Proposal:Between blue links and red links: orange links (for article quality)

From Strategic Planning
Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content.
  3. Increase Participation.
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation

Note: This proposal is primarily relevant to the English Wikipedia and other large Wikipedias.

Observations and background

Wikipedia currently has two types of links: blue links (for existing articles) and red links (for nonexistent articles). The major benefits of blue links are navigational. As for red links, it has been shown that they stimulate article production. Indeed, Wikipedians want to "turn all links blue" and this has been, and still is, a major bolster to article production, especially for small Wikipedias. For larger Wikipedias, the focus is changing from article production to article amelioration, and the disappearing red links are losing their former impact.

Details of proposal


As an addition to the positive red links, orange links (or links of some other descriptive colour) could attest for articles in poor shape. For example, all stubs and start class articles could be linked to by orange links. Various implementations are possible, from offering orange links to every user by default, to limiting them to signed-in users.

Potential benefits

The potential benefits are similar to red links in prompting users to produce content. Orange links would encourage editors to expand and improve articles, as a support to the already existing red links that encourage editors to start articles. In effect, similarly to red links, orange links would drive editors to where work is needed.


The idea can be extended to different classes of articles. For example, we could have all featured and good articles be linked to by green links. This may incite viewers to read articles they would not have otherwise read, so as to drive users to quality content

Choice of colours

The similarity between the orange and red colours is significant since stubs and start class articles are almost nonexistent, containing barely any information. As for the green colour for good and featured articles, it would reflect upon the green logo already used for good articles.


  • Erik Moeller's talk from the 2009 Wikimania in Buenos Aires. Specifically, slide 6 of his presentation Problem recognition: in the past there were red links, and slide 20, step 2 Solution: create new micro-opportunities.
  • Diomidis Spinellis and Panagiotis Louridas (2008). The collaborative organization of knowledge. In Communications of the ACM, August 2008, Vol 51, No 8, Pages 68 - 73. They noted that "Most new articles are created shortly after a corresponding reference to them is entered into the system."

Discussion and expansion

Please expand this proposal or discuss it here.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!