[pmwiki-users] Re: pmwiki-users Digest, Vol 3, Issue 1

Bronwyn Boltwood arndis at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 10:34:12 CDT 2005

On 9/1/05, Radu <radu at monicsoft.net> wrote:
> *gasp* Why?!??
> It's so elegant to be able to just write what you mean and the link
> to automagically appear! With well thought page names, that's exactly
> what happens.

Free links:
- can be as few or many words as required
- can use characters not available to WikiWords
- are easier to read
- preserve the author's desired capitalization and spacing
- are a more natural typing pattern for ordinary people (vs. programmers)
- improve the overall quality of the accidental links, because you
have no "DemocracY" vs. "DemoCracy" kinds of problems

Realistically, there are no accidental links.  If I want WikiWord to
be a link, then I have to capitalize and unspace it.  That's work, but
the pattern used is familiar to programmers from VariableNames, and
wikis began as a way for developers to document their code, so a lot
of WikiWords were probably VariableNames or FunctionNames in fact as
well as typing convention.

People don't write like that outside of software development, though. 
They use lowercase and spaces between words, so writing in WikiWords
requires overriding some deeply ingrained habits.  Writing [[wiki
word]] is also work, but creates less cognitive dissonance.  I just
add some brackets instead suppressing my typing conventions.  I can
easily see which words are part of the link, and [[]] is not terribly
hard to reach on my keyboard.  Also, link-leve compatibility with
mediawiki really is not a bad thing.

So, the most efficient kind of link is generally the kind that your
fingers help you type quickly and accurately.


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