Copied from GeneralDiscussion.

SimonMichael, 2003/01/21 02:32 GMT (via web):
excessive linking considered harmful ?

We can easily link to lots of stuff but there may be cases where it's better not to. I'm thinking of two cases,

  1. you're writing a page and mention something which you know has it's own page (eg zwiki). It may be better not to link, especially if this is narrative or introductory documentation, since links are distracting for readers (there's a subtle "oh, I need to click on this" feeling).
  2. you're writing a page and mention something that has a natural wiki name and you think "yeah, this is on topic for the site so give it a page". This may have the same problem as above (unnecessary distracting links) but also adds to the number of pages in the wiki. On experimental wikis like WikiWikiWeb (and this one, to an extent) this is usually no problem. On task-focussed wikis whose purpose is to communicate information clearly (also this one, to an extent), all else being equal, less is more. Fewer pages means less work to keep the site clear and well-organized, less possibility of readers getting lost, less chance of duplicating information better described on other sites, less use of server resources and less chance of performance problems, etc.

Naturally this should be balanced against the value of adding useful pages to the wiki, how you want it to grow, the value of chaotic serendipitous creation, etc.

Comments ? If you know where this is discussed on WikiWikiWeb, please post a link.