clean linking

The only way to create links freely on whatever wiki-engine and thus prerequisite to come to an agrement without excluding anybody
[de]sauberes Verlinken
[en]clean linking
[fr]connexité idoine

[de]Arbeitssprache: en
[en]working-language: en
[fr]langage de travail: en

Internal clean linking syntax to use:
[CleanLinking clean linking]

External clean linking syntax to use:
[ community-wiki: clean linking]
[CommunityWiki:CleanLinking community-wiki: clean linking]

Clean linking makes it possible for any kind of links on any kind of wiki to:

Recommendations on how to use clean links in order to unify Wikilandia:

(click Edit this page to see how the links get done)

Internal clean linking:

External clean linking using the URL of a page:

This page here exists on several other wiki running different engines to show how easy it could be. We first make clean links to each of these pages using the pages URL and then using near-links. You’ll recognize no difference between them unless you look at the page in edit-mode.

now the same using near-links:


How It All Began

Mattis posted the following to the CommunityWiki page:

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: Bold, eh? Changed this page to the multilingual way used in the multilingual experiment. It leads us into a wikiwide discussion on how to use editable titles the right way. Before it was different all over. Now there is a chance to find a common way to name things.

I feel:
In English:
community-wiki, meatball-wiki. Nouns are small-case in English when not at the beginning of a phrase or in a header. Special names are big-case thus: Ca’Foscari-wiki. It would be Gemeinschafts-Wiki if you translated it to German. I don’t feel like translating it.

Seems like it’s time to make a page explaining how to link in a uniform and “clean” way all over Wikilandia. This page should be cloned on wikis running on different wiki engines and these pages all should be linked to each other. That way somebody who’d like to do this new way of clean linking could just jump to the page on the wikiengine he wants to make edits on to see how it is done on that specific engine. Else it takes ages to figure out. With a hand full of pages one could explain to a major part of Wikilandia how to stick together. I’ll do it for:

From each wiki there could be a page linking to the clean linking page of the respective engine where you can read how it’s done. And from there you get further to pages where you can see how it gets done on other engines. Seven main pages and a couple of dozens or hundreds of pages just naming a link to one of these seven create a sense of how different but how unifyable nevertheless we all are. Would be nice.



  • Point1. I wonder how to index pages using clean linking syntax. In other words, in any wiki, there is a index page that gives all WikiWords using camel-case spelling. Will there be an other function that gives clean links ?
  • Point2. I just googled “clean linking” and couldn’t find this page nor any NearLinks. Then I googled “cleanlinking” and immediately found a NearLink. Question : do we have to swich from Google to MetaWiki search engine? (I searched “clean linking” via MetaWiki and it gave me meatball-wiki: clean linking !)

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: Heiwei, I did not think about that. That makes it even more radical, a lot more actually. Feels like getting a hint: “Make it all new. Rebuild the world from scratch and this time do it fair. You can do it.”

“Clean linking index” will be “index” and the camelcase-index will be “camelcase index”. When “somehow” coding that the first language-tagged paragraph of a page always contains the editable titles we could surely do such an index. Beautiful like a bookindex it will be. One of the first camel-case free pages.

OlivierSeres: I didn’t want to be radical, i just wanted to imagine some way to go further a simple inter-wiki surfing tool. This idea of getting rid of the camel-case is interesting because it will help wikis to go out from the ghetto. Using camel-case syntax is funny for those who just start using wikis, but I think it is a break for interoperability with internet and search-engines. If clean linking syntax is widely used, I think there will be a chance that Google will soon point out in first the wiki-pages explaining the concept. A step toward internet wikization? Maybe…

Education : clean linking syntax is a bit complicated. If we want it to be used by wiki contributors, I think we should help him in providing the syntax at the top of each page, so that he will just have to make a “copy-paste” in the editor-window. (and not force him to edit the page to look for the clean linking syntax). That’s what I did for this very page.

Index : “Clean linking index” as the default “index”. What a nice thing! But I’m not sure this is possible because most of wiki-engines work with camel-case references. An alternative would be to implement new fields using [WikiSemantic? semantic wiki],as [CraoWiki:CharlesNepote Charles Nepote] described in [CraoWiki:WikiSémantique? crao-wiki: wiki sémantique].

MetaWiki : I find this tool interesting as an alternative to Google. Why not upgrade it with new functionalities? Nota: CommunityWiki is not referrenced in this tool.

