sources

We have been discussing policy for external links in 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/ documentation for a while now. It has been decided that, considering the benefits for the users of the documentation, we should allow linking to trusted sources when these sources are explaining the matter in more detail and/or with high quality use case examples.

In order to avoid all possible misuses of the “trusted source” label, we need to clearly define what kind of sources can be considered as trusted. Of course, it is not possible to keep an eye on each linked source all the time and we don’t want to make this at cost of our members workload. This is why the accent is on trusted.

Ideally, we will have a list of domain names which would be automatically allowed on wordpress.org. All the other domains will be automatically removed. That should sort out the workload of Documentation team members.

Also, Documentation team can and will change the criteria if a need for such an action arises. Documentation team owes to no individual or company to list them as “trusted source”. This is initiative to help people who are using the documentation in their quest for the information and guidance.

Let the discussion start. If you have an idea what would be appropriate requirement for “trusted source” label, please let us know in comments below. Thank you.

#external-linking-policy

External Linking in Docs Policy

Documentation at 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/ 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.

#external-linking-policy