Link External Resources on VisiHow

Edited by Grimm, Eng

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External Link Policy for the VisiHow Community

VisiHow is a place where everyone works together, combining their knowledge.

That means we work to help one another, and make the world a better place in the process. To do that, we sometimes link to resources outside of our community. Generally this is to support articles with relevant steps, or cite information from an external source. However, there are other times we link out, such as when someone has made a great contribution citing a resource they've built, or provided steps on how to do something great, like how to build a volunteer computer training program. In cases like that, where a charitable cause is involved that's closely related to the how-to article, we're happy to support links to any confirmed charity site. If you're interested in sharing your knowledge with the world, just contact Grimm for details, and he'll help you get started.

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What Links Do We Like to See on VisiHow?

We like to see links that enhance the community and help people.

We're always open to suggestion if you believe you have something great that we should link to. Of course, there's more than just a link involved. We like to see a useful and well written how-to article, but it's best to contact Grimm first to make sure you're writing something that will be good for the community. Here are some examples of what we like to see:

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  1. 1
    Attribution Links
    We love to see attribution links, such as those to copyright holders of relevant information (used with permission, and properly attributed). In these cases, the link points back to the source of the tip, step, or other relevant information. A great example of how this works is someone who lists a how-to article on gardening, and links back to their gardening resource. Just keep in mind that articles updated with little new content that only includes a link will most likely be viewed as spam, or self serving links that don't add value. Such links will almost always be removed and blacklisted from VisiHow, so if you're not sure, check with Grimm. Bad links are one of his favorite snacks.
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  2. 2
    Sources and Citations
    There are many instances where an article can be improved by adding a link to an external resource or source. Some instances of this would be an article on medicine, which might link to a site like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Another great example might be if you were writing an article on United States immigration requirements, and the complexities involved in figuring out what paperwork was required. In this case, you could easily link to the U.S. Department of State Immigrant Visa Process page. In either case, linking to relevant information on high quality sources will enhance your article, and add value to the community. This is an important part of helping our users, as it legitimizes your how-to instructions, and lets them see where they can learn more.
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  3. 3
    Essential Instructions and Tips
    Other times, there may be an instance where a particular set of instructions is extremely complicated, or requires an external link to complete instructions. A great example is directing users to visit the Apple iCloud Activation Lock site to confirm if a phone has an Activation Lock on it, which would prevent you from using iCloud services on that device until it was unlocked. Other times you might want to help users by recommending they visit the Google Account Recovery Tool to unlock an Android device. The important thing to ask yourself before placing such a link is whether it truly adds value and helps someone solve a problem. If it does, then we're happy to have the link. Just keep in mind that Grimm is always watching, and always hungry.
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What Links is Grimm Going to Remove from VisiHow?

As we mentioned earlier, Grimm is a hungry little monster.

When he sees a link that looks bad, most of the time he just eats it. When that happens, the link is removed, and added to the VisiHow blacklist, never to be seen again. That means it can never be placed anywhere on the site again. Below are some examples of things that will be immediately deleted:

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  1. 1
    Affiliate Links
    Anyone trying to sell something will quickly find that whatever it is they're selling isn't going to be on VisiHow for long. There are of course very rare exceptions to this, but not usually in the Affiliate marketing area. We don't like to promote products or drive sales - unless it's a very clear case of someone truly providing value with their product, in a genuine and community focused how-to article. If you believe you have such an article, it's always best contact Grimm before you post it. Once he eats a link, it's usually not coming back without waking up Inukshuk.
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  • 2
    Excessive Links
    Any time someone is excessively linking a product or service with external links, and that link constantly shows up in VisiHow, Grimm is going to find it. When he finds it, he's probably going to delete it. This is also true of well written articles, where the article author spams VisiHow with internal links to their main page, which links off site. Often in those cases, the main article will also be deleted. Make sure you don't do this, and if you think that someone is doing it to your articles, let Grimm know, and he'll take care of it.
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    Offensive Links
    This one should be obvious, but links of this type will immediately be deleted and blacklisted. In severe cases, Grimm will awaken Inukshuk, and an entire account can be deleted. Take note, and always ask Grimm if you have any questions or need additional help. Links we don't ever like to see include any and all of the following:
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    • Links that go to spoof pages or redirects.
    • Links that have obnoxious or excessive advertising.
    • Links that promote bigotry, racism, or violence of any sort.
    • Links that have any pornography or adult content.
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    Personal Promotional Links
    While it's great if you want to promote your campaign, new restaurant, or other achievement, there is a right way to go about doing it. A story about how you built a career in politics is something we want to see. However, a list of your achievements and a link to a political campaign website don't really add value to anyone other than you. For that reason, we're likely to contact you about deleting personal or third-party promotional links, unless there's a sound reason behind them. So, if you can put together a great how-to for running a campaign or opening your own restaurant, and want to link to your achievement of realizing your dream, we're happy to help you. It just needs to add value to the community without being overly promotional. Have a look at the first link in this article, on how to start a volunteer computer training program for an outstanding example of what we like to see.
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  • Additional Considerations for External Links on VisiHow

    If you need help, or are in doubt about your link, make sure you ask before linking.

    While Grimm is a monster, and Inukshuk is a very big pile of rocks, they're more interested in promoting and enhancing the community than anything else. Most of the time they will assume that a new user has just made a mistake. This usually results in removal of the link, or a rollback of the article, and a stern warning. We don't want to wipe out the hard work and effort of someone, but at the same time, we need to protect and nurture the community. You're invited to be a part of that community, where everyone is willing to work with you to make sure you can write something great. Who knows, it could turn into a lifelong commitment on your part. Then you can grow old with Grimm, until you both look like Yoda. For our part, we hope you're willing to put in the effort to make your links great, and we look forward to your help in building the VisiHow community into something even more amazing than it already is.

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