Help:Interlanguage links

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Interlanguage links are links between pages on the same topic but on different language versions of a particular project of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (aka WMF, or simply Wikimedia). Most notably, articles in one Wikipedia language are linked to one or more nearly or exactly equivalent pages in another Wikipedia language, but the same pattern holds true between language versions of Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikiquote, and Wikibooks.

The interlanguage links on Commons produce links to the Wikipedias. This is not reciprocal: Wikipedias do not support interlanguage links to Commons, but often use templates like {{Commons}} and {{Commons category}}.

Interlanguage links are sometimes called "interwiki links", however technically they are only one possible form of interwiki links—interlanguage links are a subset of the types of interwiki links available.

Syntax[edit]

The interlanguage links have taken the following form:

[[language code:Title]]

where the language code is the two-letter code as per ISO 639-1. (See Complete list of language Wikipedias available. English is "en", German is "de", etc.) So for example Commons Gallery Plankton might have interlanguage links which look like this:

[[ar:عوالق]]
[[de:Plankton]]
[[en:Plankton]]
[[eo:Planktono]]
[[es:Plancton]]
[[fr:Plancton]]
[[nl:Plankton]]
[[ja:プランクトン]]
[[ko:플랑크톤]]
[[pl:Plankton]]
[[ru:Планктон]]
[[simple:Plankton]]
[[zh:浮游生物界]]

Unlike other types of links, interlanguage links don't show up in the body of the text, but instead in the main sidebar in their own section, listed by language name under the header, "In Wikipedia". Technically, they could go anywhere in the article source; placement does not alter the visual appearance of the links on the rendered page except for the order. However, to keep pages easier to edit, the convention has been to put them at the bottom of the wikitext.

Similar code was repeated in each of the corresponding Wikipedia articles. Maintaining this took a lot of work (mostly automated). A central repository for these links was created in late 2012, called Wikidata, and from early 2013, Wikipedia projects began transforming and moving their interwiki links there. Commons was initially not supported by Wikidata, and interwiki blocks could no longer be directly transferred from Wikipedia to Commons (workaround here), leading Commons interwiki links to become increasingly outdated. Wikidata support for Commons was enabled in September 2013, but there are still some difficulties with this (see below).

Namespaces[edit]

Interlanguage links can be added to pages in almost any namespace and, in general, should point to pages in the same namespace in the Wikipedias. The major exception is the Category namespace on the Commons, which often has interlanguage links to Wikipedia articles.

Commons namespaces Link to Wikipedia namespace
0 Gallery Article
Talk All talk pages should not be linked
2 User User
4 Commons Wikipedia
6 File No links
8 MediaWiki No links
10 Template Template
12 Help Help
14 Category Category
Article
100 Creator No links
102 TimedText No links
104 Sequence No links
106 Institution No links

NOTE: Wikidata linking was enabled for Commons in September 2013. However, it does not support multiple links to a single Wikipedia page, as can occur when both a gallery and a category link to the same Wikipedia article, so the old interwiki syntax still needs to be used for one of the Commons pages.

Bot Maintenance[edit]

Various bots, many based on Pywikipediabot interwiki.py code, added and attempted to correct interlanguage links: if Commons links to A and A to B, than bot will add a link to B to Commons. A downside of this approach was that an error in an interlanguage link in one Wikipedia propagates to other Wikipedias. Thus if a bot produces a wrong result one might have to search for the underlying error in another language version of Wikipedia.

If interwiki bots persistently add an interwiki link that human editors consider wrong, it is no use revert-warring against the bots: they won't understand and will always add the link back in. A simple solution is not to remove the offending link, but to enclose it in html comment marks ("<!-- [[ex:Example]] -->"). The bots understand this convention and will not re-add a link marked in this way.

NOTE: The old interwiki bots have generally ceased operation since Wikidata was launched, although several bots and semi-automated gadgets are being used to populate Wikidata.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]