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: I asked to integrate community-wiki in meta-wiki, the wiki search-engine. I also googled for “clean linking” and it finds all the “clean linking”-pages I created. Googling “cleanlinking” it find them all as well. I see no problem using google. Just feed it camel-case or the “clean link” - whatever you want. 😉.

SamRose: Mattis, I think that clean linking is a worthwhile concept. I think that it is also worthwhile in combination with deep linking.

However, I wonder if trying to actually use ‘’clean linking’’ in wiki engines that don’t employ it in page name creation might be asking too much? For myself, there is mostly the time issue. I have limited time to participate in wikis, and I’ve trained myself to use wikis as AlexSchroeder explains below in “Arguments Against”. So, this actually slows me down quite a bit.

Now, I can understand why you want to get people doing things this way as much as possible in different wikis. Because, from your perspective, the more people that are doing it, the easier it will be to get others to adopt the protocol/standard. Plus, if people are doing it while they are creating content, then it makes it easy for your ‘’clean linking’’ standard to work with ‘’deep linking’’ between wikis.

But, I think it practice, it’s going to be tough to get people to do something that goes against the grain of the way the wiki engine is programmed to deal with page content.

So, what is the solution for clean linking, then? I think the solution might be getting the majority of wiki users and wiki engine creators out there to agree on a standard for clean-linking, then to help them modify their wiki engines to use this standard. Also, it may be possible to then create scripts that transform the links in the wikis to the new link standard.

But, I personally can’t live without begin able to create links to other pages, and page names on the fly. So, I don’t mind if someone else comes along edits my links manually, but I can’t get into the flow of doing it myself while using wikis. One of the biggest reasons I use wiki is because of the flow that AlexSchroeder mentioned below.

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: Thanks Sam. Fixed clean some links in your text. I hated it in the beginning and it took me out of the flow. I do it automatically now and keep my flow. Demonstrating that it works with text written without any link creation at all and then comparing it to a database of editable titles and create clean-links in the preview window for correction before saving might make sense.

Arguments Against so-called "Clean Linking"

AlexSchroeder: Earlier wikis were based on a very simple idea: Page Names are Link Names . This idea was very powerful, because it lead to the development of pattern languages on wikis and, in its relaxed form, to the creation of a LinkLanguage.

Clean linking breaks this. When looking at the link name, you don’t immediately know the page it links to. The names and the concepts drift apart.

This sucks.

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: Let’s take clean linking. You want a uniform page name for it as you understood a uniform page name is possible. You do not want a uniform mame in the url as you understood this is not possible. You choose clean linking and you hope it will be accepted. You choose small case as the color is enough to point out that it is a link. You choose small case as in most of the context it will be used in small case is orthographically correct. You do not not choose neither CleanLinking (CamelCase imperium) nor Clean_linking (Metawiki imperium) as these exclude each other. And that’s not good. You just use clean linking. It’s rather enabeling than destroying link language. And Wikilandia-wide so, not just locally. It’s on the engineers to automatize it.

AlexSchroeder: Linkname = Pagename. Simple. Works. It’s the important part about it. If you don’t like it, then maybe you are using too many links in your sentences. If you need it in the flow of a sentence and it doesn’t work, then don’t write it. Write another sentence that says: See CleanLinking for more information.

new: 2004-08-26 13:47 UTCMattisManzel: More about it on oddwiki-center: clean linking. Clean linking especially makes sense in combination with deep linking.


Meanwhile, back in 2020, ...

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro:

E tu, Alex? ;D

I have just been fighting this fight in the StarCommunityWiki, and my argument has been --

“We won’t build a LinkLanguage if the name of the page drifts from the link to the page.”

Jack & Florian have said, “OK, we’ll let go of the aesthetics of the page, for the sake of developing a rich vocabular, like you argue. We’ll try it for a while, and see how we feel then.”

I still believe strongly in the CamelCase-based LinkLanguage.

I’m curious about what’s changed for you, Alex..?

new: 2020-12-20 09:42 UTCAlex Schroeder: I remain in the same camp. I don’t think CamelCase is great: it looks weird and sometimes words have legitimate camel case without being links. I find the use of free links in double square brackets much easier. At the same time, I acknowledge that in some languages, declination changes the word and so it will never be possible to have a perfect solution. Nevertheless, changing TransClusion to [[Transclusion]] seems like the better wording, long term. And yet, I will sometimes use an alias, as in [[page|text]], specially when adding a link to somebody else’s text. This is how I can add a link without changing the text somebody else work. In short, it’s a weighing of multiple factors. 😀

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro:

Yeeaaaaaaaah, … I guess --

OK, so, is it Transclusion, or is it transclusion, which – I mean, the second looks nicer, doesn’t it, right? 😉

Incidentally, I do see that Unicode has solved our icon problem, in the main, though I miss Radomir’s amazing art.

new: 2020-12-20 09:42 UTCAlex Schroeder: If possible, I’d use Transclusion. Somehow, when following my inner compass, I’ve never been in doubt on what the best way to link to things would be, but then again I also mostly write on my own blog, and on the various Campaign Wiki sites for my games.

