Questions and answers about soft links.
How many soft links does a node hold?
The database stores unlimited soft links, but it does not display them all. At the current moment, regular users can see 48 soft links, gods can see 64, and people who are not logged in can see 24.
What is the difference between the links at the top and the bottom?
Softlinks are ordered by strength, with the strongest ones at the top, and the weakest ones at the bottom.
How do I create soft links?
First you have to be logged in. Next you should go to the node you would like to link. Creating a soft link requires invoking the search function. You can do this in two different ways. The first way is by merely typing the word or phrase that you want to link into the search box, and clicking through to that node (this creates a soft link in each node). The second way is to click on a hardlink, and follow it through to another node, this also links both nodes.
You can also create soft links by manually typing in urls, but that is the hard of way of doing it.
It isn't working, what am I doing wrong?
First make sure you are logged in. Then you should make sure that you are attempting to link from the entire node, not just from a single writeup. If you see a "Go back to" link at the top, then you are viewing a single writeup, simply click that "Go back to" link to go to the entire node, and then link from there.
Sometimes the default theme will not properly create soft links. If you are using this theme, then try switching to another theme. You can switch themes by following the "preferences" link in the Epicenter.
I am trying to make a soft link to Touch the Puppy". It is showing up in my node, but I don't see it in the other node. What am I doing wrong?
Some nodes have a lot of strong links, so many of them that it will take many searches to successfully bump one off the bottom. If you simply must link to one of these nodes, then just keep searching (or clicking), and eventually your link will show up (although it may not be worth the effort).
How many soft links should I make on my nodes?
This is entirely a matter of personal preference, but you must ask yourself if you want people to read your node after it falls out of New Writeups. I personally try to fill my entire visible table of 48 soft links. If you have time, then I would recommend doing the same thing. It ensures that your node will have readers for many years to come.
I have a node that won't fill up with soft links, no matter how hard I try. It has 47 of them, and I simply can't get another one to show up!
Ah, you have discovered a hidden soft link. Some nodes do not make visible soft links, E2 Nuke Request, Edit these E2 Titles, and Nodeshells Marked for Destruction are a few of them. The links are still there, but they are not displayed. Your "missing link" can probably be attributed to one of those nodes accidentally being linked to it.
Are there any shortcuts to this soft linking process? I am a bit lazy you know!
Yes, there are several shortcuts, all of them based around a single idea. You do not have to wait for the page to load when making a link. If what you are searching for (or clicking on), would have brought you directly to another node (without a "Findings:" or "Duplicates Found" page), then the link will be made, even if you hit ESCAPE to cancel the pageload, or click on another link before it loads. The link will be made as long as the server gets the command, you don't have to wait around to see it happen.
This means that you can quickly click every link in your writeup, one right after another. Go ahead and let the last one go all the way through, search back and you will find a nice collection of links has cropped up underneath your node. This also works with the search button, you can use your search button (with "ignore exact" checked), to quickly link related nodes to yours. Here is how it works. Type the all the keywords of your node into the search box (when I was linking my Star Castle node, I chose "star, castle, and arcade). Hit the search button and you should get a list of results (which may be anywhere from a few nodes to several hundred). You can then go down the list clicking these nodes, and they will all link to your node. Just click fast, or hit your ESCAPE key in-between clicks to avoid having to load all those pages.
I have filled up my soft links all nice and neat, but I would like to change the order of a few of them (to put the most related ones at the top). How do I do this?
That is simple, just click away on the ones that you want transported to the top of your node. Once again, you don't have to wait for the page to load, just throw down several clicks in a row to make a link rise in strength.
Ok, I linked up my node all nice and proper, am I finished now?
Perhaps for now, but you should always be on the lookout for more nodes to link to. Always check "New Writeups" to see if there are any new nodes that should be linked to some of your old ones. For example; if you notice a science fiction movie node in new writeups, you might as well link any science fiction movie nodes you have done. This is beneficial to everyone, as it helps people find related information.
Is it ever possible to soft link a node too much?
Not normally. There are a few famous nodes that are linked to thousands of other nodes. But you shouldn't really have to worry about overlinking anything. You may want to avoid soft linking to the daylogs, as this can be seen as nodevertising. Other than that you can safely link away to your heart's content. Your effort will be paid back over time by increased readership, and higher node reputations. It really is worth the extra effort.
I have another question about soft links that you did not cover here. What should I do.
Feel free to /msg any gods or editors with your questions. They are a very helpful bunch overall, and are usually happy to answer your questions. If you have a question that you feel should be answered here, then simply send me a /msg, and I will update this writeup to include your question.
Thanks to N-Wing for the answers to a few of these.