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Hard Backlinks

Inbound topic links are largely invisible on a wiki. Users can seek them out but many people don't.

Search based backlinks require explicit hit of "backlinks" button. This can take time to complete and does not give the inbound link any sensible prose that explains the relationship to the content on this page: instead the user is meant to deduce the relationship.

This plugin would make backlinks explicit, i.e. when it sees a link to page B from page A it would ensure that page A talks about page B. It would do this both retrospectively and on-going.

-- MartinCleaver - 30 Jun 2006

Re: ReferrerPlugin: The scope I was thinking of was entirely within a wiki, trackback does the same but between sites.

Wanting hard backlinks rests on the premise that much of the time there is benefit to having explicit bi-directional linkage between pairs of topics. This:

  1. reduces the reliance on the user knowing to use the backlinks search function,
  2. states that there is an inverse relationship between topics,
  3. provides whiteboard space in which to explicitly explain the reverse relationship and context of the link,
  4. acts as a mechanism to gather related conversations stored in different topic names
  5. helps eliminate/consolidate near-same conversations
  6. may minimise the cost of those searches because fewer searches would be necessary.

This is how it would have worked:

  • Saving a topic such as WebDAVPluginWoes would have TWiki look through the topic text for links. In our case it would have found 'WebDAVPlugin' mentioned, plus some others.
  • TWiki now checks those referred to pages (e.g. 'WebDAVPlugin'), to see whether there is a backlink. If not, TWiki would append somewhere on that topic

Now, we can all think of exceptions (e.g. WebHome points to many topics but WebHome does not likely need to point back) and in some circumstances there are pairs of pages (e.g. WebDAVPlugin / WebDAVPluginDev) that work together, such that topics that 'need' an automatic hard backlink ought to be pointed to by the Dev topic rather than the topic itself. Those conditions can be covered by a setting.

This could be replicated per-application but I think there's power in having it has a universal feature with settings to cater for particular scenarios.

-- MartinCleaver - 02 Jul 2006

The PingBackPlugin is detecting if a ping is "internal". So it is doing what you are proposing as as side product. Plus: it will check back in intervals if the backlink is still there and removes it if not. Sure, if you know that all backlinks are internal a HardBacklinkPlugin makes a lot of sense as it can completely replace these awful searches for backlinks, e.g. in move/rename. To be more precise: the core should actively maintain backlinks storing them somewhere.

-- MichaelDaum - 22 Jul 2006

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Topic revision: r6 - 2006-07-22 - MichaelDaum
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