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There are four different kinds of links you might want to insert into an article you are creating or editing:

  • Internal links: Also known as wiki-links, these are links to other articles on Ballotpedia. These links appear in blue.
  • External links: These are links to other websites. These links also appear in blue, and can be distinguished from an internal link by the presence of an arrow. This is an example.

Internal links

Internal links, also known as wiki-links, are links that allow you to link to other pages within Ballotpedia (for example, the Main Page). You can link internally by placing double brackets around the name of the article on Ballotpedia you want to link to from the page you are currently editing, in this fashion: [[Page name]]. Be sure to use the exact title of the other Ballotpedia article you are linking to, including the exact capitalization of that article; otherwise, your link will not work.

The "pipe"

If you want to use text to describe the name of the BP article you are linking to other than its title, the way to do that is to add a pipe symbol ( | ) after the title of the article, then follow the pipe with the desired text. For example: [[Joe Donnelly|Biography of Joe Donnelly]] will appear as Biography of Joe Donnelly.

If you are unfamiliar with the pipe symbol, you can find it on your keyboard on the same key as the backslash, under your delete key.

Linking to categories

There may be times when you want to refer to, or link to, a category in an article, but not in such a way as to assign the article to that category. For example, you may be writing an article about [[Michigan elections, 2012}Michigan elections in 2012]] and you want to link to all the Ballotpedia state articles about the 2012 elections. The way to do this is by inserting ":" before the name of the category.

In the page edit view, the link will look like this: [[:Category:2012 election state pages|Ballotpedia's 2012 state election articles]]; the saved view will look like this: Ballotpedia's 2012 state election articles.

Links to subsections

You can link directly to a subsection of an article by using the pound or hashtag symbol ( # ). For example, consider the article on Joe Donnelly. It has a section called "Biography." While writing another article on Ballotpedia, you may want to send your readers directly to that particular section of the article. You can do that by linking to that article, then using the pound ( # ) sign, followed directly by the exact section name.

In the page edit view, the link to that section will look like this: [[Joe Donnelly#Biography|Biography of Joe Donnelly]]; the saved view will look like this: Biography of Joe Donnelly.

External links

External links are links that take the reader from Ballotpedia to an external website. You will often find external links in the footnotes of an article, in the "References" or "External links" sections. You may sometimes see external links as in-line links within the main text of an article. When you insert an external link, an arrow will appear in the saved version of the page after the link. That arrow exists so that you and other readers can tell the difference between an internal and external link.

To create an external link, surround a URL with single brackets ( [ ] ), insert a space, and then type the word or words you want to show up on the saved page. For example, a link to Google would look like this in the edit view: [ Google], and like this is the saved view: Google.

Please note that wiki code does work within the brackets of the link, so you can format your linked text just as you would format the other text on the page. For example, [ ''Indianapolis Star'', "Gov. Pence OKs bonuses for state employees," December 20, 2013], will show up like this on the saved page: Indianapolis Star, "Gov. Pence OKs bonuses for state employees," December 20, 2013.

The "External links" section

This section should be named "External links", and not "External Links." It is an H2 section, and should appear like this in the code of the page: ==External links==. This section should be a bulleted list of links, using the technique described above to link externally. For information on the style and formatting of those links, see the help page on footnotes.

In-line links

At times, you may want to link an external website in a sentence in the body of your article. That sentence may look something like this, "[t]he Federal Judicial Center was created in 1967."

References are preferred to in-line links. If you want to direct people to an outside source, consider inserting a reference, if appropriate, or inserting the link in the "External links" section.

Broken links

If a link is functioning properly, the word or phrase linked will appear in blue. If a word or phrase in a Ballotpedia article appears on your screen in red, that link is an internal link that is broken. You may hear other readers or editors refer to a broken link simply as a "red link."

Often, a red link is a sign that an error has been made, and that the code of the link should be corrected. Sometimes, however, the red link is there to serve as a flag or reminder that a page on that subject should be created in the future. You create a red link by inserting double brackets ( [[ ]] ) around text that is not currently a page. In the code of a page, that would look like this: [[Red links on Ballotpedia]], while the saved version would appear as follows: Red links on Ballotpedia.

The "References" section

Each encyclopedic article on Ballotpedia should have final section named "References." This section should always be an H2, and should appear like this in the code of the page: ==References==. Underneath the section heading, you should include the {{reflist}} template.

For more information on the style and formatting of references and the reference section, see the help page on footnotes. The sections on creating references and producing the reference list are particularly helpful.

Citation conventions

See Help:Footnotes for discussion of the preferred citation format on Ballotpedia.