Dangling Link

Dangling link
A link to a Wiki page that doesn't yet exist. On the WikiWikiWeb, a dangling link appears as a hyperlinked question mark following a WikiName. For example: SomeNonExistentPage? with the bold '?' presented as a hyperlink. These don't need to be inserted manually; Wiki does so automatically.

The DanglingLink is an invitation to add content sparked by the link title and its context, and is provided as a convenient hook for you to create the non-existent page by simply following the hyperlink.

A dangling link is not necessarily a bad thing. Many believe that it is better to leave a link dangling than to fill it in half-heartedly (see WikiIsNotaDictionary). A link left dangling can indicate an author's belief that "we all know what the content would be if the link were followed". Whether that's true or false is immaterial, the author believed it was true.

Some dangling links are real words that have mixed case, but there is no good reason to create a page with that name. Source code with mixed-case identifiers is a good example. In such cases, it is best to use SixSingleQuotes between the components of the word to inhibit linking.

AccidentalLinking is one of the good things about wiki. So it is generally best to not delete DanglingLinks nor to inhibit them.


Too many speculative links makes the page very hard to read. When those links are directly or at least tangentially about programming, patterns, and XP, and have a good likelihood of someone adding content to them, and when there are not so many of them that they obscure content, they can be a wonderful way to give someone else the idea to add useful content to the site. I follow Ward's example, I hope not too badly, by removing links which do not fit those criteria. I apologize if I have been overzealous in my editing. -- WayneConrad

There's something dialectical about this phenomenon ... I find plausible justification for creating a page, and perhaps a couple of pages supporting it, and then find sufficient rationalization to delete one or more of these, if not the original page itself. When a related concept inspires a WikiName and therefore a DanglingLink, I put some faith in the process and let them stand ... maybe even anticipate the discourse and "prime the pump" by beginning an introductory paragraph. -- BenTremblay

Demonstration: There's SomethingDialectical? about ThisPhenomenon? ... I find PlausibleJustification? for creating a page, and perhaps a couple of PagesSupportingIt?, and then find SufficientRationalization? to DeleteOneOrMoreOf? these, if not the OriginalPage? itself. When a RelatedConcept? inspires a WikiName and therefore a DanglingLink, I put some FaithInTheProcess? and LetThemStand? ... maybe even AnticipateTheDiscourse? and "PrimeThePump?" by beginning an IntroductoryParagraph?.

SupremelyUnhelpful?. Pages should have content, and shouldn't be created if they have no useful content, and should be deleted if they ever cease to have useful content.

It is trivial to create a page, so it's not as if it saves some huge effort to "help" by creating it prior to putting content on it, and it is no big deal to recreate a page when one has content to put on a page that was previously deleted due to no content.
There's no point following a non-existent link to create a page, only to write "Content forthcoming. Don't delete this page." So by definition, you've created a page that contains only noise, not signal. This is beneficial to nobody; MakeSignalNotNoise. An active WikiLink implies that the WikiPage it leads to contains something, as opposed to the DanglingLink denoting an uncreated page.

Let the DanglingLink serve as the placeholder; it inherently shows people that content is needed, and can motivate them to go add that content.
See LinksAreContent.

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