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro: Well, – it’s your server, and it may be that you and I are the only ones here, and if I leave (which – the only reason I would do so, is due to a lack of activity here – not anything about this decision about FreeLinks and such,) – if I leave it’d be just you and your server; – so, I think you should call the shot, and I’ll follow your rule on this. I feel like you’ve heard my reasoning and taken it into account.

[[Clean_Linking?]] (or is it: Clean linking?) it is, then. It’s more important to me to communicate at all, than to have my way on this question.

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro:

Hmm, …

It’s been a few days now, and I’m really feeling the problems (it seems to me) of [[clean_linking?]]. I’m writing pages, and saying to myself, “Now, I know that there’s a page for this concept,” but I can’t think of the name of it! It seems to me that when the name of a page is clean linked, it doesn’t go into the part of my brain that is like: “This is a variable name.” It just slips on by. “What’s the name of that concept?” Somehow, it doesn’t have one. I feel like I’m guessing.

This might be just because I’m not used to the clean linking way of things, and I will continue with the experiment. But, I don’t think so…

One place where I’ve softened is that I think – pages that are just a single name. Like for example, on the StarCommunityWiki, I talk about Tamera a lot. It’s just one word. For a time, I used the phrase “TameraInPortugal?,” which has the added benefit of distinguishing Tamera (the community) from Tamera Mowry, some kind of celebrity, who always shows up if you type “Tamera” plain into Google. (Typing “Tamera Portugal” gets you the right Tamera.) But it’s really cumbersome to type in. I never forget that “Tamera” is the name of the page about Tamera, so it’s easy to just put a pair of brackets around it. But anything that is like two words, and I vastly prefer the CamelCase to the “clean linking.”

Perhaps I just need to remap how I think about pages and titles in my head, but for the time being, with the exception of single-word pages, it isn’t working for me.

I will stay with the experiment.

new: 2020-12-20 09:42 UTCAlex Schroeder: I agree, it’s easy for single words: Transclusion, Fediverse, and I also find it easy for things that are many words, or a few long words: Fediverse decentralisation problems. Perhaps those are signs that these pages don’t fit a PatternLanguage, aren’t part of the LinkLanguage. DecentralisationProblems? might have been better… but also a lot more general. Perhaps DecentralisationProblems? is a good name for a page that’s part of the language we use, where as “Fediverse decentralisation problems” is a good name for an essay making a point or discussing some aspect – but the page with that discussion doesn’t have to be part of the LinkLanguage?

I think I’m confused because it turns out to be not as easy for me to make the right decisions as it is on my own wiki.

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro: FediverseDecentralizationProblems? would totally work for me. Cumbersome, yes, but I know how to work with it.

I think what you are noticing about the LinkLanguage – I think that’s it.

When I see “FediverseDecentralizationProblems?”, or any other CamelCase title, I think immediately, “This is a page. It has a title. It is it’s own, discrete thing. It might be a NearLink, to another wiki elsewhere on the Internet, or it might be a LocalName, (on CommunityLocalNames,) but at least it is part of the LinkLanguage of this wiki. If it is a local name or a near-linked, I can still edit the local version of the page, and if it’s not, then I know it’s a page on this wiki, and will persist as a page on this wiki. It is an object within our universe.

Whereas when I see talk of the [[fediverse_decentralization_problems?]], I have no idea – that could just be some manually linked text to somebody’s blog post, or a news article, or something, and it’s in no way apparent to me whether it’s part of the LinkLanguage or not.

If someone wrote a post and said [[blah_blah_blah?]], I have no idea if I’d ever use that phrase “blah blah blah” on the wiki, ever again. It’s just part of the river of words that someone said at some particular time. I have no idea what that phrase is intended for. And so my mind just doesn’t record that as a phrase that means something as an object within the context of our wiki community. It’s “just a link that someone put in there.”

new: 2021-01-03 22:51 UTCTimurIsmagilov: When I click a link and am suddenly taken to one of those dead wikis, I’m confused. All the links look the same! I strongly think that MycorrhizaWiki does it the best: Look how the links are highlighted: MissingPages are red, external links have little icons which let you know what protocol will be used (globe for web, rocket for gemini, rat for gopher, mail for mail).

