Dr Linkslasher is my alter ego. He sees it as his duty to remove external links that do not strictly fit a few clear criteria, and makes it his job to describe links adequately when this has not been done.
Links that get removed:
- Commercial links (e.g. online pharmacies and bookstores)
- Links to obviously commercial sites that aim to sell a product directly rather than simply providing information
- Links to sites that are obviously intended to shock or defame (unless this pertains directly to the article)
- Links that simply rehash miscellanea mentioned previously on the page itself (this is the purpose of footnotes)
- Links that have very little immediate relationship to the article content (such as a treatise on bodybuilding on the muscle page)
- Links that are added in a "link adding spree" (e.g. one editor linking externally from many articles consecutively, often in an alphabetical order) - it is not my job to determine if these link might be appropriate, because the vast majority are just attempts to boost site traffic or some Google bombing ruse
External links should follow Wikipedia policy in their descriptions. The name of the linked page is generally insufficient. Explaining the POV of the linked site, its audience or editorship is vital in making it fit with NPOV policy.
See also is another bugbear of mine. The fact that one article is superficially related to another (e.g. blood test for D-dimer) is strongly disapprove of "see also"-links that create such a relationship. If the relationship is there, it should have been dealt with in the text, or it follows through the Category system. Only if two articles are truly horizontal and closely related (Kidney and Adrenal gland, for example), this may warrant a see-also.
Wikipedia has recently suffered criticism in some high-profile cases. A journalist relied on the Wikipedia article of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and included in his article an unverified and libelous allegation. Another journalist, John Seigenthaler Sr., discovered that his Wikipedia biography contained unjustified allegations that similarly amounted to libel.
There's no way around it. If you want to write for Wikipedia, cite your sources. As an encyclopedia Wikipedia needs to contain verifiable content that is not a new interpretation or fact not previously enunciated elsewhere. The Talmud even has a blessing for this, deriving this from the narrative of the Scroll of Esther: "Whoever repeats a statement in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world" (Pirkei Avoth 6:6).
I may remove content that has not been backed up with sources despite requests. If evidence is later procured, there is always the edit history to retrieve this content.
The trivia test
There is no end to trivia. Articles about medical conditions tend to grow lists of people who have had those conditions. Sometimes, the person in question has no Wikipedia article, or the article itself does not mention this fact. Similarly, many other phenomena get lists with "references in popular culture", even if that reference is a passing remark made by a minor character in a sitcom with 30 seasons.
I hold a narrow view of trivia: has this event made a lasting impact on the public perception of a medical condition or other phenomenon? Is there external evidence supporting it (e.g. press reports, official homepage, radio broadcasts)? If a factoid fails this trivia test I may remove it. After all, this is an encyclopedia.