A red link appears whenever double square brackets [[ ]]
are placed around a word or phrase for which Wikipedia does not have an article, disambiguation page or redirect.
When to create red links
Create red links everywhere they are relevant to the context
for terms that should exist in the encyclopedia. An easy example is a technical term that merits a treatment beyond its dictionary definition, to help support its role for its existing context. A technical term probably qualifies because it is probably "notable" and probably should have that obvious title. But in many cases, a bit more care should be used in creating a red link, to ensure the red link is entirely proper.
The topic of the red link could actually exist, but under a different page name
. The topic may well be covered in a section of another article; it could even be buried in several paragraphs nearby. So it is the responsibility of the person who creates a red link to scan for the topic's coverage. The category
links at the bottom of that page will link to virtually all related articles and the search engine provides features
for advanced queries that can pinpoint matching text anywhere on Wikipedia. Both search methods employ MediaWiki
features crafted to find information on Wikipedia. They can help us build Wikipedia, red link by red link.
Creating a red link also carries the responsibility to first ascertain that the red link is a valid title
of a page, and that its foreseeable new subject matter will meet the notability
guidelines for topics covering: people (WP:BIO
), web content (WP:WEB
), businesses (WP:CORP
), and more.
When creating an article, it is best practice to: (a) check whether there are existing red links that will be turned blue by the creation of the article and (b) check whether those incoming links are pointing to the right place and to correct them where needed.
Avoiding creation of certain types of red links
Do not create red links to articles that are not likely to be created and retained in Wikipedia, including articles that do not comply with Wikipedia's naming conventions
. The illustrative link shown in red
positioned at the beginning of this page is an example of this type of normally unwanted red link.
Red links generally are not included in See also
sections (see WP:NOTSEEALSO
), nor are they linked to through templates such asor
, since these navigation aids are intended to help readers find existing articles. Red links may be used on navigation templates
with links to existing articles, but they cannot be excessive. Editors who add excessive red links to navboxes are expected to actively work on building those articles, or they may be removed from the template.
A page in any Wikipedia namespace should never be left in a red-linked category
. Either the category should be created
, or else the non-existent category link should be removed or changed to one that exists.
Links should not be created to templates
, and templates should not be transcluded in pages, unless and until the templates have been created.
Do not create redirect pages to pages that do not exist.
As with other topics, red links can be created to biographies of people who would likely meet Wikipedia's guidelines for notability
. All the rules that apply to our biographies on living people
equally apply to red-linked names. As discussed above
, when creating a biography from a red link, it is best practice to use "what links here" to verify that all the incoming links are referring to the same person.
There have been cases in which a biographical article was created for a person with the same name as an existing red link, but the article was for a different person. An example in which such a situation happened was a red link to Tom Mueller
in the article about the book Extra Virginity
. The red link, created in 2012, was for the author of the book. In 2014 an article was created for a different Tom Mueller
, a rocket scientist who co-founded SpaceX
, without checking for existing incoming links. The red link in the Extra Virginity
article thus became blue, but the link was to the wrong person. The error was not corrected until 2016
Use of red links on disambiguation
pages should be limited. The whole point of a disambiguation page is to help the reader arrive at the correct existing article from a choice of articles with similar titles. Since a red link is a link to a non-existent article, using red links in disambiguation pages is usually discouraged. Red links can be used in disambiguation pages if existing encyclopedic articles (i.e. not disambiguation pages because disambiguation pages are not considered encyclopedic) have such red links.