As for the LinkLanguage, I’m not sure. Will go with whatever you decide.

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro:

I hear that? And if I recall right, there was a discussion on this wiki before, about, “How do you visually represent a link, so that people know what the target of the link is.”

But I think I’m talking about something subtly different --

This question is about: “How do I know if this is reusable link language, or not?”

If could be clean-linked link language. But it could also just be some text that somebody wanted to highlight.

In the clean linking environment, I don’t know. I have a hard time telling if it’s LinkLanguage or not.

And this is all independent of: Does this reusable LinkLanguage link into this wiki, a neighboring wiki, or anything addressable by a URL. (Because via LocalNames, a feature that I absolutely love and definitely use, you can address anything addressable by URL with CamelCase text on the wiki.)

The key question it seems to me is: “Can I use the text that I see, between brackets (or whatever the linking WikiSyntax,) and have my reuse of this expression result in a functioning link?

I’m racking my brain, and the only thing I’ve come up with so far is a couple possibilities:

  • Visually Represent LinkLanguage Differently
    • Explanation: For example, render LinkLanguage that is also clean-linking in bold text. This means specifically that the text that is visible on the screen, could be entered on a page between brackets, and it would link to a page.
    • Problem: You still have the problem of text that is “too clean” – that has been cleansed to the point of not being identifiable by the WikiEngine, without being told specifically, “This is the exact page that I want you to link to.”
  • Position matching LinkLanguage near the Text, in a Special Column
    • Exp: There’s be a column on the right side of the output screen, and across from whatever clean-linked language that you have, there would be the canonical name of the page, that you insert at the beginning of a link, so that the WikiEngine can get the text linked to that page.
    • Prob: If the whole motivation for “clean linking” is so that people don’t go, “Hey!, That’s ugly!, I don’t like CamelCase, and I refuse to read it if it’s there!,” I think you have the same problem – “I don’t like that there’s an extra column on the right taking up all this space; What the heck is that for?”
  • Abandon free-linking
    • Exp: A CamelCase WikiWord already represent LinkLanguage differently and recognizably – it’s two words smushed together. It works exactly like it appears in the URL bar.
    • Prob: Dealing with people who complain “it doesn’t look right.”

Outside of “It doesn’t look right,” I can’t think of what the real problem is with a WikiWord.

  • People get the concept almost immediately when seeing it in practice.
  • It’s simple to write code for.
  • It causes zero headaches in the URL formation.
  • It immediately communicates, “I am LinkLanguage,” when you see it.
  • Nobody has an issue typing it in. It doesn’t even require formatting characters.
  • It usually works very well to make a page title out of two or three words.

The technical problems seem to be:

  • Dealing with plural vs. singular.
  • What do you do when the link is genuinely just one word.
  • What do you do when you want to name a page, but not have it link.

However, the benefits to me seem to vastly outweight the disadvantages, and the disadvantages can usually be worked around very easily.

new: 2020-12-19 23:00 UTCLionKimbro:

Perhaps the real question here is: “How do we deal with the people who are resistant to visually distinct LinkLanguage?”

For me it’s kind of in the category of, you know – “How do you deal with a kid who’s asking why do I need to learn fractions?” Or perhaps it’s more akin to, “I want to do mathematics, but I don’t want to use symbols. Why can’t we just talk and write naturally?”

Or closer to home for me at least, “Why does our community have to have jargon?” (JargonProblem.)

To me the real jargon problem isn’t jargon itself; It’s how to deal with people who take issue with the existence of jargon.

I think that at some level, people who want to do TheoryBuilding just have to get accustomed to FormalRepresentation?. If you don’t do formal representation, you don’t get to play. And in wiki, formal representation is LinkLanguage.


Define external redirect: WikiSemantic blah blah blah DecentralisationProblems ObviouslyReusableLinkLanguage ConnexitéIdoine clean linking WikiSémantique TameraInPortugal FormalRepresentation fediverse decentralization problems Clean Linking FediverseDecentralizationProblems

EditNearLinks: PmWiki FreeLinks PhpWiki WikiWord WikiWords MediaWiki ProWiki WikiEngine UseMod WackoWiki WakkaWiki TikiWiki MoinMoin WikkaWiki MetaWiki CharlesNepote CamelCase OpenWiki OddMuse


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