|This page is a proposed WikiFur policy, guideline, or process. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption. References or links to this page should not describe it as "policy".|
|This page in a nutshell:|
Link rot occurs when hyperlinks point to webpages or other online resources which have moved, changed, or are no longer available (called dead links). On WikiFur, this can impair editors' ability to update, expand, or otherwise improve an article by removing context, and can also break inline citations, harming an article's verifiability.
In some cases, link rot can be predicted. For example, information about a specific iteration of a convention may be hosted on the convention's main homepage; it can be expected that the homepage will eventually be updated to instead have information about the next iteration. If a convention is cancelled permanently, it is likely that the former staff will allow the domain to expire. In another example, a citation may link to a blog post by an individual, which may be edited, deleted or made private in the future. In these cases, editors should preemptively act to save the citation in a more permanent form, using the methods below.
When adding external links to WikiFur, it is important to provide information about what is being linked to. At a minimum, external links should contain the information described in the Furry Book of Style (for either the External links section or references). Other useful information can include a small amount of text quoted from the linked page:
- "Furry conventions get bigger in Texas - outgrowing California" - Sonious for Flayrah. Dated February 20, 2018, retrieved April 25, 2018. "Further Confusion is currently in a creepingly slow decline since peaking in 2014 at 3560."
When choosing what text to quote, try to determine the most relevant, succinct portion. Quoting the entire text is impractical and may violate copyright laws.
Web archives are typically services employing a web crawler to preserve a copy of a web page to preserve its content for future uses. The largest of these is the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which intends to preserve a copy of the entire Internet. Other archival services exist, such as archive.is and WebCite, and all of these allow individuals to manually archive a specific webpage or pages. These can be invaluable ways of preserving webpages likely to change or disappear. To do so, add the archive link instead of or after the dead link in the citation, as well as the date the page was archived, or instead of the dead link:
- The GreenReaper Interview (archived) - Furry 101 (3 December 2008)
- oCeLoT's "about the artist" page on Critter.net, archived by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine
In most cases, a citation which contains a dead link, as well as the information supported by such a citation, should not be removed simply because it is dead, and information supported by a reference containing a dead link should not be removed. Citations which contain dead links can still be useful. They can provide editors with context needed to find an archived version of the link, or a replacement. They also simply convey that the information was probably previously verifiable. Dead links can freely be removed if replaced by an archived copy, a more permanent link, or by a different source entirely that still supports the information.