The hard link is one of two fundamental links in the Everything 2 writeup/nodes system. A hard link is created when you put square brackets around a word or phrase in your writeup. The square brackets can probably be found on your keyboard just above and to the left of your 'enter' key. They look like this: [ ]

By placing these brackets around words or phrases they become a hypertext link that will take you to the node of the same name. If a node does not yet exist with the title of your hard link then E2 will automatically run a search on the word or words in your link. A 'results' page will be displayed with 100 possible links to E2 nodes that do exist. Use this results page to double-check that your hard link is spelled correctly or as possible inspiration for the ever-so-clever pipe link.

The idea behind a hard link is to give the reader an easy-access link to other ideas or concepts that relate to your writeup. It's usually a good idea to hard link people's names, song/book/film titles, esoteric words and any phrases that you may have pipe linked to different E2 nodes or possibly to new ones. Don't hard link just to hard link - do it right. Link relevant words and concepts, don't use links for emphasis. If you wish to emphasize use HTML. If you've already linked a word or set of words you don't really need to link them again in your writeup. Once is enough. You may notice that I didn't hard link the words 'hard link' in this writeup - there's good reason for that. It's because Pete and Repeat went out in a boat. Pete fell in. Who was left?

See also:

soft link
pipe link
firm link
link and link
The Perfect Node will tie it all together for you.

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E2 Glossary

So you've just finished writing your first node, you click the grey button and see:

How about linking other nodes in your writeup?

If you're anything like me (before I started thinking too much about E2), you go back through your writeup, randomly inserting square brackets around words, until you've fulfilled your link quota and your node makes it past the automated check.

That's not how it's meant to work.

E2 is a neural network. The idea behind links is that they simulate the way your brain works, by forming connections between related concepts in E2. Just as pathways between neurons are strengthened when signals travel between them, so too are links strengthened when users follow them. So if your writeup fast, urgent sex rocks! looks like this:

The other day in the supermarket, my girlfriend and I were walking down the bathroom aisle looking for mould killer when I felt her hand creep up my thigh from behind. An old lady pushing a trolley towards us gave a disapproving frown, so she pulled away from me, embarrassed. But as we continued shopping, she kept whispering seductive dirty talk in my ear, and as soon as we got back to the van we had the best sex of my life! Nothing like frustrated anticipation to get those hormones flowing...
...then you've just created an association in E2's "mind" between the idea fast, urgent sex and:
  • supermarket
  • mould killer
  • old lady
  • disapproving frown
  • embarrassed
  • dirty
  • frustrated
Not going to grow up to be a well-adjusted little AI, is it? There were plenty of more relevant terms that could have been linked in the above writeup--especially if you use the pipe to associate concepts like this:[sex is not dirty|disapproving frown].

So, place your brackets carefully. Be kind to E2. You wouldn't want someone rewiring your brain with such reckless abandon, would you?

A link that is specifically placed in a writeup. This is done by putting brackets around a word or phrase, like so:

We were playing [five-card stud] the other night when the [credenza] exploded.

That will appear like this:

We were playing five-card stud the other night when the credenza exploded.

"Five-card stud" is linked to the node named "five-card stud", and "credenza" is linked to the "credenza" node. It's quite easy.

Of course, that means you can't use square brackets, right? Right: They'll just turn into links. You can make square brackets in your text using the following symbols:

[ makes [
] makes ]

You should never hardlink a plural, unless it's some kind of proper name: Rolling Stones, for example, is okay, but if you hardlink radishes, that's a problem. It's a problem because we have a radish node, but we do not have a radishes node. It's better to link to the one we have. If you create a plural one, the editors will surely delete it as soon as they spot it. They'll do that because it's redundant and it confuses the issue: You don't have to guess whether radish information is under "radish" or "radishes". You already know, because they've gone to the trouble of enforcing a standard. Now, if somebody writes a novel called Radishes, of course that would be noded by its correct name. That's different: The novel is not the vegetable.

It is highly recommended that every writeup include some hard links, to foster node integration, and avoid having someone tell you "learn how to link". Don't link stupid stuff. Link stuff that's important.

Links appear specially marked in the writeup, like this: This is a link.

See: soft link

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